Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On the eve of Woolfest.......

Tonight I am taking a few minutes out of my packing for Woolfest to write a quick entry on my blog. Yes Spinning Fishwife and myself are off to Woolfest tomorrow lunch time. We are camping at Graysonside camp site in Cockermouth Cumbria for 3 nights and are really looking forward to getting away without kids or hubbies......bliss. Almost tempted to leave the mobile at home, but then I wouldn't be able to arrange meet-ups with other knitters I have "met" via the web, (which I'm really looking forward to doing!!!!!).

Oh well better get a move on as I still have lots to do tonight before I go to bed!!! Will write more next week when I return from having FUN with fiber and friends!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Windy Walk

(This post follows on from the previous one!!!)

Once I had been round John Muir's birthplace and nearly blown away trying to take a picture of the statue of him as a child I decided that I would go buy something for a picnic lunch. Once I'd done that I headed out towards Barns Ness Light House which is just down the coast from Dunbar. I actually turned off the road too early and landed up at Whitesands beach instead.

This was an amazing place. I had never been here before and was really "blown away" by its beauty. Having said that I was nearly blown away by the wind too!!! The water was a clear turquoise blue and I could see how the beach got its name.....The sand was really white. I headed off along a rather narrow coastal path (part of the John Muir Way) towards the light house. On the way I passed a ruined lime kiln which was probably built in the 18th Century.

Just down from the lime kiln you could see where the harbour had been cut into the rocks to allow the boats to come inshore to load up the lime.

A long this part of the coast, at low tide, on the fore shore, you can find 9 different limestones, all identified from their different fossils. There is still a cement works in the area and to the east of this you can find prehistoric archaeological remains. Where the current quarry is can be found the remains of a substantial Iron Age fort which was excavated in the late 1970's. More recent excavations have uncovered the remains of one of Scotland's earliest prehistoric houses.

I continued to walk and just further a long the coast I found Barn Ness Light House.

The light house is 37m (121ft) high and its beacon had a range of 10 miles. The light was finally extinguished on 25th October 2005 and placed on the market in March 2006, with the possibility of it being made into a house.

The light first shone on 1st October 1901, nearly 2.5 years after construction begun, using stone built from Craigree and Barnton quarries in Edinburgh. This stone proved to be very tough coz during WWII it was machine gunned and no damage was sustained.

It was built by engineering brothers David A and Charles Alexander Stevenson, who belonged to the family that build most of Scotland's Victorian lighthouses and were cousins to Robert Louis Stevenson. There are a total of 169 steps up to the top of the lighthouse, where you find the light room. Up till 1966 it was manned by 2 light keepers, it then changed to 1 when it became semi-automatic. The candlepower of the light was 1,300,000 and was the first of its type to be used by the Northern Lighthouse Service.

Unfortunately, due to time constraints I had to turn round and return to my car as time was moving on and I had to be back to pick the kids up from school. I really enjoyed my short time here and plan to return in the near future with the kids and possibly hubby too, to explore the area better.

John Muir

The other day I decided that I was going to have some "me" time to do what I wanted to do. Having said that there was a time limit coz I still had to be back to collect the boys from school, but even so I still managed a few enjoyable hours to myself, that didn't involve any knitting, (how did that happen!!!!!). Ok what to do? I decided to go somewhere and do something I had never done/been before. The weather wasn't brilliant on Wednesday, but at least the wind was keeping the rain at bay for long periods of time and the sun was shining too. Over a cup of coffee with hubby at his place of work I decided to go off down the coast to Dunbar and visit John Muir's birthplace.

This is the house in Dunbar High Street where John Muir lived as a child, before emigrating to America at the age of 11 years. He was born in Dunbar on 21st April 1838 and died on 28th December 1914 in Los Angeles, USA.

This is a statue of John Muir as a child and can be found in Dunbar High Street, just outside The Dunbar Town House Museum.

John Muir (1838-1914) is the founder of the modern world conservation movement. Two hundred sites in the USA are named after him, including Muir Woods, Muir Beach, Muir Glacier and the John Muir Trail through the High Sierra.

Born in the fishing port of Dunbar, in East Lothian, Scotland, he developed an early awareness of the value of wild nature. At the age of eleven, he emigrated with his family to the wilds of Wisconsin in the American mid-west, where he spent his teenage years. Arriving in California at the age of 30, he achieved fame as a botanist, geologist and glaciologist, and pioneered what is now known as ecology. During his explorations of the High Sierra and Alaska (1870 - 1890), Muir became aware of the threats to such wild places, and was the first to clearly call for their conservation. He led the campaign for the protection of Yosemite, and deeply influenced Presidents Roosevelt and Wilson in designating over 50 areas and 200 national monuments. In order to campaign for wild places, Muir helped set up the Sierra Club which today is one of the leading environmental campaigning organisations in the world.

In and around Dunbar you not only find John's birth place, but also the John Muir Country Park and the John Muir Way which runs along 18Km of the coast from Fisherrow Harbour (about 5 mins walk from my house) in Musselburgh to Aberlady and then again for a further 16Km from Dunbar to Dunglass on the Scottish Border with England.

After my visit to John Muir's birth place I decided to walk some of the John Muir Way. I only did a small part of the bit from Dunbar to Dunglass. (See Windy Walk)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sox and other knitting

I know I haven't posted any knitting for a while but I have been busy, its a beggar when life gets in the way of your knitting!!! However I have managed to knit 3 pairs of sox, 2 of which are for friends, and are pictured here. The other pair is for myself (I think) and I forgot to take a picture of them, so will post them later! (Must have had a senior moment!!!!)

The first pair of sox are knitted on 64 stitches on 2.5mm bamboo dpns and knitted in Lana Grossa Meilenweit Multieffekt from Italy, 80% virgin wool and 20% polymide. The pattern is a pattern I really like and have used on several occasions, it came free with Opal sock yarn.

These ones are also knitted by casting on 64 stitches on 2.5mm bamboo dpns and knitted in Opal Traumfanger from Germany, 75% virgin wool and 25% polymide. The pattern is ribbed lace which I found in "Sensational Knitted Socks" by Charlene Schurch , the heel flap is knitted in "Eye of partridge" stitch and gives a double thickness to the heel area.
(I think that traumfanger is the pattern of the yarn, but it is difficult when the lable is written in german and you can't read it!!!)(edited to say that traumfanger means dreamcatcher and is the pattern of the yarn, thanks to Susann in Germany for that information)

Here is a close up of the ribbed lace stitch, which I really quite like.It has 24 rows to each repeat.

My current WIP's

I am currently knitting a shawl based on a pattern found in "Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls" by Martha Waterman.I am knitting it with the most wonderful yarn that my SP6 sent me in April. It is 980 yards of hand painted pure marino lace weight wool in greens and purples. The yarn came from Hand painted yarns. I really love working with this lovelly soft yarn. I can hardly wait till it is knitted so that I can wear it. This is not a brilliant picture of the shawl as it was difficult to stretch it enough to show the pattern, the circular needles wouldn't let me!!!

I am also knitting "a river". Which was brought to my attention by mazzam, who was my Secret Pal last time round. One of the squares is knitted in blue funky fur yarn, the rest are knitted in blue/grey cotton whhich I found in my stash. One is knitted in a basket weave pattern, one in moss stitch and one is a lacey pattern.

I am now searching for a small project(or two) to take down to Woolfest with me next week. More on that later!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

End of term entertainment

As it is coming to the end of the school year for the boys, there have been a few activities that parents have been invited along to.

Ronan's year had been studying Africa, so we were all invited along to try some African food, and watch the children perform African dance, drumming, singing and story telling. It was obvious when we entered the room that all the kids and teachers had been really busy. They had examples of African artifacts, including Ronan's teddy with the fur on its body being the south African flag.(Not exactly an artifact, but it did come from Africa 10 years ago, coz Ronan received it from my cousin when he was born!We called it Rand)There were lots of information boards with various facts and pictures that the kids had put together.

Here is Ronan (2nd from the left) and his friend Lewis, just about to perform a "war" dance. Notice the shields they had made!! They also performed the National Anthem in English, Afrikaans, and 2 other African languages. Every one really enjoyed themselves. To top it all off Ronan won the raffle prize which consisted of some African beans, maize, sweet potatoes, papaya, pineapple, tin of spicy vegetables and a bottle of South African wine.

Robert had his sports day a few weeks ago. It was a really nice day and the kids all seemed to have fun. Robert won all his races and here he is winning the flat race. They had several different races......bat and beanbag race(where they had to run balancing a bean bag on a small bat), hat, scarf and bag race(where they had to run a short distance, put on a hat, run, then put on a scarf, run, then pick up a bag), 2 hoop race (where they had 2 big hoops on the ground in front of them, they stood in one, then moved the other in front of it, stood into it and moved the other one in front, continuing to do this till they reached the finish line), sack race, flat race and assault course race (where they had to jump over or go under various things). Robert was really pleased that he had won all his races and I was a very proud mum too.

Robert is off to The Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, just outside Edinburgh with his class tomorrow, they have been raising money all year to allow them to do this. Because they are going as a school party, they will be escorted round the show by farming/environmental experts, who will be able to answer all their questions.

Next Wednesday Ronan and his class are taking the train into Edinburgh so they can walk The Royal Mile from The Castle sitting on its volcanic rock at the "top" of the mile, right down past St Giles Cathedral, John Knox's House and many other places of interest, till they reach The Palace of Holyrood House (the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh), the Scottish parliament and Dynamic Earth at the very bottom of the Royal Mile.

I just hope the weather stays nice for both their trips as it would be a nightmare in the rain.......but it is Scotland, so you never know!!!!!

Back up date

Just thought I'd post to let you know how things are going with my back!! Well all seems to be OK at the moment, have cut down on the medication, except a pain killer at bed time to help me sleep(so no longer "off my face" and looking at the world through "rose tinted specs"). Still have some pain during the day but nothing unmanageable, I just have to be careful how I twist or bend.

As for the non-communication problem with hubby, well we are back communicating, but no way is he off the hook for last Friday. He owes me BIG time for that....And I WILL collect!!!! They won the tennis match on Friday night and he decided not to play tennis on the Saturday so he could help me carry the grocery shop!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I'm fed up!

Sorry guys I'm about to have a moan coz I'm really fed up.

Why am I fed up? Well last Friday my back went into spasm again causing me lots of pain and discomfort.

What was I doing to injure my back? I was at Robert's school sports day and to enable us to move around the field there was a fence to climb or go under. I decided the best course of action would be to go under.....WRONG decision, when I was half way through the fence, guess what..... My back went into spasm. After a while it eased off and I thought I was fine till I tried to get out of the car....NO way was that going to happen easily, so with hubby pulling and Robert pushing and me laughing/crying we finally managed!!!!! (Thankfully no pics of this maneuver!)

What have I been doing since? Since last Friday I have been confined to the house, on very strong painkillers and muscle relaxants prescribed by my doctor, so basically I've been "off my face on drugs" all week! So between sleeping for hours in the chair, watching day time T.V and knitting that's what my days have consisted off. I've had to rely on my good friends to pick the kids up from school coz I wasn't able to drive. However today I actually ventured out of the house for the first time and coz I hadn't taken my muscle relaxants I was able to drive for the first time in a week (even if I was uncomfortable and in pain). It was great just to get out and about and get some fresh air, being confined to the house is OK if its raining, but hell we've had some of the hottest weather this week!!!!

Upside to this (if there is one)I actually got some knitting done and there were even some FO's in there too, but as this was "secret" knitting I'm saying no more and will post pictures at a later date just incase my SP's come across my blog or maybe already read it......Who knows!

Downside and why I am really fed up tonight and not earlier in the week!! There is a mini section rugby coaches night out tomorrow night, and as I'm the only female coach I don't always go to the nights out, but some of the guys are moving on and this was our "leaving" night for them, so I thought I'd go along for an hour or so and have a few soft drinks with the guys. Hubby said this was OK, he'd watch the kids, so I said I'd meet them at about 7. He even suggested I ask one of the other coaches who has just come out of hospital if he wanted to go since I would have the car. All was fine till hubby got a phone call at 22.00 tonight.....Now he's playing in a tennis match, away from home and won't get home till about 23.00 so I HAVE to cancel my night out so he can play tennis. (After all he can't let the team down!!! Hell it isn't even the team he usually plays for, he played for them on Wednesday night!!!) I am one VERY unhappy, fed-up and angry bunny, to say the least. To top this off he announces that he forgot to tell me we are having one of Ronan's friends from Saturday lunch time for a sleep over, no problem with that......Except in the next breath he announces he's away playing tennis all Saturday afternoon too. Now I am refusing to communicate.....Yes this is petty on my part, but better to say nothing than to say something I might regret later.

Sorry about this guys, but I needed to off load this before I burst.........aaawwwwwwww.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Camping weekend

I forgot that I hadn't posted about my recent camping weekend on 2nd - 4th June.

As I had the weekend off I decided to take the kids along with my friend Spinning Fishwife and her family camping to a site about 25 minutes along the coast from Musselburgh.Tantallon Camp site is just outside North Berwick and had had pretty good reviews on UK Campsite.

When we arrived it was a glorious sunny afternoon. Yes the sun was shining but it was also extremely windy and we weren't sure if we would manage to get the tents up!! Boy did we struggle, I was acting as anchor while Spinning Fishwife hammered in the pegs. I must admit for a while it was touch and go, but with sheer determination on our parts, extra pegs and guy lines (and some choice language) we finally managed. Between the two tents we used a total of 168 pegs and neither tent was really that big, certainly NOT the biggest that we have.(No wonder we both ached for days after!!!!) Once we got the tents up, guess what, the wind dropped.....Such is life!!!!! We then started to cook some pasta for dinner and set up the sleeping arrangements. Robert was in with me, while Ronan shared a pup tent with Spinning Fishwifes son, Duncan. At this point Spinning Fishwife discovered she had forgotten the airbeds, so she had to phone her hubby to bring them when he arrived later. The kids seemed to love it, there was a large play park and putting green, plus plenty of open space in front of the tent for the kids to play with a ball. Once everything was set up we sat down in the sunshine with a lovely cool drink!!!! It was early to bed as we were all really tired. However Ronan and Duncan were still chatting away at about 11pm and they were awake (as was I) at 5.30am. They were making a lot more noise than the birds!!!

Saturday morning saw us up bright and early as we had been invited to the opening of the 110% sports exhibition at Prestongrange Industrial Heritage Museum (where my hubby works). The exhibition is all about the different sports available in East Lothian and runs from now till 22nd October.

Here is Robert playing indoor golf and the East Lothian Council education officer "having a go" on a road bike! (While my hubby and Robert look on)

There is a sailing boat, a sand buggy, a canoe, football kit, ice skating kit, curling stones, shoes and brooms, golf clubs and balls, bowls (carpet and green), skis and rugby kit and trophy(loaned by Musselburgh Mini Rugby Club and Preston Lodge Rugby Club) There is also a pair of rugby boots donated by my son Robert and lots of rugby action photos by Spinning Fishwife's hubby.

After we had lunch we arranged to meet up with Spinning Fishwife and her family at Tantallon Castle, where we spent a very pleasant hour or so.

From Tantallon Castle you have superb views of The Bass Rock

The bass rock is currently a bird sanctuary where you can find razorbills, guillemots, cormorants, puffins, eider ducks, gulls and the most famous bird on "the rock", the gannet, (Latin name - "sula bassa"). There is a Pre-reformation Chapel dating to 1542 and a fortress which was build round the same time. This fortress housed various prisoners in the 1600's, 40 political/religious prisoners dyed in the dungeons between 1672 and 1688. In 1691, 4 jacobite prisoners escaped from their cells and captured the fortress while the garrison was busy unloading coal!! They held "The Rock" for the next 3 years, in the name of The Old Pretender, before being starved into submission. The fortress continued to be a state prison till 1700.

A light house was built on "The Rock" and it became operational in 1902, becoming fully automated in 1988.

On return to the camp site we lit the bar-b-que and had a very pleasant meal and several glasses of wine before retiring for the night. Next morning saw us striking camp and returning home early afternoon. A most enjoyable weekend, indeed.

BTW both Spinning Fishwife and I took our knitting but for some strange reason neither of us acctually produced it over the weekend.......not like us at all!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Mailman arrived!!!!!

This morning I was awoken bright and early with a very loud knock at the door. Well it wasn't really THAT early, but my dear hubby had risen with the kids and got them ready for school (including packed lunch for Robert!), so I was having a lie in this morning. Hey not for long when he came into the bedroom with a package for me.........WOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO, my first package had arrived. But who was it from? Was it my blogger SP8 or my knittyboard SP7?

According to the card inside it was from my SP8 and she lives in the US. I know she stalks my blog coz she has left several comments, so now its my turn to leave her a message! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU SP8, I was totally overwhelmed by the wonderful contents of my package. YOU are something else......What a pal.

OK what was in the package......lookeee here and see...............................

Everything was wrapped in that gorgeous pink tissue paper, which I will recycle and reuse at a later date coz it was so vibrant in colour. Hey enough about the paper!

What was in the package?
There were 2 skeines of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn in colour 701 purple club, 100gs On Line Supersocke 100 in summer colour. This is a wonderfully soft cotton/wool/nylon mix, 100gs Trekking (XXL) in lovely blue shades (which I have been wanting to try for ages and now I can, thankx to my SP8 pal), a set of Crystal Palace bamboo dpns in size 2.25mm (size 1 in US)and the neatest card with hearts and handbags on it. Inside she was apologising for not sending me chocolate due to the HOT weather where she is. Hey SP8 don't worry. I know I love chocolate, but I LOVE sock yarn more!!!!!!!! (and it doesn't make me fatter either!)
The colours of the yarn aren't quite accurate due to the flash, but I took several and this was the best one. Oh boy I can't wait to get started on making more sox, but I need to finish the 2 pairs already on the needles first!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Guess where I was last night?

My hubby and I (gosh I sound like The Queen when she starts her speech on Christmas day!!!!!) took the boys to Murrayfield to see Scotland play the Barbarians at rugby last night. Boy was it a great night, the sun shone, the atmosphere was amazing, the beer was cold and Scotland won. What more could one ask for?
Here is my ticket, which I will file away, along with the rest of the families tickets.

The match ball was "dropped" in via the Golden Lions Army Parachute team. There were 3 parachutists, one had the ball, one had a Saltire (Blue flag with white St Andrews cross)and the other had orange smoke from his feet! Here is the ball arriving with the South stand in the back ground. The stand looks quite empty, but it was still about 15 minutes before kick off so most would have still been making their way to their seats, coz it was full by kick off!

Here is Ronan, resplendent in the Saltire as a cloak, which he had cause to wave on a few occasions during the game. Ronan has been to several games at Murrayfield to see Scotland, and he has also played rugby on the "back pitches" in the shadow of the stadium.

However this was Roberts' first time watching a game at Murrayfield and boy was he excited. He actually saw some of his Scotland heroes close up. They are Scott Murray, Jason White, Dan Parks and Chris Paterson, they also play for Edinburgh Gunners. I think you can tell by Roberts face that he is enjoying the game!!!

It was a great game, with Scotland running in 9 tries and a penalty giving them 66 points to the Barbarians 19. Chris Paterson (Scotland No 14) racked up 31 points from 2 tries, 1 penalty and 9 conversions.
The other try scorers were Mike Blair (2), Andy Henderson (2), Marcus Di Rollo, Dougie Hall and Sam Pinder (on his debut game for Scotland too!)

OK that's the rugby, what else have I been up too.......... Well I've been busy shopping and knitting for my secret pals, so that's all I will say on that matter!

We are off camping tomorrow till Sunday with spinning Fishwife and her family, so I will post more about that next week. Till then have a fun weekend!