Tuesday, February 26, 2008

random meetings

I was dragged into 'the out' on Saturday, having spent much of my week s[k]ulking on the sofa. We walked to Plumstead where we didn't get books at the library and did get semolina flour from the Indian supermarket. On the way back we wandered the scenic route, and circled St Nicholas' church, wondering at its strange mush of styles and brickwork. We must have been pointing and staring, because a gentleman walking past us stopped and said 'it's a very old church'.

We stood and chatted to him for about fifteen or twenty minutes. He told us all about the church: built in 960, narrowly missed and damaged by a V2 in 1945, and then moved on to the school behind us where he 'got my first caning'. We learned of the deep shelters just up the road where passengers from the tram station could shelter, the pubs that used to stand every 50 yards up Woolwich High Street which his wife had had to go and retrieve her dad from as a child, of how he made it to school on the day of the V2 bomb along with two other children, how he and his friends rode a fire engine to a fire in Bostall Woods that they had reported, and how they had built fires in the woods themselves to bake potatoes while they played. His final tale was of how he would freewheel his bike down the street we were standing on and bang into the green phone box at the end of the road to stop. 'You got to stop somehow, haven't you?'

Then he wished us well and we him, and we went our separate ways. What a nice bloke.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

ukulele lady lika-you

Heh. Facebook's user figures have dropped.

I'm such a trendsetter.

(Um, or a sheep.)


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Thursday, February 21, 2008

wrong, wronger, wrongest

I am wondering just how much wronger I can get the jumper that I cast on this afternoon to be. Incidentally, please don't mention the tank top: after spending a few evenings holding it up against my expanded post-Christmas belly I've left it in the bottom of a bag in the hope that it'll grow on it's own, or I'll shrink: the former being more likely, frankly.

I'm getting used to the idea that I have to cast on at least three times because the yarn is too loose, or too tight, or there's not enough yarn. It appears that I am hopelessly incapable of counting accurately (in ones, mark you) any number of stitches over 50. I can make 122 carefully cast on stitches come out at 120, 123, 124 and finally 122 in four consecutive counts. When I knitted the buggering thing it was actually 124, so at least I was right once. Fortunately I am newly skilled in decreasing, so I fudged the ends a bit, and then a bit more until I had the correct number of stitches, at which point I set off merrily: knit 4 purl 4 knit 5 purl 4 knit 4. It appears that I can't count to four either. I am also newly skilled in knitting backwards.

Still, at least I did a swatch before I went out and bought 6 balls of variegated yarn, so I knew that it looked OK knitted up and I am definitely not going to be left with another guilty bag stashed behind a chair. Except the swatch was smaller than 122 stitches: a nice manageably countable amount (24), and now I look at my inch-long garment, carefully not wondering if I really did do a row of purl instead of a row of knit in row 7, the material looks a bit...nasty. The colours don't blend as nicely as they did in the swatch. They hardly blend at all. The result is a bit like mint raspberry ripple, which no-one has invented because mint raspberry ripple looks nasty.


I'm going to knit a bit more, and then look at it in the daylight before I give up and go back to knitting scarves for ever, in which case everyone I know in the entire world will be getting a scarf made from Twilley's Freedom Spirit.

P.S. Before this fiasco I made a hat. The hat was OK, actually, which s is lucky because today I have had a quite rubbish haircut. I have also fallen down the stairs and hurt my foot. Today is not going terribly well, but at least today I didn't stand crying in the actual public street like I did yesterday (really, don't ask). Yes, I'm having a brilliant holiday, thanks.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008


It's half term, and the sun is trying to shine.

I might walk to the library.

I might buy Indian snacks.

I might bake bread.

I might play my ukulele.

I might finish my knitting.

I might look for a new job.

I might take some pictures.

I might feel better.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

repeat after me:

Just past the point where things can get no worse. Just at the point when a tiny pin-prick of light appears at the end of a very long tunnel. Just at the point where I decide to give things until May before I resign. Just at the point where I raise my head and realise that the last 5 months have been untenable, the Ofsted juggernaut appears and runs us down. The report is unpublished and the results currently secret even to members of staff, but still there are great fat tyre marks across my back.

It has been a shitty week.

It's just a job.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

shut yer gob

I'm on a self-imposed knitting ban, as my shoulder hurts. I don't think it's the knitting really, but it isn't helping any so I'm taking a few days off.

Fortunately I have just bought the biggest book in the world to read: Peter Ackroyd's 'London: The Biography'*. This tome is so massive that I have serious plans to use it as a kitchen step if I can't get through it. I was quite daunted by its heft and had to be persuaded that I really could read that many pages: just not all at once. Certainly one to avoid carrying in a bag for train reading, unless I want to do the shoulder further damage.

Having flicked through it a bit I can see that the format is eminently readable (not so sure about the language yet), and I am excited to have already had an 'Ooh, that's interesting' moment, which frankly is what reading books about London is all about for me.

Did you know that the use of the word 'gob' was first recorded in 1550? Me neither. That is a officially A Very Long Time Ago; and I now can't wait for page two.

*I bought it at the lovely Crockatt and Powell. Not sure what's happened to their website though, the link is mainly a map.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

never had no sweater

I am knitting a tank top*. I haven't worn a tank top since Grandma knitted me one in 1975** , but here I am, knitting one. It is very stress-relieving, especially the bits where you have to start it four times, realise you are actually following the wrong pattern and spend hours agonising about what to do about the four inches you've knitted already (whilst watching a really horrible programme about the Jonestown Massacre which is bound to give you nightmares), and the fact that the longer it gets the more it looks a suitable size for someone who still has a living knitting Grandma.

Knitting is great. Hours and hours of things other than work to think about.

*I mainly chose a tank top because it has no arms and should therefore be quicker. I am beginning to realise that this may not be the best method of choice.

**it was lime green, white and navy, and went very nicely with the bowl haircut and NHS specs. Gorgeous I looked: gorgeous.

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