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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Tuesday again Woopee.

I like Tuesday, the washing and ironing is bang up to date, the house had a good going through on Monday and an easy dinner, salad tonight, is planned.

All because the Pam likes knit and natter.

I am all set, my knitting is sorted, a new sock cast on, I
am going to  help one of our group to cast on her very first sock. I will go step by step with her as I think that visual learning, one on one, is so much better than any book or even video tutorial.

I have printed a copy of the easiest free pattern that I have. There are some spare needles just in case she can not get on with the set she has bought. 

There will be tea and biscuits to help, I had hoped to make cake from my new book but ran out of time.

It will not matter, the time will fly by, as usual, on a tide of chatter.

I have had to cut a few of the flowers from my white hyacinths but the remainder are still glorious, as are my flowers from Fran. The balloons are still floating on their ribbons. Ben totally ignores them but Rufus found them a challenge to live with, and kept a weather eye on them.

Yesterday I had another rootle through the bedroom storage and more "stuff" has been jettisoned. I feel so much lighter each time I move things out.
Then in the next few minutes I found myself stashing some leggings away "in case I want them". I have not worn them for ages as quite frankly they are too thin, too short and too dark. Just like the Monty Python Parrot, they are no more.

The next area to have the Eagle Eye cast over it is that cavernous home to a plethora of treasures past, AKA Under The Bed.
When we took the Christmas decs down they went into plastic boxes, straight under the bed, to be sorted through at some unspecified date. The old tree went out and we plan to have a smaller one this year.

I am out tomorrow and on Thursday Ivy and Jess are coming to visit.

So Friday will be The Day for slithering under the bed and fishing every single thing out. I really hope to reduce it by 50% at least.

Then after a weekend off for good behaviour it will be the turn of the other bed.

 Ooh Er Missus, I have no idea what is lurking in the dark there.
Perhaps I should have a sign saying "Here be Monsters" like the maps.

On that cheerful and uplifting note I am off to make a brew and search out a tasty morsel for lunch.

                      TTFN                                        Pam

Monday, 27 March 2017

Highs and lows.

Fran arrived on Thursday afternoon and I have just returned from seeing her off home, I managed not to sniffle until she was on the train. It has been a lovely long weekend with her, even if we did eat far too much.

On Saturday we went to Le Petit Boulle in Neath for afternoon tea



She had arranged for flowers on the table, for me to take home, and a balloon.


This was booked by Fran some time ago and promoted by the company with fabulous photos of tables laden with eye candy goodies.
The reality was far from that. The cake stand arrived 15 minutes after we sat down, it held some sandwiches, made with white ready sliced bread, there were chunks of cucumber, wafer thin sliced ham and very thick cut smoked salmon. The sweeties were scones that had been cut in half across the top? wafer thin slices of Bara Brith and all of 3 Welsh Cakes, some considerable time later some slices of sponge cake appeared. When the cups and plates arrived they were thick white "transport cafe" style. The cream and jam came in assorted dishes and when the tea finally arrived it too was in a heavy white pot. BUT it was a breakfast pot and held exactly one and a half cups, I should say here that there were three of us.
Fran was very not amused and asked for more tea, cream and jam, minutes later 2 more pots of tea arrived, but it was a shambles.
The food was not good, the whole affair was mismanaged and a disappointment.
The owner will by now have had a missile in email form from Fran who is in the white cold stage of anger.

We put it behind us and had a very good dinner at home later.

On Sunday these arrived in the morning. beautiful flowers



with a little box of chocolates and a card with knitted bees.


Then in the afternoon a huge box turned up full of balloons.



I feel very spoilt, and in truth very happy for it.

Then of course we had Rufus for the weekend, and the manner of guests the world over he hogged my seat at every opportunity.



Ben was in full support and took the other corner.

My Fran's new sweater, that she wore all Sunday, and sweltered in, looked very good on her. But as she is shy here it is on the model.




Now for a serious topic, sometime ago I had a lengthy whinge about tights. I managed eventually to find a brand and size that were perfect. At the end of last summer I bought 2 boxes ready for this year. As it has been Summer Holiday weather for the past few days I dug them out. JUST LOOK!!!


This was after 5 minutes wearing them.
Needless to say the rest are now in the CS box and I have to start a new search. The Nora Batty look is not for me.
 And on that footnote (he he) I am off to get another load of washing hung out while the kettle boils for tea.

                 TTFN                                                         Pam

I just want to add that even though the afternoon tea was a shambles the best and most important part of my weekend was that not only was Fran here but she was here for virtually 4 days. Everything else, while mostly lovely, was by the by.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Busy, busy, having fun.

Yesterday was glorious, bright sun and blue skies, Fran arrived on Thursday afternoon and was amazed as she usually brings the rain with her.
We also had a guest come to stay yesterday, Rufus is back with us until Monday. He settles down instantly and at the moment is keeping Francesca's place on the sofa warm for her.
He and Ben had a good walk yesterday and have been out this morning, perfect weather for them and us.

The random sweater is all but done., all the seams are sewn and ends woven in. I am knitting the cowl neck and have around 16 rows to do. It is lovely, I will put a photo up later, but it will not be going to knit and natter on Tuesday.
It will be off to Kent with Francesca on Monday, she took one look and asked if it was for her. We went through the stash and she has picked the yarn and pattern for another.
While we were stash diving we picked some more sock wool and patterns, I am getting a good list together.

Once this weekend is over, and all my guests have gone to their respective homes, I will be casting on the Flax sweater. Unfortunately my lovely yarn shop in Llandeilo does not stock the yarn that has been requested, I rang to check. So I had a quick trip to the Wool Warehouse online shop on Thursday, found the yarn and ordered it, the postie delivered it Friday. Now my fingers are twitching, but it has to wait, I have a pair of boot socks on the needles to finish first.

My white hyacinths have opened fully and are pumping their perfume round the house, I am looking forward to the garden ones sending their flowers out.

We had a late breakfast today, at Francesca,s request, this afternoon I am being whisked away with her for a treat. There is also something being delivered tomorrow morning.
I am, possibly, the only woman around who has seen all the goodies, stacked high in all the shops, and not twigged that it Mothering Sunday this weekend.

It is lovely that Francesca has spent time arranging this weekend but in truth all I need is to have her here.

On that subject it is time for me to get a wiggle on, I have to get some decent clothing ready to wear,and check that my shoes are shiny.

I hope that all the Mum's out there have a lovely day or (even better)  weekend.



                           TTFN                                         Pam






Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Random Oh Yes!

I thought that it was time to share my new sweater with you, it isn't finished yet but is not far off.
I was intrigued as to how the colour pattern would turn out as the sample picture on the ball band looked as though two different yarns had been used.


I wasn't sure how the finished sweater would look but loved the colours


The first ball striped beautifully, then when I started the second it was completely different.



The front is different again, the colours are not true but not too far out.



I did consider trying to match the sleeves, but realised that they would be far better as brothers than twins.
I still have the sleeves to finish and once sewn together there will be the collar to knit. 
Once I got used to the randomness of it I love it and am hoping to be wearing it to knit and natter next week.

Francesca is here tomorrow and will be choosing her new sweater pattern and yarn, that will be my next garment knit, and she will probably decide on her next socks as well.

I have 3 more pairs of boot socks, a Jones Cardigan and a Flax sweater, both patterns from Tin Can Knits, in the queue. all the yarn is ready in stash.


This is the latest pair of boot socks, they came off the needles a little while ago and the next pair are cast on.



I use the Blueberry Waffle pattern by Sandy Turner but changed the heel slightly. On the new pair I am going to use the Vanilla is the New Black pattern, from Anneh Fletcher on Ravelry, it has a completely different heel construction. I have had the pattern for ages and completely forgot about it. I found it while sorting through my pattern files this morning.

It has been a glorious day here, no gardening though as the ground is saturated, I am hoping for a few windy days to dry it out.

I was in Neath this morning, yet another dentist visit, and whiled away the wait by popping into The Works, I gave in and bought 2 books. Knitting from The North by Hilary Grant and Life is Sweet from the Humming Bird Bakery. 
There may well be cake to take to knit and natter next Tuesday.

On the subject of cake I had a play session this afternoon. I made a 2 egg all in one mix, I used coconut milk instead of cows milk, a heaped cup of desiccated coconut and about 100 grams of chopped dark chocolate. It is lovely but a bit crumbly, we had some for pudding with a dollop of yogurt, mmmmm.

Now I am back to those sleeves, they won't knit themselves.

                       TTFN                                                Pam

Monday, 20 March 2017

Scotland marries Morocco

Only in the culinary sense.
I may have said before that when I cook I tend to go all "Deliarish"and have all my ingredients weighed, measured and prepped ready to use.
Today being wet, grey and yeuk I decided to batch cook and use the slow cooker to the 'nth degree.

I had a half shoulder of welsh lamb that I have been hoarding for a "special occasion", well today is designated as special.
 (I did in fact haul it out of the freezer last night to make room for a batch of chilli that I cooked yesterday.)
To get the most out of it and use every scrap it was boned and trimmed. The lean meat was cubed and divided into 2 portions,1 became a melt in the mouth minted masala for dinner last night.
The bone and trimmings have been roasted for about 30 minutes this morning in the combi oven, they are for some Scotch Broth and Ben's dinner. ( the fat helps his dry skin, and he loves it.)
The remaining lean meat is for a Moroccan style Tagine, with apricots and almonds.
So I set to and collated all the necessary, chopped, sliced and diced to my hearts content and filled my dishes. I weighed and measured out spices, herbs and pearl barley.
Scotch Broth was up first just because it will need to be cooled and chilled to make it easier to remove the excess fat, I like it for the added flavour but don't want to eat it.
The slow cooker was put on to heat while I browned off the onions, I would have used leeks but they are in the ground and it was pouring, carrots, swede and celery. once browned I added the spice mix, poured on some stock and brought it to the boil. meanwhile the roasted bone and scraps went into the slow cooker. As I carefully poured the veg and stock over the bone I realised that the fragrant blend was Moroccan and redolent of Ras El Hanout, cinnamon,coriander and paprika. 
Too Late Ethel.
I added the pearl barley, put the lid on and left it to cook. It will be done by 1:00 and I will start the Tagine off with a fresh spice blend.
I will let you know how the Moroccish Broth turns out but rest assured that it will be eaten, no food waste here.

On the knitting front my new sweater back is done and the front is up to the armhole decreases. I have printed off some more patterns ready to knit from stash, and this time "I mean that most sincerely folks".
Francesca will be here for a long weekend and will be picking her yarn from stash for either a sweater or a big shawl, and probably another pair of socks. I might need to grow another pair of arms.

And now it must be tea o'clock as I am spitting feathers.


                  TTFN                                          Pam

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Rain started play


A dry start to the day, with the odd moment of sunshine soon turned to grey dullness. Not a day for working outside, so what else to do, hmm, let me think.

I had knitting lined up and needed some 3.5 mm interchangeable tips,a quick phone call to Debs shop to make sure they were in stock and off we went.
We stopped in Ammanford as a couple of things were needed from Wilko and then tootled off to Llandeilo. I had not realised that today was the first birthday for the shop.
Tea and cake was enjoyed, one of us had 4 pieces (not me), although one of them was mine, it was just too sweet and made my teeth scream.
I picked up my tips and yes,I did fall off the wagon. I bought 600 grams of Pulse in the peachy pink colour. That was for me, and will be a cardigan, the last batch that I bought was for Francesca. I also picked 600 grams of this King Cole Corona chunky, it is acrylic but as soft as down and lovely to knit with.



Also for me, it is not as blue in the flesh and the colour is Chinese Violet, it will be a sweater in the same pattern as the pink one that I made for Francesca.

The sun came out while we were in the shop but the grey came back before we left.
I realised that I had no bread in the freezer and soup was planned for dinner. I delved into the pantry and made a batch of bread rolls, cheese and olive, the garlic stuffed ones, with some dried basil and oregano.  They taste as good as they look, well I had to quality control them.




Now I have the washing up to do, I would delegate but everyone else is snoozing on the sofa.

           TTFN                                                      Pam




















Friday, 17 March 2017

Rain stopped everything, nearly

It was a brisk cold morning, Ben had his coat on for walks today, and did not get any better as the day wore on. It has been raining for a couple of hours and has turned even colder.

I made a big batch of "chuck it all in" soup, some will be for lunch tomorrow and the rest is in the freezer. Just a selection of veg, celery, peppers, garlic and a chilli minus the seeds and pith. A little smoked paprika and some fresh thyme along with a big pinch of salt and pepper and some white beans.

Not to be confused with that soup off the adverts, this is chunky and there is no recipe, just make it up as you go. I would have put root ginger in but it was still in the freezer, next time, maybe.

The new sock is growing fast, almost ready to shape the toe and the bright shawl is on the blocking mat.

I have picked the pattern for the next shawl and just need to decide on the yarn.
Have any of you looked at the Hygge Shawl on Ravelry from the Nordic Stitches podcast, it is on my wish list. It measures over 2 metres wide and almost a metre deep in Worsted yarn, smaller in 4 ply but I really fancy the thicker version. I may get lucky at Wonder Wool next month and find the perfect yarn.

Dinner tonight is another pasta meal, puttanesca minus the anchovies  but I have no black olives (some greedy girl ate them all) so will use green ones stuffed with garlic mmmmm.

BTW spell check wants to call it putrescent !!

I have been reasonably busy, bed changed, linen washed, dried and put away. Kitchen and bathroom whizzed but no vacuuming. The sofa and knitting won the day.

Oh, and I did another run to the recycling place, before thr rain came, and all the rubbish has gone. hooray.

My cuppa is rapidly cooling so I am off to enjoy it.

Have a good weekend everybody.

                   TTFN                                              Pam