Friday, October 31, 2008

It Was Good While It Lasted!

Sadly the Rays didn't win the World Series. They got beaten in the fifth game when it resumed on Wednesday night, so they lost 4 games to one. Ah well, they did really well to get that far and hopefully they can carry the momentum over into next season.

It's Friday evening and I'm starting a long weekend off - no work till Tuesday. WhooHoo! I'm making the most of it and will be off to spinning group in a bit. No plans yet for the rest of the weekend but here's hoping Lewis Hamilton does well on Sunday in the Brazilian Grand Prix - if he does then he'll be the youngest driver ever to win the World Championship.

There will be a book, chicken and craft update over the weekend sometime, I promise.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Don't Know What You Did....

...but the game was suspended in the sixth innings (there are nine in total, for the uninitiated) due to poor weather.

It seems it will continue tonight.

In the meantime, whatever it was you all did to influence the weather - could you stop now. We've had an inch of snow here and it's not even Halloween yet. Those of you from the St Petersburg Fiber Fanatics can stop smirking or I'll order a cold snap for your barbeque on Sunday.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chicken Update

I know you've all been asking how the chooks are doing.

They've settled in well and are enjoying roaming the garden when we're able to let them roam free. There are a number of foxes round here so if we're not around then they are confined to their coop and run.

At the weekend and on my days off however they get to roam around the rest of the garden - much to the detriment of my rosemary bushes.

They're a lively bunch - still settling the pecking order but they're becoming more used to us and most of them will eat from your hand and if you're patient will let you pick them up. No eggs as yet and we may not get any now until the spring but we live in hope.

This is Hillary (after Hillary Rodham Clinton) on the left, and the one that was originally called CJ but seems to have become Seven of Nine (because she has a problem with one eye and isn't opening it properly - we're watching her carefully to make sure it isn't getting worse - it doesn't seem to bother her at all)

This one is nameless so far but she's really sweet. In the photo she's in their favourite place - under the bushes where there are lots of leaves to scratch around in. I love when they suddenly decide they are a bit exposed or too far from the safety of the bushes, then they all run, wings flapping back to safety. Daft birds.

Finally can you all please send positive thoughts to the Rays tonight. It's crunch time. They're 3-1 down in a best of 7 series. If they don't win tonight then the Phillies will snatch the World Series. Any positive thoughts you can send them tonight would be much appreciated. Jill, if you're reading this, I may just excuse you if you feel your allegiances lie elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fibre Update

Lest you think I've been lazing around just watching baseball (chance would be a fine thing!) and failing to finish books, I thought I'd better show you what I've been spinning.

Here is the first bobbin of the hand-dyed purple roving that was a gift from the lovely Natalie and Cheryl of the St Petersburg Fiber Fanatics.

It's destined to be some lacey fingerless gloves I think. I love the subtle variations in colour - they don't really show up in the photo, but should be more apparent when it's plied and washed.

Before I started to spin the lovely purple stuff I finished some alpaca that I had lying about in the stash.

I think there's probably enough of this for a short shawl or a scarf. Very snuggly.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Wish I Could Have Been There

Oh how I wish I could have been in Florida last night at the Tropicana Field to watch the Rays beat the Red Sox and win the ALCS.

The Rays are in the World Series.

I'm going to say that again because I'm not sure I ever really believed it could happen.

The Rays are in the World Series!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

In Which I Admit Defeat....

Every now and again I have another attempt to defeat my old adversary Scandinavian Crime Fiction.

Once more I must confess I have failed. I have struggled with The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo and I've got as far as page 116. Nothing has happened yet. There has been no murder (that I am aware of). There has been no tension, apart from a short bit on pages 12 to 13. It's just page after page of not very interesting people talking and even less interesting people going about their seriously uninteresting lives. I thought I must be missing something. After all, lovely people who's opinions I trust and respect, like Karen and Maxine, like these books. I thought I'd try and read another hundred pages just in case. You know what? I cannot bring myself to even pick the book up, never mind read another 100 pages. I would rather stick pins in my eyes.

I give up. Next time I mention that I'm reading anything set slightly to the west of Russia please shoot me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Here Come the Girls.....

We've had a very busy weekend what with one thing and another. It was the first weekend since we got back from holiday that I've been off on both the Saturday and Sunday so we had a lot to do.

Firstly, yesterday we went to Atherstone, not too far away , in Warwickshire, which purports to be a book town. Nothing on the scale of Hay but allegedly a book town nonetheless. We were rather disappointed. One bookstore was closed, though it was well after 10am when it should have opened (long time readers may know how much this winds me up!). The St Giles Hospice bookshop was very small and nowhere near as good as our local one in Mere Green. The trip wasn't a total wash out however as Throckmorton's Books, much to my surprise had a little run of James Sallis books. I can't believe I spent all that time rummaging in every used bookstore in Florida (well, nearly), and I could have got the very ones I was looking for just a few miles from home. Anyway they had one I hadn't managed to get yet, Death Will Have Your Eyes. It's a stand-alone thriller about spies, so it may not be my cup of tea, but we shall see.

We moved on to Nuneaton, not a place I'd ever been before and I got some lovely vintage pattern cutting books in a charity shop - and there's a Starbucks in Nuneaton so as you can imagine we had a cup of coffee.

Then we were ready for the main business of the day. Pete had won some graphic novels on eBay and the main purpose of our trip to North Warwickshire was to meet the seller at Corley services to pick up said books. What a fantastic collection it was - even better than we hoped - an almost full run of the Marvel Essentials books (114 of them) and a full run of Ultimate books - all in pristine condition too. Pete's already cleared a bookshelf for them (no mean feat in this house!)

How's that for a collection - and there are more!

We also called into Lichfield on the way back where the remainder bookshop had just had a fresh delivery of craft and comic related books. I got a couple of quilting books and a copy of Yarnplay. Pete got a fantastic Spiderman book, a Marvel Vault and a copy of the Steel Claw, plus a Superman graphic novel. It was obviously our lucky day.

Today to top it all off we finally got our chickens. We all went over to Merrydale Poultry near Leicester, we were served by Karen who was very helpful. They had some great birds to choose from and all the stuff we needed to get started. I can heartily recommend them. This is what we got -

The back two are a Blue (on the left) and a Copper Black, the front one is a Cuckoo, the white one with the grey feathers at her neck is a Sussex and the one on the right is a Sweetie. The Sweetie is the only one to have a name so far. She was chosen by the Evilpixie and is named, with great originality "Sweetie". Names for the others will follow as they settle in and display their personailities. We are really chuffed.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

National Poetry Day

Today in honour of National Poetry Day, here's a little poem I'm rather fond of. I'm not sure quite what it is about this that I like so much, I think it's the language and the sound. I first heard it read aloud and have loved it ever since.

I will make you brooches and toys for your delight
Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night.
I will make a palace fit for you and me
Of green days in forests and blue days at sea.

I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room,
Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom,
And you shall wash your linen and keep your body white
In rainfall at morning and dewfall at night.

And this shall be for music when no one else is near,
The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear!
That only I remember, that only you admire,
Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Varyingly called either "Romance" or "I Will Make You Brooches."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Go Rays!!!

I've been a fan of baseball for quite a while - since we first started to go to Florida on holiday - so I guess that's about 10 years, about the time that the Tampa Bay Rays came into existence. (They used to be called the Devil Rays but some people thought kids could get corrupted by that!)

Anyway for pretty much all of their time in Major League Baseball the Rays have languished at the bottom of their league. This year however they have been on an incredible run. The only time they lost while we were in Florida was the day we went to see them play the Red Sox, when they got trounced. They went on to win their league and this week they won the Divisional Series, meaning they now play in the Championship Series - and who are they playing but the Boston Red Sox. We can so take them! Just one series (best of seven games) away from the World Series!

Go Rays!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Super Thursday

It's been a hell of a week.

In the run up to Christmas there's the usual jostling among publishers to have the best-selling book of the year. Apparently the first Thursday in October is the optimum time to publish your little gem and get maximum exposure / selling time in the run up to Christmas. This year all that meant some 800 books were published on Thursday of this week.

So please spare a thought for booksellers all over the country who've been struggling with a hideous amount of work that all needs to be done at once. Customers expect (and quite rightly) that if a book is published on Thursday then it will be on the shelf on Thursday. Could publishers therefore do us a favour next year and not publish everything all at once? Would it really make that much difference if you publish it a couple of weeks early? Or later? Surely then your book would stand less chance of being lost among the other 799, in the blaze of publicity as various celebrities swarm over every talk show and news programme promoting their latest biography.

I was so exhausted this week that I forgot to go to my Crime Reading Group on Wednesday. By the time I got to Saturday I was a jibbering wreck.

Hence there has been very little in the way of reading or knitting. I did finish the second James Sallis book, Cripple Creek. It was really good and I'm now eagerly awaiting the publication of the third book in the series, Salt River, (sensibly published by No Exit Press on October 23rd).

And I've been knitting the totally wonderful Hypnosis socks (Ravelry link) from The Eclectic Sole by Janel Laidman. It's not available in the UK yet but it's a great book and there are easily 5 or 6 sock patterns that I wanted to knit right away and there's only maybe one that doesn't appeal, though it's still technically interesting. I'm knitting them in Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn which I bought in Florida and I love the colours, though like Ambermoggie, I'm having a little problem with the yarn being almost threadlike in places.

I'm not sure this photo does the colours justice. The bluey/green at the cuff is fairly accurate but then it blends though a grey colour to a delightful purple and now it's turning green. Anyway the sock has been put on hold for a little while as I've been busy knitting baby bootees for a colleague and then I need to start the secret Christmas knitting this week before the general mayhem of Christmas shopping really starts to hit at work.

Last night we watched Recount which has won numerous awards, and stars Kevin Spacey amongst many other wonderful actors. It's about the dreadful electoral shambles in Florida in 2000 that lost Al Gore the presidential election and landed us with the last 8 years of Bush. I couldn't help but think all the way through how different the world would be now if things had turned out differently. Anyway it's top class TV drama and I highly recommend it. Heroes is back on BBC2 - more great drama. And just in case you hadn't seen the adverts - Fringe starts tonight on Sky One - don't miss it - from the first couple of episodes it looks like it could be really good.