Archive for August, 2008

On Holiday

Posted by on Aug 21 2008 | General Ramblings

I’m off on my holidays, relaxing like mad. Today we headed off for some sightseeing, then came back to the gite for a few hours relaxing in the early evening sun.
I’ve been sitting outside with a cup of tea, happily knitting away (baby surprise jacket, very exciting). Although I’ve been listening to old episodes of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, I’ve been taking breaks to listen to the birds. There’s a big old oak tree to my left that’s home to a flock of very small birds that look quite like sparrows, and others with a pale green breast. A tap tap tapping indicated a woodpecker, and I was able to watch him for a while. He’s black and white, with larger patches on his upper body and spots at the bottom. In front of me is a large fir with brambles underneath, where a group of starlings stopped earlier for a feed of blackberries. Swifts have been swooping above the field over the way, and the cows in the field next to me are quietly munching away at the grass.
Quite a change from my usual Dublin life.
Now, it’s most definately time for a large glass of wine while I get the dinner on.

—- ?Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

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The Tales of The Otori by Lian Hearn (Gillian Rubenstein)

Posted by on Aug 18 2008 | Books

I’ve just finished* reading / re-reading the whole of the series to date – three original books, a sequel, and the prequel.

Worlds away from the Stephanie Meyer books, this is a young adult series that I can’t put down and stands up to extra reads. Intrigue, battles, romance, ninjas, the tales have them all. Strong female characters that are important to the plot in their own right and have actual conversations without men in them.

The final book in the series, The Harsh Cry of the Heron, is by far and away my least favourite. It’s as though she had the plot worked out but was tired of the characters. There was potential there for a lot more stories, but perhaps she didn’t want to write them. That’s understandable. To a certain extent I’m just upset by how the plot all ended up too.

So, when the prequel, Heaven’s Net is Wide, appeared in the shops recently I was wary. I wanted to read it, but didn’t have high hopes. I wasn’t disappointed though. I was back with the characters I loved in the land that I loved, learning more about them. I didn’t plan to, but I ended up reading the whole series again from start to finish. It was totally worth it.

*As I write this, a week or so before it’s being posted

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FO: Little Sister Dress

Posted by on Aug 16 2008 | Crafty things

OK, it’s probably not really ladylike behaviour to be running around shouting about how brilliant I am (not that it stops me much of the time), but really, I am brilliant. This dress is completely adorable and I’m really really delighted with how it came out.

I’ve had my eye on the pattern for a while, but while there is an adorable baby girl in my family, she doesn’t live somewhere that lends itself to wool garments, so knitting’s a bit tricky. Anyway, the arrival of a friend’s daughter (5lb5oz – so tiny, but healthy and cute) gave me the opportunity I needed.

So: Little Sister Dress by Tora Frøseth (Rav link)
3.25 16mm length harmony wood circular needle
Lana Grossa Mielenweight Cotton Stretch yarn (Wool, Cotton and Nylon – machine washable!).

Fingering weight wool is slow to see results with, but the colours are cute and the yarn is soft and stretchy – I’m hoping that this will be a dress soon (it’s a wee bit big right now) and a tunic top later.

I messed up the pattern slightly – I think I got confused where it said to join into the round, but I knit a few extra rows to keep the pattern and then flipped it inside out when I divided for the armholes and it came out fine.

I used EZ’s sewn bind off to finish, and I love the results – really stretchy, and simple to do. I’ll be using it again.

I’d happily make this pattern again – I think it’d be lovely in a real woolly wool as a winter dress.

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Some holiday reading…

Posted by on Aug 14 2008 | General Ramblings

I had to trim the pile when I packed. I’m only gone a couple of weeks. I had almost a book a day. Admittedly I’m half way through a couple of them, but that was still a bit much.
Especially when I take into account the bag of wool I’m bringing too.
Good thing we’re off by boat!

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The best ice cream I’ve ever tasted ever

Posted by on Aug 13 2008 | Delicious Things, Travel

This, my friends, is the best ice-cream you’ll find.

To find it you need to fly to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, get a bus for 2 hours to Plovdiv, and take a walk down the main shopping street, past the roman ruins, past the on-street cafes, until you come to the small ice cream stand just before the main square with the post office on it.

Then take your pick from the selection there. I recommend two scoops, although scoops implies a carefully measured small portion, and in reality it’s a giant spoonful or two in a massive sugar cone. Add your choice of sprinkles, and you’re off. The cost is calculated by weight, and the above ice-cream cost a bit less than €2. Yes, you read that correctly.

I tried a selection of flavours, some mine, some a sample from my companions, all of which were excellent and obviously made from what they claimed to be made from: Cherry – Mmmmm, Strawberry – Mmmmm, Vanilla chocolate – Mmmmmmmm. Above you see hazlenut, which was the nuttiest most delicious nutty ice-cream I’ve ever had, with chunks of praline chocolate in for good luck, and the one I came back to time and time again: Coffee and Whiskey flavour. Oh boy. This tasted like it had a generous slug of both in it and was top. Just wonderful.

It’s a good thing I was eating salads most of the rest of the time, I had a giant ice-cream each of the 4 nights I was in Plovdiv. I’d do it again too.

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