A good tip …


For a few months now, I’ve been scouring the local charity shops in search of a yarn bowl. I have wanted one for a while, but am reluctant to pay £30 to £40 pounds for a new one. I’ll probably endYarnBowl up making my own using “air drying” clay, but thought if I could pick one up for between £5 and £10 it would be much easier.

Now, to come to the point. I rarely if ever buy yarn from charity shops, as it is often quite pricey for what you get. You never really know what you are buying unless they still have the wrappers. However, last week I found a bundle that had five 100g balls, with their wrappers. It was a nice ivory colour and was reasonably priced at only £3.50. I was tempted when I received a tap on the shoulder. I turned and there was a lady with a large cardigan in her hands. It was the same colour as the yarn I was looking and was priced the same.

“Never buy loose wool,” she said. “If you buy this cardi’ and pull it all out, you’ll have at least four times the wool. It’s what I always do.” I had to admit it, I had never thought of it before and it did make sense. So that’s what I look for now. What I would do if I did find something in the type and colour I wanted, I couldn’t say. Could I really buy something and pull it all out? It’s hard to say.

It’s often described so …


Not so by fellow bloggers, but by ‘the great unwashed’ that don’t have a blog. I think I have blogged about this before (can’t find the post though), but often get the comment “So what’s your blog about? ” to which I always reply, “It’s not about anything really.” That’s when I get the comment “That’s a bit vague, isn’t it? ” Well it maybe, but if they took the risk and read it, they could be surprised.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. If you’ve been kind enough to have a look at my profile, you will know I’m a knitter. About 3 years ago, I was asked by a ‘friend’ to help with a knitting pattern. Talk about vague, the pattern was originally written in French, and then badly translated into Greek and then even worsley(?) translated into English. It must have translated by someone who could not speak either Greek or English and possibly not French originally. I did eventually manage to get hold of the French copy and, with a lot of help got it translated into English. The problem was with the written description. There was a chart, and it was that that I used to translate it.

Daily Prompt: Knitting disaster …


My attempt to increase my skill level with double pointed needles (DPNs) has been somewhat thwarted today. I have been knitting a beanie hat on circular needles with the full knowledge that I would eventually Beaniehave to revert to DPNs as the number of stitches decreased. It was to be an important learning curve as I’ve never quite cracked the skill. Today was a large set back in that attempt, and this is what happened.

It became apparent, that I would soon need to add in a new ball of yarn. Like I had been told, I decided that the beginning of round 1 of the 8 round pattern was the place to start. New ball joined and tails woven in as I went along, when I noticed Disaster number 1. I had somehow made an error in the pattern. I traced it back to about 12 stitches from the start of the round. Not to worry, I’ll take it back. I was just about to start when the phone went. Disaster number 2 came as I stood up. My foot caught in some loose yarn and it pulled about 20 stitches off the needle. Shouldn’t be a problem I thought and dropped the lot on the floor, so as not to make things worse. I answered the phone as quickly as I could and went back to my knitting. Disaster number 3 reared its ugly head as I bent to pick the work up. I accidentally stepped on the needle and it snapped (bamboo needles) and more stitches fell off only this time unravelling parts of the last three rounds.

The broken needle is in the bin, the yarn rewound and back in the stash cupboard and the pattern moved to “Try again” folder on my computer.

Mrs H is going to be devastated when she notices. She hates it when I pull any knitting out.

A little annoying …


I’ve mentioned this before on here. I’m a knitter! I am sometimes tempted to call myself a ‘male knitter, but I do try to avoid that categorisation. I’ve been knitting since around 1965, so since I was around 10 years old. My grandmother taught me how to do the plain Knit stitch and my mother followed it up with cast on, cast off and the Purl stitch. I’m not a big fan of large knitting projects as I get bored with them. I’m currently 9/10s of the way through a sleeveless pullover for me and I’m fed up with it. It’s taken me since just after Christmas and to be honest, I don’t really  like it.  I think I’m gong to pull it all out, but K*** (who is not a knitter, so doesn’t understand) will have a fit! She cannot comprehend how I could do that. I think I will stick to smaller items in future. Hats, scarves and mittens that kind of thing. Things that are finished in a couple of hours/days.

Now that’s not the point of this post. No what is ‘a little annoying ’ is actually more than a little annoying, in fact, it’s very annoying. It’s the periodical stands in some shops and supermarkets

I enjoy reading knitting, and to some extent general crafting, magazines and I actually subscribe to one of the most popular knitting ones. However, I’ve noticed that in many shops, the knitting, sewing, crocheting and crafting magazines, tend to be bundled together next to or in the same place as the more specific ‘Women’s’ magazines. Now I don’t mind the odd looks I get when I pick up a copy of “L*** K***” magazine, but am not keen on the comments I sometime get. Only last month, I was rummaging through the magazines when a shop assistant asked me if I needed some help. I told her the magazine I was looking for but neither of us could find it. I said I was not too sure of the title, and to my shock the girl suggested that I ring my wife and check the title!  Her face was a mixture of horror, disbelief and amusement when I explained that the magazine was for me!

When I returned home, I wrote to the head office (it was a large supermarket chain) to explain my disappointment at this attitude. I did not mention the assistants name as it was not her fault, more the supermarkets policy. I’m still awaiting a reply, but have noticed that the said magazines are now located in a section called “Hobbies and Pastimes”. So a success I think.

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That’s it for now, but just reading this back … I really should try and write some positive posts.

It’s the August Bank Holiday and Leeds Festival …


This is that time of the year, when the Leeds and Reading Festival takes place. These are two of the largest music festivals in the UK, and take place simultaneous over Friday to Sunday. There are usually the same acts appearing at both sites over the Image result for leeds festival 2017three days. I was going to link to festival, but know of old that these links often simply disappear, so I’m going to make do with a couple of images. We live quite close to the site, so we get all the traffic and noise issues. Happily, Image result for leeds festival 2017the organisers seem to have got the traffic problems under control this year, as there has not (yet) been a repeat of the 5 hour tail-backs on some of the approach roads. The noise? Well it all depend on the wind direction. If the wind is in a certain direction, we do get the continuous hum from the motorway so when  that happens we do get some of the festival noise, but it’s not been loud enough to notice.

I have been before, back in 2011. The Parish Council of Bramham and Thorner are allocated a number of free ‘Guest’ tickets. From BBC NewsThese ‘sweetener tickets’ are then sold to genuine residents at an extremely discounted rate, with the funds going to local projects. Every year since 2011, I’ve thought about going again, but at the last minute, I back down. I don’t think K*** would enjoy it and I wouldn’t want to go on my own. But who knows how I will feel next year? I have to admit, even though the weather was bad that year with some rain on each of the 3 days, it is quite an experience. The weather has been sort of kind this year, except for the 23rd this month, when we experienced 3 weeks rain in one hour! Now that was a wet day!

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I’ve come to a decision! Crochet is not my thing and I’m dumping my hooks (except a 3.5mm and 6mm). I can knit. I do knit. I will have a go at any knitting pattern or stitch that you care to through at me, but I totally fail at crochet. I just cannot get my head/hands around it. I’ve watched all the tutorials and even had a ‘one-to-one’ with a work colleague and I still cannot do it. It looks like the old ‘Granny knots’ we used to do when I was a kid. So I’m calling it a day. I’ll keep the two hooks I mention, as they can be very useful to pick up dropped stitches and the like, but the rest …gone!

All starting to get a bit real now …


Well, the confirmation I’ve been waiting for, came through on Friday morning. My boss emailed me first thing to tell me that my application for Early Retirement had been passed by the Corporate Panel. I am now all set to retire from full time employment on the 31st October.

I may have mentioned this before, but Leeds has had to respond to the huge funding cuts that have been forced on the Council. One of the initiatives has been what Leeds call the ‘Early Leavers Initiative’ or ELI as it is known. This is basically voluntary early retirement. Staff over a certain age in services that are at the forefront of the cuts are able to apply for ELI in order to reduce costs. I applied back in July, when it became obvious that our team was one of the teams that could be at risk. I felt it was a case of jump before I was pushed. Going now, I get a reasonable package, that I would not have got if I would have been one of the ‘pushed’ and my Service Head made it quite clear that some people would be forced to go in March 2017.

So now, I need to look for a part-time job. Although the package is a good one, it’s a lot less than I am currently used too. I also need to be able to get out of the house an keep active. My knitting and computer hobbies will not fill all the time and I don’t want to be under the feet of K*** everyday. Fingers crossed I find something quickly. 

A Rant, A Query and a bit of a Moan


I’m going to start with a bit of a rant. I know I have mentioned this before, but I can knit. Not huge amounts of clothes but usually small crafty items, such as daffodils and hearts and the like. DaffsI’ve done it on and off since I as about 8 years old, and when I’m in the mood, I really enjoy it. Now the issue I have, is that nearly all the magazines and websites dedicated to knitting do not seems to tailor any  of their content to the male knitter. Men have always knitted, and while todays society is a little less ‘macho’ enforced it is still rare to see a man knitting in public. I’ve done it, and you do feel very self conscious. It is not until your public realise that it can be quite intricate and that you are quite good at it, that some semblance of normality creeps in.

It annoys me when you see articles about knitting STheSin magazines or on the internet, that they almost always show pictures of women with their needles (never call them pins!) in their hands. It is the same with sewing and embroidery … never men. I recently signed up to an online knitting forum, with the intention expressing my concerns in the area on male knitting. I was more than disappointed when my registration confirmation email, which was addressed to Anthony Huby, started with “Dear Ms …” I’m still awaiting comments on that first post!

Here endeth today’s rant.

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I’m pondering at the moment, as to what software to use to write. I have Microsoft Word, which I tend to use mostly. However, there are a lot of suggestions that I need to write with software that has a cleaner interface. By that I mean not as many ‘whistles and bells’. Something a little plainer. More than a simple text editor such as Wordpad though, and possibly software that is dedicated for writers.

The two top mentioned software applications seems to be Scrivener and yWriter. I found both very confusing to use. Scrivener was a trial version, and had a number of features that were not available, but even so, I found it difficult to understand. yWriter is freeware, but was even more confusing as it tries to concentrate your mind on breaking chapters down into what it calls ‘scenes’.

I have tried both but think I am going to go back to Word. It’s an application that I know quite well and have used for a long (long) time. I’m loathe to pay for more software (don’t like paying for anything if the truth were known) if what I have got does the job.

What do all you writers out there in WordPress land use, and just as importantly, is it free?

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Back to work tomorrow! Not looking forward to it at all. I still feel a little under the weather, but not ill enough to warrant any more time off. Of course, the question I always get asked (we have a ‘return to work interview’) will be “Are you back to 100%?” I’ve not been 100% for many years, I tend to hover around a normal level of around 92%, so the question always winds me up a little.

I’ll get the usual raised eyebrows when I mention I’ve been off with a ‘cold’. These are the same people that would complain if they caught a cold, that “…they got it from ‘so and so’ who has been sneezing all over the place …” Can’t win with a simple cold!See what I mean

We are also starting with a new telephone system tomorrow. It uses Skype for Business as its exchange and means that laptop users, which most of us are, will have to wear a headset, when making or receiving a phone call. I’m expecting to look like an overpaid telephonist (no offence). It is supposed to save the Council. The theory, as I understand it is that as we already use Skype for Business for instant messaging, using it as a phone does not coast any more. Training on the new system seems to be a bit sporadic, but as ‘The Team’ are classed as IT people, I think we are supposed to just get on with it. That part of tomorrow could be quite intriguing.