As good as a rest, they say …


Change! It’s not a thing that I’m particularly  good at. I tend to stick to something I’m comfortable with or something I like. I’m not one for trying out new things. Prefer the ‘status quo’ rather than be adventurous. But … I’m seriously considering changing the theme on this blog. I’ve had this current theme for quite a while now and while I still like it, I think it’s time to to have a change. I’m looking for something a little more subtle. So you may see a change over the next few days, but then again …

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I finally got around to putting a picture on the Simply Knitting Group Facebook page, of some the Plant Hangersknitting I had worked on. They are three plant pot hangers that were in the style of those macramé hangers from the 1970’s.  When I knitted them, I found that one of the patterns was slightly wrong. I managed to work out what was wrong and was able to complete the knits. I emailed the magazine, the designer and the Facebook group about the error, and finally I got the response that I was expecting and the correct instructions were posted on the magazine website. Feeling a little chuffed with myself as I have got a few likes, which I wasn’t expecting.

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Whilst I bragging about my knitting ‘success’, I have to boast about another one. Way back in October last year, we had a new bathroom fitted. Just before the plumbers finished and packed up, one of them said he was Tubular Spannersgoing to fix the kitchen tap. Now the problem was that when K*** got the kitchen sink replaced, the ‘handy-man’ fitted the tap, but did not tighten it up fully. He claimed that he didn’t want to over-tighten the fitting and crack the sink basin and it had been loose ever since. The bathroom plumbers found this highly amusing and went on to explain that there was a silicon washer that prevented the tap from over-tightening. They fixed it and all was good for a while. Then recently I found that the tap had worked loose again. The plumber was due back again for a small thing and I cheekily asked if he could fix the tap again. Unfortunately the tool he needed had been lost on another job. However, he explained that all I needed was a number 10 box or tubular spanner. eBay to the rescue. After a quick search, I found what I was looking for and am now the proud owner of a full set of tubular spanners and a fixed sink tap.

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In spite of the fact that I don’t like change, I’m experimenting with a different internet browser. For the past few years, I’ve flitted between Firefox and the Google Chrome browsers. I gave up on Internet Explorer (IE) years ago and find their new ‘go-to’ browser, Edge to be not dissimilar to IE. I finally settled on the Google offering about 18 months ago, and have been reasonably Operapleased (if that’s the right phrase) with it. However, over the past couple of months I’ve noticed that opening webpages/sites in Chrome has slowed down a great deal to the extent that sometimes the page/site just doesn’t even open. I’ve done all the obvious things like clearing down the cache, deleting offline pages and deleting browser history but it has not had much effect. So I have now installed the Opera browser and am testing it for a while. It seems faster (could not be slower) and I have managed to import all my shortcuts and bookmarks. So we shall see if it is any better.

Nightmare …


Quite often, when I’m knitting from a pattern in a magazine I find I get lost when there are the famous “ ** xxx  *** “ closely followed by “ rep from ** to *** ” repeats in the middle of a row. In those cases, what I tend do WIPis to hand write the pattern repeat and use that when it is needed. My current ‘project’ has a 36 row pattern. Each right side row has a 12 stitch start followed by an 8 stitch pattern repeated 8 times. So I did as I often do and wrote out the repeat. Now this is where I made a mistake! For some reason, when writing out, I missed a yarn over after a decrease on row 13. This meant of course, that when I got to the end of the row, I was 8 stitches short. Bearing in mind that this was the second attempt at this pattern (first time, I dropped a stitch, which ran to the bottom before I could pick it up), you can well imagine the sort of language that was about.

However, after an hour of carefully picking back, I have finally got it back to the place where I went wrong. I am now able to breath again! I didn’t want to rip it all back and start again.

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While on the knitting theme, after some gentle persuasion in the comments of my last post, I decided to have a look at the other three groups. But, to no avail! The first group I tried explained that because of the size of the place where they hold their meetings, the number of members was limited. They did say that they would be happy to put me on a waiting list, so that’s good. The second group was basically a crafting group that had a (very) few knitters, but I was welcome to come along and try out. The third one was a strange affair. Membership was by referral from another member of the group, or at the discretion of the chair. I was waiting for her to say that she would use her ‘discretion’ but it never happened. At least I’m on a waiting list Eye rolling smile.

*** Update***

Guess what! When I recounted the stitches at the end of picking the work back, I find I now have 4 extra stitches that seem to have picked up somewhere. I can’t for the life of me see where they have come from, so there is very little alternative but to pull it all out and start againSteaming mad Crying face

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.

Decisions decisions


So what should I do ? Should I write up a blog post or should I just carry on with my story ? Well seeing as this post is is now on the blog, you can guess what I decided.

     My story, and I suppose it is a story, it at the stage, where I neither know where it is going next or how it’s going to get there. I have the bare bones of the idea, but when I make notes, it just does not seem to work. To be honest, I’m not that sure, that this is the story I want to write. This could be the problem. I think I need to have a more structured approach.

     I have finally subscribed to a magazine for writers. It’s called Writing Magazine. There appears to be a great deal of content, that will hopefully be useful to me. I’m also following a number of writers blogs (they know who they are) and the tips and resources are very welcome

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     The Christmas decorations came down yesterday. They are all packed away in the loft, ready for next year. We can now get back to what passes for normality in this house. I’m saying ‘all packed away’, there are bound to be a couple of items that have escaped our scrutiny and are sat somewhere, just waiting to be discovered sometime in February.

     Tomorrow, Mrs H is starting some kind of diet. I think it is going to be one of those diets, where the portions sizes are small and the alcohol is non-existent, well until the weekend anyway. We have done this kind of thing before, and we usually last a month, and when we see that there is no discernable effect, we give up. But we shall wait and see.

Goodbye to a long year


     By the time you read this, 2012 will nearly be over. It’s a year that has had it’s ups and downs and I’m probably glad to see the back of it. Some the downsides have been quite traumatic: finding out that the job you’ve been doing for the past seven years, will no longer exist; Mrs H finding out she had a Melanoma on her arm; coming home to find the Police in the house after R*** had had a melt down; discovering that there was a plan in place to section R*** if needed and that the ‘plan’ had nearly been invoked twice, must all rank at the top of the downers. Then of course there was the uppers: getting a new job; R*** settling in at his new place; R*** taking to his respite without a problem; S**** getting a great review for his part in the local panto; surviving Christmas (still have New Years Eve) are all up there with good times. I also got a new laptop, and I was not sure if it was an upper or a downer. It was struggle to get it to how i wanted it, but when it was all done, it was brilliant!
     My writing is coming along. It is a slow progress, because I think in my own mind, that I’m not good enough to do it. I will have days when I will just sit at the keyboard, and do not know what to write. Then on other days, I will hammer out a couple of hundred words. But then i read back what I’ve written, and realise that it is nonsense, and I have to start again. I’m currently writing a story that has a troll involved. I’ve got up to 4000 words, but I don’t know where I am going from here, or even if going to take it any further. I may just use this a practice piece whilst I figure out what I really want to write about. I did start writing a blog for a national magazine and wrote a few  posts, about the local area and what was happening, but the stats were very disappointing, with no comments neither good or bad. You do need people to comment. Even if they just tell how bad the piece is, it shows that they have interested enough to read it and offer advice. I gave up after four posts and have not written anything for it since December 2011.
     I have recently taken one of the pieces I have written and turned it into a sketch/play. It still needs some work, but with that one, I know what I need to do. I’ve been reading and bought a couple of books about Creative Writing, and am now beginning to understand where I have to start from, and how to develop ideas. It is going to a long process, but as I have indicated to HR at work, I am interested in taking voluntary early retirement in March 2015, I need to get my skates on, so to speak.
     I suppose, that the last sentence needs a little more explaining. I work for local government, and without going in to the politics of it (especially my views) a number of staff in the 55 – 65 age bracket, have been asked to consider either early retirement (VER) or voluntary severance (VS). As I fall in to that age category, I decided to apply for VER. I have sufficient service to give me that maximum payout, and although the pension will not be full amount, I would only be eligible for a further £2000.00 a year if a I stayed on until I was 66. It has yet to be passed by management, but at my level, I do not think there will be a problem. It will mean a massive change, and I will need to get some kind of part-time job, to help with the finance situation, but I think it will be okay. So you see, if I can get my head around writing and develop the skills I need to write creatively, the boredom factor that people get when they retire should not creep in. Who knows, I may even make a few pounds from the experience.

 

     Well, I think I have blathered on for long enough. All that is left now is to wish you all a  very prosperous and successful new year, and hope that 2013 brings you everything you wish for.

…. and it is still only Thursday


This week seems to be dragging on somewhat. As I expected, the software house rang me at twenty past four … “hello … I finish around four pm as I start around seven thirty am”. Yet again W**l came up with a theory, that I instantly demolished. Does this guy not have any experts that talk to him ?? It is getting to the stage whereby I may have to ring the other office and talk to one of the old school, either M****n or P**l. Still no phone call from the repair company. It is quite bad really. Parts of the company are willing to help, beyond their remit, and others just don’t care at all.

Again, no walk today, except for when I delivered the Parish Magazine. I suppose that could count. It does take just over thirty five minutes, but it’s not exactly ‘brisk’ exercise. However it is better than nothing at all. Still no sign of the pedometer. Tomorrow is the last day. I knew it was too good to be true, that the Council could get something right. But then again …… I could be wrong !!

Not chatted to J**** since Monday. It is slightly worrying. I hope everything is okay. She seems have been on facebook recently, but I don’t often show myself to be online there. J*** was in a chatty mood last night. I can handle that occasionally, but I don’t want to get back to the old ways there. There you go. It is 10:20 and J**** has just signed on a mobile. Panic over.

A bit of a ball ache …… Spike is back on Monday. I thought he had Monday off. It would appear that it is the 1st Monday in September that he is off. G*** is still being a bit of an ar*e. She is such a patronising person, and quite selfish really. If that is Buddhism, then you can keep it.

Youngest is back from respite tomorrow. We hope he is in a better mood than before he went. As I have mentioned, the eldest moves out on Saturday. Mrs H is bearing up at the moment, but it is going to be a rough weekend. I am not looking forward to Saturday night at all. I had a quiet word with him about ringing home over the next week. I think we need to plan this out. I don’t want his mum thinking he is only ringing for the sake of it. What I think he needs to do is not to ring on Saturday, but wait until Sunday evening to call. Then he should ring again sometime on Tuesday. After that, just a couple of times a week will be good. If he rings mobile to mobile, it does not cost anything.

All done.