Welcome to my blog!

You can expect to see ramblings including but not limited to the following: knitting, sewing, crochet, housework, DIY, interior decorating, gardening, family, music, comedy, history and local events. There may also be rantings, which are likely to be mainly about rudeness and bad grammar, but you will be warned in advance when a rant is about to happen so you can look away.

I'd be delighted if anyone wanted to comment on any of my ramblings or rantings.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

My holiday

Hello, I thought it was time I showed you what I was up to for most of October.  For the last few years, Mr D's sister has been working for Princess Cruises which means we have been lucky enough to go and visit her.  The first time was to the mediterranean for our honeymoon four years ago, and I didn't think cruising would be for me, but I loved it and have never looked back!  Since then we have been a further three times; to Norway & Iceland, South-East Asia and the med again.  Because we are staying with a crew member, we are not allocated a cabin (or stateroom as they like to call them), so we stayed in my sister-in-law's room for the first few nights until a lovely passenger cabin with a balcony became available because the passenger had complaint that it was too noisy - didn't cause us a problem.  We are very lucky.
As you might imagine I took LOADS of photos, but have tried to limit myself and just show you enough to give you a flavour of what the holiday was like.
My sister drove us to Southampton to meet the ship and we showed her around and had lunch together before departure.  I had a little tear(s) in my eye when she left as I do miss her and my niece and nephew when we are away.

  First stop, Cadiz.  We went to the beach first, then on to a farm in the Andalucian countryside where we had some fantastic tapas and tasted some different types of sherry.
 Our next stop should have been Valetta in Malta but the sea was quite rough so the captain decided it wasn't safe because the harbour is very narrow.  We weren't too disappointed though as it meant we had an extra half-day in our favourite port, Venice.  The main disadvantage about cruising for me is that you don't usually get to spend the evening in the places you visit, so this was a real treat.  We went out with a big group of crew members and didn't get (should that be "stagger"?!) home until 3am!
 The following day we had a walking tour of Venice where we saw this gondola repair workshop....
 ...and drooled over this yummy-looking pizza, then went around the Doge's Palace and walked through the Bridge of Sighs. Venice is an amazing place with a fascinating history.
 Next, we went to Split in Croatia where we went to Diocletian's palace and saw some of the lovely Dalmatian coastline...
Before returning the the ship we stopped for a drink in the sunshine at a waterfront bar, where we saw this brilliant menu.  I absolutely love mistranslations into English, I just find them completely hilarious.  I managed to resist the temptation to try a marcipan stump!
 After Split we went to Dubrovnik, again lovely views of the coastline on our way to Cavtat which was where the King and Mrs Simpson went on honeymoon - I can see why they chose it as it was lovely.
 Then on to the main town, where I couldn't resist taking a photo of this lady crocheting lavender bags to sell on the street.
 Mr D. was very excited as the new series of Game of Thrones, which is the TV adaptation of his favourite books was being filmed in Dubrovnik - sadly the day before we were there!
 I took this one from our balcony as we sailed away from Croatia.  I would definitely love to go back, it is a gorgeous country.
 In the evening after we had been to Dubrovnik, it was pirate night in the ward room/crew bar; as you can see we entered into the spirit of it whole-heartedly!  This is me, Mr D and my sister-in-law.  The funniest part was walking back through a passenger area dressed as pirates (and I blush to admit, just a titchy teeny bit drunk) - we may have freaked out some of the passengers on the way.
 Sadly, this picture sums up our visit to Corfu - it was rainy and miserable.  I don't think we saw the best of Corfu! 
 Our last port was Gibraltar, another fascinating place.  Very surreal to hear people speaking English and see all the British street signs etc.  We went to the top of the rock,
 and saw some of the famous apes, very cheeky monkeys.
 I sat in a hot tub (it's not me in the photo though!!) as we sailed away from Gibraltar, such a perfect moment
 Obviously I took my knitting - couldn't have had a relaxing holiday without it!
Every day on  returning to our room, the room steward had folded my nightie into different shapes.  Not sure what my overnight guests would think of me doing origami with their nightwear!
Our home for 17 nights!  We had quite a few sea days so there was lots of opportunity for relaxation as well as seeing all the lovely destinations.  We had three formal nights, so when I get round to it I'll scan some photos of us in our finery to show you.

A whole string of wonderful experiences and best of all loads of time where it was just the two of us.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Nicest day for ages

Hello, I'm back!  Sorry to be so quiet for so long.  I was on hols for nearly three weeks and just haven't felt up to blogging since I got back.

But today I have had a lovely day.  I flew over to Cuckoo's nest and as well as having a good ole chinwag, she taught me to crochet properly.  I have tried it before and made some little granny squares but had never really got to grips with it, but now I really feel I can get going.  Here's what I did this morning:

I am calling it the banana.  It is yellow because I used yellow wool, but we don't know why it is bendy.  Perhaps I added extra stitches in my enthusiasm.  I've decided to add it to a t-shirt as a collar in a Victorian stylee (I AM joking before you think I am a crazy person).

I haven't had such a nice day since I got back from holiday.  We had an amazing time (post to follow) but since we've been back there has been so much to do.  The plasterer came whilst we were away to do the dreaded music room and the downstairs bathroom, so amongst other stuff,  I've had lots of painting to do.  I've managed to get all the emulsion done, and it is looking pretty good so far:

Don't worry if you are thinking, "pretty good?! What is she on?!"  I know it's still all building-sitey (and the piano is in the middle of the room) but it's so much better than it has ever looked, so it looks good to me!  When we moved in every single room in the house was covered in horrible blown-vinyl textured wallpaper and this room was very very damp and had a corridor down the right-hand-side, so just having smooth walls seems amazing to me!

This weekend Mr D is hopefully going to put in some architrave and skirting so that we can get carpet fitted by Christmas.  The plan is for it to be a music-slash-dining room (the slash is pronounced as per Graham Norton on Radio 2) and I would like to have dinner in there over Christmas - we are going to my mum's on the day but I am thinking of a lovely festive dinner a deux.

In other exciting news, the chimney sweep has been today so I am writing this next to a lovely blazing fire.  A bit extravagant as Mr D is out at a Nanowrimo write-in this evening but you have to have a bit of extravagance sometimes.

When we moved in the wooden mantlepiece/surround was visible but the rest was covered up with a nasty nasty gas fire in front of it.  We had the gas fire removed and were left with a piece of board with a letter-box shaped hole in it - I shone a torch through the hole and saw the lovely cast-iron bit - I was SO happy.  We have the original tiled hearth too - it's a bit cracked but I can't bring myself to replace it, just keep telling myself it's "shabby chic"!  My sister recently moved to a house without an open fire so I have inherited her lovely log baskets and firelighter tin (as well as two ENORMOUS bags of kindling) - lucky me!

Right I must be off - there is crochet to be done!  I have good intentions of blogging more often, fingers crossed!  Lots of love to you all.  xxxx

Sneaky update: Seeing as I am so good at making bendy crochet I gave rippling a try:
Sorry about the dreadful photography but you get the general idea.  Not bad for a first attempt! xx