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June 2008
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August 2008

"Feat Part of Iron and Part of Clay" or " 'Alp Me If You Can I'm Feeling Down"

Exam question: 2paw is not stupid. Discuss.

Well, the iron part would be my knitting needles, and the clay?? That would be my brain. When I said in the last post I was having a Mental Health Week, I really, really meant Mental in all its glory. Not only will I be needing another big ball of wool, which is currently winging its way here in exactly the same way a brick doesn't, I also started knitting The Stargate incorrectly. Again. I unravelled back from the underarm cast off. Again. I started at the 30 row mark and I'm thinking that this time it is right. Again.

Back to the back

My TdF KAL has been a comedy of errors this year. I didn't hit a Labrador, but they certainly helped by being in lots of photos for scale purposes!! What I really needed was one of those doctors in a posh voiture rapide who could zoom along beside me and perform miraculous knitting and mental health cures as I knitted along at top speed. I want some of those support-team riders who would speed up beside me and hand me une tasse de the et un verre de vin as required!! I also want a nice stop along the way where a French chef would whip me up une delicieux repas avec my favourite things. The sleeves were a picnic and not at all representative of the alps that were to come. I should have done the fronts while my mind was working and not have struck out on the back straight away. Of course now I am back on course I am hamstrung by the lack of wool. I am considering doing a provisional cast on and knitting the fronts now, and then picking up the stitches and knitting the ribbing downwards with the new ball. Who knows what the dyelot will be? Something as far away as possible from what I have would be typical of my journey thus far!! So I am beetling (or Beatling) along on the back. Almost up to the point I reached twice, before the evil Team-of-Blocking-My-Progress struck. All I can say is thank goodness I don't have to appear in public in lycra. There would be a roaring trade in hot pokers with which to poke out one's eyes!!!

Harki's so happy Peri Le Phew

No wonder Harki looks thin in her video, she lost 1.5kg or 3 lbs 4oz last fortnight. Now I feel like such a bad mother, I think that's way too much for her to use though the Vet and Nurses were jubilant. This fortnight I am feeding her more food. Peri only lost 300g or about 10oz. This is because she stole a carton of real milk and drank it. Well I found the empty carton in the garage and no milk anywhere. They have been exceptionally happy and very playful and I think that is because they are hungry all the time and also more enthusiastic and not lazy couch potatoes!!! Harki won't put up with Peri stealing her toys and when I come home we have a big play instead of a food treat, I am their treat. With her new found fitness Harki runs up and down the hills in the bush and sometimes out of my sight. Luckily she comes whenever I call, well not luckily, she is just very clever. Peri is auditioning for being a leopard in The Lion King. She has rolled, selectively, in you-don't-want-to-know-what and given herself pongy green polka dots. They are even on her head. You can be sure this is when she will love you the most!!

Naughty Night Time Girls

The BlackSpot of Doomlight is having a sale so I have a new skirt pattern, a Suffolk Puff maker, and some wool that will be Guinea Pigs. I also managed to leave with my mind and body intact. Later on I was elsewhere in the queue to register my car, knitting away on the 'Too Much Sax and Violets On TV' sock,  when a lady called me over to be served quickly because I wasn't doing a licence transaction. Serendipity!!

Mr Madcage rang from the Southern Capital last week and now MrsDrWho and I are the proud owners of Gilmore Girls: Season 1 though 6. Season 7 wasn't there and wouldn't you know it's the one we need to finish watching?? The Southern Capital had snow this week, falling on the ground in the suburbs. The road to The Pinnacle was closed and the Midlands Highway too. No snow here but the night temperatures were in the minuses.

In the sweet buy and buy

I would love write more, but it has taken an hour to upload the photos. I have The Broadband, though it is so slow I can't use the new ABC iview. So slow. PLUS The Typepad is still in Beta with the new compose. It would be quicker to write the post and paint the pictures and then send letters off in the mail at this rate. What an idea!!! Still, I am determined to reply to my giant backlog of comments. I know some people say not to worry, and I'm not worrying, I like to reply to my comments, I'm just slow!!

I'm thinking The X-Files movie this weekend. The Truth is Out There. Truly Ruly!!!

Run Away Runaway Jury*

I have had a Mental Health Week. I know most people have a Day but I needed a Week. I had some doctors' appointments and also I was summonsed to Jury Duty. The letter was very legal and threatening and it scared the willies out of me. I'm just not well enough to fulfil my civic duty, but in my usual panicked way I catastrophised!!! I had 7 working days to try and make appointments to see my specialist (luckily I already had one) and my GP (It wasn't an emergency so I couldn't see her till Friday) I was finally able to contact The Sheriff (of Nottingham) and his office was all sweetness and light and they took my name out of the box (???!!!) I still haven' t posted the forms off. I have to do it today when I go out. MrsDrWho had Parent -Teacher so she'll be leaving home today at 8am and not getting home till after 9pm. Unpaid overtime all this week, so I'm going to spend an hour or so with Cleo and Caramello at teatime and feed them and annoy them: Cuddle them A Lot!!!

I imagine my life as a graph, a line graph which potters along at 99% all the time and it doesn't take much to push me over the edge into a few days in bed with a migraine. I seem to have subsided below the critical level again for the time being!!!

Event Horizon Malfunction

There has been precious little knitting, whereas there had been an enormous amount of lying on the couch watching DVDs and eating out. I have re-knitted about 5 rows of the actual Stargate and I am marking the middle of the row with the one of the cute Dog stitch counters that someone lovely made for me!! The Stargate Cardi just isn't Knitting-Away-From-Home friendly. I cheered myself up by starting MrsDrWho's birthday socks : Sax and Violets. They are the Waving Lace socks from Interweave's Favourite Socks in gorgeous Crystal Palace Bamboo/Wool in Violets from Yarnomat. It is so soft and light and the pattern is a dream. Mind you, we were watching the last episodes of Stargate Season 9 (again) and I did the whole first repeat incorrectly and had to unravel it. 

Sax and Violets sock 1

Harki and Peri have been revelling in the Winter weather and they are happy to present their version af an Esther Williams Film: Dangerous When Wet!!! And you had better believe that it is very dangerous to be anywhere near a wet Labrador!! They shake like a very shaky thing.

They are also training for The Labrador Olympics and hurdling over the tree that fell over the walking track. They could be great Steeple-chasers!! Tomorrow they are off to The Vet to be weighed again. Fingers crossed!!!

Preparing for The Steeplechase

Glenna posted some scone recipes and by coincidence I have had some scone photos sitting on my camera ready to be recipe-ed too. I made one basic mixture and then halved it to make two different kinds of scone: one savoury and one sweet!!

Cheesy Snails and Apple and Sultana Scones

  • 4 cups self raising flour OR almost 4 cups of plain flour and 2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 120g butter chopped

For the Savoury scones:

  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of mustard. I like Hot English, but it's VERY hot
  • 1 cup of grated cheese. I like a mixture of tasty and Parmesan
  • snipped chives or parsley or even spring onions
  • 1/2 cup milk

For the Sweet scones:Mixed scones

  • an egg, whisked a little
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Granny Smith or cooking apple peeled and then diced quite small
  • 60-80g sultanas
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 200*C and line a tray with baking paper. Sift the flour into a bowl and rub the butter in with the fingertips. Shake the bowl slightly and any big lumps will come to the top. The mixture should look like breadcrumbs (they say!!)  Divide between 2 bowls.

To make the Savory scones: make a well in the centre and add the milk and mix with a knife until a slightly stick dough forms. You may need to add little extra milk, it depends on the flour and the atmospheric conditions!! Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly then, making sure you always lightly re-flour everything, roll out into an A4 type rectangle about 1/2cm thick. Spread with the mustard and sprinkle over the cheese and herbs. With the long side facing, roll up the dough and seal the edge with a little milk. Use a sharp knife and cut off slices. Lie them on the tray and you can sprinkle them with a little extra cheese if you like. I made some without the chives as well.

To make the Sweet scones: add the sugar, sultanas and apple then make a well and add the milk and half of the egg. Mix to a dough and knead as before. Pat out into a rectangle about 3cm high and then cut with a knife to make scones. Place on the tray, close together and brush with a little egg and milk mixture and sprinkle with extra sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Check after 10 and you may need to turn the tray around. Then eat. The Cheese scones are great as they are but the Apple and Sultana are delicious with  lemon curd and marscapone.


*Monty Python and John Cusack!!!

(Un)Ravel's Bolero

I knew it. Even as I was knitting. I knew it. Yet I kept on knitting all the way up to the underarm. I watched five episodes of Numb3rs and you would think that the very title of the show would have been a clue.Yet still, I kept knitting. This time I used the KnitPro site to turn a picture into a graph and it just didn't work. It is not the site, but the fact I am knitting an annulus. The curvy parts are waaaaay too wide. I could see this happening but I was powerless to stop myself.

Harki, for scale

So I went back to graph paper and my compass and pencil and I drew an annulus and then counted little squares to make sure the width was an average of 8 stitches. It means the Stargate will be smaller and I will have to unravel a ginormous amount of knitting. I am Not Happy Jan. I still have to fiddle with the lower right quadrant, but for tonight that is all I can do. You may have noticed that today, for your pleasure, we have included Harki for scale!! It rained all day today and after having napped all day she wants to play with her plastic cup at 11pm. What she really wants is for me to pour tiny amounts of my cup of tea into her cup. Then she carries it away like some precious treasure and licks it up. Peri only appears from the bedroom, under her blanket, when she hears anything crinkly that might be food related.

Graphic picture, with Harki

MrsDrWho, Mrs House Of and I went to lunch on Saturday. Mrs House Of bought three pairs of shoes and while she was trying them on MrsDrWho and I found this and please take note of her skilful modelling gestures. Worthy of Sale of the Century and not to be sneezed at:

Krill them...with your brain

It amused us no end because 1) River from Firefly says "I can kill you with my brain". I bought MrDrWho Firefly badges from Etsy for her regeneration. She keeps this printed badge hidden under the collar of her coat and only shows it when necessary, and 2) Armstrong and Miller have a great series of sketches where the tag line is "Kill Them". I am slightly afraid to post this link to their show as it is papal and with the new NSW laws recently passed for the pope's visit, if I annoy any catholics I may be fined $5500. I'm pretty annoying actually, so I should expect a fine in the mail. I just love the Armstrong and Miller choreography at the start of their show and if I was 14 I would be learning it off by heart. If you want to watch some other amusing things I can recommend their WWII RAF airmen sketches on YouTube. Between saying "Krill Them" and singing The Potato Song chorus all the time I could have been fined $55,000 in just two hours.

And because they are so lovely, Harki and Peri posing for a picture on our Saturday walk.

Yesterday's Walk

Tomorrow, all being well, I am going to visit MrsDrWho's class after recess till lunch. I will help boil potatoes for tasting as part of their International Year of the Potato investigation. We have maybe six types to test. There will be no knitting!!!

Faux Paw

No knitting again yesterday. I did use the short amount of time I was up wisely: I found the other big ball of Bendigo. It was attached to the knitting in the bag. Sigh. So you can just see the bottom curve of the Stargate itself starting to form. I am now a bit worried I will need extra wool. It took 2x50g balls for each sleeve, and I reckon it will take more to do a front than that. It will now be a race against the wool, rather than the clock.

Back to the back

Peri's sock didn't stay on her little foot today. I didn't get up for very long yesterday so I didn't buy any keeping-a-sock-on-tape. So in her special collage you can see a sock on, a sock coming off, a sock off and how Peri feels about the whole Sock Off thing!!!!


Harki ran up the hills and down towards the gorge, and now she is always very hungry she keeps 'Coming' even when I don't call her, just in case I have a treat!!!

Harki walks this way....

Here is The Madonna Hat I made for MrsDrWho. I think it is the Vogue Wide Brimmed Hat from their 25th Anniversary Issue. It has a casing inside where the brim joins the crown. You pick up 72 stitches and knit 4 rows stocking stitch and then you knit the live stitches from the brim and the casing together. It is fiddly and tricky but not hard. Needless to say, as I knit so tightly, the hat isn't floppy enough to warrant any elastic through the casing. MrsDrWho said that it is there if the hat ever stretches. I would knit another one of these, it would be much easier without the casing.

Madonna Hat

Et, alors!! my Amuse Oreille: The Doctor Who Talking Keyring. It is very amusing, it has 6 sounds, including The TARDIS, K9, Daleks and Cybermen. I love it and if only it had a place to keep my licence I would use it everyday. We need to carry our Driving Licence with us at all driving times and I don't always take a purse with me so my keycase has a place to keep my Licence.

Doctor Who Talking Key ring

I can has 'armburger????

Little or no knitting yesterday, but MrsDrWho and I splurged on upmarket burgers. And what's a girl to do to while away the time while she waits for her order to arrive?? Well, one takes self portraits in the window!!!

Spooky and I don't mean Mulder

Not quite so spooky....

Yes, I can has hamburger: an alliterative Apple Isle Tempter and a Lamb burger with crispy chips, dipping mayo and a cup of tea!!! See the beetroot???!!!

I can has...........

The it was off to watch some Stargate and lo and behold it was The Scourge with Le Ambassador Francais. He threw a tanty or two and  was your stereotypical Frenchman: longish blonde hair and those arty black rimmed spectacles. He was saved from 'death by beetle' by SG1.

So today I finished the second sleeve: I can has 'armburger?? Non?? Well non et oui. Peri has been helping with the pictures again  and I didn't realise how big her tail was, I mean that's two sleeves to fit my arms, and then there's her tail. At least she is happy. I'm not saying my arms are meaty Popeye burger-sized arms by any means, and things in a photo may appear larger than they really are. Apparently. And so next, onto the back of the Cardigan and I just have to find that other big ball of Bendigo.......

Take a photo at your Peri...... l

The whole Le Soc Sportif wasn't happening at all. It is fine when she wears the sock inside for treats, but then when it really counts, Peri tugs her little foot away and I don't want to hurt her. Tomorrow her little foot can spend some time in a salt water bath. She is very dextrous though, and shoots down the stairs outside on three feet as if on all four. They had a wonderful walk this morning and I'm pretty sure they were looking at the kangaroos. The kangaroos ( wallabies really) are out and about in great numbers. They hop right across the path in front of you. I am never quick enough to get a picture. Harki is feeling really happy and so full of energy, most of which she expends trying to make me get her more food. She's really affectionate and needs pats on the head while I'm at the computer and on the couch she whacks me, gently, with her paw when she wants to be patted.

Do you see what I see.... .

I bought myself a little present, an amuse oreille (as opposed to amuse bouche) It is certainly music to my ears, though I'm not sure not about other people. Harki and Peri don't really like it, and kittens certainly don't!!! Oh and I have a picture of The Madonna Hat to show as well!!! Au revoir!!!

Objet D'Ahhhhhhhhhh

Skinny girls skinny girls skinny girls skinny girls Today we all went for a walk in the rain, and got very wet. Then we went to the Vet where Harki sat on the scales and was 600g lighter!!!! (a little over a pound) I think her wet fur must have added a little mass. What a good thin girl Harki is!!! She went to wait in the car while Peri cried and tried to pull the built-in seat out the door of the waiting room. "Where is my mother, and Harki?" she cried piteously. The lovely Vet patted her, I was only three steps out the door!! Her little paddy paw was thoroughly checked out and she was pronounced injured, but healing fast. There was a torn pad, but no infection and all the rest of her leg was fine. She has to wear a sock when we go for a walk. There's not much choice in baby socks for girls: pink is the colour. Baby socks are the best, the Vet said, and the very best are the ones with grippy rubber dots. We have skulls and crossbones. AhhhhhhhhhhSock it to me

We came home and after much 'encouragement' and bribery Peri wore her sock for a minute. Tomorrow will be a day of many minutes of sock wearing. I tried tonight to take a picture of the second sleeve for the TdFKAL.  Peri helped me, so this is as good as it gets!!! There is no discolouration, it's just a bad night time picture with Peri insisting on wagging her tail and beng cuddled!!! Ahhhhhhhhhh

Objet d'ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I read all of Jeffrey Archer's new book last night. It is better than the last one I read and I did enjoy it:  but it's a Boy's Own Adventure. I don't think he has ever recaptured the 'glory days' of  his early novels, but it passed a few hours. I bought Karen Miller's latest book today,  Hammer of God. I am not sure whether this is the third book of a trilogy or a quartet, so I am not getting my hopes up. Read or Knit??? Read or Knit?? Ahhhhhhhhhh

I am wearing The Green Jersey in the Tour de France and I have yet to add the button to my sidebar. Ahhhhhhhhhh

While I am typing this I have had to play with the new and improved lighter Harki and throw the plastic cup endlessly and then pat her on the head and ruffle her ears. Awwwwwwwwww

(You can see her plastic cup in the first picture, it's pretty hard to throw now, not at all aerodynamic!!!)

Cause Sleevre

 Une sleeve et a peau more Yes, the famous case of The Sleeve!!! J'ai finish une sleeve yesterday. I have started the second sleeve but only knitted a few rows of the cuff.

Aujourd'hui les chien et moi spent the day in bed. So no tricotage at all and it's  5-45pm. The picture I took is therefore lightily challenged!! I have attempted un peau of a sketch of said cardigan. It is but a triste thing. I imagine ribbing at the bottom edge and cuff and also a collar. There will be waist shaping and a zip in the front. On the back there will be a grey Stargate, knitted in, with embroidery to add some highlights. There may be the Earth Chevron on the left front, up high, but there will definitely be a Stargate Mission patch sewn on the right sleeve!!! I have a good imagination......

A little while ago I was in another Soap and Cloth swap on The Ravelry and my swap was wonderful. I Harki and Peri wait for a treat received two cloths with paws knitted into them and some minty/pine green soap and a treat for The Labradors from Andrea OD. Thanks Andrea, and you can see Harki and Peri are pretty sure there is a treat there for them!! Tomorrow they are off to the Vet to be weighed and then Peri is having an appointment so a Doctor can look at her paddy paw. 

The Lour de France

LPDE sleeve Yes, that's right, I can't resist the lure of The Tour. The closest I get to riding a bicycle is sitting next to the cool and trendy cyclists at cool and trendy cafes (and I'm surprised they let me in!!!) But once again, je visite encore The Tour de France Tricotage. And, encore, you will be subjected to my awful schoolgirl French!! Sacre Bleu!!!!

Cette annee I am knitting La porte des ├ętoiles cardigan, which would be my Chapp'ai or Stargate ZippyUppy Cardigan. I had started knitting a bit of the back band and a tad of the gate and then put it away, so this is a chance to actually finish a whole thing I can wear!!! I am, as is my wont, making the pattern up as I go along with the help of Ann Budd's book. I'm using 8ply Bendigo Classic and 4mm needles. I promise a sketch of what it may look like tomorrow. That is my aim: to try and post every day!!Cracklin' Ice

I am in Team Lampre, and I did actually watch the start of the race on SBS last Nicy Icy night!!! I am presently accelerating up the first sleeve, still increasing, and I hope to maybe finish it today!!!

It has been quite cold here (Minus 10 in the highlands) and the puddles were frozen on our walk and the grass icy cold and snappy. This did not stop Peri, even with her sore little paw, from taking a dip!! Wheeeeeeeeeeee goes PeriHarki is much more sensible.

The Naughtiest Girl is a Rain Monitor

Rain Gauge I was an Enid Blyton fan when small. I loved Noddy, and all the Famous Five, not so much the Secret Seven or the 'magic' stories but I so wanted to attend Malory Towers or St Clare's. I wanted those Midnight Feasts and to be in a 'form'. I also liked the Naughtiest Girl books, and though I don't think I am naughty, I am definitely a Rain Monitor!!! Once the instruction sheet arrives, I will be recording the rainfall, along with about 10 or so other north Apple Islanders for the ABC. I am beyond excited. I even went to pick up my rain gauge, but they had no sheets to fill in or give instructions so I couldn't start. We had a deluge of a downpour last night but in the interests of statistical honesty I reckon it is better to have no data, rather than erroneous data from a poorly placed rain monitoring gauge. Harki and Peri were assisting with the photographing when two little white fluffy dogs walked past.

The Labradors are friendly and Harki went and sniffed them at the gate whereupon the TLWFDs went barking mad. Harki put her hackles up, but she didn't bark or growl. She came to tell me what had happened instead. Peri on the other hand lived up to her name. Peri Naughtiest girl that she is, was inside the second gate, and when she realised she had missed out on something she leaped over the lowest part of the Harki is upset by unfriendly dogsold wall and took off up the footpath after TLWFDs. I walked up the street after her and, wonder of wonders, she ran back to me via someone's garage, and then I used my scarf as a lead. Look at the wickedness inherent in The Labrador: the glint of naughtiness in her eyes and her laughing expression. She's a rascal, but a year or so ago she wouldn't have come back at all. Harki's goodness must be rubbing off.

Yesterday it was the 25th Anniversary of the Gordon-Below-Franklin Dam being finally blocked. I remember hearing it on the radio in the staffroom. It was a great day and a great decision. Though it split the state all those years ago, today people agree with and support the High Court, except for a few stick in the muds. It was the making of the Wilderness Society and the Green party here, and I can only hope that in 25 years or so we can celebrate the quashing of the proposed pulp mill. The spirit of those days runs strong.......

A while ago Vinny sent some Dalek biscuit cutters to me, and I sent her some Possum wool. It was aPeri is wickedness personified great swap and I was able to use the cutter's outline to make a template for embroidery. I made MrsDrWho a little quilt inspired by the Lolcat picture of a Dalek chasing a cat!!!

MrsDrWho and I finally made it to the pictures to see Prince Caspian. It is the second book in what I consider to be the correct Narnia reading order. The film was excellent: darker and for an older audience than the first film. It went for almost 2 1/2 hours and I didn't need to look at the time once. The acting was wonderful, the costumes and CGI fantastic and I was frightened in a fair bit of it. I had to watch through my fingers and slump down in my seat. It would certanly fulfil my childhood fantasies to be running about in the lovely dresses and firing arrows and saving the world!!!

The Get Smart movie has arrived, but I am not going to see it. No-one can be Max and 99 like Don Adams and Barbara Feldon. I shall consider buying the DVDs instead. And soon the X-Files movie will be here!! That is very exciting news though I have only seen the poster. I have seen the new 007 movie trailer. The name is a bit naff, Quantum of Solace, but I like what they've done with the 0 and the 0 and the 7.

One of 13 Daleks I embroidered Dalek Lol Quilt I promised the One Pot chicken casserole recipe but after watching the absolutely fantabulous Library episodes of Doctor Who last night I left the book behind.  I can remember the recipe, it's pretty adaptable and you can add or substitute the vegetables as you see fit!!

One Pot Chicken Casserole

  • 750g chicken thigh meat, cut into big cubes
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, waxy is best
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • large handful of beans
  • 300 ml cream
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley, chopped

The potatoes and carrots need to be cut into chunks,. I used chat potatoes which are smaller and cut them in half, but I would probably cut a normal potato into quarters.

Heat the oil in a large pan and then fry the chicken in batches until it is well browned. Remove from the pan and add the onion and the potato, carrot and celery. After 5 minutes, add the chicken and the stock, put a lid on the pan and bring to the boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for about an hour, stirring and checking it 2 or 3 times.

Mix the cream and the mustard and add along with the beans and zucchin. Cook for a further 20-30 minutes uncovered: the sauce should thicken slightly and the vegetables should all be cooked through. Finally season with salt and pepper and mix in some parsley. Serve with rice or pasta. I added some mushrooms and garlic to the casserole. It freezes very well.