Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Repercussions of Yarn Bombing

Alert readers (or simply those with excellent memories-- since that is what you need to 'follow' my blog lately) will recall that as an indulgence in Worldwide KiP (Knit In Public) Day, several of us tootled around Norwich knitting. Most of us are imports, you see, so we do try to fit in with Normal for Norfolk as much as possible.

On this tootle, we further indulged in very mild Yarn Vandalism (if one were unimaginative and mean-spirited and Uriah-Heepish enough to throw such an epithet at amusing and harmless activities). Said Yarn Vandalism involved leaving three balls of wool (with accompanying needles) in two locations. These have been tittered about occasionally since, but none of us had the presence of mind to check back or the idea that anything would have happened to any of them.

However, following a Norwich Beer Festival planning meeting this past week, Herself received first-hand intelligence regarding the current situation of the ball of wool planted surreptitiously in a drawer in a table at The White Lion.

So, she had to go and verify this for herself (Clare being away from home and unable to accompany as witness, she was forced to take photographic evidence).

One can here see the setting of the Yarn Vandalism:

And for the knitters amongst readership, a close-up here demonstrates an impressive range of knitting skills which have followed Wonderland-style instruction.

According to one barman (not Ralph), it is reported that one of the knitters was a 19-year-old lad with a mohawk and tattoos. There are very few dropped stitches, and by and large I am impressed.

It is time to replenish the yarn supply methinks :) (and someone needs to check The Playhouse!)


Even though some people are woefully behind in thank-you notes (b-a-d), lamb chops seemed a strong reason to bring out the tagine and give it a go! Friday was the Time to Do This.

As with all things culinary, E (Himself) had a Plan. And it was Good!

The beginning involved preparation of Le Fire. (3/4 of a bag of charcoal seemed a bit gregarious, but...)

The Second Step was the preparation of (utilising handy garden table located in bargain section of IKEA -- see, I don't only think of myself when indulging in Swedish-style-organisational-mania):
  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • bell pepper
  • tomatoes
  • sliced potatoes
  • zucchini/courgettes
  • garden herbs (mint, dill, basil, parsley)
  • spices

Thirdly, the monitoring.

Herself assisted by talking telephonically to entire matriarchal section of family in preparation of non-surprise-pour-Le-Oma on Tuesday (this apparent laziness was mostly due to Chef's dubious judgement regarding her knife-handling abilities, despite 33 years of successful chopping, deboning, and formative part of childhood as a sous-Butcher and Deer Meat Processor). His Lordship assisted by mewing pitifully around feet of chef at various moments of crucial cooking activity in attempt to trip person, causing trip to A&E (American translation: 'emergency room' or 'ER' -- smirk. When I first moved here I kept wondering what Arts&Entertainment television had to do with unfortunate incidents and why people always said they had to 'go' to A&E... were the high quality films, or perhaps Actors Studio, going to help the pain in some way?), thereby leaving lamb sustenance for himself.


Not a snake as in Badger, Badger... Snake! but a real, veritable, scaley (and smished-ed) snake.

This is the first snake I have seen in the 3 years I have been in Britain. It was slightly alarming as if I had travelled through some space-time continuum, the delirium of cycling up the hill ending not in quaint English countryside as at the bottom but in a Stephen King version of sunny Colorado (in this story, the population of zooming Smarty&Fit male cyclists who make pseudo-encouraging comments to wheezing cyclists has been decimated by either a plague of locusts or the local zombies).

There are apparently three types of snake in Britain (I thought there was only one). The Grass Snake, the Smooth Snake and the Adder. The only poisonous one is the Adder. In my skilled estimation, this flattened specimen is/was probably a Grass Snake (although it looked like a Rat Snake or Cottonmouth to me at first), but unlike any little old grass snake I ever did see before.

Rumour has it as well that there are some sort of wierd reptile that looks like a snake but is actually a lizard -- a slow worm. Who knew!? Anguis fragilis is a legless lizard -- apparently the top reason for population reduction in suburban areas is Felis catus. However, our Catus blackus seems to prefer furred, pointy-nosed prey. Or feathered...

*NOTE: This entry is slightly deceptive, as the snake is nearly two-week-old-news by now. Death Of Snake didn't make the EDP (as far as I know) but you never know when they might need a news story... (see Woman Trampled By Cow). Reason for delay in reporting (this time) is a recent spending of 10-12 hours on the computer each day in preparation for a manic work trip and a complete lack of desire to look at, let alone type on, any sort of keyboard object.

Added to this is the near constant pain in elbow, shoulder and back from mouse over-usage -- age is catching up, you see. Am now on NHS physical therapy list -- let's hope it is slightly more 21st century (or even 20th, for that matter) than the NHS dental service.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Fun on a Friday Night

(or evening... post-work whatever.)


It is 6.03 pm. We have the Appletons arriving at 7.00pm (or earlier, as they are quite perfectly punctual).

Since Himself had to work until 6 this evening, I cycled today with the optimistic goal or making it home by 5.30, vaccuuming madly, taking shower, fussing with annoyingly uncooperative hair and eyebrows, lighting candles, plumping pillows, arranging post-dinner drinks, feeding repetitive Kitty -- generally being obsessive compulsive and having high blood pressure for a whole hour and a half (woo hoo!).

However, about 3/4 of the way up that complete b----- of a hill before you make it to the cattery, I realised that, like last evening, I probably didn't have any house keys. [This was after the annoyingly healthy fit man zoomed past me at Mach 3 and in Gear 16, no doubt -- chipperly offering the encouragement, 'You're almost to the top!' as a type of cyclist greeting. If I hadn't been wheezing asthmatically in Gear 1, I would have attempted some smart retort. But as it was...]

My premonition was proven true as I dug fruitlessly through all pockets of panniers and various bag-like accoutrements.

Fortunately, the side door was open to the alley, so's the bike (and Herself) didn't have to sit by the front door looking homeless and a complete fool [It is preferable to do that online, instead].

Have swept the back yard pavements (as a half-hearted attempt at obsessive complusion, but it just really wasn't enough to make me frantic. I ought to be hyperventilating by now... alas.), rearranged tomato plants (again), talked to neighbors, who weren't sure if it was Angus or Arthur who wandered through the pub today (snicker).

So, am sat sweating in the back garden, with a black kitty on the table, a dead blue-tit (frown) in the grass, and some chips and guacamole (made fresh this a.m. and tookened to share with work!). At least it is not raining :)

.... It is 6.17pm and the back door has just been opened by Himself (who is now home)!

Let the Obsessive Compulsive behaviour begin.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Technically, 'scrumping' is stealing, particularly apples from an orchard. However, it can be used casually to refer to general hunter-gatherer activity, and it is this sense in which we indulged in scrumping today (at the instigation of moi). It comes, no doubt, from being a Keachi child, and perhaps watching and reading a bit too much Little House on the Prairie.

I have been itching to pick blackberries for weeks, esp. when I am organised enough to cycle to work and greedily look at all the lovely fruit. However, they are more deceptive here than in Loosyanna -- probably because of the lack of traumatic heat -- and are still quite tart until they are plumper than plump.

Along the alley that leads to the High Common, there are quite a few plums; there are crabapples on several massive trees along the Common; we even picked THREE raspberries in the WILD (very exotic for children from the humid South) when the Traceys and the Irish aunties came for a visit. Then, of course, I am keeping an eagle eye on the elderberries, so I can remember where they are in November. Simply so much scrumping to be done!

Naturally, it is most definitely not thievery if one picks tomatoes that have grown in one's garden; but it doesn't really count as scrumping since it is kind of 'planned' vegetable produce, I think. Consuming 'planned' produce can very loosely be considered scrumping if one happens to be visiting someone else's garden and that kind soul lets you nibble on several different little appetizers (such as rocket leaves, and tarragon, and raspberries).

We have two ripe tomatoes (finally)! The garden has gone quite nicely this summer, despite being started rawther a bit late. There is still a veritable plethora of green tomatoes, and we have had beans with dinner about 5 times now. I have had weeks of lettuces for my lunch salads, and they are still going strong!

Another activity in which to indulge when one is out and about scrumping, or scoping for future scrumping opportunities, is to feed the ducks on the Common pond...

This is always amusing and guaranteed to cheer, even those in the glummest of moods. The rustling of a bread bag (or maybe it is the sound of the cycle gears clicking) leads super instantly to a zipping, flapping, quacking migration across the pond (as seen to L). Because my camera is so blessedly smart, it made me miss capturing the frantic ones who felt the need to fly the extra 10 feet. *sigh*

However, today's feeding of the ducks was more amusing than average when an additional odd clucking sound began and 4 chickens emerged down the muddy bank and decided they were interested in this frenzy of duckish activity as well.

Approximately 2 minutes later, as the bread supply was decimated, two tiny kittens with festive collars emerged from the trees by the bank as well, boldly and blithely meowing at certain people! The chickens chased them onto the road (and one poor kitty had perhaps had its eye damaged by a chicken talon), which leads me to suspect that chickens would be safe here as they would be perhaps able to bluff the locals of the black feline persuasion...? Hmmmmm...

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

A Big Step

Today, herself took a Big Step towards intercultural assimilation.

Before everyone goes all hysterical, this does not mean she suffers any loss of affection for her storage container or her Coon-Ass Kitty or her wonderful fambly and friendses. (This is not her Kitty, but it is a dead ringer... for some reason E seems to think it is remarkably like certain persons, too. But he is deluded.)

Of course, she does still have her Loosyanna driver's license (which has the incorrect address, because DMV employees are only hired based upon a complete lack of customer service and high levels of illiteracy -- I don't think I am offending anyone I know by this hyper-generalisation, but hey, it has been known to recur with startling frequency). But today, she finally sat in a little booth with a dodgy curtain with Godknowswhatall bacteria on it (and she kept having to touch it to hold it closed since it was windy -- ewww) and a sad simile of an ice cream parlor stool; she ooched and scooched and lowered the ice cream stool until her head fit in the little oval on the screen and took a picture for her provisional driving license.

One is not allowed to smile. One has 3 chances. The monotonously chipper woman's voice bleats instructions with only 4-second pauses, so there is really no time to gather yourself. There are buttons to push (green to take a photo -- at least she counts down for you; and red to say that you want to take another), curtains are blowing, the woman is telling you to move your head backwards -- through the wall, apparently -- it is just all quite a lot to coordinate, esp. if one is carrying any items at all other than an elegantly engraved cigarette case with lipstick accessory, or a bowler hat.

This glorious image cost £4. Bless.
Scary, Southern, psycho-killer character actress available for glaring and eyebrow arching.

Then, hyperventilating all the way (and for about an hour after), she posted application form, photo (NOT attached to form, where handy photo-sized grey area is delineated with instruction:
'Official use only DO NOT attach your photograph here Simply include it loose in the envelope'. There is apparently no need for punctuation on government forms.), and beloved passport to Swansea.

I am sure it will be fine. They claim that all identity documents will be returned within 10 working days. Which I sincerely hope, since my next voyage dans l'aire begins 4 weeks from today.

However, there is a wierd feeling of intense alien-ness. Obviously, n'est pas La France Occupee c. 1940, where one needed identity papers at all times; but without a passport, one would perhaps (in some unfortunate eventuality) have a hard time proving one's identity. You don't really think about this when you are in your home country, because after all, you generally don't have to go anywhere where government issued photo identification (not issued by local illiterate) is necessary in case of emergency. It is perhaps silly, but it is an interesting awareness.

Fingers crossed that the passport follows DVLA optimism of a 10-day return. Otherwise, I might take an ulcer with me on September trip. This whole thing is, of course, my fault for delaying -- just because someone didn't want to sit in that horrid little curtained hut. But it was simpler than dealing with the Walgreen's girl. She don't let you have 3 tries... mmmm, mm, no ma'am.