I’m having an epic fail to concentrate on work: Dad’s having a pacemaker fitted more or less right now (following fainting and falling over a couple of times before Easter: not something you want to be doing while on blood thinners, as it can get very messy), and I’m quite simply disinclined to pay attention to what I should be doing.  It’s all done under local anaesthetic, but one still worries a little bit. Daddies are important! I reckon the pacemaker’s long overdue, so this should improve his quality of life a bit. He’s just looked exhausted a lot of the time.

So. What’s occurrin’?

Nick STORMED Boston Marathon in 3:44:32, on a ridiculously warm day. I positioned myself right at the top of Heartbreak Hill for a sweaty kiss, but didn’t manage to catch up with him before the finish line. I’m very proud. He didn’t overheat. He didn’t collapse. It wasn’t his fastest marathon (3:22:25 at Berlin) nor his slowest. Boy did well. He’s having a bit of time off from running so hard – it’s been 2 years since he started the Boston Adventure, by training for Berlin, and he’s keen to get back to cycling. I believe a fourth bicycle is being eyed up. I got to see Emerson College. Way way back, as a teenager I entered a short story competition hosted by it. And I got a commendation! You wouldn’t believe it, given my haphazard writing style now.

We went to the Blessing of Athletes. It was brilliantly bonkers. Queuing round the block to get in. White ribbons to wave every time the word Alleluia was said (or sung – and we rounded off the service with the Hallelujah Chorus…), a full brass band and a bagpiper. Very welcoming: I have no idea which stream of Christianity we were in, but I heartily approve and I wish more churches were like that. Even N, who is atheistic, enjoyed the proceedings.

Yarn to make Boston Marathon Socks


It was a lovely viewing spot…

Yes. That’s Bobbi Gibb. First woman to ever run Boston.

The Amtrak to New York from Boston is lovely. Ditto from NY to Montreal. So much more civilised than cramming into a plane. And more environmentally friendly. I did have an awful Clomid-related meltdown on the second Amtrak. I really do hate the stuff (even if I am now, apparently, ovulating! Woo hoo!). The depths of despair which I end up plummeting into on day 3 or 4 of taking the things really makes me question if I’ve got the mental fortitude for IVF. On the plus side: I’ve had a CBT appointment, so hopefully we can get me slightly more sorted out and calmer, trying to do less, and trying to be less wound up. My MiL has done some woo-foot reflexology on me, and I am supplementing, and eating oily fish, and avocado, and egg, and proper dairy, which should help with progesterone levels in the second half of the cycle. TMI?

Ate the burger. Polished off the milkshake. Wandered round for about an hour saying ‘that was AWESOME!’ on a total sugar high. Probably won’t repeat the experience, but man, did it make up for the time I turned down a super-duper ice-cream sundae on the grounds of having cleaned my teeth (my parents had fused the lights in the hotel room by making tea. Or, rather, failing to make tea. Mum and I were reading in the corridor, the concierge turned up, said ‘oh’, disappeared, reappeared with said ice cream. Mum ate it… Such a typical 7 year old move).

Montreal’s lovely. Really really excellent food. And a bonus 5km race, which I stormed in 25:29 chip, a full two minutes faster than the previous parkrun, and one minute off my PB. It was cold, wet, and a nice flat course with lots of space. Even went onto the F1 Grand Prix track (briefly). We’d visited that the day before, and stood in pole position. Can’t imagine just being able to wander round the Grand Prix track at Silverstone, but here it was open for all to use, and had a couple of damp looking cyclists doing laps.

I like local yarn as a souvenir

Since then, I’ve been running in a jetlagged fug. It always takes me a good two weeks to recover back from a trip over the Atlantic. It’s a lovely problem, but frustrating.  I’ve also had a lot of early nights, particularly this week, being on call and wanting to be at my desk by 8am. Which doesn’t sound fearful until you take into account the fact that I need to be on the 6:46am train in order to achieve that.

And, the Science Day I’m organising for 200 Guides seems to be coming together nicely in the last week – I was panicking. Now I’m energised.  There is still a LOT to do this weekend.

Knitting is occurring too. Right now, I have a Color Affection on the needles for F, some socks for L (no link, I want to surprise her), a sweater for me (not going well, I have gauge issues) and a little cardigan for J, which I’m going to Swiss darn the flowers onto.  I think this will look better than intarsia. And the number of ends to sew in will be the same.




Dr Who.

On Friday, I went to the Dr Who Festival, and had a gorgeously lovely time. It was, I will not deny, expensive for a day out. Or so I thought before I spent about two hours at the London Aquarium. We were nine hours at the Festival, saw everything, didn’t feel pressurised to buy anything. The Aquarium, by contrast, was full of efforts to make us spend, and felt dingy and old and crowded, and, essentially hell on earth. And I would have felt that without the pressure of trying to keep track of 6 Guides. It was rather lovely seeing B make her promise as a Guide, having also witnessed her make her promise as a Brownie, but, oh! Never again to the Aquarium (or, possibly, any Merlin attraction). Overpriced, overcrowded, overheating…

Have some photos of the festival (when I’ve uploaded them from the phone). That was far more fun. We saw special effects, we saw Peter Capaldi, we saw Missy and Osgood. There were some terrific cosplays (isn’t the teeny tiny 12 CUTE with his electric guitar and sonic sunglasses?!). We got a sneak preview of Saturday’s episode, we heard Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat explain STUFF (the sonic screwdriver should be back, too, according to PC). We chatted to the SFX guys, and we think we may have wangled some work experience for Morris N (she came with me because N had to work), and it was all Brilliant!

5th Doctor Wins


I love Ood

An overexcited chipmunk wants to take out a Dalek. 

It’s a Lego TARDIS!!!!


Also Brilliant was the Guides sleepover on H.M.S. Belfast on Friday night. Frankly, given the events in Paris, we couldn’t have felt safer at that point. Warships have a comforting bulk to them. The chap who was looking after us was ex-navy, had the shiniest shoes known to civilian life, was extremely posh (reminded me of The Boy), and would broker No Nonsense whatsoever from the girls. We are going to adopt some of his strategies. “There is no cake for being the first in the queue.” “Do not interrupt, I will answer all questions at the end.” “I want to see the colour of your eyes…”. He also had a nice line in the withering put down, but did not over-use it.  No pictures. I failed at pictures. I generally do when away with the girls nowadays. Mostly because I don’t take a camera anymore, and don’t want to fiddle with the phone in front of them.

Sunday I recovered, ran (speed is improving, very slowly), and we started packing. We’re going to need more boxes. And some of those immensely strong bags from Sainsbury for all the books (a tip from K). I have finally written out the notice for the cleaner, and put out some extra cash in lieu of actual notice. I feel utterly dreadful – she’s been cleaning for Em and me since about 2005, and I have given No Warning At All. We move Wednesday week, for crying out loud (and I can’t type that without beginning to panic a bit, so we shall move swiftly onwards). During the brief packing session we had on Sunday night, N & I discovered that between us, we own 5 copies of Withnail & I on DVD. I have the basic version, the 20th anniversary edition with CD and the 25th anniversary edition. We may need to retrieve the 20th anniversary edition from the charity shop – I have a feeling that’s the only one with the soundtrack, and that N doesn’t have a copy of it. Yes, we only really need two (one to watch, one to loan). Five is a tad excessive. We also appear to have duplicates of classic Dr Who. I’ve definitely married the man of my dreams.

I’ve cast on for a new hat. The yarn is Jamieson and Smith, part of their Winter Accessory Knitalong. I could not have curated such a lovely set of colours. My main colour is the deep blue, and I think that Saudade is going to look a bit swish in the shades of blue and neutral I’ve chosen. I was going to knit mitteny things. But I decided I wanted a hat more. I am being an extremely selfish knitter this season. I’ve done so much knitting for other people/events, that, frankly, I wanted some more woolly loveliness for me. Despite having a ridiculous quantity already.

I wonder how many knitted socks I possess? I may have to get them out and photograph them before packing them.


Timing. It’s everything

I started a cold on Wednesday night. I haven’t had one since February. This has rendered me prone for the past two days (I managed a shower yesterday as I felt so grimy). Today I managed to get up and drop off an overdue parcel. I am now having a recuperative sit down and looking at the lovely flowers N bought me to help me feel better.

I have a new Wes Anderson film to watch, Bottle Rocket, and the documentary Iris, which is about Iris Apfel, a 93 year old Style Maven, whom I read about in Stylist mag. I popped into the CEX on the way back from dropping off the parcel. Yes, I should have asked N to drop it off but I wanted to get some air in my tubes. I am now wobbly as anything and slightly regretting the excursion. Why is the common cold so debilitating?

N is at the new house. He’s met the decorator, is fitting the router, measuring for the fridge, and has moved his car to the garage (priorities!). I am trying to muster interest for lunch other than a Pumpkin Spice Latte. After that, I intend to

  • Wrap L’s birthday present
  • Sort out tax return documents Started. Three are in the mail…also, it transpires I’ve not done any filing for about a year. I am surrounded with bank statements now so, a late entry to The List arrives below.
  • File bank statements and the like.
  • Collect up gift aid documentation
  • Take the laundry off the racks It’s still a bit damp. I’ve put the heating on
  • Maybe put it away
  • Follow up New Leaders. Follow up New Leaders’ references that are outstanding by actually direct emailing the referees.
  • Collapse and knit

This may be ambitious of me. Here. Have a photo of my Color Affection in progress. And the most recently completed socks.


Today, I wrote an SSIS package with a config file, and a powershell script, and an iSeries connector

And, you know what? On about the fourth attempt, it actually worked.

Then it worked when called from SSIS (rather than BIDS)

Then it worked from the SQL Agent (well, after a little futzing).

Then it worked from a scheduled job called by SQL Agent.

And I’m so pleased that N actually understands what’s meant by all this, as very few other people do.  I’m excited, as it was my first attempt with a config file!  I think I get bragging rights.

Last night was a little easier for folks to understand: a Brownie Pantomime. It was comically wonderful. Cinderella was barefoot throughout, with huge plantive eyes, and some ugly sisters who were the best poseurs ever. Her coach was made of sugar paper, and she could pull it over her head. The Prince’s arrival was announced by a real live trombone in lieu of trumpeters, and the Rainbows sang “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” at half time. There was tea and biscuits beforehand, and everyone got a badge at the end. I made the mistake of wearing my smart shoes, and froze. It was brilliant. The leaders say never, ever, again.

In the meantime, I’ve crossed off two outstanding pieces of Guidemin (which involved posting stuff) and I’ve spilled about 1/2 a litre of water along the platform of the tube station. Saturated my knitting and pattern, and felt very foolish indeed.



Just a little bit overexcited

I bought a book. Which was bad of me, because a. I’m not supposed to be spending money and b. I’m supposed to be reducing the quantity of books round here, not increasing it and c. I have quite a lot of knitting books (and let’s not discuss the fact that it wasn’t actually a book, but more like three books from Age Concern, shall we? OK. Good).

I bought Modern Knits Vintage Style. I’m thrilled. It’s got a pattern by Franklin, and then more by Anna Bell (whose website has sorta gone splat).  I want to knit everything! now! But my wip list is ridiculous….


A chest infection…

Code milky green! Code milky green!

Except that was yesterday. Today it’s code “take the day off work and ewwwwwwwww!”. No-one needs my hacking cough near them, and it’s much simpler to manage if I don’t have to get all prissy near my desk.

Add in that I’ve managed to burn myself on my hwb (ladyache), that the tiler’s coming at 2pm, the Japanese leaders at 5pm, and that all I want to do is crawl away and sleep, and I’m not having the most fantastic day.

I have obliterated a bluebottle with a cushion though. It took 15 minutes patient tracking, but I did it! I did it!

I’m now going to eat lunch, and hide on the sofa, and try and finish the second sleeve of my cardigan, and join up the yoke. If I feel energetic, later, I might post pictures. However, I’ve spent an exhausting 15 minutes tracking the bluebottle, and prior to that there was a lovely debate about Guiding (I honestly did enjoy it, but it was quite intense), so I’m not promising anything. Apart from to take more care with the hwb when I refill it. Red lines on one’s tum are not sexy.


Well, that was interesting.

It’s always fun when you’re shepherding 4 somewhat jetlagged Japanese Girl Scout Leaders round London, and Westminster Bridge is suddenly completely and utterly overwhelmed by naked cyclists. All part of the fun of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Once we’d managed to find ourselves next to Paddington Bear, at Paddington Station (I swear they’ve moved him),  we dropped off luggage (King’s Cross Station is very exciting, because there’s platform 9 3/4) then we headed for lunch, then Westminster Abbey (n.b. One hour is nowhere near enough, particularly not with those entry fees) then the Florence Nightingale Museum (one hour also not enough. Actually, 45 minutes was not enough. Fortunately, I gift-aided the tickets, so I can go back later in the week and finish reading all the labels. It was very, very good. I just would have liked more time. I am one of those annoying types who needs to read everything in a museum. This really annoyed The Professor in the Jewish Museum in Berlin. You’d think a history professor would understand this. Apparently not. He got really, really impatient…). Then I came home, having dropped them off to Pax Lodge.  I sort of went flumph, destroyed a scone in the toaster (the toaster is a fire hazard, it won’t stay down, so I’ve taken to wedging it with the electric tin opener and lurking in the vicinity. But I needed the loo), ate too many Jelly Babies, didn’t drink any gin, and reheated something that involved chicken, cashew nuts and some sort of spice for supper.

Today, I am trying to sort out my Brownie camp. I am mostly succeeding. I feel rather better about the admin now. Just need to get the money in from parents! So often the case. I also have a bit of a bijou list. I’ve already dealt with laundry, the supermarket shop, and a 7 mile run (hilly, slow, not enough mud). I have the day off tomorrow – it was either that or go hatstand due to too many people. I seem to have filled much of tomorrow with people, which was a bit silly of me. Still. N’s giving me some elbow space until fairly late tonight, and I feel rather more in control of things. I don’t like having my head in the computer when he’s around. I get very focussed on what I’m doing, and he may as well not be there, and that’s just silly. I’ve gotten over it a bit, but for real concentration, I prefer to have a clear flat. Picky. That’s me.

  • Buy handkerchiefs for father’s day (I already have the card. It says All the other Dads are weird and it made me laugh) This has now been put back to Christmas. He’s getting a rather nice book on Sunday, which I must wrap, and then a rather nice bottle of champagne for his birthday.
  • Buy wool to make a Red Telephone Box hat for a small boy with cancer (his parents met in the UK. I did consider a corgi, a crown, a british bulldog, Big Ben, but I thought that the telephone box would be the most fun when you’re two years old and bald. Plus I can get the really soft yarn I used for Hazel’s hat. He’s too small for a TARDIS).
  • backup the hard drive
  • chase up the tiler
  • Risk assessment for normal Brownie meetings (because, if I need to fill in an accident form, they’ll ask if I’ve done one, I suspect this is overkill)
  • List all the leaders in the Div ready for Weds
  • Buy Mollie Makes
  • Brownies accounts, pay in cheques, post cheques
  • Make map keyrings for the Japanese GS Leaders, Begun
  • Finish reading ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’. Read something more cheerful nextTom Sawyer. Much happier.
  • Finish the sleeves of my purple cardigan Nearly there.
  • Get a new plate drying rack (the current one’s plastic is falling off, and it’s making an awful mess)
  • Get relevant cable, copy tapes for ShadowSystems
  • Collect the photos, the prescription, the parcel and buy a hole punch (at which point my 20-odd year old hole punch will miraculously resurface). It did.

I think that’s quite enough for one day. Even if I do think this blog needs some more pictures.