Anne Pettigrew, married to John, mother of Adam and Ruth, living in Cambridge UK

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Who links to me?

Blog Day

Apparently today is Blog Day . Mary has linked to me, so I shall link to:

Willows – Ruth’s musings on all sorts of things – and she’s a Beginning Knitter – slowly but surely I’m winning her over…

ZigZag and Purl – Nina’s Norwegian crafty blog.

Pixie Purls – Pixie knits, spins and quilts (and has gorgeous pets) – and check out her podcast here .

Barefoot in the Wilderness – always good to plug the husband :-)

Good in Parts – an Anglican curate learning on the job.

I’ve tried to choose a variety of blogs that people may not be familiar with – not all are crafty. And there are of course the Cambridge knitters:
Liz, Bekki, Very Otterly and Rosie.

I’m really hating not having a camera :-( It’ll be a little while before I can do pictures.

A useful comparison...

In years to come we can ask ourselves, “Was this Greenbelt worse than 2006?”. If the answer is yes, then maybe it’s time to stop going…

Greenbelt itself was excellent – we have absolutely no complaints about the organisation or the content. The major problem was organising one pre-schooler, one toddler and two very tired adults. (AF had done her usual trick of wiping me out the day before we set off, and left me about as useful to John as a wet lettuce.) But it started well, very well. I had arranged to meet up with Nickerjac and Daisy at the Tiny Tea Tent at 5:30 on the Friday. Daisy was poorly sick and couldn’t make it (bad thing, very bad thing – send cross vibes to her tonsils, and calm, soothing, get well vibes to Daisy herself), but it was lovely to meet Nic (and Andy), and she told me how to avoid getting holes in short-row heels.

The whole thing seemed to be over in a blink – but we did manage to:

  • Take the children to St Mike’s (aka St Michael le Belfry ) worship on the Saturday morning – Adam and Ruth loved it – a really good opportunity for them to get a taste of another style of worship.

  • Go to Midday Eucharist with the Anglican Franciscans – which they had very kindly arranged to have as a gluten-free Eucharist, so I could take part without worrying or feeling singled out.

  • Go on a “date” – i.e. leave the children asleep with our next-door neighbour (we camped with our neighbours from home) babysitting, so John and I could go for a wander round all the fringe stalls. I bought books, and we had the chance to amble and look at all sorts of things without small children grabbing things they shouldn’t, or whinging about wanting to be somewhere else.

  • Get the children into the Children’s program (aka nursery) for a few sessions – although they weren’t always keen to start with, they did some wonderful things including stroking animals from Miller’s Ark Farm, eating edible bubbles and watching Roly the Clown

  • Attend 2 seminars – one given by Ibrahim Hewitt – a Geordie Muslim, now headteacher at a Muslim school in Leicester who described both his journey of faith and what it is like to be a Muslim in the UK today – even in multicultural Leicester. He was very passionate and very thought-provoking and it will take me a while to think through the points of agreement and disagreement. The second seminar was given by Jim Wallis speaking on his book God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It

  • Eat lots of delicious food – Thai Green Chicken Curry, La Tartiflette (French cheesy, bacony, creamy potato thing – wonderful!), Bacon in a bag (like a bacon roll, but without the roll…;)) Smoked mackerel and gammon – hot smoked on site and utterly wonderful, not to mention Shepherd’s Ice Cream (the rule was no more than one ice cream a day… – if you ever get the chance to have their tayberry icecream – take it!)

So you see there were lots of good things going on – AND we managed to meet up with (I think) everyone we would expect to meet at Greenbelt – although it did take a few frantic text messages on dying phones having bumped into the friend of a friend in the queue for the ladies to manage to contact Sarah, but we did manage to find each other in the end.

So it was basically good, although there was an awful lot of trekking around with tired and fractious children.

It was Monday when it all started to go wrong.

To start with we could only get Adam into the children’s program as they had run out of spaces for toddlers, so we had to entertain Ruth while striking camp – not easy. Then the weather decided to join in – we had just got the tent dry when we had a brief shower. Then we had another shower. Then another one. Time crept away from us, and by the time we were leaving the campsite it was already about the time we’d hoped to get home. And our trailer was somewhat poorly sick. It had been poorly sick on the way to Cheltenham, and it was poorlier and sicker on the way home. So poorly sick that about 5 miles up the road it gave a clunk and started screeching at us. Not good. John drove into a layby to discover that the suspension he had fashioned out of a block of wood was in no way going to hold. So we were stuck. The trailer was to all intents and purposes immobile, we had two tired children and two very tired adults, oh, and I was supposed to be at work at 9am the following morning – some 100 miles away in Cambridge. We phoned ETA only to discover that we aren’t covered for the trailer. So after some debate we drove back to Greenbelt (score one for NOT removing the wristbands – we had no problem getting back on site) and managed to get in touch with one of the most wonderful women I know – Kathryn got very tired of me thanking her, but she was our guardian angel. Once she knew that we were stranded, she offered us a roof over our heads, beds for the night, toys and books for the children to look at, a hot shower, and, most importantly, a cup of tea. THANK YOU KATHRYN!!! By the time we were established there, having told Kathryn to yes, go, get back to the racecourse and enjoy the last night, John was too wiped out to drive back to empty the trailer, so we left it until the morning.

This may have been a mistake, or it may have already been too late. Either way, by the time John returned to the layby – no trailer. It had been opened as the central portion of the roof was left behind. (Basically rendering the tent useless in any sort of rain – hah!!) Now, admittedly, had we any sort of brains whatsoever, we would have removed the camera the previous night before leaving the trailer, but we were past that sort of intelligence. So no pretty sky pictures (and there were some very pretty skies), no more tent, no more camp beds… John phoned the police, and checked with the council in case they had removed it, so we have an incident no, but we’re unlikely to get anything back. One of John’s jobs for tomorrow is to check our insurance.

But being very Pollyanna – all the people are fine. It was lovely to spend some time with Kathryn, for whom I’ve had a lot of affection for a long time, but haven’t really spent any time with, we’ve only lost things – it’s incredibly annoying, but – on a more positive note – we don’t need to worry about how to get everything home…

And John managed to drop me off at work (in the smartest of my festival clothes – complete with muddy trainers) just in time for me to slip in the back of a meeting and sign the attendance sheet :-)

Just quickly...

... I am really logging off and going to bed, really I am, but I just found a big long list of charities to knit for and patterns for finger puppets of the animals at Chester Zoo


My Brave Boy (and an FO!)

So today Adam had to have a tooth out. This is the same tooth as was giving him so many problems at Easter (scroll down). So we set off across the fields to the local hospital He was pretty nervous – he was mainly worried that it might involve needles. He has a very low opinion of needles since having a blood sample done when he was two. It didn’t go well – and he remembers it all too well. Theoretically I wasn’t too bothered about it – I mean, it’s only having a tooth out, and they do thousands of those, and although he’d be having a general anaesthetic, he’d only be under for about 5-10 minutes, so there’s absolutely nothing to be scared of. Right? Right.

So why did I wake up at 4 am and not get back to sleep again then hey? Personally I think it was because I became completely convinced that we would be hit by a train when crossing the track. Now I know perfectly well that even if a train is coming, there is time to fall flat on my face, pick myself up and get across to the other side safely. But about 30 imaginary trains ploughed us down in the wee small hours :-( In the event no imaginary or real trains showed up while we were going across the track. (In either direction).

However I found it surprisingly traumatic – watching Adam go under the anaesthetic, while feeling completely helpless and useless was an experience I’d be happy not to repeat. In fact there was barely time to have a cup of tea and knit a couple of rows (and yes, the nurses did notice and point…, but it certainly beats sitting wondering what to do – there’s no way I’d have been able to read) before he was wheeled out of Recovery – wide awake and very chirpy. “Smiley Adam” they called him :-) In the event they’d put him under using gas, (he was a Lunar Jim, going up into space – Ruth would be so jealous – our meal table often has a little jaunt round the planets during dinner… ) and then put various needles in him once he was asleep.

We were free to go at 10, once they had removed the cannula from his arm – I’m quite proud that we managed to conceal the presence of a needle in his arm until after it was out – however Adam is not described as John’s Mini-Me for nothing – not only are they physically very similar – Adam had been provided with toast, 2 slices of it, and he’d not been allowed any breakfast – no way was he leaving without finishing it – leave free food behind – you have to be joking!

So here is my brave boy:

Oh, and I promised you an FO – these socks are finally done!

Trekking XXL 110 – simple 2×2 rib with short row heels and toes. (I’m still looking for a short row heel I like – they fit fine, but I always get those wretched holes when I rejoin the instep.)

Oooh – and for any knitting Greenbelters – we’re meeting in the Tiny Tea Tent at 5:30 on Friday – by then we should have had the chance to have a brief look at programmes and see if we want to arrange a better time. You’ll recognise me by the knitting and/or the yelling at two small children…

What kind of flower?

I found this via So Far, So Good:

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

“When your friends think smile, they think of you. There is not a day that goes by that you can’t find something good about the world and your fellow human.” – makes me sound a little too Jane Bennet, but hey – it’s nice, I’ll agree with it!

Oh, and a little while ago, Louise and Ruth were debating which parts of their house they target first when they have a mere 20 min warning that visitors are about to descend – this scenario occured at Chateau Pettigrew today – and the answer here – in order of priority:

1) Vacuum hall and stairs (to give a vaguely welcoming space when people come in)
2) Clear dirty breakfast stuff off dining table and give it a quick wipe (to try to disguise the worst of my slobbishness)
3) Put dirty nappies in outside bin (to get rid of any smells – see 2) above)
4) Give bathroom a quick once-over (just in case it gets used)

Meanwhile – I ask Adam to tidy his toys – this doesn’t really happen, but it does at least give him something to do to keep him out from under my feet while I zoom around doing the rest.

I’m a slob. I know. But my children and husband are happy and healthy. (Well, apart from all the being yelled at… )

For sky watchers everywhere...

I’m probably one of the last to find this, but put aside half an hour or so (or less if you haven’t time – but bookmark it and go back another time) and browse through The Cloud Appreciation Society website – there are some beautiful beautiful photos there.

This month’s photo has to be my favourite:

Saturday sky

Saturday, 6pm, Cambridge UK – I love this sky, there’s so much going on in it. We’ve been dodging showers all afternoon though.

Oh, and I’ve just read Maggie O’Farrells’ After You’d Gone – a book I would have thoroughly enjoyed anyway, but to make it even better there is a wonderful description of knitting as therapy.

Eye Candy Friday

For Eye Candy Friday

Wild plums – in a pan – beautiful, and soon to be delicious!

(OK, so this picture is from a few weeks ago, but I love it so much that I wanted to share.)

Being good...

Two things to report which should make you proud:

1) I tinked 3 whole rows (long rows – over 150 stitches each) of my Sunrise Circle Jacket (oooh – they’ve moved it) because yes, you could tell that I’d changed ball partway through a ball, and the extra 40 min spent tinking and reknitting is peanuts to the length of time I intend to wear and love the jacket.

2) I HAVE NOT JOINED the International Scarf Exchange 3. I did ISE 2 and loved it, and received a beautiful scarf from Michelle as well as having a lot of fun knitting one for Janis. But this time, even though I’m still subscribed to the ISE blog, and I’m reading everyone’s excitement at joining, I’m standing firm. After all, I have 3 WsIP on the go, 3 WsIP on the back burner, and 3 sets of yarn calling to me. (Not to mention Sock Wars which isn’t too long off… )

And (cough) I’ve bought some yarn. I was going to use this

cone of Cotton Cashmere from Coldspring Mill to knit a sweater for John. I finally swatched it on Tuesday and… I hate it – the colour is insipid and slightly girly (it’s a bit more lilac than in the pic) and the stitches don’t look good. It would probably be fine for something for Ruth, or I may sell it on eBay, but definitely not what I want for John. Sooo, I’ve bought this instead in shades 25 and 26 – and it’s only costing me £1.50 per ball :-) :-) :-)

And finally – the little pink cabled hat that I knit on the way to Blackpool (see pics on previous post) – it would fit a newborn – does anyone know of a charity I can send it to? I was thinking of Dulaan, but they ask for hats for 2+, and I’m don’t know of anywhere local (i.e. in the UK) to send it.

Crafty stuff

I promised crafty stuff, so here is some crafty stuff…

Exhibit A:

(because all the best photos of knitted footwear show the feet in the air… )
Jessica is a second-hand doll, bought by Grandma for Ruth to play with when she visits. She appeared with collapsing plastic shoes (this is not some fancy fashion footwear for dolls – they were simply falling apart) so I was commissioned to make new ones. I skipped church on the Sunday morning (shhh) and made these from scratch using some Trekking XXL (I was “between socks” with the neverending pair). It’s the kind of knitting I love – just sit down and make something up without a pattern. And I’m very proud of these – they are a useful little sampler for a number of techniques, including the Figure-Eight Toe I’m even more chuffed that although obviously fraternal, the striping is more-or-less the same.

Exhibit B:

Sunrise Circle Jacket
I was steaming along with this until I realised that disaster had struck – the big bag of extra yarn that I had put aside to take with us was still at home… Anyway, I finished the ball I had, and am nearly through the left front.

Exhibit C:

For this I hold my MIL entirely responsible. We stayed with my ILs for a couple of nights on the way up to Blackpool. On the Monday morning as John was packing the car up she suggested that she should take the rest of us to Brimstage Hall so that Adam and Ruth could look round the Family Farm and perhaps the Maize Maze… Now, the problem with Brimstage Hall, is that there is a set of craft shops. “Problem? Problem? I see no problem,” I hear you say. But I’m ON A STRICT YARN DIET. Still, I can do it, I can look at animals mere feet away from Voirrey with a sale on, without succumbing. I can do it, I really can. What I can’t do is NOT look at animals without succumbing. It turned out to cost as much for the adults to look round as for the children, so my MIL refused to pay for me (very nicely – that makes her sound rude, she wasn’t in the slightest, but she did test my resolve beyond it’s natural extent). So what is a woman to do? I hadn’t brought my knitting, so I had no needles, no yarn, nothing to keep me occupied, and a gorgeous yarn shop with a sale on. So I fell – to the tune of one ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and a set of 4mm Addi turbo circs. And I promptly cast on for a hat – it’s a little on the small side, but I figure that it will fit some baby somewhere. Again, it was my favourite kind of “make it up as you go along” knitting – and it kept me well-occupied during the traffic hold-ups on the way to Blackpool that afternoon.

Exhibit D:

Once I’d finished the hat there was no further excuse – Trekking socks it had to be. Still, I’m down to the heel on the second sock, and K2P2 rib has the advantage of being mindless and growing quickly. But look at what happened to my DPN. :-(

Exhibit E:

My parents are weavers – both of them have created many beautiful things. While we were staying with them for a few nights on our way back from Blackpool, John decided to have a go at Tablet Weaving with tuition from my father.

And finally – nothing to show this time, but another charity project:
Teddies for Traumas (I’m hoping that teddies knit by people who aren’t seniors work just as well…;)) Doctors who treat children in the Third World or war torn countries have found that children who have their own Teddies to cuddle in their cots get better quicker than those who don’t have one. Each child keeps their own Teddy and takes it home, so the doctors need a continual supply. The pattern is available to download from the link. (It is asked that people stick fairly closely to the pattern as given so that some children don’t get “better” teddies than others.) Googling “Trauma Teddies” will also find other people who collect them.

We're home...

... and there are approx 590 feeds on my bloglines… – it may take me a while lol.

It’s been a great week, but because other people’s holidays are generally dull, dull, dull, I shall keep this brief… (well, briefish…;))

We went to Blackpool, which is apparently seeking World Heritage Site status – go Blackpool! We stayed at the Seaton Guest House which deserves a huge thank you and a big plug. We were useless, utterly useless – we completely forgot to warn them in advance that I need a gluten-free diet. I wasn’t expecting anything other than the bits of breakfast that I could eat (the bacon, the egg, the tomatoes and the mushrooms), but it would have been courteous to let them know in advance. But we told them the first evening we arrived – and the next morning there were properly gluten-free cornflakes on the table (most contain barley malt), and gluten-free toast. And Rosemary and Alan were wonderfully welcoming, and great with the children. They make it very clear that they do not take hen/stag parties and we felt perfectly safe putting Adam and Ruth in a room on their own. So if you want to go to Blackpool, and you want somewhere small, quiet, friendly and close to the centre, with it’s own parking – the Seaton is perfect.

OK, commercial over.

We did Blackpool things:

On Tuesday we went to Cleveleys and we went to the beach

where we paddled in the sea (Adam was dubious, but soon became very enthusiastic) and constructed castles and moats and extensive waterways. (John was most put out at the group of 3 youngsters – aged about 10, who were fascinated by our engineering feats, and decided to emulate us – and STOLE ALL OUR WATER!!!)

On Wednesday we “did” Blackpool. We started with the Sea Life Centre then on to the Central Pier

where the tide was in, and it was very blowy – and the children loved the amusements – especially the big wheel.

Then on Thursday it was time to leave. :-(

We did other, crafty stuff – but more on that another time…

But there is just one more picture, because I love love love the seaside, and it may have been Wednesday rather than Saturday, but the sky was wonderful:

What do I want for my children? (And UFOs)

Ruth asked me this today. And I was terribly proud of my answer, and the more I think about it, the more I like it. I want them to be inspired. Not driven, inspired. I’d like there to be something – who knows what (please, please, please, NOT arms sales – I could cope with many things, but not arms sales) – that makes it worth getting up in the morning. But I don’t want it to be so all-consuming that when they reach their natural level, or it goes wrong, that it is the end of the world.

At the moment Adam wants to be Sportacus – there are worse role models! And Ruth wants to sit in an aeroplane. She is very clear about this – she doesn’t want to fly it, she wants to sit in it. We haven’t yet established whether she wishes to turn left or right when boarding, but since this is the little girl who refused point blank to be born until there were doctors on the scene I can hazard a guess (her middle name isn’t Sarah (meaning princess) for nothing!)

Knitting – hey ho – Scout is challenging us to out our UFOs. Strictly we are supposed to post pics of our UFOs, but since I was always very bad at “Spot the difference”, particularly when there aren’t any, I will just list them:

1) Swatch (the grey/white lacey thing)
2) Linux Illusion Scarf (the grey/brown thing)
3) Donkey (the little shapeless grey thing)

– Kind of shameful that all 3 of those were in the same photo when I declared my WIPs in March. Still, if you read on with that post – the sockapalooozas were finished in time, the mittens have been consigned to the frog pond, the hat has been finished, rejected by my mother (very sensible woman, it’s not a good hat!) and adopted by Adam (silly boy – it looks utterly ridiculous on him!).

But this is about UFOs, not smug listing of the (very) few items I’ve managed to complete. So we also have my
4) Sunrise Circle Jacket (which is growing),
5) I Do shrug (which still needs the ends weaving in, and blocking – I’m a bit scared of the blocking (I’ve never blocked before – shhhhhhh…. – and I’m not sure where to find room…. ))
6) red beanie and the Trekking socks

I think that’s all…

We’re off Ooop North tomorrow for a while – including 3 nights in Blackpool where Adam and Ruth will finally get to see the sea :-) (I managed to get them to the beach last year, but the tide was way way out – this year I guarantee sea.)

Nearly right...

This made me chuckle. But it’s not quite right, is it? I mean, surely he’d have a sock with him – for just such an eventuality…


I entered a contest on Jen’s blog – and look at what I won!
– 4 oz of Mama-E’s sock yarn
Pretty, pretty, pretty – thank you so much.

... now to find a suitable pattern… ;-)