We knew it was going to be hot in central London yesterday, but we went anyway. Lots of places, and buses, have air conditioning these days, I thought. They may well do. The places and buses we visited yesterday, for the most part, didn't!
Got up early, for me. Got ready - glasses - check, purse - check, railcard - check, Oyster card (for bus travel in London) - check, bottles of water* - check (1x250ml, 1x500ml), stick - check, knitting - check; and so to Town.
The train was supposed to have some form of air-con. If you sat in the aisle seats you got it, sit in the window seats and the 'blower' didn't really reach that far. I sat on the 'unsunny', ie: West facing, side of the train. It gradually filled up. I cast on and started the current 'travel project' sock. Socks are ideal travel projects, provided you don't put the single needle down while you're working. Nobody commented on my knitting. That was the 250ml bottle of water, maybe I'd under-provided.
Arrived Waterloo, met BiL who, living in London and visiting places, acted as my 'native guide' - him and his smartphone. Found the bus, headed to the Museum of Fashion and Textiles (FTM) in Bermondsey for the Missoni exhibition, in its final few days.
( Pictures, and Videos, from some Very Warm ExhibitionsCollapse )
Today is forecast to be even warmer. I shall stay in with the blinds lowered and the curtains parttly drawn, do some washing and try to keep my cool. w00t! for water on tap!
W00t! too for H, who got inside the freezer yesterday evening and cleared the build-up of ice in the tubes so that it's working again.
Y'all have a good day now!
*I object to having to buy water. It's totally overpriced for something we get 'free' from a tap. Who cares if it's 'volcanic' or 'filtered through chalk' - our water is anyhow! As it happened I'd under-provided and needed to buy another two 500ml bottles of water, at different times.
I begin to appreciate the suffering undergone by devout Muslims during Ramadan when it falls in the summer!
**The money-grabbing company which runs some of our local buses could take useful note. As could both companies when it comes to transferring 'day out' tickets!
Where is everyone? On holiday?
Having recieved but one comment* on my last five posts, I might just do the same. Goodness only knows there are things on which the time might be better spent - like housework!
Oh look, that American Olympic swimmer who, with his mates, acted like a spoiled Frat boy on a night out in Rio, has been dropped by yet another sponsor. Serve him right, I say.
There he was, in a privileged position, representing his country . . . Hmmm, America, land of the spoiled Frat boy and home of Trump! ??
Honestly though, the man is 32. High time he grew up and acted sensibly - and if he can't act sensibly when he's been drinking then maybe he shouldn't drink that much!
Yes, Dear Reader, I realise I sound sanctimonious and possibly a little smug. Sorry.
I shall get off my high horse and shut up.
Y'all have a good day now!
*That was on the first paragraph. The meat of the entry, which came further down, was totally un-commented-on. . . by any Reader. Le sigh!
Saturday came as a bit of a shock. No, Dear Reader, we knew it would be Saturday. We knew it would be cooler. It was how much cooler - the Gallileo thermometer got down as far as four balls (c 19°C, it had been up to just the one ball c 27°C in the previous weeks.) Then there were the showers. H was out briefly in the morning and said that at one point he couldn't see one side of the main road from the other; so he went and had a cup of coffee to wait it out. Fortunately such heavy rain rarely lasts long; I don't think anywhere got flooded as a result.
Then BiL (H's brother) visited, which was very nice. We sat around and chatted and by mid-afternoon were all yawning away. Cue quick infusion of caffeinated tea. I don't know why sitting around chatting should be so tiring but . . . Maybe the men had had tiring weeks and I was just catching it from them.
The Warm is back today and for most of the rest of the week.
* * *
The government, to much fanfare and hooha, decided in a budget last year, to bring in a National Living Wage. This was to be £7.20 per hour for over 25's, and would be payable from 1st April this year. There was a howl from various businesses.
Many small businesses employing people on basic wages said that they wouldn't be able to afford to pay their staff and continue working. Most big businesses employing people on basic wages:- shops, supermarkets, DIY stores etc, did quick calculations and realised that if they implemented the new wage it would eat into their profits. Never mind the fact that they could afford it.
So firms like Marks and Spencer and B&Q came up with schemes. If they altered the payments workers received for Sundays, Bank Holidays and after 9pm (do the stores stay open that late?) They could make their profits and be seen to be paying the National Living Wage.
In reality this means that many of their workers, some of whom have worked for them for forty years and more, will be taking home less. When you are on basic wages any 'less' makes life harder. But that isn't the Big Firms problem. Where once they might have thought of their workers, now they only consider themselves responsible to their shareholders. All the shareholders are concerned about is their dividend. If it isn't big enough they'll take their investments elsewhere. Such is financial life!
Various protests have been made by workers who will be affected by the cuts, even a petition on Change.org. We wait to see what will happen. I can't see this government intervening on behalf of the workers, funded as it is by Big Business (among others.)
Of course the various Firms could get around the new, higher wage bill by employing more under 25's. Apparently there are lots of them out of work. Some might be prepared to work for less than £7.20/hour. Institute some form of 'Training Scheme', take the workers on at 18, or 16 even, 'train' them then make sure there are very few places for the 'trained' workers by the time they reach the more expensive age of 25. Or they could just put their prices up a few pence!
Heck, it's hardly rocket science! Even I, a fairly honest and moral person, can come up with something. I'm sure the lawyers, retained at great expense by Big Businesses, could come up with something much more watertight!
Not that I am recommending such a course of action.
* * *
The Olympics have finished. Yay! Britain won lots of medals. Yay! It came second, after the US and before China, in the medals table. Yay! Apparently the closing parade was quite a spectacle too. Yay!
Now Brazil is left with several Olympic grade sporting venues, and all the original problems of wealth imbalance, extreme poverty, gang warfare, drugs, Zika, etc, etc, etc which, I suspect, rather got put on hold in the run up to and during the games.
I know Christ said, 'The poor will always be with you' but is that an excuse for leaving them to rot? The meanwhile allowing the rich to get even richer? I think not. Hmmm, we're back to the previous subject, only more so!
* * *
Meanwhile the laceweight beaded scarf continues, with very little tinking. It's a slow process, think 'mindfulness' on the knit, particularly the beaded, rows. On purl rows it's a case of working out which is the stitch and which is the yarn over as I work, but I do get a slight chance to think. It makes such a difference when you read the pattern the right way!
And I finished the Langit socks from the Knitting Goddess Blue Skies Sock Club. Yes, I realise this was the March issue. I was knitting jumpers at the time to keep the family warm! Now that the weather is Main Warm socks are just the project.
In the end I decided that the travelling rib pattern didn't really show up that well, fitted awkwardly on the foot (the socks are for Sis, who has Very Long feet) and was more hassle than it was worth on the legs. So I left the rib on the feet and continued the legs in 2x2 rib. I reckon it's the colour of the yarn that really makes these socks. Picture? Hmmm, we'll see.
I then promptly cast on for some dead simple socks in a blue/red/yellow/black/white yarn which knits up patterned with blue toes, heels and cuffs, for Mum. I thought I needed something Really Simple for a short while.
I also wondered about investing in some sock blockers, possibly some adjustable ones rather than having lots of pairs in different sizes. Then I came across these. Wop Rices! Think I'll continue without.
Hokay, time to go do something before it gets too hot. The washing will dry well today.
Y'all have a good day now!
After the recent spate of incidents of dogs attacking other dogs or people, eg: this one where a boy died, it's good to have a positive story about a dog.
Goofy is 'top dog' and valued staff member at Opn Advertising, an ad firm.
( Dog, Medals and About a Boy,Collapse )
And Finally - the continuing Saga of the Washing Machine. The two drum shovels we ordered arrived today. The two pieces of specially shaped plastic, about 7x2x2 inches, were wrapped in bubble wrap (wahay!) Which is fair enough, then put in a cardboard box at least five times bigger, even than when they were bubble-wrapped. What's wrong with a Jiffy-bag?
That's it! Partmaster's blurb about Caring for the Environment is just that. Blurb. So much Greenwash.
Either that or the people in the packaging department need re-training!
Aujour d'hui il pleut un peut. It may actually be cooler than it has been, which is a good thing even if I can't dry washing! So I shall do something else.
Y'all have a good day now!
What is it with the designers of public toilets? Do they ever try using them? Particularly the Ladies' cubicles.
I mean, how hard can it be to include the actual toilet, a sani-bin and a humungous toilet paper dispenser and yet still leave room for the cubicle user to stand while she closes and opens the door?
Judging by the one I used Tuesday, too hard. The door/loo bowl distance was interference fit, and the loo roll dispenser (humungous) was in about the only place I could have stood while opening/closing the door. Fortunately I only had a smallish bag and my stick, which folds up anyway. Pity anyone bigger or with more stuff. Although there was a 'disabled' loo too, which looked as if it had plenty of space. Just as well really. But it wouldn't have been rocket science to have made the cubicles even two inches longer - there was room for that. Then there'd have been room inside. Le sigh!
Then there were the handwashing facilities - one of those steel affairs which dispense soap, then water, then a feeble, too short, blow of hot air for 'drying' purposes. I ended up using a shirt tail. Well, it was warm outside so it dried quickly.
Honestly - those hot air blowing hand 'driers'. Studies have shown that, far from being more hygenic than paper towels, the hot air causes bacterial levels in the loos to increase markedly. Then there are the blowers which blow too cool, too short a time or, most of all, too softly. Oh, there are decent hand driers out there - the Dyson Airblade™ for one, but so many loo builders seem to be content to cut corners and install 'driers' which are ineffective at drying and merely increase the local population of bacterial!
Actually I was fairly surprised to find a public loo at all. As part of its 'economy measures' the City Council has been closing such buildings and demolishing them, then telling people to use the loos in shops and pubs, even signposting some of them. Honestly, if the Council Leader would stop spending money on pursuing 'vanity' projects, which bring people to the city for a few days per year and spend it on what the people of the city actually need. . .
* * *
H came across this:-
Not sure it's something people might actually need, but I can see it being useful, sometimes (it is a sundial after all and this is the UK.) What might look really good is if it was a giant sculpture-like installation. Although plastic might be more easily subject to vandalism than the more usual materials for public sculptures. Sorry, I live in Portsmouth, we have vandals. Go on, I bet there are vandals where you live too. Unless you live on your own, way out in the sticks.
* * *
Meanwhile today the dreaded 'A' Level results are published. If you're one of those awaiting results, here's hoping you get what you wanted.
Right, nuff. Y'all have a good day now!
*The 'song' goes 'Oh, dear, what can the matter be?/ Two old ladies locked in the lavatory./ They were there from Monday to Saturday./ Nobody knew they were there!' Or at least the version I know does.
There is also a Morris dance to the tune. I learned it many years ago, we had handkerchiefs. Wonder if it's still danced?
So yesterday I looked up bus maps and times for Portsmouth, and yes, it was possible to get to the Cathedral (St Thomas's, the Anglican one. Like Liverpool we've 'got one to spare'!) Two buses, both of which came every ten minutes. Load up with bottle of water, mobile phone, purse, door key, bag, but no cardigan - another MAIN WARM day was forecast, and set off.
( Pictures at an ExhibitionCollapse )
I got home without too much hassle. It was a good thing we had the wherewithal for a salad tea that could be made in about five minutes. That was all my hip would have stood for, literally. I'll try the recipe for the salad they advertised at Canteen this evening, when my joints will be more co-operative. I hope.
Think I might stay in today, there's a certain amount of housework needs doing and it's forecast to be even warmer. Fortunately it's forecast to be cooler Friday. Unfortunately it's also forecast rain, though I suppose the gardens could do with it. The waterbut still has water in it, but there is a limit.
Y'all have a good day now!
*Some pictures here. Some of them were in the exhibition!
Sis and Niece managed to get here a tad early yesterday. Modern Sat Navs are pretty good, apparently. So we sat around with drinks (coffee/water) chatting for a while, then headed out for lunch. I'd already done a bit of research as to location, also potential places to park.
We went to Manna, which is in Old Portsmouth just opposite the Cathedral. We had more drinks (coffee tea and herbal tea. Tea is a good buy, you get a pot which contains three cups' worth, coffee you just get the one cup. If it's a latté you get mostly air in said cup!) And sandwiches - toasted brie, club and tuna, lettuce and tomato, all with salad and 'hand cut crisps' (which I bet they didn't make on site, although they took long enough producing the sandwiches.) They were nice. We chatted.
Then we headed for the Long Battery* - part of the defences of Old Portsmouth back when cannon were cutting edge warfare - and walked round to the Point. I pointed out various historical bits and pieces and explained a few others. Like the rock which a couple of crew members sheltered behind to give covering fire for the rest of their shore party to get away when attacked on a beach somewhere in the Crimea (mid-1800s). It's not a particularly big rock either.
For some reason the ship's captain later sent another landing party to get the rock and bring it home to Portsmouth. Presumably he knew they wouldn't be needing to land on that beach again! It's true, Dear Reader. Visit Old Portsmouth, the rock is on display, complete with explanatory plaque, just inshore of the Long Battery!
I showed them the Spinnaker Tower - in its new Emirates sponsored paint job. Back before sponsorship the tower had been painted white and it looked elegant. These days the lower two thirds of the 'legs' are blue and gold and it just looks awful. But that's our City Council Leader for you - trying to bring sponsorship and Events to the city to 'put it on the map'. A lot of us rate payers think she'd do far better spending the money she's currently spending on pursuing such 'vanity' projects on useful stuff for the city.
We also saw the Ben Ainslie Racing building. Talk about a carbuncle! It's a huge grey box with lots of glass windows and an funny shaped grey thingy on the one side. Also a grey scale Union Flag on the large garage-type door at ground level. It is totally out of keeping with the area - although there are quite a few odd-looking and Quite Large buildings nearby. Yes I know Dear Reader, but I forgot to take the camera with me.
Then it was time to head back to the car before our two hours' parking ran out. We had a nice visit - it was sunny, there was a cooling breeze which Sis and I appreciated, Niece likes HOT. I shall get down there again, soonish, as there are new galleries built into the arches under some of the defensive walls and I'd like to have longer to look around.
I also wrestled with the shawl/scarf and got a few more rows done, correctly, yesterday evening. Maybe that was why I had trouble dropping off to sleep last night!
All in all a good day. Y'all have a good day today too!
*Should you wish, Dear Reader, you can follow our walk on Google Maps starting here.
A while back I made a start on Anniken Allis' Iris scarf/shawl. I laid in some alpaca/silk laceweight in a pretty shade of light grey. I did a VERY stretchy cast on, knitted the stocking stitch centre with the 'holed' garter stitch edge and all went well. I even tied on bits of different coloured yarn every ten rows so that I could count how far I'd gotten easily. I suppose I could take them out now.
Saturday evening I got out the chart for the next part, the lace, had a good look at it, read the instructions a couple of times, counted various bits, checked the chart symbols so I knew which meant what and tied a lot more stitch markers. I used loops of smooth cotton yarn. They aren't as pretty as some stitch markers you can get, but they are lightweight so they don't (usually) drop off my needles at the slightest excuse, and it doesn't matter if they get lost. They're also inexpensive and it's easy to produce a few more, eg: when you realise that this pattern will need twenty markers! I even got a 0.5mm crochet hook so I could add beads when called for - Anniken Allis likes to put beads in her lacy shawls. And I already had the beads in stash!
This is my first venture into lace knitting - I thought I'd gained sufficient experience (been knitting for fifty-plus years) and why not? Apparently Iris doesn't have 'proper' lace. Every alternate row is purled, rather than having yarn overs and decreases like in the knit rows. Turns out, on further investigation, Ms Allis reckons that Iris is an 'intermediate' grade of pattern. This might well explain what follows. Or it could just be my general incomptence, even after fifty-plus years of knitting!
( The Saga of the Shawl - first two rows of laceCollapse )
Today Sis and Niece happen to be in the area, so they are visiting and taking me out for lunch. I'm looking forward to seeing them both, but think I'd better do some housework before they arrive so the place looks a bit tidier.
Y'all have a good day now!
It's warm today. Not as warm as in New York I expect, but warm. Apparently in New York people are shoplifting cartons of ice-cream, which they'll then supply to smaller shops ('bodegas') for resale.
So should you be in New York, Dear Reader, go pay for your ice-cream from a supermarket, rather than buying a cornet from a bodega. You never know, it might be stolen and have melted somewhat between point of theft and point of sale. It could be full of nasty bacteria!
No, I am not supporting the supermarkets over the 'small businessperson'. Just trying to support law and order over theft and disease!
On the subject of disease - organ donation. Are you a registered organ donor, Dear Reader? Because if you'd like to help someone after your death, now is the time to register. I know no one like to think about dying, but think of all the heartache you could save your grieving family and friends if you make your wishes Really Clear now.
Of course, the present 'opt in' laws may well get changed. There has been talk on and off about changing the UK law to an 'opt out' scenario, so that people who died in hospital would automatically be donating any useful organs. If they didn't want this to happen then they'd have had to make their wishes perfectly clear, probably in writing, beforehand.
Bearing in mind that most people would be willing to donate organs after death, but don't often get around to 'opting in', this could be a better system. I case you were wondering, Dear Reader, I've carried a kidney donor card for years. They'll be welcome to anything else they can use. I certainly shan't have any further use for the organs*!
* * *
It's that time of year again. I was sat somewhere the other day when a wasp buzzed by, prospecting. I and the young man near me sat very still until it buzzed off. That's the way to deal with wasps at any time, but particularly at this time of year when they tend to investigate people more. Try not to flinch. Definitely do not flap. Just keep calm and carry on until they get fed up and buzz off.
Of course, if you happen to be eating an ice-cream . . . Maybe a little share wouldn't be too bad, although I'm told wasps tend to land on all sorts and their feet are probably as insanitary as flies' feet!
Right, off to sit still and quiet in a shaded room, possibly with the fan on and some iced coffee as I was making little cakes earlier and got quite warm.
Y'all have a good day now!
*I know I've told you before, H. Hope you don't/won't mind. Hmmm, is there any way of donating a Bible along with the organ? Sort of attempt to save the body and the soul.
Regular Readers will know the Saga of the Washing Machine. How a part (plastic 'soap dispenser') broke around mid-June. That's the problem with plastic parts, bits of them give up the ghost most inconveniently. How the new part was on 10-14 days delivery. How that part was no longer made and the new part was also on 10-14 days delivery! How we managed to find a launderette (an increasingly rare breed) near us and how H hauled the washing there on several intervening Saturdays.
How the parts finally came (beginning of August), were fitted, and how, on the second load of washing, another part (a plastic 'drum shovel') broke. How an online supplier, Partmaster, was found. How another 'drum shovel' was ordered. How it arrived - a 7"x 2"x 2" part in a 14" square card 'envelope'. How it needed H's engineering skills to fit ( knowing the right size of hammer and just where to hit it!)
H then visited a shop which specialises in screws to see if they had one which would hold the drum shovel in place - one of them also had a screw holding it in place (as well as the plastic lugs.) He got some. They weren't the right size, whatever the shops said (and they're pretty good about such things.) Partmaster supplies the relevant screws, at a fiendish price (£5.49 each), but not for our make of washing machine.
Then, on the second load of washing with the new 'drum shovel' in place, running a 'spin' cycle, suddenly ominous clattering sounds from machine. Stop it. Wait for it to 'land' and unlock. Investigate. The new 'drum shovel' had somehow shed a couple of its fixing lugs - the bits which hold it into the drum!
( And So It Continued . . .Collapse )
And even with all this I am grateful to God that we have:-
So much for my First World 'problems'. As I used to say to the children when they were younger and complained that things weren't as they liked, life itself is unfair. That's why we live here and not in Assam - where the monsoon has been such that a flooded Brahmaputra river was strong enough to wash away an elephant!
Y'all have a good day now!