Monday, July 21, 2008

Days Off........

I'm at the beginning of a long-awaited week off - it actually runs to 9 days in total, but I have a lot of things to pack into those days.

Today has started with a marathon of housework, beginning at the top of the house and working downwards. At least that's the plan. So far I am at the stage where it all looks much worse than it did before I started. Time for a quick cup of coffee and a break to blog before I go back and make it all tidy. Or at least tidyish which is as close as this house ever really gets. We are generally not tidy people. Too much stuff to ever be really neat. We're probably never going to be minimalist, and much as I love the look of these simple streamlined interiors you see in Grand Designs I'm enough of a realist to know I could never live like that. The next house we buy will have to have the biggest cupboards and closets known to man. Those of you who are American will know the sort of thing I'm talking about - huge walk-in closets lined with shelving and rails and all manner of storage gizmos. For some reason when the British build houses they don't build closets.

Foiling part of the plan for a reasonably spick and span house is the slight problem that the washing machine isn't working. We finally have great drying weather and I can't get the towels and sheets etc washed. Hopefully when the repair man comes tomorrow he will be able to sort it (and cheaply too please) and we won't have to go and buy another one.

Over the weekend I finally got the Evilpixie to model Icarus for you....

As you can see it's quite large. Blocking it was a tad tricky as there is nowhere I could pin it out on the floor (see too much stuff above) and it was wider than the bed. You can't really see in this photo but I have beaded the lower part of the lacy pattern (about the bottom 5-6 inches) with a variety of different coloured seed beads. I have tried to take a picture that shows both the beads and the lace pattern and it seems the two ideas are incompatible - You can only see the pattern with a dark background and you can only see the beads with a light background.

It's not exactly to the pattern as I started to run out of yarn. I had to fudge the last few pattern rows and could only manage 2 rows of edging before I had to stop. I have about 15 feet of yarn left - a close call. For the anally-retentive among you this is Icarus, from The Best of Interweave Knits, knitted on circular needles (about 4mm I think, can't remember), with Fibrespates hand-dyed mohair (hence the panic about running out - don't think I'd ever be able to get any more). Anyway it has turned out better than I expected and is just right for our forthcoming holiday - I am picturing evenings on our balcony, gin and tonic in hand, draped in my lovely light shawl against the evening sea breezes, watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. I may have a little knitting to hand. I am so looking forward to exploring the yarn stores for some little gems that I just can't get here. Oh, and did I mention that there's a fibre store just a few miles up the road. Six weeks on Saturday till we leave............

I read the new John Connolly at the weekend. It's called The Reapers and it's about Louis and Angel, though Charlie Parker does make a couple of brief appearances. Do you know what? People who know my reading tastes will be astounded. I didn't like it. I love John Connolly, I like him as a writer, I've liked all his previous work, but this one just didn't do it for me. I'm a bit hard-pressed to put my finger on exactly why that is. It's a bit wordy, a bit heavy on the introspection, and I found that when it came down to it, much as I like the character of Louis, and find him interesting in the Parker books as a secondary character, I just didn't really need to know all that much about him. I'm chalking this one up as a bit of self-indulgence on JC's part, forgiving him and moving on, hoping the next book will be back on track.

I finished Dark Flight by Lin Anderson and really enjoyed it. I had read Driftnet (her first) when it came out several years ago and thought it was good, but I hadn't read any of her's since. This one is set in Glagow as usual but features several members of the Nigerian community. It's about a missing boy, whose mother and Grandmother have been murdered. It also links to the real-life story from several years ago of the torso of a young boy found in the River Thames. I was interested by this as I once wrote the start of a novel using that very story, as an exercise while on an Arvon course. It was intriguing to see how she had built the novel out of that, using her already established characters. Of course, I never had to develop my beginning into a full novel, just write a start that would hook the reader in, but I was interested to see what she had done with it. A full review of this book will appear on Eurocrime when I get it written.

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