31 Jul 2012

Hestia...and jam today....and tomorrow

So I made gooseberry jam.  It was largely uneventful other than the fact that I seemed to get jam on everything - my clothes, the seat I was sitting on....the hamster.....


Two full jars, a wee tiny jar and a half jar - result!

Pink, sticky loveliness!

The small jar is for Juno, my mother, and the half jar is for Not-My-Boyfriend-Ron (her boyfriend, Ron)

Remember the snapped branch with the peaches? Here they are now!

Ok - so, I laid a tray down on top of one of them. 

I am also asking Sonshine to help me around the house.

Yesterday evening, for example, I asked him to tidy all the stuff off the dining room table and to set it for us both.

This is the result.

Nothing lined up - hasn't even moved a biro pen out of the way!
Cutlery the wrong way around
No condiments
No drinks sorted
All the stuff that had been lying around has just been shoved into a single pile.

I think he's some way off being good at Front of House work.

25 Jul 2012

Hestia and...a shaft of sunlight

This morning it was sunny.  Really sunny.  Of course, it's not NOW, but for an hour or so, it felt like SUMMER was upon us.

I sat outside with a mug of tea in my jammies and dressing gown and contemplated life, the universe and everything...... but mainly the glint of red beneath some leaves on the far side of the garden.

Reader, I could not believe it - the blackbirds had left me some redcurrants!

Straight after breakfast, out I went with a couple of bowls and harvested my soft fruit.

Feast your eyes on the gorgeousness!!!!

Redcurrants and gooseberries!

I don't know whether to eat them or wear them in my ears!

And look what a blackbird poo has brought us - raspberries
It's worth letting him have the blueberries!

Some raspberries

Of course, you realise what this means, don't you?

I'll be making JAM.

Verily, abandon all faith, ye who enter that particular blog post when it happens.....

23 Jul 2012

Hestia and...the Scottish Summer

So, Tartarus got home last Saturday.  And he disappeared back to work yesterday.  So much for us managing to grab a family holiday....

He was home early because the ship that he has worked on for the past decade has just been sold.  He checked out all his work/leave stuff and said that he had quite a few days in hand.....but when he contacted his company on the Monday, they already had plans for him to work on another ship in Sweden.


It's not a lot of fun having a partner in the merchant navy.  You can plan nothing.  Not even your own wedding is safe from the vagaries of the Delayed Pay-Off.  *martyr face*

It also means that Sonshine is moping around with a face like a wet Monday morning.  Mainly because it IS a wet Monday morning.  Wet and miserable.

But on Friday there was an expanse of blue sky.  It was mild.  It was a day for getting into the garden.

I don't have a lot that flowers at this time of the year - but here's a clematis

Here are my blueberries.  It's a Mexican Standoff between me and the blackbirds.

I ventured into the greenhouse - there's nothing there but a vine and a couple of fruit trees.
The vine has clearly gone bonkers.

Look, the vine has reached the far away bed in the greenhouse.
And as you can see, there isn't a bloody grape to be seen.

I have a dwarf peach.  And I thin it religiously, but this branch I neglected to thin properly.
And now it has snapped off.  Fruit has been taken into house to ripen next to bananas.

After a couple of hours, the greenhouse is looking ok.
And I can see my white jasmine-scented clematis - look, it reaches for miles!

The view the other way is still a bit shit.
on the left hand side, you can see the dwaf peach and next to it...

....well that huge thing is supposed to be a dwarf apricot - but not only does it grow like a weed, it never produces any flowers.  It's coming out this year.

And look at the bloody bindweed coming in the back window.
And the big fern over at the right hand side.

I don't have green fingers

and on that note....

The knitting has ground to a standstill because I have done a row wrongly and when I tried to pick it back to where the mistake was - like THE BEGINNING OF THE ROW.

Clearly I am not a gardener nor a knitter.

Suggestions as to what I MIGHT be good at will be most welcome......

20 Jul 2012

Hestia and The Summer Holidays

Justin Bieber: The smiley teen we would
all love our son to be. 
Maybe not with that hair though
God, I hate the school summer holidays.
I fondly imagined that as Sonshine grew more independent, I would only see him for the odd bite of lunch and a hastily wolfed down dinner before her disappeared back out with his friends for some cycling, fishing or some hanging about on street corners.

And I would be permitted to carry on with my life. Which is mainly facebook. And knitting.  But I digress....

Our schools closed at the end of June for six long weeks.  And almost every day has been wet.  You would think, then, that when a nice day (or even just a non-raining day) dawned, they would be out there, doing what pre-teens do best.

And perhaps he IS doing what pre-teens do best: sprawled over an armchair watching endless Cartoon Network shows.  I persuaded him to start writing a blog, but after a few posts (and a few days up at my mother's) it sort of petered out.

'Why don't you phone the Meerkat?' I suggest brightly as I clatter the breakfast dishes into the sink.

'He's not coming round today.  He said, well, that, well, you know.  *pause*'


'Oh you wouldn't understand,' he sighs, sloping back through to the TV.

After the kitchen is squared up, I venture into the Cavern of Gloom.

'What about Liam?'

'Liam isn't very nice.  He said all those things about you.'

'Ah, yes.'

'What about Jay?'

Which one?' 

'Either one!'

There is a large drawn-out sigh and he balls his fists into his eyes like a world-weary London commuter after a straight 8-hour shift.  Another sigh.  Clearly, neither Jay is going to be any use.

'What about making a blog post?'

'I could do that...' he considers.

'And then you can help me in the garden.'

Ten minutes later he has his baseball boots on and his black hoodie.  'Am off out.'

'Where are you going?'  I call after him in a voice and tone that seems strangely familiar to me.

'Just.....out.'  There is something familiar too about the tone of his voice.

The front door closes.  I recognise the voice: I have turned into my mother. 

And Sonshine has just turned into me.

13 Jul 2012

Hestia and.... Friday 13th

Don't let that graceful exterior fool you.
These are crappers of Olympian proportions.
Last night, whilst watching a most interesting programme on the Beeb about The Men Who Made Us Fat (whilst eating a Tunnocks Caramel Wafer and a mug of milky coffee, can I just add), I was also pootering around on itunes.

I downloaded a Nightstand app, which basically gives you a snazzy alarm clock.  How to waken up tomorrow morning?  What could be more pleasant than being gently roused by the distant peal of  chiming Church Bells?

10 Jul 2012

Hestia's knitting hell continues

Hideous, but achievable

It was all going rather smoothly this time.  I had sussed the pattern and I was keen to show off my new lace-knitting skills to Juno (my mother).

On the ferry to the mainland I casually decided to knit a couple of rows.  Unperturbed by Andy Murray giving it his all on the ferry (yes, we have telly on the ferry), I began to knit.

Two rows later, it was looking promising for Murray and myself.  Not wanting to push my luck, I tidied it all away and read a magazine.  I felt oddly serene and at one with the world.  Knitting is good meditative practise, thought I.

Just under two hours later, I have decanted everything from the car (including the hamster) and we are relaxing with a small libation. The tennis is still on, although the score has started to swing towards Federer.

I am hating this affable Swiss chap.  He stands between Scotland and Sporting Glory.  Which we have precious little of in this country.

I decide to break out the knitting again.  I waft it proudly in Juno's face.  'oh yes, very nice, dear,' and she turns her attentions to Wimbledon.

With hindsight, dear reader, I should not have attempted a row while the tennis was reaching fever pitch.  With hindsight, I should have taken myself off to another room and sat in monastic silence, clacking my needles together and repeating my mantra ('knit two, slip one, knit one, slide that over, knit two'....) and never raise my eyes to poor Murray.

Because it came to pass that by the time I reached the end of that row, I was several stitches adrift.

A low wail and a hastily muffled profanity arose from my corner of the sofa, alerting Juno to the fact that her daughter's knitting was not going well.

Gamely, she picked back the row as best she could, but it was no use.  I would reach a certain point in re-knitting the row and it all went tits up: straight bits developed holes and holes that SHOULD have been there closed over for EVER.  It looked like Vivienne Westwood on acid.  And I don't mean the drug.

I took myself off to a quiet room and slowly unpicked the NEXT row (the last one that I did on the ferry).  Maybe the problem was there?  Who knows whether it was, because instead of 86 stitches, I was now down to a paltry 79.

The tennis ended and Juno brought me a glass of wine.  She asked no questions and I never raised my eyes from the increasing pile of splitting wool.

Honest to God, I was THIS close *brings fingers close together* to bursting into tears.  There was nothing else for it.  I had to rip it back to the ribbing.  AGAIN.

Eyes stinging, fingers numb from wrestling with tiny, splitting bubbles of stitch-work, I rejoined Juno and Sonshine.  Murray, equally red-eyed and wobbly of voice said his piece after the match.  I could have hugged him.  I shared his pain. We tried. We really, really tried.  And we were found wanting.  Him with his raquet and me with my size 4 needles.  Together we struggled to hold back our tears - his from coming SO close to sporting glory, mine from dropping 7 unfindable stitches.

'You just knit like Auntie Mima,' said my mother sagely.

Auntie Mima.  A woman whose colour sense baffled all who knew her.  My memory dredges up images of bright orange and lime green scratchy wool jumpers with necks so tight that your ears were throbbing scarlet from the struggle to get your head through.  And once on, only a pair of scissors could get you out.

'You mean, I can't knit?'

Juno looked thoughtfully over her glasses at me:  'I think,' she said carefully, 'that your skills may lie in other areas.'

I think she's right.

6 Jul 2012

Hestia wonders.....how hard can knitting be

How difficult?  I'll TELL YOU HOW DIFFICULT!!!

I have neglected you dear reader *

I feel as if I have been knitting for hours.  No - DAYS!  I feel as if I've been knitting for DAYS and this is because I actually HAVE been knitting for days.

But I have only a measily 10 cm of ribbing to show for it.  But I have actually knitted enough to comfortably pave the road between here and the Pyramids.  And back.

2 Jul 2012

Hestia and..The Day Before The End of Days

Complete humour failure by end of note

The truly disturbed dedicated reader of m'blog will know that Frank is my music teacher.

Or should that be 'music' teacher?  Or even music 'teacher'?

Put it this way, my arrival for my weekly keyboard lesson warrants a frantic rolling of cigarettes and much deep puffing at the back door.  By the time I leave, he's practically inhaling all his tobacco before the roll-up papers are out of his pocket.


I want to be healthier so I had decided that I would be cycling to Frank's last Wednesday.

Tartarus had gone out for a lunch-time pint with a fellow merchant navy friend who was visiting him for the afternoon.  In my naivety (allows herself a hollow laugh) I had thought he might come home while I was out at my hourly lesson.

I announce in the note 'Gone to Frank's on BIKE!!' because I am GIDDY with excitement of doing something healthy and environmentally friendly.

I strap on my helmet and open the back door.  It is raining, but not horrifically.  I hurry to the outbuilding where my bike leans sadly against the wall.  I throw my leg over and excecute a bikely 57-point turn.  By the time I face the right way, the rain is coming down in sheets.  SHEETS.

Bugger this.

I run back to the house, let myself in, drop off my helmet, pick up my car key and adjust the note by scoring through the 'BIKE!!' and scribbling 'car!!!'

I rush to the garage and open the door......and am confronted by Tartarus's car at the front of the garage.  My mini is squashed up against the back wall.  I have never driven Tartarus's car and I'm not going to try it today.

Trailing clouds of profanity behind me like cigarette smoke, I lock up the garage, run back to the house, let myself in, pick up my helmet, drop off my car key and adjust the note.  I score through the word 'car!!!' and once again write Bike.  No exclamation marks.  I am no longer in a good mood.

And so I cycled to Frank's in the pissing rain.  A lone cyclist in streets full of cars.  Rain rolls off the front of my helmet in a continual waterfall, soaking the thighs of my jeans so that when I cycle, small bubbles are forced through the material.  People are pointing at me.  And no wonder.  They think I'm an imbecile.  So do I.

By the time I arrive at Frank's front door, the water is, literally, running off me.

He not only hands me a bath towel to dry myself on, but drapes a smaller one on the piano stool to make me more comfortable during my lesson.

'I thought you would have come by car today,' he offers.

I say nothing, but smile through gritted teeth.

When I get home, there is still no Tartarus.  Indeed there is no Tartarus until 5pm.

The following day is The End of Days.  My blogging is all out of synch.  I blame my hormones.

Note:  Tis now Monday and it has rained and rained and rained.  And it's now JULY!!

How's the weather where you are?

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