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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A Postcard from Dubai

Just a quick note with a photo or two.  We're on holiday in Dubai at the moment staying with Wicked Stepson No. 1 and his wife.  Had a lovely time here as the weather isn't too hot at this time of year.

The view from our bedroom

Eric dwarfed by the Dubai skyline

This is the tallest building in the world
Thanks Ben and Sam for a lovely trip

Tomorrow we leave the sun though and head over to Germany for a short visit with our friend Ted where the weather is going to be a wee bit chillier than here!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

He's Here . . .

Today was the day my alpaca arrived.  Expect lots of photos from now on.  You'll get quite bored, I'm sure.

Here he is :-

This is Impala.  He wasn't too disturbed by his journey and started eating almost immediately.  He even let me stroke him, although later on when I went to take the photos he wasn't too keen on getting very close.

Here he is with Jorrocks who belongs to Tammy and Rob :-

Jorrocks is only 7 months old so is at least a year younger. He's a rose grey colour.   Hopefully they'll get along together OK.

Why does that woman keep following us?

They were certainly sticking together today!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Alpaca Update

Just in case you're thinking that I haven't really bought an alpaca because he hasn't arrived yet - I have, he hasn't, but HE WILL!!  After the females being delivered last week (instead of the males) he was due to arrive yesterday.  Unfortunately, snow arrived in the Dordogne where he lives at the moment, and so it wasn't possible to bring him on Thursday.  The next date set was Saturday (tomorrow), although I was a bit dubious that the weather would behave in time.  I was right - it hasn't, and now it's going to be sometime next week.  Thankfully, we don't have snow yet down here, but what do you bet, as soon as the Dordogne is free of it, it'll snow here!

Also a little update on the females.  They've settled in well, got used to the sheep, and are establishing the pecking order, with Cerise (the black one) becoming "the boss".  She gets first dip at the food (poor Hope tried to eat at the same time yesterday and was promptly spat at) and the other two just accept it!  Tammy is thinking of re-naming Hope "Hopeless" because she just stands back and lets Cerise take over!  That's life in the alpaca world I suppose!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

What's On the Needles?

It's been a while since I showed you any knitting, even though I have been getting on with something.  This is going to be a cardigan, at last!

Eighteen months ago it was going to be a sweater dress, and I managed to get about halfway up the body, didn't like the way it was going, and left it.  Previously, it had been started as a cardigan and I didn't like that either!

So, this time it's going to get finished.  And I am happy with the way it's going now, so let's hope that continues because I don't want to have to rip it back again.

I'm using handspun for this - the multicoloured yarn is 50% merino, 50% mohair, and the blue is just merino.  I'm not a pretty sight whilst knitting this - because the mohair sheds and makes me cough, I have to wear a face mask, which is also hot and itchy.  I'll be glad when it's finished!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

First Alpacas

Yesterday my alpaca was due to be delivered; the guy said he'd bring the two males and let them get settled before bringing the three females next week.  Except he brought the females instead.  So now I have to wait another week.  It was still exciting though!

Here they are :-

They were a bit hungry after their journey and didn't want much to do with us at first. Then they spotted a chicken and went to investigate.

But the chicken didn't want to know!  Neither did the cats.

This is Hope :-

She's the only one who wanted to pose, so there are a few photos of her.

She's a pale fawn colour and has the same father as Impala, the one I'm getting.

This is Bella, she's classed as white, but actually she looks pretty much the same colour as Hope.  It's quite easy to tell them apart though as Bella has a white top-notch over her eyes, and Hope's is fawn.

The 3rd one, Cerise, was difficult to photograph as she always seemed to be hiding behind the other two.  She's classed as a "true black", although she actually looks very dark brown as the tips of the fleece get a bit faded in the sun.

It was surprising how fast they settled down and started eating after their ordeal.  This was the first time they'd left their home farm and must have been very confused about what was happening.  They'd had a 3-hour journey to get here, so that can't have been much fun.  Still, there are lots of chickens to chase and cats to get to know . . . and the scary sheep who kept staring from the next paddock, not to mention the pigs!  I think life here could be quite interesting for them.

These three are all pregnant; Cerise and Hope are due to produce their crias at the end of June, and Bella mid-August.  That's when the fun will really start!

Monday, 7 January 2013

St Distaff's Day

Happy New Year everyone.  Thought it was about time I put in an appearance here in blogland.  I haven't really done much so far this year after waking up on the 1st with a cold.  Not a bad one thankfully, and I'm over it now and back to normal.

In case you didn't know (and why would you?) today is known as St Distaff's Day. Actually, my French calendar tells me that today belongs to St Raymond, which is the real saint for today.  St Distaff is not a real saint, and in days gone by the 7th January was known as Distaff Day which gradually acquired the name "Saint".

Traditionally, St Distaff's Day was the day women returned to their labours after the 12th day of Christmas.  Their daily work included spinning and so the distaff was used to symbolise "women's labours".  Interestingly, the men didn't return to work until the first Monday after 12th night, so in some years they would get almost a week longer than the women!  Makes you wonder who made the rules!!

Anyway, to finish this little story, today has been adopted by spinners around the world, and today there will be lots of spinning wheels in action, mine included (after I've got the ironing pile down a little bit that is).  This is what I've been spinning this week :-

more "floor sweepings" from World of Wool
I picked out all the different shades of grey and am generally mixing them up on the bobbin to make a sort of marled effect (hopefully).  The wool on the right is a little bit coarse and hairy, so I'm mixing that in very thinly and will probably use the finished wool to make socks.

the hairy bits are the coarse wool

Oh, and I forgot to show you my other finished knitting project :-

This was Eric's Christmas present - it's a Mini Mania Scarf (pattern from Ravelry). Unfortunately, I didn't get it finished in time for Christmas - it's very difficult knitting something in secret when the recipient is always around - but I did manage to finish by the 27th.

This scarf is knit end to end, and at the end of each row the yarn is cut to leave a tail which is knotted with the tail from the next row to form a fringe.  The stitch used is linen stitch which is very easy once you've got into the rhythm of it, and makes the scarf look almost woven.  This is another pattern that uses small balls of leftover yarn, although I spun them specially.  I've now got quite a stash of bits and pieces, so may make one for me before too long.  I'm glad to say he likes the scarf, and the colours really suit him.

So, Happy St. Distaff's Day, hope you manage to spend a part of it doing something you really like!