So a Funny Thing Happened in Asda

and by funny I mean a bit weird and creepy.

I just popped out for a few bits that we needed. As I walking through the store, I noticed a man who was a bit odd-looking. There was nothing you could point at as being odd, but he just stood out a bit. I thought nothing of it, and carried on with my shopping.

Whilst I was looking at the Free From range, trying to find the soy sauce and as-difficult-to-find-as-the-Holy-Grail products we crave, he appeared again. Right next to me. Not overly close, but next to me.

“Alright love?”, he said

“Yes thanks”, I replied quietly, looking up briefly before I carried on looking for my soy sauce.

“Shopping for the family, are you?”, he continued.

I gave a very slight smile, not meeting his eye this time, in a way I hope conveyed a “I don’t want to get into a conversation with you but I am trying not to be rude” vibe.

He reminded me a bit of Mr Strange, one of Hugh Dennis' characters from The Mary Whitehouse Experience. "Milky, milky"

He reminded me a bit of Mr Strange, one of Hugh Dennis’ characters from The Mary Whitehouse Experience. “Milky, milky”

It clearly didn’t work, because he carried on, this time stumbling over his question.

“I’m surprised you’re not … shouldn’t you be …. aren’t you … umm… I expect you’ll be getting your fella’s tea on soon won’t you?”

This time I steadfastly ignored him and turned away slightly. He left. Phew.

I found the soy sauce (the last bottle on the shelf, which had clearly been hiding when I could have done with it waving a banner) and moved on.

I went to get bread. By the time I picked up the first loaf, he had appeared in the isle. I skipped several isles and grabbed a box of tea bags. There he was again.

At this point, I decided that whatever else I had come in for that I hadn’t already picked up was not an immediate need and went to check out. I didn’t see him again.

Maybe he was completely harmless, but it made me feel creeped out. And a little bit vulnerable.


Getting Arty

In my last post I mentioned that I was planning in using a lot of the yarn I was given in the artwork that I have begun making.

I was never arty at school, and my drawing “skills” still leave a lot to be desired, but as I have got older, I have realised that lack of ability in the school subject called “Art” does not necessarily mean a lot of creative ability. I can create, I just can’t draw anything recognisable!

My school report

My school report

I’ve tried lots of different creative styles over the years, from body casting, to clay work (I found that I’m not a natural on the potter’s wheel), henna painting and more. Recently, I have been using crochet to create art.

I began crocheting over five years ago, teaching myself when I was heavily pregnant with Plum. I did the standard new-to-crochet, mum-to-be things – blankets, hats, cardies etc. And for a while that was the kind of thing I stuck to. But then I discovered freeform crochet. And the world changed!

Freeform crochet sort of throws out the rule book when it comes to crochet. Sort of. There are no set patterns, but there are stitches which are used throughout freeform. Beyond that, the world is your oyster really. I like it. It feels a bit like doodling with yarn.

The first I did was made of four sections, each representing one of the seasons. 30


Next I decided to make a tree. It ended up a lot bigger than I originally planned – it’s 2 feet tall!

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I’ve got another on the go at the moment – a goddess picture for my Etsy shop and I just finished this one yesterday. This was a commission for the people who gifted all that yarn to me. Apart from a wee bit of mohair and a teensy bit of cotton used in the hills, the rest of the yarn used in this piece came from what was donated. I hope it will be a permanent reminder for them of their departed mother, who built up this stash over more than forty years!

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I’m also giving weaving a little go, though not on any big, impressive scale and just for my own amusement at the moment!

Yarn Adventures

A couple of months ago, I saw an advert on Preloved which said someone had a large amount of yarn odds and ends that they would like to find a new home for. For free. I immediately answered to say I would love to take it.

We messaged back and forth for a while trying to arrange a suitable time for me to collect and about a week ago, I went to collect it.

I expected a few carrier bags full if I’m honest, but when I got there, there were about ten bin liners full, as well as a couple of boxes which were also full. We sorted through it all together, pulled out some which the lady wanted to keep, condensed some bags and then loaded what I was taking into my car. All six bin liners full!

Since I hadn’t been expecting this much, I hadn’t emptied the car out before I went, so I ended up feeling like I was surrounded by yarn – three on the back seat, amongst the children’s car seats and the huge stack of parcels I had to drop off, two squashed into the boot, on top of half a forest which the kids had collected, and one on the front seat.

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It was wet when I got back home, so it all stayed in the car until the next day when the sun was shining and I could sort out what I actually had. I tipped it all out and sorted through, bagging it in our collection of carrier bags (the bags it came in were old, dusty and in some cases, disintergrating!), sorting by vague colour.

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I suspect it is going to take me an awful long time to get through this lot. It is mainly odds and ends, although there are reasonable amounts of several yarns. However, I don’t intend to make any of it into clothes or accessories – the majority of this will go into the artwork I’ve been making using yarn. More on that later!

A couple of days later, I was also given a huge amount of mohair in some truly amazing colours. I’ve given some of it to a friend, and I have plans for the rest. It’s already been used for a couple of brooches and has gone into a piece of art I’m working on at the moment. 

I hadn’t fully appreciated how difficult this can be to work with, so I can’t imagine I will be using it in huge amounts in any one project!  Here’s the first brooch I made with it:


mohair heart

Tough Decisions: Election Sweets

Stonelaughter and I popped along to the local pub when he had finished work, taking the children with us, the local pub being where our polling station is situated. Bean is always interested in going along with us to vote – he finds the whole thing incredibly interesting and pays a great deal of attention to what the various parties promise. Tonight, he will go to bed and then get up at 2am tomorrow to watch the results come in.

Plum was quite excited, if a little unsure what it was all about. We told her we were helping choose who would run the country for us. She interpreted this to mean we were deciding who would buy the sweets from now on. Oh, to be four years old!

Imagine her delight then, when we arrived to collect our voting papers and there was a selection of sweets on the table – and the ladies behind the desk told the children that they could choose whichever they wanted! There were five types of sweets, and from the amount of thought both Bean and Plum gave to their choice, you would think the future of the government rested on their decision!

Which got me to thinking … five types of sweets, five candidates … I wondered, were the sweets a secret poll to try and second guess how people were voting?


Nakd Nibbles, Wine Gums, Werther’s Original, Fruit Pastilles and Mint Imperials … did they correlate to our candidates who were standing on behalf of (in no particular order) Labour, Conservative, LidDem, UKIP and Justice for Men and Boys (don’t worry if you’ve never heard of this last one – we’re the only consituency in the country, to the best of my knowledge, to have the “honour” of having a candidate for this party, due to our seat being decided by a mere 192 votes in 2010. He is, in my opinion, a deluded idiot).

Anyway … how would you divy these sweets up among the parties? What does my children’s choice say about them, their politics … and my politics? Do I need to worry?

By the way, if there is a correlation, if their sweet choice means anything, then we’re heading for a 3 way coalition; unable to choose, my children took a mint imperial, a wine gum and Werther’s each. Stonelaughter and I each chose a pastille.

What have we done?

Update from Gerbil HQ

I know, I’ve been AWOL again – time and health got in the way, but I will make an effort to write more regularly again.

SO last time I wrote about one of new additions, Cinnamon, who had broken a leg and was in isolation, on bedrest, with an axe hanging over her head. I’m pleased to say she recovered well, and quickly from the break and was easily integrated back into the main cage with her two sisters. And all was well. For two days.

And then I noticed she was limping again, and on closer inspection, it transpired that she had another broken leg – this time a back leg. Back she went into her isolation cage, with a dose of painkillers to see how she got on. It took her a little time, but she did recover the use of her leg and get to the point where we could introduce her back into the main cage. And that’s where things got difficult.

Her sisters were clearly tired of her frequent holidays and decided they didn’t want her back. Hardcastle made her life a misery, so that Cinnamon spent all her time hiding in a tunnel, with Hardcastle waiting at the end of it for her to come out. And then Hardcastle attacked her. Drew blood on her leg, back and tail. Bean was very upset. Following all the advide, we removed Hardcastle from the situation and left Cinnamon and Shadow together. This should have been enough, but Shadow almost immediately turned on Cinnamon and took up where Hardcastle had left off. Time for a new plan.

Shadow and Hardcastle went back into the main cage, and poor Cinnamon went back to her isolation tank. I hit the internet and found a cage nearly identical to the large one we already had, and arranged to collect it the next day. Bean decided to spend his Easter money on it (it was a bargain at £10!). Off went went on a 160 mile round trip, stopping off on the way back to buy another female gerbil for Cinnamon to live with.

Stonelaughter modified the new cage – splitting it in two down the middle so the two gerbils could see and smell each other, but not get to each other, and replacing the wire platforms and ladders with wooden ones. Cinnamon and the new friend – Lightning – were placed in there and left to their own devices for 4 days. They seemed quite intrigued and not unhappy about it all. After four days, we swapped them over, so that they would get used to living with the other’s smell. It was fascinating to watch them both rebuild the tunnels and both move their nests to the same spot either side of the division. Four days later, we removed the partition altogether and held our breath.

And they got on! And that was a weeka go, and they are still getting on! Cinnamon seems like a different gerbil – she *looks* much happier and they both play together, sleep together and do all the things gerbil friends should do! Bean is very happy about this outcome.

It has also helped him love Hardcastle and Shadow again – he was very angry with them for what they did to Cinnamon, even though he knows it was just natural behaviour. But now Cinnamon is well again, and clearly happy, he seems to have forgiven them. They are happily getting on with their life together too.

Don’t let anyone tell you keeping gerbils is easy!

What Am I?

So last week was a nice easy one for you, and lots of people got the right answer, which was (of course) ….

pine cone!

Shout out to David from David Williams Photography for being the first in with that answer.

Who will steal the glory this week?