Sunday, 30 October 2011

Seven days in Greece - part 1

Yassou! Mr JK and I returned yesterday from a fabulous week in Greece. Despite being there right at the end of the tourist season, the weather was wonderful, with  sunshine and temperatures in the mid 20's almost the entire week. Just look at that blue sky - not bad for the end of October, is it?!
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Mr JK and I are very much creatures of habit, and always go back to the same place in Greece. It's a small fishing village on the north coast of the island of Kos, called Mastihari. It's a traditional fishing village, and life for the villagers continues as normal around the visitors. There are no night clubs, British style pubs or all night drinking bars. Instead, the tavernas and bars are frequented by the locals. We have been going there for so long, we are welcomed back as friends. It's a lovely feeling! Despite the obvious difficulties with the Greek economy, Kos hasn't been affected particularly by strikes. Prices are higher and wages lower, but the local people carry on resiliently. I really hope that the situation improves for them soon.
As soon as we had unpacked, we headed down to the harbour. Some of the fishing boats were in, which inevitably meant the harbour cats were hanging around, hopeful of a bit of fish!
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The fishermen take their boats out every day, so fresh fish is readily available at the local tavernas. Mr JK had sardines one day which he said were delicious. I took his word for it. I am a complete baby when it comes to eating fish, as I HATE bones!!
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Red mullet and swordfish are other regulars on the menu, as well as kalamari. If you like fish, you're definitely spoilt for choice! But I didn't exactly starve either, as you'll see later this week!  
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We experienced our first sunset of the holiday that evening - just perfect!
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The next day, it was time to revisit some of our favourite spots. The church is typically Greek with its blue and white decoration. The priest always greets us with a wave!
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This is the walk we take down to the beach - I just love it when I get the first glimpse of the sea. In the distance you can see the neighbouring island of Kalymnos.
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We stopped off at a new beach bar for a drink - and drank in the spectacular views too!
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The beach is a lovely long stretch of golden sand. It never gets crowded, even in the height of the summer. There can be quite a strong wind blowing at times, and occasionally seaweed gets washed in by the tides, but it is fabulous! Most of the sunloungers had already been packed away for the winter!
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You can get a better idea of just how big the beach is from the next photo - it really is a huge bay, most of it completely undeveloped.
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The hibiscus was still in full bloom, stunning bright red flowers in evidence all around the village.
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As well as the hibiscus, the bougainvillea was flowering madly. I just love this plant, it really reminds me of Greece. We have one at home, but it doesn't flower like this!
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This pretty flower is lantana. Its pink and yellow flowers remind me of rhubarb and custard sweets! I used to love those when I was little!
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The trees in the olive groves were laden with their bounty. The olive harvest starts around the end of October. It's all hands on deck, as it's a very labour intensive activity. A large sheet is spread under the trees, and the branches are beaten with a heavy stick to make the olives drop off. No wonder olive oil is so expensive!
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Poseidon looks out over the harbour to make sure that all is well.
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We spent some of our time down at the beach, just chilling out! We weren't alone either. This little ginger cat kept us company one day.....
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.... and her friend came to say 'kalimera' every day. She wanted to snuggle down on the sunbed with me! So she did!
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Days on the beach were spent knitting, reading and playing Scrabble! Our set is well travelled! Mr JK got the competition going by getting a scrabble (all 7 letters used in one go) on two consecutive turns!! We are pretty evenly matched, and spent many hours playing.
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I'll share more of my holiday knitting with you another time. For the moment I'll say goodbye and leave you with a photo of some kittens. This little pair were some of the many cats living among the rocks down at the harbour. I'll introduce you to some more of the family another time! See you soon! xxxx  

ETA  Thanks to Northern Monkey who spotted my mix up between the Roman and Greek gods. Duh! Too much ouzo!!
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Sunday, 16 October 2011

A week of knitting WIPs

The knitting needles have been working overtime this week (or at least that's how it feels!) and I have a plethora of projects to show you, sadly none yet finished! I seem to have slipped back into my old ways and the number of WIPs is mounting. I was doing so well too, being loyal to just one or two projects! Where to begin? Well, let's start off with a look at the Rene sweater. I've just cast off for the armholes on the back, so am hoping that as the rows get shorter, I'll be able to finish this. Then in theory, the sleeves shouldn't take long, nor the fronts (I think that I'm pretty much decided on a cardigan rather than a jumper now) so I might actually be able to get it finished this side of Christmas!
Rene WIP (3)

It's knitted in Cascade220 yarn and is knitting up nice and dense. It should be a super-snug, cosy sweater once it's all done.
I finally made a start on the September clubhouse yarn. I have to say that the colours don't especially grab me, but having seen Snoopydog's Miss Doolittle, I decided to be a copycat, and knit one for myself. I do love scarves, so I'm sure it won't go to waste. Infact, the children were drawing little pictures of me to go onto a school teatowel the other week, and I was wearing a scarf in most of their drawings! So far, I've knit the first half, and am ready to start the second. I'm knitting the narrower version, but am going for extra length. I'm pleased that I've finally cast the yarn on, as I was feeling a bit of a clubhouse failure for not knitting it!
Miss Hazeline WIP (1)

I currently have two pairs of socks on the go. The first is my final plain vanilla pair for one of my Uni friends. I'm knitting it with Wendy Happy yarn, which is 100% bamboo. I've not used it before, but had to find a sock yarn with no wool in it whatsoever! I hope that it's going to hold its shape ok. I'm knitting a ribbed sock to try to help with the elasticity. I have until the first weekend in November to get it finished, as that's when we are getting together.
plain vanilla sock 4 WIP (1)

My second sock is from Knitspot - it's the Fishbone Gansey sock. I'm using a skein of Woolen Rabbit yarn that Kim sent to me. I dithered about deciding what to knit - first it was a shawl, then a scarf, but I finally settled on socks. The gansey pattern isn't popping out quite as much as I had hoped for, but the yarn feels just delicious. These are going to be 'stay at home and curl up in front of the fire' kind of socks! Very pampered tootsies!
Fishbone Gansey sock WIP (1)

I've also been doing some spinning. I've been working on some BFL fibre from Alchemy Fibre Arts for the last couple of weeks now. The single is sat waiting to be plied, but I haven't had a chance yet to do any more. I'm going to Navajo-ply it to keep the longer colour runs I think.
Alchemy fibre Arts BFL single 002
Yesterday I went down to London for Alice Yu's book launch at Loop. I test knit one of the designs way back. The shop was buzzing with knitters who had come to see Alice and say goodbye to her (she is off to Hong Kong today!), buy the book and some yarn to knit the socks with, and catch up with friends (and eat cake too, of course!)
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There was a mini-get together of clubhouse knitters, all sporting their September/October projects too! Here are Gina and Janet showing off their Hazeline and Longshadows.

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All the socks from the book were on display, along with far too many tempting skeins of Alice's Sokkusu sock yarn.

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I do quite like these plastic feet - excellent for sock modelling! I wonder what on earth you need to google in order to track one down?!
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There were so many lovely colourways, it was very hard  to choose.
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I had a good rummage amongst the skeins of yarn, and tried to show some restraint! I eventually chose one skein of yarn, along with a copy of Alice's book, which she was kind enough to sign for me.

I did buy some more yarn, some Malabrigo Worsted weight, to knit Mr JK a Norwich City hat and scarf. All the merchandise from the Supporters' shop is acrylic and guaranteed to give you an electric shock on contact! I'm planning on knitting Jared Flood's Turn a Square hat. In case you don't know the colours that the Canaries play in, here's the yarn. The green isn't quite bright enough, but it will be fine for this project.
Mr JK's footy hat and scarf (4)

It's almost time for the next project in the Fall in Full Color club. My yarn arrived this week, an autumnal worsted weight package. I'm looking forward to the pattern release tomorrow. I wonder what it will be?!

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So with the next pattern imminent, I'd better love you and leave you, and go and get knitting! Mr JK and I are off to Greece next weekend, as it's half term, so there's all the holiday knitting to consider too! Busy, busy! See you! xxx

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Autumn Days

This was the view out of the window this morning.
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Wet and gloomy! Luckily it did brighten up after lunch, so Mr JK and I went to visit one of our favourite local gardens, the Old Vicarage at East Ruston. We bought season tickets this year, so we have visited several times. It's a massive garden, so there's always something new to see. This time, autumn was definitely in evidence.

Autumn at East Ruston Old Vicarage

There's a lovely tearoom there too, with far too many delicious cakes to choose from. I am very boring and had my usual - a slice of carrot and walnut cake. Mmmmmmmmmm.
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I have been busy knitting this week, but the weather was too dull when we got home to take any photos, so I shall endeavour to take some in the week. Mr JK is busy in the kitchen making a beef stew. It smells just mouthwatering, so I shall say goodbye for now and go peep round the kitchen door and drool! See you soon. xxx

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Come on baby light my fire!

What a difference a week makes! Last week it was ice cream at the seaside. This week it's socks on and fire lit! Florence was most curious.
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It was the first time the fire had been lit since she came to live with us.
She gradually moved closer ......

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and closer.......
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until it got too hot for  pussycats, and she had to retreat, but just a little.....
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until evenutally she decided it was better too keep an eye on it from the relative coolness of her basket!
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I think she believes it's all just for her!!

Thursday, 6 October 2011


A quick post this evening to share with you a few more photos of my finished Longshadows scarf. This was the first project from Anne Hanson's Fall in Full Color Club. The yarn was a delight to work with, and I just love the deep bluey-purple shades. I took it down to the beach last weekend, but it really was too hot to wear it. I tried draping it over a fishing boat first.

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It was such a bright, sunny day that a lot of the detail in the scarf was lost. You can see the leaf pattern much more clearly in this photo......
Longshadows (2)

..... and this one shows it off even better. I think that I need more practise in blocking. I threaded the blocking wires through all the little pointy bits at the edges, which took ages. I don't think I quite blocked it out straight, but I'm sure it won't show when it's worn!
Longshadows (3)

I received a rather lovely squishy parcel too - the first installment of fibre from Hedgehog Fibres fibre club. I treated myself to a 3 month 'back to school' present! This month's fibre is Wensleydale, and the colours are just stunning!
Hedgehog fibres Sept fibre club (2)

I'm busy spinning some BFL from Alchemy Fibre Arts at the moment, and with any luck it'll be plied all ready to show you at the weekend.
I did get another parcel this week that I feel compelled to share with you. It's only 80 days until Christmas (scary thought!) and I've been trying to get ahead, buying cards. As soon as I saw these, I knew I had to buy a couple of packs for my knitty friends!

Woolly Christmas card

If you'd like some too, you can find them here! Will you be able to resist?! See you very soon! xxx

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Indian Summer

Hello there! Hope you have had a good week. We have been enjoying unseasonably warm weather here in England over the last few days - the hottest September and October days since records began!! Mr JK and I decided to make the most of it and headed off down to the coast of Suffolk, to visit Aldeburgh. It's one of our favourite beachy places to visit, although we don't go there very often as it takes over 2 hours from our little spot on the North Norfolk coast. Once we'd arrived, we made our way to the beach. People were already setting up for the day, claiming their territory. Blue sky and sunshine - perfect beach weather!
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There are always fishing boats on the beach, and today's catch is on sale from numerous little shacks along the promenade.
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We wished that we'd remembered to take down a coolbag and some icepacks. Maybe next time!
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There was a constant stream of people buying fresh fish and shellfish. The lobsters were selling quickly!
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Before lunch there was just time for a few shots of my Longshadows scarf - I'll show some some more in the week. It really is gorgeous, but it was far too hot to be wearing it today!
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This was the queue at the fish and chip shop - and it hadn't even opened! It's really popular and is one of the best around!
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We always buy fish and chips for our lunch and then take them down to eat on the beach, whatever the weather! They are actually even more delicious on a cold February day with an icy wind blowing in off the sea!

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Do you want a look inside? Crispy battered cod and piping hot chips, with plenty of salt and vinegar!
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Oh the taste of those delicious, crispy, salty hot chips almost has me drooling here!
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The seagulls were keeping their beady eyes on us, but we weren't sharing our chips with anyone!!
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We did that most British of things and made ourselves chip butties!! It may not be Michelin-starred food, but it is yummy!
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After lunch we decided to make our way back up the coast, stopping off at Southwold. We passed a few fields with some beautiful purply blue flowers in them. It almost looked like the house had a lake in front of it. I think I've managed to identify the flower - Phacelia, grown either to encourage bees or as a green manure.
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It seemed that many other people had had the same idea as us, and we were lucky to find a parking space. Southwold is famous for its beach huts, and people will happily pay £50,000 to own one!
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They look lovely on the whole, although some are definitely in need of a lick of paint. We found it quite amusing that they seemed to be supported by bricks at each corner! The thing that didn't appeal to us was the fact that they are right on the promenade, so people are constantly walking past and there's little privacy. Beach hut decor is obviously taken terribly seriously, and I rather naughtily snapped this as we were walking past. Well, I knew you'd want to take a look inside!! I think this one was being done up, as you can see lots of DIY equipment in the foreground.
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The beach was packed with everyone making the most of the gorgeous weather. Plenty of people were swimming too - imagine that, swimming in the sea in England in October!!

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We walked down the length of the pier, stopping to admire the water clock.
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It really is a bit of fun, 'performing' on the hour and half hour. The couple in the bath spurt water at each other from their mouths, the tulips spring up from the garden and the two boys drop their shorts and have a wee!!
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Of course, no trip to the seaside would be complete without an ice cream would it? I knew you'd be disappointed if you didn't see one, so I felt it my duty to force this one down!! It was a struggle, but I battled on bravely to the end!!
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We walked back along the prom, admiring the view towards the pier. Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside, don't you?! Have a great week and I'll see you soon. xxx
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