No Trains

But plenty of boats and planes!

I was up early, traffic divertions made my outward car journey three miles longer than the final lap home.

I parked my car and headed for my first bus of the day.

On way to catch the bus_10.40

On way to catch the bus_10.40

The sky was the colour of my jumper and that plane was heading for Belfast International Airport. There were plenty of people waiting for the bus and another joined our throng within a few minutes. We knew each other since Elly started school ‘cough’ number of years ago. He followed me onto the bus and sat together talking our way to Belfast.

Royal Avenue Sky

Royal Avenue Sky

The sun was still high above when I got to Royal Avenue, Belfast.

A cup of coffee later and I was ready to head round the corner to catch the FREE Event Bus at Wellington Place  for the short journey to Pollock Dock. This service ran every five minutes, in my case to Pollock Dock. There were three other Park & Ride points: Boucher Road, Airport Road West and the New, (yet unfinished but open for the four days) Ballymartin at junction 5 of the M2. I could have walked from town but decided to save my energy for the event itself. The ships were spread between Pollock &York Docks, Donegall, Albert and Queen’s Quays and Albert Basin. Another Event bus too people from dock to dock. That was more than enough walking for me on a hot day. A good comfortable crowd, but I expect the numbers to increase this evening and on Friday & Saturday when the last night finishes with a fireworks display.

On Sunday between 11.00hrs and 15.00hrs the ships will form a parade leaving the port of Belfast, hoisting their sails heading for the start line of Race 1 to Norway.

Queueing for bus No 2

Queueing for bus No 2

A flavour of my day Part one

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Part two

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Then I had the head staggers and flew like a bird: Twists, turns and total flip overs, we had smoke everywhere ….  I was hanging on so tight, I could no longer take photos.

Somebody hold my Elly down ….

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I was in a Red Arrows Flight Simulator!

Then it was time for home and a little thank you for my feet!

Aah! A long soak

Aah! A long soak

Summertime

Six days after Mid Summer’s Day

Last day of June_2015

Last day of June_2015

A great improvement from 10.10hrs this morning when I drove on a single carriageway through enveloping mist that hid the countryside. Thankfully I was familiar with the route. The idiot in the white van behind me was so impatient that on two occasions I used my hazard lights to make him pull back! On a single carriageway with cars in front of me, I have no idea where he expected me to go.

Our weather 30_06_15

Our weather 30_06_15

I am sitting in the shade with a jug  of water and some needlework to keep me quiet!

Knitting

 

“The most powerful thing about knitting is that it makes you happy to be in your own company”

~ From an interview with Kaffe Fassett

Thanks to Parlour yarns for the video link.

Then I found these 

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_ 1

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_ 1

Buffy you are safe, your coat is short!

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_2

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_2

Imagine:- it takes 4.2 sheep to make a sweater!

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_3

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_3

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_4

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_4

 

Silent solace

‘Silence difficult to create’ was a statement or question I came across a few months back, for the life of me I cannot remember where, but having lived totally alone for seventeen years with neither kith nor kin within 125 miles, I am an expert on silence:

Silence in joy and silence of sorrow
Silence to help through the cares of tomorrow.
Silence in pain and in frustration
Silence in coping with a new limitation.

Silence as I watch each new day dawn
Silence of long evenings when the blinds are drawn.
Silence when tucked up all cosy and warm
Silence before a violent winter storm.

Silence for when someone refuses to listen
Silence when engrossed in a project or mission.
Silence of persistence to learn something new
Silence when struggling with a rusty old screw.

Silence of a day when the phone has not rung
Silence of satisfaction when the beads are strung.
Silence returning home from a day of fun
Silence sipping coffee just made for one.

Silence of aging ears needing turned up sound
Silence when you find yourself lying on the ground.
Silence when the washer stops before the work is done.
Silence as you wait for workmen to come.

Silence of my world with a first fall of snow
Silence as I mix a new batch of dough.
Silence of expectation at each new destination
Silence watching a child in deep concentration.

Silence of special hugs when loved ones arrive,
hoping they don’t say “We are leaving by five”!
Silence, long silence when the foot-falls fade.
Silence of thanks for the love they conveyed.

I waved a Flag, a colourful Flag.

We gathered on the green, we gathered on Cathedral Steps,
People of all ages, accents colour size shape and sexual orientation,
Warm hearted cheerful people  one message on heart & hand.
Civil Marriage Equality for all in this corner of the land.

Soon the streets were full and whistles began to blast
Banners, flags and badges adding colour to Belfast.
Raised high, like a Peacock’s proud display
It certainly was a sunny RAINBOW day!

We were off!

We walked and talked, shared stories
Renewed old friendships and added many new.
We were one big family one thought on our minds:
The introduction of civil marriage for same-sex couples in Northern Ireland.

To give you a taste:

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Saturday’s demonstration was organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), Amnesty International and the Rainbow Project.

You can read more here

Whoopie!

We are all go for another year!

I drove on the all new bright and shiny A8 to Larne, this lovely sunny morning. There were stretches where I was all alone with green fields and cows chewing away, far too busy to notice me tootling along.

Naturally I was early for my appointment. I was asked to arrive at the vehicle testing Centre ten minutes before the appointed time.  I was due to arrive at 10:40hrs, for a test at 10:50hrs.  At the appointed time, you draw the vehicle up to the line and wait until you are beckoned to move forward.

Being a little earlier than required, I reversed into a parking space with full view of all that was going on. Driving school cars with would-be drivers nervously arriving to take their driving test. then I noticed some unusual activity from the MOT hanger …

The car in waiting at Lane one, began to reverse away from the building. It was closely followed by another car and a white van.  Then ever so slowly I saw something bright yellow inching the way out of the hanger. I got out of my car with my cell phone a photoo opportunity if ever there was one…

Wait for me!

Wait for me!

One of the testers was at the wheel, he reversed in a circle before roaring off to circuit the building.  I was ready when he came round to the front again,  I hit the button not quite sure if I had the object of my interest lined up properly … he was moving fast, but with caution.  Another half circuit and the sound of the engine died, so I expect the car belonged to the driver and he needed to return to duty.

I joined Lane 2 as arranged and in no time at all I was waved forward.

Nose into the hanger so the exhaust immision was tested. I was then invited to move forward to the next position and was asked to switch off the enging and open the bonnet/hood. Happy with that it was closed again and I had the fun of trying to remember the things I do automatically every time I drive:- indicators, lights on all three levels, fog light and the horn. That was my job complete and I was asked once more to switch off. vacate the car and move to the seating area along the side of the wall. With doors open at both ends it can feel rather cold, well it does for me.

The tester took over for the next stages, the car is driven forward the front wheels are placed on a metal pad and the guts are shaken out of the front axel/wheels, they are then dropped down in to a vice like well where they are pushed and pulled with gusto. This process is repeated for the back axel. When all four wheels are back on the ground level, I sigh with relief, only one more stage to go.

On to a ramp and up she goes!

My little Beauty

My little Beauty

Not bad for a car manufactured at the start of the century. Yes, the year was 2000 and the milage on the clock this morning? 70,474 miles.

I was talking to Elly when I came home she will be spending the wekend at the Sea of Galilee. When I told her the milage on my car, she replied “I will propable cover more than that on my working trips to Israel, by the end of the year”!

Elly has promised …I did hear her … not to try walking on water! Knowing her, she will probably dip her toes!

Stay safe my my love!

 

A simple comment

You are just the kind of person that used to warm our cockles when I was in the business.”

So commented Ramana, on my recent Post: Playing with yarn.

It set me thinking about how ‘Craft’ shops have changed since I was a girl, over half a century ago.

When I started working in Dublin, back in the middle nineteen sixties. there was a small wool shop in Camden street. The name and the shop may have faded with the mists of time, but just thinking about it I am right back there, in the narrow passageways between the body high higgledy-piggledy stacks of yarn … fine baby yarn, double knit for winter jumpers and the true unwashed Aran wool with the oily smell. It was an amazing maze of inspiration and colour!

At times it was difficult to see the shop owner as he delved deep into a mountain of yarn to find the exact ball-band match for the one you had just given him. Sure enough he found it. Customers came, purchased and left. There was little space to stand let alone browse or have a conversation. Everyone was friendly but on a mission … to find an appropriate yarn for the next project or another skein to finish off the job in hand. It was possible to select the yarn you wanted, pay for one skein leave a small deposit on the remainder of the packet and collect and pay for it a week later. If you changed your mind, the unused yarn was returned to stock and all you lost was the deposit. Window display was not a priority back then, stacked packages of yarn with an occasional pattern propped against them was enough for this man. He customers were more interested in purchasing the yarn, than standing looking at the window.

Rowes of Earl Street was one of Dublin’s most famed haberdasheries, stocking a large selection of sewing supplies. Anything from essentials like needles thimbles and thread, to elastic, cord, piping, tape, braids or bias binding all sold by the yard. Buttons, buckles, zips, leather elbow patches, shoulder pads & shields, or frog fasteners they had them all. Net to trim hats and don’t forget the hatpins, we all wore hats for Sundays and special occasions!

Hickeys Fabrics on O’Connell Street, where we plundered the remnant bins for fabric to make skirts, tops, trousers or evening dresses fully lined for a couple of quid (£s). Dress dances were all the go back then, Guys in a tux and bow tie, was easy and we had a dress suit at home for the lads, but we ladies preferred to make a new dress for each event. I was very slim (skeleton skinny) back then so two yards of sngle width (30 inch wide) in a fancy remnant made a great cover for my bumpy bones! I still like to have a nostalgic visit to Hickeys when I am in Dublin.

In preparing this post, I discovered there seemed to be a connection between Rowes & Hickeys

Arnotts Department Store in Henry Street, Dublin, sold fabrics & haberdashery needs in the basement area, but now since the store has been updated and the three floors changed to five, the fabrics are gone and the craft work needs disappointing.

How I missed all of the above when I moved North to a small market town, almost thirty eight years ago. There was one shop that sold thread: Black, white or an ugly shade of red! That was it! I swapped all that wonderland for the stink of cow muck! Ah, but the other four letter word made up for my loss:- Love!

You can imagine my frustration until I found:

Craftwoman Fabrics, Carrickfergus.  I was totally zapped by it and that feeling has never left me. Plenty of knowledgeable experienced and professional staff, never pushy but always interested and helpful. As somebody described it: “A sweet shop for designers and makers!” I totally agree. It was there I purchased the makings of Elly’s Prom outfit and later the fabrics for her wedding: bridal & bridesmaids.

on-our-way

on-our-way

here-we-come

here-we-come

If you want more details of the wedding outfit you can read about it here

Fiddlesticks Fabrics in Broughshane, I was introduced to last year. They regularly hold classes and workshops. I came home with a Toyboy after my first visit!

Gino Gingerbread

Gino Gingerbread

And the wool shops today are so much more social with beautifully displayed yarns, some finished items to give inspiration and a space to sit knitting and nattering awhile before washing it down with a cuppa and sweet treat!

Parlour Yarns In Carrickfergus, is now a favourite spot for a visit after my walk along the Promenade. I am hoping to visit on Tuesday morning and join in with the girls, this time I will bring along my multi yarn project!

New knitting project

New knitting project

Selections Wool Shop  This little old style treasure is also in Carrickfergus, at, 33 North Street. I was looking for one skein of orange yarn to make a pumpkin before Halloween last year. Since it was for decoration and not clothing, I looked in one of our local budget shops. They had none but a very helpful young lad suggested I try Selections in Carrick. He gave me precise directions, telling me he often brought his granny there, she was always knitting. “I guarantee you will get the colour you want.” He said. I did and I have enough yarn left to make a few more!

Meet Peter Pumpkin

Meet Peter Pumpkin

One of Ballyclare’s oldest buildings on the Main street. Lovingly restored, is now home to Brown’s Coffee Co with Hansel & Gretel’s Wool shop tucked away in the back section. It has a limited selection of specialist yarns but a varied collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks, even the double ended ones! They do hold classes at certain times of the year, and I hear the places fill up quickly. I have yet to purchase yarn there (still waiting for my stash to shrink.), but I did add to my collection of needles and regularly enjoy their coffee.

I did ask permission but it was busy and difficult to take photos without intruding on customers spaces.

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Sunday fun.

Ramana was feeling playful the other day and invited his readers to join in this game:

Every answer must start with the first letter of your first name:

First name: Marie
An animal: Mink
A girl’s name: Muriel
A boys name: Michael
A colour: Magenta
A place: Melbourne
A book: Machine Embroidery
A movie: Memento
A drink: Martini
A precious stone: Moldavite
A type of food: Macaroon
An occupation: Metallurgist
An illness: Meningitis
An emotion: Merry – with or without wine! 😛
Something you wear: Mules
A piece of furniture: Mirror
Something in the bathroom: Moisturiser
A reason to be late: Major accident. I did want to say death, but that does not begin with M!
Something you shout out: Magnifique!

I am so fortunate

Yes. I really am.

I may well be a lady-in-waiting, on a long list for eye surgery, but I can still see. This is NOT a ‘pity me’ post, only an explanation. Once I wear my prescription sunglasses, I am legally covered to drive. driving for me is FREEDOM. I can go out, meet people and enjoy the outside world. Heck, I drove a 119 mile round trip to have lunch with Elly & George, last Saturday (their journey was a little longer).

In my Granny’s day she needed to have cataract surgery, but back then, you had to go blind before surgery was attempted. That was when I was a schoolgirl  in the early 1960s. She did not go blind, but could not read beyond the headlines in a newspaper, so reading books or going to the movies (flickering screens) were lost to her. The surgery that I now require would not have been available to her either.

Some days are better than others, the Macular hole in my right eye affects the vision I use when looking directly at something, for example when I’m reading or looking at the laptop screen, thus the lack of posting from me. i have no pain in my eye but the discomfort varies from day to day. There are days when I do not want to read. Anything.

I use WhatsApp for daily contact with Elly, either by way of my mobiile or on the laptop. She tells me that she knows which device I am using, by the number of typos. I realise how frustrating this can be for regular readers, but hopefully the situation will improve post-surgery.

Please have patience with this patient!

I found this fellow when we were out yesterday. I had to wait until I came home to see what the photo detail was like. I have no idea of who the sculptor was, but I liked the piece.

Hello dear!

Hello dear!

Playing with yarn

My yarn stash never seems to recede and I keep seeing exciting new varieties in the shops but being the good girl that I am, I refuse to purchase any more until I used at least half of what I have!

I had an idea 💡

Extreme knitting

Extreme knitting

 

Back in March I had the opportunity to try extreme knitting – using several strands of bulky yarn and very large needles. Naturally I wanted to give it a try myself but needed to find a way without using long needles.

I've got the hang of it

I’ve got the hang of it

These needles were not for me, I would end up bruising myself so I finally found a solution!

My KnitPro cable needles.

interchangable needles

interchangable needlesK

Once I had that sorted in my head it was a matter of choosing the yarn.  There were oddments of ‘hairy’ and ‘knobbely’ yarns begging to be used  so sorting through them I chose eight and rolled them into one large ball. I repeated the exercise several times more using different colourways.

eight strands per ball

eight strands per ball

New knitting project

New knitting project

This is where I am at the moment. really relaxing and it saves my sanity when My eye objects to any more reading.

What will it be? Who knows. A cushion cover perhaps, a knee rug or even a back warmer! I’ll let you know when I finish the yarn!