Monthly Archives: September 2014

My Elly has….

There is something about my Elly that you don’t know.

I am almost afraid to tell you.

I only discovered it recently.

Maybe I shouldn’t tell………..

She has……

She has………….

A skeleton in her cupboard!

What do you mean, you don’t believe me?

Would I tell a lie?

I have evidence. HONEST!

Old Sprat

Old Sprat

Oh dear! Has anyone seen George lately?

The End is never the End, ~Part 15

“We are fortunate to have an accountant on the management team, able to work out what it costs to run the business: All the aspects from utilities, maintenance, food and furnishings, marketing and wages. Yes, that last one is important. Paying everyone who works for us a fair wage. Having worked out these costs, and factoring them into what we charge the customer, then hopefully there will be enough in the pot for us to make a little profit too.” Said Morgan.

“We need to provide guests with something more memorable than a standard box-room hotel. We need to find and hold onto great staff. Staff that will go the extra mile for everyone who comes through the doors, they will become memory builders for our clients. In fact, good memories, instantly take a client back to that place and put a smile on their day.” Said Alice.

“Our emotional investment in the character of Hour House should create memorability for the clients. All we are short of is finding a top hat and tails for you, Morgan, and one of those old Porter’s chairs with a tall, hooded back. Then you could sit in the entrance and help our guests with packages etc.!” mused Alice.

“What on earth do I want with a chair like that?”

“Canopied chairs carry a sense of drama and ceremony fit for a monarch, Morgan. You could sit there and be monarch of all you survey.” She giggled. “Carolyn might know where to find one equipped with drawers under the seat for your secret stash of sweets, or where hot coals could be placed to keep you warm on weary winter nights! She might even find one upholstered in leather, buttoned on the interior, in a colour to match your eyes. A hinged shelf that could be propped up at night to hold a lantern and a nightcap would be a help as you read the Financial Times!” Alice was really warming to this game.

“Are you saying that you are reneging already and I am being abandoned to the shadows of the night in the vestibule, even before the nuptials take place? ”

Suddenly the room filled with laughter.

They were sitting in the kitchen with Carolyn & George Knowles. One week after his interview, George was back to accept their proposal, give a starting date, and make suggestions of people he would like on his team. He had worked with all of them at different stages of his career, knew their skills and taken the liberty during the week of checking if they were available or interested in a new adventure with him. They were all interested in making the move. He had handed over the folder with CV’s and details of referees’ for all of them.

“I so want to check out this kitchen in more detail and check out all appliances are working to my satisfaction before we open to the public. Do you have an opening date in mind yet? Asked George.

“We have yet to decide on a function manager and the agency have lined up a day of interviews for us to meet prospective administrative, housekeeping and waiting staff. Are you free next Friday, to join us on the panel? “We would appreciate your input and expertise in the business. Who better to advise on waiting staff, than a chef they will work closely with.” Said Morgan.

“Good idea!” said Alice.

“I do have one appointment early on Friday, but a phone call is all I need to switch that to another day. I think I will enjoy being part of your team. Good humour is so important in any relationship and it sure helps as a stress buster in the pressure cooker atmosphere of a hot and steamy kitchen. I am not a fan of hysterical showmanship, I prefer a more gentle approach and laughter is one of the most used tools in my arsenal”

Carolyn vouched for George’s humour, she had known him for many years. It was part of the reason she had suggested him. She wanted this venture to take off and do well.

“We were thinking of opening The Oratory to begin with, it might help to put us on the map and build up a regular clientele of coffee sippers.” Said Alice. “What do you think, George?”

“Certainly! We will soon be into the festive season, most companies book their annual staff dinners in August, but there are always groups who leave it to the last moment, so we might benefit from them. How about a press lunch? We invite the ‘What’s On Brigade’, feed and water them well and hey Presto, we are on the map!” Said George, before adding, “First off, we need to decide on an opening date.”

“That is down to Alice, she has promised to make an honest man of me with a big splash ‘DO’ for the official opening of Hour House. Lovell will be home in a couple of weeks and we did promise her that new dress. So what do you say, Alice? When do you wish to be latched on to me?

“A big splash ‘DO’ for half a dozen people will look a little ridiculous. Lovell is my only blood relative and you have no siblings. We have promised Lovell a bridesmaid dress, so I am sorted, Do you have a best man in mind? Or do you intend dragging a man in off the street to act as witness?”

“What a dull ‘DO’ that will be. Said George with a wink, “Carolyn, I think that you and I need to come to the rescue. How about we act as witnesses on the big day? I am sure my new bosses will agree to me having an hour off. But wait now, I do not have a written and signed contract yet, so this will count as a pre arranged appointment, they will have to honour it. Right?

What do you think Carolyn?

I think you girls need to go shopping, while I take Morgan in hand!”

“Well, out of the box thinking, how about 21st November?” Asked Alice.

“Perfect!” Chirped Morgan, “What better birthday present could you give me, my Love? 21st November it will be.”

“Really?” Asked Alice, “You never told me, but it will be the ideal date, since it will be my birthday too! As Lovell would say:

How cool is that!

All other parts can be found on a page of the same title, just under the Header at the top of the post. Apologies for being so late today.

Thursday Special ~ Imperfect Plans


A Frenchman in Paris nearly got away with stealing several paintings from the Louvre.

However, after planning the crime and getting in and out and past security, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied…..

“I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh.”

A coffee with Dave the other day, produced this little nugget!

I got it!

I have been in the waiting room for the past few days. Yes. I was waiting for my copy of Letters for my Little Sister to pop through my door.

Letters for my Little Sister

Letters for my Little Sister

I knew it was on the way. Each day there was news from The Fellowship’ of the Farmy, that readers and contributors had received their books. They were actually holding a copy in their hot little hands.

I write as I speak. My contribution is my story, in my words. Simple words.

Mine was an instant response, I wanted to write it before I changed my mind. Once begun, my fingers would not stop. I wanted to share. To let other women know they were not alone, what was happening to them, had happened to other women. Just as there are no text book bodies, there are no text book/alarm clock menopauses. Each is unique, but there are similarities in the symptoms.

As I waited, I worried: Did I ramble rubbishingly with unnecessary detail? Then I consoled myself…


There are 68 contributions, no, strike that, there are SIXTY NINE contributions altogether. Number sixty nine comes in two parts – the opening and closing of this wonderful book. No better way to begin and end than with the words of Cecilia B W Gunther, the inspiration behind the project. A project to share personal stories about a hidden and sometimes forbidden topic: The Menopause.

Tales long and short in poetry and prose, from all corners of the globe, with just one aim: To help our sisters, cousins, aunts, nieces and granddaughters. This book will have you laughing one minute and close to tears in the next, so tissues at the ready….

Letters for my Little Sister is available on go check out the reviews, you know you want to.

Cecilia Buyswheeler Gunther, originally from New Zealand, is now married to an American living on the prairies of Illinois, USA. She spends her life writing and managing her own sustainable farm, She is the founder and writer/photographer for the blog The Kitchen’s Garden. We the contributors, are part of a band of regular readers who comment on the blog.

Now all I need to do is deliver the other copies to my little sister and to Elly, my daughter.

Link in or out

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. In 2006, LinkedIn increased to 20 million viewers. Wikipedia

Supposedly, it is the most useful social media site for business. An online source to manage your professional identity and build and engage with your professional network. A way to access knowledge, insights and opportunities. The first entry on my search results tells me that LinkedIn has 300 million+ members!

Why am I a retired old lady writing about this topic?

Last week I received yet another email with the following invitation:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

This came from someone long retired and even older than I am. So I emailed back:

Sorry XXXX
a) I am not a professional anything these days and..
b) I do not use LinkedIn.

The correspondence continued:

Sorry about that Marie. The request to link has gone automatically to all my contacts once I became an unwilling member to oblige someone. I am really sorry that I have troubled you.


I smiled at that one. Had this person joined because of a spammy invitation like the one above that I received?

I replied:

XXXX, from past experience, LinkedIn seems to send several invitations from the same person over a number of weeks. I find it humorous that a website supposed to be for professionals, seems to enjoy spamming non users. Maybe you should point that out to the powers that be! 

I also found it rather ironic, since you have cut contact with me, from almost all other channels. Stay well,

Do you use this social media site?

Does it help manage your professional identity and aid you to engage with your professional network?

Or, like me, find LinkedIn a nuisance?

For Cathy

Cathy left a comment on my post on Wednesday about the knitted cowl I featured. I decided to answer her questions here in a separate post.

Now that looked like an awful lot of stitches to have on the needles at one time. How long did it take to do one round? For years I just used a piece of contrasting wool for a marker, then some swish plastic things, then discovered something similar to Elly’s creations that are so much nicer (and for some reason easier) to use. Will you be using them again soon?
An old knitter here – my fingers never got the hang of that crochet lark. Or maybe it was my mind that couldn’t cope with the different method and process.

First off. I will certainly reuse the stitch/row markers that Elly made when knitting in the round. The more traditional stitch markers will be used for marking increase(s)/decrease(s) in forward and backward knitting.

I was never a fan of the traditional long straight needles. I always manage to bump them against my upper arms leading to a multitude of bruises. Not a pretty sight!

One year Elly gifted me with a set of interchangeable circular needles from KnitPro™, for Christmas, and I never looked back. The detachable cables range from about 30cm to 120cm and with a set of cable connectors, they can be joined to suit any number of stitches and make for very smooth knitting. The actual ‘needles’ fit neatly into my hands and are warm to the touch and very comfortable for anyone with arthritic hands.

For the cowl

Cathy, I regularly get an idea and see it in my head, in 3D. Most of my best efforts are worked that way. It may float around in there (plenty of empty space to do so! 😆 ) before I begin to play about with it, making the pattern up as I go along.

A year or so ago, I saw a lady across a crowed café with a softly draped silk scarf, and it gave me the idea for the cowl. I was working without a pattern and wanted to knit the cowl in the round, using a random rainbow yarn. As you can see from the photo below, I had a selection to choose from, most were single skeins that I had inherited.

Rainbow random tones

Rainbow random tones

I chose the middle one, They are all the same brand and suitable for needle sizes 4mm/3.25mm. A skein is – 100g/300m.

Bliss Baby D.K. in blue and beige

Bliss Baby D.K. in blue and beige


I had to think about the number of stitches I used…… One hundred and ninety, I think. #190. I become so engrossed when I begin a project, that I forget to write down the details.

The stitch I chose was stocking stitch throughout – changing from plain to purl stitch after about five rows – on occasion I worked ten rows before changing. The plain rows of stitches allow the fabric to curl. The purl stitches curl in the opposite direction.

After about four groups of pattern, I reduced the number of stitches evenly around the circle of stitches. I think it was one stitch in every ten at the end of a plain pattern group. Does that make sense?

By turning the cowl inside out, it takes on a slightly different look

Cowl_right side out

Cowl_right side out

Cowl inside out

Cowl inside out

The tiny scrap of yarn above the cowl is all that I had left over from the skein.

Cathy, you talk about having difficulty with crochet. I too, had trouble in the beginning. Holding the yarn in my left hand while working the needle in my right proved to be a total disaster. Eventually I mastered the craft by holding the yarn as I would for knitting!

In 2011, I made three mini videos, to show how I go about it. You can see them here:

Crochet Grannymar Style 1

Crochet Grannymar Style 2


Crochet Grannymar Style 3

This one might be helpful for Joining yarn with a knot in either knitting or crochet:

I hope this answers your questions.

Thursday Special ~ Proverbs


Today for a change, I share some old Irish Proverbs:

‘For every mile of road there’s two miles of ditches’
Meaning: The are two sides to every story. (This comes from some parts of Ireland, where ‘ditches’ means hedges.

‘There’s no use boiling your cabbage twice’
Meaning: Stop going over and over worries in your head because it solves nothing.

‘The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune’
Meaning: Things and people improve over time.

‘A woman planted feathers in the dunkel* and thought she’d grow hens’
Meaning: Just because you ‘thought’ something would work doesn’t mean you were right.

It’s often that a man’s mouth broke his nose
Meaning: Watch what you say because it could get you in trouble.

As the old cock crows the young cock learns
Meaning: Children learn by example.

If there was work in the bed he’d sleep on the floor
Meaning: Used to describe people who are very lazy.

No need to fear the ill wind when your haystacks are tied down
Meaning: Once you’ve prepared properly than there’s no need to worry the outcome.

The longest road out is the shortest road home
Meaning: If you invest time and effort into something then it will pay off in the latter end.

You’ll arrive back with one arm as long as the other
Meaning: You heading out on a thankless quest. You’ll arrive back with nothing to show for it.

You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind
Meaning: Merely thinking about something won’t get it done.

He didn’t lick it off a stone
Meaning: People actions are influenced by those around them.

What I’m afraid to hear I had better say first myself
Meaning: One must be honest and wary of their own shortcomings.

I wouldn’t call the Queen my aunt
Meaning: Being in such a contented mood that even becoming royalty couldn’t improve upon it.

Now you know you’re home
Meaning: You’re in a happy state.

It’s a long road there’s no turn in
Meaning: No matter how bad the situation is things always change.

An empty sack does not stand
Meaning: Bluffers and ignorance will always be found out.

Even black hens lay white eggs
Meaning: You should never judge a book by its cover.


*dunkel – in the dark.

I wonder how many of them you agree with?