My own neighbourhood is my favourite place to walk, at all times of the year. The We Love Leith movement is currently encouraging more people to walk, bicycle, and enjoy their local patch. I am very fond of these banners, which currently festoon Leith Walk, and which celebrate Leith’s exuberance, variety, and history. This one depicts an unofficial speaker in the 1951 general election, campaigning for James Hoy, the winning Labour candidate
(dawn on mead mountain)
To say this was the most exciting Christmas morning I’ve had since I was around six years old is no exaggeration. We arose at first light and walked all the way across Edinburgh — to ascend Mead Mountain. The streets were quiet, the air was still, and the whole city felt hushed with anticipation. After reaching the summit, we located where we had buried our treat with no problems, and Tom began to dig. There was a brief worried moment when we wondered whether the mead would actually still be there but then, as Tom dug just a little deeper, we uncovered the lovely bottle, still safe in the ground. BINGO!
We cleaned that baby up and then . . .
. . . it was time to taste it!
This picture cannot suggest to you just how bloody good the mead is. This is the first time we’d tasted it, and we were both seriously impressed. This stuff is not sweet or syrupy or any of the things you imagine mead to be. It is dry, fizzy, and fragrant. Containing raspberries, ginger, and lemongrass, it tastes like a sort of light botanical champagne! We really, really enjoyed it.
Now, you’d think things couldn’t get much better than a belly full of home-brewed mead and a heart full of seasonal good cheer — but then they did!
The Mule recently bought Tom some floating balloon-lanterns for his birthday. It being an unusually still and mild morning, we decided to fire one up. We lit the wick, the thing expanded rapidly and then it went . . .
UP . . .
Up . . .
. . . and away!
It was a truly beautiful sight to see our wee balloon floating gracefully high above the city.
For a while, we thought it might make it all the way across to Fife!
(crappy digital zoom)
But then we saw that the flame had gone out, and the balloon started to descend somewhere over Leith. Perhaps it was trying to get home. So we followed it back on foot, to see if we could find it. We didn’t, unfortunately, but as these balloons are flimsy, and biodegradable tissue paper things, I don’t feel too bad about it.
Thanks for the lanterns, Mule!
I’m going to take a break now until after the New Year, and I wanted to thank all of you who have stopped by during 2008. I always enjoy your comments, and have been blown away by the debates, exchanges and, in some instances, friendships, that have arisen from conversations here. I also particularly want to thank those of you who sent us messages of support after Belle’s death and Tom’s accident — it really meant a lot to us. Seasonal joy to you all. And a very happy new year.
It is Tom’s birthday. We both have the afternoon off so I took him out for lunch to Kitchin. What a treat! (for me as well as him). The food was fantastic, as it always is there, and it is the kind of superbly prepared, seasonal, Scottish fare Tom really likes. In fact, the whole lunch experience was so damn fine in every way that I really wanted to take a photo or two. But the lighting in the restaurant is rather sepulchral, and I did not fancy disrupting the subdued and tasteful atmos by whipping out my gorillapod, attempting to adjust the white balance, and getting the camera into macro-cuisine mode. . . So then we went to the Whisky Society for coffee (and whiskies). We sat by the fire, and admired their beautifully decorated tree. Here, again, were birthday photo opportunities a-plenty, but things are Really Very Civilised at the whiskysoc, and cameras are not permitted in the members rooms.
But I wasn’t coming home without a photograph. And so, I here present a picture of a slightly sinister, and quite suggestive sign Tom spotted through a frosted window in Leith on our way home. And no, it wasn’t that kind of frosted Leith window. . . well, it didn’t seem to be anyway . . . I’m really not sure where or who the referents of this sign are, nor do I have any sense of its context or meaning. Probably best not to investigate any further. . .
PS I am very much enjoying reading your children’s literature suggestions. Thankyou!
Wot? Actual knitting content? Warning: I’ve got a little over-excited by the fact I’ve actually knitted something, so this post is picture-heavy.
Given all my quilting/ stitching / sewing activities, knitting has been taking something of a back seat recently. It is nice to stitch when the evenings are so light and this is a novelty I feel I should take advantage of. So this shrug thing has been on my needles for some months, now. I’ve been rather faffing around with it — knitting it on and off — and finally finished it last week.
The pattern is built around the basic shape of the shrug in this book (see pic in purple toward the bottom of the page) but there are a few mods.
1) The stitch pattern is different: I used a 10 row back-and-forth version of the lace pattern in Cookie A’s ubiquitous Monkey, alternating with a 6 row front-crossed cable.
2) Why is there so much berloody seaming in these patterns? I just picked up the edging and knitted it in 1×1 rib one one circular needle, in the round, all the way along the back and two fronts. This has drawn the front in nicely and gives a good fitted shape. Can’t see what would be added by knitting the back and front edgings separately. This is a garment that needs to hug the body. It would not benefit from tailored seams. Weird.
3) I knitted this with thinner yarn, at a tighter gauge, on smaller needles: 3.25 mm and 6 stitches to the inch. I used Rowan 4 ply soft. Not a particularly interesting yarn, but I am actually quite fond of it. It comes in some nice colours, wears well, and has super stitch definition.
So I got to wear the monkey shrug out for a nice lunch in Leith. Here come the pics.
And because I felt you should see some of Leith as well as me:
This is Paul Grimes tribute to Leith, its working people, and their history. I am very fond of it.
Pattern: Debbie Bliss Shrug (with mods)
Yarn: Rowan 4 ply soft. 4 x 50g. (I used exactly 4 balls).
Needles: one 3.25 circ for the whole thing.
I really like it — all except the shoulder seams — which I reckon it would look better without. If only I had thought beforehand I might have devised a way of kitchener-ing it together, or just having a seam at the underarms. Shrugs and boleros do not need seams. Hmm. I am now very tempted to knit Ysolda’s lovely Briar Rose which neatly illustrates how this is the case.