Alison Crowther-Smith

Archive for December, 2012

Conversations with Lily #2

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Lily:  why do I have to look so much like you?

Me:  because you are blessed.

Lily:  it’s not fair.

Me:  *dignified silence*

Lily:  *sigh* I wish I wasn’t blessed with your moon-like round face and double chins.

Me:  you’re not.  Your moon-like face and chins are nothing to do with me.

Lily:  are you calling me fat?

Me:  no.

Lily:  yeah but did you mean I was fat?

Me:  no.

Lily:  I wish I had straight hair.

Me:  no, you don’t.

Lily:  yeah but I do.  I hate my hair, it’s a right pain.

Me:  your hair is lovely. It is your crowning glory. Lots of girls wish they had curls.

Lily:  Dad’s got really curly hair, you have quite curly hair, why did I have to get it and Florence got the straight hair?

Me:  Florence also wishes she had curly hair.

Lily:  no, she doesn’t.  She mocks my hair.  She says things get caught in it and never get out.

Me:  well, that is true.

Lily:  also, I got my shortness from you.  Gee! Thanks mum! *with penetrating irony*

Me:  I am not short, I am almost 5 foot 5 inches, that’s not short.  You are a bit short, that is true, but it’s not my fault.

Lily:  are you saying I’m short?

Me:  yes.  Not very though.

Lily: God mum.

Me:  on the plus side, you both have nice eyelashes!  And I think you have inherited my nature!

Lily:  (after a lengthy pause) would you rather be married to dad if his name was Dilbert Chesty-La-Roux and you couldn’t change it, OR have to live for a week in a giant cello case?

Me:  (after a short pause) am I allowed to come out of the giant cello case to use the bathroom?

Lily:  no.

Me:  In that case I am going to go with being Mrs Chesty-La-Roux.

Lily:  seriously??!!

Me:  yes.  Because I think the giant cello case would be very insanitary.

Mark:  (coming into the sitting room having heard this exchange from the hall computer) What the hell is wrong with you two?

Lily:  shut it Dilbert!


The Moebius Bagel

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Courtesy of ‘I F***ing Love Science’ via Millington, I give you the Moebius bagel.

This will of course be my prime teaching aid for the forthcoming Moebius workshops here in 2013.


Twinkle Twinkle

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

This, my friends, is an Addi Circular needle filled with Swarovski crystals. If it wasn’t 10 mm gauge I’d probably buy it.

A rare find, you could buy them here.

It so appeals to my inner magpie.


Sleep. If found, please return, sadly missed at home. Reward.

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Sleep.  It’s a gift.  If you have it, please help me.  I can’t do it.  Well, by ‘I can’t do it’ obviously what I mean is I can’t do it very well.  If I never slept I’d die, I assume, right?  But oh my, I am so bad at this basic human function.

Night time sleep had improved a bit lately but the very wakeful, disturbed and tiring nights are back.  The more exhausted I get, the worse it seems to be.

So, I have been experimenting with the nap feature of our human bodies, encouraged by the Queen of the nap:  Millington, of course, who else? And one or two other friends whose calmness I admire and if I’m honest, frankly envy.  Having installed my human Nap Ap, I am disappointed.  I have so far had 2 successful naps (I am not counting two periods of illness in 2012 when napping replaced waking and vice versa – aside from feeling pretty ill, that bit was heavenly).  I have had 3 unsuccessful attempts, in which I *writhe about in a tangle of winter-weight duvet, getting more and more grumpy, listening to the noises of the house below, put radio on, put if off, get up for a wee, fiddle about with my ‘phone, get back into bed, rep from * until allotted time is up and I am allowed out – self-imposed rule, there are no actual guards outside the bedroom door.

When I was ill in spring, in the early stages of being ill before the Dr told me I was officially ill and so therefore I was still furious with my body for being so pathetic, I slept on the floor of the dining room. (Not at night).  I wanted complete peace and I simply had to lie down – but because I was angry about being ill, I wouldn’t go to actual bed – yes it’s logical, in my head.  I was alone in the house – a rare luxury now – so I took the precaution of first locking the gates thus making the garden inaccessible, hehehe – and then the doors.  Just in case; I am my father’s daughter.  I then shoved the dogs off their hearth rug and using their blanket, slept, like a dog, by the fire.  This was amazing, if uncomfortable enough to keep waking me up slightly.

Until a dear and well-meaning friend, calling by to see how I was, and finding herself locked out not just of the cottage but the garden, jumped up and down on the pavement outside a little side window in the corner of the dining room, this window being above head height to pedestrians, and with each jump, rapped smartly on the glass with her fist.

Well, the pandemonium that erupted in the dining room was epic.  Dogs, rugs, pillows, blankets, me, all performing cartoon-like physical and vocal expressions of extreme peril and alarm.  I genuinely thought, in this order:  I am trapped in a waking nightmare, I must wake up properly.  I am going mad.  My fever is so high I am hallucinating.  The house is being invaded by a maddened person and/or beast. Then, finally:  I think someone is jumping up at and banging on the side window.  WHY THE HELL ARE THEY DOING THAT? The fear caused by that wake-up is, I feel to this day, one of the reasons why it took me so long to recover from that illness.  That and my extreme reluctance to attend the GP’s surgery until it – the illness – had a proper grip on me.

Anyway, as the long nights creep by, think of me, knitting by the dim and less than adequate light of a reading lamp, because I don’t want to wake Mark up (more than having someone knitting beside them in bed, listening to the BBC World Service).  Don’t waste your time pitying Mark, by the way.  Little wakes him and if he does stir, he goes right off to sleep again. I think he may be part Dachshund.  It ought to be comforting, even if I am wakeful, to see – and indeed to hear – how deeply and happily Mark sleeps on, but in fact it completely infuriates me.  Which possibly says much about my nature, but how I envy the sleepers.


Cold? Stressed? Here’s a motivational picture

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012


This is Arthur.  All he wants is a warm cuddle from me (or anyone, really) and his big brother (out of shot, snoring on Mark’s lap).

I am a slave to these little dogs.  When I wonder how creatures barely 9 inches tall can command all my devotion, I just look at their sleeping faces.

His ear, by the way, is a little ‘crispy’ having been sucked/chewed by Rupert earlier on.

Conversations With Lily

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

(It’s fine.  I guarantee that no matter what she says, she never reads this blog ‘cos it’s like ’bout knittin’ innit?  Well, no actually, to the disappointment of many I assume, it is rarely about knitting.  But anyway, Lily doesn’t read it).

Lily:  Mercedes Buoyancy-Aid is having a party next weekend.

Me:  Are you going?

Lily:  No.

Me:  Why not?  Not invited…?

Lily:  Yeah, I was invited but I just don’t  want to go.

Me:  But why?

Lily:  *sighs* Because – well if you want to know, yeah?

Me:  Yeah.   I mean yes.

Lily:  Because I can’t face the humiliation.

Me:  *getting angry with the possibly entirely innocent Mercedes Buoyancy-Aid* Humiliation?

Lily:  *with some feeling*  Yes!  The utter humiliation of you, having agreed that I can go, then ringing up Mercedes Buoyancy-Aid’s mum and interrogating her about alcohol, boys and – and – stuff! *warming to theme* And then, ringing the mums of anyone else you know and asking how they feel about it all.  And then getting out of the car when you drop me off to question any adults in person.   And THEN making me leave the party at lame-o’clock anyway.

Me:  *hurt silence*

Lily:  Remember that?  Remember those times?

Me:  No.  It’s not like that.  It’s just that, as a responsible parent I feel it’s my duty to check that some basic safeguards are in place.  I don’t always do that.

Lily;  No.  Sometimes you make dad do it if there is A Man in the household.

Me:  That is true.

Prolonged and tense silence.

Me:  Well, darling, how would you like to have a party here?

Lily:  NO!  Oh for God’s sake, just NO!

Me:  *genuinely startled*  What?  Why ever not?

Lily:  Because I know you’d ring up all my friends’ parents beforehand to spell out your policy on alcohol and then frisk all my friends and search their bags.  And confiscate anything that didn’t say Appeltiser.

Me:  I would not!  I’d never frisk anyone, let alone a child!

Lily:  *with heat*  They are not children!  They are 16!


Lily:  And, do you remember when Florence had to drop me off at Cherry’s (an alcohol-free nightclub for teens in Bridgwater) ‘cos you were away and you made Florence come in with me and talk to the door staff and *almost weeping* ask them to take personal care of me?

Me:  No.  That didn’t happen. (It did)

Lily:  *makes noises I cannot express with a keyboard*

Me:  *calmly*  This is getting us nowhere.  Look, do you want to go to Mercedes Buoyancy-Aid’s party?  If so I will promise not to ring her mum.  And let you stay until, um…11.00…?

Lily:  No. It’s OK.

Me:  I promise.

Lily:  Nah.  It’s the final stages of Strictly now, I’d rather stay in and watch that.


Lily:  OK?

Me:  OK.


Leaf of the Day: thy neighbour’s leaf (and some knitting)

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

My neighbour is a funny chap.  He’s got some funny ways, I mean.  For example, he once ‘weeded’ and cleared his garden – with a flame-thrower.  Not a little blow-torch, no, it was a giant, roaring flame-thrower.  I was gardening in my vegetable garden one summer* evening and I heard a loud, throaty roar start up, accompanied by a dry crackling as all the vegetation in his garden was instantly incinerated.  You could feel the heat! Literally, scorched earth.

* Summer:  a season that people in England used to experience between Spring** and Autumn***

** Spring:  a season that used to follow Winter****

*** Autumn: a season that used to precede Winter

**** Winter:  our year-round weather

Anyway, my neighbour is not a fan of the gardening.  But he does own some big trees and one of these is right on my border, next to my vegetable garden.  What is more annoying even than having to slave over raking up my own enormous pile of indestructible leaves, is having to then sweep up the deluge of his leaves as this gigantic tree deposits ALL its leaves in my garden.  The only bonus is that, unlike my sneaky copper beech and magnolia, this tree drops them all in one massive go.

That aside, I am loving the garden at the moment. I can’t walk on the veg garden as it’s been too wet and other than emergency hoe-ing I’ve been keeping off it.  So have not yet planted the garlic which as we know must be in before Christmas.  But the borders at the front and the lawn there have been receiving regular attention with what I like to call my Rolling Maintenance Programme.  The RMP is just a fancy way of saying I garden every week, on about 2 – 3 days of the week for 1 – 3 hours at a stretch.  In winter****.  In summer* (see notes above) this is at least 3 days a week for 2 – 3 hours each time.  This is never going to make the garden super-neat, because there is the same amount of garden at the back and far side of the cottage as the area at the front. But I’m not after super-neat. I am after a working compromise between neat (desirable) and jungle (the situation if I turn my back for more than 2 weeks or let the RMP lapse).

In other news I am going to knit myself a jumper a bit like that/those in The Killing, as worn, but not knitted by Detective Sarah.  The yarn is ordered and I have the pattern I want – it’s the cover jumper in the Rowan ‘Tweed’ book by Marie Wallin.  I tried the garment on when I was teaching last week and I love it.  Yes, people, it’s Fairisle! And it’s aran wool….walls shake, thunder rolls, is the end of the world nigh?

These are my colours:


Not quite the same as in the book, I preferred the pale grey to the other contrast they used.  The first shade is the MC.

I wanted to knit it in Pendle:


as the MC but Rowan doesn’t produce that shade in aran, only DK and Fine.  I wonder why?

Anyway, I have the 2 contrast yarns and now await the main shade.

Here is the jumper:

Knit this womens sweater with fairisle yoke from our Tweed Collection. A design

I haven’t seen The Killing.  I am listening to it so I hope this is about right.

I am warned by Mark that I must not say:  ‘I am wearing my Killing jumper’ in public and especially not when teaching.