Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bellringing (tower-spotting?)

I really do mean for this to be more than a once-a-week blog. Work has been insanely busy lately, but in a good way. It's meant that I've been sleeping insane amounts - all I want to do when I get home is eat dinner and crawl into bed!

I had an uber-productive day yesterday - we rode our bikes to the farm shop for some groceries, did 3 loads of laundry (2 of which were dried on the washing line), and then spent the afternoon on a bell outing, "tower-grabbing".

Here's a screenshot of the word document that we got. The open day started at 9am, but it was mostly local towers that I'd already rung in (or will probably ring in soon). The left two columns are the opening times, the number in the 4th column is how many bells there are, the fifth column has the map reference, and the all-important 6th column is T for Toilet. Not all churches have toilets, I have discovered.

It was my first tower-grabbing day (which is quite like trainspotting: you drive somewhere, check off the sighting/activity, and then rush off to the next place), and it was a little bit manic. People truly rush from one tower to the next, ring whatever the least-experienced band member can ring, and then leap back into the car. Madness.



Kersey (we skipped Elmsett):
Monks Eleigh:


And, on the way home, Buxhall. I ring at Buxhall every other Tuesday, so it was nice to finish off the day at one of my home towers. Even though I had to pay £1 to ring called changes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More blisters

On a recommendation from a friend, I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is written entirely in letters and notes from the various characters to each other, which worried me a little at the beginning. I really enjoyed it, though. It reminded me a little bit of the McCall Smith set at the same time period (La's Orchestra Saves The World), and was an engrossing and reasonably quick read.

I spent all day yesterday on an outing to Norfolk with the Ladies' Guild of Change Ringers (Eastern District). I'm now officially a member (and have ordered my LG rugby shirt to prove it). It was a really fun day out: we rang at 3 towers, had a pub lunch, and even the meeting that I attended wasn't as bad as I was expecting.

This is a picture of Brooke church - it had a somewhat exciting circular tower with not a lot of room for people to stand. The tenor rope seemed to be suspended over the stairwell when we first arrived, and then I realised that there was a platform that folded down over the stairs for the tenor ringer to stand on. I rang the tenor for some Stedman doubles, and standing on the little platform, seemingly suspended in midair, gave me seriously wobbly knees. I was only about 4 feet off the ground (and only in one direction - I was level with the floor on 3 sides), but it was enough for me. The ringers said they've never had anyone fall off, which I guess is good!

We left before the 4th tower to come back to Suffolk to ring a quarter peal in Woolpit. It went really well until about 35 minutes in, when my blister decided it had had enough. It's nowhere near as bad as the last one I had, though, and we made it all the way through. I can't imagine how I'm ever going to get through a full peal (3+ hours, nonstop) if I keep getting blisters ringing quarters.

Here's another picture from Dad's scanning project - I think that's the same concentration face I make when I'm ringing bells!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Do I get to be a vampire now? How 'bout now?

I started Breaking Dawn on Wednesday morning, and finished it on Friday evening. AND I was out on Wedensday evening and didn't get any reading time. It's my favorite of the series - Bella really grows into herself and I loved the Jacob-Edward dynamic.

I found all four books to be quite cinematic - reading them was not so much "sitting on the couch/at my desk/on the bed reading" as "this is all just sort of happening in my head." It was kind of a bizarre sensation, and led to some abrupt transitions back to reality when I picked my head up from the book. "Wait, where'd the vampires go?" I think the last book that I really wanted to be IN was The Penderwicks, and before that, Harry Potter. Hmm...I'm trying to think of any grown-up books that I've wanted to be in. Possibly one of Alexander McCall Smith's Edinburgh books, but not to the same extent.

We did some weeding and general garden tidying yesterday, and I decided that the daffodils were being TOO SLOW in the front yard and we needed some color. I think these do the job! I've also put down some Blue Slug Poison Pellets of Death.

The little eco-warrior in me is v. sad about doing it, but the gardener and person who wants to actually EAT the fruits of the plants that I grow has won. The slugs were entirely evil last year, and grew to somewhat epic proportions. So, Blue Death it is...

My dad has been scanning old slides and photographs, and this is one of my favorites from the recent batch. Judging by our sizes, this picture is from the summer of 1987, taken at the Garden City pool (where my mom used to be a lifeguard).

I don't know what little Edward is plotting, but it's not good. I don't think I was plotting anything - I just look cold. And I remember that bathing suit - it went from being too big to all stretched out and droopy. It clearly traumatised 6-year-old me.

The Garden City pool was awesome - it used to have a bunch of diving boards at the deep end of the HUGE main pool, which of course have now been removed and replaced with 'safe' slides. Bah. What's fun about summer if you can't fling yourself off the 5 meter platform and be scared out of your mind (and get water up your nose)?

[Edit: I don't know what's the matter with the line spacing in these posts, but pictures seem to mess it up and I can't seem to fix it. Suggestions gladly taken.]

Monday, March 2, 2009

First flower and a little light crafting

Here is the first outdoor flower of the year (in our garden, anyway). Pardon the focus issues - I took the picture with my iPhone.

It's a dwarf daffodil, although it looks more like a yellow snowdrop in this picture. The regular daffs are very nearly open and the tulips have started popping up through the dirt. WOOT!

I have some crafting to report. I bought a very cute, cream cable-knit turtleneck sweater from J.Crew, about 5 years ago. And had washed it in woolite a few times. Not a problem.

For some reason, I decided a few weeks ago to wash it in woolite using the cold, delicates cycle in the washing machine. BAD idea. The sweater didn't shrink as much as if I'd put it in the dryer, but it was definitely too small. And it was a little short to begin with. Result: unwearable.

It doesn't look so bad in this picture, but the pillow form is pretty small. And my torso is kind of long. And my muffin-top does NOT benefit from short sweaters.

So, before:

And, after!
The button is wooden, which I really like, and since my sewing machine (kick-ass antique Singer Featherweight) doesn't do zig-zag, there's no buttonhole. It's all just sewn together. I can clip the threads and re-sew the button if I need to (hand) wash the sweater-pillow.