Leaving on a jet plane

… except I do know when I’ll be back!

We waved goodbye to this gorgeous duo before 6.30 this morning and headed to the airport. As I write this we are at 38000 feet heading south west and we’re off the coast of Canada, near somewhere called Goose Bay (when I say near, obviously I mean 38000 feet above it). We’ve travelled 2200 miles and we have 2833 miles to go. It’s -50 outside. Toasty in here though.

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Obviously I’m not going to be able to post this until I get to somewhere with WiFi, but I thought I’d help pass the time by documenting the day so far. We’re on a Boeing 787, otherwise known as a Dreamliner. This is Boeing’s newest addition to their range, and, if I’m not wrong, was recently the first plane to fly non-stop to Australia from the UK.

You can tell it’s new. It’s fancy pants! The windows have a button that adjusts the tint in the glass so it’s either completely transparent, completely opaque, or anywhere in between. None of the old window shutters that you normally get on a plane.

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When we got on, the windows were all normal transparent glass but after we took off the crew activated the ambient lighting which is supposed to replicate the conditions in the time zone that you’re flying to, which allegedly reduces jet lag, so now the windows are semi-opaque. I never really get jet lag when flying west, so we’ll see what effect it has on the return journey (not that I’m thinking about that yet!)

When they activated the ambient lighting, all the lights down the ceiling of the plane changed colour. I was too busy marvelling at it and forgot to take a photo, but hopefully they’ll do it again so I can show you (update – they didn’t!)

Seatback screens are nothing new for anyone who’s flown long haul on a decent airline, but I don’t recall them having USB slots before. Fab! No need to worry about how much candy crush I play then, I can just charge my phone if need be.

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So far we’ve done quite a bit of eating (which is fine because calories don’t count up here, right?) We had breakfast in Wetherspoons at Birmingham airport (once we’d found a seat that is! Very busy airport this morning).

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Apparently it was lunchtime a while ago (I have no idea, what with being up at the crack of dawn and all this ambient lighting business) so we were served a meal. I know lots of people don’t like aeroplane food, but I really like it.

We had chicken in tarragon sauce with roast potatoes, broccoli and carrots with a bread roll. Then we had cheese and crackers and a chocolate orange ganache dessert. Yum!

Apparently we’ve been flying for four hours and thirty four minutes, and in that time I’ve been luxuriously unproductive! Lots of procrastination, faffing and generally doing entirely what I want while not having to organise, remember or be reliable. That, while I’m here, is someone else’s job, and they are welcome to it!

I have started to crochet a gift for my new baby niece who is currently incubating in utero.

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I have candy crushed all my lives several times (including changing the time to trick it into giving me more!) Level 2518 completed! (Update: levels 2519, 2520 and 2521 also completed). I’ve played a million games of traffic rush. I’m sure my high score used to be 287, but it appears to have forgotten that, so I was determined to beat 200 before I stopped.

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What else to do now? I have Red magazine from ages ago that I hadn’t got round to reading. It has Keeley Hawes on the front and I’m interested to see what she has to say about the Bodyguard (update: nothing about the Bodyguard but she seems lovely).

I have Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine to read, which my best friend bought me for my birthday. I’m looking forward to this – I never read actual books anymore, unless they’re non-fiction with pictures that don’t translate well to my kindle, and this is an actual book, with pages and everything. I find the kindle easier normally because I do most of my reading before I go to sleep when I like to turn the light off to ease my eyes, so a book’s no good and also, there’s a very real risk of dropping an actual book on your face when reading lying down, and that hurts and you feel a bit silly if your husband sees! I’m going to have plenty of time and opportunity for actual book reading over the next week though. What bliss!

There’s always more eating to be done too. Apparently we get afternoon tea later! (Update: we did!)

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Think I’ll get on with some more completely unproductive things now.

We flew out over Ireland, under Iceland and down the east coast of the states. This, believe it or not, is Cape Canaveral. You can see the Assembly Building (largest single storey building in the world) if you look close enough.

It’s funny how you look on the map and think, how have we got another four hours to go, it’s only a couple of inches on the map. Then you realise those couple of inches actually constitute the entire east coast of America! America is BIG!

So as you can tell by the fact that this is published, we have now arrived. Completely exhausted but happy.

Our bags got randomly searched at the airport. The guy seemed to find my wool strangely amusing and was utterly bemused by the copious amounts of Fisherman’s Friends that hubby has (he uses them as an anti-smoking aid).

Haven’t seen much of the hotel yet but our room is lovely (and huge!)

And it has optics!!

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This could be dangerous!

And this is the view from the balcony.

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We’ve already seen a capybara in the grounds. No photo unfortunately but I have a week to remedy that. We can hear parrots outside and there are, allegedly, coatis roaming around.

Not sure if we’ll do much exploring tonight. It’s not 6pm yet here, but our bodies think it’s 11pm and we were up at 5.30am so I think bed may win over exploring.

September Little Box of Crochet

Good evening all!

I’m just quickly checking in because I’ve finally finished September’s Little Box of Crochet which I told you about here.

Oh my goodness I found this one hard, and it took a good deal of grit and determination not to have a hissy, stampy feet fit and give up!

As a quick reminder, September’s project was Gareth the Sleeping Fox.

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Gareth is crocheted entirely in waistcoat stitch which is how he got his name. Gareth Southgate, England Manager, became one of the most talked about men in the country when he dressed so snappily during every game that England played at the World Cup, always including a waistcoat.

I’d never heard of waistcoat stitch before I received my box, much less attempted it. Having googled it, I’ve discovered that it’s often called knit stitch, and it really does look like knitting rather than crochet.

The effect is achieved by inserting the hook in a different part of the stitch to normal crocheting. For any crocheters out there I’ve tried to illustrate the difference in the following photos.

The arrow on the first photo is pointing to where you insert the hook to create waistcoat stitch, right in the v of the knit like stitch. On the second photo the arrow points to the very top of the stitch and this is where the hook goes in regular crochet.

You wouldn’t think this would make much difference to the actual crocheting, but gosh it did! I almost had to resort to using a thimble because it’s so much harder to push the hook through.

Anyway. Enough of that. On to Gareth!

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Here are all his body parts before they were foxed up!

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Tail and body now attached.

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Slightly out of focus. Whoops! Foxy face stitched on.

…… and, drumroll!

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Rubbish lighting! Couldn’t decide whether he looked best with the flash, without the flash or just with the big light on! I had to go rootling around in the garden with the torch on my phone to find some nice leaves for staging purposes! Quite creepy I have to say with ghosts and ghouls still lurking around the corner from Halloween and fireworks banging around me! The things I do to try and get a good photo!

I can see a couple of little errors on the Fairisle parts (the bits with white and orange together) but on the whole I’m pleased with how he’s turned out and I’m glad I persevered.

I can’t say I’ll be rushing to do waistcoat stitch again, but I’m happy that I mastered it and have an extra string to my crocheting bow. I might find it easier using acrylic yarn since it’s not as rigid as cotton, but the downside to that is that the stitches wouldn’t look as defined.

So, onwards and upwards to October’s box and another new technique – Tunisian crochet. This one’s coming on holiday with me in four days, twelve hours, five minutes and forty two seconds. Forty one … forty … thirty nine … thirty eight …

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A bitty day

Today started with a very VERY long snooze! Nine hours and fifty one minutes to be precise.

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You can see from my Fitbit why I needed to catch up. For some people, I know, this is perfectly enough sleep, but I think I must’ve been a cat or a sloth in a former life, and anything less than eight hours isn’t enough for me. Couple that with the dark mornings, and it doesn’t make for a very happy Green Girl Gardener! I think I must be the only person in the world who actually likes the clock change at the end of October. Of course I don’t like the fact that it’s dark before I leave work, however, first of all, we get an extra hour in bed, and most importantly, it’s lighter in the mornings for a couple of weeks and that makes me feel sooooo much better.

Along with lots of people, I suffer from the effects of SAD when the days get darker. I’ve had my SAD light on every morning for the last week, which just about keeps the edge off it. Before I bought the light, I spent most of the time from late October to the beginning of March like the proverbial bear with a sore head, and a tired one at that. I mostly just wanted someone to put me out of my misery! That might sound melodramatic, but that’s really what SAD makes you feel like. The SAD light I have is this one.

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I’d highly recommend it for anyone needing a boost in the winter.

After my epic sleep I started the day in typical autumnal fashion.

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Snuggly dressing gown and teddy bear blanket, crumpets (Warburtons, the king of crumpets!) with lashings of butter and the teeniest scrape of marmite (I’m convinced that marmite haters are just those who have put too much marmite on their preferred choice of carbohydrate) and some mindless Candy Crushing.

I had a hair appointment booked today. This is exciting for two reasons. Firstly, because I love getting my hair done. It always feels like such a luxury to be coiffured by a professional, and I hate drying my hair so I love getting my hair washed and dried by my hairdresser. Secondly, because when I booked this appointment for today, it was with our holiday in mind, so this means it’s finally nearly here!

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Holiday hair in process! Never an attractive look, but worth it for the end result.

Never one to miss up an opportunity to crochet, I made full use of the time while my hair was ‘cooking’.

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Ive cracked the waistcoat stitch now so I’m zooming on with my September Little Box of Crochet. I’m determined to finish it before our holiday (thirteen days and counting!) so that I can take the October box with me.

We left one member of the family at the hairdresser’s.

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This is Bella. I can’t remember if I’ve talked to you about Bella before. I won her a few months ago in a ‘guess the name’ competition run by the Animal House, a wonderful charity based in South Birmingham who do amazing work for animals. Do check out their web page. When I won Bella, I didn’t realise quite how big she was! It’s hard to see the scale in the photo, but that sofa is designed for three people! My hairdresser is Blowers which is owned and run by my brother in law, and when I mentioned Bella to him and how we really couldn’t keep her because of her size, but that I wanted her to go to a good home, he said he knew someone who worked for a charity and suggested that we donate her. So that’s what we’ve done. I feel quite sad that she’s gone, and the dining room looks bare, but I’m pleased that she’ll make even more money for good causes.

Last weekend we bought eight sleepers with which to make our raised beds so that we can grow our own fruit and veg next year.

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The sleepers are 1.2 metres long, so they’re only going to be small raised beds, but I figure for my first foray into fruit and veg growing, they’ll be fine. There’s plenty of space in our garden if we decide we need more beds.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t behave and, as well as being freezing cold, it decided to rain on us, so we only managed to get one put together before we admitted defeat and retreated inside to the radiator!

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I’m a little bit in love with it! I’m so excited for the spring when I can plant it. First things first though. I need to clear and level the area that it will live in, and decide if I want slabs around it. Some fun garden designing to get on with. Hopefully I’ll be able to get out and put the second one together tomorrow.

On the subject of the garden: a couple of our fence panels had been on their last legs for some time, and Storm Callum proved to be the final straw and they gave in, so we had them replaced yesterday. Oh my goodness it looks good now!

After our garden exploits were foiled, I decided to have a clear out of my dressing room. I realise that sounds really posh! I’m not the Queen honestly, I just commandeered our little third bedroom when we moved in and stuck my wardrobe in it!

Does anyone else have a bit of an obsession with boxes?

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I found this one in my wardrobe that was given to me as a gift with a mug in it. The mug is in regular use, but I hadn’t found a use for the lovely box. I put it in the pile of rubbish to go to the tip and took it out twice because I couldn’t bear to let it go. I couldn’t find a use for it in my dressing room, so I’ve put it to work in the kitchen.

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It’s definitely been a bitty kind of a day today! I feel like this post has jumped around all over the place – sorry if you get a headache from the bouncing!