Saturday, December 31, 2005
I started this year with no job. I end the year having just left one job and about to start another which I'm excited about.
I started the year with a red bug, I end the year with a turquoise one.
I started the year as a Londoner, I end the year soon to be a Cantabrian (by residence only, I'm still an Oxonian (and a Londoner) at heart.)
I started the year single, I end the year still single.
I started the year in a wonderful church that met in a school, I end the year in a growing and still wonderful church that meets in a cinema.
I started the year having not knit for years. I end the year a very keen and possibly obsessed kntter.
I started the year with one camera, I end the year with three (if you count the phone.)
I started the year trusting God for the next step. I end the year thankful for what He's done this year and trusting Him again to take me into the next exciting installment.
Friday, December 30, 2005
An interesting snippet from our local paper - a village in Pakistan is to be named Walthamstow in gratitude for the help given to that community by this one after the earthquake. I think that's quite cool.
Friday, December 23, 2005
This photo was taken last year after my church's carols and nativity service. The baby in the manger has grown up a bit since then and has more hair, although he often still looks as worried.I'm off for a few days to the land of pork pies and blue cheese. (I don't like either, but I know some people who do.)
Have a wonderful Christmas.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
I've been stressed about it all week. In the end, I decided to turn down beautiful-old-house and go for house-3-miles-out-of-town-but-only-for-6-months. I rang up Z who lives there (I'm sure she's going to feature in the blog in the next few months, so she might as well have an initial now) wondering whether the room would still be available and discovered not only that it is, but that she's now decorated the second spare room which is about twice the size of the one I originally looked out. (It's lavender, very me!) So all is well and all has worked out. God's good!
I won't be able to move in until 7th January, but given that I'm away over the New Year weekend, that makes life a bit less hectic.
It's such a relief to get a place to live sorted. Perhaps I'll be able to stop biting people's heads off now and enjoy Christmas.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
1 lb demerara sugar
8 oz golden granulated sugar
1 tin evaporated milk
Put all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan. (I use an old pressure cooker.)
Heat on a low to medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted.
Turn the heat down slightly. Boil the mixture for 10-12 minutes to the softball stage (when a small amount of mixture dropped into cold water will stick together to form a ball.) STIR CONSTANTLY!
Take the pan off the heat, add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence and beat until it thickens slightly. The mixture begins to feel fudgy and makes sticky noises. Sort of. This is one of the bits you have to practise.
Pour the fudge into a greased and lined tin and leave to cool.
Once cool, cut into pieces and eat.
For chocolate fudge, add 3 tablespoons of cocoa at the beginning.
The basic recipe is easy, but you might need to practise a few times to get it right.
Monday, December 19, 2005
I don't really know what to do now. Hang on and see what happens, keep trying anything I can and pray. I start my new job two weeks tomorrow and so far I've got nowhere definite to move to. I'm trying not to be depressed about it. I've been here before. When I moved to Bath, the house I ended up living in got sorted very quickly. I had about 10 days to sort it out before I went on holiday. In a matter of days I went from having no-one to live with and nowhere to live to having three housemates and a gorgeous house. I'm trying to hang onto that and trust God.
Friday, December 16, 2005
This bunch of flowers was a present when I left my previous job just before Christmas last year. It's nearly Christmas and once again, I'm leaving my job. This time last year, I didn't know what I was going to do next. I'd applied for my current job but the deadline was ages away and it was a couple of months before they interviewed me. This time, I know where I'm going next and it's exciting.
I've known I'm going to leave this job at the end of the year for the majority of the time I'd been here. I started just after Easter, I was offered my new job at the end of July. That's 4 months not planning to leave and then 5 months knowing I'm leaving. Knowing I was leaving soon made doing this job bearable. It's not all been terrible, but my heart's never really been in it. I'm more excited about where I'm going next. It's a new thing for everyone involved. I'm moving to a new town, new church, to meet new people, learn new things, moving on to the next stage in my life.
As far as I know, this time next year I won't be about to leave my job. And that will be a very good thing.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
About 4pm, the sky outside my East-facing office window started turning pink. I kept watching and waiting and going to the other side of the building to see whether this sunset was going to be a good one, and it was. The moon is beautiful tonight too, high and full and misty with cloud cover, but I couldn't get it to photograph well.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
On Saturday I went to Cambridge to look at a couple more places I could live. The first house I looked at, I fell in love with. It's a mid terrace Victorian house, beautifully decorated, lots of light paint and wood, stripped wood doors, odd cupboards and nooks and crannies. It's not far from the centre of town, there's a small garden, a passage way through to the garden in which I could keep my bike. The room I'd have is unfurnished so I'd get to buy my own furniture. It's got big wooden framed sash windows. It's all very me. The two girls living there have only just moved in. I've spoken to one on the phone and met the other. We got on fine.
The other house was good in lots of different ways. It's further out of town, has a huge garden with a back gate and is full of lovely people who I got on with really well. My main reservation is that I feel too old for it. Most of the people in the house have only just graduated. I'd be the oldest. If I were a few years younger, I'd probably go for it, but I just feel a bit too grown-up. It's is if the two houses are two possibilities for people to be. Centre of town sophisicate or edge of town only-just-not-a-student. That's a little more extreme than it actually is. I think if I hadn't already seen and loved the first house, I'd be happy to live in the second.
So, I came home on Saturday feeling sure I'd found my new home. All I needed to do to be sure was to meet the girl I'd only spoken to. I envisaged doing that one evening this week and then sorting things out quickly so I could move in before Christmas. Unfortunately she's very busy all this week and we can't meet until next week. That's pretty close to Christmas, so there isn't going to be time to sort contracts etc in time for me to move before Christmas. Perhaps that means I won't move in until after I've started my job and I'll have to sleep on my sister's floor for a few days. But then I haven't met her yet and we may not get on (I think this is unlikely, but you never know.) So now I'm feeling a bit thrown. I've rung and turned down one place I looked at, but there are still two others I haven't rung (including the second hosue from Saturday) I don't really want to keep them hanging on, but I don't want to turn everything down just in case this one doesn't work out. Basically I wanted it all to get sorted and it isn't (yet) and I don't deal well with uncertainty, it tends to make me assume the worst (hmm, perhaps Puddleglum is right after all). So there. That's what's happening.
And I've got three days left with nothing much to do at work except fidget and worry, so that's not helping either.
"As Puddleglum the marshwiggle, you are very much pessimistic and paranoid! However, you're respected and trusted, and have a heart of gold."
I'm not sure what to make of that. I suspect it might be true, a bit.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
The music fades out and the announcer is back. Is order about to be restored? No, the fault is still ongoing. An orchestral piece starts. Will the ensembles get bigger as time passes? If this goes on, will you end up listening to Mahler's symphony of a thousand, or the music of a giant gamelan comprising every musician on earth?
The orchestra plays on, soporificly. You are being lulled into sleepiness, you don't need the news, never mind what's happening in the world, here is calm and peaceful.
Suddenly, the music ends abruptly. We're rejoining PM, the quotidian order is restored.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Good film. I like it. My sister says it was always the film we'd watch at school at the end of term, but inevitably there wouldn't be time to watch it all, so it really was a never-ending story. I read the book a year or two ago and discovered that the film ends about halfway through the book. Apparently there are two sequels. I've never seen either.
The scene where Atreyu's horse sinks into the swamp gets me every time. It was always the most memorable scene when I hadn't seen the film for years, probably because it's a horse dying (I was a horse-mad child), but also because the acting is so good. The child actors playing Bastian and Atreyu are both brilliant, totally believable in their distress and anguish. Atreyu in particular spends a lot of time crawling in the mud, climbing things and getting sneezed on by a giant tortoise. It can't have been much fun to film.
The other memorable thing is Falkor, the luck dragon. Mostly because he's large and pink and slightly fluffy and yet manages to look dragonly and not like something dreamed up for a Disney princess. Doesn't everyone want a dragon?
Not very coherent, obviously still ill. Bed.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
It's a tricky thing, deciding where to live, especially when you've never met the people you're going to live with before. You might get on brilliantly, you might annoy each other totally, you might just live parallel lives in the same house. All of these things have happened to me in the past. It's good to have a few options though. I think I could live happily in either of the places I've seen so far. All the places I'm looking at contain at least one other Christian girl, which is the main thing I wanted. God's good.
Friday, November 18, 2005
So I'm very glad that today I'm taking the afternoon off to run away to Exeter for the weekend, to see HP (briefly), HP (confusing I know) and NL. Paddington here I come.
Monday, November 14, 2005
My office is cold and smells of cabbage.
I've just exploded a blackcurrant teabag while trying to detach it from its sister teabag.
Reasons why today is a good day
It's one of those beautiful crisp and frosty mornings in autumn that I love.
I have pink fluffy gloves to keep my hands warm on the bike.
I've now got a steaming cup of blackcurrant tea (and I've cleared up the mess).
Psalm 118 v24: This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
UPDATE: I've found a heater. Much better!
Friday, November 11, 2005
More information about London's fuel cell buses.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
Perhaps it's a synaesthete thing. The UK Synaesthesia Association calls synaesthesia "a harmless condition in which people experience perceptual sensations that are not shared by most other members of the population. For example, people with synaesthesia may experience colours with letters, sounds, or words; they may experience shapes with tastes, or smells with sounds, to name a few varieties. It has a biological origin and is found in at least 1 in 2000 people." I think it's more common in women than in men.
For me, most numbers and letters and days of the week have colours. Words and sounds have shapes and colour. I also have a kind of mental number line. the cardinal numbers are arranged as if on a rollercoaster, climbing up from 0 to ten, then steeper from 10 to 20, a long shallow slope up to 100, then spirals getting tighter and tighter away to infinity. The negative numbers are there too, droppping away from zero into their own spiral. I can fly round my number line, zooming in on different bits. If I get close enough, I can see the numbers in between, the fractions, decimals, irrational roots. Somewhere over to the left are the complex numbers, sideways branches out from -1. This number line serves no practical purpose, it's just always been there, ever since I can remember. I also have mental maps for years, months, days of the week. Sometimes they help me plan, or think about time. I often have to think in shapes when I work out when things are happening. If you see me doodling in the air while thinking about a particular date, that's why. So perhaps my having a mental map of the internet is inevitable. It's just that I've only just realised it.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Yesterday I got home to find a parcel from Austria waiting for me. My lomo was back! Mended and working again. Thank you lovely lomo people!
I took it to a fireworks party last night, along with the practica, and took lots of shots of things whizzing into the air and sparklers whirling round and round. I can't wait to see how they come out!
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
I watched the pigeons fly around the park. From being scattered, they suddenly flew together towards a tree on the far side of the grass. For a while, they jostled about there and then fanned out like policemen doing a finger tip search. A lone pigeon flew back across the park and landed beneath a tree near me. A few minutes later, the entire flock flew across to join him, gathering together for a bit and then fanning out as before. A little later and for no apparent reason, they all flew off again.
Do you think it's fun being a pigeon?
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Here's an extract:
"The story of conflict [between science and Christianity] does sound familiar, because it is the standard interpretation of history taught all through the public education system. In fact, it is so widely accepted that often it is treated not as an interpretation at all, but simply as a fact of history. Yet, surprising as it may sound, among historians of science, the standard view has been soundly debunked. Most historians today agree that the main impact Christianity had on the origin and development of modern science was positive. Far from being a science stopper, it is a science starter."
Note to self - must get round to reading Total Truth.
As a single blogger myself, I can't say the thought ever ocurred to me. I think of my blog as my public face on the net, a place to write and think and show other people things that have ocurred to me. I like the interaction of commenting on blogs and finding out about other people and I suppose over time relationships online could develop into relationships offline. On the other hand, much of the Godblogosphere is based in the US and I'm not. Perhaps it does happen, but if that's your prime motivation for blogging, you're not going to get very far!
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
My brain isn't really working well enough to write proper stuff which is a little worrying because I've got to write an essay about Pride and Prejudice in the next week.
UPDATE: pics from Chester zoo are up.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Apart from that, today isn't very exciting. I'm at work, it's raining, I'm not doing anything particularly exciting tonight. Although I did see Pride and Prejudice last night and absolutely loved it!
Today, you could also be celebrating John Peel day, Margaret Thatcher's 80th birthday or Paul Simon's 64th.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
I've been waiting for my new job to be confirmed by the college committee since August and finally, it has. That means from January I will be working for a small institute in Cambridge. I'll be marketing their journal and courses and seminars about science and religion. I'm very excited about it!
I've not got anywhere to live in Cambridge yet and there are loads of thing yet to be sorted. Moving out of my parent's house properly will be exciting and scary, but it feels like time to move. Leaving my current church will be harder, but I know there's a good church in Cambridge (several actually) and I'm looking forward to getting involved there.
Please can you pray that I'll find somewhere to live and that I'll use the next couple of months wisely and patiently.
Anyway, I realised yesterday as I washed my 1976 Beetle, wearing my giant flared jeans and a striped shirt that's older than I am, (it belonged to my mum and was tatty enough when she went to university to be used for painting in), brushing my side-parted shoulder length hair out of my eyes, that I appear to be living in a 1970s timewarp. I could have taken a picture of the event with my c 1978 Practica MTL3 or my Soviet era (designed in the early 80s so it doesn't quite fit, but why let logic spoil a good blog post?) Lomo LCA.
So does this mean that the 70s weren't the decade taste forgot after all or that I'm about 30 years out of date? I will admit to being slightly Luddite in preferring lowtech solutions to fancy electronic ones, but I can't be all that much of a technophobe since I am after all posting this on my blog. Perhaps the awful truth is that I'm turning into my mum, c1976, (although with blonde hair and no glasses). What a scary thought.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
So those who like knitted things can go and take a look, but anyone who isn't really that bothered can ignore it.
Hmm, that means I've got to think of some proper content. Any thoughts?
Friday, October 07, 2005
"I have myself a poetical enthusiasm for pigs, and the paradise of my fancy is one where pigs have wings. But it is only men, especially wise men, who discuss whether pigs can fly; we have no particular proof that pigs ever discuss it."
from Fancies versus Facts by G.K. Chesterton
I rather like that.
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
It's been a long week.
Good things - HP has a roommate. She's a Christian, she's from Nigeria.
Tuesday night, my cell group had pizza at my house. We sat around and chatted and had fun.
Bad things - being knocked off my bike.
I'm still feeling achey and very tired and wondering if I'm about to be ill.
Good things - it's Friday, the weekend starts soon.
I'm going to Cambridge tomorrow to see DP.
I'll be able to go to church with her on Sunday and talk to people and say "I'm moving here in January."
Bad things - it's a long time until January.
I haven't got anywhere to live in Cambridge yet.
Good things - it's a long time until January so there's plenty of time to find somewhere to live.
The committee who have to approve my appointment meet this weekend, so on Monday I should be able to resign properly and tell people at work that I'm leaving.
It's my birthday next Thursday.
Silly thing - I found this moon hoax parody earlier in the week. It made me laugh.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
All I have to show off is a finished pink jumper. Ta da!
big pink finished object
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
The collision was partly the driver's fault for not seeing me and partly mine for not paying enough attention. I usually swing round that corner without thinking about it, trusting the fact that it's my right of way and anyone turning in or out of that side road can just avoid me. That would be OK in a car, but on a bike, if someone doesn't see me and turns off, it's me that's going to come off worst, even if the collision is their fault.
I'm not going to be put off cycling. I got back on the bike this morning, although I did feel a bit shaky by the time I got to Leyton and left the bike there rather than continue onto Stratford as I usually do. However, I think I should try harder to pay attention to the road. It's too easy to pedal along with my thoughts miles away instead of thinking about than where I am and what the traffic around me is doing.
Monday, October 03, 2005
While knitting these socks in a variety of places (on the tube, on the train to Birmingham, during spare time during a conference), I remembered some of the knitting I'd seen on holiday in Wales at the National Woollen Museum. There were handknitted stockings made Welsh working men, from the 18th (I think) century and pictures of men and women knitting as they walked to work or to market or anywhere at all. Some of the stockings were personalised with intricate designs and initials. These were practical, vital garments, made by hand from handspun fleece, dyed with vegetable dyes, all local materials. Those too poor to own their own sheep would have got their wool from hedgerows and fences, following the sheep as they moved around (the origin of the word woolgathering).
My knitted socks are essentially a luxury item. I didn't shear the sheep or spin the wool or dye it myself, although theoretically I could have done. If I had to knit all my socks myself, I doubt it would be so much fun.
On Saturday, I went to a Christians in Science conference on sustainability. It's got me thinking about the environmental impact of my everyday life and the choices I make about what to do and how to live. My sock wool, spun and dyed in the USA and then shipped to the UK is beautiful, but represents a large number of airmiles. I could have made a different choice; this country is hardly lacking in sheep and yarn manufacturers. I don't think you'll see me out woolgathering or spinning my own yarn anytime soon, but perhaps I might start thinking about ways to make my yarn choices (and choices in other areas of life) more environmentally sustainable.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
On the way home, I talked to my mum about how much fun we'd had, and what some of the visitors we'd had might have thought. "You know," she said, "this morning wasn't actually that different from a normal Sunday morning. This is us, this is who we are."
She's right. Maybe we don't always wear such colourful clothes, or jump around so much, but we're joyful and united and enthusiastic about being together praising God. Thank you God!
(UPDATE: Go and read Adrian's post.)
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Enough, there are more things in life than socks.
There are jumpers and scarves and hats and gloves and mittens and...books!
I'm currently re-reading Pride and Prejudice not only because it's wonderful and makes me smile and because I want to have read the book recently when I go and see the film but because I'm studying it in my Open University course this year. Yay being a part-time student! The new course starts on 1 October and once it gets going, there isn't going to be much time for knitting.
At the moment I'm wondering whether there's going to be enough time for reading. I used to read lots on the way to work, but cycling most of the way to work means I have about 10 minutes of on-the-tube reading time per day. I can stretch that a bit by reading as I walk to the tube station, but the number of days it takes me to read a book is significantly longer than it was in the days when I had 40 minutes of train time per day. But I still read pretty quickly, so I'll just have to get clever at finding times and places to read.
What else have I got to read this year? Great Expectations - I've read this before for GCSE and it took me forever to get through because I got so fed up with Pip. Frankenstein - I finally overcame my fear (it's not really scary, but the cover of the copy I've got put me off) and read this when I was doing my MSc, where we looked at it from the point of view of fears about science and technology. It'll be interesting to look at it from a different perspective. The Color Purple - I remember reading this sometime at school, probably around the time I wrote an essay comparing Meridian, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Gormenghast. A bit of a strange combination, but good fun. It was something about union with nature bringing both freedom and destruction.
Texts new to me are A Doll's House, Fathers and Sons, Top Girls, Henry V, Othello and As You Like it. I'm sure I've seen the latter in some form at some point, but I can't remember anything about it if I have.
It looks like lots of people taking the same course as me are buying their books on Amazon. If you look at the "people who bought this book also bought..." section, the same books keep recurring. It must be quite a puzzling combination if you're not buying for that course.
So there you are: if you ask me what I'm reading over the next few months, it's quite likely the answer will be one of these books.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
(it's 13th October btw)
Monday, September 26, 2005
toeing the line
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
This weekend, HP (whose feet these are) was delivered to Exeter University by my parents. They left her with a room with a minuscule amount of storage, but as yet no room-mate. It sounds like she's already found some friendly people. Today will be her first day of student-dom.
Enjoy it, HP! Don't worry, every else is just as nervous as you, even the loud over-confident people. Freshers' week will probably be the longest ever week of your life, but if you survive that, you can survive almost anything student life will throw at you. We love you and most importantly, God loves you, so you can stride out with confidence on your new path.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
The sound of silence, Simon and Garfunkel (Er?)
Black magic woman, Santana? (It's black, it's weird, I don't think it's female though)
La vida loca, Ricky Martin (crazy gravity, apparently)
In the air tonight, Phil Collins (Well it's in the sky I suppose)
Black Hole Sun, Soundgarden (I'll give you that one)
Female of the Species, Space (Black holes swallow stuff)
Something disco I can't identify - He's dangerous? (See above)
Something dancy I can't identify - Shine on me? (big shiny stars in the sky)
Got my mind set on you, George Harrison (Astronomers search for eveidence of black holes)
Oasis, Live forever (Er, something about how long the universe will last?)
The visuals are pretty good, loads of computer stuff combining stock footage, astronomy pictures, visual distortions and swirling black holes. Occasionally there's a Hitchikers' style fact screen. Science seems OK, I'm too sleepy to pay attention really. Someone had fun with the soundtrack anyway.
Ooh look, Dead Ringers. Really will go to bed soon.
Monarch of the Glen. Molly is using a search engine that looks very familiar but it's called Ogle.
What's happened to Frost? They've switched to video and it looks wrong. It's OK in the darker scenes, but anything well-lit looks like every other drama on ITV. And there's a glamourous psychologist and a nasty serial killer. That's not the Frost we know and love!? I'm disappointed.
Pitch Black is on 4. No idea what's going on, but it looks gorgeous. Sort of over-exposed white and blue. There are a few patches of red, but mostly it's all bleached out. Some people are running around, ooh just got some flashes of negative colour and then urgh, blood splatters. Back to Frost. He's confronting a dodgy priest, but it looks like something from Family Affairs or some other tacky soap. Oh why do ITV do it? Perhaps I'm just too fussy.
I finished my Lorna's Laces socks, pic to come when I've access to a digital camera.
Advert for the Best of ELO. Since I heard some of their stuff in my uncle's car this summer I seem to be hearing them everywhere.
Oh perhaps someday soon I'll have something to write that's not about knitting or my car or silly trivial things. There are things I'd like to say, but my thoughts are so ill-formed at the moment. There's stuff running around in my head, but it's staying there at the moment. Give it time. I think I've got used to living in my head recently.
I ran out of energy about 5 this afternoon. Perhaps I should just go to bed.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Monday, September 12, 2005
I drove Ruby to the garage this morning and said goodbye. Her engine and various bits and pieces will be transferred to the new bug and I'm picking it up on Saturday. It was a little emotional knowing I was driving my car for the last time. Silly really, especially since my new car is also a Beetle and it's not falling apart quite so fast so should keep going for a few more years.
I led sunday school yesterday and one of things we did was a game in which we had to decide which things we needed (water, food, clothes) and which were luxuries (chocolate, computer, mobile phone). A car was one of things that was hotly debated. Lots of the kids saw a car as essential for getting around, but I think we eventually agreed that having a car is a luxury and that many people in the world don't have access to any transport at all. It was a timely reminder! Funny that. Whenever I lead Sunday school, God teaches me as much as he teaches the kids.
Friday, September 09, 2005
The price seems reasonable. I'm taking a man who knows more about cars than me to take a look at it tomorrow and if he thinks it's sensible, I'll go for it. It'll be sad to lose my red VW, but she was always going to die eventually and I'll still have a bug. The new bug is 5 years younger, turquoise, with beautiful hub caps. I don't like the interior, the seats are brown plastic leatherette and in need of replacing, the dashboard is the same design more or less, but it's plastic and the steering wheel's awful. But the bodywork's in good condition and I know the engine's OK. Plus it's got a rear screen heater. Hurrah for being able to see out of the back when it's cold!
When I move to Cambridge, I'll need a reliable car. I don't plan to drive to work, but the new job will invlove lots of travelling and moving away from home means no longer having the backup of my mum's car. Yes, I could probably buy something newer with the same money, but it wouldn't be as fun. Despite the hassle when things go wrong, the lack of air-conditioning, the little quirks, I like being a VW owner.
Tiglath Pileser I was roughly contemporary with David and Solomon (er, actually no, see below) and Tiglath Pileser III is mentioned in 2 Kings 15 and 16 and 1 Chronicles 5.
All of which is very interesting, but doesn't explain why it had got stuck on my head.
Tiglath Pileser would make a good name for a cat.
UPDATE: oops, not reading carefully enough. Tiglath Pileser I reigned well before David and Solomon. They were around during the decline of the Assyrian Empire that followed his death. There's an inscription of Tiglath Pileser I in the British Museum. Is anyone else interested in this or is it just me?
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I have no claims to be a proper cricket fan. I have a rudimentary knowledge of the rules, but still don't really understand what things like 'silly point' mean. HP has to explain it to me since she's been listening to our cricket-mad uncle. But I did get very excited at the nail-biting end of the Trent Bridge test and I expect I'll get drawn into watching this one too. It could be a historic occasion.
Friday, September 02, 2005
But I just bought stuff on it for the first time and am feeling very pleased with myself. It's very tense, watching the minutes tick down on the item you're bidding for, refreshing the page every two minutes (er, seconds) to see if you've been outbid, the relief when the item is yours.
Perhaps not something I should do too often. Too stressed-making.
(I bought lots of double-pointed knitting needles and some bright pink mohair blend wool. Just in case you're interested.)
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Something must be happening in my life?
Cycling is continuing to happen. Which is a good thing, especially when I realised last week that I'd lost some weight. No idea how much, but enough to be noticed by me. So there's an extra incentive to keep pedalling.
I have told my boss I'm leaving, but not formally resigned yet. Time is dragging.
I finished the flamingo shrug, although I might go back to it to add some ribbing. The pink Colinette jumper has a back, a front, one sleeve and a few rows of collar. Last night I ripped out a few rows of the shoulders so I could add short row shaping and use a three-needle cast off to join the shoulder seams which was very satisfying. I realise that's goobledegook to non-knitters, but it made me happy. I then knit a few rows of the collar, but then realised I was using one 12mm needle and one 10mm so that'll have to come out and be re-done tonight. It won't be long before it's finished. Then I'll have to decide what to knit next. Probably my first pair of socks in some beautiful rainbow coloured Shepherd Sock by Lorna's Laces. Once I've found the right sized needles.
That's it really. Life seems to be a little knitting-centric at the moment.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Thursday, August 25, 2005
UPDATE: fixed the big blank space.
|Here is my Clapotis, the product of knitting every night on holiday. The silk is actually a bit pinker than this, but I can't get it to look right. She's beautifully soft and I can't wait to have a good exuse to wear her.|| |
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
|One of the places where we went while on holiday was the Colinette mill shop near Welshpool. They had soooooo much beautiful yarn, gorgeously soft, wonderful colours and a large section of sale stuff. So I bought various shades of pink point 5, my mum bought some grey, black and white Shimmer 5 and HP got point 5 in garish shades of green.|
|This is the beginning of the jumper I'm knitting. It knits up so fast, I've not spent much time on it, but I'm 2 thirds up the back already. || |
jumper in progress
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
flamingo to be
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
|But what I ought to be knitting is this. It's going to be a flamingo costume for HP (she's going to an Alice-themed party). The Fizz is going to be a shrug, with big floppy arms made from Sassy to look like feathery wings.|
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Easily amused, me.
Of course, I had to find out what sort of clouds they are. This cloud index suggests fairweather cumulus. Sounds good to me.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
My sister HP is among them and I'm pleased to report that she's got 3 As (Chemistry, Physics, Biology) and one B (Maths). Congratulations!
It does mean she's just missed out on her Oxford offer though. So she might be off to Exeter. Or she might not. We'll see. God has a plan, even when we don't.
UPDATE: Exeter it is.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I shall think some more and blog something in time. In the meantime, go and add your 2 penn'orth/2 cents. It's just me and Ellen at the moment.
Monday, August 15, 2005
The interview was the day before I went away and they rang me up that evening to say they wanted to offer me the job! That gave me the two weeks when I was on holiday to think and pray about it, but really I'd already decided! I'm writing my letter of acceptance today.
The job's in Cambridge, which initially put me off. I love living in London and moving away from my current church will be a wrench. But the prospect of moving out of my parents' house and being properly independent is exciting. I don't start until January, so I've got time to plan and find somewhere to live. It will also make my current job more bearable knowing it will come to an end in a few months, plus I think explaining where I'm going to next might lead to some interesting conversations with my colleagues.
I realise I'm being a little cryptic about what exactly I'll be doing. My job offer is conditional on the approval of a committee which next meets in September. Provided that goes through, I'll be able to say more about it then. Suffice to say, I'm very happy and thanking God for His answer to my prayers.
This photo was me leaving my mark on the beach at Ynylas, a few miles up the coast from Aberystwyth.
Watching 30 or 40 Red Kites circling above a lake in the rain in the Rheidol Valley.
Fantastic sunsets over Cardigan Bay
An evening meal of chicken and chips and wine in the ruins of Aberystwyth castle
Endless knitting (and the purple fluff produced by the silk yarn)
Going down a silver-lead mine and posting postcards underground
Climbing up and down steep steps to see spectacular waterfalls at Devil's Bridge
Sitting on the beach doing nothing in particular, except perhaps the Guardian crossword.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
The scary thing wasn't so scary in the end. It fact, it went rather well. I'll tell you about it tomorrow, but right now, I'm off to bed. Night night!
Thursday, July 28, 2005
I'm planning to take some knitting (Clapotis in Hipknits Jolly), some books (Harry Potter 6 and The Big Over Easy) and my lomo. It'll be quiet here for a while, but hopefully I'll come back refreshed and full of ideas.
But first I've got half a day at work and a slightly scary thing to do.
Monday, July 25, 2005
On Saturday I went shopping with my mum, to our favourite shoe shops near Baker Street. It's always wonderful to be able to walk into a shoe shop and know that you can try on all the shoes in the shop, not just the 2 pairs they might occasionally have in your size. I ended up buying some sandals and some splendiferous shiny silver shoes. Then we went to LTS where I bought the most gorgeous mint green and silver coat, which matches the shoes beautifully. Now I just have to find an occasion to wear them. :-)
Don't worry Catez, I'm not offended, just amused!
Friday, July 22, 2005
I'm tired and a little jumpy and quite ready to go home.
My mum was out, my sisters and I were watching a film (Big Fish, I quite liked it, didn't get to see the end though.) About 10.30, my mum came through the door shouting "The house over the road is on fire!" We went outside and could see flames in the hall and clouds of black smoke billowing out of the back. Then it all got a bit hectic. I called the fire brigade, but someone had already done that and they were on their way. About a minute after I called, they whooshed into our road, lights flashing, siren wailing. I ran over the road to move my car out of the way. My hands were shaking so I could hardly get the key in the ignition.
A small crowd gathered to watch as the firemen ran around with hoses, broke through the front door and doused the flames. Eventually the police turned up and cleared people away. We stood in our front garden and as they cordoned the road off with police tape, found ourselves stuck in the middle of it. Very exciting! My car was also taped off in a section of the road on its own. It was all pretty dramatic. We counted the emergency vehicles as they arrived and I think there were 4 fire engines, 2 police cars, at least 1 ambulance, 2 other white vans, I think one at least was police and a fire investigation unit car.
There was no-one in the house at the time. One guy who was living there told the firemen he'd gone out to get chips, leaving his friend in the house. When he got back the house was well ablaze. He was worried his friend was still inside, but he or she had scarpered. He disappeared too after a while. It's never been quite clear who owns the house or whether anyone is legitimately renting it. According to the police and firemen, the fire was probably started by a candle. There were many candles in the house as well as "more needles than a hospital". The only valuable thing inside seems to have been a mountain bike.
There was no point in us trying to go to sleep with all the noise from the fire engine, so we hung around and watched and then made the fire team mugs of tea. We got asked lots of questions, but I'm not sure how helpful our answers were. It's shocking how little you notice about people, even when they're right under your nose.
Eventually, the fire engines went away and just a few policemen were left. I was dimly aware of them banging things and making the house secure as I tried to get to sleep. It was a dramatic evening, and drama on your doorstep tends to eclipse drame elsewhere, so I think I will remember 21 July more for the fire over the road than for the explosions on the tube.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Also an incident on a bus in East London.
I wonder what's going on. All I know is what I can glean from the internet.
Hat tip to Reynolds.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
It began as a small child, when I was quite taken by the idea of having a flying pig service, like a taxi service. You'd whistle one up and they'd take you wherever you wanted to go for a few potatoes, or other root vegetables. I've no idea where the idea came from.
Then, as a teenager, a flying pig became my symbol, a sort of mark of identity, a trademark. I still put it on the backs of letters or a marker on things I might lose. My parents were kind enough to let me paint a mural of flying pigs on the dining room wall, which is still there, more than 10 years later. The Empress of Blandings probably feeds into the idea of pig too, being a highly superior sow, unwinged, but often known to disappear mysteriously.
I became Pig wot flies as an online identity elsewhere because there were other people calling themselves flying pig already. So when I started a blog, what else could I call it?
I like being a flying pig. The idea of something so ungainly and heavy getting off the ground with a huge pair of elegant wings is amusing and whimsical. There are many possible metaphors - flying with books in the land of escapism and fantasy, flying with the wings God gives us in ways that are impossible without Him, landing with all four feet by the feeding trough and getting stuck in. Possibly it's a little twee and perhaps something more serious might be more appropriate, but right now, it feels just right.
And also this. (Needs sound to be fully appreciated. And possibly a surreal sense of humour. And I don't necessarily recommend the rest of the site. But I did quote this in my Masters dissertation!)
Sunday, July 17, 2005
We went to Chester Zoo and saw elephants and baby elephants and penguins and coatis and marmots and meerkats rhinos and zebras and lots of ungulates and lions and tigers, but no spectacled bears (they were hiding) and all sorts of other beautiful things. There will be photos eventually. (I keep saying this. I have a pile of films I need to get developed. Patience!)
Chester is a gorgeous place, lots of white-timbered buildings and old cobbled streets and Roman remains and walls all the way round the oldest bits (which we walked). It was a lovely break from work and it was good to spend time nattering and catching up on each other's lives.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
I went outside to stand in the street for the 2 minutes silence, as did many of the other staff here. Someone commented she'd never seen such a response before. The chaplaincy centre was full.
We stood there in silence for our different reasons; to show defiance, to grieve, to stand together, to remember, to pray for London. Then, as people glanced at their watches, we dispersed again.
I don't yet know what the long term consequences will be, but I pray that God uses this for good.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Thought: It seems US military personnel based in the UK have been told to stay outside the M25. Does that mean those of us who live, work, go to school, get on with our lives inside the M25 are harder than the US Air Force? :-)
UPDATE: Apparently the US authorities have changed their minds. It was "a temporary measure that has been reviewed." So, that's OK then.
Monday, July 11, 2005
In other news. It's my mum's birthday today. Happy Birthday!
Thursday, July 07, 2005
This morning we prayed for London and then we praised God. Blessed be your name never felt so appropriate. I've just come out of a session where CJ Mahaney preached on Habakkuk. I can't string a coherent sentence together, so Habakkuk will have to say it.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
That's very exciting, even for a non-sports fan like me.
See, we don't always lose things.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
I'm not really a fan of digital cameras. Partly because I like the waiting involved in ordinary film. You never quite know what's going to appear when the film is developed. Will the amazing shot you planned turn out right? Will something you thought wouldn't work surprise you? Digi cameras take away the wait by making your picture available immediately. I also find digital too...not sure what the word is. Flat? Quasi-realistic? I think that's it. Unsubtle, definitely.
Then again, perhaps the cameras I've played with have been too simplistic, too much like the snapshot cameras I've had that I never got good results with. And I'm taking pictures for work, not the pictures I'd take. I hardly ever take snaps of groups of people, I'd rather find interesting details, catch people unawares or just ignore people all together and find still lives.
I like my lomo. It's got enough settings to fiddle with to make things interesting, but it's not so complicated I'm scared of it. I think I was taking lomo-style pictures before I'd even heard of them, but with snapshot cameras that didn't really suit that sort of thing. Perhaps one day I'll want something more serious, but right now, this suits me.
Fortunately there's wireless internet in the conference room.
Last night, the sunset was absolutely beautiful. So here is a picture of it.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Looking back at the things I wrote, most of them are pretty silly, but there are a few I like. (One of them took on a life of its own: I discovered it on someone's page of their favourite poems. No idea how it got there.) Here is one of the better ones. (I hope)
A perfect slab of words
Newly cut from the printer's block
Layers of pastry pages
Crammed with words
Succulent as raisins,
Spiced with commas and full stops
Half read and half digested
Front cover curls forward invitingly
Spine splays the early pages
The rest so far untasted
Waits to be devoured
Dog-eared and well thumbed
Tasted by many
Stale puff pastry
Succumbs to mould
As word-ants crawl among the crumbs.
Last night I got very lost and very wet. I’d been feeling sleepy so decided to spend the afternoon snoozing and reading in my room and join the others in the centre of Sofia in the evening to find some dinner. I got a bus townwards about 6pm, which was my first mistake. I’d been told any bus would do to get into the centre, so I got on a random bus and planned to get off as soon as I saw something I recognised. I never did. After a while, I realised the bus was heading out of town again, so I quickly got off and begin to walk in what I thought might be the right direction. Then it began to rain. And there was rain and thunder and lightning and more rain. I huddled under trees, I stepped over building sites, crossed busy roads and got wetter and wetter and more and more lost. It was getting towards the time I was supposed to be meeting people, so I found a taxi and attempted to get the driver to understand where I wanted to go. He didn’t understand me, I didn’t understand his suggestions and in the end all I could get him to do was take me back to the hotel. (Not my hotel, too small and obscure, but the one where everyone else was staying). So I left a message, hoped everyone else wasn’t too worried about me and squelched back to my hotel. When I got there, I was dripping wet and cold and tired and all I wanted to do was get on the first plane home. So I rang home, had a shower and went to bed. I slept pretty badly, so I’m still tired, but at least I’m on my way home.
Bulgaria has been interesting. The meeting side of things has been useful and my colleagues are friendly, but I’ve proved to myself again that I don’t like travelling alone. It’s odd, I’m perfectly confident on my own patch. I’ve walked through London at all hours of the night and never turned a hair, but put me somewhere where I don’t speak the language, don’t know the roads and I panic. Next time I travel somewhere for work I’ll think carefully about where I stay and find better maps first. And learn more words than Dah (Yes), Ne (No) and Dobre (OK, good, fine).
Thursday, June 30, 2005
I couldn’t face another breakfast of dry white bread, butter, feta-ish cheese and salami, so I’ve breakfasted on chocolate and banana in my room. Most healthy!
Yesterday was useful from a work point of view and fun. When the day’s work was over we had a guided tour around Sofia, mostly historic churches and museums. Sofia became the capital of Bulgaria in 1879, at a time when it was a small village of around 120 people. Now, around 1.2 million people live there, about 15% of the population of Bulgaria. Most of the buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, apart from the churches, the earliest of which were started in Roman times. There’s not much evidence of Bulgaria’s Communist past. There’s probably more evidence of the rule of the Ottoman Empire, although they were around for about 500 years. Perhaps it’s all been destroyed. Certainly we saw a park which until recently had been the site of the mausoleum of the first (Communist) Bulgarian president after the first World War. According to our guide, there was a sharp divide between those who wanted to destroy the mausoleum because Bulgaria now has nothing to do with Communism and those who wanted to preserve it as a piece of history. It seems the destroyers won.
The churches here are Orthodox. I think our guide said the Bulgarian Orthodox church is separate from both the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches. Lots of historical splits. Enough history, find a library or Google it. Orthodox churches are big and empty of pews. They share some of the aspects of Catholic churches, candles, imagery, but without that feeling of Catholic Disney land you sometimes get with huge statues. The churches we went into were covered with old frescoes, mostly very faded. Some looked Byzantine in style. And of course there were icons and the smell of incense and a priest with a huge black beard.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
I'm OK though. Meeting useful, friendly people, finding stuff out, eating interesting food. (I've now had bread and salami three meals in a row.) I hope tonight's traditional Bulgarian food is something different.
Local wildlife - In a corner of the room is a very green fishtank containg two biggish fish and one enormous one which hangs around at the bottom of the tank looking like a bit of wood. Outside there seems to a dog asleep in the sun on every corner. The birds are very loud in the morning. There might have been a mosquito in my room last night.
I'm tired and I don't make sense.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
I looked out from my balcony and caught sight of a red bug, just like mine, parked a little way away. I went out to have a look at it. It’s a 1300, looks younger than mine by the design of the steering wheel, but I’ve no idea about Bulgarian registration years. Funny how little things make you feel better.
I do like travelling to new places, really. But being on my own in a strange place after a day of travelling is daunting and nerve-wracking and I’m feeling a little tearful. Silly really. But I don’t think I’m ever going to travel the world on my own. I’d rather have someone else with me to talk to, to plan with, to feel safe with.
I feel like that about life too sometimes.
I’ll stop now, or I’ll get properly maudlin. Onto the balcony to read and eat chocolate, I think.
Smelly tramps everywhere drink cider
The small coins in Bulgaria are stotinki. Brilliant name!
As elsewhere in Eastern Europe, shops don’t like giving you change. But when you don’t speak the language, all you can do is shrug and smile.
1 and 2 Leva notes. Why?
Bulgarian drivers are scary. Even if you’re used to London.
There’s nothing so comforting as a familiar chocolate bar.
The flight went smoothly. I spent most of it gazing out of the window and trying to work out where we were. We were supposed to fly over Paris and Belgrade and I might have spotted them, but then I might have been wrong. Lots of mountains though, which I suppose was Switzerland, or somewhere. As we got nearer, I noticed the pattern of the fields here, like patchwork, small rectangular blocks of brown, green, yellow. They looked like brush strokes in oil paint. Sofia is surrounded by green, with huge mountains in the distance. I love the moment when you get off a plane and stand on the ground you’ve just been flying above. For a while, the sky seems enormous, and the land very flat, especially when ringed with mountains, as here.
One of the conference organisers met me at the airport, along with another guy from Hungary and we got a taxi to the hotel. I think I might be the only person at the meeting staying here. It’s a very small meeting and there was a choice of two hotels and I went for the cheaper one. It’s small, clean and neat with black wooden furniture, buttercream walls and a print of wintry cottage roves on the wall. There’s a small bathroom with a shower, but no shower curtain which I think might feel rather odd. I’m sitting at a desk by the window looking out another low building and trees.
I have nothing to do now until tomorrow morning when the meeting begins, so I think I’ll go out for an explore soon. I need to find some food. The meal on the flight over was interesting - bread roll, cold meat (couldn’t work out if it was chicken or fish), strange cheese and ham roulade, potato croquettes, cucumber, Milky Way-like chocolate bar – but not very substantial. The heat, relief at getting here, nervousness at being alone in a strange city where I don’t speak the language and the fact that I got up early are combining to make me think I’ll go to bed fairly early. We’ve got a full day tomorrow, meetings all day, then a tour of Sofia and a meal in a Bulgarian restaurant. Thursday, the meeting finishes around lunchtime and hopefully other people will be around until Friday so I’ll have people to talk to and find food with. I wish I’d printed out some of the maps I found on the internet. I can remember bits of them so once I’ve worked out which way’s North, I might be able to work out a useful direction in which to walk. I hope the shops don’t all close at 5pm, or I might be very hungry until breakfast tomorrow.
Monday, June 27, 2005
So today, in addition to all the things I've got to do for work before I go, I've been trying to learn the Cyrillic alphabet and searching the library for Bulgaria literature (in translation, obviously) to read while I'm away. Unfortunately either the library here has a particularly poor selection or there just isn't much writing in Bulgarian that's been translated. So I've ended up with a selection of English (and Welsh) stuff instead; Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, In Parenthesis by David Jones, Travelling People by B. S. Johnson and The Invention of Dr Cake by Andrew Motion. None of which I've read before, some of which I might read this week.
Friday, June 24, 2005
This is the first summer since about the age of 10 that I've had long hair. Not very long, but long enough to be too hot on the back of my neck unless I tie it up. My sister, HP, has proper long hair, which she almost always wears down. I don't know how she manages not to melt. I might reconsider my hair-growing effort if this goes on much longer.
Although I do like having a swishy ponytail. And being able to have proper up-dos. And when it's long, my hair is definitely blonde. It always looks a bit mousier short.
Trivial thought over. Back to work, you!