Saturday, December 31, 2005

end of a year

2005 is nearly over. I'm about to be summoned for tea I think, so there isn't time for a proper round up, but I felt something was needed.

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

new monster

My sister has a blog! I can't really claim her as my blogchild since she decided to start one all on her own, but I can be the first to send people her way. Go and say hello to Debs. It's her life.

pig in a flap

Not much blogging from me at the moment I'm afraid. I'm back home after Christmas, which was good if a little quiet. I start my new job on Tuesday, I'm spending Sunday and Monday in Wales, so obviously at the moment I'm making cushion covers. Hmm, should probably do a little packing too. Next week, I'm living on Debbie's floor for a few days and then moving into my new home on 7th January. Life might be a little hectic for a while.

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

Happy Christmas!

manger, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

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 got somewhere to live in Cambridge.
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

how to make fudge

Lots of people liked the fudge I made for cell on Tuesday, so here's the recipe:

1 lb demerara sugar
8 oz golden granulated sugar
1 tin evaporated milk
3oz butter

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

house of cards

It seems finding somewhere to live is even less sorted than I thought. I turned down big-house-full-of-young-people and house-with-cat because I thought beautiful-old-house was the one. Then I went to Cambridge to meet the potential house-mate I hadn't met and discovered that there are are two other people interested in the house and they're going to talk to all of us and then decide who they want to live with. Which is fair enough, but I wish I'd known that before hand. I still love the house, but having met both inhabitants, I'm worried that they're much more goey-outy (not a word, but anyway) than me. They've said they'll tell me by the end of the week. I'm a little thrown really. I'm not sure they'll like me and I'm not sure whether we'd get on. So that leaves me with house-3-miles-out-of-town-but-only-for-6-months. Which is warm and cosy and I like the girl I'd be sharing with, but I did want somewhere closer to town and longer term.

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

another Christmas, another last day


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

another gorgeous London sunset

another London sunset 2, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

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.

still here

This is my penultimate day at work. I'm running out of things to do. There's no point starting anything new because I won't be here to finish it. I'm trying to tidy things up and make sure everything's in order for my successor, but there's only so many times you can reorder your files, tidy the desk and put things in files. Not long to go now, all over soon and then it's Christmas, hooray!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Dave requested a post on the latest with my move to Cambridge, so here it is. I've not been blogging about it much because it feels a work in progress and I'm not good at sharing unfinished things with the world, but here's where I am at the moment.

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.

music eddie?

At the end of Athlete's song You got the style, there's a voice that says "music Eddie!" a few times with a screechy intonation. It's been bugging me ever since I bought the album Vehicles and Animals last year. (It's rather good, Tourist is OK too, but the first one's more interesting.) I'm sure I remember guys at my church youth group saying it to each other. This would be in the early to mid 1990s. As boys do, they were always chucking around dialogue and catchphrases from comedy programmes, Harry Enfield, Mary Whitehouse Experience, that kind of thing. These were inevitably lost on me since I didn't usually watch the programmes in question, but I usually got the joke. One of the guys was called Edmund, so "music Eddie!" would have got a lot of use. I just want to know whether I'm completely making this up and what the origins of "music Eddie!" are. I haven't been able to discover so far. Anyone out there know?


I'm a bit of a sucker for personality tests. But I don't usually post the results. However, the result of the Narnia test (found via Catez) made me laugh.

"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

sparkle sparkle

sparklers 3, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I've finally scanned and uploaded my photos from the fireworks party. I wasn't very impressed with most of the fireworks ones, but I think the sparklers are quite effective. Also up are assorted photos from Chester, Exeter and my cousin's baptism.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Radio 4 is on the blink. There was a long silence after the end of Four Corners, so long that you begin to wonder if something terrible has happened. What could possibly take the BBC off the air? Then the continuity announcer's soothing tones announce a technical fault and introduce some Mozart. A string quartet starts up, beautiful, delicate, precise. You wonder how long it will last. Like a break in the weather, a sunny spell in the middle of winter, a sleeping baby. The music swells and dies away. Every quiet passage makes you hold your breath and wonder if PM is suddenly going to break through the impromptu concert.

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


I have a cold. Urgh. This afternoon watching The Never Ending Story, I decided my voice sounded like the rockbiter. All deep and gravelly.

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

advertising space

There's 12 hour webcast from CERN, called Beyond Einstein tomorrow from 11am GMT. It's all about Einstein, his legacy and the future of physics. The slot hosted from London (which I've been involved in organising, a little bit) starts around 4.30 GMT.

Monday, November 28, 2005

a pig in search of a roof

This weekend I went to Cambridge to see a couple of places I could live. Both are possible, both are lived in by lovely people, both have advantages and disadvantages. I'm going to see a couple more places in a fortnight's time, so I'm trying not to make a decision on where to live until I've seen all the options.
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

running away

Last night, it all just got too much. The stress of flat-hunting, the fact that I've got to write an essay by Tuesday and I've barely started, the fact that I'm leaving people, place, circumstances I know to start something new in a little over six weeks time.

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


London sunset, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Monday may not have started well, but it finished beautifully.

London sunset III
London sunset III, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

ba bah ba ba ba bah

Reasons why today is a bad day

It's Monday.
It's cold.
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

future bus

I've just seen my first fuel cell powered bus. They're currently being tried out in nine cities across Europe. How exciting is that? Of course, there's still the problem of how you make the hydrogen and distribute it. According to Transport for London's handy (and not at all over simplified ;-) ) diagram of how hydrogen is made you need electricity to electrolyse water to make hydrogen and large tankers to transport the hydrogen around, so it's not a totally zero-emissions process. Still, a step in the right direction.

More information about London's fuel cell buses.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I don't think I like flat-hunting websites. It's all a bit scary and intimidating. You find yourself endlessly analysing 10 word descriptions of people trying to work out what they're really like. I more or less know what I want, it's just working out how to find it. What I really want is to live with other Christian girls about my own age. I'm not convinced I'm currently going about this the right way. Has anyone any advice?

Monday, November 07, 2005

where's your blog at?

Is it just me, or do other people have mental maps of where blogs (and other webpages, but mostly blogs) are in relation to each other? For instance, looking at my blogroll, Adrian's blog is on the lefthand side of mine, Beyond Lilith and my knitting blog are on the right. I just went through the list and realised that for each one, there's a specific direction, mostly left or right, some diagonally. It seems entirely arbitrary. I thought perhaps there might be some logic to it, e.g. male on the left, female on the right, but Brosdee's view is also on the right and Lori Smith is on the left, so that doesn't work. I don't think it's political either. It's just further proof of the oddness of my brain.

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

It's back!

I've been Lomoless for several months after my LCA broke on holiday. It was less than a year old, so still covered under the warranty, just about. I contacted the lomo people and sent it off about a month ago. I hadn't heard anything more, so assumed they'd contact me in time.

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

the worst sound in the world

If you want to hear some truly excruciating sounds and take part in a massive science experiment, go and play with the Bad Vibes site. You'll need sound, obviously. It's quite fun, but some of the noises might set your teeth on edge.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

closely observed pigeons

This lunchtime I went to Bethnal Green and sat in the park. An East End park at lunchtime feels different from a West End or city park at lunchtime. Green spaces in the city, however small, are always full of suits at lunchtime. People escape the office for an hour or so and balance their sandwiches or noodles or vegetarian pasta bake on their laps, enjoying the sunshine or trying to pretend it's not freezing cold. In Bethnal Green, there were several squirrels, various yoof sitting around or playing basketball, one other lunching woman and a small flock of pigeons.

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

God's a science starter, holy science starter

There's a brilliant essay on why Christianity is good for science - indeed the reason that science is possible - over the the newly launched Pearcey report. I remember arguing this as part of a talk on faith on my Masters course. Not quite as well as Nancy Pearcey does though.

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.

blog matchmaking

There must be something in the air. Adrian Warnock and Marla Swoffer have both been wondering about the possibilities of blogging as a way for single people to meet each other.

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

sniffle sniffle cough cough

I've been being ill for the last couple of days, so it's been quiet. There are lots of knitting photos to look at over at pigwotknits and I've been scanning some pictures from this summer, so they should be up on flickr soon.

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


scavengers busking
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
This weekend, a bunch of us from church went on a scavenger hunt round London. This is my team busking in the underpass at Hyde Park corner (I think, I was a bit lost). We had a fantastic time (thanks Sunny and Nic!) and discovered new bits of London. More pictures on my flickr photostream.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

another blogger is born

Go and say hello to James.

post number 100 - happy birthday to me!

It's my birthday, I'm 26 today.

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 ratified!

Does that mean I've started to grow a tail, pointy ears and whiskers? Sadly, no.

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.

retro gal

Marla Swoffer's been causing trouble with her retro/metro Christianity table. This isn't a post about that, although it's an interesting idea and the resultant discussion seems to have snowballed. For the record, I scored something like 13 retro, 21 metro and 7 undecided/don't knows. Typological profiles tend to be crude, especially when there are only two choices, but as Marla points out, that was kind of the point. If you've no idea what I'm talking about, go and have a look.

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

space to knit , space to think

There have been quite a few knitting-related posts here lately and I thought it was time to give the knitting its own space. I've created a new blog, the pig wot knits, to accommodate the knitting. There's not much there yet, but I'll update it soon with details of the things I've made so far this year.

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

flights of fancy

So, I was just in the library looking for a dictionary of quotations and I came across a book called The Symbolic Pig: An Anthology of Pigs in Literature and Art by F C Sillar and R M Meyler. (Would you file that next to a dictionary of quotations? If not, where would you file it?) Naturally I had a flick through, looked up flying pigs and found this quotation:

"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.

sit down, put your feet up


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

the most beautiful knitting in the world

Is to be found here. It's half in Japanese and half in sort of English, so it's hard to work out what's been knitted by the author and what hasn't, but even if she's only knitted half the stuff, she's a genius. (I assume she's a she, I have no idea.) Go back through her archive and look at some of the intricately put-together jumpers. I've been trying to figure out how she makes those zig zig things, but so far I can't. It's probably something like knitting a mitred square, but that didn't seem to work when I tried it.

All I have to show off is a finished pink jumper. Ta da!

big pink finished object

big pink finished object
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

a minor incident

Yesterday on my way home, I got knocked off my bike. I'm OK, just a few bruises and a scraped knee and I'm thankful it wasn't worse. On my route home, there's a point where the road bends round to the right but there's a turning that goes straight on. It's very easy for drivers to go straight on without really thinking about it (I've done it myself when driving that way.) I was going round the corner and a car going straight on into the turning clipped me with its wing mirror. The bike went over, I went flying. The woman in the car behind me jumped out of her car to see if I was hurt. The driver of the car that hit me stopped and got out too. I was fine, just a little shaken up and all that happened to the bike was that the basket on the front came off. The driver who hit me helped me reattach it and made sure I really was OK to continue and gave me his contact details before he drove off.

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

on socks

rainbow socks
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
Here, as promised, are my first ever completed pair of socks. I'm very pleased with them. There are some errors, and things I'd do differently, but that's all part of the learning process. One sock is decidedly greener than the other, presumably because the colours in the hand-dyed wool came out slightly differently in each skein.

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

new addition

Adrian's been spawning blogchildren again. His newest blogchild (and therefore my blog-brother?) is Dotun and his blog is Brosdee's view. (I don't know why, perhaps he'll tell us). Go over and give him some encouragement and perhaps he'll post some more.

Africa Sunday!

One of the things I love about my London church is the diversity of people from different backgrounds and countries, including lots of people from Africa, mostly Nigerians. Today at church we had an African day. We dressed in African clothes, ate plantain and rice and other delicious things, learnt some new songs and danced and worshipped joyfully and exuberantly. We were celebrating our diversity and our unity. God had made us different, male and female, black and white, tall and short and He has made us one, united in Christ.

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

come and play

I'm loving playing word tag over at Thinklings. Go and take a look and add some of your own. There's currently a pretentiousness competition going on, started by me, although I fear this may be a mistake. It was a sort of reaction against the 80s songs theme that preceded it, but at the moment the only people playing are me, Nathan, Rich and occasionally De. I hope we didn't kill it.

this must be thursday

On this particular Thursday, I want to write about socks, but since I wanted to be able to show you my newly knitted socks when I wrote about socks and DP has borrowed the digital camera it'll have to wait. Perhaps I could bring my socks to work and take their picture here.

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


I noticed today that I'm edging close to 100 posts and it's also getting close to my birthday. I'm not going to try to emulate little red boat's year by year countdown to her birthday earlier this year, but I thought I ought to see if I can make post number 100 coincide with birthday number 26 (27, if you count the day I was born as number 1). So I'd better think of lots of things to say in the next couple of weeks.

(it's 13th October btw)

Monday, September 26, 2005

next step

toeing the line

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 black holes?

10 minute programme on BBC2 on Black holes. And the soundtrack is as follows:

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.

settee blogging

I've been sitting on the settee in the living room for hours. It's sunday evening and I'm sleepy. I've been frogging the Colinette jumper, it's too big so I'm redoing it. Some thoughts on what's on the box.

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

the young turk

the young turk
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
Meet my new bug. He's shiny and turquoise and seems to have a little problem with a leaking petrol tank. Hopefully I'll get that sorted soon. In the mean time, he needs a name. So far suggestions include Tom (a bit boring I think), Olly (maybe), Moses (Er? HP suggested this one. Admittedly the only Moses I have ever met was turquoise (he's a large toy dog)) and The Young Turk (or perhaps Turq) which is what's currently sticking. Any more suggestions? He's definitely a boy.

Monday, September 12, 2005

bye bye Ruby

I bought the car.

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

car buying

I've been looking at another bug. Much as I love Ruby (my current bug), she has terminal rust and won't get through another MOT. She was in the garage a couple of weeks ago to have her brakes fixed and while I was there, the garage owner pointed out a younger bug for sale. I've had a look at it, it looks much less rusty underneath. The inside's not in brilliant condition, but then neither is Ruby's. The plan would be to transfer the engine (which was new last year) to the newer bug, scavenge various bits and (gulp) send Ruby to be broken up for parts.

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.


For several weeks the name Tiglath Pileser has been buzzing around in my head, popping up at odd moments, niggling me to look it up and find out what it is. So I googled and I found that Tiglath Pileser was the name of several kings of Assyria.

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

cricket lovely cricket

It's everywhere today. On the Today Programme this morning, every other item was cricket-related. There was an item on the Woodworm bat, as used by Flintoff and others, Mick Jagger and John Major swapped stories of international cricket watching, Simon Heffer and Billy Bragg were heard agreeing (on Jerusalem as a possible English national anthem), even Thought for the Day was cricket-themed. When I walked past the chaplaincy this morning, the usual sign saying 'Open for prayer' had been altered to read 'Open for cricket'.

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

and relax...

I know I'm probably the last person in the blogosphere to catch up with eBay.
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

I have nothing to say

To disprove myself, I'm going to post in the hope I'll think of something.


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

can I go home yet?

It's being one of those days. Lots of emails flying everywhere, trying to fix stuff with no time. Roll on Bank Holiday weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

knitting update

Time to show off some of my handiwork. I've been doing quite a bit of knitting lately.
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.
jolly clapotis
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

jumper in progress
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
flamingo to be

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

Simpsons clouds

Simpsons clouds
Simpsons clouds
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I remembered I had a digital camera in my desk and I wasn't afraid to use it.

To prove what I said about the clouds, here's a picture.

ooh, fluffy clouds

I just looked out of the window and the sky looks just like the beginning of the Simpsons. Small white clouds in a blue sky. :-)

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

well done our kid!

It's A-levels results day and nervous teenagers up and down the country are gingerly opening the envelopes whose contents will determine their future. Or at least which university they're going to this autumn.

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

can of worms

I seem to have managed to hijack a discussion of Harry Potter over on Intellectuelle into a discussion of parenting and obedience. Obviously not something I'm an expert on, not being a parent. I'm trying to work out what it is about the model of parenting I get from US-based blogs that makes me squirm. I don't think I'm alone in this one. I know other people who find ideas like a boy asking a girl's father if he can go out with his daughter odd and out of place. Perhaps it's that sort of idea I'm reacting to - the continuation of parental authority into adulthood when most young people have moved away and taken responsiblity for their own lives. The discussion's also poking a few sensitive areas for me, the titular can of worms.

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

and some news

The scary thing was a job interview for a job I really wanted. I've not been happy where I am at the moment, and although I wasn't actively looking for something new, I was asking God to show me whether I should stay put or look for something else. Then this job came up. It's in a field much closer to my heart and the odd mix of skills required sounded sort of like me, so I applied.

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.

The pig wot flies was on holiday

It's been a gorgeous couple of weeks away with my family. The weather was beautiful most of the time, although it poured with rain on the day we travelled home.

This photo was me leaving my mark on the beach at Ynylas, a few miles up the coast from Aberystwyth.

Memorable things:

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

I'm back

Just got home after two weeks in sunny Aberystwyth. I would be feeling relaxed if it weren't for the fact that I seem to have picked up some sort of lurgy and I'm coughing and spluttering. The books were read, Clapotis completed, but my lomo broke a few days into the holiday, so not many photos.

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

nearly time to relax

I'm feeling tired and very ready for a holiday. Which is handy since I'm going away for a couple of weeks on Saturday.

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

Bulgaria in black and white

bulgarian pigeon
bulgarian pigeon
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Some pictures of Bulgaria are up too.

new pics

car mirror

car mirror
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

There are new pics of London on my flickr photostream. Pictures from Scotland, Bulgaria and Chester will be up later this week.

I'm a girl, honest!

Finding myself described elsewhere as 'he' makes think I should write something really girly. So...

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

nee naw nee naw all day long

Ambulances, police cars and fire engines are howling up and down the road outside work. Is this because something's going on or because there's an ambulance station and a fire station very nearby?

I'm tired and a little jumpy and quite ready to go home.

Nee naw nee naw

The house over the road with the squatters in caught fire last night.

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

now what?

There are reports of minor explosions (detonators without explosives) on the tube. No-one killed it seems, reports of smoke, people being evacuated and various lines are suspended (Nothern, Victoria and Hammersmith & City).

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

pig tales

It occurred to me (after reading a comment on Intellectuelle) that being the Pig wot flies might need a little explanation. I'll try!

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.

we like the moon

Ooh look, Google moon! (Try zooming in really close)

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

fun in chester

I spent the weekend having fun in Chester with the lovely HP (not my sister, the other one) and her beloved, NL, (who doesn't have a blog, but should. Although he does spends lots of time commenting on other people's. Not mine though. Pah!)

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

one week on

Life is as normal and it's not.

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

matchy matchy

As I walked through the square by the library on my way to work, there were hoards of teenagers with matching backpacks standing around. Really properly matching ones. Red ones there, orange ones in another group, beige ones somewhere else. I suppose they're here for a summer school or something.

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

back to work

It's Monday morning, I'm back at work as normal. The only sign things aren't as usual is the fact that I had to use my ID card to get into the building rather than just wander in. There are a few more police around than usual. As I left the tube station, I saw a woman with a large cardboard box sealed up with parcel tape trying to convince two policemen that this was not a suspicious package, but she'd rather they didn't shake it because the contents were delicate. It seemed a fairly good-humoured exchange.

In other news. It's my mum's birthday today. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Suddenly everything's different. I'm in brighton for the day (at the New Frontiers conference) and left London early this morning. It was 11 by the time I heard what had happened and then information was filtering through in patches. I was slightly shaken by hearing the list of tube stations bombed. I travelled through most of them this morning or last night.

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.

Habakkuk 3v17-19

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

woo hoo!

Giant Kelly
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
The giant Kelly Holmes by Stratford station has something to celebrate! The 2012 Olympics are coming to my manor (as David Beckham would say).

That's very exciting, even for a non-sports fan like me.

See, we don't always lose things.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

luddite vs techie

One of my jobs at this meeting is to run around taking photos of everything for the website. This means I'm carrying around my lomo and a little Sony digi camera and taking pictures on both.

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.

sunset over Durham

sunset over Durham 2
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
I'm in Durham for a work meeting. Mostly involves me uploading presentations to the web.
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


We're getting a new computer network at home, and getting rid of an old hard drive or two. (not sure, there seem to be computers coming or going in every room at the moment) In salvaging emails, my dad found a bunch I thought were lost forever. When I was at Oxford I went through a stage of writing poems and sending them to all and sundry. This caused some interesting interactions between my school friends and university friends, some of it questioning my sanity, some appreciating the um, quirky, poems.

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.

Sofia airport

It is ridiculously early in the morning, even earlier by British time. It was dark when I got up, now it’s sunrise. The mountains in the distance are beautiful with a pinky orange sunset behind them. I’m at the airport waiting for my flight to be called. Right now I just want to go home and sleep, but it’ll be several hours before I can.

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

mozzy food

Meaning me. I am covered in mosquito bites which I’m trying not to itch. I caught and squished one in the shower this morning, but I don’t expect that was the only one.

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

hurrah for wireless internet!

Our hosts have got their wireless internet working, so I've posted stuff I wrote last night. Feeling pretty tired due to hot weather, lack of sleep and disorientation by time difference. Only 2 hours, but still confusing.

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

bugs get everywhere

Except perhaps seeing a familiar car.
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.


Wandered around for a while and found a small row of shops with a mini supermarket. Bought a random selection of food, regretted not hanging on to the plastic cutlery from the plane. Not really feeling confident enough to go to a restaurant, so it’s a picnic in my room.

Random thoughts

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.

arrived, hot, hungry

I made it. I’m sitting in my hotel room in Sofia feeling very hot, a little thirsty and wondering where I’m going to get some food from.
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

jetsetter (sort of)

I'm off to Bulgaria for a couple of days (for work). Laptop is coming too, so there might be blog posts. Or there might not. Probably retrospective posts and photos when I get back.

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

home and dry

It was breezy all the way home and it drizzled, but it didn't actually start to thunder and pour until I gt home.


storm clouds gathering

The sky's gone grey, there's the prospect of a storm in the air.

What are the chances of getting home (on the bike) before it breaks?

up do

up do
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
This hair belongs to my other sister, DP. Looks like we're all doing the growing our hair thing at the moment.

hot head

How do people with lots of hair cope when it's hot?

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!