Sunday, 20 November 2011

Walking in the City

Friday was a day trip to London. 'Work' of the networking kind - ie listening to a few speeches followed by lunch and catching up with folk. This included going all the way to London to meet the first time a near neighbour in York, who also works in the building up the hill from the office. I think we will get on well.

But by 2.30 everyone was drifting away and I had decided to take advantage of the sunny day to walk in the City, a part of London I do not usually go to.

Terry Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork is said to be built on 'black loam, broadly, mostly what it is built on is more Ankh-Morpork'. 

The same could be said for London. The bombing of London revealed parts of the Roman fort for the first time in a very long time. 

Parts of the London wall have been preserved and new buildings rise up around the remnants.

From here it is a short walk to the river and St Paul's.

Developers have preserved some excellent views of the cathedral, the dome suddenly appears unexpectedly.

I had not been to the Tate Modern before, so the camera was in constant use, on the way and inside

and coming put into the evening light.

And then I walked back to Kings Cross, amazing much more footsore I get walking in London than elsewhere.

More images, as usual, on Flickr.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

What I did at the weekend

I am back from a great weekend with knitty friends.
We met up at a friend's home, knitted, nattered, drank lots of tea, ate good food.
We even managed a walk round the village, including the churchyard, where many stones were so worn it was impossible to read the inscriptions. Other little angels had stood the test of time much better.

In common with many houses with children, there was  a trampoline in the back garden. Fit Friend couldn't resist checking out whether she could still do it. She can ->
 I have never been on a trampoline before. But with a great coach, I was soon flying! Well of the ground anyway.
Fit Friend says 10 minutes a day woudl be great exercise.
I can believe it!

Walking this week?
Monday x
Tuesday ü
Friday x
Saturday ü

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Walking not blogging

Well I have been walking - not every day but more than I would have done if I had not blogged my resolution.
I have been meaning to blog for ages, but last month I  was away a lot, including my first trip to the US.
I seem to have been catching up ever since.

I do like to blog with photos, but blogger has never made that easy, so it always takes me ages to get on with it.

So just a few from my trip (a bigger selection on flickr). I flew to Philadelphia and  took a train to Washington DC. With a little time to spare. I took a look outside the station - to an archetypal US view - skateboarder and skyscrapers!

Next day was Sunday in Washington, so I had to go to the Eastern Market - and what should I find there but wool! Christian Rathbone designs rugs which are made in Turkey using vegetable dyes and wool from local sheep.
I had to buy a skein of course - wound in the interesting manner you see on the stall.

The market has local producers selling vegetables as well as crafts, 'antiques' etc.

Then on to walk down the National Mall from Capitol Hill to Lincoln Monument.

Looking back from Lincoln to the Washington Monument
Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

The amazing National Museum of the American Indian

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Walking is good

An advantage of walking to work is passing the horse chestnut trees, which took a hammering in the winds last week. I can't resist a conker, that smooth glossy shell nut inside a velvet-lined spiky shell.

So the walking:
Saturday 10th  : 41 minutes around the block
Sunday 11th :  38 minutes into the village
Monday 12th : 2 x 15 minutes
Tuesday 13th : 23 minutes to work; 24 minutes home from work
Wednesday 14th:   23 minutes to work; 29 minutes longer route home from work
Thursday 15th: 27 minutes streets of London
Friday 16th: 23 minutes to work;
Saturday 17th: 32 minutes old running route in Derby
Sunday 18th - 'rest day' - ie I didn't get out
Monday 19th - failed miserably drove to work and forgot we had a visitor at lunch time
Tuesday 20th - 25 minutes - longer route to work, still not 30 minutes

I enjoyed the walking and certainly worked up a sweat and raised heart rate (got the Garmin out too!). I lost a pound too - might have been more if I had a bit of a binge eat on the two days I didn't walk. So clearly the exercise feel-good works when I do it.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

30 minutes

My friend N is very good at getting me to think afresh. She has just started a new blog about  her approach.

We have been having a declutter in Derby as we hope to move after 20 years in the same house. But I have not faced my wardrobe for some time. One issue is that I have two wardrobes - most of my clothes have gravitated to York as I am here more than there, but I have to keep some in Derby for weekends. The other issue is that I hate clothes shopping and and I try to avoid looking at myself in the mirror. All to do with the weight issue of course.

To cut a long story short, I have confronted my York wardrobe and reduced the wearing collection considerably. There are now three piles - things I do wear; things I never wear (to go  the charity shop) and things I would like to wear when I lose a stone. There will be similar piles to identify in Derby too. And there is probably a pile to wear when I lose two stone as well.

So what has this to do with thirty minutes?

You may remember this used to be a running blog, but a knackerty knee put paid to that. I loved doing the exercise, but found it hard to fit in to a busy life at times. Since giving up the weight has piled on more. I have tried, I really have but have not found the focus. But this week I got back that 'high' when I walked to work, rather than cycling. And feeling good helps me eat better.

So I going to try to get 30 minutes walking every day. Easy on days in the office when there are no time pressures - I can make that 30 minutes each way. Weekends, are when I am less likely to get out of the house so that's when I have to make the effort.

I'll let you know how I get on (if there is anyone still out there reading).

Monday, 15 August 2011


Its Monday so I have to report having made something. I thought about baking, but I'd only eat it and baked goods are not good for me.

After years of cooking for a family, I find cooking for one very difficult and tend to take the easy option of egg and something on toast (those baked goods again).

So tonight I had a poke in the fridge and found mushrooms, so made mushroom risotto, Carluccio style. There is enough here for several meals!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Still knitting

Its Monday so its time to blog about things made alongside other people in Natalie's network.
One of Ravelry's many strengths is the inspiration of seeing what other people have knitted.

And there are KALs (knitalongs) where everyone starts a pattern at the same time. And you can share problems and pleasures.

And then there are Mystery KALs where a designer releases the stages in a design over several weeks - or even months.
I have taken part in two of these -
  • a mystery blanket, which I started in 2009 but have yet to finish. I like the design and the colour, but once you know where it is going the excitement wears off.
    And I subsequently realised that had I done this a year earlier or a year later, with more pictorial squares, I would not have liked the result nearly as much.
  • a shawl which used lovely yarn and had interesting stitches, but I had to adapt as I didn't like the pictures of Robins picked out in beads.
    And when it was completed it was the wrong shape and size for me. So I gave it to Natalie as it showed her lovely yarn so well.
I should have learned from this that mystery knits are very risky.

Stephen West produces some spectacular scarves. So when he offered a mystery KAL I signed up.
And chose some of Natalie's Clan for the scarf.
However when the first clue came last week and I realised it was to be intarsia I decided it was not for me - I wanted something less fiddly after the wall hanging with 4 strands at a time.

So I looked at his other patterns and decided to knit Daybreak, a shawl with just two colours, knitted one at a time. I started it on Thursday and it has gone very quickly; by next Monday I hope it will be finished and blocked.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Making Monday

My friend Natalie has declared today a day for writing about something we have made.

And over the last week I have knitted this hanging for my Mum.

Jane Thornley challenged us to 'Knit a masterpiece' using a painting as a starting point. She set us off using one of Monet's waterlily paintings to knit a shawl.

But my Mum and I both love Les Coquelicots and knitting lends itself to impressionism, and this is the result.

Squint and step back from the screen and the source of inspiration is there.

Monday, 4 July 2011

p/hop at Woolfest

Are you looking for my Blog?

(Click on the p/hop)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Impressions of China

At the end of May I was lucky enough to go to China with a group from work.
As you may imagine I took loads of photographs, though the light was not good and I only took my small camera.
A small selection here to tell the story - the rest are on my Flickr pages here.
We landed in Shanghai with some time to explore while we stayed awake to conquer jet-lag.
Shanghai is the commercial and banking centre and full of contrasts. The first image here is the Pudong skyline. Which is on the other side of the river to the main city. Facing this skyline are the old banking buildings from early last century.

The purpose of my visit
was to meet science teachers in Nanjing and discuss the possibility of our department providing CPD for Science teachers in China. We visited No1 Middle School, where the students all (3000) filed out for exercise mid-morning. They had a planetarium on the roof, and an observatory on another roof. Yet most science is taught didactically in classrooms not laboratories.

We had time at the end of the visit to travel to Beijing and be tourists. And yes we went to the Great Wall and yes I bought the T-shirt.

We came across hawkers from Day 1. But mostly they accepted a firm 'no thank you' only few were really persistent.

We went to Mutianyu, which was allegedly less touristy, but my companion, J, said it was no better than the Badeling section she went to last year.

And yes we did walk the wall. We went up to the wall by cable-car and then walked along as far as the bottom of the steep section in the background in this photo. As soon as we were a few hundred metres from the cable car station the numbers dwindled rapidly.

Just as when I went to the Taj Mahal all those years ago, the Great Wall did not fail to meet my expectations.

It does look like you see in the photos. It really is a spectacular feat of building, even if you cannot really see it from the Moon. How could you? It may be long but is nowhere near wide enough.
However it is visible on Google Maps Satellite view once you know where to look. We did walk down the hill back to the hawkers and stalls. And there was our taxi driver ready to take us back to the hotel.
One of the issues with travelling almost anywhere beyond home shores is the food. I had managed to get in a little chopstick practice before leaving, thank goodness.
But you never know what might turn up.
We didn't indulge in any of the delicacies from this street stall in Beijing, but we were treated to two true banquets.
As well as the Lazy Susan in the centre of the table, there were many individual dishes brought to each diner. It is no essential to eat everything before you, but it is polite to try things. The most exotic food offered was, Hippo Campus soup (seahorse). The stock was fine, the meaty bits were fine, but I drew the line at crunching a whole tiny seahorse.
Back in Beijing we visited Tienanmen
Square, the largest public space in the world. It houses the Mao Mausoleum (right) as well as the monument to the people's heroes.
It was interesting to see Chinese families visiting the square having their photos taken in front of iconic buildings.
Beyond Tienanmen Square is the Forbidden City.
A huge complex of palaces, courtyards and gates.

Many of the buildings are mostly made of wood, which makes them very vulnerable to fire. And given the Chinese love of fireworks .......

There were fine examples of the detailed painted decorations which we saw elsewhere on more modern buildings.
It was interesting to note that throughout
our tourist activities we saw far more groups of Chinese tourists than westerners.

Now I am home I can't
quite believe I was ever there.
Maybe there will be an opportunity to go back one day.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

A day at the seaside

Long time no post.
But I have been knitting - all sorts of things - all on my flickr pages, but my current favourite knitted thing is a moebius cowl.

It is quite magical - knitted in the round, starting in the middle of the band and with only one bind-off edge.

The reason for this post is that today I discovered just how close York is to the coast. Only an hour's drive to Scarborough! So an impulse day out is possible, though today's trip was planned as soon as I saw the weather forecast was good.

We walked along the beach, around the harbour and back up to the top of the cliff to eat our sandwiches looking over the South Bay. (We resisted the Fish and Chips, though decided we need to find out which is the best chippy.)
Our car park time had run out, so we drove round to the North Bay - what a contrast!

South Bay was sheltered and calm. North Bay was windy with proper waves (and Free Parking until 1st March).

There is nothing like some wind and waves to set you up for the week.