Saturday, 28 February 2009

D is for...

Delicious, Decadent Donations

Yeah, okay, so I really should have posted this for 'C' for 'competition', but, well, Chenonceaux kind of won that letter hands down!  But you see, I missed two important anniversaries recently: the first being my Blogoversary (my first post was on the 4th of February 2008); the second being my Ravelversary. (I received my invitation to join on the 31st of January 2008.  And yes, I joined as soon as that baby arrived in my inbox!)

Now, even though I'm, erm, almost a month in arrears, I think it only fair to spread the love to you, my dear readers!  But I'm not going to give away yarn, oh no.  (And it's nothing to do with the fact that I know nothing about what's good and what's bad and what's downright evil in the yarn world.)  It's because... oh okay, it's because I know nothing about what's good and what's bad and what's downright evil in the yarn world.  BUT I do know a little about this

chocolat - le nom

Yes indeedy!  Here, for your delectation are some delicacies to delight and divert your...  your...  :: goes to check thesaurus :: (ah, bugger) 'tastebuds' it will have to be!

Firstly, a box of French chocolates and truffles, made, if I understood correctly, in this region.  (You'll have to forgive me, but my concentration was really upon the contents of the shop, not on what la serveuse was telling me about her wares...  Oo-shiny has just found a new friend in Oo-chucklit!)  They are nom.  Erm... or so I am told.  Moving swiftly on, there are two tablets of dark chocolate, one flavoured with violet, one flavoured with rose.  And lastly there's the alcoholic chocolate.  Not French this time, but very worthy of a good nomming home, too!

Remind me why I'm giving these away again?  I mean... REALLY!  Oh, oh yes.  Anniversary Competition.  Well, now that I'm this far, I should let you know what you have to do to win this little lot of nomminess.  And, because arbitrary is the name of the game, it's going to be simple!  No need to phone a friend or ask the audience!  All I want to you to is guess the nom-by date on the back of the tablet of dark violet gorgeousness.

violet (or as my DS says, violent) yumminess

AND, because I'm not cruel, well not totally, I'll even give you dates to choose between!

SO, lovely ones, choose a date between July 19th 2009 and April 4th 2010 and let me know in a comment what you think it may be!  The competition will be open until the 7th of March, and I'll let you know who guessed the correct date, or who got the closest to it.  And I might even send the goodies to the winner, too!


Saturday, 21 February 2009

Have Train Travel Will Knit?

SO, there I was, thinking that with all the travel I was going to have to do for the rehearsals and concerts in Holland, I'd have tonnes of knitted things to share on my blog.  FAIL.  But seriously.  There were SO many hours just sitting on my behind of which I could have made use:  Tours to Paris - 1 hour;  Paris to The Hague - 3 ½ hours; then all the rehearsals - 1 ½ hours each way; The Hague to Zutphen - 2 ¾ hours each way; DH to Rotterdam was only 20 mins, (so that doesn't count as it's barely enough time to take all my winter outerwear off and put it back on again before arriving at the station) and lastly The Hague to Maastricht - 3 hours.  In all that time, I think I knitted all of 4 repeats on one sock.  I *may* have slept for the rest of the time...

BUT, there is a silver lining as after the concerts were over and before I came back to France, I used some down-time to finish these dorky babies:

noro stripy-feathery-fanny fugly socks™

No, I don't know what the hell I was thinking about, either.

The premise was promising, or so I led myself to believe...  Noro Kureyon Sock yarn in, erm, can't remember the colourway offhand.  (I got it 'cheap' from the LYS owner as she had used a teeny bit of it for display purposes and I was much too Scottish to pass up such a bargain, even if it
was Noro!)  A basic stripe sock pattern that uses both ends of the ball for contrast, and a feather and fan stitch.  I could almost taste the potential.  I cast on with very high hopes and the first few inches of sock no. 1 (on the right) just flew off the needles:

undulating f&f prettiness

Of course, I was keeping an eye on the colour changing too, wondering what combination would come next, when I realised that the olive green was fast approaching on both sides.  Bugger.  Well, I have to come clean and tell you that I'd already cut out swathes of orange from the yarn, so I didn't feel I could be justified in chopping out some olive green, too, so I bit the bullet, carried on and eventually found stripes emerging once more.  To say I was apprehensive would be a gross overstatement but I was pleased to get past the glitch.  Until sock no. 2, where exactly the same thing happened at exactly the same place, just with lime green instead of the olive.  D'oh!

The Noro Gods were trifling with my highly-tuned sense of colour striping.  Either that, or they were too busy laughing at my efforts to lend a 'helping' hand.  Either way, I hope they were amused, as I can't say I was.  Particularly.

Still, I do have to admit I am fond of these two litter runts.  I can barely call them fraternal, though, seeing as they hardly look like a proper pair of socks, but maybe I can claim they share a turquoise great-grandmother somewhere down the line...

cousins, 4 times removed

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

C is for...


(château of...)

I know it will shock you all, but for this abc-along post, I decided to go with ponies another château...  And this time it is my absolute favourite, favourite, FAVOURITE!

The history of the château is long and convoluted, but if you would like to read about it, our kind Mr Wikipedia is again on hand to help out...

The run-up to the château is through an avenue of MASSIVE trees and it doesn't take much to imagine how grandiose it must have looked like in its hey-day...  after which you emerge into the spacious gardens and  see the château for the first time.

orange trees framing the driveway

Yes, by the way, well spotted.  Those photos were indeed not taken on the same day!  I think I've visited Chenonceaux three times so far, and only one of those days did the sun decide to stay around for any length of time.

The gardens are spectacular and are named after two of the most important mistresses (in all senses of the word) of the castle:  Diane de Poitiers (who was the mistress of Henri II and received the castle from him as a gift) and Catherine de Médicis (Henri II's queen, who expelled Diane from the castle after Henri's death.)

Diane's garden

Catherine's garden

I guess Diane de Poiters won that battle...

The interior is pretty impressive, too.  Most of the rooms are open to the public, and now any Tom Dick or RedScot can wander through the bedrooms and studies of the kings and queens and erm, mistresses of France.  I think this calls for some gratuitous bedroom shots...

you were perhaps expecting something else?

After such opulence, it is almost a relief to arrive at the newer part of the château: the galleries, which were built by Catherine de Médicis upon a bridge originally commissioned by Diane de Poitiers, that once connected the castle to the other side of the river.  I guess Ms Medici won that round...  The first floor, with its black and white tiles, was used as a ballroom...

and the second floor, of which I was sure I had a photo, but alas cannot find it, has its original wooden flooring, and is now used as a, well, as an art gallery.  Just goes to show...

Other rooms to see include the wonderful kitches, Catherine's library and the chapel, but the photos I have of these are too dark to be much use here...  No flash photography allowed...  But this year when DS and I go back to visit (because it's an addictive place) I'll be using my new camera, which has all sorts of funky functions that I haven't figured out how to use yet...  I'm sure if I fiddle with it enough I'll get some more piccies to drool over!

Oh, and I have been knitting, I promise... I may even have something to show in the next few days...

Mair Bloag Weejits

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Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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