Colour

I thought I needed to add a little colour to this blog! I haven’t had any flowers in a while:

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And here is a front-in-progress:

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(ps – I’m now watching a documentary about why John Barrowman is gay – far more interesting!)

Bonekickers

I’m running out of stuff to watch on the BBC’s iPlayer now that Tribal Wives seems to have finished – and there’s no new Snog Marry Avoid (a make-under show, how about that for a twist on the genre?). I’d noticed Bonekickers, which seems to be some kind of archaeological detective drama, and decided it looked promising. Should be cool, intelligent, historical and interesting, right?

5 minutes later – make it STOP! There are a lot of very very good actors in this country who would love to land a recurring TV role – so why aren’t any of them in this programme? Not to mention the hammy script. Waaah!  I’d rather play Tomb Raider – it would probably kill fewer brain cells.

Kiva

I did something today that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I made a loan through Kiva.  Until recently I had been making monthly donations to the MSF Australia and Greenpeace, however these were coming out of my New Zealand bank account without any funds coming in!  So I finally stopped them.  I will probably continue to donate to MSF from here.  I do a lot of research before donating to any charity (which is why I hate the people who work on the street, on commission, whose sole mission is to sign you up there on the spot) and MSF gets a big tick from me.

I’m moving off-topic though.  I first heard about Kiva at least a year ago.  They are a not-for-profit that arranges microfinance for people and groups in developing countries.  Anyone can lend any amount of money they like.  Through the magic of the internet, Kiva matches up lenders with borrowers through local microfinance groups.  It’s a fantastic idea and one that works really well.  It’s been very popular with lenders as they can see where their money is going and really feel like they are doing something good.  It’s also not charity or “aid” as such – these people want to fight their own way out of poverty, they have figured out how they need to do it, and they will work hard to pay back the money they borrow.

My loan was to the Ntinda Kafene Women’s group in Uganda.  It was hard not to get carried away and lend to more borrowers!  I think I will make it a regular thing, and then when my money is paid back I will of course re-lend it.

Knitting

A triple whammy today:

1.  The Interweave autumn (fall) preview is up.  I don’t know if I can think about autumn/winter knitting at this point, it’s actually hot here in London for once!  There is some really nice design there though – not so much stuff I would knit myself, but some good inspiration and it sounds like the articles will be good too.  They’ve continued their use of “real” models even more in this issue – good work!  I’d probably knit the Little Blue Sweater, but for inspiration the Braided Pullover is awesome.

2.  Vogue knitting preview also up!  I don’t think there was anything I wanted to knit there, but the page isn’t loading right now so I can’t check.  Some good inspiration though.

3.  The Knitty Summer Surprise patterns are up.  The “Hey, Teach!” cardigan is cute, and I’d like to try the 2nd Time Cotton (mental note).  Ooh, I just clicked over to Sea Tangles.  Not sure if I’d use the stainless steel for a whole sweater, but it looks cool.  I really want to try out the Kusha Kusha scarf using that stainless steel one day.  I haven’t knit a scarf in years and I see a few in my future… maybe while I’m in New Zealand I’ll knit some.

As for my current knitting, I did start the Tulip Kimono and have almost finished the back.  Imagine a vast stocking stitch rectangle and you’ll understand why I haven’t posted pictures. The yarn is scrummy though. I just looked up the blend and it’s 35% cotton, 25% polyamide, 18% viscose, 9% cashmere – I had thought it was all natural fibres, hmm.  My ethical dilemma is that I love viscose but apparently it is horribly polluting.  Ditto cotton, for that matter.  Oops.

Brainball!

Eight years ago, Rebecca and I attended the Expo 2000 in Hanover. I think the highlight of the expo for both of us was playing a Swedish game called Brainball. In the game, two of you sit at opposite ends of a table. There is a ball in the middle of the table and two circles representing goals at each end. The goal is to get the ball into your opponent’s goal. Sort of like table hockey, I guess.

Except for how you are meant to achieve it! Both of you are hooked up with a headset that measures alpha and theta brainwaves. The brainwaves control the movement of the ball – the more relaxed you are, the more chance you have of scoring. Genius! Of course, as soon as you see the ball heading for your opponent’s goal you start to get excited and it can come careening back at you.

The other day we were reminiscing about how great the game was and I decided to do some Googling to see if it was around anywhere. Looks like it was at the Science Museum for a while but it’s gone now. The BBC also have one that they use on various children’s shows. But it is available for purchase at the low low price of £11,000! (plus VAT and delivery)

One day…

Website (with videos).

Also – Mind games: Harnessing the power of your thoughts – controlling computer games with your mind, from the Independent.

Are you proud of me Rosa?

It was Jason’s birthday yesterday, and he had asked for a mint chocolate mud cake. Just to be difficult! The only thing is I really don’t like mint chocolate very much, so I came up with a clever solution:

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Chocolate mud cake with after dinner mints stuck in the top!

The cake has over 400g of dark (85%) chocolate in it – it truly was death by chocolate. A little bit much for me but Jason had seconds. Half of the chocolate I bought in Belgium and the other half is fair trade organic stuff. I actually had a bit of a hangover this morning from eating this thing!

Battersea Power Station

Yesterday Rebecca, Jason and I went to see Battersea Power Station, which has been holding open days for the public. The former coal-run power station has been out of use for over a quarter of a century now, and various plans for redevelopment have fallen by the wayside. The building is listed however so it cannot be demolished.

Now there are big plans for a massive new development including apartments, shops, parks and a massive new eco-dome. The dome will have an enormous chimney, far larger than the power station chimneys. The chimney will draw up air heated by the sun and act as an air conditioner for the dome, as well as including a wind turbine that will generate extra power for the development. There will also be a new tube station and transport hub. It will be exciting if it all comes to pass!

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Plenty more photos up on flickr

Afterwards we were in the mood for a Pimms, so we stopped off at a local pub:

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Weekend away

Last weekend I went to visit my aunt, who lives near Cheltenham. It was a fun weekend and I also caught up with my uncle and his wife who live nearby. On Saturday we hit the summer sales and I did quite well – no more shopping for a while, I think! Then in the afternoon we headed to Berkeley Castle:

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The Berkeley family have lived there for 900 years, which is pretty impressive. There was a wedding on when we were there so our tour was cut a little short, but it was nice to see the Great Hall all decked out in flowers and musicians practising in the gallery.

On Sunday we went to the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival:

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Tewkesbury was the worst hit by the floods, which were exactly a year ago now. Apparently dozens of families are still out of their homes. But it is hard to imagine how bad it was.

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After that we went for a barbecue in my uncle’s garden and relaxed there until it was time to catch the train back to London.

Adventures!

It’s time to line up some new adventures, I think.

How many of you have ever tried Googling your own name? Every so often I do it, mainly to make sure none of my personal details ever come up. Anyway, I tried it today and guess what – there’s a pub in Essex named after me!  I must go there - who’s up for an excursion?

Reminds me a of a guy I met once called Aaron.  Him and his mate – also called Aaron – made a trip to the Isle of Arran once, just because of their names!  I’d like to go there too, but for a different reason.

If you are reading this take the Google challenge.  Google your name and link me to the most interesting page that comes up.

I’m feeling inspired to plan some adventures, so if anyone wants to accompany me let me know!  I’ll be up for it as soon as I’m feeling a bit less feeble at any rate… unless I die of the consumption first!