RSS

Monthly Archives: January 2014

cycling success but fashion disaster!

Looking deservedly pleased with themselves at the end of a long ride. And wearing the same jersey as most of the 6000 or so others!

Looking deservedly pleased with themselves at the end of a long ride. And wearing the same jersey as most of the 6000 or so others!

They all turned up early but, in what could only be considered a major fashion blunder, they were wearing the same thing, most of the 6,000 and whatever of them! Yep, I’m talking about the Bupa Community Challenge that took place over the Stage 4 of the TDU on Friday. Dr B and Youngest Uncle, the latter riding his maiden TDU Community Challenge, set out from the start at Unley to do the whole distance of 148.5 Km. I was to meet them at Victor Harbor at the end. YoungB had hoped to ride, too, but state crew training for rowing and his uni summer course made that impossible.

You’d think, wouldn’t you, with my two out of my hair early in the morning – YoungB left at about 5.00, Dr B at about 5.30 – I’d have been out of the door and on my own way fairly smartly, too. By the time I’d cleared the kitchen and washed dishes and cleaned the car windscreen and done a rubbish round and checked everything off my “please remember to do and/or take” list – all those itsy, bitsy sorts of things – three hours had passed. I’d anticipated being long gone before YoungB was home from training. Yeah, well, plans are wonderful things and it’s necessary to have them.

Dr B had gone to a lot of trouble setting up a route on our GPS navigator so that I could get to the finish line without fighting the cyclists (I’ve been there, done that in the past and it’s horrendous; so never again, thanks, no matter how many extra kilometres it takes). It worked remarkably well, taking me via back routes I’d never hitherto encountered but not entirely away from cyclists. Obviously, those several large groups didn’t get the memo about the TDU Community Challenge! On the whole, they weren’t that much of a problem: clearly practised and confident, not all over the road or doing silly things and even, in one case where I was quietly motoring along behind them, waving me forward when I couldn’t see whether it was safe to overtake.

I reached the freeway without incident. You enter a freeway doing a good sort of speed, so there’s no room for changing your mind. I exited it almost immediately because the GPS said so! (No, I knew perfectly well it was the wrong exit but it had done a fabulous job up to that point and, like I say, you can’t be changing your mind and making wild manoeuvres on a freeway.) Yeah, right. I lost close to an hour just faffing about trying to get back on track! Eventually I did, but you know all those kilojoules the boys were burning out there on their pushbikes? I reckon I burnt at least twice that many just stressing about how late I was going to be. As if. Even with that lost hour, which meant that a trip that usually takes two hours and had this time been going to take two and a half took three and a half, I still had stacks of time in hand to drive around looking for a park at the Victor Harbor end.

Victor Harbor is a lovely spot but parking there is not particularly good and easy at the best of times. That has ever been the case and although there’s been some improvement in recent years, you don’t want to put money on being able to park anywhere near where you think you might. And quite clearly, a day when the town was about to be overrun by thousands of cyclists was never going to be the best of times and the inadequate parking meant long, long walks for folks like me. That’s okay. I truly don’t mind walking, so once I snagged a park within a reasonable radius of the finish line (the GPS put it at about 2 Km), off I went quite happily to stand about and await the boys.

Youngest Uncle had told me he’d be wearing yellow knicks, so I’d been looking out for such a thing. Sometimes, a little bit of easy identification makes the rest fall into place. I saw no yellow knicks on anybody who looked remotely like him. It turned out that he’d changed his mind and was wearing red-and-black knicks. Okay. That was always going to mean I wouldn’t pick him out of the bunch! We did meet up, though, and then we waited for Dr B. He’d had a fair ride but slower than he’d have liked it to have been, having encountered a few problems with cramp on the way. Still, he made it and, as ever, looked in remarkably good shape at the end. (To this day, I marvel at how lucid and upright he was at the end of PBP!)

The celery? Yeah, in among the package of goodies given to the riders was a pack of pasta and a stick of celery: obviously intended for use in a fortifying meal at the end of a long, hard day. And, you know, if lots of celery was good enough for Oppy, why would anybody argue its inclusion in a cyclist’s feedbag?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Cycling, Rowing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

when a musette isn’t a squeezebox

Before Dr B did the Paris-Brest-Paris Audax ride in 2011, I made a musette for him. It was quite a tidy piece of work, though I managed to twist the strap (he said it didn’t bother him, so we left it that way). I was reminded of it yesterday when he brought home a freebie from the Tour Down Under village. I pointed out that it wasn’t in the same league as the one I made. He agreed and said that having that made-by-me musette around his neck gave him great comfort on some of the longer, lonelier stretches when he wondered what the f*^# he was doing there. Aww. Ain’t it nice to be appreciated?

Bottom right corners aligned, which illustrates that the spotty one is slightly deeper than the one I made

Bottom right corners aligned, which illustrates that the spotty one is slightly deeper than the one I made though the width is about the same. You’ll note that our metal snap fastener is about the same size as the white plastic one on the freebie.

The one I made is a linen/cotton furnishing fabric, slightly less deep though the same width, is french seamed, has a metal snap fastener and the straps are sturdy cotton. The freebie is lightweight and there’s not a french seam in sight. I was interested to see that the TDU musette, which I’m sure we’ll be spotting everywhere for a while, also has a snap fastener, albeit plastic. We have another (a 2012 Tour de France freebie from a friend) with a velcro fastening and I remember being surprised by that. Dr B and I had had lengthy discussions about why velcro might not be such a good idea in the dark when you’re fumbling about trying to get food out of a bag. YoungB concurred. We reckoned it would stick to everything you didn’t want it to, probably mostly to your cycling gloves! I do understand that perhaps a snap fastener might not always be the best, either, but on balance we thought it preferable to the velcro. It seems that whoever designed this TDU musette was of the same mind.

Nice sturdy straps on mine, coming out of the top of the musette. The freebie has the straps coming out of the side seam. Mine are definitely anchored more securely.

Nice sturdy straps on mine, coming out of the top of the musette. The freebie has the straps coming out of the side seam. Mine are definitely anchored more securely.

The TDF one, however, had straps applied in the same way as mine – I don’t claim it was deliberate on my part; I couldn’t possibly have sewn through the french seam AND the cotton tape, so it was a matter of near enough having to be good enough and because the musette is worn crosswise, the offset straps were perfectly all right – but the TDU one has them coming out of the sides at a right angle. Hmm. All food for thought while carrying food for riders.

French seams and sturdy anchoring of straps. That musette wasn't about to come apart, no matter what Dr B put in it. The green one, I suspect, might not be of the same calibre but it's green and cheerful.

French seams and sturdy anchoring of straps. That musette wasn’t about to come apart, no matter what Dr B put in it. The green one, I suspect, might not be of the same calibre but it’s green and cheerful.

Tomorrow, when the Bupa Community Challenge  takes place, I dare say there’ll be heaps of those spotty musettes about the place. I don’t imagine Dr B will use a musette at all, but if he did use his own, would you reckon I’d be quite safe in saying he’d be the only rider with one like that!?

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Cycling, Sewing

 

Tags: , , , , ,

substitution suggestions?

I could make mitts like these but perhaps it's time for a change

I could make mitts like these but perhaps it’s time for a change

I’ve said before that I don’t make resolutions with and for new years and that I don’t really have defined plans for what I might knit during any year. Of course, there are things I have an idea I’ll get around to doing, anual goals I might achieve such as birthday knitting  – YoungB’s new jumper comes into that category; but he’s having second thoughts about which design he’d like, hence it’s already stalled! – and others that I wouldn’t have foreseen in any planning – cousins with cancer and jungle-themed birthday parties might come into that category in terms of unexpectedness – but which require my doing something. Well, to me they do. Others might do different things but I suppose my response to bad times as well as good tends to be handmade gifts: mitts when Youngest Aunt had a heart attack; a moebius cowl for a friend when her mother died; a cowl and bandanna for the cousin. It’s what I do and I think it’s too late in life to try to change my habits, at least in that respect.

Then there are all those serendipitous little things that happen along – new babies in the family and so on – and other things that you decide on a whim you’ll make. Today’s plea for assistance relates to an item in the whimsical category. One of YoungB’s mates is turning 21 soon. Her party takes place at the same time as the family’s jungle-themed one so YoungB won’t be here. However, he’ll certainly catch up with both birthday girls at some point. I offered to knit some fingerless mitts for the friend. She’s also a scientist and her fingers would get cold in winter, too, and handknitted, woollen, fingerless mitts would be a wonderful, impossible to replicate gift (well, I suppose they might be found somewhere if you knew where to look, but not at prices affordable by an impoverished uni student; as if there’s any other sort).

We’ve decided on the these mitts (another of the many wonderful, free patterns on Ravelry) but not yet the yarn. I’m wondering if Bendigo‘s sock yarn, that blue, self-striping colourway, might be an OK substitute (colourways available in other yarns might be better but aren’t available in 4 ply). What do you think? (I’m not against attempting to find something closer to the specified yarn but I am loath to order from an overseas supplier if I can find anything local that’s remotely similar; and I’m also fairly impoverished, being still unemployed and all that, so there are budget constraints at all levels.) I accept it might not be quite as subtle a result as the yarn specified and, indeed, may well be far too strong for the delicacy of the design, but – well, has anyone used it that I could see made up? Or do I need to just buy some, start knitting and see for myself?? (It would be no hardship at all to do that, of course, because if I thought it wouldn’t work for the mitts, I could use it to make socks.)

Lincraft‘s Hand-Dyed Effect (in either of the Rock Garden or Regal colourways to capitalise on the blue favoured by the birthday girl) might be a good substitute but it’s considerably dearer and its quality unknown even though the fibre composition is similar to the Bendigo yarn. There’s a shop in town that sells Noro yarns so I could pick up some sock yarn when I’m in that vicinity (employment agency interviews and things of that sort invariably happen in town). I love the unexpectedness of Noro’s colourways but suspect they also might be too strong for the subtlety of the Hedgerow pattern. In addition to the financial consideration, there’s a time constraint, too, and it’s quite pressing, so I need to find something suitable immediately if not sooner. Yesterday would have been good!

Or, of course, if this gets all too difficult and headache-inducing, I could use a different mitt pattern. There’s no shortage of those, I know, or I could stick to this designer’s work that I keep coming back to (and of which I’ve made a goodly number of pairs and they’re all lovely). But the Hedgerow one is lovely, too, in a different way; and a 21st birthday is a special occasion. So if you have any yarn substitution suggestions, I’d be forever grateful. Thank you.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Knitting

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

hot and sweaty morning mitts

Maine morning mitts for an erstwhile colleague

Maine morning mitts for an erstwhile colleague

I thought you might like to see the completed Maine morning mitts. I cajoled YoungB into being the photographer, but he was about to dash off, so the result is what you see. The angle is less than desirable. All the same, I’m sure you’ll get the idea. I can vouch for the fact that they are very thick and very warm. They made my hands sweaty!

PS: Sorry about all the “later than usual” bits and the bits that didn’t really make sense in yesterday’s post. They resulted from and/or were indicative of my general mental woolliness!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Knitting

 

Tags: , , , , ,

at our house on a Saturday morning

Kick start your day with a beverage!

Kick start your day with a beverage!

The chaos started later than usual today, with our alarms set for an hour later than usual. The boys cycled off at close to their appointed hour (later than they should have, but with time to get to the regatta course by 7.00). I finished my breakfast, put a load of laundry on, knitted a few rows of the mitts I’m making (because I was down that end of the house and it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss), closed all the windows and locked the doors then headed out for a walk. After an exceedingly hot week, today we’re experiencing cool[er] weather, so that I was an hour later than usual wasn’t an issue. The lack of energy certainly was.

We live in an area that epitomises 1970s urban design: what you might call closed-loop neighbourhoods, where there are lots of roads but only a couple that provide exits to arterial roads. There are many downsides to such design but one of the upsides is that there are lots of footpaths – both the “sidewalk” variety and those that link streets and simply provide pedestrian access from the housing areas to public transport or shops and schools – and if you’re clever about how you use them, you can walk a long way without going too far from home.

I set out to walk what I call my round-the-block walk (it’s about 4 Km), which is really more like a truncated halfway round. The full halfway round is a shade under 6 Km (yes, I do that, too) and the full round-the-block loop would probably be 12 Km in a car but somewhat less on foot (the paths don’t necessarily hug the roads tightly and they avoid the busier intersections). You can do all sorts of loops within the loops to make as long a walk as you want. Today I was looking for a way to shorten mine because, by about the halfway mark, I was ready to be home in bed! There’s no way to make it a very short walk when you’re quite that far around and there’s always that little voice saying, “Don’t be a wimp.”

In the interests of trying to stay healthy and keep fit and shed a few kilos and all of those other reasons why I walk – I actually like walking! – I didn’t take the absolutely shortest route home but I reduced the overall distance by 400 metres (nearly a lap of the oval, if you think about it in those terms). It was perhaps the slowest walk I’ve done in a very long while but I have at least been for a walk. I don’t presently feel as if I’ve benefited from it, but I must have. That’s just logical. (When I get over feeling so groggy, I’m sure I’ll sound more convincing about that!)

Dr B is home again from the regatta course, having cycled there and back. Therefore he, of course, has burned off thousands of kilojoules and his halo is blinding me – that’s not new; it usually is! – and YoungB will have burned off even more thousands by the time he gets home – because, in addition to cycling there and rowing however many laps of the course today’s training involves, he’ll have done a group cycle with the club before cycling home again – but do you know what? I don’t care. It’s Saturday and that means it’s the weekend and we don’t have to be dreadfully energetic, do we? So, apart from hanging out the first load of laundry, dealing with a second and hanging that out as well then making another pot of coffee, I’ve sat about and done not a lot. And that’s pretty much my plan for the rest of the day, with a spot of knitting thrown in when I’m down in the sewing room, I suspect. Every little bit here and there adds up in the end and the mitts are coming along surprisingly well. You could say the same about exercise, I suppose: it all helps, even the little bits.

What about you? Have you kick-started your weekend with coffee (or tea, if that’s your preferred brew) and some exercise? If exercise has featured, well done. But don’t forget to do some knitting or sewing, will you, to balance the halo shininess?

 
5 Comments

Posted by on January 18, 2014 in Cycling, Health, Knitting, Musing, Rowing

 

Tags: , , , ,

not Jungle January but possibly Feral February

Jungle butterfly or social butterfly!

Jungle butterfly or social butterfly! (This is an old photo that I was somewhat afraid to tinker with too much, so excuse the poor quality.)

We have an important family celebration coming up next month and the dress theme is “Jungle”. Sad face. We struggled enough a few years ago when the theme was “Hollywood Glamour” but that was relatively achievable without TOO much effort. Why is it such a problem? First, I’m hopeless at fancy dress (unlike my Mum who was a whizz at such things). Second, in the case of jungle clobber, I’m definitely past the age of dressing in the style of Jane and Tarzan! Third, Dr B and YoungB will be interstate (rowing championships again) and this means I’m on my own: no nearest and dearest for moral support (and I can tell you now that they won’t be at all interested in or supportive of my having to make an effort to tissy myself up if they’re not doing the same thing).

So. Jungles. After getting over the immediate shock, I put my thinking cap on and came up with the idea of Mary Leakey! But maybe an archaeologist isn’t really suitably jungley? Then I thought a better choice might be Osa Johnson (long ago I read I Married Adventure) or Michaela Denis (I’ve read one of Armand Denis’ books and remember occasionally watching their TV program when I was a kid) or Joy Adamson (doesn’t everyone know Born Free?), perhaps even Karen Blixen (whether for real or in the Meryl Streep version) or maybe I could reference Elspeth Huxley (gleaning info from her book about Thika or the TV series with Hayley Mills‘ performance as Tilly), since they’d all be recognisable as a type; and, with the first few, that would provide an excuse to hang a camera around my neck and, for once, not have to apologise for its being there.

The pedantic among you might argue that they’re really more African-savannah types, more safari than jungle, and I wouldn’t disagree (though there’d be areas of crossover, I think; after all, Osa Johnson travelled in North Borneo and that’s decidedly jungle territory). There’d also be the option of dressing like Dian Fossey (or Sigourney Weaver, I guess)! In any case, there’d be a certain sameness about what I might choose if I were to dress as any of those women.

Luckily for me, there’s lots of inspiration around the place and, even more luckily for me, presently there’s Jungle January 2014. I’m not participating but I’ve been stalking the blogs to get ideas, of which there’s an abundance. If I decide on that sort of jungle, It’s going to come down to a jungley or jungle-animal-print fabric, I think, plus a hat that I can “safari up” (thanks to Sew Busy Lizzy for that suggestion). Or I could wear some clearly marked Puma clobber and pretend to be one (offhand, and without more thinking, that’s a bad idea because I don’t know anyone who buys Puma clobber that I could borrow, which is what I’d have to do because I certainly don’t have any myself).

Of course, if I decided my jungle was Amazonian, I could dress as a butterfly or in fabric covered by butterflies or in butterfly colours (and, oooh, I could make some butterfly wings, an adult version of those that YoungB was wearing in that photo; I’m really quite good at those).

Thinking more laterally, Australia’s Kakadu and Daintree are sometimes considered jungles and if I took that view, then I could just go in shorts (or perhaps camo trousers), a T-shirt, khaki-coloured Explorer socks, Rossi boots and a broad-brimmed hat with a mozzie cover. Absolutely my kind of outfit, although I might just end up looking a female version of the Bush Tucker Man; there are probably worse fates. On the other hand – how many hands are we up to now? – I could decide that my jungle is an urban, concrete one and go in a snappy business outfit with killer stiletto heels! (That would, however, make difficulties with the camera-round-the-neck idea; and I’d be crippled for weeks.)

So, although at first I seemed to have absolutely no idea what to do, I think it’s possible that I will be able to come up with a fairly simple, fairly fast plan and probably one that’s not hideously expensive. All of those considerations are important because in the run-up to that date, I’ll be having to do a certain amount of ensuring that the Bs have everything organised for their Sydney trip. I mean, a national rowing regatta takes clear precedence over a costume party. Or even if it doesn’t, maintaining domestic harmony would probably tip the scales, don’t you reckon?

PS: Apologies if I seem lazy citing so many Wikipedia references, but I find it a good starting point for further research or reading if you’re at all interested (in my case, I already knew about most of those women from having read some of their work, or about it, then seen films and/or documentaries etc).

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Musing, Photography, Rowing, Sewing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

logically, what you would do on a stinking hot day

Because today has been hot here (next week is going to be hotter), I’ve ventured outside to do laundry tasks and not a lot else. Yes, I like the heat but I’m not stupid. There might be some discussion around that claim if I admit that, well, being confined indoors somewhat, I occupied myself by doing some knitting! No, not large items that would certainly be too hot to hold but small things that don’t need to be held in your lap.

As a result, the Maine morning mitts are finished and waiting to be photographed (albeit unblocked as yet). Next? The first of another pair of fingerless mitts (a different pattern) is already on the needles and making good progress. This pair might be for me, since I’m still in possession of only one old, falling to bits, cheap and nasty (but better than nothing when you’re desperate) lot of fingerless gloves. I prefer fingerless mitts when I have to do a lot of typing, because you don’t get quite so much constriction around your fingers. These are important considerations! And clearly, I can’t type if I’m wearing mittens, so much as I’m still planning on knitting the Ursula mittens, they’re not being whizzed up the queue at all. They’re a very long-term project.

Have you been occupied logically or illogically doing much knitting today? If so, I hope you’ve managed to bowl over a project or two.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on January 11, 2014 in Knitting

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,