Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Chaussettes de Paris

Remember ages ago, when I promised you tales of Parisian yarn stores, and then failed to deliver? Well, I'm ready to talk about them now. I hope you don't mind. I know I should be showing you all the amazing things we've been eating and doing over the Easter break, but there is time for that, and I'm afraid right now I just have to talk about socks and tea.
Apparently I missed all the best yarn shops in Paris. That's what happens when you're not expecting to visit them because the whole trip if about your boyfriend's birthday, and then the week before leaving aforementioned amazing man casually states, "but we have to go to yarn stores, surely?!" (see I've always said he was amazing). So I did some casual - ahem, frantic - searching, picked a few, printed maps (but no opening times) and off we went.

We made it to one, and it was quite a trek in the heat. But it was oh-so worth it. A yarn store situated in a tea shop. It was perfect (well, not quite, as N pointed out, because they would only serve beer with food and had stopped doing food by the time we got there...so it was almost perfect). We ordered from their extensive tea selection, were told exactly how long to brew our respective pots, and then I was let loose to browse the yarn, complete with enthusiastic input from the waitresses. It was marvelous.
Except the one colour I really fell for they only had one skein of. 175m. Hmmm...not a lot, but I just had to have it anyway. So I did, and using my newly acquired knowledge of two-at-a-time toe-up socks, I set to work on maximising the yarn and making a pair of very simple, but very pretty ankle socks.
And maximise I did as I only had about 10cm left when I was done casting off. Phew! That was a stressful ten minutes I can tell you! (This picture doesn't do the colour justice, there is purple and mustard in there too, it's very vintage and pretty, honest!)

But now I have a pair of very pretty ankle socks, to wear with dainty shoes on the cooler days of spring and summer, that will always remind me of rooibos tea and forgetting to check the opening hours of all but one yarn store in Paris, and sitting together on a beautiful day listening to the local band play at a community event, and learning new skills from new friends. Rather an evocative pair of socks, eh?!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

During breakfast this morning.

I'm an impatient gardener. I want things to germinate and sprout moments after I put them in the soil. So when I eagerly planted things a few weeks ago during an unseasonably warm Monday morning, I had rather hoped the warmth and sunshine would work it's magic immediately.
It didn't, and so I have been learning patience, and slowly tending to my little pots every morning, in that blur of time between coffee and leaving the house for work.

I must have been doing it all with my eyes closed, because today, with eyes wide awake thanks to a long sleep and the contentment of knowing that thanks to some well placed Bank Holidays, N and I actually have some time together this week, I suddenly began to notice things...

Happy Easter weekend everyone!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Learning to let go.

I've been learning some parenthood lessons in the last few weeks.

Our little Fluffmeister, aka, Merchant of Mayhem, aka, Gatto, is fast approaching a year old, and therefore adulthood. We're hoping that he will lose the mental kitten and become a dignified gentleman cat like his older brother.
One thing that has marked the move to adult status is that Gatto is now allowed to join Sniff in his exploration of the "big wide house." However, although he's been allowed outside since late January he hasn't really shown much interest, preferring instead to trot along around me in the house, curl up and snooze while I knit, and sleep on the radiator bed in the dining room while I cook in the evenings. We definitely have a habit of producing needy cats that are much more like dogs; loyal, follow you around, and will eat almost anything (no, really, does anyone else have a cat who will literally fight his way to your madras curry?!).
Although I've always worried if his desire to stay inside is what feeds his slightly manic nature - could he be going stir-crazy? I hadn't realised just how much I enjoy Gatto's homey tendencies until a few weeks ago when he finally discovered that actually there are some rather exciting things outside, like leaves that blow around, and his big brother who he can torment and chase outside as well as in. Suddenly I was wracked with fear that something would happen to my little fur baby, that he would get hurt, or not find his way home.

Which is ridiculous, because whereas Sniff is a classic ex-rescue fraidy-cat, Gatto still possesses that kittenish bravado that means no matter how big the foe he will turn and take them on, a tendency which seems to so stun other bigger cats that they stop in their tracks and leave him alone. And as for not coming home, well, we can always get a curry!
So this week I have been learning to let go of my little homey kitten, and am preparing for his leap into calm, dignified adulthood. Yeah. Right.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Spring here...

...is a new experience for us. It's the first time we've been in this house during this season, and I'm very much enjoying seeing how it goes.

So far it has felt slow. We're only just getting used to the garden, how the sun falls, where things will go and what work needs to be done in order to get things in their place (oh all the slow hard work). Some things have been planted, some have not, some things seem to thrive (our fruit bushes seem to love it here) but worryingly some things seem to be lagging behind (I'm sure the rhubarb should be growing faster and bigger).
Then on Sunday as I was pottering around I was struck by the realisation that the tree had blossomed. Suddenly the top of the garden was covered by a bright flurry of spring snow, and the light through the flowers was stunning.
Even the cats seemed struck by the new optimism that the blossoms brought as they played in the grass. Even little Gatto who is clinging desperately to being a house cat.
Sometimes I need to learn that if you're patient, and don't look too hard, amazing things will just spring up when you're not paying attention.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

I love a literary city.

Passing a church tucked away in the back streets of the left bank, N and I came across the following scene.
No explanation, just propped there waiting for two unassuming literary tourists to come by to photograph it.

Monday, 11 April 2011

What was in the box?

Cafe pour homme,
Citron pour femme.
Worth all the carrying and glaring at metro passengers who might bump into me, and the balancing of luggage up the hill. Oh yes.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

In my fridge....

...is a very special box...
...sitting next to a very special bag.
You see, we went to Paris! Yep, that's right, for the past few days we've been livin' it up en France. A very welcome break indeed after a particularly long and hard winter.
We'd both been to Paris before, separately, and not been too fussed by the place, and so wanted to see if going there together made a difference. It most certainly did. It's amazing what a difference being there together, and doing the right things (which mostly consisted of walking, looking, walking, looking, walking and sitting in cafes) makes to a city. I indulged N in visits to specialist places for his hobbies, and he indulged me in long walks across the city in search of famous bakeries all in the name of researching the perfect pain au chocolate. It's a good job we're patient with each other, love pastries and are happy to pause for a glass of fortifying French wine at every opportunity!
Now we're back, for a final few days of holiday lying around the house, with a perfect little box of heaven in the fridge waiting to be consumed with a very cold glass of white wine later today.

Back to regular posting soon, honest. Although before then you'll have to indulge me in a few posts about amazing Parisian yarn stores and other such experiences!