Wednesday, 31 October 2007

What time is it?

I propose that there should be a new rule, in the Big Book of Rules, that states:

"Whensoever the very confusing happenings take place, happenings in which there is a dallying 'twixt Greenwich Mean Time and British Summer Time (not forgetting the Daylight Savings Time whereof who can know whether 'tis other or which?), then shall it NEVER come to pass that timepieces may break and become lifeless, for a stopped clock is as helpful as a chocolate teapot and adds much extra confusion to the very confusing happenings of the Dallying of the Times.”

(The rule may need sharpening up a little before it goes in the Big Book. Otherwise there will be no room for any more rules. Truly, my verbosity knows no bounds.)

My reason for requesting the new rule is this: my watch is broken, and being the awkward little bugg so-and-so it is, it decided to give up the ghost in the small hours of Sunday, right about the time when all the clocks were falling back here in Blighty (“Spring forward, Fall back”, don'tcha know: a handy wee aide memoir there. Or it might be, if we didn’t call Fall 'Autumn'... Tsk.)

Granted, it shouldn’t have confused me as much as it did, but bear in mind that I am a simple creature who gets mixed up really quite easily.

So imagine my puzzled brow when I got back to work this morning after my time off, only to discover that none of the clocks there had been put back yet, AND SOME OF THEM HAD STOPPED COMPLETELY TOO! Which confused me all over again, and made me feel a bit like I’d stepped into the very Vortex of Time (You may think this an excessive reaction on my part, but bear in mind that it was still quite early in the morning, I hadn’t ingested any caffeine yet, and most of my brain was still at home in bed.) BUT, I didn’t use my confusion as an excuse to leave work an hour early today, despite being sorely tempted to do so. Are you impressed?

Soooooo, given all the complications inherent in actually using a numerical system of horology, my new philosophy on the whole time issue is thusly-wise: What time is it? Why, time for a cuppa, of course!

In fact, bearing in mind how many boxes of tea I now have that need using (here’s why), it’s always ‘time for a cuppa’ chez chicken.

It will be ‘time for a cuppa’ FROM NOW UNTIL THE END OF ALL TIME.

Let this be a warning to you all.

Now: anyone care for a top-up?

PS Crap, I think the kettle just joined my watch and gave up the ghost too. Looks like it will never be 'time for a cuppa' EVER AGAIN :o( :o(

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Holidays - Part 2

I actually got a little bit out of order yesterday (in a chronological sense, not in an Eastenders "you're aahht of ordah! Now get aahht of my pub!!" sort of way).

You see, before visiting the sea zoo, we were very, very touristy indeed.

We went to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch! (phew - it just took me about five minutes to type that. And I still can't be sure I've got it right.)

What's that you say? You want photographic proof? Well, ok then - I can oblige!

Comedy photos a-plenty round these parts!!

Sorry it's a bit small, and not very good quality - but I did my best. You can see it bigger if you click on it.

That was the highlight of the trip, really - I mean, it doesn't get any better than elbowing past seven coachloads of people in order to look at a ridiculously large train-station sign and take pictures of a tumbling monkey, right?

Seriously, though, Llanfair was fun, but weird. It's a tiny place with little besides a train station and a shop / tourist information place, but there's HEAPS of tourists. Apparently the record number of coaches parked in the carpark at one time was 48 (according to the nice man at the wool shop - yes, the wool shop! There's a wool shop as well as the train station and the touristy place! Bonus! I only saw it as we were leaving, but I nagged the NBM until she agreed to re-park and let me out to have a little look. Purely for research purposes, you understand. Or at least, it was, until I discovered that there was a sale on. Double Bonus!)

Anyway, moving on.

The last thing I have to show-and-tell was our visit to Conwy Castle. Wilmington made a desperate big for freedom and tried to scale the castle wall...

... But I didn't let him get away. And I made sure I kept a pretty firm grip on him when we were at the top of the tallest turret, too:

"Eep - what is it with this woman and heights?"

And that's it on our holiday-ette. Except for just one last picture, because Delaware wanted to have the last word from atop these fab his 'n' hers thrones:

Monkey and Monarchy

Monday, 29 October 2007

Holidays - Part 1

So, I promise not bang on and on about my wee holiday, and bore you rigid with millions of holiday snaps, but I thought I would just share a couple of highlights and pretty pictures.

We went to Llandudno in North Wales, and a splendid time was had by all. We stopped for a cuppa on the drive up, and next to the tea- and butty-wagon there was a little tourist-hut thingy, where Delaware went a bit overboard in picking up leaflets for local attractions. Here he is when we arrived at the B&B, deciding what he wanted to do the next day:

... so I think he might have been quite cross when we decided to go up the Great Orme the next day, and leave him behind at the B&B. Sorry Delaware.

But don't go thinking it was a monkeyless day - oh no! We took Wilmington instead!

Here he is, thoroughly enjoying a round of crazy golf at the summit of the Orme:


And here he is again, clinging on for dear life as we came back down the Orme on a TERRIFYINGLY HIGH CABLE CAR!!

I was He was very brave. To give you an idea of how high we were, this picture was taken when we were already about halfway down:


The following day was a little more sedate, with a trip to a sea zoo (how cool a name is that?! No common-or-garden aquarium here, thank you very much - we have a sea zoo!)

So here is the best sea zoo picture that features a monkey:

I love this picture! It makes me smile every time I look at it. So thanks to the NBM for some sterling point-and-squirt action on the camera :o)

And heck, here's one more sea zoo shot, while I'm at it:

But I think that's quite enough for one day. Tune in next time for Holidays - Part 2 (and don't worry: there's only going to be two parts. Unless I'm feeling proper lazy tomorrow, in which case there may be three - but defniately no more. Honest.)

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Grand News!

Obviously, you'll be pleased to hear that I'm back - but no, that is not the grand news of which I speak.

This, my friends, is a far, far grander thing:

A tiny new PG monkey!
(Monkey Soldier included on right of picture for scale purposes only.)

Yes! It is true: those kind folk at PG Tips are once again giving away little monkeys with their family-sized boxes of tea. Hooray! And this time, they have tiny wee suckers on their arms. Which means they can perform acrobatic stunts such as this:

Getting into position...

... and lift! Ta-da!

Special thanks to Shifter for agreeing to stick a tiny monkey in his mouth. Although I'll be honest - I didn't give him much choice. (Sorry, I don't think you've met Shifter before. He's normally quite camera-shy. But I'll introduce you now: Dear Blog Reader, Shifter; Shifter, Dear Blog Reader. Oh, but could you remember to call him General Shifter when the Monkey Troops are around, please? It helps keep them in line. Ta.)

Next I'm planning to teach him how to shoot the littlies out of a cannon. Which I think will be fun for everyone.

Anyway, moving on. In case you were wondering, we had a lovely holiday - but I will save the news and pictures for another day, as I need to go and unpack now. And then watch Top Gear.

Bye for now, VCx

Monday, 22 October 2007

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go...

... well, that's a lie, actually; I'm not that organised. But it will be the case soon, as we are heading off tomorrow for a short break. We will be in Wales for a few days, before heading to the land of Oop North to see NBM's family.

But before we go, here are a couple of pictures of yesterday's Monkeys in the Community event.

We went to Windmill Hill City Farm, which was nice even though they didn't have any monkeys :o)

We saw ducks...

... and chickens...

... and a couple of goats...

... as well as a small flock of sheep, and one very large pig.

We also spent quite a long time in Victoria Park, but I think those pictures may have to wait for another day (the NBM got quite snap-happy so we have quite a few...)

Have a good week everyone, and I'll be back next weekend.


Sunday, 21 October 2007

A little something I have been working on

Hmmm. Look at this picture of some off-duty monkey soldiers - who can the little fella in the middle be?

Watching the world go by

Well, I will show you, but you have to promise not to laugh.

Do you promise?

Ok, then, here goes:

Introducing Wilmington: part monkey, part Smash Martian

OK, so he is perhaps not as realistic as the Sirdar chappies, but I'm actually quite proud of him - he makes me smile :o) NBM doesn't seem entirely convinced, but maybe that's just becasue he's not a motorbike...

Anyway, bearing in mind that it is my first attempt at cobbling together a pattern, I'm pleased with the result. The Newlyweds saw him when he was in a state of part-completion, and Newlywed A (female) suggested that he looks a bit naive (she uses posh words), and thus must be a toy monkey (you know, not a 'real monkey' like Delaware or Indiana: sometimes she forgets that they're knitted too, bless her). So, she reckons that Wilmington should be a monkey-teddy for Delaware, and he seemed to like that idea...

... although he was a bit embarrassed when I got the camera out, which I think explains why he's gazing up into the distance with a 'stiff upper lip' expression on his fizzog...

But I soon got rid of the embarrassment by nicking borrowing the monkey-martian back when Delaware wasn't looking.

I wanted to carry him around the flat with me for a bit. Because what's the point in making a pocket-sized monkey if you don't keep him in your pocket, at least some of the time?

NB: it is very hard to take a picture of your own pocket. Hence the blurriness.

And later on, I will get to take him outside the flat, on a mass monkey outing! We are going to the Newlywed's house, to reunite Delaware and Indiana for the first time. It will also be the first time I have seen Indiana in his new habitat, so I am quite excited to see how he has settled in. I will take the camera and report back.

Over and out,

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Guest post - The Adventures of Delaware, Part 1

Greetings, welcome to a short interlude from the normal knitting-based proceedings, courtesy of VC letting me (NBM) loose on her blog while she is otherwise engaged - woo! (VC of course shall maintain full editorial control.)

I shall be brief, but will enthuse about my favourite subject at the moment, bikes of the motorised variety (as opposed to those of the leg powered and lycra clad bottom variety, MM ;) )

I thought the monkeys might need introducing to the new bike I'll be riding which is named Horatio (by NBB - Northern Biking Brother. I refer to Horatio as "the Beast") so this afternoon we let Delaware play with some supervision:

Can I have a go on my own yet? Pleeeeease...

As you can see he was ready and raring to go, tucked up behind the fly screen, but he couldn't quite reach all the controls so he had to have some help from me. I think the stunt monkees may have a rival... but don't tell them, I don't want to be responsible for a dare war between the two monkey armies - eek!

Anyway, after that Delaware was all worn out and had to come back inside for a nice cup of tea... and to plot his next adventure.

Bye for now,

NBM xx

Friday, 19 October 2007

The magic roundabout

No, not that one; this one! It's a roundabout in Cardiff, and those confusing-looking things in the middle are sculptures made from roadsigns - or perhaps replicas thereof. And, apparently, it is known locally as the magic roundabout.

We saw it last weekend when we were travelling into Cardiff, but sadly I was not armed with a camera at the time, so unfortunately I don't have an image of it with which I could liven up this post. But anyway, we both thought it was quite groovy, albeit in a rather surreal way.

I've just had a look at the blog post preview thingy, and this looks very short and not very exciting. But I'm afraid that's it for today, as it's been a loooong week and I can't think of anything else interesting. (Also, the flat is quite cold so I think my brain has gone into hibernation mode. Now, I know what you are thinking: "why don't you put on a thermal vest? Or perhaps turn the heating on?" Well, clever-clogs, I will tell you. Firstly, I'm already wearing two cardis and a scarf, indoors, and if I wrap up any warmer I will begin to resemble the Michelin Man. This is not a sexy look. Secondly, I don't know how to turn the heating on, becasue the heating is controlled by a fiendish panel that has little buttons and goes beep, and I am stupid with most things of that ilk. In my defence - and I know that this is the lamest excuse since excuses were invented - the boiler panel is new since last winter, so I haven't had to use it before. Boiler #1 was one of the many casualties of the lightning incident, which was very frustrating as I'd only just learned how to operate it. But to return to your original question: vests and heating are clearly both ridiculous suggestions, and if you had any sense you would have proposed that I drink a warming cup of tea. But you'll know that for next time, won't you?)

Oooh and now look - I've waffled on so much about why the post is short, that it has become quite long. But, alas, no more interesting or exciting. Must try harder.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Mixed feelings

So, today the NBM did a very clever thing and passed her motorbike test.

Well done, NBM!

Naturally, I am very proud of her achievement, especially as I know that it means a lot to her: it seems to have been her dream since birth (at least) to don the leathers. (No, not in a dodgy way. Honestly, some of you have minds in the gutter.)

However, I do have mixed feelings about her new ability, for the following reasons:

1) Bikes are often big and fast, and their riders quite exposed.

2) Motorbiking thus seems like a more dangerous activity than sensible hobbies, such as knitting (although knitters do need to be careful if they're using really pointy wires, obviously).

3) I am quite attached to the NBM and don't want her to get hurt.

But she has all the right safety gear, and she's promised me that she'll be very careful, so I suppose it'll be ok. (If you happen to be driving in Bristol and you see her, could you be extra-cautious too, please? Ta.)

Now that she has the licence, I fully expect that she will want to drag me round motorbike showrooms while she drools and lusts over what she would get if only we could afford it (at last, a silver lining to being quite poor!) I will have to start practising my insightful comments about the relative merits of different machines: "that one's lovely and shiny", or "how many horse-powers does this one have?", or "ooh, this one's nice: it's the right colour to match your helmet". I know: I'm such a petrol-head.

I do have a secret plan to put her off, though. I could make her one of these, and then she'd be too embarrassed to go out on it! Sorted.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Flogging a dead horse now...

... But it's the best I can do at the moment - and I'm enjoying it, at least.

Today I'm ringing the changes slightly by posting a video link for something that's not an advert! Or at least, it wasn't a regularly-televised thing to the best of my knowledge. That said, it does have heavy advertising overtones (sorry about that). So, I feel I should reiterate: I don't work for PGTips. I think of myself as more of a free-lance Monkey-appreciation enthusiast. Who also likes tea.

So there you go: more monkey and more tea (in Claridges, apparently). Hooray.

I think this advertising malarkey might be working actually - I'm gasping for a cuppa now. Better go and put the kettle on.


Tuesday, 16 October 2007

No ideas today...

... so I thought I'd post this work of genius:

If you haven't seen it before, I do hope you enjoyed it. We like it loads in our house (although the members of the Monkey Army tend to have nightmares about the "boil wash", so we have to be a bit careful that they don't see it too often).

And if you have seen it before, then perhaps you enjoyed seeing it again. My apologies if not.

Monday, 15 October 2007

The graphs post, in which VC pretends to understand statistics

As promised, today I bring you much graphy goodness!

First, here is the full list of results returned in the Knitting Speeds Straw Poll:

Name Stitches per minute (SPM)
NBM 3, with lots of hand-holding (but she is a complete beginner, so well done NBM!)
lauren 25
Working Mom Knits 27
the vicious chicken 29
Trashalou 29
Melissa 32
Studio Christine 32
Zoebert 32
Jesi 35
Monkee Maker average 38
Random Reflections 42
Viv 54
Sylv approx. 432

(I hope you like that table, becasue it took a heck of a long time to do, I can tell you. I know it's still a bit odd-looking - that's cos I don't really know what I'm doing.)

From the above results, we can observe the following:

The median (middle speed when listed in ascending order) is 32 SPM
The mode (most frequently-occuring speed) is 32 SPM
The mean (numerical average) is 62 SPM including Sylv, or 31.5 SPM excluding her (sorry, Sylv, but your score was heavily approximated by Trashalou...)

Thus, 32 SPM seems quite consistently to be our average knitting speed. If, like me, you are slower than that, don't feel bad: remember that the KSSP is not a competition. Perhaps we can say that our knitting philosophy is one of, "we get to the destination eventually, we just take longer to enjoy the journey". Or something.

And now, for the visually-minded amongst you: the graphs!! [NB: I think they might technically be charts, but if so, please don't point out my ignorance too vociferously...]

Firstly, a bar chart showing the spread of SPM counts (sorry it's kinda small, but I think you can click on it to see a giant version):

And here is a pie chart depicting the percentage distribution of each SPM range:

Ain't these pretty? And weren't they truly worth waiting for? You betcha by golly wow.

But they were quite hard work (and, I suspect, the product of a woefully poor grasp of how to use charts appropriately) so I don't think I'll be doing any more.

Also I feel really geeky now, so I think I'd better draw this post to a close. With quite a heavy line drawn under it.

(Incidentally, if anyone can think of a genuinely useful purpose for any of this, do let me know; I'd be most grateful. But I won't hold my breath.)

Sunday, 14 October 2007


The only parts of me that don't ache at all are my elbows. Sorest of all is my weary brain, which means that coherent thought is not easy - and neither is blog composing. Thus, all I can offer you are some pictures that NBM took:

Shiny shiny thing mark 2

Delaware provides some innovative medal-modelling

Need sleep now. But graphs tomorrow I hope.

PS thanks for the comments from well-wishers yesterday. Thinking of your kind words spurred me on at mile 11 when things were getting tough :o)

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Why don't I think these things through?

If you're expecting KSSP graphs today, then I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that I have lost them, so you are going to have to wait until tomorrow or perhaps Monday for me to either find them or make them again. The good news is actually the same news, re-told from the point of view of someone who didn't want to see the graphs anyway.

Instead, today's post is a cautionary tale, subtitled "VC is getting in a bit of a panicky flap but it's entirely her own fault so really she can't complain".

Anyone remember the shiny, shiny thing? And how much of a magpie I am? Well, news just in: I'm an idiot as well.

I think running that half-marathon addled my brain, because shortly after completing it, I decided that all the work I put into the training would be more worthwhile if I ended up with two shiny things to show for it. So I entered the Cardiff half-marathon.

It seemed like a good idea six weeks ago - but now, I'm just not sure. My knees ache just thinking about it.

It takes place tomorrow. I'm a bit scared.

I'm off to go and breathe slowly into a paper bag...

Friday, 12 October 2007


I'm bowing to public pressure and posting pictures of the KSSP prize.

The prize was inspired by the Monkey Army, who like nothing better than a nice sit down with a cuppa and something chocolatey. So they thought the prize ought to be a mug that extols the virtue of cake:

... and the Army also suggested that I pop in this little magnetic effigy of them:

They hoped that the winner might want to place it somewhere about their home as a reminder to have a nice sit down with a cuppa and some cake as often as possible. (They would always have tea with their cake, but they don't mind if the winner would like to substitute an alternative beverage of their own choice.)

The prize was also going to include some cake (NBM offered to bake something especially), but what with the possible delay for post at the moment, it will probably have to be something else chocolately instead - something that keeps fresh for a bit longer. Because stale cake is a rubbish prize, by anyone's standards.

Drum roll, please...

Thanks VERY MUCH INDEED to everyone who so gamely took part in my KSSP. You are all very lovely people, and I'm glad you joined in :o)

I am still collating the full results of the survey, and hope to post my graphs tomorrow (you thought I was joking about the graphs, didn't you? I really wasn't.)

But now for the important bit: the winner of the KSSP-related prize!

Here are the little green pieces of paper on which I wrote all the entries .....

Entry papers

..... and here is the hat I threw them all in (thanks for the loan of the hat, NBM) .....


..... and here is the name I picked out, after a bit of a rummage:


So hooray for Zoebert, with your count of 32 stitches per minute - you win the KSSP prize! Drop me a line at the_vicious_chicken[at] and I'll arrange to get the prize to you. But I hope you're quite patient: it could be about Christmas-time before it reaches you, what with the postal strike situation in the UK...

My apologies to the non-winners, but thanks again for taking part. (Why not stop by tomorrow for the graphs? I fully expect that the enjoyment you'll get from them will be just as good as winning a prize, if not better. And you won't even have to wait for Royal Mail.)

Happy weekend everyone, VCx

Thursday, 11 October 2007

A confession

Ok. So. Here's the thing: I went into the shop with every intention of only getting a small gift for NBM. Every Intention.

But then something happened.

I saw this:

I ask you, how could I not bring that home with me? There are just so many things I love about him. For a start, he's just so tiny:

Delaware included for scale purposes only

And what's more, he can hang upside down from radiators!

Party trick

Which - I'm sure you'll agree - makes him very useful indeed, and obviously I NEEDED to get him. *Ahem.* (And just in case you were wondering: I got him as well as NBM's gift, not instead of. So things could have been worse.)

Anyway, there's one last day left before the KSSP draws to a close, so if you haven't entered yet, then now's the time! And if you have entered already, then do pop along tomorrow to see if you have won the fantabulous surprise prize (extra points to anyone who can say that when drunk).

And just finally: thanks to everyone who left a nice comment yesterday for the NBM and myself. You're all very kind :o)

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


Goodness. The NBM and I, four years old today.

It feels like longer (but in a good way).

And do you know what the best thing is?

In our house, celebration = Gu.

Our tea

(The true wonder of Gu may not be apparent to all of you - but I expect that there are at least some people who might understand where I am coming from here.)

And just briefly: I must tell you that I now have the prize for the KSSP. But I'm not going to tell you what it is, as that would spoil the surprise :o)

(However, I will tell Viv this: no, the prize will not be a member of the Monkey Army. None of them are fully trained for active service yet, so I'm afraid field operations are out of the question. Sorry.)

Until tomorrow, VCx

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

It's all in the name

Public announcement: this post will contain absolutely no subliminal messages whatsoever.

Right. So. Let me explain why "Delaware": yes, it is after the state, but only in a roundabout way. NBM lived there for a year, so we were talking about it, and I just liked how it sounded (the word that is: not necessarily the place. Sorry to any Delawarians who might be reading.) Anyway, I suggested it, and it just kind of stuck. A happy accident, if you will. And afterwards, one of my more geeky friends pointed out that Delaware is known as the first state, and Delaware was my first monkey (a quick fact for accuracy-lovers, now: he wasn't the first to be completed. But he was the the first one started, so technically - technically - still the first.)

Go here and enter the KSSP

Anyhoo, that said, the Newlyweds took the idea and ran with it, and I can now exclusively reveal that their green monkey (my other crack at monkey-making, for anyone who is new to the chicken) now sports the fine moniker, "Indiana". I *really* wish I'd thought of that one first myself - I could've had a whale of a time making a monkey-sized fedora and bullwhip for Indiana-Jones-stylee shenanigans... the *fun* I missed out on! Still, never mind.

Go here and enter the KSSP

On the plus side, I now have an incentive to knit at least another 48 woolly simians! Ambitious, yet entirely sensible, I feel. No?

My vision. And this is only the beginning.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Monday Monday

Today, I have a whole evening to myself because NBM has gone out to beat people up (before you get worried, fret not: it's a martial arts thingy, so she'll only be kicking people in the unmentionables if they have specifically instructed her to do so.)

I have lots of things I want to get done while she's out, including knitting if there's time once the boring stuff's finished. So, not much time to blog - and thus today's post is just going to be another picture of Delaware, hanging out amongst the greenery of our living room (chilli plants, since you ask, with some fine-looking chillis growing. I'm mighty proud of those bad boys.)

Hot stuff

(Delaware or the chillis? You decide.)

Just looking at him makes me smile. I'm sorry if you're bored with him already, but I warn you now: as far as I'm concerned, I think it will be quite a while before the novelty wears off :o)

So, WELL DONE to everyone who's made it through Monday (always a challenge, I find) - and if you're in a time zone where Monday is still trudging onwards: don't worry, it'll be over soon. Have some tea and cake to help you through the rest of it. Oh, and why not idle away a minute by timing your knitting speed, and leave a comment about it here. Details of a prize to follow shortly - just as soon as I manage to work out exactly what it's going to be...

Sunday, 7 October 2007

News flash

Remember this monkey?

Well, I am so over him now. Becasue guess what?

There's a new monkey on the block!

Introducing: Delaware

Yes, I finally managed to complete him. He seems quite pleased to have limbs at last:


You'll be glad to hear that he's already settling in very well. He's been welcomed as a honorary member of the Monkey Army:

Reporting for duty

And the little fellas took quite a shine to him when he agreed to play hide-and-seek with them:


They have truly appalling hiding skills, but Delaware was a good sport, and pretended it was difficult to find them. (Incidentally, the one in the Octohat appears to have been labouring under the misapprehension that if he couldn't see, then he couldn't be seen. Monkeys: cute, but definately not Brains of Britain.)

Delware would like to remind everyone that there is still plenty of time to take part in the KSSP. Just go here and leave a comment with your knitting speed, and there might even be a prize in it for you. (The prize won't be Delaware, though - I really can't go through the pain of monkey-separation again.)

Friday, 5 October 2007

Something for the weekend

It has not escaped my notice that my post yesterday was a little on the wordy side - sorry about that. I do have a tendency to bang on a bit sometimes. In a small attempt to redress the balance, today's post is going to be blissfully brief, and hopefully a bit more visually stimulating.

To that end, and in the spirit of a little Friday silliness, I hope you will enjoy the following:

I don't think this one is the best 'Monkey and Al' advert, but I'm posting it because it was on TV last night - I haven't seen it for several months, so I nearly hyperventilated with excitement when it came on! (Pitifully, I'm not exaggerating here. Ask NBM.)

That pair never fail to make me giggle, so I thought I would include them here in the hope that they'll make you smile too. I also really hope it's legal to have included it (anyone know?). And apologies for the inadvertant advertising. Just so's you know, I don't work for the tea company concerned - it's all about the monkey for me. Although I do love a nice cuppa.

A winning combination

Happy start-of-the-weekend to everyone - and if you have a spare minute, why not use it to time yourself knitting and then leave a comment about it here? You could win a prize, you know. Many thanks to the folks who have already taken part - watch this space for details of the fabled prize...

Thursday, 4 October 2007

On your marks, get set, KNIT!

In a comment on my post from yesterday, Trashalou suggested that we time our knitting in order to compare knitting speeds. I think she was joking, but she should know better than to say these things to me EVEN IN JEST, because LOOK! I only go and turn them into a ridiculous reality!

As it happens, this is something I have already been pondering for a while. So, in the spirit of striking while the iron is hot tepid, now would seem like a good time to conduct my little experiment. Gentle Bloggers, I present to you:

** VC's Completely Pointless Knitting Speed Straw Poll **

Not very snappy, I grant you - but I will allow you to shorten it to the KSSP, if you must.

At the outset, I would like to make one thing clear: THIS IS NOT A COMPETITION TO BE THE FASTEST. The intention of the KSSP is not to identify the quickest knitter so that they can be awarded with a shiny crown; equally, I definately won't be expecting the slowest to feel shamed into committing hari-kari using their own pointiest wires (not least because I fully expect to be the slowest myself - so no need to worry about being 'last' if you really can't help thinking competitively about this).

No, my general aim is just to find out how much these things vary, as I'm curious about how far the range of speeds extends. Incidentally, I'm also very interested in that strange phenomenon whereby you feel like you're knitting really fast, but somehow your work doesn't seem to have grown very much by the end of the evening (or, very occasionally, vice versa). However, I'm not quite sure how we could measure that, so it will probably have to remain a mystery. Do other people get this too, sometimes? Apologies if it's just me.

"But", I hear you cry, "get to the point, please - what do you want us to do for this KSSP?". Well, I'm glad you asked, as I was just about to tell you. If you are a knitter, and if you can be bothered to take part, I ask you to do the following things (and it would probably be best if you could do them in the order given. It's just easier that way.)

** Taking part in the KSSP **

1) Find some knitting that you already have on the go, preferably something not too complicated - I'm interested in your standard speed, which I might not get if you're following a fancy pattern. If you don't have any knitting-in-progress, it's really not worth starting something new for the sake of the KSSP. It's just not that important. Ooh, unless you want to start a square for Oliver's Blanket - a far, far worthier aim than the KSSP.

2) Look at a clock, and note the time.

3) Start knitting.

4) After a minute has passed on the clock, stop knitting (if, like me, you need to look at your hands to be able to knit, it may be necessary to find an accomplice who can watch the clock).

5) Count the number of stitches you have knitted during the timed minute.

6) Leave me a little comment on this post, telling me the number of stitches you counted in step 5).

And that's it. Admittedly, it sounds like quite a lot of work now I've typed it out (heck, you're probably thinking, "it's been hard enough work just reading this post"), so I won't be offended if you can't really be arsed. However, as a little incentive to give it a go:

** Anyone you does leave a comment with their stitches-per-minute count will be entered into a PRIZE DRAW **

I'm not sure what the prize will be yet, but it won't be anything too rubbish. And to give you all a bit of time to take part, let's say I'll do the draw and announce the winner on Friday next week.

Please note that it is NOT the fastest knitter who will get the prize - hence this is still not a speed competition. I will put the names of any participants in a hat, and pick out a winner at random. I'm not expecting many responses, so your chances are probably quite good if you do enter.

Oh pants, I've just thought of something else: I'm really, really sorry if you're not a knitter and you feel excluded. If any non-knitters are desperate to join in - which seems unlikely - you could just make up a stitches-per-minute figure. I'll never know, will I? (Truly, my pursuit of accuracy knows no bounds.) It might not be worth bothering, though, as the prize won't necessarily be very good. But please don't tell the knitters that.

So, to summarise for anyone who got lost amongst my verbal diarrhoea: knit for a minute; count the stitches; leave a comment about it; be in with a chance of winning a prize - winner to be announced next Friday.

The running of the KSSP will be governed by an equal opportunities policy, so I do welcome anyone at all to take part. If you've never left a comment before, then now is the perfect time to de-lurk! Please don't be shy. I'm very friendly. And if I get enough results, I'll make them into a lovely graph for you all to see (I do love a good graph). If no-one takes part except me, I'll probably make a very small graph anyway (ditto previous parenthesis).

So what are you waiting for? Go, dig out those timepieces, and knit...

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Busy Busy Busy

(Question: why did I just type 'busty' by mistake? Curious.)

Apologies in advance, but today's post is going to be a little on the skinny side as I have rather a lot of things to juggle this evening. Really I shouldn't post at all, as it will all just be tripe and drivel, but I felt like I ought to turn up and say 'Hi!' so that my chicken didn't think I'd forgotten it. (Who knew blogging would be such a responsibility? It almost feels like having a pet.)

NBM has had a bit of a rubbish day, so we are attempting to cheer her up with the baking of chocolatey things. So, I'm off to help with some weighing and stirring (I'm especially good at stirring). And after that, if I get time, I might try to squeeze in a few rows of knitting... after all, that monkey isn't going to finish himself.

Over and out, lads, VCx

Tuesday, 2 October 2007


It's been a week since the monkey trundled out the door. He hasn't called; he hasn't written. They grow up so fast. *Sniff*.

So, for me and anyone else who may be missing him (ok, ok, it's mainly for me), here's a stock photo of happier times:

Road trippin'

Farewell, monkey. Farewell.

Before I go, I must just also tell you this: T'Other Half, being a massive fan of the TLA (three letter acronym), hereafter wishes to be referred to as NBM (Northern Baking Monkey). It was her choice, honestly. Clearly, the monkey-obsession is spreading... Hooray!

Monday, 1 October 2007

All day it has rained

STOP!! Before you click away from this post in disgust, let me just say that this isn't going to be a whinging-about-the-weather post (I'm saving that one for when I run out of ideas - or for a rainy day, if you will. Har har.)

Admittedly, it is going to be weather-related. Sort-of kind-of. But you'll like it, honest. It's worth sticking around for, anyway.

Today, it has been raining non-stop in Bristol. Now, rain is ok; it's not as fun as sunshine, but I can cope with it. However, if rain starts to show any signs of gearing up to a storm (or if there are no signs, but my overactive imagination runs away with me), I start to get a little antsy. I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm a gibbering wreck, but I'm certainly not at ease.

Now, before you go calling me all shades of yellow-bellied wuss, I would like to point out that I was not always this way. Once upon a time, I was quite fond of a good storm. Right up until three months ago, when the roof of our flat was struck by lightning.

Exhibit A

Since then, the threat of a storm (either real or imagined) makes me nervous. Not that it wasn't a whole heap of fun at the time, of course. I shall re-enact for you, in seven easy steps:

1) The sky turns purple.

2) A downpour of Biblical proportions comes on very suddenly, accompanied by thunder and lightning.

3) We count the seconds between the flashes and the crashes to try and work out how far away the storm is.

4) I say, "that sounds quite close now - I hope we don't get hit".

5) T'Other Half says, "don't be silly, of course we won't get hit".

6) There's an almighty BANG as we get hit.

7) I cry like a big girl.

In all seriousness, it wasn't really that bad, as nobody got hurt. However, the power surge did wipe out a heck of a lot of electrical equipment, including the computer, the TV, and - worst of all - the kettle. (Bear in mind, here, that my natural response to any crisis is to attempt to solve it with tea. Take away my ability to brew up and I am completely lost.) It was only last week that we got round to replacing the last broken thing (computer speakers). T'Other Half got quite emotional about being fully computerised again - very fond of technology, that one - and has taken to referring to the new computer as "Phoenix".

As I type this, I think the rain is easing off a bit, but I'm not willing to take any chances. So if you'll excuse me, I must go now - I need to busy myself with straining to hear the sound of any distant thunder.

T'Other Half has just told me in no uncertain terms that I can't blog about our lightning incident without mentioning this: after our old computer got fried, she built the new one herself from lots of fiddly little electrical components. (So if there are ever any spelling errors in my blog posts, or if it appears that I am just speaking nonsense, then she's probably to blame for putting one of the screws back in wrong. That's how it works - honest.) So, well done T'Other Half - you're very clever. Now please may I go and have my tea?