Still here

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I’ve been back from London and the Wildcraft Spin-In for almost four weeks but with my dissertation deadline looming I had to dive back into it right away. Now I’ve finished the first chapter and I’m feeling a bit better – maybe this will turn out ok in the end and my PhD will be done by next summer. Keeping my fingers crossed!!!

I’ve decided against a full post about my London adventure and the Spin-In but you can have a look here and see what I’ve been up to.

I want to get back into blogging more regularly which for me seems to be a question of not trying to write the perfect post but just get on with it.

So, I thought I’d show you what has made struggling with that first proper chapter of my dissertation bearable!

Fibre & Yarn from London and the Spin-In

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I had lots of fun doing the dyeing workshop at the Spin-In and since I’ve been good with my yarn purchases in London I allowed myself to splurge a bit on Wildcraft fibre and spindles.  The Spin-In provided lots of time to get used to my new spindle and I finished spinning the first part of a lovely Falkland fibre.

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This is another spindle I couldn’t resist!

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As for yarn, I only bought some Brooklyn Tweed Loft from Loop London and some lovely soft Tweed yarn from Studio Donegal at Nest while I waited to be picked up for the journey to Dorset.

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New tea cup

Back home a parcel from England was waiting for me and I have been enjoying my tea from this lovely new cup from Cecily Vessey:

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I love the small Big Ben on the inside! Check out her designs at etsy!

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Autumn

In the last weeks the weather has got colder and I finally had the opportunity to wear my Curious Cardigan!

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Also, squash season started at my local farmer’s market, so I made some soup last week.

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The new semester starts next Monday and I’m already dreading it a bit. It will be harder to meet the deadlines in my plan while teaching and preparing the classes. I’m going to enjoy the peace and quiet this week while I can!

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London – curios

I have to confess I’m a bit embarrassed about my first London post and thought about taking it down. Not because of the pictures – those are great (not my work) but because of the text. I’ve written lots of drafts I deleted and after a week I decided it wouldn’t get any better and just posted it. Let’s just say I’m good at writing academic stuff and I can drop Latin phrases with the best of them and I’m ok at writing everyday stuff. I’m leaving said post online as a reminder to myself to steer clear of any attempt to produce a ‘profound’ text (at least in English) ;-)!

So, back to the lighter stuff and as promised a few of our London moments that left me either laughing, speechless or just very pleased.

 

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1 Big brother is watching you

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Found in West Hampstead, near our guesthouse. We felt much safer !

 

2 Five espressos, please! Just put them in one cup!

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The giant cup of coffee M needed every morning. The first time I wondered how he could even lift this before his first caffeine injection…

 

3 Giant horse invades Hampstead Heath

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And it could fly as well!

4 West Hampstead Tube goes classic

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They played classical music at the Tube station every evening – very nice!

5 Oranje! or Orange, baby!

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You won’t overlook this shop. But you can’t really see what they sell either, for all that eye-searing orange…

6 Yes, how may I help you?

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Polite squirrel in Hyde Park…

 

7 The squeaking Scotsman

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Worst piper ever! Maybe they chucked him out of Scotland…

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There will be one last post about our London adventure. I’ve finished the Eternity Scarf (I’m wearing it right now, unblocked and with the ends still hanging out) and I’ve finally managed to do some much-needed flat maintenance. Now I just need a nice Sunday before uni starts on.

A study of London: No.1 – Views

So, here it is, finally, after much thinking and writing and sorting through pictures – London post No. 1. As promised, it’s all about views!

All pictures courtesy of M, my fellow traveler! Cheers, mate!

Almost everything in London was exciting and interesting and – obviously, because this was my first time in this city – new (for evidence, see the 280 pictures M took!). So writing about views should be a bit redundant because nearly every look produced a ‘postcard view’, a sight, something a bit grander than a mere look.

The most striking views could be caught from higher places, like Parliament Hill..

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or the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park…

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…but also in surprising glimpses where I didn’t expect them. The Gherkin seemed to pop up in the most curious places, behind other buildings, amidst foliage and more exposed while viewed from the Southbank…

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… and the steps in front of the National Gallery provided a surprising angle of Big Ben.

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Even before arriving I was sure I would like London. Looking on the map back at home, there were lots and lots of place names and streets sounding familiar because I’ve read about them. I drove my travel companion M nuts with this ( he was a lot more sceptic about London and always rooted for Amsterdam as the winner. He is now a staunch supporter of all things London, apart from the ghastly coffee they served at our guesthouse, but that was easily remedied by Costa:

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This coffee was a sight in itself 😉

But back to the views! London is filled to the brim with historic sites and beautiful old buildings next to high-rise glass and steel structures and my overall impression was that this mixture worked very well.

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The buildings at Canary Wharf looked even more futuristic than those in the City…

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen a river as dirty as the Thames (and bear in mind that you could once pop your films into the Rhine and fish them out fully developed 😉 ). On our last day in London I bought a German newspaper (Die Süddeutsche) which featured an article about a British comedian (German article) who swam in the Thames for eight days to raise money for charity and was accompanied  by BBC Radio 1 with Abba and the sound of a toilet flushing… But despite this walks by the river and the views from the bridges were among my favourite moments in London.

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We came back in the evening to see the city lights from Waterloo Bridge…

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…and couldn’t resist a few touristy shots…

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So, we’ll definitely be back next year to explore and experience the things that didn’t fit into our week! See you, London!

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Next up: London post No.2 – Curiosities

In preparation of a post…

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I had a hard time coming up with this post about London – I had this huge mass of images and bits of sound and emotions and after almost two weeks back home there are two things that stand out the most: 1)The exhilarating experience of getting up each morning and exploring and experiencing places I’ve never been before and 2)The feeling that the week in London was in fact a much longer time. Considering the number of places, museums, parks etc. we squeezed into these seven days it must have been at least three weeks.
And there’s the reason you had to wait so long for the show. How to transform all those impressions and images into a blog post?
Enter the lightbulb moment! I’m constructing huge spreadsheets of Old High German and Old English words which have vanished from the lexicon for my dissertation research. To make something useful out of a 1500 lexeme excel spreadsheet, I sort the words by topic. Simply! Effective (at least for my dissertation, I hope).
So, instead of one blog post about a week in London -which you could skip and just go and buy a city guide-  I’ll post a couple of them sorted thematically.
Coming up soon:Views!
Before that I’ll have to show you some WIPs and FOs!

Back home

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This is the view I enjoyed last Sunday but now I’m back home and slightly restless. For a whole glorious week waking up every morning meant looking forward to something new, something I’d never seen before.

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The big post with lots of London sights and stories will come but for now a short summary will have to be enough: I’ve fallen in love with London. And promised myself to go and live there for some time before I turn forty. There, I put it in writing! So, feel free to come and poke me in the next seven years if I’m still here at home.
For now, I’m looking forward to going back next year, finishing my back-to-uni-cardigan (body nearly done, first sleeve halfway through), starting cello lessons, a great concert next week and soon the beginning of my favourite season!

I’ve got news for you…

I can’t seem to get back into a regular blogging habit (if I ever had one…) and this trend translates into other parts of my everyday life. I haven’t cooked a proper meal in weeks (which means I’ve lived on take-out and sandwiches) and I have a really hard time getting into a work flow with my dissertation research. So, what did happen if I can’t get anything done?

Good news #1

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I finally got rid of my old sofa which was A: beyond ugly (think muddy grey 80s design with no sidearms) B: uncomfortable to the point of torture C: too short even for little me.
This gorgeous and cushy sofa came to my top floor flat thanks to IKEA and even made me nod off in front of the TV once.

Bad news #1

is directly related to good news #1:

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Yesterday’s mail contained the new IKEA catalogue in which IKEA happily announced a reduced price for the sofa shown above. This means I paid nearly 100 € more because I bought it one measly month too early.
(This is an experience I usually take in stride when it comes to cds and books and only associate with my best friend M. who has been known to either whine for hours if he paid too much for a record or wander around with a maniacal grin if he paid less is another store.)
But this?! Bad IKEA!

Good news # 2:

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Finally, a little bit of knitting! This should become a ‘Celery cardigan’.

Possibly bad news #2:
My gauge is slightly off although I already switched to a smaller needle size. Since I couldn’t bear to knit a THIRD swatch I’m following directions for a size smaller. I still hope it will somehow fit me.

Good news #3:

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We’re leaving for a week in London next Wednesday! Since we’ve never been there before, M. and I will do most of the tourist things although we’ll limit ourselves to one museum per day for the sake of our nerves and backs. As for a non-touristy thing, we have tickets to see ‘Toots & the Maytals’ at Brixton Academy while we’re there. Yay!

Bad news #3:
My back started hurting about a week ago and I feel like I’ve been squeezed into a very tight straightjacket. This could spell disaster for the London trip: Hotel beds + walking around a big city all day = major strain to my back. I’m packing Ibuprofen, hot patches and my hot water bottle and hope for the best!

Next stop: London, St. Pancras 🙂