Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Soundtrack to my life

Some more songs that have been a sonic background to my life of late.

Ben Howard, Old pine
I listened to this album pretty regularly as we packed up our old lives and started our new ones here. It reminds me of first tram rides through unfamiliar streets, humid rain storms and walking around gazing up in wonder at the old sandstone buildings with a smile on my face.

Nina Simone, Lliac wine
A necessary song as soon as the lilacs in the park bloomed. I inhaled their heady scent whilst Nina sang about it. Nina Simone is just the greatest.

Kim Boekbinder, Girl on a bicycle
I've been hiring bikes quite regularly and zooming along the river. I almost always hum this song in my head when I ride along feeling happy and ridiculous as I pedal.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Home
Because home is wherever I'm with my love. And right now it's here and I couldn't be happier.

The Jimmy Chamberlain Complex, Loki Cat
I randomly started playing this song a lot as I worked and it crept into my head and got stuck there and will forever remind me of the first few weeks here when we only had what we could carry on the plane in our rucksacks and the flat was empty and yet full of possibilities and happy moments.

Coldplay, Every teardrop is a waterfall 
I've been listening to Coldplay a lot when I run along the river. I love the line in this song about being in the gap between the two trapeeze as that's where I was for a while before, during and after moving.

Smashing Pumpkins, Let me give the World to You
Pure joy in song form, filling my ears on my first trip back to the UK and then blasting out of our speakers when I returned as I twirled in our living room at 4 AM, spun round by my love.

The Grateful Dead, Box of Rain
My latest favourite source of inspiration. A song that reminds me not to be gloomy. Strangely enought I keep finding my direction around the corner where its waiting for me whenever I walk out of the flat (just like the song says I will).

What's your favourite song of late? Please share!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Squirrelling away II

A couple of weeks ago I had an encounter with a sneaky red squirrel in the Parc bordelais. He was much smaller than the grey squirrel I spied back in the snow in February. Red squirrels tend to have much less bushy tails than their grey counterparts. Just look at how pointy his ears are too! He clung on to the tree there motionless for over a minute before scurrying away into the treetops up above us to go about his day :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I spy a nuthatch

Just a quick post today to share this photo I snapped of a nuthatch in the park in Bordeaux a couple of weeks ago :) We spied a whole flurry of nuthatches that day, darting through the tree tops and coming into land on this feeding box. I was so so happy because nuthatches are probably my favourite bird. Back when I lived in Wales we had a regular visitor in our garden and I used to spend many a quiet moment admiring its beautifully swooping eyeliner markings as it fed (usually upside down) on the bird feeder we had there. Since then I think I've seen a nuthatch only once, on a snowy day in Munich, its bluey back and orange belly standing out against the snow as it slinked on past us. Nuthatches are really shy and elusive which means it's a real treat when you do spy them - so getting a photo opportunity like this really made my day!

What's your favourite bird?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A haiku a day...

GRRR! Blogger erased the last lot of haikus I put up earlier as well! So here they are again *sigh*

Seeking adventures
in streets, in cafés, in bars,
in glasses of wine.

The boulangerie
calls me, I skip along for
fresh crumbly croissants.

Gloomy day inside
watching films, I hide, avoid
the real world outside.

Under the weather 
again: gloomy forecasts make
for a bumpy ride.

Night time gardening,
by the gold light of street lamps,
flowers bloom and sleep.
It's decision time,
will I be my worst self or
find some inner peace?

The scent of jasmine
fills my street, delicate soft,
sweet petals of home


Happy sunset ripple blanket

[Foreword: I already wrote a whole happy post about this latest crochet project and blogger has myseteriously decided to disappear it. GRRRRRRR! Rather than be defeated and angry about the way that technology just keeps completely failing me this week, I've decided to rewrite it the whole thing again at once. Apologies for the fact that it is slightly less joyful and detailed than the original post!]

So since moving to Bordeaux I've been more or less failing to blog anything other than my weekly haikus with any sort of regularity. But that's because I've been busy enjoying life and working hard on my thesis so I won't feel bad about it! I have been keeping up my crochet however and that's what I'm here to share today.

I decided before moving here that I wanted to make a giant ripply blanket for the bed, in all my favourite sunrise/sunset colours. I had made a smaller version for a gift last December (see here) and had really enjoyed the rippling process so I couldn't wait to get started! Within days of arriving I located a wool shop (Berger de France) and bought some supplies. 

As the days and weeks went by and we started filling up our home with furniture and happy memories, and exploring this lovely old town, I rippled away...
Happy ripply beginnings

I joined a knitting/crochet group for the first time and discovered the joy of crocheting in company. I'm now rather tempted to take up my knitting needles again, having seen the wonderous lacy delights that these inspiring ladies create! It's been a lovely source of inspiration attending these weekly sessions of wool and French chatter :)
A sneak peek!

I had to go back to the wool shop several times for more supplies as I somewhat underestimated just how much wool is needed for a blanket of this size.That made it a little bit pricier than I intended but the wool is all good quality and so soft and warm (its mostly a blend of acrylic and different types of wool) so I don't mind the extra centimes (haha or rather euros) that I had to part with and the pattern is easy hooking. 
 An in-progress shot back when all we had in our bedroom was a bed!

The patter was easy, fun, joyful hooking (it sort of hooks itself up once you get going, leaving your brain free to concentrate on other things. In my case this meant watching the whole of Twin Peaks! haha! this blanket will forever remind me of that series). Finally after about five weeks it was complete (although it's taken me a lot longer to photograph it in all its glory). 
Without further ado I present..... my giant ripple blanket........
It's really rather big! Getting a photo of the entire thing was really rather tricky and involved balancing precariously on a chair!

The pattern for the ripples comes from lovely Lucy of Attic 24. See here.

I edged it with a few rows of double crochets and my favourite bobbles (also seen on another blanket I made here)...
Close ups of the bobbly edging

I love the way the colours sing together in their random ripply lines of colour! Some of the combinations almost glow! It makes my heart happy :)

The nights are a bit too balmy to appreciate this lovely warm blanket right now, but I love how bright and colourful it is on our bed in the morning sunshine... 

Here's to happy crocheting and home-making! 
I hope this post manages to survive on the internet!
What have you been hooking up lately?

Friday, May 18, 2012

A haiku a day...

Take a wander, see
what happens, maybe you'll find

Nature's pinnacle,
towering over the sea,
sandy majesty.

Riverside picnic,
sunset, cidre, pink skies, bliss,
shiver... then we kiss.

Broad beans in salad
make me happy: bitter bursts
of fresh squidgy green.

Over the river
a lone kite floats, swoops and dives,
then he disappears.

Sometimes life feels like
a treasure hunt, I follow 
my feet and find gold

My papasan chair
is cosy and round, i curl
up like a cat, purrrrr.


Friday, May 11, 2012

A haiku a day...

The evening evolves
over cheese, wine and chatter,
we crawl home at five.

We pitter patter,
along cobbles, lit by a 
giant moon night light.

I spy nuthatches,
birds with the best eyeliner,
fluttering round us.

I'm faint and fearful,
face down on the floor, shaking,
completely confused.

Cooling my hot toes
in long grass, happy daisies,
smile up at me, dance.

Night falls, we wander
to ponder the river as
swifts screech overhead.

You know, il fait beau,
oui, il fait chaud à Bordeaux,
peut-être un peu trop!

And since I haven't put anything up here except haikus for weeks now, here's a bonus picture to illustrate Sunday's syllables...

Friday, May 04, 2012

A haiku a day...

Belly catches up,
send out warning signs too late,
too much on my plate!

Soaking in the bath
to the sounds of pouring rain,
wet outside and in.

Grouchy, tired me,
being my worst self as I 
refuse sweet slumber.

Mascara hurry,
smudges appear, shouts break out
on the other side.

May day, lilac skies,
magical clouds float, swifts screech,
the river flows by.

I spy a butterfly perched
amidst my flowers.

Erratic pixie,
swift and nimble as she plays
her magic fiddle.