Sunday, October 05, 2008

Winding down

The world’s teetering on the brink of global financial meltdown has kept me from your blogs and mine for a couple of weeks, but today is a travel day so I find myself stuck in another faceless hotel room with time to finally catch up.

Coming back to the UK this morning was a bit of a shock – we have had a beautiful September with temperatures hovering in the mid to high 20s so arriving at Stansted to driving rain and a cold wind was not pleasant! A reminder, though, that winter is not far off.

Last Sunday we had lunch with friends. It was a glorious blazing hot day so we ate outside, but I think that’s the last time we’ll do that this year. The mornings and evenings have definitely cooled down – Saturday morning was 5C, the lowest since last winter. We have resisted lighting the wood burner so far, but it won’t be long before we need it, for the evenings if nothing else. For the time being, however, an extra jumper does the trick.

Tigger and Barney are being primed for the day when the mice move back in for the winter. They certainly do a lot of “play” hunting, but I’ve yet to see any evidence of a kill.

I’m very pleased to report that Cosmo has taken a turn for the better. He is still not very mobile, and has to go out accompanied by a responsible adult, but he seems much happier in himself, and is not quite as doddery on his back legs as he was. Perhaps it’s the cooler weather, I don’t know, but I certainly didn’t think back in June that he would still be with us now. Here he is with his now best friend, Ben (Ben keeps him company in the barn during the day - I always imagine them nattering away to one another, chewing the fat like two old codgers)

It’s been quite weird these last few weeks realising that we have been through a full year in France and are now experiencing everything for the second time. On Friday we had the first snowfall in the Pyrenees, and now that the heat haze of summer has gone they have once again become the backdrop to our lives. It’s wonderful to see them again – the only time we see them during the summer is a couple of days before we have any rain – but it’s yet another sign that summer has come to an end.

There’s a sense that everyone is preparing to “hunker down” for the winter. The fetes and festivals are over, the last of the (relatively few) tourists have gone, and the Gers has returned to its normal sleepy self. The main activities now take place in the fields and woods – the hunting season has started, the grape harvest has begun and the maize is waiting to be cut.

Still, the quieter months should see some progress on the knitting front. I have, in fact, knitted several small items recently, though I am lacking in photographic evidence so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Two baby hats for a colleague at work’s newborn son, and a cowl – everyone seems to be knitting cowls this year and I figured even I could whip one up without too much trouble. The knitting part is done; I just need to block it so photos may follow if you’re lucky. I’m now working on a lace scarf from Victorian Lace Today which is destined to be a Christmas present for the female half of a French / Dutch farming couple we have got to know and who have been such a huge help to us this year.

As ever there are loads of things I’m dying to knit. Once the scarf is done I’m torn between the February Lady sweater – I’ve seen so many nice ones – and a simple top down V neck raglan. I think I might just plump for the raglan. I’m more in need of basic everyday sweaters than I am a lacy cardigan. Plus, I plan to spend the winter evenings listening to some audio books so some mindless knitting will be ideal for that.

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