The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Sunday, July 31, 2011

What's It Mean Then?

At times it feels as if I am force-feeding myself with words. I am full up but more keep coming.

I was getting through 500 a day, but I have reduced it to 250 on more days now. This is because, unlike me, the cardbox has a limitless capacity for gobbling up what I feed it. I am giving it not only the words I miss (known but not got and never seen before in my life) but also ones that were guessable, just to reinforce them in my memory.

My hit rate varies between 70-90% on the 'new' words, and I am about 90% on the cardbox. It does seem to take 3 or more goes at getting some of them fixed in my brain. And some I totally despair of ever getting right on a consistent basis.

It is nice, however, to be doing something new rather than keep going over the same stuff . There are some really neat words that I may never get to play :)

I hit the 35000 mark yesterday...

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Month of Scrabble

So I guess some people might be interested in my scrabble progress.

After my success in the Scottish NSC heat I returned to the Dewar Centre in Perth to play in the Scottish Open a couple of weeks later. As fate would have it we were playing in the same room again - not where it normally was held. It occurred to me after day 1 that I had never lost a game in that room, 21 wins out of 21. I continued the run for the next 3 games, but unfortunately Allan beat me narrowly in the next game to overtake me on spread. We both won our penultimate game, meaning we played each other for the third time to decide the title. This game went a lot better - 3 bonuses by move 6 saw me run away with it.

The UK Masters at the start of July. Allan and I went down to Stone by train the day before. Mixed fortunes here. I was still in contention with three games to go, but when I lost to Wayne it was all over for me. I finished sixth on 9.5/16 to at least hold my rating.

Finally on to the Scotland BEST group final, best of 11 against Allan. I was never behind, with Allan catching me back up, so yet again it came down to the last final game. I was ahead on spread so started the deciding game. And raced away..

I had already decided to not go to the BMSC this year, having the NSC semis and team final in September, and now also a best of 15 quarter final against Wale Fashina to fit in in August.

I have received an added incentive to keep studying after Theresa's excellent result in the UK Open. Onwards and upwards with the 8s... 7411 to go.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Waiting For A Bus - Part 2

My sixth pair of socks were completed at the end of June. Advanced to a pair with a lace pattern, although it was with thicker sock yarn so relatively quick to do. This was the Southwestern socks pattern by Wendy D. Johnson on, using Spunky Eclectic Super Sport (100% merino DK). I just love some of the sock yarn names. This was one of the yarns that I bought from a 'raveler' from the U.S.A. I was a little disappointed in the number of breaks in the yarn, but it is lovely and soft and the colours are very pretty.

Then another spurt on the KF jacket. The fourth band of stars has now been completed. At about 40 minutes a row when I have all three sets of colours on the go. The main reason that I bought the yarns from the above lady was for three different 100% wool yellows she was selling, and they do look good.

Another break before I start on the fifth band, using the peach silk/wool/cashmere for the star outlines. Hopefully it will then get a little quicker as I go over the top, dividing it to do the left and right fronts separately.

And currently working on my seventh "pair" of socks - okay, so the colours are a foot length out but opinion is divided on whether this matters. Another leap forward. Long socks, cables and lace, and my own design using the kauri knits font by kauricat. I am thinking of improvements to this pattern now that I am knitting it. First sock done and reached the heel on sock number two. Using Noro Kureyon sock yarn. Hopefully I have enough - I kept weighing the yarn as I was doing sock number one, but on our probably not very accurate old-fashioned kitchen scales. I should find out in a few days time...

Waiting For A Bus - Part 1

Time passes and edible garden grows...

The mangetout are in full production - picked about 10 oz so far. Luckily we like them as we will be eating an awful lot of them in the coming weeks.

The peas, looking unamazingly similar, are beginning to fatten up. And still a lot of flowers on them. Just need some sun to go with the automatic watering system, aka as rain...

A few of the red onion sets I planted are now bulbing up nicely despite throwing up flower spikes while I was in Malta in May. A few of the flower spikes are now beginning to actually flower...

The onion seeds I planted are performing with variable results. I have precisely nine bulbing onion plants that have survived so far and are looking pretty pathetic.

The spring onions are faring a little better, but still nowhere big enough to attempt to harvest. I sowed another row which again have germinated quite well but that is about as much as they have done so far. They are now surrounded by the pak choi which I thinned and replanted. Having never eaten pak choi I just hope we like it if they all survive and thrive!

The pickling onions are the stars of my allium world. We haven't finished the ones I pickled last year yet, but they are very good.

The leeks are also doing okay - I have learnt from last year not to panic too much if they are not the size of pencils yet. Still plenty of time before they need to be transferred to the veggie patch to overwinter. The first-sown carrots are coming along well.

The dwarf purple beans are beginning to put on a spurt of growth and a few flowers can be seen. They were last year's stars of the veggie patch, along with the runner beans. Talking of which, I reduced the number of those that I planted from last year and restricted myself to the better of the two varieties grown last year, Red Rum. Inspection shows that a couple have made it up to about four feet up their supports, although one has decided it prefers to grow sideways into the mangetout...

I have lost two of the tomato plants that I planted at the back of the veggie patch, but I have gained one self-seeded one. So eight very healthy looking plants. I still have more than that 'surviving' in the sunroom - I think the time has come to plant them out or throw them out. Time is running out for Reg to get his polytunnel in place...

The curly kale that I never pulled out last year has come back stronger than ever. It is obviously a tough cookie, surviving the onslaught of the caterpillars last year, and then the two foot of snow over winter!

The rhubarb is gigantic. A couple of picks so far, but I really need to keep harvesting it. I just need to get to it!

The last, but definitely not least, of the crops in the veggie patch is the potatoes. Both those I planted and those that still keep coming up everywhere else. It's the same in the fruit tree bed. I have started harvesting those. This has given me access to tie the new growth of the fruit trees to their canes. At some point soon I need to get up my courage to prune the side shoots...

The salad crops in the raised planters are also cranking up after a slow start. In fact, the first sown rocket and spinach has bolted but the next sowings are coming on well. And a second sowing of radishes.

And the winter sown savoy cabbages are taking over the world...

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