Monday, 20 February 2012

Cardigan going to good home

Top down cardigan in the Doris Chan method with a V neck and raglan shaping.
Top half done in fans with WENDY ALLEGRA mohair and a 6.5mm hook.

Bottom half in tweed stitch: 1 dc 1 ch alternating each row. Started to do one of the sleeves. Button band still to do and to neaten up the edges and ends, was thinking of adding a shawl collar but decided to sell the yarn and give away the cardigan.
Not my colours after all. Lovely and soft and warm though. Ebay- er has ''won it''.....

Sunday, 19 February 2012

A 7 Mile WALK - Chiltern Weekend walkers

Here it was my first attempt to walk more than 3 miles: a 7 mile walk with the Chiltern Weekend Walkers whom I found through the Bucks CC website when I also discovered the Simply Walk schemes . I have walked with this scheme on Tuesday for the first time, a lovely stroll of 3 miles or so lasting just 90 minutes and with only the mildest of inclines.
Not so this walk, the leader was tall and fit, the group of 29 walkers, younger and fitter and the pace was brisk, scenery superb and there were quite a few hills too.
We stopped and queued at St Botolph's church in Swynborne for a cup of tea and home-made cake. I was virtuous and carried the chocolate cake back to Miss E as a pre birthday treat.
There were lovely snowdrops on the way but the walk was brisk and I couldn't always reach my camera fast enough... So these are all in the church yard. We got very cold here waiting in the queue and waiting to start walking again. The wind was icy.

I was glad of my hat and extra scarf on the way back but my gloves needed to be thicker?
Then we climbed this hill at a pace that made chatting impossible and at the top I was not only warm but nicely HOT. the path started opposite the church and was part of the Ridgeway.
Other than starting at Hill road, Watlington and going via the church it was very relaxing just to follow, walk and chat to all the very friendly folk on the walk. No map reading and I mostly had no idea where we were. Just enjoyed the scenery and the lovely BLUE skies.

This was a little dog who joined us all the way, Scamp. He was well behaved and trotted along so sweetly. I wondered if Lucy could walk 7 miles or would sit and refuse once she got tired?
We walked from just after 13:30 to about 17:10 allowing for a good 30-40 minutes break at the church I think.
It was a tiring event especially straight after all that ballroom dancing last night, but oh so very worth it! Such bright sunshine, we were lucky with the weather.
I shall hope to do something similar again soon.

Viennese Ball in Oxford Town Hall

This is a snapshot of the Grand Viennese St Valentine's Ball on the 18th February 2012 at Oxford Town Hall.
JJ treated me to two dance tickets and a dance class in the afternoon and we had the most MAGICAL ROMANTIC evening ever! It was lovely. And the music was SUPERB: palyed live by the Oxford Philomusica: conducted by John Georgiadis an evening of Waltzes,Polkas, Marches and a Quadrille.
OK yes, this is me just before we left, JJ is still in the shower and Miss E takes some photos.
Crushed effect dupion silk off the shoulder ballgown from Monsoon , which has seen many a ball by now, crocheted beaded bolero by M&S, black velvet evening gloves from the 1970's , my ''Have the future you dream of'' bracelet and two massive nett petticoats sewn by moi in the early 1980's.

You can't see it here but I DO have a waist, maybe not tiny enough yet but quite neat all the same.( ps have lost 6 lbs in just 2 weeks at WW now....)

Showing off a grand velvet cloak I was given, sewn by an aunt many years ago and it isn't worn much these days, just back from the dry cleaners!
In our 12.00 noon to 2 pm dance class we learned to polonaise and march, quadrille and polka and started with a few steps of the Viennese Waltz. The polka schnell and mazurka were demonstrated only. We spent the most time on the Quadrille which was just like elegant folk dancing really.(Instructions below at the very end)
The second or the third waltz?The lady on the left had hurt her toe so it bled a lot right at the start so her poor partner - on the right- had to
waltz solo just a bit behind her while she too danced around solo. She inspired me to do the same on the occasions when JJ wanted a rest.
Another Waltz.
Yes really I was there!
This was the march of the Royal Horse Guards followed by the Frisch in's Feld Op. 398 March.
At this time the girl's had quarelled and phoned JJ so he just wanted to rush home and sulked when I refused and said I'd take a bus home. Then he refused to dance this one, so I was taking photos.
The marches before this were such fun as you parade around and join up with others or make arches etc. Simple fun, but to such LOVELY music. Everyone had made such efforts to be glamorously 1830's - isch. This included many long gloves for the ladies: mostly white but some black, blue and even pink. Some chaps had white gloves too, and top hats and canes... Others wore military garb and many were in tails. There were many ballgowns, some with caged crinolines and some long evening gowns too. We counted 4 tiaras and many had their hair dressed to perfection.
Up the sides and join together, back down the centre...
Up the centre, divide and back down the sides....

Towards the end: 4 couples joined going back up the centre....

Much chatting afterwards, getting ready for the polka schnell....Op. 332 Johann Strauss II
We hope to be sent a photo of JJ and myself taken by the couple on the far left: lady in red leaning over. Fabulous dancers they found time to take many photos and JJ was asked to take many photos of them as a couple too... They took a few of us and sais they'd e-mail it, will add it to this post when it comes. In class they were amazing as she danced with a baby in a sling across her front. The baby slept blissfully, sooo sweet.

And there are no more photos, because we DANCED so much!!!! HEAVEN!


Before the dancing: Johann Strauss II : Reiche Madchen Overture. ( we missed this)
1.CARL MICHAEL ZIEHER : Facher Polonaise Op. 525
This we came in with, an elegant polonaise promonade into and around the ballroom.
2. Johann Strauss II :Wiener Bonbons Op. 307: a waltz which we danced in the most part.
3. Emile Waldteufel: Estudiantina Waltz Op. 191: we went and obtained some beverages: red wine for JJ and white for moi and we watched the lady having her toes- bleeding- seen to.
4. Eduard Strauss: Mit Chic Polka Schnell Op. 221 : we had a go but it really was very fast but such fun! Some lined up in a longways set and did this as a gallop in an ''exchange line'' up and down the set too.
5. Josef Lanner: Malapou-Galopp Op.148a- this we danced in a longways set as an exchange galopp- what fun we had! Everyone laughing and smiling and clapping the dancers down the set.

6. Carl Millocker:Lustiger Plausch: POLKA. Yes this was a slower polka and we danced round and round until we were both dizzy.
7. Juventino Rosas: Liebestraum- Waltz - this is when JJ needed a rest or dreaming time and a drink so I waltzed round with an invisible partner closely behind the ''toe '' lady also dancing solo.
8. CARL MICHAEL ZIEHER: Main Feld die Welt Op. 499 : march. And march we did, up and down the ballroom, under arches, making arches, dividing and joining, feeling very proud and privileged to be marching to such amazing live music in an impressive ballroom.
This continued without break into the next march:
9. Franz von Suppe:Niccolo
10. Eduard Strauss : Ball-Promessen Waltz Op.82- I think we danced again or maybe had a wee rest, I can't quite remember?
11. Johann Strauss I : Radetzky Op.228 : we DEFINITELY marched to this one!!!
Then there was a 20 minute interval to let the musicians have a break, rest and enjoy refreshments. This was when much mucking about with costumes happened and lots and lots of photo taking, JJ was much in demand with other couples, it must have been his trustworthy face.
We were onto coke/ elderflower presse by now or even lovely delicious ice cold H2O.
12. Johann Strauss II: Waldmeister Quadrille Op. 468.

These were our instructions for the quadrille from the dance class:( section 6)
We all lined up in two huge long-way sets all the way the length of the ballroom.
All take hands, advance and retire for 4 steps, closing on the 4th, repeat. Then repeat but with arms linked into one's partner.
Then advance and retire diagonally to diagonal couple facing towards the right and proceed to advance and cross over with couple directly opposite. ( YOU WILL HAVE CHANGED PLACES WITH THEM)
Then advance and retire diagonally to diagonal couple facing towards the right and proceed to advance and cross over with couple directly opposite. ( you're back to original place)
With right palms raised and touching your partner's right palm, face partner and circle round for 8 .
Join hands in the line again and advance and retire for 4 twice.
With your left hand in your partner's left hand and his right hand on your waist advance and retire for 4.
In this same hold, advance and swap partners, ladies being ''stolen'' at the midpoint and crossing and turning into place.
Now a normal ladies chain ; ladies give right hand and cross and turn into place back to their partners.( half the chain) then repeat to be back opposite their partner.
Now advance and retire in the left hand in left hand hold a.
Next advance and be ''stolen'' back by your own partner, turn into place.
Then advance and retire in a line holding hands twice or three times and stamp hard with the right foot on the last beat!BANG!

We danced the quadrille THREE times and each time it was played in a faster rythm, such joy!

13. Oscar Fetras: Moonlight on the Aster - Waltz - this may have been a solo waltz.
14.Eduard Strauss: Mit Extrapost! Op.259 Polka schnell- I think we did the long-way gallop to this and the next one:
15.Johann Strauss II: Juristenball Op.280
16. CARL MICHAEL ZIEHER: Burgerlich und Romantisch Op. 94 Polka Mazurka
Exhausted we watched the experts perform this one with
it's slip slide bits and the hop and kick / flick of the ankle against the calf. Almost a bit Scottische Highland...?
Apparently there are 16-17 types of Mazurka all with slight variations but we were happy watching this one.
Then JJ looked at his phone and gestured to me to come to go home. No fear! I LOVE the music of the next waltz and wanted to hear it and I danced to it too, exuberantly so.
17. Johann Strauss II: Roses from the South Op. 388 - Waltz.
18. Johann Strauss I : March of the Royal Horse Guards- see photos above. I couldn't do it solo and JJ was sulking.
19. Johann Strauss II: Frisch in's Feld!Op.398 march- ditto. I went up to the balcony and watched from above, dying to join in but couldn't really. Such a shame.
20. Johann Strauss II: Eljen a Magyar! Op. 332 : polka schnell : I did this solo and energetically but did get very very dizzy as I twirled very fast about the vast but busy ballroom. So good to be my current age and just not mind what anyone thinks, it's so liberating. After all one must have fun while one can, who knows what's next?
21. JJ has cooled off now and agrees to dance the LAST DANCE!!!
Johann Strauss II: Blue Danube Op.314 : a divinely romantic slow waltz. In the arms of my beloved: WHAT BLISS, what joy, what happiness!!!

Then we walked home through the main shopping street and I was very glad of my cream mohair crocheted shawl as it was freezing cold and the velvet cloak, although glam was NOT warm! What a FABULOUS night we'd had and at home although they had quarelled, the girls were fine and almost ready to sort out their differences. Storms in teacups, eh?

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Paris day 3 December 2011

The last day of our trip dawned WET, cold and grey and it was a day the Louvre was open so we did go there but the huge queues and the wet, cold grey air defeated us.
Breakfast at the hotel had been plentiful and delicious.
Warm and atmospheric.
And we fondly remembered the desserts of the night before...

Back at the Louvre, we decided to go look for a vintage shop advertised in a magazine the Hotel had provided, alas the shop had moved on or we failed to find the entrance to the second etage.
Instead having read the full Rough guide to Paris the evening before I wanted to find a ''Grand Passage'' and this is one of them.

Full of quirkly shops and dry for a bit! I can recommend the pocket rough guide while walking round Paris as it has a good map and succinct information, but the full guide is a better read.
Miss E liked this shoe-shop, but we - bedraggled and wet as we were- got stared at.
We sought refuse in hot drinks and pastries!

And wandered back to le Printemps for a bit more window shopping...

A paper dress, not a good idea in this rain?
Miss E in all her branded glory: Jack Wills jacket and scarf, Cath Kidston bag and duckie umbrella!

Browsing in le Printemps was similar to La Fayette but a lot less friendly than in say Liberty of London or Selfridges! This lady touched the Christopher Kane cardigan I was admiring - seeing it in the flesh after all the catwalk photos was AMAZING!- and was told off by guards.
The cashmere used in the granny square effect was thicker than expected, at least an aran weight I'd say. I loved the granny squares printed onto black leather for the skirts- see photo.
Very effective.
Then bored and tired we ended up in another CUPPOLA- quite by chance actually - and had lunch and a rest there, in the comfy leather sofa area, not the packed restaurant. I photographed/crocheted and the family played on their gadgets, i-phone and i-pad.

After our leisurely lunch we took the metro back and caught the Eurostar home.
Oddly enough this was the first and only break/holiday in which I bought NOTHING at all.
I also never found a yarn or wool shop- not allowed by the kids- despite having printed off a few addresses from google beforehand and bringing them to Paris in my handbag!!!
The kids brought back many sweets for their pals and that was it.
Lovely food though, THAT I will remember and yes I did gain quite a few lbs in just 3 days...