Friday, 31 December 2010

Out with the old .... in with the new ...

Good evening fellow bloggers.  It's the last few hours of the old year and I thought I'd do a small blog update in preparation for welcoming in 2011.   

My work life is as hectic as ever and is eating into my stitching time drastically.  However, I love what I am doing; Liz and I make a great team and although we work really hard we take time to enjoy it and manage to laugh even at some of the more harrowing moments of what we do. 

Working a fair bit away from home means that getting there - and back - isn't always easy.  The last weekend in November, I was in Harrogate with several of our Friendly Stitchers (of which more later) - and came back to a frozen Glasgow after a heavy snowfall.  We spent that week working from home as there was absolutely no way we were going to make it to the office.  That first weekend in December however saw a thaw and we decided to "chance it" on the Monday.  When I left home it was raining, which had turned to sleet by the time I got to the train station.  By the time the train deposited me at Newton the sleet had turned to snow and on arrival at Hamilton I was greeted by a winter wonderland.  It took Liz ages to get to Hamilton - although Strathaven was at that time clear, I think it was the only place in Lanarkshire that was!  She picked me up just after 10am - and we spent the next 8 hours - count them 8!!!! - just trying to get out of Hamilton!  Being an enterprising pair I was sent out on regular foraging expeditions and managed to get us sandwiches and crisps and even chips later on in the evening.  We eventually managed to get onto the M74 and got to Strathaven at 9.30 pm - and there I was until Wednesday when the trains and buses had by then started to run some sort of service.  Luckily my next door neighbour has my spare key and popped in to keep Minnie fed and watered.  Thanks to Liz's dad, George, who lives across the road from her, for putting me up for a couple of nights.  I have put some photos of our "ordeal" up on my Facebook page.

But back to Harrogate.  What a hoot we had!  Maureen came to pick me up about 8.30 am on 26th November - and I wasn't even dressed - or packed for that matter, having spent the previous afternoon sitting in a camper van for 3 hours with a springer spaniel called Toby for company waiting to be called to give evidence at a tribunal - only to discover that they didn't need me after all!  On the way back, Liz decided I was coming back to theirs for dinner as they were doing Thanksgiving for Rachel (Marshall's girlfriend) who was visiting from San Fransisco.  I got home around midnight-ish so needless to say nothing got done!  Maureen kindly fed Minnie whilst I threw myself into some clothes and some clothes - and stitching into my weekend bag (or case).  The drive down to Harrogate was lovely - sun was shining and we made excellent time - got to the hotel and booked in, and then people started to trickle back across the road from the stitching show and sooner or later they all ended up in our (mine and Karen's) room.  I am sure reception just give my room number out to anyone to be honest - a right load of reprobates we had in there!

We all met up for dinner at 7.30 and a lovely meal we had too - and lovely wine too lol.  We then retired back upstairs to "our" room and continued the conversation and then we threw everyone out and got down to the real business for the evening - the mods meeting!  Maureen kindly took notes on the laptop when I got into a fankle and we managed to get through all of the business we had planned to - and having Maureen on hand as an interested "other" helped a lot with some of the stuff we were discussing.

Oh and there were gifts too!  From Mouse I got this beautiful Friendly Stitchers pillow - which I love to bits and of course it is in my favourite colour.   She designed it herself and it was her "first" and she is and should be justifiably proud of it.  Just goes to show that there is a designer in all of us somewhere (mine is well hidden!!) and Mouse's designs are simply lovely and very creative.  She had designed a biscornu which she brought along to let us see and it is quite simply stunning.  Remember your friends when you are rich and famous petal - and thank you for my lovely pillow!
Val made everyone a little cushion with some handmade counting pins on the back - just beautiful - and of course mine is purple hehehe!  Thank you for that Val.  Every single one of them was different too.
We all headed across to the stitching show on Saturday and I think everyone enjoyed themselves, especially those that hadn't been before, and managed to spend a fair penny between us all, although we did miss Kate from Sparklies dreadfully - especially Mouse!  Jo and her husband Tony had arrived on Saturday morning and were staying overnight so Tony joined us for dinner that night and acquitted himself very well indeed.  I think he can count himself as an honorary Friendly Stitcher.    After dinner it was back to our room again where we had some very strange conversations going on - including the "psychic handbag" which I will explain one of these days I promise!  Everyone seemed to think it was hysterical and I thought we were going to have to call the paramedics for Mouse at one point she was laughing so much.

Maureen and I left fairly soon after breakfast on Sunday morning as we had heard reports of heavy snowfalls in the north and Val had reported back to us that her drive home the previous evening had been pretty bad and that they were now snowed in.  Unbelievably the first really bad snow we came across was just outside Hamilton - and the rest is history!

I am now enjoying a well earned rest from work for 12 days - although there are only 4 of those days left and I seem to have achieved very little!  I got a couple of lovely stitched gifts for Christmas this year including this beautiful needlebook designed especially for me by Val, and this gorgeous beaded mitten ornament from DJ.  Thank you both so much ladies - I love them and will treasure them.

And that's me pretty much up to date.  The snow is all gone, so work next week will no doubt be back to normal.  I am looking forward to it in a way, getting back into a routine - but unfortunately probably not much stitching time :)  I am taking part in the 15 WIPs challenge starting on 1st January and carrying on throughout the year although I think some folks are already making bets on whether I will manage to finish any of them never mind all of them!    I haven't decided which one I am going to start with but I have just over an hour to make my mind up.  One thing I will be doing is an old Scottish tradition - opening the front door at midnight to let the old year out and the new year in.

I will leave you now wishing you all the very best for 2011 and for those who have had an up and down year like me, here's to bigger and better things.  Thanks everyone for taking the time to read my ramblings over the past year or so - I really do appreciate the comments you leave.

Love and hugs to all.

Ally xxx


Val said...

Lovely message Ally - happy Hogmanay to you - we also open the door down in Great Yarmouth and also here in the North East of course and Billy is always our first foot !!

Mouse said...

Hi ally thanks for the lovely comments :) Happy new year to you too ... hope this one is better for us all :) we have the tradition of the person with the darkest hair to go through the door first ... that's usually always been me
love mouse xxxxx

blueladie said...

Great post, Ally. A blessed new year to you and yours. :) Cathryn

Vicky L said...

Happy New Year! Your gifts are lovely!

DJ said...

Lovely tradition about opening the door, hmmm...I might have to incorporate that in our New Years celebration! The only one DH and I usually do is kiss on the stroke of midnight. Glad you liked the mitten, Ally. I won't bet on how many you finish, it might jinx me in my endeavors! LOL May your New Year be bright and happy and may you enjoy many blessings this coming year! *Hugs*

Gillie said...

Lang may your lum reek, kiddo! Love and happy New Year from one of the reprobates in Salt Lake City right now with two hours to go!

lynda said...

Happy new year Ally! I'm in on that challenge as well...I don't know what I was thinking! Your gifts are all beautiful.

Scattered Threads said...

Hi Ally. I hope your dream will one day be realized. Beautiful stiching dear and Mouse's desing/finished pillow is gorrgeous.
Blessings and happy stitching.

Joy said...

Happy New Year Ally! Beautiful message and the gifts are lovely as well.