Work continues to be completely insane. I thought I was ahead of the game after staying up and doing desk work all night, and I was, for a couple of hours, then more work flooded in this morning. We are still on target for getting everything done by the end of the week, thanks to my heroic efforts over the last four days.

I need a break now because my brain is starting to fail. So let me tell you about my day out yesterday, followed by a discussion about shopping, including an amazing discovery, which I will cover in a separate post.

Yesterday I was out on business in the fairly picturesque village of Abingdon, near Oxford. Had I been in Oxford it probably would have been more impressively historic and I could have got some photos of the university, but never mind. Abingdon was nice as well. Here are a couple of snaps of the village. I must compliment Abingdon on its free wifi, by the way. It seems to be provided with the compliments of the local council. Greatly appreciated.

abingdon town hall

ab building

Now that is a nice building, look at that. It is now a branch of Oxfam but it looks like it was once a coal merchant’s, quite a fancy one.


The local pub.

black swan

In the windows of the gift shops.

gift shop 1

I really like the frilly red gloves in the middle and I like the red and gold handbags, even though my usual taste is nowhere near that flashy and that day I was carrying a Nike sports bag. On the way home I was reading the newspaper and there was a photo of Kate Moss modelling a handbag by Stella McCartney in similar shades of red and gold, except it cost £900 and had stars on it. I entertained a brief fantasy where Leroy got me one for Christmas.

gift shop 2

I was strangely fascinated by the beetle brooches although I resisted the temptation to buy one. They are so ugly, I would never wear something like that. Yet I looked at them for a long time. I actually wanted all four of them, not to wear but to keep in a dish, as you see them here.


1980s fashion is really, really back, isn’t it. Big, flashy jewellery, bright colours and metallic accessories.

flashy necklace

Speaking of 1980s fashions, I went into New Look (I never do high street shopping and get everything online, mainly from Amazon, so this was a highly novel experience for me) and was very taken with this blouse. It is satin and is incredibly slippery and buttery, just like satin should be. They had one in a size 14, which means I can fit my bulky, over-stuffed torso into it, and it was a bargain at £20. I snapped that right up, took it home and wrapped it up for myself for Christmas. Pleased.

satin blouse 2

Crossing the road to get to Masons, the haberdashery shop. Abingdon is such a wonderful village that this shop spreads across TWO branches even though the population only amounts to about 20 people. That’s a lot of haberdashery per person. Needless to say, they stock wool.


As you can see, about a third of the population of Abingdon is inside the shop, buying materials for their knitting.

masons int 1

They have huge balls of yarn.

giant yarn

I was in there trying to buy yarn to finish the hat I’m knitting for Leroy, if I ever see him again, because the yarn I’m currently using is about to run out. Miraculously, they did have a ball of the exact yarn that I wanted. The dye lot isn’t the same so it’s not a perfect match but I can always find workarounds, like adding some stripes, so I’m not going to worry about it. I don’t have time to knit the damn thing anyway.

Other yarn purchases. This is Katia Funky in black and orange, an aran-weight wool. This yarn is for an alternative version of the hat that I don’t have time to knit, in case the one I’m currently working on doesn’t turn out very well.

katia black orange

Also I had to have this, a DK weight yarn by Debbie Bliss. I liked the colours. It feels really squishy and soft as well, which is important, because reasons, as you will see below.

bliss rialto

The reason I wanted a ball of something very squishy and nice to hold in a bright but predominantly light colourway was because while I was on the train to Oxford I was reading Let’s Knit magazine (issue 87, Dec 2014) and there was a feature about a charity called The 100 Project that is about cancer. Amongst other things, it encourages knitters to make these objects that are soft, pyramid-shaped things with faces embroidered on them. They are given to kids who are having cancer treatments and other kinds of strenuous treatments in hospitals. There’s nothing new about knitted toys but I could see the appeal of these because as Naomi Turner of the 100 Project says, they are the right size to fit nicely into a hand and you can squeeze them when you are in pain or afraid, as well as talk to them. There’s an ergonomic logic to that which convinced me. I looked at some pictures of these toys, Plushis, as they are slightly misleadingly called, and it seemed to me that the nicest ones have bright stripes but a predominantly plain colour for embroidering the face on.


Looks like those ones at the bottom have buttons for eyes. Here’s the very simple knitting pattern and of course you could crochet them as well if you have a mind to, it is just a long rectangle which you fold, stuff and sew up. If you have even basic knitting or crochet skills, you can make these, and then you send them to the 100 Project and they distribute them to kids who are having unpleasant treatments in hospital. So I thought I would make a few, because I have religious faith in the idea that I AM going to get a Christmas holiday from my job.

Then I departed Abingdon and went home. I passed through Paddington station, where there is a branch of Monsoon and I went in and collected this dress, because I am so expansive around the middle that I am having a real problem finding anything to wear. The only garments that I can wear comfortably at the moment are over-the-knee socks and dresses with absolutely no waist. Hence this. You know me, I would rather wear sportswear but I am miserable and utterly desperate so when I realised that Monsoon was selling shapeless dresses it was a no-brainer. How lucky I am that they seem to be fashionable this season, along with flashy 1980s jewellery.

I can explain the teddy bear. It’s not mine. I’ll explain in my next post. Right now I need a couple more hours of sleep. I started another cold today, the second one in a month. I hope it’s not going to be flu again. I know, I know, it is my own fault.

monsoon dress

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