Thursday, July 28, 2005

Thursday is Bomb Day

Bomb Day
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

I haven't been too fazed by using public transport since the attacks. but just when I'm not expecting it I'll have a little frission of nerves. This morning it was the young guy with a large black bag sitting on the seat in front of him. We were the only two people on the top level and every time he reached over to his bag I had to stop myself running down the stairs. Mostly there are just bored, tired looking commuters reading their Evening Standards and not causing any alarm (or even alertness) at all.

Today its a bit hard to pretend things are normal though as every tube and train station has a contingent of police at all the entrances. All looking very alert.
I'm just hoping they don't get overly alarmed again like last week.

On a lighter note, last weekend we went to visit friends and see their new house in a small village north of London. We have a lovely evening sitting in the garden, having a barbie and eating their freshly grown veggies, straight from their allotment. Beth has been growing up a storm. It started to rain but that didn't stop us. It is England ...and it was quite warm still...and the rain wasn't all that heavy. And it is summer.

We got away on Saturday morning after we finally got Mum, Dad, K & P and 6 weeks of luggage (mostly booze) packed into the car and off on their canal boat + Ireland road trip. The family arrived at my place on Friday night + travelling David + Smithy. We were in full swing of a minor party celebrating K & P finishing up at work and I was on my own personal mission to drink as much of their stock of French wine before they could pack it, when my part time week day lodger (& colleague) walked in unexpectedly. He looked a bit surprised (I think he thinks I just sit on the sofa, knit and watch big brother), but not as much as me who had already mentally given his bedroom away to several visitors! Lucky for everyone that he didn't arrive a few hours later.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Make-up Pouch

Make-up Bag detail
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

It might not look it from recent entries but i have managed a bit of crafty stuff lately.

This post is for Mary who sent me this fabric in a swap.

I wanted a gift for Steve's mum Lynn who was heading off from the UK for the next leg of her round the world trip to Canada. Inspired by all the crafty people around the place I thought I'd make something. And I had the pefect fabric as I knew Lynn likes these jewel colours. Its a very simple design but I like the way it turned out. The purple fabric on the right is the lining and the blue fabric on the left is the back.

And the prop is the cool bamboo thingy that Bella Dia gave me as part of back-tack - its so handy!

And although there have been more "incidents" (nice euphemism from the authorities here) and the tube is closed completely WE ARE NOT AFRAID!! And I'm fine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Rhine river and Castles

Rhine river and Castles
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

We had a fabulous weekend in Frankfurt with Mum and Dad and Steve….when we eventually got there.

I know I have moaned about late Friday night flights before but this was really verging on Monty Python status.

I came out of work to find my tube station closed and the street cordoned off with a policeman on a loudspeaker saying “Move away from the tube station. You may be in danger”. All a bit unnerving but I jumped on the first bus, then a quick hop from Green Park and made it to Victoria to meet up with the folks. We got the oven from hell (aka tube) out to Heathrow and had a refreshing beverage to perk us up.

Things were looking good until we got to the gate to see the flight had been delayed for 45 mins til 9. We passed the time with another beverage and boarded about 9. The captain apologised for the delay due to having to replace the break pads. After a bit more sitting around he updated us that they were having trouble shutting the back door and engineers were called out again. It seemed we were on our way but then the indicator light still showed the door was open but it was actually jammed shut. Engineers came out again and we were finally backing away from the gates about an hour later. Hurrah.

But before we got to the runway another pesky light was showing problems with an air filter. The engineers paid us another visit. Took out the offending air filter, chopped it half (the captain was full of the gory details at every stage) and put in a new one. This process took another hour and everyone was standing around chatting in the aisles. All that was missing was waiters circulating with champagne and canap├ęs and it could have been quite a good party. So we ended up leaving 3 ¼ hours late – but the pilot at least had the decency to do the usual 1 ½ flight in 45 minutes!

But it was worth the trip as we had a great day on Saturday zipping around the Rhinegau wine region in a convertible VW Smithy hired for the day. It was sunny and hot – perfect Reisling drinking weather. We had lunch at one of the old wineries, Schloss Volrads and then drove along the Rhine river looking at the impressive castles on the banks.

The day was topped off with dinner at our favourite restaurant in Frankfurt – Gallo Nero. Italian of course! The type of place where the chefs shop every morning at the local market for the freshest fish and the waiters recommend interesting specials, recommend great wine to match and try to dissuade you from ordering something if they consider there’s a better less expensive alternative.

Mum and Dad in the VW

Mum and Dad in the VW
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Friday, July 15, 2005

London: Two Minutes Silence

London Bombing Two Minutes Silence
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

I took this photo yesterday at Trafalgar Square. Shortly afterwards the 2 minutes silence for the bombing victims was held and all trafic came to a standstill.

I have had moments of nervousness on the tube this week and like many others have been eyeing up my fellow travellers and their back packs a bit more than usual. The news that the suicide bombers were identified was frightening, somewhat of a relief, sad and angering.

I have been reading this incredible diary of a woman who was in one of the bombed carriages on the BBC site and have been thinking how lucky I am.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

London: Borough Market

Lucious Fruit at Borough Market
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Even with the terrible bombings last week I’m still glad to be living in London. When I catch a bus across the Bridge to Waterloo and look along the river at the beautiful Westminster Buildings and London Eye and St Paul’s I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure its real and not just a movie set.

There is always something to do here and usually too much to chose from. Last weekend on Suze’s last day here we went to check out the Borough markets at Bermondsy near London Bridge. The organic food available is amazing – I bought some huge juicy peaches for £1.50 and some chocolate brownie for balance. There are also lots of great cafes and pubs on the fringes of the market. I’ll definitely be going back.

Juicy Peaches

Juicy Peaches
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Thank you to everyone who has called, sms’d, emailed and left messages here with good wishes.

I got home okay (eventually) last night via several overland trains and was lucky to be on the right side of the city, only having to walk across the bridge to Waterloo. And everyone I know here is okay too which is a relief.

I came into work a bit later this morning on my regular train and tube. My heart was racing a bit on the tube but it’s very quiet and people are calm and quite sombre. Obviously a lot of people have stayed at home but there are still many people who have come into work as usual. My thoughts and sympathy are with the victims and their families.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Tube Explosions

I feel like I have an echo in my head - I was walking through Victoria this morning looking at the Olympic news plastered across the front of newspapers thinking “Why on earth would they want it?…what a security nightmare”.

Ten minutes later everyone was evacuated from Westminster tube where we had stopped on the Circle line. I was impressed with the calmness of the crowd as hundreds of people left the station, some even lingering behind as seasoned commuters know, things could be back on track again any moment. Unfortunately this time it is more serious than the usual signal failure/ lack of driver. I walked along the Embankment to the office with police and ambulance vehicles racing past to the east side of the city.

News is trickling through about more explosions and we have been advised to stay inside our buildings.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Luckiest Girl in the World!

Just when I thought my week was made by my secret pal parcel, I received my back tack goodies in the mail yesterday and…WOW!! Cassie from Bella Dia has sent the most gorgeous, creative sewing basket and needle case. The patterns on the fabric and details are just amazing. After staring at it for ages I still can’t work out how she’s actually done it. Thank you Cassie I absolutely love it.

She has also thoughtfully added some quilting fabric, gorgeous vintage buttons, a nifty little bamboo corner thingy and Reeses choccies YUM! And she also has special Bella Dia notepaper…very cool.

I haven’t had a chance to put up any photos but you can see them on Bella Dia here (scroll down a bit).

I’m adding my two generous and creative back-tack buddies to my links, Cassie at Bella Dia and Kath at Red Current – they do some wonderful craft and art – check them out.

And thanks to Nicole at Craftapalooza for organising back-tack….and for introducing me to a whole lot of crafty blogs I now have to compulsively check regularly.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Back-Tack Away

Back-Tack Notions Holder
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Here is my final back-tack contribution which I finally sent off on the weekend, reviving feelings of handing in late assignments! But am pretty happy with the result - lots of handsewing detail - but not half as much as the original crazy pattern from Quilts Japan.

The outside is fairly plain with a little ric-rac detail and I embroidered the recipient's web name on the back. But will keep that as a suprise until it arrives.

Inside has little pouches for scissors, pencil and needle threader and a flower-pot pin cushion.

I used most of the stash from Kath and made a little drawstring bag with leftover fabric - its lined with the red spots.


Secret Pal
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

I came into the office this morning after being at a client's for weeks to find a parcel from my lovely Secret Pal. What a fabulous suprise - she sent me an unreal book of finishing techniques - simple enough for Miss 'What are Circular Needles?'Stewart and will be handy for translating unfathomable instuctions like K2tog, SSK and P2tog. Then there is the pretty pink wool (did I mention I love pink at the moment?!!) thoughtfully wound into a centre pull ball for me, some groovy stich markers in a cute tin and H for Helen postits (in PINK!! heh heh).

Thanks SP you have made my week.

PS Apologies for the bad photo with the attractive grey office carpet background...but I couldn't wait to post this.