September 28th

Nordic Knits

Nordic Knits by Martin Storey

Sorry I have not written for a few days.  I have been busy and Jackson has been rather a trial. It has now got to the stage where Slip will not walk by Jackson. She is afraid of him.  I don’t know how to handle this but it is making life difficult.  He does jump up at her but if she would stand her ground he would not be so brave. He normally mounts his assaults towards Slip’s rear but if she is facing him, he does not actually bat her – just runs past!
On Saturday we went to a new restaurant – you can read about it here. I had chicken and brandy pate followed by crab linguini and John had sardines followed by chicken escallops.  I enjoyed it but J. was not so keen – said he preferred my cooking!

I had some Rowan Drift, Felted Tweed Aran, Kidsilk Aura and other bits and pieces delivered today.  The Drift is lovely – so soft and snuggly.

Now I must go and cook dinner – Peanut Chicken Curry followed by Lemon Surprise Souffles!!  Back tomorrow.

September 23

Rowan Felted Tweed Rage

Rowan Felted Tweed Rage Back in Stock

John has gone fishing today and so I am minding Slip. She is such a baby – always listening for him to come back!  Jackson is out in his run as he was naughty this morning and attacked Slip several times. He rushes into the room and jumps on her head whilst she is sleeping in her basket.  I know he only wants to play but I am afraid he might hurt her eyes. I have clipped his claws right back.  Slip is afraid of him – such a baby!!

I had some Lucy Neatby patterns come today along with KnitPro needles of various types.   It has rained all day here and is generally depressing.

When John gets back, I am cooking corned beef and sweetcorn hash for him and I have some crab which I shall make a sandwich from.  I am trying to master a spreadsheet on my iPad but it is slow going!  I have never been taught how to use one properly and so find it difficult.

Nothing else to report – wish I was back in the Jamaican sunshine!

September 21st

Now for the culinary delights of Jamaica!  The choice of food was vast. There were 4 restaurants plus  a beach grill which was open 24 hours.  Lychee was the Asian one and we ate there once.  Heliconia was an Italian style restaurant with pasta and other Italian dishes. The Cassava terrace served international cuisine with some themed nights. Otaheite was reservations only and you had to wear proper clothes – collared shirt and closed toed shoes for men and a dress or skirt and top for ladies.  The beach grill served jerk port and chicken, fries, patties – sort of fast food!  I had curried goat several times, all sorts of pasta, callalo  which is like spinach, breadfruit and ackee and salt fish.  Ackees grow on trees and look like red mangos, when the are cooked they look like scrambled eggs and are served with salt fish which is cod that has been preserved by storing it in salt.  It is a breakfast dish. John did not like it but I thought it was OK. He was much more conservative going for Kellogg’s Cornflakes!  I also tried coconut water – the clear liquid that comes out of a coconut, not the milk.  We had lobster tails one night – they were delicious.  We also ate loads of ice cream as there was a machine that you could help yourself from on the beach – cones and all!

I am expecting two new books from Rowan. One is Nordic Knits by Martin Storey and the other is Rowan Studio Knits which is a compendium of the most popular designs from the Rowan Studio Collections.

Slip has hurt one of her toes and is hopping about on 3 legs. We cannot see any foreign body – John thinks she may have caught it in a fence. War is being waged on the squirrels that are stealing our walnuts – there is a continuous stream of them!

Now I must go and wash my hair – not my favorite job!

September 19th

Jackson on his cat tree

I thought you would like to see a photo of Jackson which I took this morning. He has grown into a big cat and likes to sit on the top level of his tree and bat anyone who passes by.  We are going to take him to the vet again this week as he is still being sick and tossing his head as if there is something in his throat. If necessary, he will have to be X rayed again.

Now onto the creatures we saw in Jamaica!!  There is a man who gives hat making classes beside one of the pools. He makes hats from palm tree leaves. They are amazing and look like entralac knitting. We got taking to him about birds and said we had never seen a humming bird. He said that the best time to see them was after rain. That afternoon after a shower, we were on our balcony having a drink and John suddenly spotted one taking nectar from the flowers in the garden below our room. It was so small and flitted from flower to flower.  We only saw it that one time in spite of looking everyday after rain.

One day when we went for our early morning walk we decided to leave the confines of the hotel beach and walk on further. You have to check out with the security guard and give him your name and room number. We did this and walked on past more hotels. Then we came to a section of beach where local people were setting up stalls selling carvings, tee shirts and such like.  There were heaps of rubbish behind their stalls- not very nice.  These vendors are VERY pushy and aggressive and so you have to be careful not to look at them or they will pounce.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw an animal running behind the stalls. It looked a bit like a squirrel or maybe a rat.  Later on that day whilst sitting on our balcony ( having another drink ), I saw one in the hotel flower bed!  That evening we asked what it was and were told it was a Mongoose.  Next day there were several of them in the flower beds – they were playing and were very cute. Apparently they were imported to Jamaica to deal with rats that plagued the sugar cane plantations and have now become naturalised.

I have found a box of marbled buttons in various colors that I thought I had no more of and have put them in the Clearance Buttons department in my store. I am cooking roast pork for lunch with roast potatoes, cabbage, carrots and acorn squash. Tomorrow I will tell you about the strange foods I had in Jamaica!

September 19th

We soon got into a routine in Jamaica. Up at 6.0 am to walk the beach and look for crabs and fish.  There were not many other people about and wild creatures were undisturbed. Then back to the room to get ready for breakfast at 7.30.  Breakfast was buffet style with everything you could think of on offer. Smoked Salmon, bacon, sausages, fried potatoes, cereals, fruit, yogurt, a vast array of Danish pastries, breads, cakes, pancakes and also cooking stations where you could have an omelette made as you wished.  Also a drink station with Champagne and juices for Bucks Fizz or Vodka and tomato juice for Bloody Marys.  As I never eat breakfast at home, I was somewhat daunted by this array but did manage a pancake and maple syrup most mornings.
Then we would go back to the bedroom and change into our swimwear and go to the beach. We stuck our red flag in the sand and waitresses came and took our drinks orders and also distributed cold towels and iced cubes of fruit. We would swim every so often when the heat became too much.
Around 1 pm we used to go to the beach bar for more drinks and something to eat – jerk chicken, shrimps on skewers, Mahi-Mahi and so on. Then into the pool and the swim-up bar for more drinks. Then back to the beach for the rest of the afternoon.
We normally went back to our room about 5 pm and hors d’oeuvres were delivered to our room – sushi, smoked salmon, canapes and so on. We used to sit on the balcony and eat them and have – yes, you’ve guessed it – another drink! Then in the shower to wash my hair. The humidity did not suit my hair at all – it was a pain having to wash and blow dry it everyday especially as the supplied hairdryer was not very powerful.
Then off to dinner. There were several choices – an Asian restaurant, a pasta one, a formal one and an informal one. You could go to more than one if you wished – not that we did. There was entertainment each night. We felt tired early – most probably the heat – and were in bed by 10.0pm.
One morning we decided to take a kayak out. I assumed it would be an easy thing to paddle! I had to wear a life vest which was made of moulded rubber and was not at all flexible. When I sat in the kayak the vest rode up and was round my chin and most uncomfortable. I sat in the front with John in the back. The paddle was SO heavy – I could only do a few strokes before my arms ached. I just sat there and let John do all the work. We had intended to paddle to an island which is half a mile offshore but there was no way I could do that. I am obviously not kayaking material!!
Tomorrow I will tell you about some special creatures we saw in the hotel gardens!

September 16th

I am back!!

Where to begin?  Our car and driver collected us from home and took us to London Gatwick Airport where we were met by Virgin Atlantic ground staff who whisked our luggage away and took us to the departure lounge. We did not have to stand in line to check in or anything like that.  We had some champagne and then it was time to board. More champagne before take off and then more before lunch!  Wine with lunch – I had chicken and asparagus in a sauce and it was nice for aircraft food.  Then we had a sleep and when we woke up, it was time to land.  The immigration process was rather slow – long lines of people and very hot.  We were supposed to have a car to take us to the hotel and, when we got into the arrivals area, there was a man with a card with my name on it!  He was not very friendly and frogmarched us outside and told us to wait whilst he telephoned for the car to be brought around.  I was expecting some sort of limousine  – in fact it was a beaten up Toyota van!  We were too hot and tired to question this and got in.

Our driver was called Sunny and he was terrible – the roads are full of holes and he kept swerving to avoid them and we nearly ended up in the ditch several times. The drive took about 2 hours and we were pleased to get out!  I did ask him if he knew about our return booking to the airport and he said it would be no problem.  No problem is a common saying in Jamaica – often it is “no problem” because nothing happens!  We checked in and were given another glass of champagne and taken to our room. This was a beachfront suite and I had requested one that did not overlook the nude beach.  We had one that was 3 buildings away and so that was good. It was a very large room with a big bathroom with jacuzzi and separate shower.  Drinks cabinet bursting with spirits plus a fridge with wine, champagne, beer and soft drinks. We showered and went to dinner. Lots of the staff remembered us which was nice. There was a live reggae group on the stage and it was waitress service.  After dinner, there was dancing and the entertainment crew encourage guests to limbo dance or get up and sing.  No, I did not do either!!  I had to keep a low profile as the whole left side of my face had turned black by this time.  I had intended wearing my dark glasses all the time but the bruising was so extensive that they did not hide it at all.  Also it is somewhat dark in the restaurants and I could not see with the glasses on. So, I had to tough it out! Actually, after a few drinks, I forgot all about it along with most things!!  We went to bed early the first night as we were tired. It was 20 hours since we got up!!  I will continue tomorrow.

I have shipped all outstanding orders today – thanks to everyone for being patient.  In my absence I received some Rowan Drift ( it reminds me of Rowan Plaid ), new shades of Louisa Harding Willow Tweed and Thistle and various other things. It is a bit of a nightmare getting it all sorted but I will get there.

Slip had fretted badly at the kennels, they said she did not eat anything for 3 days and did not wag her tail once. She won’t leave John’s side now.  Jackson hasn’t stopped yelling since we got home – he seems to have grown a lot too.  He had a neighbour in the next pen – a large British Blue called Roger!  Roger’s owner had him lead trained – I hope Jackson learnt something.

Now I must attack the ironing mountain – shorts and shirts galore!!  Back tomorrow.

September 6th

Well, Slip and Jackson have been delivered to the boarding kennels.  I felt a bit sad at leaving Jackson but they let me leave his travelling basket in with him and so perhaps he will curl up in it as it smells of home.  The premises are very nice, Jackson had indoor and outdoor quarters, high shelves to jump up onto, a scratching post and a covered toilet – not sure what he will make of the latter.
I have packed most of my case and John is doing his. We are being collected by the airline at 10.00am and so there is no great rush in the morning.
My face is not much improved – the cheekbone is very swollen – I can see it when I look straight ahead. I shall just have to tough it out. Makeup will be no good in Jamaica as it will run in the heat. OH well, I can hide behind my dark glasses for most of the time.
Of course, now it is nearly time to go, I do not want to…….I am always like this and will be OK once I am in the air!
I get back on the 15th and will be shipping on the 16th – I have not shut my shop and so you can still buy things. Now I will go – back on the 15th with tales of my travels!