Monday, January 30, 2006

Please Update Your Links

From browsing around other people's blogs who link to me, it seems that there are still quite a few of you who haven't yet found my new home:

Take my new button

Here's a Bot-a-blog subscription link to be notified when I update my new blog.

Friday, December 30, 2005

2005 A Year in Review

I saw this post on Thermagal's Temperate Mumblings who saw it on Whiz's Blog.....

Instructions: take the first post from each month of 2005 and post a line or two.

January: Armed for 2005 (referring to the Mirabilia Cherub).

This was my first happy dance of the year.

February: What Planet are You From? You are from Neptune.

I always knew that Neptune would have it's own ring of particulate matter too, just like the other 3 gas giants in the solar system.

March: I posted some pictures today of what I've been stitching lately (Paradise Island and Venice).

Venice was a happy dance this year.

April: Traffic Cones - From an episode of Red Dwarf -The Last Day (proceeded by a snipet of script)

Another piss up story.

May: Bagpuss Goes Nightclubbing

Yes, this is the bag I wore in the nightclub. One way to get attention. Everyone kept tweaking and squeezing him.

June: I am going on a Summer Holiday...

I'm pleased as punch because after a wasted weekend of trying, I managed to book a holiday to Lanzarote this afternoon, flying out from Gatwick next Thursday.

July: Blog Update

Today I've done virtually little stitching. I've been on the computer all day, first of all doing some lessons in Fireworks MX (I've used Fireworks 3 previously, but it's well different) after the lessons I played around and made a really nice logo with Jade's face on it.

August: Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week: Stitching Quirks?

What is your most unique/interesting stitching quirk? (This could be something concerning the way you stitch, how you organize your stash, etc.)

September: August Stitching Goals - roundup

At the beginning of the month I posted my stitching goals for the month.

October: The sorting hat says: Ravenclaw

This was a Harry Potter meme. Glad I didn't make Griffindor.

November: Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week: Colour by Numbers.

Just about DMC colours and how you get to know them.

December: Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week: Stitching Rules.

How do you stitch?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Holiday Cherub Update

My progress on the 2000 Mirabilia Holiday Cherub. I've been stitching on her quite a bit since Christmas - it's been a way of killing time until I'm back to work tomorrow. I've just worked my way through the Die Hard Trilogy of films, but before I start on the Back to the Future Trilogy I figured I needed to take a break, so I thought I'd blog a bit and post this update picture in between.

After leaving all the beads till the end with the Mermaid Queen, I've decided this time to stitch them as I go and this seems to be working out much better for me as it doesn't seem such a labororious task when you are only doing about 10 at a time (or however many I can attach with one piece of thread).

This will probably be one of - if not the last blog entries on this blog because I've created a new one over at - a new blog for a new year. Please remember to update your links if you are linking to this blog.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Carnivorous Christmas Finish

I woke early on 23rd December and started doing the last stitches on Carnivorous Cat before I went to work on Friday. As this was a Christmas present for my landlady I had to get it completed that day so I could give it to her yesterday on Christmas Eve before she went away for Christmas.

I've discovered that I hate stitching to deadlines! It's strange, but I never seem to have a problem getting motivated to do round robins, I stitch them as soon as they come through the door. Maybe my lack of motivation came from starting this project over six months ago and putting it to one side cause I figured I'd have loads of stitching time to complete him, but that sadly wasn't the case with all the hassles I've had in the lead up to Christmas.

Carnivorous cat is a Margaret Sherry design which appeared in the original Cattitudes Calender in November 2002. God that seems years ago now. Although I have been stitching all the designs from this calender as part of an ongoing Cattitudes Round Robin I missed out on Stitching Carnivorous Cat as I dropped out of the robin for a few months to try and get my life back together whem I moved down here to Cornwall. Carnivorous cat is stitched on Silkweaver Reflections "Angel Song" 28 count hand -dyed fabric. I tried a bit of an experiment with this design, because I stitched the cage bars with gold metallic thread rather than the traditional black backstitching - do you think it works?
I picked up the Mermaid Queen from the framers this week. She turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. Posted by Picasa
Was emptying out some Purina Chicken Flavoured cat food into Jade's food storage box the other day. Look what dropped out of the bag? It's a solid wedge of cat food. I sent it back to the manufacturers hoping that I might get a voucher for some free food in return. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Meme

1. What is your favorite Christmas carol/song?
Pop song - I guess it's got to be Wizard's I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday. I guess my favourite carol at the moment has got to be the bawderised santacon version of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

2. White lights or multicolored?
Multicoloured. Actually I like the little red ball lights.

3. Do you have a cut tree, live tree, or an artificial one?
I own an artificial tree, but haven't put it up this year again - no room!

4. Eggnog, mulled cider, or hot chocolate?
Haven't tried the first two, and I'm not a chocolate fan either. Had some very nice Mulled Wine today though.

5. Do you decorate your house with lights?
No. Don't have my own house anymore - when I did I hung lantern lights outside.

6. Do you write a Christmas letter?

7. Do you like receiving Christmas letters/photos?
Yes, it always seems a good time to catch up on old friends.

8. What is your favorite Christmas story/movie?
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

9. Have you ever made a gingerbread house?

10. Poinsettias or holly?
Poinsettias, but if I can keep them alive to the new year it's a miracle.

11. Do you display a nativity scene?
Nope. Athesist.

12. Do you bake Christmas cookies?
No, I don't have a sweet tooth.

13. Ham or turkey?
Turkey. I remember the time when my aunt bought a ham to cook. When she got it home she discovered she didn't have a pot big enough to boil it in so she had to go out and buy a new stainless steel pan which then resulted in an entire kitchen utensil upgrade as she discovered that she liked the shiny look.

14. In what languages can you wish someone a Merry Christmas (without cheating)?
One - english

15. Do you know all the words to “Jingle Bells?”
Yes, I can even play it on an electronic keyboard. GGG GGG GCBAG....

16. Do you put presents under the tree?
If I had a tree up, I would.

17. How do you eat a candy cane?
I don't. But it's like a stick of rock and I suck them.

18. What is your biggest holiday pet peeve?
The whole commercialisation of Christmas and people assuming that I'm going to go back to Kent to spend it with my non-existant family, which starts off a very awkward explanation that they're all dead.

19. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
Watching Home Alone 1 and 2. Which I'm not doing this year as I left all my videos back in Kent.

20. What was the best present you ever got for Christmas?
You know, I can't think of one. I really hate opening presents because once that's done it's always a let down and there's nothing left to look forward to apart from the Christmas dinner. I used to put off opening the presents as long as possible to avoid that disappointed feeling. It's so different when you are a child.

Went to see King Kong this afternoon. The dinosaurs are fab but the film is way too long!

he he & Ho ho ho

Elf Name

Your Elf Name Is...
Flakey Twinkle Wink

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Santacon 2005

Here's me at Santacon which was held in London on Saturday 17th December!

Because I got asked this so many times during the day, I've prepared the following FAQ. Seems a good way to start off this blog entry:

The Santacon FAQ

  • What is Santacon?
    Santacon is a convention for Santas. To be eligible to attend you must wear a full Santa suit. This is the only rule.
  • Who are all these people?
    Buggered if I know. Never met any of them before in my life!
  • How did you find out about this?
    On the internet. I stumbled across the whole Santacon concept when I was searching for information on "flash crowds". We certainly created our own flash crowd at Nelson's Column on Saturday. There is a website which contains links to additional photos that were taken on the day and on previous years, and a yahoo mailing list (uksantacon) which is where I found out about the specifics of the meeting point on Saturday. If you fancy joining in next year, here's the link to the group:

    Click here to join uksantacon
    Click to join uksantacon

  • What organisation are you with?
    None. Santacon is not a work's Christmas Do. Apart from being a member of a mailing list to find out about this event there is no other organisational arrangement for the santas.
  • Are you doing this for charity?
    No. This is just purely for fun.
  • (And my favourite - from a german lady on a bike - "What are you demonstrating against"?
    Nothing. We were chanting as we were walking down the street but all we were chanting was "What do we want? - Christmas! When do we want it? - Now! That's hardly demonstrating is it?

The day started by meeting at the Shakespear's Head which is a Weatherspoon's Pub in Holborn at 12:00 noon. I arrived at the meeting point early (incognito with my Santa costume in a carrier bag) with the intention of eating something to line my stomach before the consumption of any alcohol. As I was ordering my food, the first two Santas arrived and had the same idea - Santa had a fried breakfast.

In the next hour or so the Santas trickled in individually or in small groups and this created bemused looks from the other patrons - they realised something was up - but couldn't quite figure out just what was going on. Eventually the sea of red grew and I figured it was now time to don my own santa suit. It was only a santa hat, santa jacket, skirt and a belt. The skirt didn't seem very substantial so I kept my black dress on underneath which later on resulted in me being called "Goth Santa". A big "Hi" to Ruth Santa with the camera whom I met in the ladies.

The sea of red grew even bigger. Soon the "normal" pub goers were much in the minority and to be honest there wasn't anywhere for them to sit or even stand even if they had wanted to brave the santa-infested pub. I got out my camera to take some pictures, but to my dismay found that the rechargable batteries were flat, BUM! but so many other people were taking pictures that there was going to be plenty posted on the net so I didn't worry too much. All the pics that I've posted on here are from other Santa's online photo albums.

The Santas left the Shakespear's head at approximately 1:15 and stopping traffic as they crossed the road headed off down the street to the Grand Lodge of the Freemasons. They wouldn't let us in the door!

We next walked down "Drury Lane" (there was no muffin man) and to the Skating Rink set up inside the grounds of Somerset House. Some of the Santa's vaulted over the barrier and did "Santa on Ice" impersonations before being escorted off the ice by the ice marshalls. Then approx a third of the santas (including me) did an impromptu conga around the rink and into the cafe until a spoil sport security guard close the door and refused to let any more into the cafe area.

After leaving the ice rink, and stopping of at a few pubs on the Strand the Santa procession headed towards Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column (see picture at the top of this blog entry). It was a really surreal experience being a part of the santa-throng. People's reactions were strange, when they first spotted the first couple of santas they would stare at your strange costume as if you were nuts, then when they realised just how many Santas there were they would spontaneously emote, smiling, laughing or grabbing for the camera phones or digital cameras. The number of people we passed talking on their mobiles about the amazing Santa invasion was beyond count.

I arrived at Trafalgar Square towards the tail end of the Santas and was atonished to see so many already climbing up Nelson's column. The pedestal base was already a sea of red. I went and stood in front of the column like many of the other lady santa's were doing. I didn't want to climb up on the bottom plinth as this was as tall as my head. Thousands of people were taking pictures of the spectacle. I'm very surprised that none of those pictures made the news as we did have reporters following us around all day too.

After singing several carols on Nelson's Column the Santa's started to disperse the square, heading towards Picadilly Circus where we posed for more pictures and sung more carols on the steps of Eros.

We invaded the Virgin Megastore at Picadilly. The tall black security guard really didn't want to let us in, but 300+ Santas changed his mind and he just stood there in the door talking into his walkie talkie and shaking his head in disbelief as we filed in past him. The Santas went up the stairs and did a conga around the CD section (some asshole santas deliberately knocking CDs off the shelves). As we left Virgin, there was a police van parked outside and the police dogged our tales around London for the following several hours to ensure that there was no further trouble.

Next we headed up to Leicester Square and were delighted to find a small fairground therein. The santas went on all the rides, I rode the carousel. There was a flying swing ride, and that was very fun to watch with Super Santa flying around on a swing in the classic superman pose with his red cape billowing behind him.

From Leicester Square, pausing at the Hog's Head where the Santa's refueled on yet more alcohol - a lot of us stayed out on the pavement here as the pub wasn't big enough for all of us, there was quite a bit of horseplay outside the pub, I can remember a Michael Jackson santa moonwalking in front of a black cab in the street!

New Santas were joining us now as the original crew dimished from over-indulgence in alcohol. We approached Soho and walked along the market street. We came across an animatronic santa outside one of the shops, and all of the santas bowed down to him when he danced and then sung carols at him. The shop owner was in tears of laughter.

We left Soho and stopped at a nearby eatery that sold Pork BBQ Ribs, it sounded very tasty, and the management claimed that they could serve 300 people in less than an hour, I didn't believe this claim though because they only had 75 seats in their downstairs restaurant! So I skipped the ribs, and made a small detour around the corner into Oxford Street proper and visited the Macdonalds that was there. During the course of the day I'd forgotten that I was wearing the Santa suit, it had just become a normal part of my clothes, but that few minutes of exposure as a lone santa brought so many stares from the Oxford Street shoppers. In MacDonalds this old man approached me and said "you're dressed like Father Christmas", yeah! Duh!...... I didn't bother answering him, just thinking that he didn't realise there were another 300-400 of us just around the corner. Imagine the shock he'd get when he saw that lot!

After finding food, the Santas then proceeded to invade Oxford Street. Yes, on the last Saturday before Christmas you can imagine how busy it was, and there we were 400 Santas walking up the middle of the street. There were piles of horse crap in the road (from the police horses that were trying to marshall us up the street), everyone was walking past pointing out the "Rudolph Poo".

As we walked up the street, Yomas (the guy we were following around the town because he had the loud hailer that was keeping us all together), stopped at a bus stop. We all crowded around to see what he was staring at. On the floor were two abandoned Santa suits. "Man Down", he yelled into the hailer.

We then left the Oxford Street area and proceeded to get on Tubes to St Paul's Cathedral. Even the underground driver got into the spirit and came across the tannoy saying "I hear there's a good chance you might see Santa tonight!".

We left the tube system with some Santas running up the down escalators as we left the underground at St Pauls and assembled on the steps of St Pauls to sing yet more carols. I remember seeing a passed out Santa on the steps at this point.

From St Paul's we proceeded down over the Millenium Bridge (which I'd never seen before), to assemble outside the Tate Modern Art Gallery. It was quite a spectacle when I looked back over the bridge to see the hundreds of Santas proceeding over the bridge behind me, with the lit-up spectable of St Paul's Cathedral in the background behind them all.

There was a little riverside fete going on outside the Tate Modern, and a small stage with a team of chorists singing as we arrived over the bridge.

Suddenly they found themselves in the late stages of "crack up" and struggling to carry on singing as about 30-40 santas were dancing right in front of them. Then we kind of hijacked the choir and made them sing our own carols. I think my favourite one was the "Twelve Days of Christmas", which went like this:

The Twelve Days of Christmas
(remembering to emphasise 5 double gins, as in 5 golden rings)
On the first day of Christmas my true love bought for me:A lager for 99p
On the second day of Christmas my true love bought for me:2 rum and cokesand a lager for 99p
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love bought for me:

  • 12 Tequila slammers
  • 11 Hundred Pipers
  • 10 Shots of Absinthe
  • 9 Remy Martins
  • 8 vodka tonics
  • 7 Cheap dry sherries
  • 6 Bacardi Breezers
  • 5 double gins
  • 4 Smirnoff Ice
  • 3 real ales
  • 2 rum and cokes
  • and a lager for 99p!

Next we entered the Tate Modern and the Santas explored the ice-like art exhibit that was in the basement as well as sliding on the sloping floor. A few Santas climbed up the art, fell of it and broke some of it and at that point we were asked to leave. Yep, we trashed the Tate! lol

We went along the river bank to the Founders Arms and had a couple of drinks in there. Next we left and got back on the tube to a place called Olds Street where aparently there was a pub called The Foundry. Whilst we were waiting at the tube station a load of Santas sat on the tube platform - most were not capable of standing by then - sitting there singing the bawderised version of the Twelve Days of Christmas [above]. Some members of the public were taking photos of us and giving us looks of disgust probably thinking that if we'd drunk all that we were singing about, it would probably explain our condition.

When we got to the Foundry, I was one of the first in there as I was desperate for the toilet at that point, but it was already packed out with "normal" pub goers. The place looked a bit of a dive, so I left the rest of the Santas at this point in the evening and crossed the road to get what I thought was an amazingly cheap chinese takeout. £2.70 for a box of food, and I could pick what I wanted, they even had seaweed. I next hailed a cab and went back to my B&B. The next day after I sobered up I realised that that cheap chinese had actually cost me nearer to £20 when I included the cab fair back to the hotel, but it was probably safer than trying to find my way back to Paddington on the underground. I get lost on there when I'm sober!

All in all a great day was had by all!

I'd like to say hello to Ruth Santa, Green Faced Santa with Tentacles, Biker Santa, Santa Chris from Brighton, Glitter spreading Santa, Chuckie Santa and finally Barbary Santa!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Sean emailed me today. Bugs has died. Sean said he passed away in his sleep, he was only three and a half years old. Earlier this year he was apparently diagnosed with a heart murmur so Sean said that he thought his heart had finally given out on him. I asked Sean to get the vet to do an autopsy, but it's too late because Sean's already buried his body in the woods. It's very hard to believe this because Bugs was such a young and very fit cat. He would run rings around all of my other cats. Bugs and Fats would really go for it sometimes, chasing around in the garden, it was an even match between them, Fats only held his own because of his sheer bulk (14lbs), Bugs was lightening quick. In his last year, Sean said he even became quite an accomplished hunter, bringing home all manner of small creatures from the woods at the back of Sean's house.

When Sean and I broke up, I wanted to keep Bugs myself, but Bugs was another thing that Sean stole from my life. I never even got to say a proper goodbye to that little cat. I remember when Sean had banished me to sleeping on the kids bunk beds in the spare room and I was really miserable and suicidal, that little cat would sleep with me, and try to comfort me by playing with me by poking his feet though the empty bed frame above me at me, teasing me to grab at him. He was even a bigger comfort to me at that time than my beloved Jade.

I remember he was outside on the wall at the end of the yard and I said a quick goodbye to him while I was loading up the car to come down to Cornwall for a short break. I didn't imagine at the time that I would not be going back, and ultimately that I would never see him again.

I have kept a lot of text messages from about that time on my phone. I kept them as evidence of Sean's bullying and threatening behaviour for legal reasons. Even after the house was sold and things were settled, I still haven't deleted them as I don't want to lose those memories of those horrible times. One of the oldest is dated 22nd April 2004, . Sean said "Unless I hear from you by Monday saying when you are coming back I am going to find homes for all the cats". It was pure blackmail which translated as: "come back so I can bully you even more about selling your home or the cats will be gone by the time you come back".

On receipt of this text I got a copy of my front door key made and sent it to a friend asking him to collect Jade and Bugs from the house. The only reason I have Jade with me now is because he let himself be picked up by my friend and so was taken away to safety, where I was later able to reclaim him a few months later when I was more settled. Bugs had other ideas, threw a panicked fit and ran from his arms, so my friend let him be.

I went back to collect Bugs myself in June at the time of my Aunt's Funeral. This was only a week after actually finding somewhere to live (you don't want to know how I'd been living up until then, but it did include sleeping in the car at times), where I could house Bugs safely, (Jade was still safe with my friend at this time). But Sean refused to give him up to me, or to tell me where he was living, he even lied to me, deliberately throwing me off the scent telling me that he was renting a flat in Lesley Place in Maidstone where we used to live together before we bought our house. Sean wouldn't even speak to me at the time I phoned him to reclaim Bugs while outside Lesley Place, he just gave an exasperated sigh and hung up his phone.

I remember phoning his friend Simon and asking him where Sean was now living, but he wouldn't give up the address (for after going to Lesley Place and realising that I'd been duped, I recalled Sean mentioning about renting a house in Vinter's Park off Simon's father who was a property magnate) and said that it was my fault that Sean had taken everything and the cats because I wasn't there. My instincts were correct though, I got Spud's girlfriend to drive me around the Vinter's Park estate where Sean now lives. I guess it was just unfortunate that I didn't spot his car around parked on the driveway or something or I could have had Bugs back with me now, and I could have shared the last 20 months of his life with him.

As soon as I had my own home again, where I wouldn't be evicted by the Landlord for having too many cats (it was difficult enough to find anywhere to live which would accept even one cat - where I live now is not good either, it's way too small and there's no kitchen - I'm looking for something better and have been for the last year I've been here, in fact, the only reason I stay here is because of the large safe garden for Jade and the house is in a cul-de-sac which makes it doubly safe for Jade to roam while I'm out at work all day), I always intended to go back to Sean's house, camp out in those woods and "Cat Nap" Bugs, as Sean clearly wouldn't give him up to me. That opportunity is now passed forever.

Bye Bye Bugs, you most precotious of all the cats I've ever owned, and stop buggering the bunnies while you wait for me on the Rainbow Bridge, I'll be there soon.

RIP Major Tom
4 May 2002 - 13 December 2005

I've posted some photos of happier times with him below.
"Bug"gering the bunnies! Posted by Picasa
Well you did call me "Bugs" - what do you expect? Posted by Picasa
Let me in... it's raining! Posted by Picasa
Yes, it's a rabbit..... Posted by Picasa
Yuk! Posted by Picasa
Saddled by a muppet Posted by Picasa
Bugs was only 6 weeks old when we took him home. Posted by Picasa