Sunday, 26 August 2007

An Age of Elegance

The week in Singapore has flashed past, and I can hardly believe that it is over and that we are heading home. I have relaxed by the pool at the hotel, been to lunch and then to dine at Boat Quay, shopped at some more lovely shopping malls, visited Raffles Hotel and been to the Night Safari, which was fantastic.

Singapore is just a really nice place and I have had a lovely relaxing holiday. The top photo is of the entrance to Raffles Hotel, which is a lovely old building with a great atmosphere.

Here's me in front of the hotel:

This is Mr Knitbert at Raffles, looking elegant on the staircase up to the shops:

We had lunch in the courtyard, which was very pleasant,

and I saw this (I think) mynah bird playing in the fountain.

After lunch we went to the Raffles museum, which is fascinating and full of memorabilia and photos of people who have stayed at Raffles over the years.

Here's the pool at our hotel:

and here I am relaxing beside it with my crochet (which has made good progress, I have finished one skein of Tao now):

The Night Safari is out of the town centre and was just fabulous. It starts after dark, and is basically like a huge zoo or wildlife park full of nocturnal animals from Singapore, India, Africa and Malaysia. It is very dimly lit, so I have not had much luck with photos, but there are a couple I will show you. It is just very atmospheric and really interesting to see the animals at night. I recommend it to anyone. The park also includes the last remaining rainforest in Singapore.

Anyway, here is a photo Mr Knitbert took, of a lake which was lovely and peaceful and you can see the water is still and there are reflections of the trees in the water.

and here is Mr Knitbert at the entrance to the park:

I asked Mr Knitbert what he had in his pocketses and he said if he told me he'd have to shoot me. And Jacquie's really scary story about hair had me worried! But I'm safely home as I finish this post and so far it seems to be OK....

Before I conclude, I'd like to thank the lovely Maid of Flitwick for nominating me for a Rockin' Girl Blogger award. I'm thinking about who to nominate in my turn.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Bad Hair Season

Today I am posting from Singapore, where I have been since Sunday (morning for you, afternoon for me). It is a very nice place, clean and safe and full of greenery, water and some rather large shopping malls. This photo is of me outside our hotel. It is rather hot here and very humid, which is a nightmare for my hair. As some of you have noticed, I have recently been straightening my naturally curly hair. Normally it is fine all day as the air is not too humid at home, but here, as soon as I step outside the hotel airconditioning my hair starts inexorably to twist into corkscrew curls. So I have to take all the photos of me very early in the morning, just after my hair has been styled and before it has begun to frizz.

Here are Mr Knitbert and I on our way to the beach.

Here is the water's edge, and me drinking a smoothie which I had just bought. Mr Knitbert was having a 2-scoop ice cream, but his photo is not very flattering.

So far I have been shopping in some great big malls, walked along the beach and had lunch in a little beach side restaurant, and been to Chinatown and bought some silk brocade. This afternoon I went on an amphibious bus, which was once a landing craft in WW2, and which drives around part of the tour and then goes into the water and floats for the other part. Unfortunately I let Mr Knitbert (who has to work in the afternoon and evening) leave with the camera, so I don't have any photos of that bit.

In the evening, I thought it would be good to do some exercise, so I have signed up for a week's membership at a nearby fitness club and I have been going to yoga classes. They are called "hot yoga" and this is because they are done in a room which is heated to about 28C, so you sweat buckets but it helps to stretch your muscles. The level is also fiendishly difficult, and as I have not done yoga for a few years (although I do Pilates) I now have muscles aching in bizarre places. On the other hand, my spine is very flexible!

I have been getting on with my crochet project from Colinette, the Sweet Chestnut scarf from the Arboretum book.

It is in TAO silk, which is gorgeous to work with, in colourway moss. It is probably the most complicated crochet design I have done so far and I am coping with it OK, so I am rather pleased with myself.

I have got my Mystery Stole with me, and am plodding through Clue 2, but I feel more like doing the scarf right now, so that's what I am going with.

I do also have a pair of Mr Knitbert's unfinished socks with me (unfinished since March, that is) and the crochet squares I was doing on the flight to New Zealand, which will one day become a cushion cover. No, really!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

A Tale of Two Routers

About four weeks ago now, Mr Knitbert set off for another stay in a luxurious hotel in Singapore, where he claims to be working. For the first week all was well chez Knitbert, I worked my way through the enormous backlog of washing up and washing which Mr Knitbert and DSoK had left behind, and in the evening I logged onto my trusty laptop, and sometimes I even did some knitting.

Then, one evening, I logged into my laptop and opened an Internet Explorer window, and it told me that the page could not be displayed and the most likely explanation was that I was not connected to the internet. The router does sometimes drop out, so I entered the router IP address intending to go to the router configuration page and reconnect. To my astonishment the browser could not access the router's own home page. I was bemused. How is such a thing possible? I checked the wireless networks available and our home network just was not there.

I took the laptop upstairs and spent a happy hour or two running hardware tests. Everything checked out OK but the router was just not visible to the laptop. Then I had the idea of turning on Mr Knitbert's computer, which is connected to the router by an Ethernet cable. This computer could see the router and told me that it was connected and indeed it could access the internet. Oh thank God! Only two hours with no internet connection and already I was in a cold sweat and having panic attacks. I was able to read my email and talk to my friends for a bit. Then I began to wonder again what was wrong. I ran hardware tests on the router. No apparent problem. I turned off the router and rebooted it. No change. By now it was 1.00 in the morning and I had matchsticks propping my eyelids open, so I reluctantly gave up and went to bed.

The next evening, I tried the other laptop, and as it could not access the router either I knew that the problem must lie with the router. Or so I thought...
That evening I needed to do some internet banking which Mr Knitbert had been nagging me about over the phone from Singapore only a few days earlier. Now my internet bank has recently changed, and I had completely new details for logging in which I had only tried once. These details were safely stored on my laptop, but not on Mr Knitbert's computer. And I had shredded the letters from the bank. I tried connecting to the internet with my laptop again but there was nothing doing. So I decided to have a go at connecting it to the router with an Ethernet cable. Well. We have three cupboards full of assorted computer and video cables, and it turns out not one of them is an Ethernet cable. By now it was 1.00 in the morning and I had matchsticks propping my eyelids open, so I reluctantly gave up and went to bed.

The next morning I got up early and phoned the bank to send Mr Knitbert his money. Overnight I had had a brilliant idea. That evening, I downloaded new firmware for the router! It was a bit scary, especially the bit where it said that the router would be disconnected from the internet and not to even breathe near it until it had compeltely rebooted. All went well, though, and I excitedly turned on the laptop. I had a different error message! Hooray! Well, no, in fact, I still could not connect, and now it told me that the network I was trying to connect to was hidden. By now it was 1.00 in the morning and I had matchsticks propping my eyelids open, so I reluctantly gave up and went to bed.

The next day I phoned Mr Knitbert and told him the whole story. He laughed and laughed.

Then he made a couple of suggestions for fixing it and authorised the purchase of a new router if those didn't help. When I got home, DSoK was back. He had his laptop out, and it was abandoned on his bedroom floor. He had also worked out that he could access the internet from Mr Knitbert's computer and was going through his emails. "What's the matter with the %$*&ing router?" he asked. I explained. "Have you tried downloading the latest firmware?" he suggested, in that irritating way people have when you have already tried everything. "Yes" I snarled.

I tried Mr Knitbert's suggestions and they didn't work, so I ordered a new router from an online supplier. Then I remembered that the virus checker and firewall for both laptops was on a subscription which had recently expired, and because of all the problems with the internet I had not got around to renewing it. I logged into my account and paid for the new subscriptions. A dreadful thought then began to cross my mind...could the lapsed subsriptions for the firewalls have anything to do with the connection problems? It seemed unlikely, and yet....
DSoK and I disabled and uninstalled the firewalls, and the laptops were still unable to connect to the internet. Phew! So that wasn't it then. DSoK and I had a Chinese takeaway and watched an episode of House. By now it was 1.00 in the morning and I had matchsticks propping my eyelids open, but I needed to get a route for my next day's trip to a friend's house for the weekend. Idly I opened my laptop and switched it on...and it connected instantly to the internet with no problems. I surfed for an hour and then went to bed.

The next morning at 9.30 a courier arrived with my new router. And since that moment my laptop and DSoK's have connected to the internet with no problem at all. Since I paid my Macafee subscription...
Spooky eh?

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

The Dog Ate My Router

Well, hello, dear reader, I'm still here and still knitting; well, still purchasing yarn, anyway! I don't know quite what happened but I've just emerged blinking into the sunlight and realised that a month has gone by and I haven't posted here. I do have a sort of excuse, because I have been having problems with my wireless router. In fact, I now have two wireless routers, and as far as I know they both work fine. I'll tell you all about it in a while, but first let's get up to date with my knitting.
Last weekend I was staying with a friend of mine, let us call her Dogbert, who also likes to knit. On Saturday we drove from her house to Colinette's fabulous factory shop in Wales, where we met Aknita, The Cabled Climber, Melody Yarns and murdo from the Crafty Threads and Yarns forum. Dogbert and I spent a happy morning at Colinette, and I might have bought a few things (whistles nonchalantly). Oh well, OK, since you are twisting my arm, here they are:

This is the Toast and Marmalade pattern book, and the picture you can see is the Waffle throw, which is made from 700g of Colinette Giotto, a rather lovely ribbon yarn.
I decided that I would like to have some simple things to knit up quickly in lovely colours on large needles, as an antidote to Mystery Stole 3, which I am progressing with (slowly) which requires quite a lot of attention. In fact if anyone speaks to me while I am knitting it, or in fact looks as though they are going to speak, I have to start aggressively counting out loud and saying things like "yarn over, slip one knit one, pass slip stitch over, knit two together, I'M KNITTING LACE, knit seven....YES?)

Here is one set of colours I bought for this throw, these ones were from the bargain bin (the other colours I bought weren't though!)

and here is the throw just started. It does grow quite quickly so it is a bit larger than that now. Yes those are Lantern Moons, what of it?

I also bought some Giotto in another set of colours to knit a second Waffle Throw. These are all new colours and I just adore them.The dark one is called Sable, and has black and a deep purple in it, lovely!

Some Prism in colourway Windfall to knit the ballet wrap from Interweave Knits Winter 2005 (makes mental note to self - must renew my sub to Interweave in time for the Fall issue which is imminent, I think),

and some gorgeous, soft, silk Tao in moss, which is to crochet the Sweet Chestnut scarf from Colinette's Arboretum book. The plan is to crochet this on the aircraft because yes, dear reader, Knitbert is travelling again. Next Saturday I am off to Singapore for a week to join Mr Knitbert who has been there for three weeks so far this time. It's a thirteen hour flight, so should be just about right, and I'll have my granny squares as a backup.

Now this gorgeous yarn is handspun and was sent to me, along with these divine stitchmarkers (which she made herself),
by Noo, as part of the Crafty Threads and Yarns "one skein" swap. Isn't that a lovely parcel? I am so pleased with it, and it is the softest, loveliest yarn you could ever imagine, and in those beautiful shades of sea green. I think I'm going to make it into a scarf.

One final new acquisition and then I'll stop for now. I'll tell you all about the router tomorrow, I promise. When I met murdo at Colinette, she brought me....a set of Knitpicks Options! which she had been kind enough to include in her order from a friend in the States. They are sooo lovely...I have wanted some for a while now, and am delighted with them.

The photo at the top is me at the start of a walk I took with DSoK earlier this month, which involved a lot of rain, as you can see...but it's been lovely this week so far, fingers crossed that summer is finally here.