Tuesday, January 30, 2007
A Little Stash Enhancement
I made it to Des Fils et Une Aiguille on the way home last night - they had a lot of new things there, and I bought the Drawn Thread Alphabet Charts A, B, C and D, E, F. I also bought a very nice Italian chart by Renato Parolin:

It looks red in the photo, but the chart calls for DMC 221 - very dark pink.

It's good to be able to go into an actual shop and look through boxes of charts and take them away with me then and there!

Today I came to the office, having left my laptop there overnight, but I am going to go out soon and do some more shopping. There is a training course being given by Aurelien in the room next to my desk - I can hear him raving on, he is doing it in English, as there are Russians present, but goodness knows if they can understand, as he has such a heavy French accent. I can't actually tell what the course is supposed to be about, which is not a real good sign. However, at least he's not on my project, that's all I can say - you want to hear Alec and David on the subject.

I still feel unbelievably tired, hopefully after next weekend in Nicosia this will improve!

posted by Ally at 11:13 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, January 29, 2007
Monday in Paris
I got here more or less in one piece on Saturday, it wasn't the greatest flight, however, and it was delayed a good half hour, probably because in the departure lounge at Larnaca, they were running round with bits of paper calling out people's names and that sort of thing. They don't stick the boarding pass in a machine as in Paris, they do it all by hand, and quite often wrong.

So I spent most of yesterday asleep, although I did go out to buy some books... today I made it into this office at 11am, not bad, and I've just been to the work doctor, who has pronounced me fit for work. I'm about to go off and hit some shops, like the needlework shop, in fact. I will have to show my face in here tomorrow, but not for too long, I hope.

No stitching progress, owing to flying / sleeping...
posted by Ally at 5:20 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, January 26, 2007
Toccata 1 Finish!
This is it! Started on Sunday, 7th January and finished on Thursday, 25th January. This is very quick for me, and explained by the fact that I have been in Nicosia all that time, and not frantically busy at work.

I am very happy with the way it has turned out, and I did greatly enjoy all the different stitches. I'm looking forward to starting on Toccata 2. I only ordered it last week, so it probably is not at home waiting for me, but you never know. It will be interesting to see what is there. Yesterday I did also order three Jane Austen sampler charts from SBB - they were on sale, so it was a good deal, but probably they will take ages to arrive.

Last night I have put a few stitches into the new piece AMAP Point de Reprises . This is larger than Toccata and I am doing it on 28 count off-white linen, with the recommended floss colours. The floss feels a bit rough after the mostly silk Toccata, I must be getting soft! But I'll get used to it again. I'm not going to be one of those people who always use silk. For one thing, it would get too expensive for me, for another, it would mean waiting for the thread for every single project.

I need to do some more knitting, my alpaca scarf will not be worn this winter unless I do! And I have sock wool waiting as well, and some wool for the fingerless mitts from Knitty that everyone is making.
posted by Ally at 9:01 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Nearly There
Last night I finished the Queen Stitch and started the hemstitching on Toccata 1 - I think actually I have done quite a good job on the Queen Stitch, and of course the hemstitching is quite rapid, so maybe there will be a completed Toccata picture tomorrow.

I've been seeing all these previews of what is coming at Nashville in a couple of weeks, and I think there will be some things I want to order. But we shall see... I have a lot to do, and I still want to get some things in Paris. I am starting to get fantasies about Jane Austen samplers and Bronte samplers also, it's my literary leanings coming out again. I am also going to buy some of the red sampler patterns at Des Fils Et Une Aiguille, I think I will be there at 11am on Monday morning. I have to go to the epilation first, and that opens at 10am. Also on Monday I have this medecin de travail, in the afternoon, and that is out at La Defense, near the office. I just hope I am not horribly tired in Paris, like the last few times I have been there. Tuesday I want to go to Ulla Popken and buy some clothes, if possible.

It's a pain, David is staying the weekend in Nicosia, and I won't be here - we could have got a car and driven out to see some Byzantine churches and some little villages. He's not as good a travelling companion as Nicky, of course, but he's pretty good.

I talked to Leo on the phone earlier, he is not happy, his leg is not healing as fast as it should. He did tell me that the lawyer is supposed to be calling me regarding a visit to the immigration department here, but so far I have not heard from her, I suppose that will take another goodness knows how many weeks.
posted by Ally at 12:05 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Even More Incredible
Yes, the saga of the French election continues.... we have all of sixteen people who can vote in this office, and it is becoming as lengthy as a Presidential election.

What has happened now, after the candidate objected, was that HR rescheduled the election for Thursday. But then the head vote counter said that, as everyone had voted already, she was going to count the votes and declare the election valid, unless anyone else objected by close of business yesterday. Lo and behold, when I arrive this morning, there is an impassioned email from two French girls saying they did object. So goodness knows what is going to happen now! All I can say is that they must have a lot more spare time than the rest of us. I am not looking forward to going to the office in Paris next week, as everyone will try and tell me at length their version of events, which will be incredibly tedious. Unfortunately this always happens to me, I think my face is too kind, or something. David and Alec are agog, they can't believe the fuss.

On a far more interesting subject, I am now in the middle of the Queen Stitches, I made a supreme effort last night. But goodness, they take me a long time, double-checking that each one is in the correct place, and so on. I hope to finish them today, and start the far more pleasant hemstitch.

I also succumbed and order Toccata 3 with linen and thread from Silver Needle. I tell myself this is a good thing to do while the euro is still at a favourable rate with the USD!
posted by Ally at 10:49 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Election Scandal!
Our employee elections, that is - they have had to be rescheduled because one of the candidates objected to the legal voting practices not being followed to the letter. So now they are on Thursday afternoon, but I don't have to send another set of votes, it would be impossible anyway in the time frame. It sounds as though HR are fed up with the whole thing, the Hologram has resigned, in fact, although not because of this, because of everything, and I think his assistant is having a hard time.

The other news is that I have finished the 70 Toccata 1 squares! Only the Queen Stitches and the hemstitching to go, so I hope I can do the Queen Stitches without too many problems. Then I think I will finish "Be Not Afraid" and start my AMAP Darning Sampler. That is on white linen (fairly unusual for me), I think I chose 28 count, with DMC threads in quite a wide range of colours. Would you believe I did have to buy a couple that I didn't have?
posted by Ally at 1:52 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, January 22, 2007
Monday AM
Here I am again............. I slept quite well, and I went to bed early as well, 10:30pm! I did even more Toccata 1 and have only five squares to go, plus the Queen Stitch and the hemstitched border. Luckily I love doing hemstitch and can happily do meters of it.

This has encouraged me to order Toccata 2 plus thread pack from the Silver Needle, which is an ONS I often order from. The other ones I like are Traditional Stitches and Criss Cross Row, all have very good ranges - but slightly different things - and excellent service. And they don't mind sending to wherever I am and at the real price of postage, not some artificial high, like some shops we won't mention, that hear the word "Europe" and slap on $20 plus for postage, even if it weighs 50 grams.

I need a fix of a real needlework shop, though, so I will be going to Des Fils et Une Aiguille when I am in Paris. Last time I was there, I nearly succumbed to some Italian charts, lots of letters and verses in red, very fetching indeed. Not that I really read Italian, but they looked good, and there were plenty of hearts in them as well. I just need to see lots and lots of threads and linens and things as well - I could never live in Cyprus full-time, because there are no needlework shops here, everything has to come by mail-order. Or you need to be like me and go to Paris once a month!

Leo is still not back, so Alec and I are sitting here by ourselves - David is at home for another two days, he has a visiting sister-in-law, so has orders to be present, which I don't think enthused him very much. I am just waiting for the DBA to install another release, so that I can go on testing, the prospect of course enthuses me just as much! We will be having a needlework break this afternoon after the clients have gone home!
posted by Ally at 9:52 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Sunday, January 21, 2007
57 Toccata Squares
You can probably deduce that it rained all day yesterday in Nicosia! So I did nothing except read and do Toccata squares. I did go out in the rain to have lunch, but that was about it.

Today is much finer, sunny and warmish, so I walked into the old town and up to the wall before having lunch at one of the restaurants in Laiki Geitonia. LG is dead at this time of the year, very, very few tourists around. In the summer, it's the lunch point for quite a lot of bus tours, and is crowded. In Ledra Street, there are the usual crowds of Sri Lankans etc, as it is their one day off a week. I found out that a housemaid gets paid £150 a month, I can't imagine it. And quite a lot of the people who have them are absolutely foul to them as well, there are stories one hears. Even some people I like have a bad attitude towards their maids, and the one who told me that it was OK for me to work in the afternoon, but she couldn't because she had to go to tennis and drive her kids around has a terrible attitude. She's always screaming at the maid on the phone.

David still says I was making up what she told me about working in the afternoon, but I swear it's true. And they don't work in the afternoon - the hours for the clients here are 7:30 am to 2:15 pm, although we work from about 8:30 am to 8:00 pm from Monday to Thursday. I work on Fridays also, but not so long, and David and Alec work on Sunday, but not so long. Actually we have all been trying to work less lately, because this is the lull before the storm, but we are not very good at not working so much.

On my walk today, I saw a For Sale sign in the window of my favourite creperie, I dare not tell David, because he has been telling me for a week that they have gone bankrupt because of all the free glasses of Chardonnay they gave me! I am quite sad about it, as I liked it there. Now the buffet restaurant is the only decent choice within not-getting-run-over distance. Everything else involves crossing roads.

Well, I think it is back to Toccata and my Margaret Drabble book...... at this rate I shall have it finished this week, Queen Stitch notwithstanding. Did I see something once all in Queen Stitch? That would be my worst nightmare, I think.
posted by Ally at 4:02 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, January 19, 2007
More Little Squares

Not the greatest pictures (taking them with an eye on the door in case a client shows up), but they do show how much I have done. Nearly half of the little squares, I couldn't stop last night until 11:30pm, and then only because I told myself I had to be able to get up before 8am today! I fear these little squares are addictive.

The thing is, now that I am making progress with this one, I feel I can go ahead and order Toccata 2 and Toccata 3 without (much) guilt. Maybe even the alphabet series? I saw on a message board one person who has already finished the first part of this! Goodness. I always imagine such prolific people have a life of leisure with housemaids and all, but normally one finds out that they have eight children, work as CEO of a large company and bring about world peace in their spare time!

Still do not feel great today, but I am hoping some rest over the weekend will take care of this. This is my last weekend in Nicosia for January, as next Saturday I will be going back to Paris for a few days. I have to do tax stuff there, and also see the medicin de travail, the official doctor, for my yearly check up. It's not a real check up, it's just a rather superficial work-related thing that is the law, they ask you questions about how many hours a day do you work and how many hours do you spend at the computer.

So far I am completely by myself today - Alec and David have gone home, Andy and Rosetta must be at some meeting, their doors are closed, and the guy from our local partner is sick. I have very little to do also, just some meter reading stuff (I am the local expert on this, no-one else will touch it, I'm not sure why, it's really not that bad).

And as another week ends, do I have a work permit? Oh no, of course not... apparently Leo has been trying to get in touch with the new lawyer all week, she seems to have totally dematerialised. Both Leo and the HR Hologram are avoiding me, I get notes from the Resources Director, who seems to have been delegated to humour me. He is a nice guy and I like talking to him, but I still need to have a work permit! May need to do shopping at the weekend to restore humour regarding this issue.
posted by Ally at 9:26 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Mind Over Matter
This is what I am trying at present - it seems I have the first symptoms of the plague that is sweeping Cyprus, and I do not wish them to develop. Alec came in for about an hour, then went home again, after finding that both the people he needed had also been sick for three days.

I had a meeting, then went to the Post Office to pay £9 to send my votes for the employee election to Paris by Chronopost. Hopefully they will get there by Tuesday, which is the deadline, in fact they have to be there by midday on Tuesday. I have voted for my friend Eliane as the representative, she is a project leader, and for Loic, one of the younger customer service people, for the deputy. He is nice, much nicer than the horrid old one that I am compelled to deal with all the time - and this horrid old one is also standing! I wonder if anyone will vote for him, he stood for representative last time and got one vote. You would think he would learn from this experience, but I think the reason he stands is that, if people stand for election, they have a certain immunity from being fired for about two years. Although Eliane says that they could be fired if they did something bad enough (poisoned the boss? set fire to the office?), it would just be a bit harder. Anyway I think Eliane and Loic will be a good team to lead us through this fusion with the big company.

Last night I continued with Toccata 1, I'm on square 29 now....
posted by Ally at 1:20 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
21 Out of 70!
Ah yes! This is how far I have got now... 21 little squares! I think they are very pretty and fun to do. Last night I did some after going home, having collected a baked potato on the way. I left here at 7:30pm, and David was still here, although I had been entreating him to go home for hours. This morning, however, he seems considerably better, but Alec is still not here. Our cantine lady enquired if he was in his apartment alone, maybe we had better warn him about this! She used to have a thing about Nicky as well, he was petrified of her. Once she told me that he would make a nice, easy husband! This was after she had asked me if he was married, and how old he was.

Again today I am not having a very exciting time - I did a heap of testing yesterday, and decimated Leo's list of outstanding items, and I don't have a lot left to do. David is in the same boat, I think, he keeps yawning. It is a nice day, about 17 degrees was the forecast, and it was sunny, so it would be rather nice to go out and walk around while it is still light. Here it still gets dark at 5pm, this is so tedious. Being so far south in Europe, the days are never very long, even in the middle of summer it is only light until 8pm.

Oh, oh, oh, why is it not lunchtime?
posted by Ally at 11:02 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Plague and Progress
Actually David and I went to Sitio for dinner, the restaurant where I had lunch on Sunday - this time I had chicken souvlaki, with tzatziki, salad and chips. We talked about the Royal Family, as he read last week a book of mine called "Gone With the Windsors", a novel about the Abdication. I hadn't realised he had been reading it, as it was just in the cupboard here, with a load of books I have read, and he was looking for something to read. And he hadn't realised that I actually do know something about that part of history, so we had a huge discussion about this, and who was real and who was fictional in the book.

I went home and made progress on Toccata 1, I have 15 out of 70 squares done now. I have to say, I love Waffle Stitch, the effect is quite wonderful. The Bockens linen thread I am using instead of Londonderry is fine - I have a lot of this Bockens, because that's what we used at Skals for Hedebo. And also the DMC instead of the dark blue silk is fine too, I don't think it would matter to use even more of a mixture of floss and silk. Now that I am filling in the centre of the cloth, the subdued effect grows on me more.

Today Alec has not come to work, he sent a mail saying he would work from home. This is incredibly unusual, so he must be virtually at death's door. I think David will go home early as well, he says he had a dreadful night, with about two hours sleep, coughing and spluttering and also with pains in the side of his face, which sounds gruesome. So it looks as though I will be the last one standing today, so far I have not got whatever is going around. And I am the one who has pills for high blood pressure, stress, etc, etc! I do hope I don't get it, I had a bad enough time last year, when I kept on having no hot water and the Dwarf was quibbling about the costs of plumbers. At least this year I am in a hotel apartment, and, if something breaks, they will fix it, or move me, and, if I get sick, I wouldn't be by myself, the maid would look in and so on.

Leo just called me, so I asked him about the lawyer, he is going to call her and see what is going on. He says his leg is progressing quite slowly, not as fast as he would like at all, so I don't know when we will see him back.
posted by Ally at 10:12 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, January 15, 2007
Quick Monday Post
Just a quick post before David and I go out to dinner, this really has been quite a dreary day. Alec went home early, he seems to have caught the cold that is going around and looked quite dreadful, most unusual for him.

I have just been plugging away at the problems, we had a new release, and it was a bit better than usual, although I will need to write again and say please, please, please test everything with past, present and future dates, just as I have been asking for some time. I always find that something works for past or present, but not future, or for past and future, but not present. It's just inattention, because it is explicitly stated in the requirements, and it proves that the testing they are doing is quite useless. In the days when I was a developer, I would have been absolutely mortified if I'd had so many problems of this nature.

Did not do much more of Toccata 1 last night, I now have 11 out of 70 small squares completed, thinking about doing number 12 before dinner. I carry it around with me, there's no problem bringing it to work while Leo's away. He's still not back, I am beginning to get upset about this. Toccata 1 is actually not my favourite colours, although it is nice for a change - if I had been choosing the colours in a shop, as opposed to ordering them online, I probably would have had more pink instead of the brick colours and more mauve instead of the blue. Love the green, of course. But it does give a nice look to the piece, they are pleasant colours together. Of course, after Catherine Agnes, practically anything looks subdued.

Still no word about the work permit, I am on the point of making wax images of Cypriot lawyers and sticking all my spare pins in them... nor have we heard who is standing for the election.

Ah well, dinner, not sure what to have, a big salad with smoked salmon, or something like that, perhaps... let's go
posted by Ally at 7:23 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Bored, Bored, Bored
Really these weekends in Nicosia are something else.... it has to be the slowest place on earth, I think, apart from the traffic which is truly terrifying. Alec and I were talking the other day, and we both agreed that we now think twice before crossing roads, after what happened to Leo. I don't think he will be back this week even, and it is starting to be a problem that he is not there. We need him.

Today I did very little - had breakfast, stitched, went out for something to eat and had an afternoon nap. I've read my books I bought yesterday, and I have done all the Toccata 1 border except for the Queen Stitches, of course. Everything lines up, thank goodness, I was going to have a screaming fit otherwise.

Now it is 10pm or so, and the movie on CYBC 1 is "Pirates of the Caribbean", which seems to involve a lot of shrieking, so I've turned it off. It also has Keira Knightley, and I'm not a fan, she's one of these size zero types, so unhealthy looking. Although I thought she looked quite pretty at the start of the movie, it must have been before she started the dieting. There was a picture of her in a magazine last week, absolutely skeletal.

I had lunch at Sitio, which is somewhere we used to go occasionally, but I haven't been for ages. Chicken in wholegrain mustard sauce, with rice and vegetables, it was not bad, and it was £8.20 for that and a glass of wine. I am trying to eat at a more varied range of places, all the while without crossing any dangerous roads (yes, I know you think I am paranoid, but the problem is here that there are virtually no pedestrian crossings, and people speed routinely and drive on the footpath if they feel like it!). I will follow this plan this week also, and hope that my favourite creperie is open again after the holidays.
posted by Ally at 10:47 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Toccata 1 Photo - Saturday AM

I didn't get to take a photo yesterday, since a guy from our local partner was there all day, so here is one as of this morning - I didn't do much last night, but there has been progress during the week, as you can see.
I just got back from the Hilton, where I bought five books, four magazines and a newspaper.... at least I have something to read, I get really itchy if I don't. The selection there is not bad for a hotel kiosk, and it's better than the English section of any local bookshop. I've also been to the shop over the road to buy some bubble bath and a scented candle, so that's me set for the weekend.

posted by Ally at 11:49 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, January 12, 2007
Some Progress on Toccata and Work
Today seems somewhat better, although I was feeling depressed this morning about the work permit issue - I haven't heard anything from the new lawyer, I am starting to wonder whether she is any more competent than the old one. I will write to the HR hologram and the Resources Director yet again about it.

Last night I went out again to the buffet restaurant, it is not very crowded even on Thursday, although I think it does a roaring trade at the weekends. The man there is very friendly, and it is cheap, £8.50 for all you can eat. I had a reasonable amount, soup, salad and hot food, although nothing like the towering piles that some people were putting on their plates. Of course, if you have a Scandinavian upbringing, you know not to pile your plate at a buffet - it amuses me, when I go to Denmark, I can always tell the non-Danes by what they are putting on their plate at the smorgasbord restaurants. And it seems that the Cypriots are into full plates as well.

After that I came back home (not very far, the restaurant is only in the next street, and, if it were summer and the hotel swimming pool gates were open, I wouldn't even need to go round the corner to get there), and did Toccata 1. I have now rectified my errors, and made significant progress on the border, and have completed 9 out of 70 little squares! 70 little squares sounds horrific, but 35 of them are letters and numbers, and I don't think there are any of the others that are really difficult. The worst part actually is a part of the border that is Queen Stitches, about 60 of them, I think. I bet I do that last.

Later on, when the crowds have gone, I will take another photo and post that.... although I don't want to be here late. For the weekend, I am planning to work on Toccata and Alpaca Scarf, and not do much else. Nicosia on a wet winter weekend would have to be the most boring place in the entire universe!
posted by Ally at 10:40 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I feel somewhat better - David has gone off for a siesta, as their plane tonight is not until 1:00 am, and Alec is playing rather restful music on his PC. I have got someone working on my regression problem, and the CS man has finally been forced to look at our problems instead of writing silly notes.

I also have taken a short break and done a bit more of the Toccata border I have to restitch. There are no clients here at this hour, so it doesn't matter if I do this. In the days of the Dwarf, it would have been a hanging offence, but not now. I may even do some more, although I am not staying past about 7:00 pm tonight, I am trying to get an early start to the weekend, and get some rest.

In the French office we have to have elections, for an employee representative and deputy representative. Which we are supposed to have by law, but have not had for some time, since the previous ones left and resigned. Now, because of the fusion, it would be noticed if we did not have representatives, so there will be an election on 23rd January.

HR were trying to tell me that I needed to return to Paris for the election, since the law provides for the two oldest and the youngest employees to count the votes. Casey is the youngest, she is 30, but I am not one of the two oldest. I believe I am the third oldest, which means that one of the other older ones must be standing for the election, we have not heard of the candidates yet. However, I have said I will not return, as it is just too much to go back for that, and I did vote-counting in any case last time. The next oldest person will have to take my place.

I hate to think who will stand for election, it is very hard, when all the decent people go out on projects and you get left with the drones in the office, who all stand, but couldn't represent anything.... people have until 13th January to sign up, so I guess we find out then.
posted by Ally at 5:02 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Rats, or rather Frogs
I had to undo some of the right-hand border of Toccata 1 last night, as I had made a counting mistake! So I am even less inclined to take the advice to do the whole border first - I am now putting more letters in, just to make sure everything does line up. I plan to spend most of the weekend on this, since it looks as though we are going to get rain, and also the longer I stay inside with the heater on, the warmer the room gets. Of course, being a hotel apartment, you can't go for a walk and leave the heater on, and it takes quite a while to warm up.

Work is also frustrating, a new regression bug has crept in, and it makes it very difficult for me to continue testing. I have managed to keep my temper, although I would actually really like to kill the so-called customer service guy about another thing (the regression is the developers, they are on a different continent, in Asia, but I think the CS guy is actually on a different planet, one where human life forms are unknown).

However I did have a decent night's sleep, it was great, even though in the evening I was feeling quite anxious about various things, apart from Toccata. I didn't have any dinner, as I had a big lunch of gorgonzola salad (David had soup as well, I don't think he had dinner either). Instead I just did Toccata and Sudoku. I need to go to the Hilton this weekend and buy some books, as I have nothing at all to read. The Hilton is the best place to buy new English books that I have discovered. It also has delicious, but expensive, club sandwiches and fruit cocktails.

Ah well, I need to go and do battle with the CS alien again, he really is very stupid...
posted by Ally at 11:49 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Some Sleep At Last
I had a decent sleep last night, although I still woke up early - yesterday I went out and bought a hot water bottle, so that did help, at least I had warm feet. I also had a baked potato from the place around the corner for dinner. I thought one of the hotel cats was going to walk all the way to the takeaway with me, but she only came halfway, and then sat and watched until I came back.

This morning the head waiter was there at breakfast, he greeted me like his long lost best friend, to the amazement of the three other people who were there. There are still very few people in the hotel, it's such a dead time of the year.

I also made progess with Toccata 1, I have done most of the right-hand border now and should finish that part tonight. Actually I think it will be much quicker to stitch than I had thought. I did measure it, and it is 15cm by 20cm. I'm going to order Toccata 3 as soon as it is released, I have seen the picture of it, and it reminds me in many ways of Partita, it seems to be pretty much the same threads as well - I don't think it will be as quick to stitch as Toccata 1, though. There are other new Drawn Thread designs, tempting.

I've also pre-ordered Just Nan's Queen of the Needle Sampler, to go with my QOTN sewing case, although this still needs to be made up. I have only a little stitching to do on the back of that, but I am not sure I brought it with me. It will be nice if there are other QOTN things released, I really like the designs and the colourway. Again there are other new just Nans on the way, which tempt me. I've got quite a few that I did years ago, but QOTN is the only recent Just Nan that I've done. I have a stack of the older leaflets with charms and beads that I bought in Melbourne when Lincraft got rid of all their real needlework stuff, and we are talking about 1999 or 2000.

Work is not specially active or interesting at present, only problems and queries, nothing really to get my teeth into. Sylvain did come up with a bright idea that I should alternate, and spend two weeks in Cyprus and two weeks in Paris on his project where Gil broke his wrist and is off until mid Feb. But I told him I didn't think I could handle that physically, it would mean weekend travelling and a lot of other hassles, and anyway the client here would go berserk, they think they have exclusive use of me. I'm not inclined to do favours at present, given the whole visa and insurance debacles. Leo swears to me that the new lawyer is doing something about my work permit, I certainly hope so, because I have seen no sign of this.

Mmm, what shall I do now? I have some testing to do, I guess I could make a list of what needs to be tested, and think about doing it. I don't think David has got anything more exciting to do either, but at least he and Alec get to go home tomorrow evening. I will be here all by myself on Friday.
posted by Ally at 12:27 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Toccata Photo
This is the progress so far, all of it achieved on Sunday, as I did not do any last night - David and I went out for dinner, and I got home after 10pm. The colours are somewhat brighter than in the photo, although they are subtle rather than vibrant, and, although I think of this as a big piece of work, in fact, it is only about seven inches wide, I think. I haven't actually measured.

I'm so tired, I don't know how I'll make it through the week, I suspect I may end up sleeping on Friday, or something like that. Partly it is the new medication, I seem to wake up even earlier, although in a much better mood and without the anxiety attacks I was getting in the early hours of the morning. But I don't want to go to bed at night!

They fixed my heater yesterday, so I was able to turn it on when I got home and toast for a bit before going to bed... it was late, we were going to go to the Breton creperie, but they were closed, so we ended up going to the Cypriot buffet along the road, and that always takes a while, although we didn't eat a huge amount, just small plates of salads, then the hot food.
posted by Ally at 9:09 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, January 08, 2007
Totally Hilarious
It's my first day back at work today, and I have the expected backlog of problems that they have been saving for me for two weeks...

But today David wandered in some time after I did, looking a bit dishevelled (nothing unusual), and after about half an hour, disappeared into the bathroom, then came out again and announced that he seemed to have forgotten to shave one side of his face this morning.

So he had to go out and buy razors, and disappeared in the bathroom again to rectify the situation - all the while Andy, our main client, was looking for him, because they were supposed to have a meeting fifteen minutes ago. Alec and I were sitting there, saying, oh Andy, he will be back in just a minute or two.

Then he turned up again, went to the meeting for two hours and came back, announcing, really he didn't think that Andy was very organised! Like, pot, kettle, black - at least Andy has never turned up with half his face shaved. Poor David had to disappear for a siesta after that, he only just got back.

Leo is still at home, I heard that he spent another three days in hospital at home after his accident, and now people are joking that he has become accustomed to the life of an invalid, with his wife waiting on him hand and foot, to say nothing of not having to put up with us whinging at him about visas, expenses or whatever. I guess he will be back next week, I was fairly certain he would not come back while he was still on crutches, as it would be hard flying - Larnaca Airport is busses and steps to the planes - and the streets of Nicosia are hard enough for the able-bodied to negotiate, since, in the rare instances they do have footpaths, these are filled with cars, trees and other assorted debris. Streetlights are also a rarity, but not so potholes. I have got no idea how anyone in a wheelchair manages, it must be perfectly dreadful.

I did not get out today to the shop where they have DMC, it is about twenty minutes walk from here, and I only went out across the road to get a salad for lunch. Yesterday I did quite a bit of Toccata 1, but I have been unable to do as the booklet suggests and complete all the borders before doing the squares. As I cannot do some of the borders because of the missing colour, I have done some squares as well to help with the placement. So there is most of the top border, plus parts of the first two rows of squares completed.

Optimistically I have added a section for 2007 finishes in my sidebar, but I don't know when there will be anything in it. Never probably, if I keep on getting so many new problems every days, and if David doesn't stop roaring obscenities in my ear when things don't go his way. Sometimes he is not a restful person with whom to share a desk... and I don't even have Nicky to make faces at any more.
posted by Ally at 5:05 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Home at the Cleopatra Again
I got here late last night, after the usual nightmare journey - the plane was an hour late, which did not please my taxi driver, as Cyprus Airways told her it was on time. Mind you, it was more or less on time until we spent an hour driving around the airport at Paris, I thought we were going to drive to Larnaca, the way things were going. We also got to the hotel about five minutes ahead of another taxi carrying a guy off the same plane, who gave me a filthy look, not sure why, as I can't possibly be expected to know who from the plane is going to the same hotel.

The place seems fairly deserted, I had breakfast all by myself today, and I have a large apartment, two bedrooms, and actually freezing cold at present, since the heater in the sitting room doesn't work. On the plus side, I have managed to access a wireless network from my bedroom without any difficulty, I hope this continues! It must belong to the building next door or something.

I have started Toccata 1, and goodness, the problems I have had with threads for this, I have noticed that I am missing one colour of Needlepoint Silk. I will try to go out tomorrow and get the DMC equivalent and see how that looks with the other colours - if I don't like it, I will make an emergency order of NPS. It would have to come from the US, as unfortunately Sew and Sew don't stock it, nor does Victoria Broad, and it is not one of the colours that Atelier des Fees Brodeuses has left in stock.

It's funny, I also thought I had Toccata 2 at home, but I don't seem to, so I am going to have to order that at some stage, and I hope I can get a thread pack for that, as I think it's got different gold threads that I certainly don't already have. I'm looking forward to the new Toccata release as well...

First day of work tomorrow, I hope I can remember all my designs and so on. I'm going to have a nice rest for the rest of the day, to get ready for it. I went for a walk earlier, and Nicosia looks just the same as usual, even quieter than normal - if you want totally dead, a winter Sunday in Nicosia is really it.
posted by Ally at 3:08 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, January 05, 2007
Finally Some Pictures
First, La Ruche, before getting its metal bees, beehive button and being put in the frame:

I need to take another picture of it to show it complete, but I had this one, so thought I should post it. The linen band is rather cute, half green and half blue, I think it's a good use of the fabric.

Now, Motif Florentin, a closeup to show the pattern and texture:

And the overall view, not very exciting, it's about 25cm long:

And here is the finished (and unironed!) Catherine Agnes:

with a closeup of the corner:

I think the colours on CA are truly spectacular, and others agree - Alec looked at it while it was in progress and said he thought it was very beautiful. Coming from him, it's a big compliment.

This week has been a bit of a washout, I have not felt great and had to go to the doctor, I have some horrible new pills now, that have side effects for the first two weeks or so, just a bit of dizziness and upset stomach, nothing too horrific, but still. I've also spent rather too much time chasing up insurance and work permits, only the insurance has materialised. At present I am at work having extensive dialogue with the Resources Director, who is trying to get the necessary documentation for me to be allowed to enter Cyprus tomorrow. And chatting with Nicky, who thought I was already there (he was supposed to go to the US for Christmas, but didn't because of the Heathrow fiasco). The others have all gone out to have sushi, but I declined to join them, as wet, cold, raw fish in this sort of temperature is not really my idea of fun.

This year, so far, I have done virtually no stitching, and certainly cannot boast of any 2007 finishes! I've been too occupied with doctors, medication, and work permits to do much.

But I did well in 2006, if you look at my list of finishes in the side bar (although there is some construction still to do). If I can do as well in 2007, I will be happy. I have two large samplers, Toccata 1 and AMAP Darning Sampler, ready to go, when I am in Cyprus, and I am also taking a few smaller things. There are a few things I am leaving for later, I don't intend to doany more afghan squares before Easter, I think, and maybe the same for Lefkaritika, we shall see.

posted by Ally at 1:27 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments