Saturday, January 30, 2010
A Week In Paris
I've spent this week working at home, in my apartment in Paris - I don't especially like working at home, I like a change of scene from time to time, but I think I'm in the minority, since everyone else on my project would rather work at home than not, it seems. I tend to miss my colleagues and the clients, and I always forget to buy lunch food and have to go out and get a salad or something. This week going out has not been much of a pleasure, it has been extremely cold and windy, below zero each morning, and with snow often at night. I've had the heater up very high, which is unusual for me.

When I work at home, I always think I am going to get lots of other things done, but it almost never works like that. If anything, I tend to overwork a bit, and this week was no exception, I've been advising on configuration problems from afar. I have finished the stitching on my Blackbird Designs needlebook from the Loose Feathers series, and of course my camera battery is flat and the charger is in Tallinn! Which is a shame, as I have the nicest matching fabric for the backing. Cannot find the iron-on stiffening at all, though, and I know it has to be here somewhere! I think I'll have to excavate a large basket of sewing materials this afternoon, it may be in there. Sometimes it is annoying having a small flat with not much storage space, and you wouldn't think it would be difficult to find things, but it is.

I go back to Tallinn for on Monday, but only for a week before another week at home, and then back again for two weeks. But I don't know how much longer I will be there, as some people will leave the project in March, and we don't yet know who. I could be one of them, as there is work in France apparently and I am one of the small number of French speakers (a propos of which, my landlady called the other day, and among other things remarked how much my French has improved, she hasn't spoken to me for about two years, so it's noticeable for her, I guess). When I next spend a weekend in Tallinn, I will buy lots of Estonian yarn, some linen and lots of candles and soaps from Joik, which is my total favourite Estonian product. I sent some to my sister for Christmas, and she loved them too.

In fact I am a bit nervous about working in France again, after what happened last time... but I guess I just have to hope that there are no weird people at this client. Apparently after I left the other one, it was realised that the woman there was practically psychopathic, and things did get better for the others, but it was too late for me. I still shudder to think of the screaming and the four hour meetings with no breaks. I did hear that a lot of the permanent staff there had left and I can understand why.
posted by Ally at 1:55 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, January 22, 2010
Homeward Bound, Almost
I'm going home tomorrow for a week, and I have to say I am ecstatic, since the temperature in Paris is 5 degrees and in Tallinn it is normally about -15, sometimes even colder. Someone told me they were expecting -30 over the weekend, but I don't know if this is wild exaggeration or what. Anyway only one more sleep and I will be on my plane to Copenhagen and then another one to Paris.

This week has not been particularly great from a work point of view either, and it has been a bit of a struggle to keep on an even keel, since there are again many people in the room, and quite a few of them have no concept of how to behave in public, it seems. If I had one euro for every time people had not closed the door properly and left it rattling, I would be extremely rich. I wish Alec were here, he's rather good at getting people to close doors properly, they just don't dare not to. Also they don't dare to drivel on the way a couple of people have been doing today, it's so silly, some of the conversation here, that I can't possibly give an idea of it.

I'm going to try knitting on planes again tomorrow, as well, since I got a Knitpro needle set for Christmas (pink!!!) and the tips detach, so they can go in my pencil case and pretend to be pencils. I'm halfway through the Citron shawl, and I want to get it finished, so I can say that is one out of ten. Mine is from that excellent combination of Noro Kureyon sock yarn plus Rowan Kidsilk Haze in heathery mauves and greens, and I would really like to have it round my neck - I am wearing my Miss Marple every day, so a change would be nice. I also have yarn from the shop in Murivahe opposite the knitwear market by the Tallinn walls for the next shawl, which is Revontuli.

I have been doing a bit of stitching this week, also, but no great progress to report, I hope that will change by the time I come back. There's a fair bit to do at home, also work of course, but let us hope for progress!
posted by Ally at 1:40 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Tallinn Again
This is the park next door to my apartment building in the centre of Tallinn. As you see, there is a great deal of snow here in comparison with the UK... I have to say the trees look lovely with the snow on their branches.

It's certainly a lot livelier here than Reading was in the snow, all the shops are open for one thing. I'm finding it a good deal easier to get around than last winter - I have my boots, which are quite good for walking on slippery bits and also I know where things are now, instead of just having to walk out into the white wilderness and find where I am going. The weather has actually been good since I got back, with very little wind or other unpleasantness, and we can see the days getting longer, a few minutes each day, which is good news.

I haven't been going out a lot, other than to work, but I did go for a bit of a walk yesterday, the Old Town looks so beautiful with snow, but parts of it are pretty hard for walking. I'll have to be braver the next time I am here for a weekend!
posted by Ally at 4:53 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Yes, in Reading we were snowed in at the hotel - view from my room:

This is the very centre of Reading, the hotel is between the railway station and the main shopping street. Our office is outside the town in a business park where it is necessary to take a bus, and on Wednesday that bus stopped running! So we asked the hotel for a meeting room, fortunately they had one spare, and we spent the rest of the week there. Most of the shops in Reading were closed, so it was a good thing I had gone to John Lewis and WH Smith on the Sunday afternoon when I arrived - at least I had something to read, and I also bought some Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed that was on sale. £5.95 per 100 grams, it would be twice that in France, and they certainly would not have had 20 skeins of gorgeous purple flecked colour here. It's going to turn into a tweedy jacket, ideal for spring in Tallinn.

I was slightly nervous about getting back, aince Eurostar had problems again, but I turned up early at St Pancras, and they put me on the next train, so I got home a bit earlier than I was scheduled to, even though the train stopped at Ashford for technical reasons and also at Calais, to let people off. St Pancras did not seem to be as shambolic as it was shown on tv the day before, they were well organised, putting colour-coded stickers on people's tickets, and just announcing "Red train to Paris boarding now", "Green train to Brussels" and so on. The only thing was that there was no bread with meals, they hadn't been able to get any, but they were showering us with chocolates and champagne, so everyone was quite happy.

The tv reports and the newspapers in the UK were treating the snow as a national disaster, so much so that I had email from my sister saying that my mother had rung to find out if she had heard from me, or was I stranded somewhere. So I called Mummy last night to tell her that it was all much exaggerated in my opinion, and everyone should have been out shovelling instead of sitting inside moaning about the weather. Tallinn would be shut for six months a year if the same sort of behaviour prevailed there.

In Paris today, in fact we have snow, which seems to have started falling overnight and is still doing so - it is pretty quiet, but I expect that buses and so on are running, at least inside the city, there may be some perturbations in the suburbs. I am off to the hairdressers after I've had something to eat, and I may look in at Le Bon Marche to see if there's anything nice on sale (memo to self, do NOT NEED any more handbags), but that will be the extent of my deplacements for the day.

posted by Ally at 12:02 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 2 comments
Saturday, January 02, 2010
2010 - Happy New Year!
A little belated, since yesterday all I did was sit here and listen to a Ruth Rendell book and feel cold - it is below zero here. I did nothing on New Year's Eve either, as again it was cold and extremely foggy, so not conducive to going out. I hope you all had a slightly more exciting time, however.

During the day on New Year's Eve, I went to the office to do a load of expenses, of course there was no-one there, so it was quiet and peaceful. I also took the opportunity to call my bank and open a new savings account, as it is part of my New Years resolutions to save more this year. In France we have rather a strange system of savings accounts, there are different types, with different tax rules and restrictions on how much you are allowed to have in each. I already have one where you may keep small amounts with quite good tax conditions, the new one is for larger sums and not so good interest, but still good tax conditions. You can only have one of each type, of course.

Apart from that, New Year's resolutions centre mostly on stitching etc this year....... I want to finish the UFOs from last year, there are about five smallish pieces that have been in limbo for a while. I also hauled out my Marquoir de Justine, which has only one stitch in it, literally, and I will work on that, then choose another large piece after that, and so on. That should see some progress. For knitting, I haven't really set any specific goals, except to use up some of my yarn, to which end I joined the 10 Shawls in 2010 group on Ravelry. I'm not at all sure that I can do ten, but there are a number I want to do - Ishbel, Revontuli, Citron - that I have the yarn for and can get on with. I cast on yesterday for an evening shawl in a fancy Katia yarn that I have had for a while. it won't take long, so that is a good one to start with. When I get back to Tallinn - about ten days time - I think it will be Revontuli, as all my Aad Long yarn is there.

Now I should actually get dressed, it is nearly 11am, and I am still sitting here in my pyjamas! Tomorrow I can't do this, or for the foreseeable future, as it is off to the training course this week, then back to Tallinn the week after.
posted by Ally at 11:21 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments