Sunday, 24 June 2012

Medals and round-up

Please forgive my blog today- I'm in proud Mum mode...

On Friday the Welsh Open Aerobic Gymnastics Championships started at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff. It's a 3 day event, starting with the Recreational level (RAC) on Friday, National level (NAC) on Saturday and International level (FIG) on Sunday. Amy was there representing her club, Weston Aerobic Gymnastics, on Friday at RAC level, in two categories, pairs and group (six team).

Weston took the biggest team on the Friday, and took home lots of medals in the different age levels and categories. Amy and her partner Jenny competed first in the pairs competition and scored a personal best of 13.400! This compared to a previous PB of 12.450, so they've come a long way. They were up against a pair from another gym club (not being mean, we assumed they'd get 3rd place, such is the level of Weston!) and another pair from Weston. These were a mixed pair, Ben and Charlotte, who are great. They are moving up a level to NAC shortly, so it was quite competitive between them and Amy & Jenny. Unfortunately this time round, Ben and Charlotte got the better of Amy and Jenny, scoring 13.450, a PB for them too.

Amy & Jenny at the start of their routine

Silver for Amy & Jenny, gold for Ben & Charlotte
Amy and Jenny then had just 10 minutes before they were on the floor again competing in the six team. This was a first for both Weston and RAC level competitions having a six team, as it is hard to choreograph a routine for 6 gymnasts at this level. Although they weren't competing against anyone else, they did a fantastic routine which the whole crowd watched, as it's quite something to see so many on the floor at one time! They did a brilliant routine and scored 12.325 which they were delighted with, getting themselves a gold medal.

Start of the six team routine, Amy is standing on the right!

Gold medalists! Amy is in the front row, on the left
It was a great day, long and tiring, but great none-the-less. Weston's coaches and elite gymnasts were back for another two days of competition after that, while we came home to recover. Big thanks to all the coaches for producing such amazing gymnasts!!

Next competition is the Club Championships in a few weeks time where they compete individually...stay tuned.

Meanwhile, in the garden, there has been very little progress on the patio due to the weekends being wet for the last month. My veggies are all growing well though, with very little slug and snail damage considering how wet it has been. The whole garden could do with some sunshine now though! Bizarely, I was out pottering yesterday when I looked at my autumn fruiting raspberries and noticed some ripe ones! There were only 3, so I picked them and ate them, but there are plenty more to come, which will be frozen until there's enough for jam making.

Knit-wise I've finished one side of cushion number 3 for Woolsack and am getting on well with the second side, so I'm on schedule to finish this week. I'll post a photo when it's done. I've just bought some more yarn for my next project, the rather unseasonal hot water bottle cover I'll be making for the local flower show's craft section. I've already got a hat and gloves done for 2 categories. I went to Knit Club at Suzie's Wool Sanctuary yesterday and caught up with my lovely knitty friends. Twenty one of us squeezed into Suzie's lounge and kitchen for 3 hours of knitting- bliss! I love going and seeing the beautiful projects (now including the dark art of crochet) that people create on such a regular basis, they are truly inspirational and slightly mad ladies!!

I've been reading loads lately, mainly chick-lit by Trisha Astley, but I've also made a start on my classic of the month 'Catch 22' and my work book club selection 'The Death Relic' by Chris Kusneski, so there's plenty to keep me busy!

Finally, my father-in-law's operation went well, although he is now minus a spleen as well as his stomach, as the stomach turned out to be cancerous too. He's had a few complications, the latest meaning a pint of fluid being drained from one lung- which if left any longer could've meant him drowning from the internal fluids. It's scary what can happen, but at least that's all behind him now, and he's starting to make good progress so will hopefully be out of hospital by the end of the week.

Have a lovely week all, here's hoping for a bit of sunshine before the end of the month too!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Twitter and Woolsack Cushions

Well, it has to be said, for a technophobe, I'm doing well, I have a facebook account, set my blog up at the start of the year, and have now dived headfirst into the world of Twitter! I'm still not entirely sure what I'm doing, but I have sent and received tweets, re-tweeted, followed and am being followed! It's a strangely addictive world that I have to blame Debbie, my aerobics teacher/ Amy's gym coach for, as the gym club set up a twitter account to keep us up-to-date with news from the World Championships. So far it's been great, and also quite useful, especially with Woolsack...

As you may remember, I've been knitting cushions for the Woolsack project for the Olympics- they aim to give a handmade cushion (knitted, crocheted, felted, weaved) made and stuffed with British wool to all Olympic athletes (GB and internationally) that want one as a gift/souvenir of the games. I finished my first one in November, but made the cardinal sin of forgetting to take a photograph of the finished item, I only have one of the first side:

One side of my 1st cushion knitted in Rowan Scottish Tweed using Woolsack's 'Shadowlines' pattern

I took it along to a knitting show in Exeter where I'd helped to get Woolsack a stand, and I sewed it up and stuffed it there, leaving it with them with a little note attached to the recipient from me wishing them luck in the Olympics. I then started on cushion No 2 and finally finished the sewing up (I hate that bit) last week and posted it off to be stuffed. I did remember to take a photo of this one (with temporary stuffing!):

One side of my second cushion

The other side of the second cushion- knitted in Rowan Scottish Tweed

I've been keeping up with news from Woolsack on facebook, and now Twitter. Imagine my surprise when they posted a photo last week of some cushions that were sent to the GB Archery first one was there! At least it looks very like it, so I'm claiming it! I'm not sure if it has gone to Olympic or Paralympic team, but either way, it's found a recipient, which I'm really pleased about! Here's the photo of the cushions so you can compare my picture of the first side to the archer's finished cushions- I'm sure it's the same one:

Woolsack cushions for GB Archery -mine is at the front, 2nd in on the right

GB Paralympic Archery Team
 Inspired by this, I've ordered more British wool to try and knit another cushion, superfast this time, as time is ticking away and it needs to be done as soon as possible!
Whilst all this excitement has been going on, the poor organisers of Woolsack have been having a nightmare trying to distribute the cushions to athletes. Despite originally being promised an area in the Olympic Village where they could have a stand to hand out cushions, things have changed drastically. They aren't allowed this space now (something to do with corporate sponsors as far as I can tell) and aren't allowed to approach athletes, teams or countries to let them know about the scheme! It's farcical, and because of this, is finally getting national press because of this (they were even on BBC Breakfast news on yesterday morning, knitting as they were interviewd!). Fortunately, Woolsack aren't giving up, and are getting the word out there- the tv appearance resulted in 100's of emails to the organisers, many of which were athletes. In my own small way I've helped too- back with Debbie and her husband Nigel who run Amy's gym club. They are also bigwigs in the world of aerobic gymnastics and know a lot of people. They were attending a British Gymnastic Awards night last night in Telford, and took up print outs I did of the Woolsack information and passed them onto the GB rhythmic gymnastic team, so they can now be involved if they want to. I'm really grateful to Debbie and Nigel for doing this. To top off their night, one of our club's volunteers won the 'Volunteer of the Year' award, which is brilliant both for her and the club. Well done Jess!

If you want to follow me on twitter I'm @aliknits1509 and you'll be very welcome! If you want to find out more about Woolsack, they are on twitter as @woolsackuk  their web address is: and they are on Facebook as Woolsack. There is still time to get knitting a cushion, just check out the regulations on the website first! Amy's amazing gym club is Weston Aerobic Gymnastics whose website is:

Finally, good luck to my father-in-law who is going into hospital my a major operation to remove his cancerous tumour and stomach as a preventative measure...we've all got our fingers crossed that it goes as planned xx

Thanks for reading, have a good week all!

Sunday, 3 June 2012


Well, it's been a while since I updated my blog, but not a lot has been going on really.

We had beautiful weather last week, so the garden has been flourishing. We've cut the new grass twice now which was an exciting event as we know it's taken well, but will soon to become a chore no doubt! The veggies are settling in and growing, especially the salad crops in the greenhouse, not long now until we'll be eating fresh lettuce. All my seeds have now come up, so I have lots of cucumber, french bean and broad bean plants to pot on soon before they can go out. The flowers in the border are looking good too, and so far, nothing has died since being planted out!

Not content with finishing the 'green' bit of the garden, Chris has now taken up the old patio. Yesterday we spent laying the sub-base and moving one crate of sandstone slabs from the front drive to the back garden. Thank goodness we had a wheelbarrow, the slabs are really heavy- I'm not going to need a gym workout with all the weight lifting this weekend. This morning we moved the second crate, slab by slab, to the back garden. There's another crate to go, but those are for putting by the front door, a later project, so the crate on the drive could be a feature for a little while yet. We're hoping to start laying the slabs tomorrow if it stays dry. I don't know how long it's likely to take as we have a 6m by 4m patio plus a path around the garage to could be a while! In the meantime, here's the slabs, they're supposed to be 'fossil sandstone' (with the 'fossil' actually being a kind of algae I think) although not many of them have any 'fossil' marks, but they have a lovely hue to them and should look great when they're down!

the 'fossil' in the sandstone

Lovely colours and textures

They aren't in their final positions, just stored for now!

Last night we entertained the whole of the Norty Corner. They came over for the evening, with the youngsters playing various games on the Wii and the PS3, while us oldies reminisced about the eighties as we listened to 'Absolute 80's''s strange how we can all remember the lyrics to songs we didn't even particularly like at the time, not to mention an extraordinary amount of obscure information about various people, yet can I remember why I came upstairs most of the time??

Finally, Moria at work retired this week after almost 23 years. We had a lovely send off for her, with a lunchtime meal the day before and an office street party for the Jubilee on her last day (a happy coincidence of timings). As well as the office present, I wanted to make her something personal. She'd mentioned a while back that she'd always wanted a Harry Hill's 'Knitted Character' hoping she wasn't joking, I made her one. In the TV show there was a whole storyline about the 'K Factor' a knitted version of the X Factor, for knitted characters. In the end, the main character turned out to be crocheted not knitted, which was the punchline, but as I can't crochet, I found a knitting pattern, and here he is:

She was very suprised to receive him, and really did seem pleased!

Well, that's it for now, I'm off to watch some of the Thames Pagaent now, and hopefully make the bunting I was supposed to do last week...

More updates later in the week as we have a street party in our road on Tuesday which should be fun. Fingers crossed for the weather...

Have a good Jubilee weekend all