Sunday, 20 December 2009
On holiday - finally!
Despite having three days leave last week, it sure didn't feel like a holiday as I was busy preparing for my two job interviews. I had one on Thursday, which was in the form of a practical test. It was all stuff I could do, except that I only had one hour to do it in. I had a 10-slide Powerpoint presentation to proofread (annotating changes on the hard copy) and it was riddled with errors, everything from spelling mistakes to mislabeled charts, and graphs that didn't add up to 100%. That took about 25 minutes, then I had to write an internet story based on a provided press release (another 25 minutes to read the press release then write a story), and in the remaining time to draft copy for bullet points on a poster, based on the same press release. I finished just as the examiner arrived back, but felt like I had been having a heart attack for an hour. I was already in doubts about this job, having experienced for the first time the commute from my house to Canary Wharf (a long way), and arriving in a building which had a lobby the size of an airport check-in lounge (and similar decor), then travelling up to the test floor to see bank after bank of call-centre style desks. Then the examiner said that what I had just done was fairly typical for the communications team, who are always working under time pressure. Not sure that I want to do that even if they are paying a lot. Anyway, it will be a few days before I found out how I did. If they like my work, they will invite me in for the next step which is a face to face interview with the hiring manager. I suppose it's all good experience.
The second job interview, by contrast, was with a much smaller company who are fairly local to me. This is for a 3.5 day job and really sounds quite interesting. I was feeling fairly excited until I found out that they are looking for someone with a car, as there is a need to drive about 100 miles up the M1 a couple of times a month to liaise with the manager, plus visit some manufacturing sites occasionally. I can actually drive, and I have a license, but I have never owned my own car and have hardly driven at all for the last 20 years. There is no need here, as public transport is widely available, I get the train to work, and if I need to go somewhere on the weekend then my husband will drive me. However, I girded my loins and announced my willingness to get a second car with my severance package. Everyone else can drive - how hard can it be? :) If I can figure out my new mobile phone, then surely I can learn how to drive (again). Don't know when I will find out about that job, I don't know how many people they are considering.
I wasn't even sure I was going to have the second interview, as the weather prediction was a very unusual one for the south of England: 8 inches of snow! Luckily we only got a dusting here, but even that was enough to cause various accidents as people aren't used to driving in it. Straight after the interview, I got the train up to Watford Junction to meet my husband, only the train I wanted was cancelled (presumably due to the weather), so I ended up having to change three times. We were off to his office christmas party, being held in a hotel where we had booked rooms for us and my DS. So I had christmas dinner and danced until midnight, and a good time was had by all. Saturday we went up to Nottingham for my family's annual pilgrimage to Warhammer World, the mecca for Games Workshop nuts. (If you don't know what that is, then you probably do not have male offspring). I left my DS and DH to it, and took the car and went DRIVING! I can still do it, although I got lost several times. I went to a knitting shop in Beeston, where I got a cool tote bag emblazoned with "I heart
Knitting". Then I drove 20 miles up north of Nottingham to New Ollerton, to visit Heath's Country Store, which has both knitting and quilting supplies. There I bought a few fat quarters of quilting fabric.
The driving went really well, I even parallel parked, but I was exhausted by the time I found my way back to Games central. And on the way back home today, we stopped in at the Fabric Guild in Leicester, a great place for cheap quilting fabric. I picked up some christmas flannels to make a quick christmas quilt, and some other flannel to make another tv quilt (because we have two flannel tv quilts and there are three of us, so we are always fighting this time of year because of how warm they are), some bag handles so I can try some more felted bags, a new pair of Fiskars snipping scissors, some cheap christmas gift bags, a pillow form, some toy stuffing, a roll of quilt wadding, and a printed panel table runner. Good haul really.
So, enough about my adventures over the weekend, but that's why I'm late blogging. What have I been up to? I started a new pair of fingerless gloves over the weekend, using some great self-patterning sock yarn. Actually, it was going to be socks, but the yarn is so pretty I started over again and made it gloves, using a pattern from my birthday book: Ann Budd's Knitter's book of Handy Patterns.
I finished my f-i-l's xmas scarf, knit with the Farrow Rib pattern. I just need to wash and block it, then I can wrap it up.
I finished the knitting part of the enormous Christmas stocking which was a pattern in the Simply Knitting calendar giveaway, using Debbie Bliss Fez. I put the remote control in the picture for scale. I can get both my legs in this stocking. Now I need to wash and block it, then crochet some contrasting trim around the top with a hanging loop.
I also finished the final sleeve of my Noro Matsuri cardigan, so that's all knitted now. More washing and blocking needed, then sewing up and it's done! These are the two sleeves, it is a modified drop shoulder so they are really just rectangles with a seed stitch band at the bottom.
In between studying for my interviews, I ferreted out the various bits of my quilting frame from where they are hidden for 10 months of the year, and put it together for my annual quilting binge. As you can see, it takes up a good part of my bedroom (you can also see what a mess my room is...) Top priority is to quilt my Hawaian batik top which is a christmas present for my m-i-l. I've got two other tops to quilt, and might do the table runner and christmas flannel quilt that I bought in Leicester while it is set up. I can only quilt 60" wide tops, so it is only suitable for twin-size or for larger quilts that can be quilted in pieces.
I haven't had time to put up all our christmas decorations yet, but the tree is up and I've got a little collection of my christmas houses and christmas dollshouse scenes on the table.
I hope your house is looking christmasy too!
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