Knitting · My Finished Objects (F.O) · Uncategorized

Finished Object – Terribly Simple Shawl

Hi all 🙂

Had a busy week – so made sure I found some knitting time carved out to keep my head calm. A positive perk of this was I managed to get this stash buster shawl finished!

For those of you that missed it – here’s the original post…

via WIP – Terribly Simple Shawl

It now looks like this:

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I’m using a broach I had floating around to secure it.

Changes I made to the pattern:

– swapped to increasing in the middle about half way (see small holes in middle).

– stopped increasing about midway through the blue. Think it help give a really nice point.

So this stash buster has finished off:

– all textured white yarn

– the sparkly teal ball

– the remaing sparkly pink from my stash.

Feeling pretty pleased with this… making room for any finds from knitting and stitching show in March. Need to have a sort through for any other hidden gems!

My next cast on?

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Cast this beautiful hooded toddler cardigon for Lily. Had this in the todo with the yarn for about a year! Go me 🙂

Knitting up well. So will let you know when it’s done!

Love to you all and happy knitting

MrsKirstyHoll

X

 

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Uncategorized

Puzzled about Happiness

So yesterday I listened to a podcast about Happiness from The Minimalists. I love the content these guys produce because it really resonates with the type of lifestyle that I want to achieve.

What is happiness? I’m pretty sure it has a lot to do with balance. If it’s not carefully balanced then you over burn yourself.

We’re constantly being told through marketing that we need X or Y to be happy, that we need to weigh A or look like C or have this amazing fantastic job that pays loads of money for a big beautiful house.

Personally, what makes me happy is when I spend time with my husband, daughter, family or close friends. I find my job actually makes me happy as it allows me to give back to the world around me and help support local organisations. It also challenges me – which is something that keeps my mind really positively stimulated. Anything yarn related makes me happy as it forces me to concentrate on the now – meaning I don’t have my hands free for social media or my phone. It helps me focus on being still and relaxed.

But in contrast, to much work makes me to exhausted to be able to be able to do anything else. Not having time to knit means that I don’t have the chance to unwind. Not enough time on my own means I don’t have the presence of mind to be able to connect with others when I want to be enjoying their company.

It’s funny that I’m 26 and I’m still figuring out what sort of life I need for me to be happy. I want to gain a better understanding so that I can figure out how to teach my daughter how to not get to overwhelmed and help her figure things out. Happiness is a pretty puzzling concept.
via Daily Prompt: Puzzled

Crochet · Knitting · My Finished Objects (F.O) · Uncategorized

Finished Make- Summer Breeze Baby Jumper and Blanket

So. Long time no see.

All good here. Been busy with yarn/sorting out yarn stash/sorting out patterns/making space for new yarn. A real focus on the moment on trying to use up what’s currently in my stash. I would like to make some room for new yarn that I plan on buying at the knitting and stitching show in March (mum and I have tickets!).

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So this knit was actually on the ‘to-make list’ – so a complete win for me!!! This yarn reduced yarn in my stash – although it had been brought with the intention of this jumper – but still a definite win.

The Hayfield bonus DK and King Cole Glitz were really nice to knit with and look fab knitted up. This jumpers also now been washed a few times and appears to be holding it’s shape well :).

While the jumper was a pretty quick knit, it was more difficult to get Lily to stay still for a picture – she’s recently figured out walking and so would much rather be pulling toys out of various boxes.

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The plan – if I get some time – is to sew through some thin white ribbon into the back of the jumper. Ideally in some lace up corset style. Alternately I have some small buttons I might add with a small hoop. But she won’t notice if that doesn’t happen soon – I’m not a fan of things than involve a sewing needle.

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But apart from that, I’m really pleased with the fit. A perk of living with the recipient is that I was able to extend the body and the arms. I ended up having to extend the body at the shoulders. Ideally, I would actually knit this jumper in a top down fashion to make it easier to knit the body to the length required. Personally, I like long bodied jumpers as I find them more comfortable – so that does influence the final design of what I knit.

I did end up with a lot of spare yarn from this project – to be honest I could have knitted another jumper….

So I dug out my set of hooks and started free handing a Crochet blanket. I started from the center and worked outwards. It was actually a rather therapeutic make as I didn’t have any sort of pattern to follow. Found this was also a great lesson in crochet for me as  I got more of an understanding of the shaping and just generally more confidence.

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I free attempted the squaring out of the blanket as I went. So my square is not going to be the most regular one you’ll see today. But I found it a really fun challenge to attempt. It’s been gifted to Lily as a lighter weight blanket for warmer evenings.

So these were my makes for January – glittery is the theme. Which is something you need once all the glitter of Christmas has disappeared! In January I also managed to get another couple of chapters finished on my book – helped by my Grandad who has become my editor. We’re working on a final draft this year.

That’s all from me today 🙂 Wanted to keep you updated on what I’ve been making 🙂

Love to you all and Happy Knitting

Mrs Kirsty Holl

x

Knitting · Uncategorized · Updates

End of Year Reflection 2017

So this year I learnt an important lesson – raising a small person is actually really bloody hard work. Equally, it’s also one of the most rewarding things I’ve done! Lily is getting so big and really developing into her character now. It’s so much fun to watch.

I’ve also learnt to not overestimate myself so much. Part of my problems  this year were caused by me trying to pack in way to much. There is logic in all things – and I seem to get more done when I make sure I have time to unwind and relax. I don’t have to be superwomen – I’m also pretty awesome at my go-slow pace!

2018 is going to be about listening to myself and making sure I just enjoy what’s happening.

So here’s the response to the letter I wrote to myself this time last year – how naive I was!

Dear a probably very tired me,

At least I got that bit right!!!

You’re now the mother of a nearly 1 year old bubs and you’re at the end of what was probably the most challenging and rewarding year of your life. Fingers crossed you managed to not lose bubs anywhere… in which case win! Honestly, if bubs is happy and healthy by this point then this has been successful year. Bubs should have also had most of the Harry Potter series read to bubs already 🙂

Cannot believe how quickly the last year has gone! I did manage not to lose her – she’s currently having a cuddle and a nap with Grandad (that’s both of them!). She’s giggling now – almost without fail now if I crawl towards her going “mummy’s going to get you!”. Harry Potter hasn’t happened – way to many words for a small person. However, we have fostered a love of books and she enjoys passing books to us so we can read them to her. So I’m very pleased about that – even though I know some of those books off by heart now!!

Hopefully by next year the blog will have also grown. In 2016 we hit the 100 followers milestone, the plan is to double that by the end of 2017. If we can get there then that would be awesome. With the arrival of bubs I would like to start earning a little bit of money off the blog so that I can start funding advertising and get the blog it’s own URL. With bubs there is unlikely to be any money to self fund much. The hope is that I can do some guest blogging and potentially get some paid gigs out of it. If I am funding my own craft habit by the end of 2017 then the other half will reward with serious brownie points 🙂

Rather than growing, the blog has had to take a bit of a back seat. As much as I would love to be able to write more, there is to many other priorities at the moment. While I love writing and it’s a fantastic record of my progress as a knitter – helped by the encouragement of my lovely readers – that’s what it is going to have to stay as for the minute. There is a chance I might be setting up an Etsy store – so I can sell off the things I make because Lily just has to many clothes and I love knitting so much!

So on the job front: the plan is to start back at work around the end of March/ beginning of April time line. By then bubs will be about 3 months old and should hopefully be sleeping through the night (fingers crossed). The plan is then to start hunting out a promotion at work by about the middle of the year. My plan is to have a career, being a working mum is going to be really hard, but I know it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Going back to work plan did go as expected. But it was much harder (for both me and my husband!) than I ever expected it to be. It was a long time before I found I was getting any time to relax and unwind. Promotion didn’t happen either – but I did do a lot of self development and I have learnt a lot about myself and what I am able to do this year. Have some very exciting plans in place for 2018.

By the time you’re reading this, that book will be finished and actually published on Amazon. Because this is getting seriously ridiculously stupid if not as if this is still not done by now you have definitely need to take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. This has now been in editing for half a decade and it needs to be published.

Not quite…. opps….

On the other hand my Grandad has now come on board as an editor and so he’s editing my edited copy as a final edit. So I have high hopes that he will keep me on track for this year! But I have definitely made progress on this during the year.

I don’t have any massive hopes for my knitting this year (I’m pretty sure that in my sleep induced haze I’ll be struggling to count rows and stitches). But if I can get in a few cute knits for bubs then all will be well. The plan is also to really improve my sock knitting – I’m thinking by now I’ll have knitted at least 12 pairs (1 a month on average). They’ll have been good sized travelling companions this year and I will hopefully have a few cute pairs of pretty socks. Recently I heard of a woman who donated a load of blankets she’s knitting to the Salvation Army, so that would be cool if I could have some spare knits by now to donate.

Actually the knitting has gone pretty well this year – surprisingly. I’ve also got a lot faster this year. I’ve also joined 2 knitting circles which I try and alternate week by week and made some lovely friends through that. They’re also a great support network!

#Edit to knitting plan (Caused by my addiction to buying yarn!)

– Finish the Red/Blue Pram Blanket

This happened early this year and came with us to Disneyland Paris in November.

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– Finish the knitted patchwork blanket

This also happened 🙂 Was very pleased with myself for getting this one done.

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– 12 pairs of socks

12 was actually 1… to small for Lily to wear… This was definitely more of a blanket than socks year.

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– This jumper for bubs. It’s mainly ribbing and stocking stitch – so not a massive stretch of the imagination to get this finished!

I actually cast this on a couple of days ago. It’s coming together pretty quickly – so I’m hoping this might be done before the new year comes around. The yarn looks awesome and is really nicely!

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– Get started on this pattern for bubs

This one is one of the next on my list to be done. It’ll be a nice one to have for Spring.

By now you should have actually completed your first 10K race. After having to put the first one off from April 2016 (turns out that exhaustion was due to bubs!) you should now have got your fitness up enough to be able to run 10K again. If not then I am very disappointed as I feel like the exercise will help keep the stress levels to a minimum and keep some sort of sanity together. You’ll also be going climbing at least twice a month in an attempt to tone up some core muscles again – and climbing is super fun.

#Edited Run Plan:

June/July = 5K Race – Need to Book

August = 10K race – Need to book

End Sept = Half Marathon – Need to book, but would like to do the New Forest one

Nov/Dec Time = Marathon – Need to book

Running happened in the form of a 5K race at the beginning of the year. But then it just became something I’ve just not had the time to do. What I need to is look after myself better this year. I’m  thinking about signing up to a yoga class near our house – both as a health/exercise and a mindfulness  exercise.

Financially I would really like to reduce how much I spend. If I could do that then we could save a lot more. So hopefully by the time I’m reading this I will have some savings and reduced how much I’ve been spending. But fingers crossed… I might have even be able to siphon some off for yarn…

This actually has happened this year. My husband took on this task and we’ve really worked on budgeting. As a result we’re managing to focus our resources on saving for holidays and we’re hoping to get some travelling in before Lily starts school. So that’s definitely progress on this point. As part of this we give ourselves ‘pocket money’ – a respectable proportion of mine has been spent on yarn and some yummy patterns!

So future me, I hope you’ve managed to at least meet most some of the above. With bubs keeping you busy I imagine you’ve had some sort of serious adjusting to do. But fingers crossed you’ve managed to stay on top of most of it!

I was correct – some of the above was achieved. Lots of adjusting has occurred and I’ve learnt lots about myself. It’s been a year of lots of ups and downs – including the car being written off when someone drove into the back of the car while we were waiting at a roundabout. Thankfully we managed to get it back on the road – but it was added stress I definitely did not need this year!

Bye me and I hope you’ve had an exciting 2017!

It has been an exciting year overall. I have a lovely husband and daughter. My family and friends have been incredibly supportive and I can only thank them – I couldn’t have managed it without you all.

Love to you all and hope you all had an amazing 2017 and here’s to an even more amazing 2018!

MrsKirstyHoll

x

 

Knitting · My Finished Objects (F.O) · Uncategorized

Swirly Hat

Hay all

Firstly, Merry Christmas all 🙂

I’m off work now for a week! So very excited to have some knitting time 🙂 My knitting speed has increased and hoping to be able to get some decent knitting in.

So my Christmas eve knitting spree  saw me finishing off the swirly hat I brought at the knitting and stitching show. I brought the hat and the pattern from Trim Wool Shop.

Yarn: Katia Azteca

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Pattern: Spiral Azteca Hat & Scarf. (I just did the hat).

So before you look at the picture… I was under the impression from the mock up at the show that this pattern was meant to fit an adult…

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I was meaning to knit Lily a new hat… So at least that is one problem solved! I used the rest of the yarn to knit Lily a quick stocking stitch scarf – with a hole in it so you can pull one end of the scarf through so it does not need to be wrapped around her neck.

I then used the remaining yarn to crochet some additional lines onto a scrap crochet blanket I’m working on. The yarn was really nice to knit and crochet with. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure on the die mix – there is too much colour mix and it doesn’t seem to have a specific theme.

Pattern Suggestions I’d make:

  • Either add an edging stitch to the side that won’t be pulled together make the hat -currently the edge doesn’t look fantastic. OR pick up stitches at the bottom once it’s been completed to make a border.
  • Possibly rework design with DPN’s. It might make the shape of the piece a little more regular and predictable. Might also make it easier to size the hat as you’re knitting it.

I would look at getting this brand of yarn again if I had any chunky crochet projects –  it’s was lovely to crochet with.

To finish – here’s a cute picture of Lily under the Harry Potter blanket I knitted her for Christmas.

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That’s all from me today… Currently knitting Lily a sparkly jumper!

Love to you all, Merry Christmas and Happy Knitting

 

xxx

Christmas · Crochet · Knitting · Uncategorized

Finished Object – Chunky Knits, Baby Blankets and Christmas Elves

Hay guys!

So I’m sorry I disappeared off the grid for a month. Lily has learnt to pull herself up from a sitting to a standing position. I need eyes in the back of my head at the moment!

My spare time has been taken up with knitting, so I thought I would give you some update on what my needles have been up to.

  1. Chunky scarf x 2

This started life as a panel for a blanket. Now its chunky, soft and a really warm scarf. I ended up making 2 of these because a friend wanted one 🙂 So that was a fun gift to make.

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2. Chunky Hat

With the remaining yarn I dug out a 20mm Crochet hook a made myself a matching hat. Also warm and squishy! Really starting to fall in love with crochet, there is something beautiful about the one hook and only having one stitch to worry about.

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3. Flutterby James C Brett Hooded blanket. 

With those really cute teddy bear ears, I fell in love with this pattern and the yarn within about 30 seconds. Lily also fell in love with it to, keeping hold of it as we went around Hobbycraft. This yarn is so soft and fluffy and it feels really nice.

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4. Christmas Elves – Let’s Knit Issue October     

The free gift with this month of Let’s Knit was a kit to knit a set of Christmas elves. Super cute and I’m going to knit the 2 for Lily. It’s the first time for ages I’ve knitted a toy and I’m really enjoying stitching all the pieces together!

Now need to knit the hat and the arms. Then need to stitch on the face on 🙂

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Will keep you all updated 🙂

Lots of love and happy knitting!!

MrsKirstyHoll

x

A Game of Life and Death · Uncategorized · Writing

Part 2 – Chapter 3: Explorations

Cassie and Novel’s plane landed early the following morning. The airport was full of people and Cassie was continuously aware of Novel’s tight grip on her waist. From the airport, they got a taxi to one of the local hotels – which had been designated as base station.

They waited in relative silence for the next few hours. Their entire journey had consisted of careful glances around her – she could feel eyes following her everywhere.

Her musing was interrupted by a knock on the door. Agent Smith was quickly let in and they were handed an envelope while he greeted them warmly.

“We leave in the morning,” he informed them.

The briefing envelope informed them that the plan was to leave the following morning and head out towards the jungle. This would be a good days drive away an then they had to cross a river. Interpol had acted as a liaison to organise travel clearance across borders. From there they could only go towards the last theorised place of encampment for the gang.

It was early morning when they left. The air was full of a thick mist and it was difficult to see more than 100 yards ahead. There was a team of 20 of them piled into the back of an old and rather rickety 4 by 4. Smith was currently driving and Cassie – being the only female – had managed to gain herself the passenger seat. Novel was not amused with having to sit in the back with the ‘lads’.

The day passed at a slow clawing pace. They were stopped for over an hour by an over eager police officer – who had a gun shoved in Smith’s face. A few high level phone calls were required with the satellite phone. This informed the officer that what was going on was not his business and that he needed to back down. He did, but after that they attempted to gain some more ground quicker because of the risk someone unsavoury might be told as an act of revenge. They needed to get over the border before day break if they hoped to stick with their time frame.

They arrived at the lake a few hours after nightfall. Smith exited the vehicle for a few minutes. Cassie watched him walk over to a small shack beside the lake, he was let in by a gentleman around the age of 40 and the light of a candle briefly lit up the scene. For those brief seconds Cassie could make out what seemed to be a relatively old boat. She would almost go as far to say that she was not entirely sure she believed that it would float.

“He recons we can make it across in one trip,” reported Smith when he arrived back at the car.

Cassie chose not to vocalise her opinions and nervously followed Novel over to the boat.

“I hate this thing,” she whispered to him as they squeezed themselves into the relatively small boat. Looking down at her feet she could see that it was only the waterproofing on her walking boots that were keeping her feet dry.

“We’ll be across soon,” Novel informed her, “just think about how much fun my mother and the cat are having together.”

Cassie had almost forgotten about the cat. The image of it chasing – or at least attempting to chase – birds around the garden almost made her smile.

When they reached the other side the boatman quickly returned to the original shore. Smith gestured for them to follow him west – leading them into the forest.

The group moved as silently as they possibly could – their tight clothing preventing unwanted insects making skin contact. In the night the entire forest had gone deathly quiet. It was a bit like something out of a horror move that Cassie had seen on telly.

Novel was of a similar opinion. He had quickly decided that any more work involving traipsing through wooded forest areas were to be avoided at all costs. With the light of his head torch he could make out all manner of small insects scuttling along the floor and he had never been a fan of any creature with more than two legs that was not a cat or a dog. The sudden movement of branches – seeming ten times louder than it was – almost making Novel feel a bit skittish. Not wanted to further alarm Cassie he managed to rain himself in. She seemed to be slowly returning to her usual abilities. However, he doubted she would be on full cylinders until these inconveniences were apprehended.

The hike continued for miles. They had to extend it by about half a mile to skirt around a herd of elephants who had required the use of a small clearing.

“Bloody wildlife,” one of the officers behind Novel had muttered. Nobody disagreed with him.

Within another few hours some sort of structure was just about visible on the horizon. Cassie felt herself being to shake slightly but calmed a little when Novel placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. The group continued forward and all those with guns encircled the property.

“They’ve gone boss,” Cassie heard over the walkie-talkie. Her heart sank.

“Damn.”

They regrouped and began surveying the scene. There was little sign that any life had been her for a while. However, a receipt dating the week previous had shown them that whoever had been living there had been relatively good with the clean-up. The only other things that were found was a list of number and some scribbles which could only be presumed to be predicted profit margins. It was in the order of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Cassie found a series of tire tracks baked into the mud leading north and they decided that this was the only lead they had to go on.

“At the very least that will take us in the direction of the airport, so, if the trail has gone cold we’ll regroup and rethink,” Smith decided, ordering the group to follow him with a quick pace.

By now, the morning light had begun to emerge over the horizon and the shear scale of the task before them was becoming evident. As they reached the edge of the tree line on the crest of a hill they could see the forest sprawled out before them.

Whist waiting for his food to cook, Novel walked a little away from the main group – wanting some time away from the crowd of people. Off the path the vehicle seemed to have taken – judging by some tire tracks that appeared to match the ones they had found before – he found a small slope which led to a river. It was easy enough for Novel to get down to it and have a look around.

“Smith,” he muttered into his walkie-talkie, “you might want to see this.”

The Agent moved quickly to locate Novel and was soon standing beside him to survey the scene. Before them, wrapped around a tree, was a decaying body of what appeared to be a young girl. She was possibly in her early teens and between them they could only assume that – based on her clothing – she had originated at one of the local villages. Her arms were tied with rope behind her back and it was possible that her legs had been previously tied as well.

“She must have attempted to escape,” commented Smith, not looking overly bothered by the situation.

“Not a good way to go,” murmured Novel, “what shall we do with her?”

“Leave her, we don’t have the equipment to move a body in that condition.”

They continued to hike through the forest for over a day. However, their search ultimately proved fruitless. They eventually came out of the forest onto a commercial airport. Smith’s first port of call was finding a decent loo – Cassie followed. Novel, on the other hand, had wondered in the opposite direction and had begun asking questions to the taxi drivers. He was hoping they might know about any cards that had come out of the woods in the last few days – they always seemed to know more that people realised.

“Just the one mate,” he was informed by a younger driver who spoke pretty good English, “parked in VIP carpark. Private jet, but don’t know where.”

“Would the airport staff know?”

“They know nothing,” he rubbed his finger together in the universal ‘they get paid’ symbol and shrugged.

As promised, Novel passed the kid some cash, which seemed to please him immensely. The he returned to group which now included Cassie and Agent Smith again.

“They’ve gone,” Novel stated in a very matter-of-fact tone, “Private Jet right out of here.”

“Damn.”

The trip back was done in a sullen silence. However, they were all pleased to eventually arrive back in the UK and get themselves a shower. Cassie was especially pleased to be out of those woods – Novel’s description of that girl had been giving her nightmares.

When they got into the office that morning Cassie as called into Smith’s office – Novel followed in behind her.

“Novel you are not needed in this discussion,” Smith informed him.

“She’s my officer,” Novel pointed out, making himself comfortable in one of the sofas and taking a sip of his coffee, “I’ll be involved in any discussions concerning or involving Cassie.”

Smith bowed his head in acknowledgement that there was no point in arguing. The new plan, now that the trail was as cold as the Artic, was to se Cassie to make the gang find them. She had not received a text from them since leaving for Africa, however, Smith wanted her to return to the flat alone.

“But she could be kidnapped!” exclaimed Novel, watching Cassie carefully as her face went as white as his shirt.

“That is the idea Novel. She will be wearing a tacking GPS device,” explained Smith, “we’ll implant the untraceable chip before you return. Your whereabouts will be known 24/7. As soon as we can catch them in the act we will stop and surround them.”

“But what about her?” questioned Novel, “we know what these men are like. It is not as if they are going to wait for her to seduce them before forcing her into bed! They have no respect for women and no gentleman inclinations of any sort!”

“What about all those girls that are presently being sold as sex slaves Novel!?” growled Smith angrily, “We’ve never had an opportunity like this before – to get into the heart of the organisation will allow us to tear it open from the top!”

“I’ll do it.”

Novel, who had just about to respond, stopped short. He had forgotten Cassie was still in the room.

“I’m aware of the possible consequences,” she continued, “but I have a feeling that the will continue to follow me until I am dead or captured. At least this will mean I have some chance of a living a life without having to watch over my shoulder. It will mean that other girls can be saved. A least like this then someone will know where I am and I can have some chance of rescue. There is no choice Novel – I don’t think there ever was one.”

Novel nodded, reluctantly giving in – even though every bone in his body was telling him that this was a bad idea.