Monday, 28 September 2015

This weekend...


What a gloriously warm, sunny weekend it has been - and I have made the most of it. Did you see the lunar eclipse last night? I put my alarm on and then lay in bed watching it - quite spectacular!

Today, a few random photos of the weekend and a few accompanying words

Umm, I'm not really a fan of Halloween so why on earth, I ask myself, am I cross stitching
 Halloween motifs? I think I was just drawn to the zingy and fluorescent colours (a devil to photograph to get a true depiction of colour). 

Sitting outside reading and eating lunch. 

We bought crumpets for the first time in years - toasted and dripping with butter of course.

And then of course, buttery fingers on the lens of my camera lends a soft focus to subsequent photos!!

The lens cover is broken on my Nikon, in fact, I'm a little disappointed with it because
 I have only had this camera 3 years and it is is limping along now - the zoom has a
 mind of its own which makes for tricky photography!

I desperately needed a new peg bag. 

No, I don't usually store my pegs in a bowl - this is where I threw them while 
I used the old bag as a template. 

The peg bags I saw in the shop were incredibly flimsy so I decided to make a new one. 
(please excuse my shadow)

I made kitchen curtains for our last house with this material.

 It was a complete fluke that the stripes matched up down the front of the bag. 
I didn't intend to spend long on this project - I had a football match to watch. 

(Daughter has now been signed with a local Midlands city senior Ladies team - YAY!) 

That looks much better!

Goodness! Given the muck in the bottom of my old peg bag
 I wonder my clothes ever came off the line clean!

I spent several hours chopping back the hedge at the bottom of the garden - 
this is in the field at the back of the hedge and the pile of cuttings on the left 
(no, that is not also a hedge even though it looks like it) is as 
high as the hedge on the right! 

It was lovely in the late afternoon sun in the field. 

Hope you had a good weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing lots of Yarndale posts!


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Around my garden....


I thought I would do a little tour of my garden. A day off from work has meant that I could spend just a few minutes out there enjoying the late summer sun, while nipping in and out to hang out three loads of washing post-return of sons to University!

So, this is the view from the back of our house, looking out towards the field. 

I like to keep the hedge at the bottom of our garden cut well back so we can enjoy as much of the view as possible. So far this year I've managed to cut back about half - but I'm hoping I might get chance to do some more this weekend. 

Our garden provides a home for many creatures. I feel a symbiotic relationship to
 these slugs and worms - I provide food, they help provide compost!  

Gosh, I wonder how many slugs there are in that compost bin? And we have 2 bins!

I used to be a keen gardener BC (Before Children) but I'm afraid that hobby has 
gradually been lost over the last twenty years as other demands have been made
 on my time, but I am pretty sure my interest will return as I find myself once 
again with more time. 

The brambles are happy though with the neglect in the garden - they have 
managed to invade the garden from the field behind and here have found 
a stump of a dead buddleia an ideal support. 

 And weeds are aplenty in my borders. 

Tuc, our guinea pig, was my excuse for having dandelions in the borders!! 
I kidded myself that I was cultivating them for him. 

It was one of his favourite meals - that and groundsel, and oh yes, I even 
boasted a few plants of groundsel in the borders of the garden at one time! 

(This is actually a photo of my border!) 

However, I am aiming to spruce up the garden. Large overgrown shrubs, that now 
reach 8ft will be removed and will be replaced by little cuttings measuring, ooo,  
all of 10cm high! Yes, they do have a bit of growing to do. 
But oh, I do love plants for free. 
In this post I mentioned The Pip Book I bought may years ago and which I still love.

The little cuttings below were taken from one of the offending giant shrubs, a ceanothus. 

This photo, taken from the RHS website, is of ceanothus in full bloom 
 it is such a pretty shrub isn't it? 

 Ceanothus 'Cascade'. Image: RHS Herbarium

I used to have lots of pots dotted around the garden at one time but most have 
now gone. However I did buy a few cyclamen recently to fill one pot, 
and here they are, still waiting to be potted up.... 

And of course our garden does get a lot of hard wear - evidenced by two 
goals and a rebound net. 

Such garden activities result in a generally unusual, but in our garden 
very common, garden ornament.   

Occasionally I round up all the balls - they fill an old dustbin. 

I am rather proud of my pyracantha that grows under our front room 
window. I grew this from a cutting and it is about the only shrub that actually 
looks like it has undergone some sort of pruning in recent years.  

I LOVE our wood store that sits at the bottom of the garden, and the promise 
of all those cosy evenings that it holds. 

And finally, to finish my garden tour here is a little gate that my husband built 
into the hedge at the bottom of the garden shortly after we moved in. It provides 
quick access to the field at the back and was ideal for the little people, that is, 
the children when they were little. For me I have to almost crawl through it but 
it is quite sweet.  

So that's it for now. 
Hope you have a good weekend planned and thank you for stopping by!  

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Answering a distress call: yarn along


Thank you for all your comments to my "yarn along" post last week. 

Some of you asked what I thought to the book I was reading 
'The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters' and I have to admit that I have 
abandoned it, at least for now but maybe forever. 

I found it quite hard going reading the letters, keeping track of who was writing 
to who, and as it was a huge book I realised it would take me some time 
to finish it. From reading a portion of the letters you can glean an idea of 
their style of writing and their personalities and I think that is sufficient for me. 

by Mary S. Lovell and I think if you are interested in learning about the Mitford sisters this would be my first recommendation. 

So I have moved onto Ian McEwan's The Child in Time. I have found this quite challenging to read in parts with detailed descriptions of issues I have not considered before, but I have also found it amusing, insightful and sad. 

And as to my "answering a distress call" - a few years ago, on a whim, I knitted 
my work colleague a phone sock, and I have to admit it always surprised me quite 
how much she loved it, so when she changed her phone she asked me to 
knit her a new, slightly larger sock, which I was more than happy to do. 

However, a couple of weeks ago I received a 'distress' text from my colleague saying 
she had lost her sock and would I knit her a new one. Of course, once again I was 
more than happy to oblige and so here I am knitting a new one! 

Joining in with Ginny's yarn along on a much-drier-than-forecast Wednesday. 


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

One messy cosy: Six Mitford sisters. Yarn along


Well I'm still struggling with my tea cosy - I feel I have been knitting this for 
many months and it is taking me far longer than it should. 

My problem is that I need to have an empty pot to use as a model, 
and an empty pot is rarely seen in our house. 

Also, I need a good hour or two to really crack on and get the 
pattern sorted, but at the moment I never seem to find that elusive hour or two! 

 So while I do battle with my tea cosy I'm reading The Mitfords: letters between sisters.

What an interesting family, especially the close links of some family members with Hitler.
 It makes fascinating reading. 

Joining in with Ginny's Yarn along.

Best wishes

Friday, 4 September 2015

The Yorkshire Dales


A long bank holiday weekend in the Yorkshire Dales...

Malham Cove

                               Ribbleshead Viaduct on Settle-Carlisle railway line

                                                            Settle station


Carlisle Cathedral - 
the later addition to the original Norman structure, 
the arch where the organ pipes are now sited is not centrally positioned. 
Was this a deliberate decision? 
Stunning ceiling.  

Settle station at sunset.


Considering how much we love the countryside I can't believe that we had not yet had a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales. After last weekend I now realise what I have been missing. So much wide open space, stunning vistas, picturesque villages (and each one with it's own wool/craft shop!!) and countless walks.  

It is hard to beat an early morning cycle ride in the Dales, the roads were almost deserted. 

It all made coming back to the Midlands pretty tough. 

Have a great weekend