Saturday, 21 May 2016

A LAZY DAY OUT IN THE COUNTRYSIDE!

We're trying to do more, we're constantly finding that our weeks consist of 7 hectic long days and our weekends are disappearing in a haze of busyness. So as I am a member of the RHS already we've decided to join the National Trust and get out and visit new places.

Last weekend we decided to visit Chartwell in Kent, home of Winston Churchill. Now, to be honest I have been there before but Michael was keen to go and I was happy enough to visit again, after all I already knew they had a nice tea room!
We set off on Sunday and the sun was shining, the traffic, running smoothly. All good, for the M25.

Chartwell when we arrived was pretty busy as you would expect but not so busy that we couldn't find a table outside for a cup of coffee and a scone. 
Once fed and watered we went for a tour inside the house, where you can't take photos and then outside for a long stroll through the grounds.



The azaleas were stunning!



 and we walked along by the lake


and up into the woods where the blue bells were still flourishing.


as we walked back towards the car, another stop in the cafe was needed and appreciated.


As it was such a nice day we decided to come home via RHS Wisley for another wander and an ice cream. The gardens are always lovely there whatever the season and there is always something to take a photo of




and more azaleas


In the large glass house there were beautiful displays of orchids


and water lilies






We had a great day and are looking forward to going out again very soon.
Not this weekend though, grandchildren to see and my mother is celebrating her 92nd birthday tomorrow.

There is knitting in progress but oh so slowly. I've started this 10 stitich blanket and I have got the hang of it now. My only trouble is I knit mostly in the evenings when dinner is finished and the tv is on. But, I'm finding as soon as i've picked up my knitting and done a few rows, my eye lids grow weary and drop down over my eyes. Hence I knit a bit and I sleep a bit, still, I don't need this finished until the autumn so I've got some time to get it done.

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Island of Madeira

A few years ago we were sitting in a bar on the bank of Lake Garda in Italy enjoying a pre dinner drink. I remember it well, the stars were shining brightly and as we sat there we were sure we saw a satellite hurtling through the sky. Everything was so clear, not just the night but our daughter had just learnt she'd got a place at her chosen university in London and our son had just started an apprenticeship at a local agricultural firm.

As I said everything was clear and everything seemed settled. Yet, less than two weeks later and having had a wonderfully relaxing holiday we found our son eagerly waiting our return and with his hands in his pockets and leaning up against the kitchen sink (all major decisions in our house seem to be announced in that very spot) he broke the news that the job wasn't for him and he was leaving.
This was all closely followed by our daughter breaking her news that she had changed her mind about her university choice.

 Eventually our son did find a job that he really enjoys and our daughter, a different university and a job that she enjoys too but at the time of their big announcements and the days that followed both my husband and myself took it in turns to lean our backs up against the kitchen sink to try and fathom out why!

Moving forward to this April, on board a flight to Madeira, while my husband was engrossed in his newly purchased book and I was sipping a rather strong gin & tonic I was under no illusion that everything was settled, clear and fine at home. My parents despite telling us not to worry because they are absolutely fine are actually becoming very worrying and as my son and daughter in law continue to rumble along through the pitfalls of separation it is very difficult to sit on the fence and watch it all going on around us.

We were certainly in need of a break and as my husband said 7 nights good sleep so Madeira seemed an ideal choice and we ended up having a very relaxing time. 

Here is the view from our bedroom window.
It was lovely falling asleep to the sounds of the sea.


We were there at the end of the flower festival so there were still some pretty floral displays to see in Funchal.


From Funchal we went up in the cable car to Monte and visited the gardens there.








and we went on a couple of drives around the island and found the scenery, spectacular.




Unfortunately it did rain quite a bit while we were there but then it rains almost everywhere we go, we get used to it.

This was our first visit to Madeira, we were impressed and it really did do us good.

Once back at home I had itchy fingers to purchase some yarn and get on with something new so on Saturday this lovely bag of goodiness arrived for me to make a start and once I've got my feet up this evening that's what I'm going to do.


I'll be letting you all know soon how I'm getting on.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

AND FINALLY............!

And finally x 2 really.

Firstly that we've finally made a visit to Anglesey Abbey Cambridgeshire last weekend and secondly that I've finally managed to sit down and write a blog post about it.

We wanted to get out and about last Sunday and as always we had the normal debate of "where shall we go?"
Did we want to face the M25 and go somewhere in Kent? That brought us both to that screwed up face and nodding sideways of the head answer.
What about Aldeburgh, Southwold, Woodbridge? Well they sort of received disinterested, possible maybes on both our parts.
Finally as so often happens in this house we ended up going round in a circle and nearly coming up with a conclusion that we would stay at home, but oh no, that was not  going to be an option last weekend.

We've been wanting to join the National Trust for a while and with a little tiny bit of persuasion on my part we went off to do that and visit Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire which I've been wanting to visit for quite a while.  The weather was looking iffy when we left home but by the time we got there the sun was out and it became a lovely day. We both really enjoyed it, I hid my phone deep in my bag and my husband took loads of photos with his camera and here are just a few  to show you.


We walked along to the Lode Mill



and then on through the grounds with lots of spring flowers on display.






The house is currently open so that was nice go in and see and all in all we had a really lovely day and will definitely go back there again as well as now having lots of other places to visit in the coming months. We're looking forward to that.

My knitting and crochet is dormant, the little prem blanket is finished but may well end up in the dolls cot in my spare bedroom. However, I have been looking at throws and blanket patterns for my lounge.  I must thank Sue from Granny's World  who has suggested a ten stitch blanket by Frankie Brown which I am quite fancying making and I've already downloaded the pattern. Now I've just got to think about colours and yarn which I'll do over the next few days. 

 I can't believe that this last week has passed so quickly. I suppose I have had a week of grandchildren and parents which have kept me busy and made the time fly. Really pleased today that in this little corner of Essex we have said a fond farewell to winter, we have just downed a nice cup of tea and eaten up the last crumbs of the christmas cake. 

Hope you're having a good weekend.



Tuesday, 29 March 2016

EASTER RAMBLINGS!

Driving back from the town on Good Friday morning there was a definite feel that spring had sprung.
We sat in the garden enjoying a coffee in the sunshine as my husband was taking a break from his job for Easter project, installing new stair rails. 
"We should enjoy this while we can!" I exclaimed, "because from today it is only going to get worse!"
Well that is what those who supposedly know had said at breakfast time. 
Lunch was enjoyed outside too and I was hopeful that we were going to have a bit of a "ta da" moment and finish the last of the christmas cake but we opted for a hot cross bun instead, much more appropriate for Easter. (When we do eventually reach the "ta da" moment it will be closely followed by a "oh no" moment, as hidden in a biscuit tin, astride my herbs and spices rack is a second rich fruit cake which I made just incase I ran out at christmas!)

On Saturday we planned to go out for a drive and a stop for lunch. The weather by this time had already turned and we decided on a short drive to the garden centre for coffee and cake and took a brief whirlwind walk around the plants outside and the BBQ's inside before heading home.
I spent the afternoon catching up with the tv and making the finishing touches to this blanket for Alfred which I'd made out of left over aran yarn that I'd over ordered when making a chevron car seat blanket for Jack.


Poor little Alfred was taken poorly also on Saturday. Being sick is never nice but at Easter it does raise extra problems like having to wait 6 hours for a doctor to phone having contacted 111, only to find that after the 6 hours that they don't actually phone. Eventually Kate managed to get an appointment at the emergency clinic at our own little hospital for Sunday morning, then a drive of about 10 miles to find a chemist that was open to get his antibiotics. However once the little man had had a couple of doses of medicine, thankfully he picked up and by the evening was so much better.

On Easter Sunday my husband worked to finish the stairs and I visited my parents. Then back home for more tv (I know, quite lazy!) and I found an odd ball of yarn and started knitting a little square blanket for charity supporting a project that some of the ladies at my knit & stitch group is involved in. I'm not that happy with it so whether it gets finished or recycled is another matter.

 Easter Monday was much busier here with a family lunch. It was the first gathering of us all without my daughter in law and although it was really nice, it was quite strange. My parents are struggling to deal with their separation, they either don't understand it or they don't want to accept it, I'm not sure which. It's hard for them, I know but it's hard adapting for us all. It's taking time but we are getting there ever so slowly.
The children had lots of Easter eggs to keep them occupied and we could tell Alfred was definitely improving as he tucked in as well.

I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks, a little break for me as Kate is home and can look after Alfred. I'm hoping to source a new pattern for a throw for the lounge. It'll be a bit of a project, something I can pick up if and when I feel like it, as long as it's ready for autumn that'll be fine.

Enjoy your week ahead!













Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Mothers Day Weekend!

Mother's Day was a perfect day in our house. We had an early start as we had our son's children staying with us overnight but as soon as he arrived in the morning, my daughter and her husband came along too with Alfred and my husband made us all a lovely cooked breakfast.
There was definitely not going to be any room for lunch!

I had lots of lovely flowers but the gifts from the children are always so special. Charlotte, Jessica & Jack have always made cards themselves and this year planted the primula and mini daffodils themselves. I love the little sign they made and the cards to go with them.


Alfred was also very creative with his own handprint of little flowers.
I love his gift too!


When they had all gone home, I had time to sit and relax for a while before going to collect my Mum & Dad. They haven't been over to ours since Christmas and it was nice to cook dinner for them.
With just the four of us here, we sat and chatted, Dad telling us lots of stories of when he was young. He is a fountain of knowledge when talking about his family with a wonderful memory and tells you tales like they only happened yesterday. It's such a shame he's never written any of it down.


Also at the weekend I finished my pouf. Michael and I had a great debate on whether we needed to purchase a cheap single or double duvet to fill it with. I suggested trying the only quilt we have in the house, a king size which we thought would give us an idea of what we needed to buy. However as soon as we started filling the lining in the pouf more and more of the quilt disappeared inside until, we'd got the whole thing in there. That was a result, no further purchase required and more room in the spare wardrobe to store other stuff.

   
It's not looking quite as round in this picture, but this was taken after it'd been attacked by four children, (playfully!).  Once it was plumped back into shape it was fine and ideal for me to rest my feet on in the evenings while I crochet and watch tv.

Enjoy the rest of the week!



Thursday, 3 March 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK!



It's been a beautiful day here today, very chilly but also very bright and sunny. I love it when I can sit in the lounge and I can feel the warmth of the sun coming through the patio doors.
I was so tempted to get outside  and do a bit in the garden but I soon changed my mind after standing out there for a short while sorting out the recycling boxes. Brrrrrrr!

Our grandson Jack turned 2 this week. He has grown up so fast, a little baby one minute and now a smart little man. On Sunday the family got together for a little party to celebrate and as Jack is a great fan of Mr Tumble I made him this cake. 


His mum made this "Dip" train which looked really great and tasted very good too. Jack loved it!


Birthdays really do seem to come round so quickly. In a few days time our youngest grandson is going to have his first birthday. How many times do we say or hear those words, "where has all that time gone?"

Knitting is slow but I'm getting there. I am actually feeling better and with that has come some renewed energy. I've managed to finish the pouf, it just needs sewing and stuffing. Hopefully by my next post that will be completely finished and i'll be able to show you.
I've also got a little chevron blanket on the go but I only started that last night and managed just the one row during  the whole hour of watching Grantchester. I thought, no point in taking a photo of that until I do a bit more.

Unfortunately the ironing board is now beckoning me to sign off so, enjoy the rest of the week and I'll catch up with you again soon.



Sunday, 21 February 2016

HATS SOCKS & COUGHS

The awful cough that I was suffering with at the beginning of the month which I thought I'd recovered from, hurtled back at the beginning of this last week and tried really hard to knock me off my feet.
I was really looking forward to half term, a week to myself. My grandchildren were off doing different things and I had lots of things I wanted to catch up on. However that wasn't to be the case as my cough left me feeling quite lethargic and I spent quite a lot of time with my feet up and re- watching tv programmes that I'd seen part of and slept through the rest.

I really did appreciate all of your comments on my last post, I was feeling really down then and am pleased that I do actually feel so much better in myself now, even with a cough!

I have finished my socks!
I usually knit socks on double pointed needles but these I made using the "magic loop" method on a long circular needle. 
The lady in my local wool shop said I would find it so much easier. I didn't at first, I found it very awkward but eventually I got the hang of it and I think I would use the same method again when making socks.


With them finished, I wanted to seize the moment and start something new. I decided to order some yarn to knit a pouffe for our lounge. ( They'll be pictures to show in  my next post.)

What could I make while I was waiting for that to be delivered?

Well, spurred on by this "magic loop" method I decided to make Alfred a new hat, I had some oddments of Drops Fabel in my stash. It really didn't take long to make and I had it all ready for him when his mum brought him round yesterday. I thought brilliant, he can model it for me.
Having placed the hat on Alfred's head, he quickly crawled off to the kitchen while I grabbed my phone for the photo shoot. As you can see my little man model was having a mini stretching crisis with the hat.
He was more interested in granddad's shoe!


Eventually with a lot of persuasion we did manage to keep the hat on long enough to get a photo but he definitely wasn't that keen. Perhaps he didn't like the colour combo!


Have a good week everyone!