Wednesday, 16 April 2014

ANOTHER GLORIOUS DAY AHEAD

 I intended posting these photos this morning but one thing, then another came along and now it's tea time. It really didn't help that I spent one and a half hours in front of our computer with the phone to my ear connected to BT whilst a man whizzed around on my screen from some other part of the world trying to find out why our emails are not working. I was desperate in the end to have a coffee and I think he was feeling pretty much the same because in the end we're no further forward and he's arranging for someone else to call us in the next 24 hours.

Earlier in the day, 7am, I was out walking again. Three times in a row this week and it was again another lovely morning. Tide in or out, there's always something that catches my eye. I've seen it all so many times, yet I never tire of it.

The remains of a torpedo boat


This may well have been an old thames barge


Osea Island can be reached only by causeway or boat


Boats of all shapes and sizes are finally going into the water


These little houses on stilts always intrigue me

and finally the sun shines as I wander home for breakfast


 Thank you to everyone who has been commenting on my blog, I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!


Monday, 14 April 2014

7 AM TODAY

At 7am this morning, it was so gorgeous outside that I went for a walk.

 I wandered along the canal path and there along with the other boats in the basin, moored up, were two thames barges. Then I made my way home along the seawall, the tide unfortunately was completely out. 
I used to walk quite regularly in the early mornings but I've been going swimming a lot recently instead and this is the first time this year that I've actually got out bright and early for a stroll.



While I was walking I went through in my mind what I was going to write on my blog this week. It all seemed to flow effortlessly and make a lot of sense but once home, after I'd eaten breakfast, popped the washing on the line and tried to sort out my BT mail ( don't ask, about that one!) I've just sat down to write my post and it isn't flowing as intended.

Over the weekend there was a lot of talk in the news about school trips and the funding of them and I thought I'd tell you my tale.

In 1969 aged 11 when I was at primary school I was lucky enough to go on a school trip to Switzerland. It cost my parent £48 and every week for the whole year my mum went to the school office and paid £1 towards the trip. We went at Easter and it was the first time I'd spent anymore than a day or two away from home and I'd never been abroad at all.
We travelled by coach and ferry and I can remember carrying my suitcase along the platform in France before boarding the sleeper train to Switzerland.
 We all had to take our own food for the journey and to my surprise my mum had packed me smoked salmon sandwiches. Considering we only had a tin of red salmon on high days and holidays, smoked salmon was the ultimate of luxury.
When we finally arrived at the hotel and I unpacked my suitcase, there hidden under my clothes was a large bar of cadbury"s chocolate all wrapped up in tissue paper. The word soon spread and nearly every other child came to my room for a square of chocolate.

It's strange what you remember isn't it?

The reason why this all came to mind yesterday was at lunch time, I opened the fridge door and asked  Michael, "what do you fancy in your sandwich, ham, cheese, smoked salmon...?"
We both chose smoked salmon and hence my tale.

In later years when my children went on school trips I always popped a little treat in their bags, like my mum did. Though, once they both became scouts and for my son especially, as well as treats I used to put little post it notes on their toothpaste and soap saying, "please use me!"

If you think it's a good idea and one to remember I must add, for my son, it didn't work. He never was a great reader!

Moving on, do you remember this jacket I made for Jessica?


Well, here is Charlotte's. Same pattern, different size and therefore a slight alteration in the pattern.


Not going well, not going well at all.  The sleeves are knitted separately, inserted into the rest of the garment and then the yoke is knitted to complete it. Jessica's knitted up perfectly but this one........nightmare! I've lost count of the times I've knitted the capped sleeves  and undone them again. I just can't make out where and why it's going wrong. So frustrating!

I'm really hoping I can get to grips with this and finish it for Easter.

Thank you for dropping by and trying to make sense of my ramblings.

Enjoy your week!




Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A SHORT BREAK IN IRELAND

We have just got back from a very relaxing few days in Ireland. We stayed in County Cork, right on the coast in Ballycotton Bay. The sea was very moody at times and we could hear the waves crashing relentlessly along the beach from our room. Sometimes at night I counted the seconds between each wave as they crashed onto the beach just like you do between lightning and thunder.


We visited Blarney Castle, climbing to the very top!


And yes, I did kiss the Blarney stone!


The gardens around Blarney are truly beautiful. 
 We walked through the fern garden


 and also took a stroll along the path to the lake.
It was so quiet and peaceful there.


There was so much colour, even in the bark of the trees.



Another day we visited the Titanic Experience in Cobh. It was from this quay that the tenders carried the last of the passengers out to the Titanic before it made its first and last transatlantic voyage. Each entry ticket had a name of an actual passenger on it and at the end of the tour we were able to find out if they were lucky enough to make it to America. Sadly Michael's man perished in the disaster but my lady survived and made a life for herself in New York. I have to say, for a moment I was quite choked.


Our stay in Ireland wouldn't have been complete without a visit to the Jameson Experience in Midleton. I'm not keen on whiskey at all but Michael enjoys it.
The tour was very good and interesting and Michael enjoyed the two glasses of whiskey that came his way. For the rest of the day I became the designated driver!


While we were in Midleton I came across this lovely shop. Whenever I'm away I always try to find some local yarn and in KNIT I found some sock yarn by hedgehog fibres which is hand dyed in Cork.
The shop this year is supporting a local charity - East Cork Rapid Response  with a "knit a stocking campaign" and the socks collected so far are winding there way around the shop. The socks will then be sold in December for EUR2 and the money raised will all go to this charity.
I thought they looked really colourful so I had to take a picture to share with you and also as I spoke to the owner Lora, found we have something in common, we both have Attic 24 on our blog reading list. How bizarre is that?


On our last day we went on quite a long drive into County Kerry and to Killarney. Wow, considering the weather was not good at all, the scenery was amazing.  We were so pleased we took the time to go there.






We really enjoyed being in Ireland, we loved the food, the people and the places we visited. Seeing high streets full of individual shops and petrol stations a long the road was brilliant. If we want fuel here in our town we have just two petrol stations, both belonging to supermarkets, Morrison and Tesco. There were others but they closed a while back.

It was also nice to take time out while the cows crossed the road on their way to be milked. They weren't going to hurry for anyone.


Enjoy the rest of your week!

Monday, 31 March 2014

MOTHER'S DAY WEEKEND


My grandchildren came here on Saturday evening and hid this plant in the dining room so I would find it yesterday morning.


And the little cards that came with it, just make it such a perfect gift.

The plant will eventually make it out into a pot on the patio to hopefully flourish year after year and the little cards will be kept with all their other cards and notes that they've written over the years.




This weekend saw Michael unveil his new boat to the world.
He's spent time in the garage throughout the winter on this gull dinghy, painting it and getting it ready to sail.
On Saturday, it was time for it to move to its spot in the sailing club and therefore free up some space in our garage. Michael hasn't sailed for the past few years so he's looking forward to taking it out on the river. 
As for the new found space in our garage, well I can't see it being like that for long. Something will come along to fill it!


While he tinkered with the boat I photographed this blanket I finished in the week. Knitted again, in Drops Eskimo.


I really do like this pattern, it knits up so quickly. This time I made it slightly longer than the blue one I knitted for Jack, I thought I might as well use up all the yarn.


Now do you remember this little chap?

He was a present for my birthday back in February and through all that nasty weather I couldn't bear to put him outside, he has been perched in my dining room. However, at the end of the day, he is a solar light and so on Saturday as the sun shone down, out into the garden he went. 
Since he's been out there I can't count the times I've mistakenly thought I had a big "live" bird in the garden and even exclaimed as much. I'm sure I'll get used to him eventually.

 As darkness descended, we found not only does the peacock light up but he glows, pink, then green, then white. When I was telling my daughter in law this morning, (the present giver), even she didn't realise that he would glow quite so colourfully. 

He does look lovely in the garden, I just hope he doesn't frighten off the hedgehog who ambles through our garden at about 10.30pm each evening.

  
It was nice to be at home yesterday for Mother's day. My daughter collected my parents and we all had dinner here during the afternoon. I cooked, Michael and Kate cleared up. It was all very relaxed and we all had a lovely time.
I'd already planted up some fresh plants in a planter on my mum's patio during the week and she went home yesterday with yet more plants and a box of her favourite florentines to enjoy.

The one good thing about moving the clock forward is that when our family left yesterday we still had some time to take a walk. First stop was the sailing club to make sure Michael's boat was as he left it and then we walked up onto the seawall and along the river.


It was all very peaceful and still.

In just a few more weeks this stretch of river will be full of yachts and sailing dinghies.

Monday, 24 March 2014

MUM COULD YOU JUST?

Although our grandson Jack is still sleeping in his cozy moses basket in with his mum and dad, they are busy getting his new bedroom ready and have bought him new cot bedding and matching curtains.
His room has an oblong window and a small round window but the curtains purchased were to fit a wide window and so long that they would drop down to the carpet.

Hence the question, "Mum, could you just?"

After some measuring and decision making I agreed to alter this one pair of curtains to fit both windows and would also add some blackout lining. I had to alter the tab tops as well as there is very little room between the ceiling and the top of the oblong window, so the curtains will have to run on a narrow pole.


I made a start during the week and managed to get the new curtains cut out so on Saturday I could spend the time inserting the lining and sewing them up on my machine.

I was really pleased as I didn't expect to get them finished so quickly and though this photo doesn't really do them justice I've just had to include it. This is because I had to get my husband to help me prepare the perfect photo which entailed him going to the garage, finding some rope, burning the rope end so it was sealed, threading it through the tabs, tying one end to the top of the lounge door and him climbing onto the furniture to raise the other end of the rope level while I took the shot.
He did suggest while balancing on the chair with one hand on the wall to support himself that I should wait and photograph them when they're hanging in Jack's bedroom but no, I couldn't wait, I needed the photo for today.
Afterwards, when reviewing the taken photo we both agreed, having made all the effort the photo  and the curtains actually didn't look good at all. 


 They look much better here, folded up neatly.


I was pleased also to finish this jacket for Jessica this weekend, I've just the buttons to put on. I've now got to make one for Charlotte and hopefully I'll be able to give them to them for Easter.


Please don't tell anyone, but I'm actually enjoying all this new found sewing enthusiasm and really pleased that I had my new sewing machine for Christmas!!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A WEEK OF PERFECTNESS!

It was so wonderful this week, to just be able to pop outside and feel some warmth in the sun. 
 Filling the house with fresh air as doors and windows could be flung open and
being able to peg out washing, knowing it would be dry later in the day.

I spent Tuesday in my garden, washing out my little greenhouse and making new neat borders, weeding and digging until dusk. I didn't do much in the garden last year but this year I'm going to make much more of an effort.

Then on Thursday I met a friend at RHS Hyde Hall for lunch, it was lovely up there and we couldn't believe it was warm enough to eat outside. 
Although we were restricted to the path areas we were still able to have a good stroll around and I took a few photos to share with you.







The scarecrows were there ready to wish us a fond farewell as we were leaving!


Yesterday saw me out in the garden again, this time planting up seeds and sorting our small front garden. Neighbours passing by, stopped and chatted. It was a relaxing pottering day.
Knitting has certainly taken a back stop this week but as the saying goes, a change is as good as a rest!



Monday, 10 March 2014

A WEEKEND OF SUNSHINE!

Wasn't it a glorious weekend?
Two whole days of sunshine!

On Saturday evening we were meeting my cousin and her husband in London for a meal so Michael and I decided to go earlier in the day to have a wander.
We parked in Butlers Wharf and wandered along by the river, finding a bar with a table outside to sit and have lunch. We live about an hours drive from London, so go there quite often, yet we still try to find somewhere new to visit each time.
This time, I'd scoured the internet before leaving home and having established  that neither of us had ever been to the Museum of London, we set off for there after our lunch. We spent more time there than we thought we would, all very interesting.

It always amazes me how the skyline in London is ever changing, new architecture stands side by side with the old.


We stopped at a cafe by St Paul's catherdral for a cup of tea,

  
before setting off again across the Millennium bridge to the Tate Modern Gallery.

 Looking down the Thames both Tower Bridge and the Shard glistened in the sun.


The Tate is a favourite of ours to visit as well as a mystery. Some things we understand, appreciate and really like, other things we're not quite so sure about. When we leave we certainly have plenty to talk about.
As dusk was falling we stepped out onto the balcony of their cafe so I could take the perfect photo.
St Paul's, the Thames and a boat passing by.
I waited, (I'd already missed one boat!) and then snapped.
The result, St Paul's minus the spire, the boat off centre and all taken by a very shaky hand.
I don't think I'll win any prizes with this one.


Yesterday we went to our daughter's for a cooked breakfast and then spent the morning in their garden. Michael mowed the lawn while Peter filled in the hole left by the unwanted fish pond and I helped Kate de head several hydrangeas. 
(I could have taken some lovely photos of their garden but oops I forgot!)
It was so lovely to be outside again!

In the afternoon back at home Michael tinkered with his boat while I prepared the dinner. Our son and his family came to eat with us and it was a very special occasion just because it was a first time visit here for baby Jack. 

They all went home fed, tired but happy. Michael and I were finally able to sit down and relax catching up with Top Gear and Call The Midwife.

We certainly had a great weekend!