Sunday, 13 December 2009


Is there a hint of sarcasm in my title you may wonder. Well if I'd written it last week probably. However now I've done the cards, most of the shopping and decorated the tree with various baubles, novelties and edibles which should keep my grandchildren amused, I am beginning to get into the spirit of the festive season.
The tree is looking good, whether it will in a fortnights time remains to be seen. The man who sold it to me yesterday, Fred Smith, said it had been freshly dug up that very morning from his own Christmas tree farm, I was very impressed with that. We hadn't intended being out most of the morning, I mean how long does it take to buy a tree, but Michael had found this place on the internet, just the other side of Colchester and off we trundled. Hopefully the 40 mile round trip will prove to have been worth it.
All I've got to do now before the 25th December is wrap the presents, marzipan and ice the cake, help my daughter move house and FINISH ONE MORE BRACELET!
Do you think I'm stressed?

Saturday, 5 December 2009

2 DOWN, 3 TO GO!

If you recall, I mentioned that I purchased some bracelets, five infact, to make as Christmas presents, well, I have finished two. I had to get Michael this morning to help put the clasps on. It was like the blind leading the blind, neither of us could see properly, we had to wait an hour before our eyes could focus. No, before you even think it, we hadn't been drinking last night.
I am pleased with my efforts, even though I will need to consider carefully who to give them too. I need to think of someone who has a man sized wrist and is happy to wear sparkly jewellery. Ok, so I made them rather on the large size, I won't get too carried away with the knitting for the next three.
Have to say the advice on threading the beads on the wire by my cousin, a textile artist, was very helpful. Thanks Miriam! I was able to thread the beads for bracelet no. 3 in the time it took to watch "The One Show" last night, the other two took three days each. It goes to show you can't thread beads, drink a glass of wine and juggle the tv remote control at the same time.

Sunday, 22 November 2009


If you ever get the opportunity to go to Dedham, go!
My husband and I often stop there for lunch in the Wilkin & Sons Tea Room when we're out in the direction of Colchester. I like Dedham because of its "oldie worldie" charm and Michael likes it because there are only a few shops to browse around, so we're not there forever.
Yesterday was no exception, we were able to park right outside the tea room and after our lunch just had a browse around the Dedham Arts and Craft Centre.

It's a very pleasant walk from Dedham along the river to Flatford Mill, which we have done on a better weather day. Infact yesterday we did advise a group of keen walkers to drive to Flatford. We didn't like to say but, high heals and wet, soggy constable countryside don't mix.

We left Dedham and drove up to Hadleigh, a place we'd never been to before. We were just amazed at how nice it was, a market town, just outside Ipswich. There is an Adnams of Southwold, Cellar and Kitchen Store there where we had a sample taste of their own Christmas pudding and advokaat custard. Well, we had to buy that, it was delicious!

Also, they have another great shop - Partridges which was a real surprise, an ironmongers that sell everything you may ever want or need. Michael and I split up in there, he went upstairs to the tools, nuts, bolts, screws and nails section and I stayed downstairs looking at everything else. Did I buy anything - no!

However, I now know the place to get it from when I do need it!!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


I can't remember exactly how old I was when I first learnt to knit. What I can remember is that my grandma and my mum were my teachers. I knitted many little garter stitch scarves for my dolls and many different coloured squares which were eventually going to be sewn up to make a patchwork blanket. Well, that never happened, because as we all know, I can't sew! My grandaughter Charlotte has been asking me to teach her to knit. At only 3 years old I wasn't sure if it was too soon. However on Sunday I searched through the hundreds of needles I keep in my loft and managed to find a bendy, plasticky pair which I thought might be suitable plus an odd ball of pink wool. She's a pink girl!!!!
Yesterday, as soon as she came through the front door she said, "Are you teaching me to knit today, Granny?" and I thought mmm, I'm going to have to give this a go!
As soon as her baby sister had nodded off to sleep out came the needles and wool. I started off with a Heath & Safety warning on the dangers of misusing the needles. [I can't remember my own mother doing the same, but I'm married to a Heath & Safety Manager, so I think it's rubbed off on me]. Anyway, after nodding and trying to take control of the needles she said that she understood. Realistically by the look on her face I could read she was actually thinking," for goodness sake Granny get on with it." So, she eventually climbed up onto my lap ready to start knitting her scarf for her dolly, Poppy.
I was impressed, she really tried to wind the wool around the needle and between us we did about 3 rows. She wasn't so impressed that the scarf wasn't growing at the pace she would have liked but agreed to have another go next time she visits.
I did smile this morning when I looked in my knitting basket, her little needles and wool were resting alongside mine. How cute!!!!!

Sunday, 1 November 2009


This is my first "Blog" rant, but something I feel very strongly about.

Not only did my father serve with the RAF in Burma in World War II, his younger brother died when the submarine HMS Vandal sank off the coast of Arran in 1943.

I always wear my poppy as a mark of respect for all that my father endured and for the ultimate sacrifice my uncle made.

I am astounded that yesterday while walking through London so few were wearing the poppy. At a time when our nation is crying out for our soldiers to return from Afghanistan, we should all be wearing them with pride and compassion in respect of all of those soldiers that have lost their lives, been injured or are currently working in difficult conditions away from their families to ensure OUR lives and our country are made safer.


It was both Michael's and my dad's birthday yesterday, very nice but hectic.

Today, we decided to have a day out, just to wander and relax. Michael fancied going up into london and we headed off to the Docklands Musuem. We found that to be very interesting, finding out about the history of the River Thames from the Roman times through to the current developements. We saw filmed footage of the London Blitz which even though I have seen similar lots of times, I still find very moving. My grandfather served with the West Ham fire brigade at this time and I can only imagine that it must have been a terribly difficult time for him and his family.
From there we meandred slowly alongside the docks towards Island Park and then through the foot tunnel under the Thames to Grenwich.

As it was such a nice day we decided to jump on a Thames Clipper and head back up the river towards Waterloo. Surprised at just how well our feet were feeling we then walked to Regents Street where we spent some time in Hamley's playing with all the toys, well that's what you have to do when you're buying for the grandchildren. You have to check for suitability!
We had a brief whirl around Selfridges and then headed back to Docklands where we met up with my cousin and her husband for a very pleasant meal in the Lotus Floating Chinese restaurant.
By the time I remembered to take a photo of our banquet it was too late. We'd eaten it all!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


My 3 year old grand daughter made her first stage appearance on Saturday evening in a dance production at The Public Hall in Witham. Yes, the same Witham which is currently enjoying fame on X Factor. Whether she follows in the footsteps of Olly Murr remains to be seen.
I was a very proud grandmother watching her every step as she completed a faultless "Mickey Mouse Club March" and then later on in the first half "You've Got a Friend in Me". No photos I'm afraid - a sign of the times!
The teacher also appeared in various parts of the production and I can certainly say there was plenty of tap and tap and tap tap!
Whilst the art of dance is not quite my thing, my grand daughter certainly enjoyed herself and it's great that there are people out there who have the time, the patience and the willingness to teach.
A good evening, rounded off at home with a glass of red wine, watching X factor and cheering Olly on!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


Sometimes it's the little things in life that make your day.
After work this morning I had the pleasure of looking after my 3 yr old grand daughter while my daughter in law took her baby sister to her massage class.
What could we do to pass an hour or two?
"I want to feed the ducks, Granny" was the request. So I raided the freezer for bread and off we went along the canal edge to search for ducks.
Not visible straight away, we trudged along and she chatted quite happily.
Eventually we found some ducks taking in the sunshine on the opposite side of the canal, the bread enticed them over and she soon emptied the now defrosted bread into the water. The ducks had a good feed.
We finished our afternoon with some time in the playground. Swings, slides, roundabouts and climbing frames never go out of fashion.
She had a lovely time and so did I.

Monday, 12 October 2009


Yesterday I went to the Knitting and Stitching Exhibition at Alexander Palace. My cousin and friend invited me along and I really enjoyed it. I left my husband Michael at home to have a day working on his boat in the garage. This is an ongoing project of his which he had hoped to finish this summer but it is still work in progress.
The boat I pictured in the foyer of Alexander Palace was certainly a work of art, all knitted and seaworthy! When I got home, I showed him my photo and offered to give him a hand next weekend. I'm fairly confident with a ball of wool and some needles. He declined my offer!!
I did buy some wool while I was there yesterday. I have been inspired to have a go at knitting a pair of socks and also I'm going to attempt knitting some bracelets out of wire. Ideal Christmas presents, I thought. Mmmmm I'll have to see how they turn out first.
We finished our day with afternoon tea. Very nice it was too.

Friday, 2 October 2009


I can't believe that a week has passed since I walked along the seawall from Heybridge Basin to Goldhanger. My brother-in-law having just retired at 65 wanted to walk from Hoe Mill to Goldhanger, so he set off along the Chelmer and Blackwater canal towpath towards Heybridge Basin on Friday afternoon. What a glorious day to pick to complete the walk, the sun was shining and by the time he reached the Basin the tide was coming in.

My husband and I met up with him there and set off for Goldhanger. Once we had passed the caravans at Mill Beach and the last of the moored boats, Osea Island was in clear view. There wasn't even a breeze and considering it was the last Friday in September we were surprised at just how warm the sun was. As we headed into Goldhanger creek and over the field towards St. Peter's church, we were ready to quench our thirst. Thankfully, The Chequers is right next door and that's where we were headed, meeting up with family for a well deserved meal and drink. We really enjoyed our walk on Friday so deciding we should make the most of the lovely weather on Saturday afternoon my husband and I drove over to Holland-on-Sea. We could see in the distance Clacton pier and were surprised to see the paddle steamer Waverley moored at the far end. By the time we had walked into Clacton and down to the end of the pier the boat was about to sail. We stood for quite a while watching the last of the passengers rushing to get on board. By the time we had got back to the car the boat was well on its way on its return journey. I do enjoy a morning walk, leaving home just before 7am. On Thursday I was lucky to meet up with my neighbour on the seawall, so we paced it out together. We walked just beyond Osea Rd as we hoped to see the owl that is nesting in that area. No joy with that but we did see a grey Heron and a handful of Brent Geese.
I really appreciate living here, I can walk for miles along the coastal path and along the canal towpath - not a road in sight. Wonderful!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Today my friend and I drove over to Cambridge to go and see The Eastern Region Textile Forum Exhibition - Moving Forward. It was really interesting and the standard was excellent. My cousin was exhibiting some of her own work which was really nice to see. I think she's very talented and creates amazing works of art. I obviously don't take after her. Give me a needle and thread and I even have trouble sewing buttons on. Well, not strictly true I can sew them on, they just won't stay where I put them.
Knitting is my forte, but I'll tell you about that another day.

Monday, 21 September 2009


I'd spent the morning in the loft, shuffling boxes, designating the odd item to the bin and being amazed at just how many Christmas decorations we actually own. Mental note - I must be stopped from buying any more.
It wasn't until after lunch that I realised just how warm the weather was when we set out walking along the sea wall from Heybridge Basin, hoping to catch sight of the old boats as they sailed along the Blackwater. Unfortunately we missed most of the boats, didn't get the timing quite right this year but, we continued our stroll into Maldon where all the boats had moored up along the quay.

The Regatta is a popular event in the Maldon calender. There's entertainment, plenty of stalls to browse around and if you like old boats it's certainly well worth the visit.
We finished our very enjoyable sunny afternoon with a quick drink in the Queen's Head before setting off back home.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Pearl Wedding Anniversary.

Just look at this view from our hotel at Spean Bridge near Fort William, Scotland. It was amazing! Yet it's taken us 30 years, since our honeymoon infact, before we made a return to this beautiful part of the world.