Monday, 24 December 2012


It took exactly one year of preperation but finally our daughter Kate married Peter on Saturday having got engaged on 22nd December 2011 whilst skiing.

On Friday her beautiful dress hung ready to be worn.

These lovely ladies were very much appreciated by the four flower girls.

Kate and Peter looked radiant.

The table decorations were just amazing,

and I got to bring one home!
Merry Christmas to everyone who has dropped by and read my blog this past year.
Happy New Year to you all!

Sunday, 16 December 2012


As the weekend slowly comes to an end, here it has been hectic, full of surprises and great excitement.

The little bridesmaid dolls are finished,  all dressed in their finery and ready to go to the wedding. 
I am so pleased with them and will definitely post another photo on my blog after the wedding. I don't want to spoil the surprise!

Charlotte and Jessica came for a sleepover on Friday night so it was an ideal time for them to decorate their Christmas cake. I really did leave them and the tree cutter to their own creative devices. This is what they came up with, which though I may be biased as I'm their Granny, I think deserves top marks. 
Top marks also for Grandad, I must add, who cleaned up the entire kitchen afterwards while I put both children in the bath to wash off excess icing sugar and green icing.

Saturday after finishing the last of the Christmas shopping Michael and I decorated the tree. I have tried not to buy any new decorations this year in fact, I disposed of quite a few that have been lingering in the loft for a few years. However I did succumb to making one purchase, a new fairy. She looks very elegant and my daughter in law noticed her as soon as she came in today, I was very impressed!

Much excitement today, Charlotte and Jessica were told that they're off to Eurodisney first thing tomorrow for a few days. (They will be back in plenty of time for the wedding!) 
While Grandad is driving them all to a hotel in London for the night, I'm here supposedly finishing off the Christmas present wrapping. 

Just one job to do before they go, print photos of rainbow bear and rosie bear for their passports.

They're off to Eurodisney too!

Sunday, 9 December 2012


Yesterday at 2pm while 11 of us were sitting down to afternoon tea at Baumanns restaurant in Coggeshall we were reminded that in exactly 2 weeks time Kate will be getting married. 
That therefore means in just over 2 weeks time it will also be Christmas.
I am currently running 2 lists, one headed "wedding to do's" and the other, no doubt you've guessed, "what to do, what to buy, what to cook" for Christmas!
The afternoon tea was excellent and it was really nice to sit and relax and chat for a few hours.
The wedding now is getting so close and it is a very exciting time.

There was another kind of excitement earlier in the week when on Wednesday morning we received our first snowfall of this winter.  Now I'm sure the weather forecast on BBC's Countryfile predicted this for Wednesday (unless I dreamt it!) but obviously Essex County Council didn't watch the program as they announced that it had come as a surprise. So, consequently there were no gritters out the night before and no grit meant traffic at a standstill for most of the morning.
By lunchtime all excitement had diminished as the snow had melted and people could get back to the normality of their day.

On Friday, Diane came over and we made the bows for the hair and shoes and she sewed the mouths for the bridesmaid dolls. I'm really pleased with these and once the dresses are on I think they'll look brilliant.

Also, my knitted blanket is finally finished. It was a long task but I'm over the moon with the result.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


This is a very quick update on my sky scarf!
Firstly, it's extremely long!!!

Secondly, fairly grey!

It now also  has a little friend. This much smaller scarf was knitted up using Colinette yarn,  made in a couple of evenings -  light wedding therapy relief.

I wouldn't say that, with just over 2 weeks to go, Kate and I are stressed  BUT I just wish that whoever dished out the hours for each day had looked on us more favourably. I could certainly do with a few extra.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


For a woman that states that she cannot sew, I do believe I've had a crash course this weekend.
Firstly I must say a very big thank you to my friend Diane who spent a considerable time on Friday helping me with the hair and eyes for the 4 bridesmaid dolls that I've knitted. Though they're not quite finished this one here is Grace, hair made by me but sewn by Diane. She's now ready to go to the dressmaker tomorrow for a dress fitting.
(The dressmaker who is making the bridesmaid dresses is also making identical little dresses for the dolls) 

My mum very kindly has given me her folding cutting out board which has been really helpful.
Yesterday I was able to lay out my blanket on the dining room table and spent the afternoon sewing yet again.
Today I have 6 squares of the last panel to sew in and thankfully today the sun is shining through the windows, that will be a great help.

The sun today will also bring a welcome change in my sky scarf, it's been looking very grey recently!

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Oh, so slowly but finally my blanket is getting near to completion. I have the last square on my knitting needles and today I managed to sew the fourth panel in place.

I do realise that once it's all sewn together I will have quite a task ahead when I attempt knitting the border. I have 2 sets of circular needles ready and waiting.

Life in my house is is now virtually 100% in wedding mode, just over a month to go now until the event.  I do believe that my ideal of all christmas shopping, purchased and wrapped by Nov 30th will actually fail to happen. However, I am still  hopeful that christmas cards will be written by the end of this coming week. Kate is wrapping all her presents tonight and guess where they're going to reside until christmas day. In the next couple of days my spare room will look like a bridal shop and a christmas shop all rolled into one.

Deep breathes, keep calm and just keep my needles clicking on with my last square!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


When I was in my teenage years and my maternal grandmother turned 90 to me, she was a very old lady. A woman who never went out without a hat, never left the house alone and actually was never left in the house alone. 
If I think back to when I was a little girl, she was even old then. She would spend hours teaching me to play cards and board games and always arrived on the doorstep when I was sick to keep me company and read me books but, I can't ever remember seeing her work in the garden, or do the housework, washing and ironing.
She was my grandma.

Last week my dad turned 90. Both he and mum are still very independent and they do a very good job of keeping each other on their toes. Despite this I do sometimes wonder if, like me when I was little, Charlotte and Jessica think Grandpa is a very old man!
 On Sunday the most horrendous wet weather didn't dampen our spirits and a family gathering of 37 met at the Lion Inn , where we had a lovely lunch and spent the afternoon celebrating his birthday. Dad and mum thoroughly enjoyed themselves as I know we all did.

Happy birthday Dad!

Sunday, 21 October 2012


What a challenge for a bleak Sunday afternoon in October. I'm trying to piece together and pin  in another panel of my blanket.
As you can probably tell, I've already walked away to have a think, that's why I'm sitting here tapping away on this post.
Hopefully, I'll go back and everything will seem clearer and not such a muddle.                                          

On a positive note this is the first time since I have been writing my blog that I've managed to place a photo on the left and write by the side of it. Even though I still have no idea how I've managed it, I'm pleased with myself. 

I have at long last found my mother of the bride outfit for Kate's wedding. In the end  I've actually ended up buying it online. I am a person who likes to support small independent shops but after countless visits to different shops and towns, it just became so frustrating to find clothes that I liked but couldn't try in my size and those that were in my size, not really what I was looking for.
Ordering online was so easy. I ordered on Thursday, the parcel arrived on Friday, I tried on everything I ordered yesterday and will be sending back what I don't want on Monday. How simple is that?

I've just popped back down to the kitchen and unfortunately the blanket hasn't miraculously sewn itself together so I'm going to have to leave my blog posting for another day and give my blanket the attention it deserves. Apart from that as it's such a dismal day I've probably only got a couple of daylight hours left.

Sunday, 7 October 2012


As I mentioned in my last post, on Wednesday I had my first real look at outfits for "Mother of the Bride".
"I've got plenty of time", I said to the assistant in the shop.
"When's the wedding?" she asked.
"Not 'till 22nd December!" I exclaimed quite confidently.
She sighed, "that is NOT a lot of time."
I still beg to differ, I have to - I haven't found anything yet!

Anyway, first day, first shop and I chose a variety of beautiful and stunning outfits that I wanted to try, to try on. I felt I was being quite open minded and didn't want to judge anything until I'd tried it!
Standing in the tiny cubicle, my friend was ensconced outside ready to give moral support and guidance.
Remember that I said before that I wanted to try to try on. I therefore now ask the question, who do they actually make these dresses for?
I tried on a great deal but nothing wooed me and then on my last and final attempt I tried on a dress and jacket that not only came with inbuilt breast enhancers but an horrendous price tag that would undoubtedly send my husband teetering right over the edge!

" How are you getting on?" the shop assistant asked.
" I'm not very keen on this one" I replied from within the dress. At that very moment, stalemate! The dress wouldn't go on, nor would it come off. How could I tell the shop assistant that! My face was completely cocooned by the breast enhancers and it felt that the cubicle was getting smaller and warmer.
I breathed in and breathed in and breathed in and then o.m.g. I prayed. My luck was fortunately in, I managed to get it off without  it tearing into two parts. 
I exited the cubicle with an air of utter relief. Next stop on my list, the coffee shop!

I'm not giving up, well let's face it, I can't give up. Next Wednesday, we have another couple of dress shops on our list to  benefit from the pleasure of our company. Same time, but a different town!

Talking of the wedding, the four little dolls are coming along well. All the parts are knitted up now, just stuffing, sewing together, faces and hair to do. We've asked the dressmaker who's making the little bridesmaids dresses to make the dresses for the dolls. I think they'll look really good when the'yre finished, as long as I get the faces right!

We have had such a lovely weekend here, the weather has been perfect. Yesterday my husband and son took the new boat down to the river to see how it performed. Hard work they both said, but they hope with practice it will keep them fit.
It certainly looked very good in the water.
I love the next photo, paricularly the sky with the clouds and the reflection on the water. Michael is out there rowing, right in the middle of the picture.
(He's worried, unless I tell you he's there, you won't notice him.)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


So now we're entering the month of October and the sky scarf continues to grow. The month of January is hanging over the back of the door, September is down towards my knitting basket. It certainly shows we've had a lot of grey days!

The wretched cold that I mentioned in my last post is rather like a boomerang. Three days I was completely clear of it and then back it came for the weekend. My poor mother is suffering with it  as well and exactly the same, some days much better and others not so good. Consequently today is one of the days where I've woken up full of snuffles and a head that feels like it contains cotton wool and not much else. This is not ideal when you're planning a shopping trip this afternoon to look for an outfit for Kate's wedding!

Some good news, Michael's new rowing boat arrived on Monday, all looking good. We're just hoping for some decent weather this coming weekend so he can give it a trail run.  This is definitely a single seater affair so I've no need to worry about getting my feet wet. I can just watch from the sea wall, take pictures and wave!

Monday, 24 September 2012


I really wasn't feeling that great over the weekend, a rotten cold and cough really dragged me down. We had a busy weekend planned as well, spring cleaning or should I say, autumn cleaning the garage. Michael has a new boat arriving in the next few days, not to replace the one we already have in the garage but to accompany it.

I stayed in bed on Saturday morning while Michael turfed everything out into the garden for analysis, either heading for the ebay pile or the skip. Whilst in the midst of doing this gigantic job, he also ("it won't take me a minute!") dug a brand new hole for the new washing line.
"A little more difficult than I first thought", he exclaimed when he caught my eyes peering down from an upstairs window.
Well, it was at this very point that I knew I was feeling quite ill. 
Not only did the garden look like a replica of Steptoe & Sons yard with the new line up in it's new position, but the hole that had been dug to  expose the huge concrete bolder which surrounded the old washing line hole was enormous. If I hadn't known better it could easily have been mistaken for an archeological dig  to find some old ancient castle complete with moat.
Unfortunately no photos taken, because I felt that rough, but hopefully your imagination can run riot.
As I said, I knew I was ill. " That's great, you're doing a good job!"
I went back to bed.

Today, I feel much much better and ask the question, why is that when you have had to take an enforced through illness, couple of days out that the very next day you feel that the house hasn't been cleaned for at least a 100 years and the whole country is waiting for you to catch up with the washing?

Here I am on a Monday morning, dusting, hoovering, cleaning the cooker and washing everything in sight. I can't put any of if out on the newly installed washing line because, it's raining!
I do usually try to get the washing outside so today I think the tumble dryer took it's time leaping into action, probably it was choking on it's own dust!
Mmmm, tumble dryers. Why is it, that you can peg everything out on the line, it dries and you bring it all in. Yet, to use the tumble dryer, you have to sort the washing, read the labels and ensure things that can't be tumbled don't go in there?
Big mistake this morning, new hand knitted woolly socks in, tight, shrunk socks out.  In desperation I shoved them on my feet and although the wool crackled in protest more than a bit  I do think they've stretched back to near normal size.
My new monsoon top, worn only about four times in all, didn't fare so well. Of all the things in there, old tee shirts, tea towels etc it was this particular top that clung to the door a little too tightly and came out with several holes in the front. Why?

Persevering, I now have a date with the ironing board and iron, what a treat!

I'm also going to leave you with some pictures from our holiday of kite paragliders on the great sand dune of Pyla, near Archachon. It was just 3 weeks ago, and it was sunny and hot.
Oh what a lovely thought!

(And if you're wondering what happened to the enormous hole in my garden, Michael did come to the rescue. On Sunday he returned the yard back to our garden. The hole was filled in, grass seed was bought and scattered. Thankfully, it is being well watered in today!)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


I really can't believe it's been a whole month since my last post. It's not that I haven't had anything to say because those who know me will confirm I always have plenty of old chat. Probably, it's just that I've become caught up with doing this and that.

Throughout August I've spent lots of time with my grand daughters which has been great. Also, there's been lots of arrangements being made for my daughters wedding in December. Thankfully not on the 24th of December but the 22nd!! I won't know whether I should be plucking feathers from the turkey or sticking feathers in my hat. 
Keeping calm about it all is the best course of action I feel BUT the shopping for the other great event in December has to be and will be completed, including wrapping and labels by the last day in November.

I've kept busy with my knitting, the sky scarf is now enormous. Plus, I'm continuing with the knitted blanket and crocheted granny squares which I have to say look nothing like they do on the pattern. These two projects have however had to be side stepped as I've been commissioned by Kate to make the gifts for her four little flower girls, four knitted flower girl dolls. "Oh, heck!" I throw my hands up and exclaim.

Now what else have I been doing?

 Oh yes, holidaying, we've just come back from a week in Arcachon France. It was very nice, very relaxing and the sun shone! 

The only trouble with summer holidays is that when you get home you find a few of these growing in your veg patch. Not just one but five!! We've managed to eat a little, given away a lot and Michael took this one to work today. I don't fully understand why but it's gone.

For the record it is a courgette!

Sunday, 12 August 2012


Wonderful! Brilliant! Excellent! Fantastic! Superb! Amazing!Spectacular!

This is just a group of words I've used over and over again in this past fortnight to try and describe my reaction to the London Olympics 2012 and the achievements of the Great Britain team.

I've rowed with the rowers, boxed with the boxers, swum with the swimmers, held my breathe in awe of our gymnasts and held on to the saddle as our horses have jumped and danced.
Just as I thought it couldn't get any better, last night I was out of my seat yet again, knitting flying in all directions as I cheered on Mo Farrah to the gold medal in the 5000 metres and then later had to watch through my fingers  as Tom Daley dived at his best to win for himself and his dad, the bronze medal.

Even though unfortunately we weren't able to get tickets to any of the events, I had the best seat in the house for the whole fortnight at home.

I have thorough enjoyed it all, as I hope you can probably tell?

Lots of sitting, meant lots of knitting and crochet which was a very pleasant bonus.

I've completed another panel of my blanket, just two more to do. So it should be completely finished by the end of the year - ever hopeful!

I also have got to grips with my crochet and here is just a small selection of granny squares that I've done.

I also have taken onboard yet another knitting project, this time for Kate, for her wedding.
It doesn't just involve wool and stuffing but fabric, thread and needle too, so could be complicated!
Feel free to guess!
 I will tell you more about it all in my next post, after I've sent out some help signals and I've got my head round what I've got to do!

Sunday, 22 July 2012


Jo, our daughter in law bought this little bird house for us when she first started dating our son. It has hung in our virbunum tree in the corner of our garden ever since and birds have shown no interest in it until.........

 On Thursday I was out working in the garden all day and I could hear birds tweeting very loudly. Surely it couldn't be from the blackbirds nest that sits on top of the brick pillar under the shade of the virbunum tree, I was sure they'd flown a while ago.

 I was so surprised! Someone had at last taken a shine to our garden and Jo's vacant box, Mr and Mrs Wren had decided to bring up their new family in it. I suppose because we've been away and haven't been in the garden that much recently due to the weather that our visitors came along unnoticed.

Saturday morning came and mass activity in the garden, the little wrens had fledged their nest. The tiny birds were no bigger than the "o" you make with thumb and fore finger and they weren't wary at all, quite happily allowing us to get so very close with the camera.

They spent a long time scurrying around the plants, sitting on leaves while mum flew off and brought them back food.

In the afternoon all of sudden we noticed the silence. The baby wrens had finally found their wings!

It was an absolute pleasure having them stay with us!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


We've just got back from a week in the Orkney Islands, off the coast of Northern Scotland. We stayed on the mainland not far from Kirkwall and whilst the weather was very blustery at times and we did have some mist and a full day of rain, it didn't stop us getting out to see what the Orkney Islands promised to offer in their brochure.

Stunning scenery!

Wonderful cliff top walks - this one here was at Deerness.

Archeological sites - the Ring of Brodgar is just one of those that we visited.

The Italian Chapel

This was constructed by Italian POW during WW2 by putting two nissan huts together end to end and men painting all the inside to simulate brickwork. One of the POW'S Domenico Chiochetti  recreated the sanctuary end of the chapel by copying a postcard that he carried with him always.
At the end of the war when the prisoners were released Domenico remained on the Orkneys until the chapel was finished.
It was amazing to see!

We did also see plenty of sheep and a huge amount of cows!

An abundance of wildlife - hares (who moved too fast for their photo call!)


Quite a few seals, who apparently come closer if you sing to them!
I tried - a quick melody of songs from musicals came forth and I have to say it did make them stare up at me but only probably because they couldn't believe what their ears were hearing.
They didn't really seem to want to come any closer!
Husband - well he had dropped well behind me at this point and I also noticed he'd pulled his hat right over his ears.
I really don't understand why!

The wildflowers were so so beautiful and plentiful!

AND there was just a glimmer of blue sky and sunshine!
The Orkney Islands offer lots if you just want to get away from it all.
Loved It!