Life and Thyme!

15 for 2015- June

Funny old month in some ways. I have spent a lot of time in the garden, weeding and planting. My Dad died a year ago, so that anniversary and Father’s Day brought back many memories , and an acceptance that he has gone. Immediately after his death I was thrown into a state of high activity, organizing the funeral, dealing with solicitors, estate agents, auctioneers etc. Then my Mum had a stroke ( July) and two months were spent hospital visiting and liaising with social workers. Then came the news of another family member (September) who had cancer and the next nine months was all about supporting that person. Now at last I have the time to think about my Dad, a gentle man and much missed by us all.

Once again I have had reason again to be grateful for my 15 for 2015 list, at a time when I could have succumbed to a low mood, I used the goals to do some positive things for me.

Here’s what happened in June.

15 minutes walking four times a week, yes I am managing this

14 Bags to a charity shop. No more this month. Total stands at 8

13 animal photos. This continues to be a joy and a challenge. In our garden we are regularly visited by a squirrel and two young squirrels, a wild rabbit who comes by daily, Mr E keeps saying lettuces and air guns, dreadful thought, baby birds have been fledging left, right and centre, frogs lurk in every flower bed, newts in the pond, bats fly by nightly, owls hunt, one landed on the roof the other night and had a feast. I could hear it. But I have no photos. the best I can share is the House Martins nest, and you may need a magnifying glass to see it.

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I don’t count this one. total stays at 10

12 Meetings with friends. Yes , I met with Jane again. It does me so much good to laugh and chat.  Total is 6

11 new savoury recipes, my cooking mojo has gone for now, total stands at 7. I think I need a new recipe book to inspire me. I like lots of pictures. Any recommendations anyone, I don’t like too spicy!

10 Handwritten letters. I had good news so I wrote 3 letters this month to friends. Total is now 4

9 handmade cards. Total still at 8

8 sewing projects. I am loving the SAL. Total stays at 3

7 new yarns. I have gone back to knitting my Alpaca mix cardigan. Total stays at 1

6 trips to  a museums, art gallery, place of interest. I visited the Yorkshire museum in York and went to the Richard the third exhibition. interesting but disappointing, most of the information had been covered in recent TV documentaries. What I did love about this museum was seeing part of the ruined Abbey within the museum itself. And there was a fascinating room dedicated to geology , not a subject that has grabbed me before , but this did. More can be read here Then of course there was the day out to Middleham Castle and Jervaulx Abbey. I count that as one and the museum trip as one, which gives me a total of 3.

5,4,3,2,1,and zero, nothing new to report. I keep a running total on the pages section.

Here’s a couple more animal pictures that aren’t counting.

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Too distant and the same can be said for this one too.

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Both taken near Middleham castle. I like the idea that Richard the third learned his skills as a horseman in the field with the horse. View was taken from the Castle Keep. Sheep in field taken near our picnic site.

How are you doing with your goals for 2015 now we are half way through the year! And as my Dad would have said, the days are drawing in!

Yarn Along!

I am pleased to say that I finished knitting the white cardigan for Little Miss F. I can’t believe how many mistakes I made in just 18 rows of pattern. I need to practice more I think. I am now knitting a cardigan for myself in an Alpaca mix yarn, just started the first front.

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I did a grave injustice to the novel I was reading last week, Night Waking by Susan Moss. I didn’t warm to any of her characters but the plot kept me engaged throughout and was thought provoking. At the centre of the story are a couple and their two young sons. They have to negotiate a way of enabling both parents to follow a career. They love their children but for both work comes first. Contrasted to this couple is a visiting family to their holiday cottage. The father is a very successful surgeon whereas the Mother gave up her career to run the family and be a full time Mum. The oldest son is not with them. The youngest child a daughter has an eating disorder and is exceptionally rude and unpleasant to her Mum. She worries and can’t see how her daughter would cope at university without her , only the daughter doesn’t want to go to university. So the question posed is should a woman have a career or not have a career if she has children. Both women are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  The third story running through the book is told through some found letters written in the 1870s from a young nurse sent to the Scottish island to improve neo natal health. The fictional island is based on St Kilda and conditions it describes are unbelievable, but true.

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The book I am reading now is  Tea by the Nursery Fire by Noel Streatfield, and is a sheer delight. I love her writing. It is a complete contrast in childcare from the previous book, telling the story of a young Nannie at the turn of the century. The difference between the haves and the have nots.

Mr E was rather taken with my book. He found one to complement it and lay it on the bed next to mine.

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HUMPH!

Linking with Ginny for Yarn Along

 

Photo Challenge- Hot

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Garden related again, Red HOT Poker!

Do have a look at the other HOT pictures, here

Middleham Castle

After I wrote about Pickering Castle I found Jamie’s blog here. Jamie admits to having a bit of a passion for castles, and I have to say it struck a cord with me. I see the word Castle, and I have to go. Mr E is the same about walled gardens, the ones that have vegetables. We support (humour) each others obsessions in this matter.

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So with great joy a couple of weeks ago we ventured up into the Yorkshire dales and visited Middleham Castle. This castle was where Richard the third spent his childhood, learning the skills of a knight, riding, fighting in the main.

The first wooden castle was built in the usual motte and bailey way on the hill in the middle distance. Seen here from the stone keep.

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It was abandoned in favour of the stone castle , the remains of which we have today.

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The best view of the castle is from above in the keep, the third storey to be precise. The keep is not built on a mound but is in the centre of the castle.

Many of the walls are much higher than the ruins of some castles I have visited , including the one here in Pickering, and you get a real sense of the internal geography of a castle. In front of you here is the Gatehouse with views across the dale. This is not the original entrance to the castle, that is to the right hand side just out of view beyond the visitor centre.

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Here you are looking down into the keep, the cellar to be precise. The Great Hall would have been above it at first floor level.

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The wall to the left is the main lodgings in the West range, the keep to the right. there would have been a bridge between the two buildings at first floor level, to enable to great and the good to go from banquet to bed without getting muddy in the mire below. Walking between these two you get the sense of what it must have been to live in a castle. The hustle and bustle at ground level with servants, horses and animals and the life of the nobles above.

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The original chapel was at first floor level but became too small, the new one is the ruin just in front.

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Seen here from a slightly different angle.

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I loved this ivy covered wall.

This castle is well worth a visit, looked after now by English National Heritage. More details see here

Love to know if anyone else loves a good castle, and which would be your favourite?

SAL- update

It’s been a busy time in the garden recently, I can’t keep up with the weeds! However I have been able to spend some time on the birth sampler for my grandson. Determined he shall have it before he is eight.

Before

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After

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Before Badger

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After Badger

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Before Fox

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After Fox

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The row of stitches to the right are for some mice. But I have run into a problem, I can’t find one of the colours I need, I was so sure I had all the ones I required, which probably means, I have moved the skein to another project, but where and which one? Or did I ever have it? This means shopping… I try to keep out of sewing shops, the results of a trip to one can be expensive……

So glad I joined the SAL, I have made more progress in 6 weeks than I have in seven years!!

Please visit the others in the SAL, links below

Avis at http://sewingbesidethesea.wordpress.com

Kate at https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com

Claire at http://claire93.wordpress.com

Gun at http://rutigt.wordpress.com

Carole at http://aslightobsessionwithbooks.wordpress.com

Alison at http://minervahandmade.wordpress.com

Jule at http://fromtheboudoir.wordpress.com

Elizabeth at http://stitch4therapy.wordpress.com

Wendy at http://thecraftersapprentice.blogspot.co.uk

Lucy at https://lucyannluna.wordpress.com

And two new participants

Jess – https://everthecrafter.wordpress.com/

Jacqui – http://thestitchingline.com/

 

 

Flower Festival

I did a bit more bunking off from weeding duty on Monday afternoon to visit a flower festival in a local church. The theme was A Flower Festival of Fairy Stories.

I think I have watched too much Bake Off. Bear with me the two really are connected. One of Mary Berry’s big criticisms of bakers is the use of too many  props to convey a theme, its about the baking she says. Well the same I thought could be said of a flower festival. All the exhibits were lovely, but too many props and not enough flowers, many were just a flower arrangement in a container. (The school entries were very sweet and are totally not included in this comment.) See what you think.I shall save the best till last.

The Elves and the Shoemaker

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Teddy Bears Picnic

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Check out the marzipan picnic

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Wind in the Willows ( school entry)

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Peter Pan

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The Gingerbread Man (school entry)

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And now my two favourites

The Ugly Duckling

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and my number one top notch winner was

The Princess and the Pea

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isn’t she sweet!

I couldn’t do any of them by the way,so what do I know!! Which do you like best, was I too harsh in my comments, do let me know.

Yarn Along!

First up I was the very very lucky lady who won the giveaway on Ayarnyrobin and this is the wonderful parcel which arrive for me this morning.

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Three 50g balls of Sirdar faroe chunky yarn, which is even prettier in real life than it is on a blog. And a beautiful pink crochet rose and some stitch ring markers.  Look at the card which came too, it reads Enjoy every moment, big and small! Thank you so much Dotty Robins. Do check out her lovely blog.

Meantime I am making a better fist of the white cardigan for Little Miss F.

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Back, two fronts and one sleeve done. Right front was a breeze, first sleeve, bit of an issue on the pattern again Row 13 is not row 11!! I must not go into a trance whilst knitting lacy patterns. I feel I should give myself a 100 lines.

I must not go into a trance whilst knitting lacy patterns.

I must not go into a trance whilst knitting lacy patterns.

I must not go into a trance whilst knitting lacy patterns.

That’s too easy on a computer!

The book, Night Waking by Sarah Moss, is set on a Scottish island. The only inhabitants are a young family. The father Giles inherited the island and spends his days counting puffins. His wife is an Oxford academic trying to complete a book whilst suffering a lack of sleep from the night waking of their youngest son Moth. Their other child is 7 and seems to have the makings of an engineering whiz, but by and large is treated as a nuisance by his mother. The plan for the family is to renovate one of the uninhabited island cottages as a holiday let, with the help of a local builder Jake. Then the family discover the bones of a small infant wrapped in a knitted blanket. The police are called.Interspersed between the chapters are letters from a young woman sent to the island in the 1870 to help reduce infant mortality, so far with no success as child births are few and far between. I’m about a third of the way in, and struggling a bit, it is hard to feel any warmth to any of the characters. We shall see.

Linking with Ginny for Yarn Along

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