Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Knit and Natter.

It seems ages since I did a Knit and Natter post, and indeed it probably is. First of all I have a finish.

The Christmas Jumper.

Big problem getting a halfway decent nose I can tell you. This is the third and final version.

I have taken it to Master T. Well his home, he was at school. But will he wear it, that is the question.

So there was quite a lot of blue yarn leftover. Enough to start a project for the December Scrap Happy Post. I may even finish it in time too, but what could it be? It’s Christmas related.

The High wind last weekend unnerved me quite a lot. I feel dreadfully sorry for everyone still waiting for their power supply to be up and running again. For myself I spent three hours in the middle if the night fretting about roof tiles. As it turns out the roof was fine. But then there was an awful smell in the ensuite. I googled it. Problem stemmed from the shower, apparently if you don’t use plumbing bits they dry out, and you need a bit of water to stop the gases coming up. So then I tried the shower, no water came out. So I cured that problem with a bucket of water.

And that’s when I really started to struggle a bit. Because I have been ignoring quite a few issues to do with the house. I expect its all part of the grieving process plus the moving to a new area and needing to find trustworthy trades people. Logically I knew I would have to do something, ignoring things doesn’t work and I know all about a stitch in time.

Well after a few days of panic, fear and general dithering I wrote a list of everything that was bothering me. It’s got 28 items on it. Strangely naming the fears helped a lot. All of them are solvable. It just needs me to stay calm and work through them one at a time. I have found a plumber. He has fixed a dripping tap , bled radiators and a pump, and diagnosed a broken pump for the shower which is why I could never get cold water out of it.

I am now waiting in for someone to repair the covers over some air bricks. Then I shall do something about the TV aerial.

My family has been terrific in helping me, but I have to learn to organise things by myself. It means not ignoring stuff, and having to council myself too. That is in some ways one of the hardest things about loosing a partner, no-one to chunter on too, there’s companionship, love etc too of course, but the day to day decision making and acting on is my job, and mine alone. And its all very new.

Anyway there we are. I have a nice weekend coming up. Watching Miss F dancing tomorrow afternoon, and going with Mr B, Mrs G and Baby P to see Santa on Sunday.What more could I want?

Hope you all have a nice weekend. Tell me something good in your life please.

Be Happy,

Cathy x

November Books-2021

Only four books this month, the last one took me quite a long time. I’d love to know if you have read any of them.

Lisa Jewell- The Night She Disappeared- The new psychological thriller from this wonderful author. Written during lockdown, this kept me guessing till the end, and I was still very surprised. Great read.

Tom Michell- The Penguin Lessons- I am so grateful to I think Shazza who mentioned this book. I think it could just be my favourite read this year. Lovely easy style, humour, travel, pathos and not forgetting Juan Salvado the penguin . Tom travels from Sussex to Argentina to become an assistant school master at a boarding school for mostly the ex pat Community in the 1970s. During school holidays he travels across South America, and thus one day stumbles upon penguins, covered in oil, and all dead but one whom he rescues. Oil removed he smuggles him into Argentina back to school. Juan has a very nice turn of phrase, and don’t tell me penguins can’t talk because we all know dogs can, well if you read the book about Stella you do. Juan becomes swimming coach and rugby team mascot , and proves to be a very good listener. Utterly charming. I now need to go and visit some penguins.

Ruth Hogan- The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes- not at all sure about this book. The front cover says “A book to really love” and ” Warm and Wise”. I found it rather sad. Masha’s son drowned in an accident. She struggles to move on with her life, spending her time in an outdoor pool trying to find out what drowning feels like and wandering round a cemetery . Here she encounters the eccentric Sally, singing opera, feeding the crows and cussing away. Then the rather gorgeous man , she names the Olympian , at the swimming pool, attracts her attention. Alongside her life is that of Alice, coping with illness and worrying for her son Mattie. The ending was foreseeable, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, however I found it very annoying. As a book about learning to live again, it was uplifting, I could have done without Alice’s story and I reckon it would have been better that way. Love to know whether anyone else read it and what they felt.

Richard Powers- Bewilderment. Which is pretty much what I felt reading this one. It was long listed for the Booker Prize. An autistic boy and his father grieve for the loss of the mother. A new treatment helps the boy. So far so good, but throw in environmental issues, astronomy and physics, and dodgy politics, result not an easy or happy read. Anyone read it, what did you think?

I accompanied my son and grandson to a charity shop that only sells books, records and DVDs. Master T bagged 8 old Beano comics. Me?

Art book and a biography.

The Salt Path is one of those books which keeps coming to my attention. On a blog, in a shop , on the radio, I felt compelled to read it. And thoroughly justified on bringing books into the house having parted with some to a newly established free library in the pub.

I’ll let you know how I get on with it next month. Meantime I could really use some happy books, any recommendations please ?

Autumn to Winter

In a week.

Trees in front of the house last week.
Then the wind came before
It snowed

How is the weather impacting your view today?

Wordless Wednesday

Beaded Icicle , made at a recent workshop by yours truly.

Lydiard Park

Lydiard Park

This has become one of my favourite places to walk in Swindon,not hard to find should you ever be near Junction 16 on The M4. I took an Autumn walk recently.

Loving the sunlight through the trees.
Busy, busy, busy.

He had found the only conker I saw all day.

Ice house

Back in the day before fridges and freezers, just what could you do for ice in your gin and tonic, or even to keep your Ben and Jerry’s frozen? Why build an ice house deep in the grounds so you didn’t have to see it, then get your minions to hack your frozen lake, and lug hunks of ice back to your ice house, and store it safely. Then send more minions to hack off a piece and fetch it back for cook.

I usually walk around the lake, but on this occasion set off to explore the parkland.

The fields on either side are accessible, full of dogs doing their zoomies. Apparently used for events too.

The property actually belongs to the council for the benefit of the populace. The house has a museum , only open at weekends, still not been. It is also a hotel and conference centre. We did actually stay there once, can’t really recommend it. We were in a small room, down a long corridor, and there was a wedding reception going on, need I say more. The following day we were woken by the church bells, from here,

St Mary’s.

Which was right by our window. Humph. We did however enjoy our walk round the grounds later on, full of crocus and snowdrops. Happy days.

Enough reflections, more walk..

Absolutely stunning.

Time for a sit down, and a nice mug of hot chocolate.

Guess which nitwit spilt some and had to do a mop up?

After this I went to wander around the walled garden. Now 99% of walled gardens were for the growing of vegetables. Not this one( that 99% isn’t fact, but a literary device, don’t want to be fact checked and in trouble). No, the veggies were apparently grown elsewhere, near the lake I think, also might not be true but an inaccurate recollection. There used to be a formal flower garden in front of the house. Back in day of Capabilty Brown it was fashionable to call in the landscape gardener, rip out your flower beds and create an unnatural “natural” landscape, with lakes , and like Marie Antoinette pretend you were a shepherdess. So the formal garden went, and the stones from that were used to build a walled garden. It’s much smaller than your average walled garden and certainly wouldn’t have grown enough food for the owners and staff. Normally there’s a charge for entering , but on this occasion was free because it was being used as a communal remembrance garden.

Seemed that some were for individuals, and some for generic gratitude. It was moving to see so many crosses, like this.

There was the odd splash of colour too.

I do like Chinese lanterns, not to self and forlorn patch.

But this lady fascinated me.

Just love this picture. Not sure where the original is kept. Wonder how well these remedies worked?

I was a bit footsore by now, so headed back to the car, hope you enjoyed my walk.

Those trees will have shed their leaves now I reckon , the ones at home have for sure. Already filled my wheelie bin twice, and there are still more!

Be happy,


Scrap Happy- Nov. 21

Pleased to have a finished project this month, my scrap happy house applique, dug out last month and finished this month.

Drum roll- even in its frame.

And close ups

I machine stitched it in place, only intending to hand stitch over some of it, but in the end I just kept going.

The chickens are my favourite, just so cute.

But when it comes to scraps , just look at the tail. The scraps here are genuine teeny tiny ones I had kept from the #52hannemadetags, which I am still doing every week but posting on my other blog https://avoicethroughstitch.wordpress.com/

Meantime I am linking with Kate for lots of scrappy happy posts here-https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2021/11/15/scraphappy-november-6/

A bit of stitching.

Sandra from Wild Daffodil organised some of us who had participated in the Untangled Threads Stitchbook project { soon to be exhibited at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show} into an offshoot group to raise money for charity. The latest collaboration suggested was to create a woodland inspired wall hanging. She very kindly sent me a piece of hessian on which to stitch my contribution.

I knew I had suitable threads/yarn, what I hadn’t appreciated was just how much I had. Anyway I started to play.

I began with stitching down two pieces of fabric, and then commenced slow stitching.
Just enjoying the process
And stop

I really enjoyed this and have sent it back to Sandra to join the work of others. Wonder how it will turn out?

I wondered if anyone had joined in with a group project and how you found the experience. I just love the thrill of being part of something with others, and the enjoyment of seeing the final piece. If it can give pleasure to others and raise some money, well so much the better.

WIPs and More

Hope the title of the post suggests a hodge podge of makings, and even a finishing..

So to begin at the beginning ..

with a finish. Harry Potter hat.

I’m going to send this to a friend’s granddaughter, who has been very brave with some operations in hospital, yet been cheerful and positive throughout. She is a big Harry Potter fan.

Halloween cup cakes.

I attended a little workshop for these. I didn’t eat them all by myself. The ghosties went off to Master T and Miss F. The spider one was especially nice.

Christmas jumper in progress

What a lot of ends to sew in. Nearly finished the back now.

Dahlias from the garden, from seeds started by Mr E, but grown on by me. Lovely to have them, a comfort.
October’s scrap happy project.

I wasn’t brave enough to do free machine embroidery, so I just machined the pieces down with straight stitch. Next, some hand stitching , maybe finished in time for the next scrap happy day.

These were fun to make, and yes I cheated they were from a ready to mix packet.
I like a simple approach to carving!

This weekend I hope to finish the back of the Christmas jumper and maybe bake a Christmas cake. Love to know your plans for the weekend, do tell please.

Be happy,

Cathy x

Out and About

October was a nice month for family outings. I began with a pumpkin picking trip with Mr B, Mrs G and Baby P.

Pumpkins aplenty to choose from at Lotmead Farm.
Yeah, a good one.

I selected one too, and I’ll share my effort at carving in another post, because my second outing with Mr T, Master T, Miss F, Mr J, Mrs M, Mr H and Toddler J is a bit photo heavy.

Destination Blenheim Palace for some fun.

The crew on parade.
First stop the maze, where it was like herding cats as everyone knew the best way to go.
See what I mean!

Finally we got out for a visit to the butterfly house

Black ones , who knew?
Good for a warm up, before venturing outside again.
Autumnal colours

Into the palace grounds

Lake by Capabilty Brown beyond the formal gardens.
Write your own caption! Can’t believe we are related!
I once queued on those steps with Mr J when he was 15 to go to the Antiques road show. I still have the mug I bought.

The Palace had gone to town on spookiness.

Outside and in. These crows did look very realistic.

Positvely Miss Haversham like.

I can just imagine poor Pip here.

There was cake afterwards, provided by my amazing family for my birthday. I do love them all so much you know.

So if you liked to know more about Blenheim Palace here’s a link- https://www.blenheimpalace.com/

And for Miss Haversham and Great Expectations- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9RUEgT9zc

I watched Great Expectations this month and it was rather good. I’m not a big fan of Helena Bonham Carter but she did make a good Miss Haversham I think.

October books- 2021

It’s been a month of thought provoking books for me. Do please let me know your thoughts, even if you haven’t read any of these books.

Jem Lester- Shtum- Jonah is 10, autistic, and can’t talk. His parents Ben and Emma are struggling to meet his needs and are now trying to select an educational setting for him. The one chosen by the local authority is unsuitable, but their choice is residential and very expensive. Emma suggests that if Ben was the sole carer there would be more chance for their selection. So Ben and Jonah move in with Ben’s father Georg. The novel takes you slowly through the painful appeals process for the school , gradually revealing just how difficult it is for them all. Towards the end everyone’s back story is told. A difficult subject told with great sensitivity. Recommend this one.

Mary Beard- Women and Power – I’d been thinking about those poor women and girls in Afghanistan , which by a convoluted way round my thoughts led me to thinking about the clever women on TV who get trolled or dropped from programmes because they got old, which made me think of Mary Beard and wondering if the library stocked her books. They do, including this book based on some lectures she gave. Her lectures led to the most disgusting and vile trolling I have heard of. So I read the book, very short and accessible- subject matter, how women have been denigrated, side lined and silenced by the male of the species from Ancient Greece to Hillary Clinton. Well worth the read.

Arundhati Roy- The God of Small Things- it won the Booker Prize. I can see why, an interesting use of language and a distinct style with a good plot. Only problem was that I struggled with it. The names and nicknames were hard for me to recall, who was who. The style was different ,but then the constant going backwards and forwards with the timeline confused then annoyed me. Language was interesting , it captured beautifully the make believe world and chatter of children who struggle to first make sense of the adult world before abandoning the attempt for their world of make believe. Throw in the caste system , love and marriage, the role if women, communism and there is a great book. Only two thirds of the way through I had had enough and just wanted the author to drop it all and just get on with telling the tale. But it did win the Booker, so that just proves I am a bit of a heathen, that I like a book to be straightforward!

S J Watson- Before I go to Sleep- good twisty pyschological thriller, Read in less than 24 hours. Christine has lost her memory. Every morning her husband Ben has to explain who she is, who he is, and how to stay safe whilst he is at work. Thrilled to find after I read this I had a recording of the film, which was good, but the book is much better.

Solomon Northup- 12 Years A Slave. It so happened that I also had recorded the excellent film 12 Years a Slave, which I watched this month and was pleased to see it was based on a book of the same name . I was even more pleased to get my hands on a copy of the book from the library. The film had been made a little more sensational than the book, but by and large it’s faithful to the true account in the autobiography. A harrowing read but one that is informative and very moving.

So that was my month in books and the last two set me to wondering if anyone had any thoughts on good film adaptations of books or some horrendous examples? And what about women in power, or the way older women are sidelined on TV, or the whole nightmare of trolling? Looking forward to some lively comments.

Happy reading.

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