Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Understandably other then errands and trips with family I am finding it hard to go out for just fun. I think of a nice idea then change my mind and don’t go. But I have turned a corner. On Thursday night whilst browsing the internet, ok Facebook, I came across a post in a knitting group I belong to announcing they had a stall at the Malvern Quilt Show. Now I have been to Malvern a few times when we lived in Oxfordshire, so I knew it was not too far away, I knew I would enjoy it when I got there, and admission was a mere £7 for an old bat like me. I went. I enjoyed it a lot. I took pictures.

The Malvern show is set on the Three Counties Showground, with stunning views of the Malvern Hills.

Now I confess that one of the draws not yet mentioned was that one of the exhibitors was Sheila Dalgleish, with whom back in the day when Mr T was about 4 years old and Mr J a mere babe in arms, and Mr B a mere twinkle in an eye, Sheila and I had been penfriends with a shared interest in cross stitch. Over the years we lost touch, school, work, growing old etc, but by another odd coincidence she had been at uni with my dear childhood friend Ms J, and long story short we re connected over you’ve guessed it Facebook. By now Sheila had retired and started an unexpected second career as an art quilt designer and maker. I was not going to pass up the chance to see them in the flesh so to speak.

So here are some of Sheila’s quilts and some by some other people..

A Lincolnshire group of Quilter’s calling themslevs LINQS had between them produced a series of quilts called The Viking Way

Just love this one, such fun

Another group called New Reflections Quilters also displayed several themes, one of which was trees.

It interests me that the ones I was drawn too are all pictorial. There were traditional quilts too all beautifully executed but lacking in meaning for me.

There were a few practical Covid type changes at this show from others I attended in Yorkshire, the aisles between stalls and displays were wider. You can’t look at the backs of quilts or handle them- no white gloves available. Hand sanitiser was provided at several places in the room. Many people wore masks but it was not uniform, and in the queue to enter hardly anyone did and there was no social distancing. I arrived at the start of the show on the first day and stayed about two hours. When I arrived there was pleny of space to move around, when I left at lunch time there were small bottlenecks of people. I felt safe and have tested negative this morning.

Did I buy anything? Well what do you think? What is a show without shopping? I only spend cash, that way I don’t get too carried away.

The Haul

And the really really good news is that there will be a Spring show next year. Hip Hip HOORAY.

Scrap Happy-October 2021

I was having a sort out and tidy up this week (quite a lot of that going on these day) when tucked under a pile of sunlounger cushions in the guest bedroom I unearthed a pillowcase standing to attention. It was a scrap happy project begun in January 2020, packed away ready for the house move, unpacked at this end and promptly disappeared.

Inside

Contents of pillowcase- picture frame not present.

The picture frame is what made the contents stand upright. Inside I have a load of scrappy fabrics busy auditioning for my version of the picture you can see. I had actually managed to sew the sky fabric to the ground floral fabric, before it became a UFO.

Time I think to turn the UFO into a WIP. Which is my way of saying that I haven’t a complete thing for a tahdah moment yet.

Magazine picture minus my clutter

Now for an even more shameful thing. The magazine is a Crafts Special by a UK magazine called Woman’s Weekly, dated May 2012. Humph.

So yesterday I put the fabric through it’s paces and here is the final cast, ready to have a dose of fabric spray and my attention on the sewing machine. It says machine embroidery, don’t know that I am that brave at the moment.

Anyway there it is. I have washed the pilow case and that’s now in the ironing pile so I can’t hide this away again.

Please pop over to Kate’s to see her Scrap Happy project and for the up to date links for everyone else-here-https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/

Thanks for coming here today.

Carrying On.

Once again, thank you everyone for your kind words and encouraging comments. I realise how lucky I am to have supportive family and friends and that includes all the bloggers whose posts lift my days and who leave me positive thoughts.

And of course the only thing for me to do now is carry on. The garden is looking forlorn again I am afraid. Mr E only got half way through putting up an ancient second hand greenhouse. It’s been dismantled now and gone off to a new home. It would have been too big for me, had I even been able to complete it, and it made me sad. My sons are going to help me clear the ground ,I have a skip being delivered next week for the rubble. I quite fancy planting fruit trees, apples maybe and a plum. Anyone have any advice please on fruit trees, variety, best time to plant and how deep they need to go.

Meantime, I picked the tomatoes I had put outside under the half greenhouse.

First job, the green tomatoes.

All chopped up and cooking nicely
Green Tomato chutney.

Which just left

A few green ones and some red ones
Tomato and basil soup
Lunch for several days and some for the freezer.

Wondering about the remaining green ones, will they won’t they ripen? At least I carried on with the plants Mr E had started.

Crafting however has been harder to carry on with. Concentration was lacking for a long time. But then it occurred to me that Master J’s birthday was in October and if I made a big effort I could finish his sleeveless jumper in time. I was overly optimistic! The First thing I did was stitch the armhole edge to the neckedge to pick up stitches for the neckband. Um,not what I meant to do for sure. Several hours later I unstitched the seam, repaired the armhole edge where I had cut the cast off edge, and joined the correct bits. I waited a while after that, and finally completed the jumper.

The yarn shade is called tomato ketchup.

I have now started my next knit, but only when my mind is fully focused.

Any guesses what I am knitting for Master T?

Cross stitch is also something I can manage at the moment. I had a lovely shopping session at Hobbycraft on Sunday after the harvest festival at church.

Should keep me out of mischief!

I am really enjoying reading your blogs again. Full of admiration for everyone doing Blogtober. Maybe next year.

Take care,

Cathy x

I read most of these in August,concentration is a bit hard at the moment. I am sure you’ll understand. I maybe should add that I write these posts as I finish each book whilst it’s fresh in my mind, then try to tie things together in a post.

Elly Griffiths- The Blood Card- This sounded so promising . A murder mystery set in 1953 with spies, stage magicians and police. But it dragged, the pace was too slow. I kept going because the blurb promised a splendid reveal, a truly startling rabbit out of the hat. I’d call it a damp squib of an ending. Can’t recommend this unless you need something to send you to sleep !

Thomas Keneally- The Dickens Boy- This took me a while to read. Not certain if that was because the book didn’t grab me to begin with, or that life was getting harder by now. Anyway, the book- Charles Dickens had a large family. His father had ended up in a debtors prison and Charles as a young boy had been put to factory work. He grew up determined to never put his own family in a similiar situation, which explains his work ethics and prolific output. If his sons showed no academic aptitude he sent them to the colonies to apply themselves, Canada, India and Australia. Such was the fate of his youngest son Plorn, sent to Australia to try sheep farming. The book has two themes, Dickens himself, in particular his affair with an actress and separation from his wife, and a portrayal of colonial life in New South Wales. I enjoyed the book. It told me nothing new of Dickens, but the descriptions of Australia and life there were interesting.

Lisa Jewell- Invisible Girl- A good psychological read. Don’t want to give anything away. The hint is in the title.

Susan Hill- Howards End is on the Landing. Big thank you to everyone who gave a shout out for this book. Susan Hill is one of my favourite authors , and nothing to do with our mutual birth place. One year she decides to only read the books she owns, reading the ones she didn’t read before and revisiting old favourites. As well as drawing up her top 40 books, she litters her narrative with personal anecdotes, biographical details of long gone authors (link back to Dickens), different genre’s , where and when she reads and the authors she doesn’t like…. Jane Austin for goodness sake and Terry Pratchett which I totally get. She also talks of books that support her spiritually. Needless to say my to be read list has grown again. All I can say is I’d love to be a weekend guest and browse her bookshelves. I love looking at people’s bookshelves don’t you? A friend of mine says his father advised him never to bother with someone whose TV screen is bigger than the bookcase. No problems with me then.

Christina Hunger- How Stella learned to talk- Stella is a dog. Christina is a speech therapist who works with autistic children enabling them to communicate through AAD- Buttons= Spoken word. One day she notices her puppy’s behaviour and wonders if Stella could learn to use one. Yes she can! Big thanks to Kate for recommending this book, totally fascinating and funny as Stella is one opinionated dog!

Tennessee Williams – A Streetcar named Desire- Play that became a film with Marlon Brando. Fragile Southern Belle, hits hard times and goes to visit her sister and somewhat uncouth husband, gradually her mental health worsens. A re-read for me, thanks for reminding me of this play, Katie. Still powerful after all this time.

John Grisham – The Reckoning- ages since I read one of his thrillers, and this doesn’t disappoint. Pete Banning, a returning war hero inexplicably deliberately shoots dead the local Methodist Minister. He refuses to say why. Part one covers the court room scenes. Part two looks at his war time experience fighting the Japanese in the Philippines. The book doesn’t pull any punches , man’s inhumanity to man never ceases to shock me. Part three covers the aftermath for the family before revealing motive. It’s quite a long book, perfect holiday reading.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir- I remember you. The library classified this as “horror”. The blurb calls it a chiller thriller”. Whatever! There are two stories running side by side, and each chapter changes narrative until they come together. One involves three people renovating a spooky old house on a deserted holiday island in Winter, the other some inexpicable deaths, a psychiatrist and a missing child. It was OK, but not very scary if that’s what you like…..

I don’t think I will be finishing my current book quickly, I’m only managing a few pages at bedtime at the moment, so I will hit the post key.

As the days get shorter I think I will read more again. Escapism is good.

Love to know what everyone is reading at the moment.

And thanks for being here, x

Coping.

Thank you all so much for your kind comments. I just wanted to let you know I am ok. My sons and their families have been amazing, I am very lucky. So much to do at the moment, but it helps to be busy and cared for.

Walking on Greenham Common with Mr B, Mrs G and Baby P

Picnic with them at The Vynes, a National Trust property and

The runnner beans which just keep on giving.

I am reading your posts, and they help remind me of life beyond grief.

Much love,Cathyx

Sad news

Mr E passed away at the weekend at home peacefully in his sleep. I was supported during the last week by our local hospice, and especially in his last hours.

My sons and their families have been wonderful, and we are all ok.

Now is the time to grieve and to deal with the bureaucracy that has to be done.

I will be away from blogging for a while, but thank you all so much for your supportive comments and emails which have sustained us this year.

God bless you all.

Cathyx

Introducing Baby P

No two ways about this, proud Nana pictures coming up, and a big dose of cuteness.

And finally making her modelling debut, pictured by her Dad, we have Baby P wearing a purple Nana knit.

Scrap Happy- August 2021

I needed to go to the town centre this month on various errands, so I took the opportunity to visit the main library and browse the bookshelves that have been in lockdown, namely the cookery and craft ones. I came away with two craft ones. One was on recyling things to make new things, only you seemed to have to buy more new stuff for each project than do any recycling , so that book has departed. I was inspired by the other for a nice scrappy project for this month.

A foxy brooch .

The felt is not quite the right colour but I used what I had. Here he is by himself.

He is rather sweet.

There are some other lovely felt projects I would like to try, and I do have rather a lot of felt scraps to go at. For more scrappy projects please pop over to Kate’s for the full list of current participants.

here https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com

Catching up, and some WIPs

First of all, thank you everyone who left such kind comments on my last post. They meant a great deal ,and helped enormously. Mr E is pretty much the same as last month and we have been helped not only by family but also by some super people from the local hospice. The house is filling up with all kinds of aids and adaptations to help us. We are in more of a routine now which helps and pace ourselves better, and are trying to be patient with each other.

My skill set continues to expand, this months joys have been a rat who took a yen to my bulbs and the smoke alarm beeping. A battery change could have been ok but who knew in 1992 all houses in the UK have to have a hard wired smoke alarm with battery backup, which of course beeps when it needs changing. Both issues are on going.

I have tried all sorts of thing to keep me in the present, and find that sewing is possibly the best. Crochet needs concentration which is in short supply. Knitting can send me to sleep, I think it’s the needles hypnotising me! Nevertheless I have managed to finish the back of the tank top for Master J.

The colour is tomato ketchup. Apparently.

I try to do a few rows every night, don’t always manage it, but sometimes I do.

The best thing I have found to relax me is cross stitch. You have to keep your mind on the chart, but if you make a mistake it’s easily remedied.

I am doing a book mark kit which has been in the to do pile for quite a while. It’s the perfect project to do whilst Mr E takes a nap.

Bookmark in the making.

I’ve had to take over the garden. I planted some leeks and they apear to be growing, amazing. Mr E had planted some runner beans just before he got really poorly. I was then left in charge and so pleased with myself when I harvested the first of them.

Two dinners in these for me.

I recalled the advice to go for a walk and realised it had been a very long time since I had. So on Mnday I set off to the nearby lake and wood.

This pair of swans have raised 8 signets.
Really beautiful birds.
Ragged Robin?
A bench in the woods gave me time and space for quiet contemplation.
The ripening brambles tell me the season is progressing.

The view from my kitchen and dining room where I am writing this cheers me up.

Magpie alert
And the grass needs cutting- know what I will be doing this weekend.

But finally some really good news. Youngest son Mr B and Mrs G

have had their own project going this year.

I am delighted to finish with the news that we have a new grand daughter Baby P. Can’t wait to see her, and that’s who all the baby clothes and toys that I have been making this year are for. Pictures to follow.

Once again thank you for your very kind comments, they really mean a lot.

July books- 2021

Four out of five books read this month were wonderful. Let me know if you have read any of these.

JP Delaney- PlayingNice– One of the best psychological books I have ever read. I stayed up to 1am till my eyes were drooping , woke at 7am, wondering how the characters were, then finished it by 10am. So what hooked me? Two narrators, Pete and Maddie parents to Theo. Pete a freelance journalist and main carer, Maddie an advertising bod. One day Miles turns up and explains he is Theo’s father. He claims that Theo and his son David were mis- tagged in the hospital they were born in.That’s all I am saying.

Willa Cather- O Pioneers– beautiful book set in the early 20th Century about life in rural America. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Sarah Armstrong- The Starlings of Bucharest- Set in 1975, Ted Walker, aged 22, makes a big desicion to leave home and life as a fisherman to become a journalist. He gains work at a small and little known film magazine as International Film Reviewer and is sent to Bucharest to interview a film director and to Moscow to an International Film Festival. Here we see an Innocent Abroad encounter the murky world of the Cold War. At times funny, and at times slightly menacing, and always entertaining, a good read for sure.

Hilary Mantel- Fludd- Written in tthe 1980s but set in a Northern Mill village in 1956. Father Angwin, Roman Catholic Priest has lost his faith, but carries on. His Bishop thinks he needs modernising- out with the Latin and the Saints, and determines to send a curate. Enter Fludd- Bishops Curate, spy, practitioner of dark arts? On the plus side, it’s a short book and the scene setting is so so good you feel you are there. But no, not my cup of tea, I got to the end but had it been longer I’d have given up. Love to know if anyone has read it and what they thought.

Fredrik Backman- A Man called Ove. I totally loved this book. Ove is a Swedish man, very similar to the UK’s Victor Meldrew. Rather grumpy with very fixed opinions on how everything should be done, and repaired! It’s a love story, a sad story, it’s funny and weepy. I defy everyone not to have laughed and shed a tear by Page121, paperback edition or Chapter 15. I am rather attached to the Cat Annoyance. Have you read it, what did you think?

I write my reviews as I finish a book , or this post wouldn’t have been possible.

Reading has now really slowed down for me, as has blogging and crafting. Mr E is very poorly indeed, he started to get unwell in September. In the Spring he had some treatment and we were optimistic , however he failed to perk up as anticipated . The trip to the Weald and Downland was probably our last as a family. Since then it’s been hospitals, pharmacies, community nurses, endless phone calls etc. We are so glad we moved nearer the family, our sons, daughters in law ,and grandchildren are being amazing. I am having to get my head round things I never had to think about, from dripping overflow pipes to how to plant leeks to sounding just like Ove , -whoever thought that to charge a mobile phone you needed a lightning cable? For goodness sake!

My sense if humour appears to be lurking around somewhere which helps with feelings of panic, helplessness, frustration- Mr E is the messiest man on the planet, and when he needs some obscure piece of paper, well I could growl, and tears which come at the worst possible moment, often when satnav sends me down a single track road for fun, and it’s all too much. Next week is our wedding anniversary, 47 years. That’s a long time, and the worst is seeing him just vanishing before my eyes, the feelings of sympathy and loss are overwhelming at times.

This blog is my happy place, I have a huge capacity for feelings of positivity , making the most of life, but this, this is defeating even me. So I won’t be sharing much by way of Wiltshire explorations, or even wooly goodness. I hope to keep reading, crafting may come back in time, the forlorn patch needs me, poor thing, I may share my lamentable attempts …

Sorry to end this way. I am reading your blogs, leaving the odd comment, and I will click like to show I have been there. Thanks for reading.

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