Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

The sun was perfect this weekend- just the right summer time temperature, and just right to go back to the scene of last week’s cobweb blow and the slugs at the iron age hill fort of Barbury Castle. No slugs this time , just super views and fabulous wild flowers and oh the butterflies.

Just look at the profusion of flowers.

And with the mist and murk gone we could see the view- here a tractor at work in the distance. I like watching others at work.

Solar farm- helping the country give up coal fired power stations.

Swindon in the distance and somewhere on those far away hills is our house.

Struggled to identify this flower- we’re on chalk soil here if that helps anyone identify for me please.  And it’s compulsory to take a picture of any water trough you spot.

Look behind the fence in the far distance to see the cars – the first horse racing since Lockdown at a point to point.

After our stroll we wandered closer to these trees

Taken from my sat on the grass position- this I think will be a Happy Place for me. So glad my son brought us here last time. I wondered if anyone else needed a happy place and if so where mght it be?

The Forlorn Garden.

It’s our garden- I think at one time it was probably a loved garden but not anymore. It’s not a romantic neglected garden just a bit of a sad one.

Closer up to the left hand side

a half hearted attempt for a rockery- more weeds now than anything else.

Behind those conifers someone decapitated what I think was a silver birch and then just left the trunk.

Even the summer house with it’s wonky bit needs some TLC as do the fences.

Really in need of love. The garden receives direct sunshine all day, this the only bit of shade.

In the front there is artificial grass, oh dear. Our shared drive has trees the other side of the fence which apparently belong to the Council but with which they can afford to do nothing.

Oh dear again. The neighbour and I have started to tackle our side of the fence.

A little and often will help. The only regular visitors to the garden are two fat pigeons and two magpies , but at sometime someone put up this bird table.

I have seen blackbirds, a robin and a thrush eating berries from one of the trees, so I have decided that my wildlife project for this year should be to attract and help the birds, oh and maybe even the squirrel I saw on the neighbours garage roof. So I have bought some wild bird food which at least the magpie has found, and I sewed a packet of wildflower seed beneath the table and planted the few bluebell bulbs I brought here from Yorkshire- they may take.

Wish me luck. I should add that Mr E has big plans for the back garden which basically reads Start Again. Wish us both luck. I wondered has anyone else had to start a garden anew before- any tips please?

 

 

Knit and Natter Friday

I thought I might have a bit of a knit and natter this week,  a little normality now the unpacking is done. I was somewhat surprised as the boxes emptied by just how much yarn there was- I’d used it to fill up boxes of other things as I’d done the packing and it was really only as I unpacked and placed this yarn on the guest bed that the extent of the stash became apparent. The time had come to fulfill a long held ambition to knit the Scarecrow.

I encountered the knitted scarecrow some 30 odd years ago, as a young Mum, in a friends house. One of her neighbours knitted these toys and for the sum of £4 one could be mine. I was smitten, and in due course one came home with me. He was and is still much loved and when one of the boys became unwell he would be theirs for as long as needed, as I had filled him up with hugs. When better he would come back to me to be re-filled with hugs ready for the next person who needed him. My way of explaining that he was and still is mine….

I thought it would be rather good if I could knit one myself, and so in 1994 I was thrilled to find the pattern in a book I bought by Jean Greenhowe.

And so the ambition lingered, other things were knitted from the book, but never the scarecrow. Until now.

Lots of yarn is needed as you can see but when you have a big stash of leftover yarn there is no problem. Last night I worked jolly hard and stitched up these bits and bobs and now he currently looks like this.

Pretty ‘armless hey. Next job is his arms and jacket and then time for some real fun.

I wonder does anyone else have something they always meant  to knit/make that somehow always got pushed to the bottom of the list? If so what and why has it never made it to the top of the to be done?

So that’s my weekend taken care of- what are you making now?

Be happy,

Cathyx

 

Now we are six months and over into the year I thought it was time for a review of the Gonna do list for 2020, written of course pre- Covid 19 and pre the house move. Some things are certainly not going to happen.

1- Read my way across Europe – well I managed 5 countires before the library closed- now waiting for the one here to open so I join and read a few more European authors. Russia, Hungary, Ireland, Finland and Sweden ticked off- where next I wonder.

2 Visit the Eden Project- doubt this can happen in 2020- one to carry over till 2021.

3 Knit a scarecrow- currently on the needles.

4 Knit the Dickensian mice- coming up later in the year.

5 Knit socks- ditto

6 Unspecified wildlife project- again probably hard to do with volunteering opportunites lacking. Last month- June was Go Wild month and I was just otherwise occupied, or that would have done nicely. My priority wildlife wise is to site my bird table and encourage the birds to it ready for Winter. The only visitors we have at the moment are wood pigeons and magpies. Our garden is much smaller than our last one and is currently a very sorry affair. Meantime I have decided to read nature/countryside books in July and increase my understanding and enhance my enjoyment. More in this months book review.

7 Make a junk journal- one for the darker months.

8 Make a football quilt for my grandson- on the to finish pile.

9 Finish the rail fence quilt- zero progress

10 Complete the stitchbook project- currently lagging three/ soon to be four months behind.

11 Complete any UFO- achieved with the fabric box, since then I have made another.

12- Make a piece of Art-… really?

13- Visit an Art gallery- Managed the Woodend gallery in Scarborough in January.

14- Visit Filey- locked down before I could do this, and now we have moved away- that’s life.

15 Do a five + mile walk- still to do

16 Go to the cinema- David Copperfield in January

17 Go to see a play- not likely in 2020 now.

18 Pick strawberries- maybe this will be possible without having to pre-book a slot one day.

19 Start to write my family history- underway

20 Do the Garden Bird count- done in January.

Some things are well and truly not going to happen- the Eden Project, Filey and theatre for sure. Some are still very doable, and will help me concentrate a bit, and resist temptation to dream up new ideas.

I wonder how everyone else is doing with their plans for this year, we have all had to make huge adjustments haven’t we.

Love to hear how you have managed through these times and the changes made to plans.

 

 

The weather was a bit damp and certainly very windy yesterday when we visited Barbury Castle.

It’s an iron age hill fort ( not a castle at all) just South of Swindon on the Wessex Downs, part of a chain of such sites that run along the path known as the Ridgeway.

The views were incredible of the surrounding countryside.

Home is somewhere under that bank of distant clouds.

I loved being up there in spite of the weather- the wild flowers, the sound of sky larks, My grand-daughter was fascinated by the beetle we spotted and the slugs which had come out in the rain. But by golly it was blowy

We thought the kite flier might take off!

Can’t wait to go back on a sunny day and walk right round the site, but after 50 minutes people were cold and we returned to the car park.

Cobwebs well and truly blown away. So good to get out.

Love to know about your wind- blown walks.

 

Unpacked.

I thought it would take till the end of June to unpack my belongings- I was just 1 1/2 days out. The last box was emptied this morning- mostly ornaments but right at the bottom yet another ” Not started project” with all the materials and thread ready to go. I think I assembled the necessary in January 2019 just as we embarked on the Let’s Move House scheme. It’s been nice to be reminded of all the things I had squirreled away- only one kinitting project (not yet started) that I had totally forgotten about, so not too be bad. But realisation that I have enough projects in the offing to keep me going for quite a lot of years.

Most things have found a home, but probably not quite where they will remain. I was looking for a pen in the kitchen a couple of days ago, and wondered why there wasn’t a pot of them. A day later I realised there was- on the window cill, but it was clearly the wrong place for them, so I moved it to where I had first looked. I expect that will happen quite a lot.

Apparently it is perfectly fine for the removal company have two chaps work with us for three days and travel 270 miles, but not ok for them to come and collect all the empty boxes because of Covid 19, from the garage. We managed to get a slot at the tip to dispose of them tomorrow, so now the car boot is full of boxes. We have had to book another slot for the rest of them in two weeks time. Anyone see the logic in this?

The cooker and I are getting on ok now. I even figured out how to turn the oven temperature down. Only took five weeks. Still to master the grill, and to bake the first cake, but hey getting there. Just wish the previous owner had left the manual.

Father’s Day was good- middle son and family came and we had a garden picnic at the right social distance.

Oldest son’s birthday is today, so wonderful that we will be seeing him tonight in his garden.

These visits are the reason we moved.

So now it really feels like home- by no means perfect- still need some more curtains and lamp shades, but certainly home. I have even found myself a hairdresser- roll on 22 July.

I’ll be honest moving house in your 60s in Lockdown with a husband with less than perfect health was a challenge, but so worth doing.

I’m hoping to get out and about with my camera and explore the area now, and get back to crafting and normal blogging.

So I’ll keep washing my hands and sploshing the bleach,

Take care,

Cathyxx

PS I lost 8lbs whilst moving house- all that lifting- got to be good.

 

June Books- 2020

No book post in May because it took me the whole month to read this one

Dostoevsky- Crime and Punishment-  plus some of June. Not an easy read- I think some of the difficulty lay in the translation which felt clunky in parts. Set in pre- revoluntionary St Petersburg, the protagonist Raskolnikov convinces himself that it would be heroic to murder a pawn broker- he would be a Napoleon of men. Unfortunately he also kills the pawn brokers sister, flees from the scene with difficulty taking with him some loot which he hides in his rooms and then buries. He then becomes racked with fear that he will be caught. The majority of the book concerns the various people he knows , how he gives himself away, and finally in the last few chapters is sent to Siberia. I just found the book very hard going, and were not my other books all packed away may well have given up, but I did get to the end.

Ken Follett- The Pillars of the Earth- and it took the rest of June to read over 1000 pages of this epic novel. Apparently it does appear in the BBC 100 good reads, but I’d not heard of it till my eldest son passed it onto me. It was enjoyable, but not quite certain why it’s in the 100 list. It’s set in the turbulent times of the 12th century- civil war, famine, religious strife- and centres on the art of building cathedrals. It reminded me a lot of Edward Rutherford’s books with a bit of Ellis Peter’s Cadfael thrown in. It went on a bit long, I think tighter plotting might have helped, although each event fed into another, but there is only so much strife one can take. As I say enjoyable, highly readable, perfect holiday read… when we are allowed one again.

And that’s all my reading for two whole months- I’m slipping. Unless you count the book middle son sent on how to keep my Northern Monkey status now I was living down south with a bunch of Southern Jessies. So lucky to have such a kind son.

Have you read any very good books recently? Love to hear.

Not surprisingly there has not been much sewing going on here. But I have finished one more card. This is for Mr B and Mrs G’s first wedding anniversary. Aida and floss left over from other projects- in the case of the green I was playing floss chicken and won.

Please visit Kate’s blog for lots of scrap happy posts- here

Everyone is getting used to a new normal, one which changes weekly, and quite frankly is somewhat bewildering. Our new normal also includes settling into the new house and making it home, remembering where we put things, starting to think about things other than boxes and letting the powers that be know where we are, and more importantly for them- where to send their bills. We’re getting there slowly and surely day by day.

Scary oven and hob are being tamed.

The dining room is nearly clear of boxes. I think I could put the sewing machine on the table now.

I love the display in the hall- my Mum’s paperweight and the crochet cactus kindly sent by Rainbow Junkie- it brightens  my day every time I see it, thank you.

The rest of the house is slowly appearing from under the sea of cardboard. Best of all of course is being able to go for a walk with my son and grandchildren.

This is our walk yesterday at Coate Water park.

A lovely walk round the lake, swans, geese, ducks, dragonflies.

Trees and children , and a most unusual grade two listed structure.

Yes, it’s listed, and yes it is a diving board. Should you be interested into why it’s listed , here’s a link-Coate Water Diving Platform

Can’t wait for the putting course and museum to open, when they do.

It’s beginning to feel like home.

 

This week.

This week has been all about unpacking boxes and wondering why on earth we thought we would have enough space for all our c**p. Currently five rooms are free of boxes but as one is the cloakroom and one the bathroom, that just leaves the kitchen, the utility room and one bedroom looking sort of ok. Four boxes of pictures though, where did they appear from? We won’t mention the 20 or so full of fabric, yarn and crafty stuff.

Other fun has been getting to grips with the cooker- the hob makes weird noises, like it hums  and beeps, and only likes two of our saucepans- the others- our wedding presents it just ignores- shalln’t , won’t it’s, not going to let me use them. We need new pans, -but at least the hob had an instruction manual.

The oven- no manual- thank goodness for the internet- first you push one knob, then when it lights up, push again to get a box symbol with lines top and bottom. Then you push the other knob, it lights up, slowly you up the temperature- go too far and you start over. It whirrs , if I am lucky. Each cooked dinner feels like a major achievement.

You have to recall that we did see our old kitchen in the York Castle museum a couple of years ago, so this one is scary.

The hot water is too darned hot- shower on , and I’m dancing around like an idiot, squawking as I go. That doesn’t cool the water but it makes me feel slightly better.

And don’t get me started on the who to tell we have moved scenario- not helped by some things being in Mr E’s name only, and people can’t understand his speech now and won’t let me interpret. Let’s just say a very well known credit card company has had a stern letter.

Then there’s registering with the GP- I checked this before we moved, printed off the forms, got registered for Council Tax so we could prove who we were, off we bowl as per the instrauctions on the web page to register. Horror of horrors from the receptionist- “Oh we have been inundated with new patients and can’t take anymore”. “Then why does your web page say you do?” Because they haven’t updated it. Then I get “why have we moved, it’s not allowed.” “Oh yes it is “says I. More helpful receptionist gives us an address for another GP- off we trog. They have an intercom- we are to look online etc etc. The saga continues.

On the plus side, we have seen our son three times. Yippee- that’s why we moved. The sun has shone from dawn till dusk every single day- Mr E is finally warm enough and the house is deliciously cool for me. More Yippee.

There is a nesting box on the side of the house and we had the pleasure of seeing the Great Tits fledge.

This is the view of our lane from the front door.

And we got to buy a new kitchen clock

Asda we love you.

Stand by for more fun and games this week….

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