Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for April, 2016

16 for 2016- April

Can’t believe we are 1/3rd of the way through the year. Spring has sprung albeit rather soggily in these parts, and we are reliably informed by the weather people it will get warmer …… Anyway time to see how my 16 for 2016 is progressing!

16 swims–Drum Roll please, ACHIEVED. I have now been 17 times, and plan on continuing on a weekly basis. I got muddled up counting lengths on the 16th visit and found I enjoyed it far more when I just swam! As the year has progressed there are more swimmers so sometimes you swim as much sideways to avoid collisions as forwards to do a length. So much better to stop counting and just go with the flow. Being British, us regulars now discuss the water temperature in great detail ,as well as the state of the showers!!

15 minutes x 2 x5 days walking. Still a work in progress , but lots of lovely walks. Including one to Farndale to enjoy the Wild Daffodils.

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14lbs lost-total is unchanged at 8. She blamed rhubarb.

13 outings-It’s been a lovely month for outings. I went to Wembley to see Oxford United, only 2 games to go this season, both super crucial for league promotion prospects. I digress. One to Newburgh Priory and one to the walled garden at Scampston Hall. So that makes 6.

12 cookery posts- 3 now with the rhubarb, one more coming next week in a most unexpected post!

11 flower photos. Who knew flowers could be harder to photo than the animals I undertook to photo last year. The ones that are easiest to photo position wise are the ones that something nibbled. Talking of flower nibbling, did anyone else hear that the slug population should explode in the UK this year due to the wet summer of 2015 and the mild winter. Anyone got any good anti slug ideas? I favour salt , but that is a bit nasty. anyway flower picture..

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Not to good because I clipped off the petal on the left. Doh! But I loved the cherry blossom at Scampston.

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So I will call that just the one picture , giving me a total of 4.

10 handmade cards- total remains at 5.

9 garden posts-3, so far

8 stash kit busting. I am having huge fun with my fabric stash. It has taken over a lot of my life since I started to think of ways to use the scrap bits of fabric. I have started to make a big hexie quilt. I am calling it another 1 as I have completed a couple of scrap fabric projects. So that makes 2

7 sewing/embroidery projects. Using the fabric stash I made another padded coat hanger and a mug rug. So I am calling that another 1. Giving me 2 in total. But wait till I show you what I sewing at the moment, involves the use of scary sewing machine! Next month….

6 Acts of Kindness. Last month I wrote about civic kindness, picking up litter and sorting out trolley parks at shops. This month I want to include two quite different acts of kindness. I was the recipient!

We were on our way to Wembley. The tube was full of passengers, standing room only. A female supporter of the opposing team stood up and offered me her seat. I was surprised at the offer, until I realised that she was not the same age as me, being somewhere in her 40s, big surprise to me, that to her I was older, well I do draw a pension, so I am a Senior which is a much nicer term than Old Age Pensioner which is used in the UK, and that I was jolly glad to sit down. So I thanked her profusely and accepted the seat.

Last week I went shoe shopping. I damaged the sole on my left foot back in September by wearing flimsy sandals of rough Greek terrain. I am fed up of wearing trainers. I decided to bite the bullet and buy some sensible shoes. I bowled along to the shoe shop, explained my predicament to the sales assistant, who was full of good advice and found several pairs of not too hideous lace up shoes. I tried on one particular pair and was over joyed, I said I wished I gone there months ago, the shoes were blissful. She gave me a big hug! That hug, the concern she demonstrated, which I believe was genuine and not just about making the sale, was infused with kindness and made such a difference to how I felt about sensible shoes. Why do I believe it was genuine, because I have been a sales assistant, and she told me about her Policeman’s heel, caused by standing all day in a shoe shop.

Both events told me that the kindness of strangers should never ever be underestimated.

So that makes 4.

5 non fiction books read. I finished the book Voices from the Workhouse. I plan on spending sometime this year in the County Records office to find out more about our local workhouse. Not certain what I will read next, several thoughts… Oh that makes 2

4 Projects to improve my knitting/crochet skills. I completed the cable cardigan for my grandson.

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So that makes 2

3 projects completed from my bucket list-still just 1

2 railway journeys- ACHIEVED.One to Reading and one to Wembley. And I got to use the last four days on my rail card before it expired. I shall need a new one if I go by train anywhere else.

1 bus jouney-0

0 magazines purchases. 0. But oh so hard.

Looking forward to reading how everyone else is getting on this year.

And have you ever experienced kindness from strangers? How did it make you feel?

Here’s to our May achievements. Good Luck everyone.





Strictly speaking rhubarb is a vegetable, but I don’t know of anyone who eats it as such. We have had a good crop this year and I have been experimenting with various recipes. My two favourites are Rhubarb cake

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which we ate as a pudding.

One of the blogs, sorry I can’t remember whose, spoke of eating rhubarb and lemon scones. I just had to try making some.

They are delicious.

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I am not a great scone maker as you can see, but they tasted good. Recipe here

Now I have seen recipes for strawberry and rhubarb pies. Has anyone tried making them, what were they like. Love to hear about any favourite rhubarb recipes as we have lots still in the garden

Yarn Along!

I finished the cardigan for my grandson Master T, probably too big right now but there we are. My first cable knitting project.

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So onto my next challenge. Last year I struggled enormously with a simple lacy pattern, so this year I am determined to improve my skills. Turns out it really is just a case of concentrating, last year I was worrying a lot, this year so far is better, so no interference with concentration. Biggest problem was counting 238 stitches cast on for the first row!

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After that the going got easier. Little cardigan for a new family baby due next month, for our nephews /godson’s first baby.

Very disappointed that in this book of short stories there isn’t one about a cat, a hat and a piece of string. Turns out these were the three luxury items on desert island discs. Which set me wondering which three luxuries would you take to a desert island? Remember you can take a book as well, and the Bible and a complete copy of Shakespeare is there already.

Me, I would take sun cream, matches and a pair of binoculars. As for the book, Dr Zhivago, which I have always meant to read, and for which there would be plenty of time before I got rescued.

What about you?

Linking with Ginny for Yarn Along

Photo Challenge- Work

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Burton Agnes Hall, taken earlier this year. Just loved this work of art , showing a gardener at work so much, I saved the picture for this week’s challenge.

Next weeks prompt is Layer. The full list for the challenge is above. Please feel free to join in at anytime, by leaving a link in the comments. A full round up appears at Wild Daffodil each week.

Regular contributors can be found here:-

Jane from Rainbow Junkie Corner

Sandra at Wild Daffodil

Melissa at http://thearanartisan.com

Roz at https://umpteenthings.wordpress.com

Jenny at https://letthesewingbegin.wordpress.com

Christina at https://alookatthelittlethings.wordpress.com/

Ali at https://thimberlina.wordpress.com/

Happy Snapping!


April Garden

It has truly been a month of April Showers. The ground remained waterlogged for sometime, but the last week has seen lots of sunshine by day, but chilly nights. The main task in the garden has been clearing away the rest of the winter debris and weeding.

The daffodils are only just going over now, lots of yellow still dotted around.

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I love this primula.

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And the grape hyacinths are just coming into bloom.

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I moved the little statue

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She is now by the side of the pond among the logs I have left for the insects and rock hidey holes for frogs. I think she makes a rather good woodland nymph. And we can now see her from the kitchen window. Talking of frogs there is now loads of frog spawn in the pond and we have newts too. The birds are busy picking out their “des res ” and nest building. Spotted a cheeky sparrow uprooting greenery from a flower tub this week.

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Lots of plants now wanting to go outside , if only the weather would be kinder at night.hard to stay patient and keep them snug indoors.

I bought three herbs at the plant sale -sage, marjoram and lemon balm, to go with the mint, chives, rosemary and thyme which I already have. Hoping to get a few more plants for my herb garden still.

I also bought Pulsatila Red Bells, which is nearly fully open and also Echinops, which is a globe thistle.

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Not much to see there yet.

Can’t wait for the weather to warm up, then we will have tulips, bluebells, iris, lilac, honeysuckle, poppies, and who knows some of the seeds I planted this year too, like morning glory, sunflowers and cosmos.

Right now to go back outside, we spread some manure on the roses and the blackbirds have had a good root through it for worms and have made a right mess on the grass and footpaths.

Hope you have some warm weather and get outside too this weekend.


Cherry Blossom at Scampston Hall

Last weekend we took the advantage of a free visit for local people to Scampston Hall walled garden and park.

The walled garden was a little disappointing at this time of year.

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The vegetable garden  had just been sewn with this summer’s crop, the only thing to see where chives and rhubarb which quite frankly we had better specimens at home.

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What surprised us was the difference the walls made on the garden, the season is far more advanced here than at home. This tulip was fully open, whereas at home the daffodils are still at their best and no sign of tulips yet.

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These beds will be spectacular in summer. Then we rounded the corner

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To a fabulous display of cherry trees. I have never seen such blossom, or so many cherry trees together. Would love to know of other gardens with cherry trees.

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It was a lovely sunny day and children enjoyed this fountain. Then we headed off into the park designed by Capability Brown.

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The house from the park which was very much shut up still. Be interesting to go back when the house is open too.

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A lovely lake to walk round. The bridge is actually the main road from York to Scarborough.

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The old ice house, wonderfully preserved. There is something rather decadent about an ice house I feel. Maybe I should explain ice house. This one was situated near the lake, so that in winter the servants could cut blocks of ice from the frozen lake and store it in the ice house, so that come the summer the owners could eat ice cream and sorbets, frozen in the ice brought up from the ice house.

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No park is complete without a cascade and

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a pavilion.

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We enjoyed sitting here in the sunshine, with the daffodils and the lake.

All in all a lovely afternoon out. The weather since has been wonderful, lots of sunshine… I could get used to this retirement malarkey.

Here’s to a lovely weekend for us all… we are going sofa shopping AGAIN. Wish us luck.


Yarn Along!

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Can’t believe I still haven’t finished this cardigan for my grandson. I loved learning to cable on the front but the two sleeves seemed to take me forever . I am now on the hood and absolutely determined to finish it this week as I really need to start a little something for a baby due next month. Yikes!

The book is by one of my favourite authors from last year Ann Cleeves. As good as I hoped for.

Linking with Ginny for Yarn Along

Photo Challenge- Reflection

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Taken at Scampston Hall on Sunday. More pictures to follow later this week.

Next weeks challenge is Work

If you would like to leave a link in the comments of a photo you have for this challenge please do so. Wild Daffodil complies a weekly round up for our enjoyment. Meantime do check these sites for some super pictures.

Jane from Rainbow Junkie Corner

Sandra at Wild Daffodil

Melissa at http://thearanartisan.com

Roz at https://umpteenthings.wordpress.com

Jenny at https://letthesewingbegin.wordpress.com

Christina at https://alookatthelittlethings.wordpress.com/

Ali at https://thimberlina.wordpress.com/

If you would like to contribute regularly let me know and I will add your name to this list.

Meantime Happy Snapping!

Scrap Happy- April 2016

I have joined Kate and the other ladies who contribute on the 15th of every month for Scrap Happy. Thank you so much for for this.

I have a box full of scraps of fabric.  When you can no longer shove any more fabric into your scrap stash the time has come to do something. Like use the fabric! NB -This does not include the bag of fat quarters I have no idea what I am going to do with , except to look at them with sheer joy. Nor fabric bought for a specific purpose that I just haven’t sewn yet.

So no fat quarters/decent size pieces of fabric have been harmed in the making of the following this month.

Does anyone remember that I had a happy time last Autumn making padded coat hangers? I began using my stash by making another, everything came from the stash even the coat hanger and the embellishment. I really do have far too much!

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And the ribbon

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For Christmas I gave Miss J padded coat hangers using Waking the Dead fabric, which by the way she said were way too nice to cover up with clothes. And I had some fabric left over, and at my request I received many kind suggestions on what to do with it. Still undecided I took myself off to the library and came back with a book on Mug Rugs. BIG MISTAKE! It’s a really good book, here are the details. I shall have to buy a copy myself as I suspect I am meant to share the book. Anyway here is the result , just in time for Miss J’s birthday.

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Would you look at that, I managed to bind the edges, a first for me, ok so it’s not as accurate as it could be but I will learn. I really like the back best though.

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Such fun with french knots and long stitch. I thought to use beads but reckoned the mug would be a bit precarious on a beady wobbly rug. Miss J has a skull mug, which will go perfect with it. I have got her lots of hot chocolate mixes too.

And so onto the BIG ONE. I have now made lots and lots and lots of hexies to make the patchwork quilt I have been saying I would make for the last *****years! And I have started to sew them together. Here’s where I am now.

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Of course making hexies generated lots and lots of even smaller pieces, so now I have a box of teeny tiny fabric bits. Yikes!

Whilst in the library I looked for books on quilts and I didn’t actually find one yet, but I have come home with four other books brimming with more ideas for my fabric scraps. I just need more hours in a day please.

Here’s the list of the other people in Scrap Happy.

Usually has a scrappy post

Kate at https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com

Gun at https://rutigt.wordpress.com (in Swedish and English)

Titti at http://tittisquiltlek.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)

Heléne at http://quiltochsom.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)

Sometimes has a scrappy post:

Eva at bambisyr-evaj.blogspot.com (in Swedish only)

Sue at sewingmagpie.blogspot.com (in English only)

Viv at https://vivinfrance.wordpress.com (in English only)

Nanette at http://stitchandsow-homeandgarden.blogspot.com.au (in English only)

Lynn at https://thetialys.wordpress.com (in English only)

Norma at https://shesewsyouknow.wordpress.com (in English only)

Lynda at: https://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com (in English only)

Birthe: http://birthesrom.blogspot.no (in Norwegian only)

Turid: http://densyendehimmel.blogspot.se (in English and Norwegian)

Plant Sale at Newburgh Priory

I would like to grow more herbs. I could plant seeds and end up with lots of plants the same or I could go and buy single  herb plants that I like to use. When I saw that there was a plant sale at Newburgh Priory last Sunday , I was intrigued. I had never heard of Newburgh Priory. The sun was shining, Mr E’s Sunday visit to a  car boot sale was cancelled due a waterlogged field , so off we went.

What an amazing place. Sir George Wombwell greets you at the gates and takes your admission charge. We were early so we had a bit of a chat, He told us Newburgh Priory was one of Yorkshires best kept secrets, which was perfect for people wanting a quiet wedding venue. Admission to the plant fair was free, we paid to go into the gardens only, but I foresee a return visit to look round the Priory house.

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Here’s the entrance to the Priory.

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The plant sale was delightful, lots of independent growers and nurseries.

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Would you look at those planters, felt I think on the outside and coir inners. But at £23 each a bit more than I could justify spending.

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I loved these garden sculptures, especially Mr Wol.

By now it  was coffee time and we headed into the tea room. An amazing array of homemade cakes greeted us. And the woman who was selling them had made them herself,  she was Lady Wombwell . I asked her about the wood paneling in the entrance hall which didn’t seem as if it really belonged there as all the house bells were just above it. She explained that the paneling had come from a local boys school when it was demolished and the family had rescued it, and the entrance we had come in by was the old servants hall, hence the bells

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Just look at the graffiti and the dates. Definitely worth salvaging I would say. The tea room was just as amazing, situated in what was clearly the old kitchen.

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Now that’s what I call a range, but could do with some repairs I think!!

After coffee, we shared a cake, no picture as we ate the cake before I thought of it, but Lady W can bake! We went for a walk round the gardens and park.

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View of the house from the garden. Part of the old priory remain and in one corner I found this memorial to a warhorse.

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So poignant. And then into a lovely water garden. I will let the pictures do the talking.

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And of course there was a lake…

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The white horse on the hill above

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Daffodils to the side

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I loved this tree at the water’s edge.

Plant sale… did I buy any. Well yes, but I will save my purchases for my April Garden update post later in the month.

Hope we all have a good  gardening weather this weekend and some nice places to visit in the sunshine.

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