Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for July, 2020

Martin Down Nature Reserve

Last week it was Mr E’s birthday and he fancied exploring the area a bit. North Yorkshire is a pretty big county, for most of our day trips we rarely left the district, and I find it a bit strange that Wiltshire is so much smaller and we can quite easily go from one county to several others during the course of a day out. That thought aside we  found ourselves in both Dorset and Hampshire and whilst there visted Martin Down Nature Reserve 

We had a picnic lunch and then went for a walk. The weather was just right, sunny but not too hot.

I am getting used to the number of iron age hill forts that exist hereabouts- this is another one.

You can play spot Mr E in this picture.

This rampart however was made by the army for training purposes,

thankfully they have gone now and it’s become a haven for wildflowers and butterflies.

I wonder what treats await us next. Have you been anywhere nice recently?




July Books- 2020

Only two books again this month- my reading has really taken a nose dive!

Keith Clarke- The Muse Colony.  not certain if this is still in print as I bought it in 1998- probably when we were house hunting in Gloucestershire/Oxfordshire.  The ISBN is 1 872971 30X. It’s been a while since I read this the first time and I was prompted to re-read it as one of the poets Edward Thomas mentioned in this book also features in my next book which I started reading first- this being shorter I finished it first.

In the months before the first world war in 1914 the small village of Dymock became the focal point of a group of young poets including Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke and Robert Frost. They brought with them their families and friends and rented cottages and rooms, they walked  and talked and wrote poetry inspiring each other and in turn were inspired by the countryside. It was a magical Summer. This book explores this idylic time.  A forgotten world and time when life was gentler and slower. A thoroughly enjoyable re-read. There are a lot of daffodils in their work!

Robert MacFarlane- The Old Ways- which are of course old footpaths, and the book traces some of them through the author’s walk, on his own or with a friend, noting flora, fauna, geology and people associated with them. In parts very interesting, but not quite what I expected as I had assumed the book would only cover the UK and that there would be more history and less geology. I loved the connection to Edward Thomas, and to a local to Swindon naturalist Richard Jeffries, who lived at Coates, where there is a museum about him, still closed,  and where we walked last month.

I was very interested in the explanation for ancient man building houses in river estauries on stilts. At the time before farming the British Isles were covered in forests, people dwelt by the sea, plentiful food and houses on the water were safer from wolves and bears, oh my. ( Sorry family favourite saying from the Wizard of Oz). The way people got about was in boats on the sea- the sea routes were the very old ways before footpaths.

However my overall feeling was that something is lacking in the book- I would have welcomed maps, and proper photos, not just black and white grainy ones, of places and people, but more importantly what the book lacks is any humour, and I found myself longing for a Bill Bryson type observation.

I’m now reading a book lent to me by my son called Tombland by C J Sansom, it’s more of a page turner, thank goodness. Meantime I managed to join the local library- three branches in one town- a treat I’ve not enjoyed since we lived in Sussex. The libraries started to re-open a couple of weeks ago for click and collect- you choose your books , they find them, email you and you collect them from the library without needing to go inside. I found my old wishlists from North Yorkshire, cross checked with ones in the library here, and selected three. Email received yesterday they were ready for collection tomorrow afternoon. Hurrah! That’s my weekend sorted.

Love to know if your library has managed to open yet and if you had a good book on the go.

St Andrew’s church.

Swindon is one of those towns which has grown and grown and grown. We have moved to an area known as St Andrew’s Ridge, once open fields and part of the parish of Blunsden village. The open space below our home is open purely because it is the site of Roman remains. You can’t go far in Wiltshire without coming across old religious sites- I mean Stonehenge, Avebury- and here on the hill in front of us was a sacred spring, which in due course the Romans built some temple like structure- I have still to investigate further.

A bit of internet research told me our local church is called St Andrews, and wasn’t too far to walk. So I set off down one of the many footpaths that meander between houses.

Open spaces like the one on the left are plentiful, as are shrubs and trees for birds and squirrels. After a while I emerged onto

Lady Lane- proper countryside- the road has been closed to traffic which was using it as a rat run. I headed uphill, to yet another housing development underway then down the wonderfully named Tadpole Lane.

To the left was an unmade road leading to the church.

Oh my, a nooky little road going down to the sweetest of little churches.

With a view across to an old Abbey, now in private hands as a retirement home and caravan park.

The back of the church had a bench

where I enjoyed the view

Yes, here on the outskirts of a modern sprawling and not too attractive town is a village church with rural views. I couldn’t go in the church in these horrid times, but had an explore of the churchyard.

Rather elaborate headstone,

an interesting gate to somewhere,

a bit of rambling ground- couldn’t tell if it was part of the graveyard- no graves and accessed from a side gate. Now I couldn’t as I say go in the church but it’s old, as you can tell from the list of vicars in the porch.

That’s it 1299 the first one. I can’t find much about the church on the internet but here’s a link to some interior photos.


I think I shall spend many a time on that bench with that view. Love to know if anyone else has a favourite bench with a view.



Old Bossy Boots himself.  Finally good to go…

I feel a real sense of achievement- the straw round his legs and hands caused me real problems, I fear my hands aren’t as nimble as they once were.

His straw hair caused no problems so I don’t understand this.  I rather like his hat detail.. the little mouse.

By the way his name he tells me is Wesley and he is not a Bossy Boots. I beg to differ on that point.

Here he is with the rather loved original scarecrow that provided comfort to my sons for about 30 years.

One day Wesley will have been stretched to the same height as Sammy Scarecrow.

What’s that Wesley- Oh no you won’t? I rather hope you will be.

Is he finished now?

Not yet, but getting there.

He’s got something on his foot, whatever is that?

well it’s supposed to be a ladybird. He also sports a rather fine buttonhole flower.

Bossier than ever though and nag- were it an Olympic sport he would be a champion. And for the record he say’s he doesn’t want the name of a politician or a pirate, he’ll choose his own, thank you for the suggestions. Actually he didn’t say that at all but I can’t repeat what he did say- but hell and damnation came into it.

Is he finished yet?

No but we’re getting there- he has eyes now since you thought he looked creepy, and a personality, which is rather bossy to say the least, I think he took umbrage to the eyes thing.

He’s taking so long a robin has landed on his shoulder! But still not done….


Is he finished?

Not yet, but there is some progress.

He now has his jacket with buttons.

Fabric box

At last- a finish, my latest fabric box, this time featuring the materials left over from the little dresses and toys  I made Miss F when she was Little Miss F.

In detail

The front- pink flamingo skirt- still in use apparently.

And the lid- so pretty I used one big scrap.

I love making these boxes so much- very calming. And we all need a little calm- I wonder what brings everyone else a little peace? Do tell please.


Scrap Happy July- 2020

As I unpacked the horror of my stashes became all too apparent from yarn to fabric to paper. I have them in abundance. Where to put it all was the question, and the solution of course is to use it.

The Scarecrow ( see knit and natter) is using up a goodly amount but only in small bits. So I was delighted to discover a lady in town via Facebook visits several Care Homes as she goes to entertain the residents, and has come up with a scheme to further cheer up people. She appealed for handmade bird tables and lap blankets.Say no more- one lap blanket under construction.

Probably don’t need any more pink squares.

And then there was the fabric… I managed somehow to sew some dresses for Little Miss F when she was just a dot, so I decided to use the scraps from them and some toys I made her to make her a fabric box.

Six sides completed- now to line them and stitch together to make a box.

I’m sorry that all I have is half done things this month, but at least I may have some finishes soon to write about. Please pop over to Kate’s blog for some links to other Scrap Happy posts- link here

Out and about and back again.

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?

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