Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for February, 2023

March Plan

One word-Divest… Attitude- Procrastination and panic leading to stress. Stuff- that encumbers and inhibits happiness.

Mantra- Rest, Recover, Resolve

Contemplate- “The secret of health for both mind and body is to not mourn for the past, worry about the future or anticipate, but to live in the present moment, wisely and earnestly.” Budha

The Plan for March

1 Continue decluttering. Thanks to everyone last month for their tips. The suggestion that I take a photo of something I am letting go.. will help me when dealing with items I don’t much care for that belonged to my parents..brilliant idea. Also the hint to operate a one in one out policy..Yes .

1a Let go of old clothes I don’t wear. I can take photos of them if I must! I’ll aim to do Spring and Summer clothes now, and jumpers etc in the Autumn

1b I currently have three books still to read from the library. If I then read one book I was lent by a family member, I can return it to them. Then read a few more books I own.

1c There’s a craft destash sale coming up. Send things there, and try not buy anything myself, and if I do operate the one in one out principle.

1d Actually make one thing in the WIP or Not Yet Started collection.

2 Continue with things I know are helping my mental health..Avoiding caffeine, I really do sleep better. Walking with awe- 15 minutes a week. Whilst I loved writing a post about each one, hearing me bang on about trees, views and skies will get tedious for readers, so I’ll only mention the extra special walks. Instead I shall resurrect my nature journal and write in here.

I last wrote in here back in August in Yorkshire. So if I utilise it now it goes from being yet more clutter to something useful!

3 Gratitude releases feel good chemicals. A sentence in my morning pages to just count my multitude of blessings.

4 After all this boosting feelings of well being, continue with my planned maintenance . Keeping it simple, just obtaining quotes for some work that needs doing.

And remember to rest, recover, resolve!

And because having flowers in the house is just wonderful, here’s my current mood booster.

Their perfume is truly fantastic.

Wish me luck and any hints and tips gratefully received. Thanks for reading.


Divest- February 2023

Divest is my one word for 2023. My aim is to divest myself of thoughts and behaviours which cause stress, procrastination, over reaction and ownership of excess stuff. The objective is to feel more confident and unencumbered . I will be joining Carolyn and others who also use the one word idea to help them reach their goals. Link here –https://youronewordblog.wordpress.com/2023/02/27/checking-in-2-23/

Following on from my successful start last month, and the making of a plan for February, I am pleased to write that things have gone well for me this month.

1-Proactive household maintenance. The windows were cleaned, and my driveway went from this

and this

and this

to this

Much Better! The drive way must be two metres wider now. I’d never even seen the fence on the left side before!

The back garden lawn will receive attention when it warms up a bit more, and I think I finally know what to do about the artificial grass in the front.

2-Divesting myself of stuff– two bags of books and one of records has gone to a specialist charity shop in town, leftover craft items, one bag has gone to my craft group. Particularly liberating was taking the decision that I had over estimated how many garments I could knit for Baby P before she became Toddler P. The yarn I had was insufficient to make for her now. I took it to a lady in the group who knits for the Christmas shoe box appeal. It was hard admitting I had made this mistake to myself , but incredibly freeing to just let it go.In fact letting go like this is really helping free me mentally from the baggage of the past.

3-Walking with awe. Four walks as planned, to spend 15 minutes in nature. A resounding success. I learned these things do not just happen by themselves. I consulted weather forecasts, thought about where to go, etc, and blow me down it worked. I came back from each walk absolutely buzzing, especially the last walk .

My mantra is Rest, Recover, Resolve. The emphasis on the Rest this month. I did find it stressful having a two man hedge cutting team around, and a window cleaner attack two plus years of grime. They were all extremely kind, professional and good at their jobs, it’s that I suppose my territory is temporarily not my own. I took to heart Carl Gustov Jung ” It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves”. I am very glad the jobs are done, and I won’t let the problem build up again.

I think also for the first two weeks in February I was also fighting a couple of winter viruses. My body said Rest, so I did. I also think I benefit from making sure that at the weekend I do just let myself re charge my battery, rest, read a bit, maybe a nap or two..

I tried a coffee again after my evening meal…once again I was awake to the wee small hours that night. I might not get the buzz feeling people say they get from caffeine but gosh I do notice the effect it has on sleep. One confirmed decaff person now!

It certainly helped that I had no domestic emergencies to contend with to test me. This month was one of building up my mental health. So much so that over the next three months I shall step out of my comfort zone, and see how it goes. I’ll be back tomorrow with my plan for March.

Meantime I’ll leave you with

A smoothie in a hat, fund raising for Help the Aged.. And helped me read the 800 pages of this book.

Thank you for all your thought provoking comments, I do find them so interesting. Love to hear your thoughts.

Walking with awe #4

My February One Word plan included the aim to walk with awe every week throughout the month. Happy to say I succeeded. Walks one and two were all about trees, two and three had me up high appreciating views, four I determined should be something extra special. For this outing I drove 35 miles out of Wiltshire, through a corner of Gloucestershire, and into Oxfordshire near the county border with Warwickshire to the Rollright Stones.

There are three groups of stones to visit, as shown on the map.Parking is in a layby on the road. Admission £1.00 in an honesty box.

I walked to the group called The Whispering Knights first.

Sadly encompassed by railings. I’ll put a link at the end of the post for more information.

Back past some sheep to a circle of stones known as The King’s Men,

Here I sat on a bench to soak up the atmosphere of the place, and waited for people taking selfies to move away. I had a nice chat with a visiting American. He was from San Francisco, so I told him about my visits there, and he told me of his visit to South Wales.

He was visiting the circle because an episode of Dr Who (Tom Baker) had been filmed there, and he’d always wanted to visit. I was revisiting after thirty years – we’d come with our boys when we lived in Oxfordshire because their 2x Great Grandfather had taught in the nearby village.

Then I crossed the road to the King Stone.

More railings.

Now people clearly do come here for mystical reasons. Evidence here-centre of the stone circle.

whatever this might mean.

Unfortunately the stones didn’t speak to me. Whatever reason they’d been erected for evaded me. But I did feel awe, not from the stones but

quite simply from the skies. From the whispering knights, this sky in front of me, but behind

And from the King’s Stone

Yes the sky filled me with awe.

Am I glad I did a weekly walk with awe, took time just to look, allow nature to work her healing influence, to rest and restore, oh yes.

Will I continue a practice of walking with awe. You bet I will.

Thank you for coming with me this month, your comments mean a lot. Meantime here’s link with more information about the Rollright Stones. https://www.rollrightstones.co.uk/

Books- February 2023

My first book took an inordinate amount of time to read. Fortunately the next three were great reads which I simply couldn’t put down.

Hilary Mantel- The Mirror and the Light- being in the third book in her trilogy about Thomas Cromwell. I found it a bit of a slog at 875 pages long. Wolf Hall the first book was terrific and well worth reading. Bring up the Bodies involved an awful lot of Tudor politics. This one is just too long. It’s a minute description of Henry’s marriage to Jane Seymour, followed by polical intrigue to the fourth marriage to Anna of Cleeves, and the sudden downfall of Cromwell at the hands of the aristocracy who resented the jumped up commoners abilty and success. I kept going because I wanted to see how the first meeting between Henry and Anna was handled. I suspect that I am too familiar with the Tudors to have been surprised. It needed cutting down by half to my mind. Love to know if anyone has read it and what they thought.

Richard Osman-The Bullet that Missed- His third novel concerning The Thursday Murder Club. Enjoyable and twisty as ever. Totally agree with him ..you need an 8 year old to sort out your tech. issues.

Belinda Bauer- Snap- Long listed for The Man Booker Prize in 2018-A well crafted , highly enjoyable murder mystery. Devoured in 24 hours, and that’s all I am saying.

Kristin Hannah- The Great Alone- I really, really enjoyed this book. Well written and brilliantly plotted keeping me gripped to the end. How to tell you enough without saying too much? The setting is Alaska, starting in the early 1970’s with the arrival of a family of three. Dad is Vietnam veteran , a former prisoner of war, struggling to fit back into civilian life. Mama adores both him and their 13 year old daughter. Dad has inherited a cabin and a plot of land, into which they move. They are complete novices at living an off grid lifestyle, but their neighbours help them as best they can. Themes within the book include descriptions of Alaska and life on the edge, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, love and a disappearing lifestyle compromised by tourism. If you like Epic novels this maybe for you. I totally loved it.

Have you read any of these books? Love to know your thoughts. Please share any totally brilliant books you have read this year.

Totally Unraveled!

I meant to write this on Tuesday, ready to post on Wednesday, but life ran away from me, and now it’s Thursday. Turned out this was a good thing in the end. I went out for the day yesterday.. a walk which I’ll write about on Sunday. But first

On the top… Parts of a rabbit I’m knitting -body, head, arms (rabbits don’t have arms, but that’s what the pattern has named the front legs).Currently knitting the first of the two back legs.

Underneath yellow and blue crochet squares for my next blanket. 25 out of 40 needed completed.

The poet we are selecting our poems from at the next poetry group gathering is Edward Thomas. From now on in this post I may sound a tad crazy. You know how you notice things more when you connect to them in someway. Like when you are pregnant the whole world seems full of pregnant ladies. Or if a family member has an arm or leg in plaster the world seems full of the walking wounded.

Well the same has been happening with this poet this week. Last week I walked on the Ridgeway and what I’ve not mentioned before is over the weekends either side of this walk I have taken family out for meals in favourite pubs.

So I got back from my walk last week and got super excited to discover there was a tiny museum in village where one of the pubs is located. It doesn’t open till April, but is certainly on my to visit list.

Back to Edward Thomas, and my research into his life. Although born in London he loved the countryside , and was inspired by Swindon’s own naturalist Richard Jeffries. He couldn’t make a living from writing about nature as Jeffries did, and became a book reviewer. However he did visit Swindon, which at the time was only a small place but expanding due to the railway industry. Thomas walked the Marlborough Downs as I had. The Plough on the Hill (does excellent food, and just off Junction 15 on the M4 motorway , booking advised) formed the basis for one of Thomas’ poems.Family meal One out was here.

Edward Thomas, was friends with Robert Frost.. American nature poet. Thomas stayed with the Frost’s in Dymock, before moving his family into holiday accomodation in the same village in the Summer of 1917, thus becoming part of the group known as the Dymock Muse Colony, which I have written about before.

The poetry group members share their poem choices in advance so we don’t all choose the same poem. One member also included the detail that her mother had been best friend’s with Thomas’s daughter and had lived with her mother after Thomas’s death in WW1. They had erected a window in the church there. The village is called Eastbury. And where had I had lunch the previous day.. The Plough at Eastbury (top notch food, open Wednesday to Sunday, booking certainly needed.. just off Junction 14 on the M 4 motorway). We even walked past the church on the way to a playground for Toddler P.

Yesterday as I mentioned, I had a day out. Now the day before when I was reading up on Robert Thomas I consulted the internet. One of his poems is called Adlestrop. Thomas was on the train from Scotland , when it came to an unscheduled stop at Adlestrop which inspired him to pen a poem. Now nothing remains of the station nowadays but the sign was rescued and used in the village bus shelter. Imagine my surprise to spot a road sign saying Adelstrop 1/2 mile to the left off my road. It had to be done.

And on the bench..the poem

I am half tempted to change my choice of poem now… Maybe I will.

The one I plan to read is called The Sun used to Shine. He is writing about the walks he took with Robert Frost around Dymock, it encapsulates everything about that Summer in 1914, before the world changed. I’ve put in a link for you here https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57208/the-sun-used-to-shine

Robert Frost moved back to America and became a farmer. His friend Edward Thomas talked of taking his family and joining Frost on a neighbouring farm. He didn’t, instead he joined the army in his late 30’s. Not from a desire for glory, or patriotism, but because the loved the very soil of England. Robert Frost wrote a poem you may have heard of, concerning his friends indecision, it’s called The Road Not Taken.Thomas went to France in January 1917. He died in Arras April 1917.

I’ll put in a link to Frost’s poem here. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44272/the-road-not-taken

Meantime I must stop my unraveling over these coincidences, and do some knitting. Joining Kat and others here


I wonder have you ever had coincidental things happening like this. A week ago I had no I inclining of Edward Thomas’s connection to Wiltshire. Do tell..

Walking with Awe#3

One of my personal goals this month was to take a weekly walk with awe, as part of my one word plan to Divest. The aim being to restore my spirit and cope better with life. So far I have walked amongst trees and enjoyed snowdrops. This week felt right for a change. It was time to go High. In the past I have found it really helps to go to a high spot just to realise my own insignificance, and regain a sense of proportion.

So I drove a distance of about ten miles onto the Marlborough Downs and walked a little way along the Ridgeway.

The Ridgeway is an old drovers Road, connecting small settlements, Iron age forts, ritual sites such as Avebury Ring. The sense of history is immense. The big skies and the space is incredible. It just fills me with awe.

Over in the distance I know the M4 motorway is busy with cars driving to destinations between London and Wales, but up here all I can hear is sheep and skylarks.

A tractor chugged by, just this one strip, gently aerating the grass.

I sat a while after the tractor disappeared , soaking up the view, enjoying the Bird song and relishing the wind on my face, because when you go High , you get wind.

A few walkers passed by quite leisurely, two cyclist worked their way up the slope, a horse and rider cantered along, all of us enjoying the wonderful outdoors. Like me this person also sat a while. I took photographs, he/she was either drawing or writing, I couldn’t tell which.

I came home with a flushed face from the wind, but totally content and much restored. These walks are becoming a bit of a necessity!

I wondered what sort of walk filled others with awe, wonder or contentment? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

ScrapHappy February 23

I was asked after my last post on The Big Knit for a photo of the shopping trolley of yarn. As the most recent Big Knit was on Saturday 11th February, it felt right to dedicate Scrap Happy day to the Big Knit. The group was formed during lockdown three years ago by the local Borough Council, as a way of connecting housebound people to each other, putting their skills to use and making blankets, hats, gloves, garments to be given to people who were homeless or fleeing domestic violence and needed to rebuild their lives. Anyone moving into permanent accommodation could choose a blanket to brighten up their new home.

Post Lockdown the group could meet in person to make, chat and generally have a nice time. Yarn can be donated to the group and as mentioned arrives in two shopping trolleys.

Black bags full of yarn which are emptied out for people to take.

Having finished my red and white blanket, and the half done giraffe, I added them to the pile of finished blankets.

Tea and biscuits too.

My chosen colour scheme this time is

Straight to work.

Someone had even donated fifty books full of knitting patterns. Lovely books too.

Back home , the crocheting continues. I took the picture of woman at work.. me.. Then thought I really should have a tidy up.

Joining with Kate and others for Scrap Happy Day..link here-https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2023/02/15/scraphappy-february-7/

Walking with Awe#2

Thanks for all the super comments last week, and for the book recommendations. The library sadly didn’t stock any of them, but there was another listed which I have requested. Meantime I am doing my own take on walking with awe. That is.. Going to a favourite location, stopping/resting/sitting a lot , and really using my five senses.

Destination- The bluebell woods at Badbury, although the bluebells won’t be out until May the views are tremendous. Best of all there were snowdrops.

And the view didn’t disappoint.

Blue skies and sunshine this week. There are logs to sit on to just absorb the moment. Lots of birds flitting back and forth, singing, searching for food, potential nesting sites and a mate. The air felt clean and fresh, my face tingled with the cold, my lungs filled up.

Flowers left, no doubt to honour the memory of someone else who took succour from this place.

Best of all, a sense of wonder, knowing that

on either side of this avenue of trees, safe under the blanket of last year’s beech tree leaves the bluebells are just waiting, like us for warmer days.

Life felt good.

As I was downloading these pictures half an hour ago, I glanced out of the window , and there strolling nonchalantly through the wood in front of the house was a fox.

My day is made!

Happy Sunday!

Unraveled Wednesday

Sub Title- Things to Share, hurrah!

A new book at last, just getting into it and really enjoying it. He writes such cosy murders you wouldn’t believe, unless you are already a fan.

As to knitting- I had a talk with myself and decided to just concentrate on one thing at a time, as a little on everything gave no satisfaction! Ok who is doing a Mick Jagger impression now?

Anyway Rabbit now has a body and the start of a head.. progress of sorts.

The sun is shining. I spent an hour in the garden on Monday. I have a crocus and a grape hyacynth in bloom and was visited by the first butterfly of the year– a small tortoiseshell. Spring is gearing up. Plus I have now booked someone to cut the hedges and fettle the back lawn and a window cleaner. Getting on, as my Dear Dad used to say.

How are you Getting on? I am joining with Kat and others for more books and yarn related topics. Link here-http://askatknits.com/2023/02/08/unraveled-wednesday-2-8-23/

Walking with Awe#1

My February plan includes taking a 15 minute weekly walk and allowing nature to fill me with awe. The walk I took this week took an hour with plenty of sit downs on benches and tree stumps to just take in my surroundings and focus on the five senses. It wasn’t a particularly brilliant day, typical England in February, bit grey, bit damp, bit windy, bit warmer than last week.

Simple beauty.

I love the trees in silhouette in Winter. I love wind in the trees. One branch was creaking with a gentle sqweek. The squirrels were bounding around and blackbirds tossing fallen leaves around looking for grubs to eat.

So much to just look at on the tree trunk.

I sat by the lake, watching ducks, moorhens and Canada geese when I became aware of gulls circle overhead round and round looking as if they wanted to land on the water, yet unable too as the currents of wind blew them round and round.

Eventually they disappeared from sight.

The walk was awesome..nothing out of the ordinary but stopping and looking made all the difference.

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