Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

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Unraveled Wednesday

The last ten days or so have been really busy, wonderfully busy, but busy. I’m flagging a bit today, but not so much I could miss joining with Kat for a catch up on all things yarny.

Let me start with a Tahdah, for my First sock, which now resembles a sock!

And it fits! Well I never. I had a lot of trouble in the workshop over the toe. Mostly my own fault. I was tired when I left home, decided after two workshops I knew how to get there, didn’t set the satnav, overshot the roundabout I needed , five miles to get turned round, came at the next roundabout from a different exit, lost my bearings, totally, set the sat nav and got there. So I was flustered to say the least. Why did I say my toe problems were mostly my fault, they were totally my fault. The end was a Kitchener stitch, all perfectly straightforward. Insert a needle purl wise…my brain went totally blank. For goodness sake! Fortunately after a demo which made no sense, I consulted the diagram on the pattern , and I only had to restart it once.

So then I mentioned I’d forgotten the long tail cast on. Chris showed me again, but my brain couldn’t do it. Thank goodness for YouTube which I consulted later and easily managed to cast on the next sock.

This last Sunday was Mothering Sunday in the UK. And I had a wonderfully full weekend. On Saturday I went to Cirencester with my oldest son and his two children. We went round the museum, all things Roman, then visited a fabulous food market, followed by lunch. Sunday saw me going to London to see middle son and family. We went to Wimbledon Village for lunch and an amazing Sunday Market. Monday was spent with youngest son and granddaughter and another lunch.

Now Monday was the perfect chance to give my granddaughter her Easter Rabbit. So when I wasn’t off gadding about and feeding my face I knuckled down and finished the rabbit.

I wrapped her up, so she can unwrap her at Easter.

So there we are. I’d love to get the second sock done before Easter, but I’ll wait till my brain is fully engaged.

As to reading, I’m now 2/3rds through South of Broad. I loved the part in San Francisco, as I could picture where everything was as I had spent two super holidays there. The plot has now gone back in time to get the back story to all those complicated relationships, and again I am enjoying this part too, even if the characters are all a bit weird. But then again, to quote “All the world’s a bit weird save thee and me, and even thee is a bit weird”. Think I may still be tired.

Take care,


Here’s the link for Unraveled Wednesday. http://askatknits.com/2023/03/22/unraveled-wednesday-3-22-23/


ScrapHappy Unraveled

Sometimes the 15th of the month happens to be a Wednesday, thus posing a bit of a problem for me . I can either write my Scrap Happy Post it being the 15th, or an Unraveled Wednesday post it being Wednesday, or one of them. This month I am able to combine the two.

Because, I have made great strides with the blue and yellow yarn from the Big Knit. I now have 40 blocks ready to join.

I have now done the first three strips, re-arranging them a bit as I go. Hard to get balance when you are using scraps. But the outcome will be one more blanket for someone in need.

Meantime I attended the second sock knitting workshop and successfully turned the heel.

Which as everyone predicted was not too hard if you just followed the instructions. There was a bit of unravelling after I did too much talking and not enough counting, but all was well. Homework for tomorrow’s final workshop was to knit to the toe end. So now I am here.

Not only does it look like a sock but it fits like one too. The chopsticks are slowly behaving themselves a bit better, unless by some chance I have improved my skill of knitting with five sticks at once.

I think I must be a slow reader compared to others as I’m only just about 1/3rd of the way through this now. I am enjoying it, but I found that too many characters were introduced at once, then the plot moves on ten plus years and they are all married to each other. I had to go back and write my own list of people and who they married. Never had to do that before. Maybe I am getting old.

If you would like to read about more scrappy projects, which can be about leftover anything, then the link is this one-https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2023/03/15/scraphappy-march-6/

And if you would like to read about just yarn- fibre and books, then here’s that link, http://askatknits.com/2023/03/15/unraveled-wednesday-3-15-23/

Thanks so much for reading.

PS This afternoon I have a real treat in store- a talk from the team that undertook the archeology dig at Wolf Hall. Oh my.

Unraveled Wednesday

I loved the sock knitting worshop I attended last week. There were supposed to be two of us but the other lady couldn’t come so I had one to one tuition. After the first session I was here:-

Cast on with a long tail- never even heard of such a thing, but hey I managed it. The weeks’ homework was to be ready to attempt the turning of the heel, which everyone seems to imply will be hard. Frankly learning to knit with chopsticks has been hard enough. But I am nearly ready for the next session.

The yarn is hand dyed by the tutor. I love the colour I chose.

This morning I woke up to this

Look at the poor little crocus, and the solitary daffodil , what has happened?

Poor little garden! I only need to go outside to take the dustbin and recycling down the drive, so am hoping it might stop snowing this afternoon. Meantime I have started my last library book before I turn to my own bookshelves.

Turns out Pat is a man, well I never, I had just assumed Pat was a female author. Anyway so far so good, it’s an easy read and engaging. So this afternoon I shall be snuggly down with book and knitting. Life is good !

Joining with Kat and the Unravelers, that sounds like a 60’s pop group! Link here-http://askatknits.com/2023/03/08/unraveled-wednesday-3-8-23/

Great Rollright

After my visit to the Rollright Stones I had lunch at a nearby garden centre (Homemade winter vegetable soup and granary bread), a wonderfully thick vegetable broth, hearty and warming. Then I had fun walking round the plants and choose a goodly selection including snowdrops in the green and a climbing rose for my pergola.

Then I journeyed on to Great Rollright, the tiny village where my husband’s grandfather was born. His family originally came from Dorset before ending up here via London and Suffolk. Grandfather was called Percy. His Dad was the village schoolmaster in the 1880’s.

The village is a typical Cotswold village with lovely stone houses, teeny tiny roads and modern houses and far too many cars making it hard to drive. I eventually found a layby near the church and school… Which was why I’d come, and parked up.

St Andrew’s Church. It was that day full of coincidences.. Area I live in St Andrews, school I went to St Andrews, Road I lived in when I met Mr E.. You guessed it St Andrews.

Lovely font I am guessing Percy was christened in.

Peaceful but in need of TLC..

Bank of snowdrops in the churchyard. None of the family died in the village as they moved to Northamptonshire within ten years, according to the Census information.

The school near the church had modern buildings but also an old building. Now schoolteachers back in the day were provided with a house to live in. So I took a guess that there might be a school house close by. And there was, right next door to the school and helpfully named The Old School House.

I love exploring , and when there is even a tentative connection to family history, well just blissful.

Would you agree?

More on Great Rollright can be found here-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Rollright

Unraveled Wednesday

On the right day this week..

Currently about 2/3rds of the way through the book- it’s about one of the big scandals that occured in my chidlhood, but began in pre-war Cambridge university when idealistic young men were recruited to spy for Russia, and continued to do so throughout the WW2 and the Cold War. I recall hushed conversations by my parents and their shocked faces. I saw this account first as TV drama over Christmas and was thrilled to discover the programmes were based on this book. Frankly the whole matter is really shocking, the old boys network that let the traitors get away it for so long. It’s a riveting read if you enjoy having your eyes open to how the estalishment works!

Knitting wise. Slight progress on the rabbit. I keep sidetracking myself with granny squares. 35/40 now completed, soon be time to crochet them together to make a blanket.

Meantime I made 10 more poppies for the church display in November.

Tomorrow I am attending a workshop, 1 out of 3 to help me overcome my fear of sock knitting. I’m rather excited to be finally taking the plunge. Especially as I already own yarn for three pairs of socks.

Joining with Kat and other unravelers for some yarn chatter here-http://askatknits.com/2023/03/01/unraveled-wednesday-3-1-23/

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..

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