Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Lydiard Park

I searched the internet for the best place locally to see snowdrops and Lydiard Park came highly recommended. I have visited in the past, when we used to come down to visit our son- indeed we have even stayed in the hotel in the house here, and brought my Mum from Wales to see the family, and youngest son to help when we were left in charge of grandchildren. So this walk held many special memories for me, even though I strolled by myself I felt I had company.

You can see why we needed help back then.

https://www.lydiardpark.org.uk/ link for more history of the park.

A wonderful house as you can see, open to the public… one day.

Rather nice lake- once upon a time there was a mill under there, now gone in the interests of beauty.

I was quite taken with this structure which was a cold bath , once much the rage, like sea bathing.

Don’t think I would fancy this myself- couldn’t have a decent swim for a start and I bet it was none too hygenic.

Rather nice views- somewhere in the distance is our house.

The snowdrops didn’t disappoint.
nor did the corcuses which I hadn’t expected.
The little church is within walking distance of the house- now that’s power for you. Sadly the gate was padlocked so I couldn’t explore the churchyard.
Nice chat with the wildlife.
A thoroughly nice outing- I noted that the two cafes were open for takeaway refreshment- next time I shall take my pennies.

Where is the best place for you to see the first flowers of Spring?

Scrap Happy _ February 2021

I am very, very pleased with myself for this little project. Not because it is fantastically novel , but because for once I am really proud of the final outcome. Go back to 2019 when I enrolled on a quilting course and was thrown in at the deep end with a full sized quilt over three 6 hour sessions which totally exhausted and confused me. I ended up with a quilt and embarked on quilt two, but couldn’t attend the last workshop as youngest son got married on that day. Since then I have made two smaller quilts for grandchildren, but they have been a bit of a cobbled together botched job. The truth is I still didn’t really know what I was about, and the second big quilt lingers on the to be finished pile.

This month I took the sensible decision and decided to go back to basics- start with something really small and do it properly. Find a book and some fabric scraps which don’t scare me, and breathe.

Something nice and small and manageable.

Ok so I have made coasters before, cobbled together botched jobs. These I will do slowly, properly and neatly. Breathe.

Small squares, carefully measured and stitched together- press open the seams and breathe..

Looking good

As it happens I have always fancied using strawberry fabric for a garden project, but then I used the fabric for other things but there was enough left over.

Loving the seams meeting.
And then some proper quilting, taking my time, breathing
so nearly perfect

I am so pleased with myself. I can’t wait to use these for the first garden mug of coffee. And the moral of the story is start small, oh and don’t forget to breathe.

I shall tackle the unfinished quilt- it will be far from perfect, but I shall also try somthing a bit bigger than coasters and learn slowly.

Joining with Kate and others for more Scrap Happy Projects here-

Kate (me!)Gun,EvaSue,Lynn,Lynda,
Birthe,Turid,Susan,Cathy, Tracy,Jill,
Claire,Jan, Moira,Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon,HayleyDawn,
Gwen,Bekki,Sue L,Sunny,Kjerstin,
Vera,Nanette, Ann,Dawn 2 and Noreen

I watched a programme on Channel Five which had compiled a list of the top thirty British novels. From what I recall Waterstones the book shop had provided a list of their best selling 50 British novels and people voted for their favourite. I love a nice list of books so I was hooked. I am pleased to say that I have read 20 of them, and even more pleased that this gave me 10 good books to read this year, especially handy to have when all but the central library in town closed for 8 weeks to redeploy library staff. Here is the list- the ones in bold are the ones I haven’t read yet, but hope to do so this year.

30 Lady Chatterley’s LoverD H Lawrence

29 White Teeth- Zadie Smith

28 Casino Royale- Ian Fleming

27 Bridget Jones Diary- Helen Fielding

26 Small Island- Andrea Levy

25 Knots and Crosses- Ian Rankin

24 Howards End- E M Forster

23 Lord of the Flies William Golding

22 Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackery

21 Atonement- Ian McEwan

20 Dracula- Bram Stoker

19 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes- Conan Doyle

18 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy- John le Carre

17 The Day of the Triffids- John Wyndham

16 The Remains of the Day- Kazuo Ishiguro

15 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night- Mark Haddon

14 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin-Louis de Bernieres

13 Far from the Madding CrowdThomas Hardy

12 And then there were none- Agatha Christie

11 Wolf Hall- Hilary Mantel

10 Middlemarch- George Elliot

9 Birdsong- Sebastian Faulks

8 David Copperfield- Charles Dickens

7 Hitchhiker’s guide to life in the galaxy- Douglas Adams

6 Rebecca- Daphne du Maurier

5 Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte

4 1984 – George Orwell

3 Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte

2 Lord of the Rings- Tolkien

1 Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austin

How many of these have you read? Is your favourite here? Since I watched this programme I have found the Independent newspaper had compiled a list of 40 books, some are here, some I have read, but all in all lots of excellent reading ahead for me, plus of course all the recommendations that you give me.

The weather in the UK is cold for us, so a weekend under the crochet blanket with a good book seems like a plan for me. Will you be reading over the weekend?

Snowdrops keep falling

Well of course they don’t but when I looked at my photos from my Saturday walk all I could think of was the song from Butch Cassidy- you know “Raindrops keep falling on my head”- it works nicely with snowdrops, except it makes no sense.

Anyway it’s finally snowdrop season here , and after weeks of hunting for them locally I was rewarded for my efforts.

Along the top of St Andrew’s Ridge, with the birds singing and dogs enjoying their outings- two cocker spaniels and a springer spaniel all chasing, well whatever, nice chats to the owners, smiles on everyone’s faces, children on bikes, parents relaxed, nothing like knowing you are wearing the children out. Amazing what sunshine will do for the mood- Spring may not yet be here but it’s in the air, even the birds know it, singing and cawing ( the crows or rooks). And to the church where there surely must be snowdrops- it’s the rule in England- churchyards have snowdrops.

and indeed it did.

One day I will go inside here, one day it will be open again.

snowdrops over the wall.

snowdrops nestling in moss

Just gorgeous

There is a reason for this quest- several people suggested I should try wet felting- well confession I have tried wet felting in the past, and I still have lots of well roving and equipment, so in due course I will try wet felting and it occured to me that snowdrops would be a perfect subject- probably be March before I am ready to begin, but I just had to check the real things before making plans.

Has anyone tried wet felting? Like snow drops? Or what about a guilty pleasure- that would be the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid- after all these years I still love it.

This and that.

I may have seemed a bit quiet recently, the truth is I’m doing lots of this and that, and when you do lots of this and that, nothing is ever finished., and then everything is.

So, first there is this

I decided to have another go at needlefelting.

This is apparently suitable for beginners.

Nice clear instructions.. beautiful packaging, what could go wrong..
well that’s supposed to be the body and head- I know what I think it looks like..

then there is this

I can never resist little pots of pretties in the supermarket- I have daffodils and snowdrops too, and they all need looking after.

And then there are

walks to be taken, and catkins to ooh and aagh about.

and then the library said my branch was closing for 8 weeks, but I could still use the central branch- well they don’t catch me out, so just in case it’s all a cunning ruse to close them foreverrr, I ordered lots of books.

should keep me out of mischief.

And then of course there is the knitting- no up to date picture of it, but it’s this

Sleeveless cardigan- fronts and back done, neckband done, arm bands done which just leaves the buttonhole bands up the fronts.

There is also the crochet blanket- this one- for the care home

Actually that’s grown quite a bit since this old picture which first appeared last year.

So although nothing is done, lots is being done- this and that in fact.

Love to know about everyone’s this and that projects- anything nearing completion?

Books- January 2021

I shall carry on with my Reading my way across Europe this year, fortunately it wasn’t effected by Brexit. One more country was added- Iceland this time, and I’m currently reading Thomas Mann’s collection of short stories Death in Venice, here representing Germany for me. The challenge I’m interested in starting next month is to read the ten books I haven’t yet read from Channels Five’s 30 best British books- I’ll include their list next month.

This month I have enjoyed four very good books, I recommend them all.

Kate Morton- The Secret Keeper- A wonderful book to start the year with. A love triangle, betrayal, revenge a secret kept for 70 years and murder, all set in the present day and WW2 and the 1960s. Really enjoyable, glad I found this author and all thanks to my son gifting me The Clockmaker’s Daughter two years ago.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir- The Legacy- Set in Iceland, a murder mystery. It was very good indeed, I didn’t see any of the twists, not one. Only draw back were the gruesome murders, which I only skim read.

Natalie Haynes- The Children of Jocasta- I really enjoyed this book, which tells the familiar story of Oedipus and Antigone from the perspective of two people who barely feature in the traditional renditions. Jocasta is ordered at a young age to marry the King of Thebes to produce an heir for him. Ismene is her youngest daughter. There is also a Reckoning, which sounds remarkably like the plague and a Lockdown. Ms Haynes writes well, the two stories are told side by side and she allows herself the freedom to change things round a bit. Thoroughly recommend this one.

Liane Moriaty- Nine Perfect Strangers- I read this in only two days . I am now rethinking my dream of one day taking a retreat, maybe I won’t. It was a jolly good read and I’m not saying anything else about it for fear of spoiling any of it for you.

I averted a near catastrophy for me this week. A chance comment last week from the librarian who phoned me to say I had one book awaiting collection , and I should really try to collect it as soon as possible, stopped me in my tracks. I had noticed that all my recent borrowings were being issued into March- February had been missed entirely. It dawned on me- they are going to close the library again. Oh no. Fast forward to the evening and I sat down and requested masses of books. Joy of joys, six came through for me this week. I received an email to say that indeed only the central library is going to remain open, all the others are closing for 8 weeks as library staff are needed elsewhere to provide Covid cover. Phew I collected them in time and have plenty to read!

I wondered are the libraries near you still all open? Have you read any of these books, what did you think? What are you reading today?

I’m still wondering what other duties within a Council a librarian could do- will they be on refuse collections I wonder- or maybe something to do with the last census to be done in the UK?

Anyway stay warm if it’s Winter/ not too hot if it’s Summer, and have a good weekend.


Bees Wax Wraps

Beemindfulbuzziness. What I hear you ask?

This I answer- my Christmas present from my lovely daughter-in-law and son. Link for you all here-https://www.facebook.com/beemindfulsansior/

Created as a business venture by a teacher and her pupils in Wales. The little bracelet comes with a poem. It reads

When you’re feeling rather sad,

And want to feel happy and glad,

Wear this bracelet every day.

And happiness will come your way.

Do look at their Facebook page- they give their profits away, and it is really heart warming to see.

Inside my re-usable cup is a tea bag and a packet of cookies.

So to the wraps. They are to replace cling film or tin foil you may be using to wrap sandwiches or leftover nosh you pop in the fridge.

Inside the box these pretty blocks of wax, almost too pretty to melt.
And really pretty fabric.
Almost too pretty to melt wax onto.

I gave myself a good talking too- well several because as always it took me several readings of the instructions and a few sleeps, until yesterday when I was mostly grating wax.

Me grating wax with the cheese grater.
Sprinkling wax prior to melting it in the oven.
Followed by brushing wax, re- melting wax, wafting fabric around to harden wax
Until I had four small wraps
And one big wrap

It was great fun- the smell of the wax was delicious, and the only downside was cleaning the grater afterwards- chipped off with a knife and wiped down with boiling water, and the fact that’s too cold for a picnic and we are not allowed one anyway.

So I have wrapped up the wraps till a warmer day, and I have of course got tea and biscuits to enjoy now. I really enjoyed this present.

Has anyone else made bees wax wraps? How did you get on? Now what shall I scare myself with next?

Snow Sunday

All it took was a bit of snow and everyone was so happy- sledging, snowmen, blokes showing off, dogs doing mad circular runs, and us quieter types with our cameras, everyone was so happy- it won’t take much to resume normal when we are able, we are all so poised for the off. Enjoy my walk..

The Stitchbook

For the last 18 months I have been taking part in a Stitchbook Collective. I wrote about my progress on my other blog, and have just written my final review for the book as a whole- should you be interested it can be read here-https://avoicethroughstitch.wordpress.com/2021/01/22/the-stitchbook/

If you pop over do please let me know what you think- please be nice.

This one’s a bit different. I’m trying to keep myself amused during Lockdown the third, and I have turned to a list I wrote when reading the early chapters in Julia Cameron’s book about being creative in retirement. The list begins If it weren’t too late I would…. well that list has grown over the weeks and some things I can do during lockdown in lieu of ” an artist’s date” ( an outing you take by yourself to kindle interest in life). So last week I tried chopsticks. Then I was faced with what to do with the leftover pineapple chunks which had gone into my meal, and there underneath 1 Learn to use chopsticks, was 2 Make a pizza. Many years ago when my sons were little I had supervised them with a ready made pizza base and toppings, but never had I made onw from scratch. Time to get to work.

One pizza base made, off to rise for 15 minutes in the airing cupboard.
Leftover pineapple chunks, scraps of ham, grated cheddar.

I remembered many years ago chatting to a fellow student in my college days and him explaining to me that Pizza in Italy is a peasant food, made from leftover scraps of food from the week before, so there is no right or wrong way to make one, everyone has their own preferred method, and anything can go on a pizza, you jst use up your scraps.

One ham and pineapple pizza.
with leftover tomatoes and cucumber from my Christmas fridge.

I quite fancy making another with mushrooms- do they have to be leftover mushrooms, or could I just buy some…

I wondered what everyone else likes on a pizza, do you make your own or buy one?

Please pop over to Kate to see other scrap happy projects- link here-https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2021/01/15/scraphappy-january-5/

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