Monday, 20 March 2017

Mr. Tom and Caractacus Potts

Good morning! As predicted, after our roofer postponed owing to impending bad weather, apart from one day of intermittent light showers, the rest of the week was glorious! C'est la vie. I'm now crossing everything for a sunny April.
On Sunday, R and I went off on a little jaunt to Turville, a quaint little village in the Chilterns and favourite location of many a TV programme. The film adaptation of one of my favourite children's books - 'Goodnight Mr. Tom' by Michelle Magorian - was filmed here and the beautiful Cobstone windmill, high on the hill overlooking the village, was the home of Caractacus Potts and family in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
We have been here many times over the years and there are some lovely circular walks in the area. Here are some of yesterday's photos:
If you look closely, you can just see Bridget the Midget parked near the phone box:

Bridget getting in on the action again:

It's a lovely place for a visit if you're nearby and, if you don't have a handy picnic, the pub sells food.

Other happies this week:

I finally got around to clearing out the greenhouse and sowed my seeds for March. My lovely new seed holder was a Christmas present from L:

This one I took because I was so thrilled to see some sun and blue sky:
On the craft front, I had a bit of Moomin fabric and decided to try my hand at a project bag. I'm rather pleased with the results and will probably give it to L. She does a bit of knitting now and then but only has a huge bag for holding her supplies, so this may be handy if she's out and about.

R and I went to our local Corn Exchange to see Ibsen's Heddar Gabler live from the National. We really enjoyed it, but did suffer from a little picnic envy. The play started at 7pm, so people tend to take along food and eat during the interval. I was rather looking forward to our cheese, salad and jalapeno baguettes ..... until I looked around. The couple in front poured from a flask into 2 small cups. I thought how lovely that they had brought tea (we had water bottles!). Then they clinked cups and, sniffing suspiciously, I realised that they were drinking wine. The man to R's right then brought out a cheese board - I kid you not. Everywhere we looked there were signs of picnics far superior to our sad little baguettes. I actually considered waiting until the lights went down before taking out our shameful offerings! Next time I shall be prepared: I'm making veggie sushi and wine will be smuggled in!
When my Dad died last year, he left me a bit of money and I decided that I would like to buy something for the garden. I had wanted a swing seat for a while, so we waited until the weather seemed to be improving and then ordered this:
I love it, especially the sturdy little side tables which are just perfect for lunch in the garden. We've positioned it in my happy place down by the river, so I can swing, think of my Dad and share my lunch with the ducks.
The final things that have made me smile this week are all floral:
My jug of tulips:

More daffodils than you can shake a stick at:
........ and my pink Camellia against a blue sky.
Now I'm just waiting for the blossom on the trees and I shall be a very happy bunny indeed.
Wishing you all a spring-filled week.
Toodle pip for now. x

Monday, 6 March 2017

Of Dinosaurs and Daleks

What Ho, Old Beans! Is it just our area or does the weather seem to have been a little unpredictable of late? Over the course of the weekend, we had glorious sunshine, torrential rain, a hail storm, a clap of thunder (just the one, mind you) and then back to sunshine. I can't keep up. We went for the first drive of the season in Bridget the Midget yesterday and the roof was up and down like nobody's business. Talking of roofs (rooves?), we were supposed to be having ours fixed tomorrow. I had noticed some signs of damp around the coving in the bedrooms and then water started coming through the light fitting in the bathroom - luckily it landed in the bath. Phone calls were made, a roofer came and, apparently, we need 6 rows of tiles removing and a new waterproof membrane fitting before the tiles are replaced. It was supposed to start tomorrow, but they called last night and, owing to the weather, have postponed it until April. Get your suncream out people, because I can guarantee that tomorrow will now be scorchio!

Other happenings this week: I managed to tear something in my left calf whilst running at the gym. I was going fine for 25 minutes, then there was a sudden pain, I hit the emergency stop button and I've been hobbling ever since. Stairs are a bit of an issue. I can go up them relatively okay, but coming down I have to take it one stair at a time - left foot, right foot onto 1 stair - and it's a bit embarrassing; especially as I've had a couple of trips to London where I've held everyone up in the underground.

Anyway, here are my photos from the past week or so:
A bit of train knitting - casting on E's new 'Peacock' socks:
 A visit to my favourite yarn store:
 Veggie dumpling soup for lunch at a restaurant recommended by L. The rather strange looking drink is apple, carrot and ginger juice and very nice it was too.

A trip to the John Soanes museum in Lincoln's Inn  Fields. He was an architect and the (free) museum houses many of his drawings, models and various antiquities, including an Egyptian sarcophagus. It is preserved, as nearly as possible, exactly as it was at the time of Soane's death. This was achieved via an Act of Parliament as Soanes was determined that his estranged son would not inherit the property. It is a fascinating place, quite close to Leicester Square, and well worth a visit if you have a bit of extra time.

The reason for my visits to London was to attend a couple of recordings at the BBC Radio Theatre. The first was 'It's a Fair Cop' - a comedy programme starring Alfie Moore, a retired policeman turned comedian. He takes the audience through various real life crime scenarios and gets them to make the policing decisions. It was very funny but more than a little nerve wracking. We were quite near the front and sat terrified as he picked on random members of the audience to participate. Luckily, we avoided being chosen, otherwise I might have had to feign laryngitis!
The second recording was of 'Newsjack' - a satirical sketch show on Radio 4. This was less stressful and quite funny, but not worth the midnight 'we've replaced your train with a bus' ride home.
I couldn't resist taking a photo of this chap outside the recording studio.
Whilst waiting for the recording, I paid a visit to the Natural History Museum. We used to be regular visitors here when the girls were younger but it had been quite a few years since my last visit. Fun though it was, it felt weird being there without L and E; also bits of it were blocked off owing to renovation work. It is one of my favourite buildings though and well worth going just for the architecture.

 I had a lonely lunch, reading my book in the T-Rex grill:
Talking of my book, it's about Greece and I learnt that Kalamata (as in the olives) apparently comes from 'kalamatia' meaning 'lovely eyes'. I'll never look at one in the same way again!

 Other happies this week:
Casting on my Boxy Sweater by Joji Locatelli. I'm really enjoying my Deathly Hallows stitch marker!
Spring blooms:
Since E went to uni, I don't bake nearly as much but, as we had a glut of eggs, I made a few fairy cakes:
Starting a Cosy Memory Sock Yarn Blanket with my scraps:
Finally, a trip to see comedian Susan Calman at our local theatre. She was lovely and very funny and I would definitely recommend her show if she comes to a theatre near you. Who could fail to love someone who named one of her 5 cats DCI Jane Tennison? Just imagine the trips to the vet!
Anyway, that's all for this week. The sun is shining (Grr!) so I'm off to buy some compost for my seeds.
Toodle pip for now. x

Monday, 20 February 2017

Unravel, Welford Park and Other Bits and Bobs

Good morning! I hope you all had, or are having, a wonderful, relaxing half term. It seems strange now that E is at uni not to have one as I used to love those mid term breaks. I've had a jolly week of my own, however, with my first trip to Unravel, our annual trip to Welford Park to see the snowdrops, a quick trip to Oxford to see L and a few crafty bits and bobs. I apologize in advance for what is a rather photo heavy post! Here goes:
On Friday I set off for Unravel - the festival of knitting held at the Maltings in Farnham. I had been to the Maltings once before when E was acting in a Shakespeare play there, so it was vaguely familiar. I arrived early and was lucky enough to get a space in the car park. I was then able to sit and work on my socks until it opened, whilst watching the drama of the car park unfold before me. It filled up quickly and instead of being designed in a nice convenient circuit it ended in a cul-de-sac, which meant that everybody worked their way hopefully to the end and then had to either do a three point turn or try to reverse out again with a queue of cars behind them. Most people were patient but occasionally tempers frayed! 

The festival itself was wonderful with lots of stalls, talks and workshops. I was thrilled to meet Amy from the Stranded Dyeworks podcast and she was just as sweet as she seems onscreen. I was too embarrassed to ask for a photo but I did make a couple of purchases from her glorious stall.

I looked round all the stalls but it was very crowded by that point, so I was happy to leave with my goodies and bequeath my parking space to a very grateful lady. Just because I like seeing what other people buy, here are my Unravel acquisitions:
 A new project bag from Emerald. The colour isn't showing up very well in the photo, it's actually a brighter green than it appears.
 2 skeins of sock yarn from Stranded Dyeworks - Mint Imperial on the left and Industrial Kingfisher on the right. Looking at them I think they'd go together very well in a Find Your Fade shawl.
 A circular needle for a new project that I'm about to start, some needle end stoppers and a couple of pairs of vintage needles:
Despite the crowds and parking difficulties, I would definitely go again next year.
Other happies this week include:
My trip to Oxford to see L and lunch in Wasabi. I can thoroughly recommend their veggie noodle soup.
We pottered round the covered market and spent a while watching the cake decorators working:

Back home, it had been a while since I had done any sewing and I felt the urge to get my machine out and make a mini quilt/table mat with my scraps of fabric:

Then on Sunday R and I went to Welford Park. Every February they open their grounds for charity and people get to see their marvelous snowdrop display.
 If you look very closely at the photo below, you can just about see the different coloured grass where the Great British Bake Off marquee was positioned last year. I don't know if it will still be held here now that it is moving to channel 4 and I'm not sure if I will be boycotting it this year. I'm disappointed that it will be moving from the BBC, but I do love a reality series - Bake Off, Sewing Bee, Allotment Challenge and, my current favourite, the Painting Challenge on a Sunday evening - I watch them all!

I finished my Rainbow Pride socks for L. They don't match and, in retrospect, I think that a Fish Lips Kiss heel may have been better in terms of the stripes, but I do love a heel flap and gusset! I'm going to cast on a pair for E next in a West Yorkshire Spinners' Kingfisher yarn that she chose on our trip to Bath.
Finally, our woodpecker remained still for long enough for me to grab the camera. I was a little panicked though and he (or is it a she?) is still a bit blurry.
Anyway, that's all for this week. I'm just off to the supermarket and then for a run at the gym. After my chest infection, my running has taken several steps backwards and I'm eager to get back to where I was before Christmas. I think it may take me some time ...........
Toodle Pip for now. xx