Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Feeling the Blues

Good morning all. I can hardly believe that we're into April already. Spring has definitely sprung round these parts, although my cherry blossom isn't quite here yet. The title of this post doesn't mean that I'm feeling melancholy or depressed, it's more a reflection of my recent projects and wips. I only realised when uploading the photos that blue is definitely my colour of the moment. Here are a few of them:
The socks that I made for E in West Yorkshire Spinners' 'Peacock' colourway:
I always like to have a pair of socks on the go, so I immediately balled up the yarn for my next pair. They will be 'Hermione's Everyday Socks' in Norah George's 'Elsa' colourway with contrasting blue heels, toes and cuffs. I've already started these and the yarn is super soft and squishy!
This is me standing on the coffee table trying to take a photo of my finished 'Worsted Boxy' sweater by Joji Locatelli. It still needs blocking, but that hasn't stopped me from wearing it as it's really comfy and cosy. The yarn is Malabrigo Rios in the 'Reflecting Pool' colourway.
Next I cast on for Amy Meekes' 'Random Act of Colour' shawl in some Madeline Tosh yarn that I bought at Loop last year. I have to admit that I've struggled a fair bit with the eyelet sections. It takes better concentration than I apparently have and I've had to tink back quite a few times! I'm keeping it in my blue project bag!
Blue fabric this time - I was having a little play making a drawstring bag. I do love camper vans - R and I went to a Classic Car meet at the weekend and whilst he was looking at the old MGs and minis, I was lusting after these vans. 
I think it will squish up nicely for out and about sock knitting.
I even made a slightly uneven dpn cosy to go with it:
This week's library books - I suppose only one of them has a blue cover!
Mother's Day cookies from L. She was actually mountain climbing in Snowdonia on the day, having booked a weekend away without realising that it would be Mother's Day! She did , however, post me some homemade ginger and cacao nib cookies which were delicious and they miraculously made it through the post unscathed.
She and E also bought me a beautiful bowl of bulbs - they are supposed to be Narcissi, but I think the bulbs may be a little large so I'll have to wait and see. It all adds to the enjoyment.
I do love where we live. It has lots of beautiful countryside, is near to Oxford and Bristol so I can visit my babies and is handy for London on the train. It is, however, quite a way from any bit of coast and I do miss the sea. Leanne's posts, with her stunning photos of Cornwall, have me drooling, so when R asked me where I would like to go for a day trip, it had to be the coast. We drove down through the New Forest with its friendly horses and donkeys to Milford on Sea, just to the East of Bournemouth.

This donkey was particularly friendly and came up to the car to be patted:
It wasn't the most picturesque bit of coastline, but it was blue, it smelled nice, sounded nice and chips may have been eaten by it!

..... and it had a view of the Isle of Wight, the Needles and the lighthouse:
There were also blue beach huts!
Thursday saw me beetling off to Oxford for the day and to meet L after work. This is the Martyr's Memorial outside Balliol College. Anglican Bishops, Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer were burnt at the stake for heresy here in 1555/6 and it is claimed that scorch marks from the flames can still be seen on the door of Balliol.

There may have been a little visit to the yarn store!
The main reason for my trip though, apart from seeing L, was to see the Degas to Picasso exhibition at the Ashmolean. It covered the rise to Modernism and was fascinating.

Finally, I have been sifting through my stash trying to 'Find my Fade' for Andrea Mowry's shawl. You start with 1 colour and gradually progress, choosing skeins which contain some colour element from the previous skein. As you can see, I started with my favourite blue/greens, moved through golden brown and ending with purple/green. I'm a pretty monogamous knitter though, so I won't be casting this on until I finish my Random Act of Colour.
Anyway, that's all for the moment. Enjoy the spring in your part of the world and may your week be filled with blues of the best kind - or yellows, pinks, reds, greens ................

Toodle Pip for now. x

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