Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Two Weeks in June

What Ho,Old Beans! Well, we've reached the 'let's unload the camera' time again. I'm painfully aware that other people have beautifully written and constructed blog posts with a definite theme involved. Mine is more of random collection of bits and bobs with very little connecting them, other than the fact that they are happy moments which I would like to remember. 
I thought that by this time E would be home for the summer, unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it and from whose perspective, she has managed to land herself a paid internship at the uni for 8 weeks. It was open to post grads as well, so we are very proud of her for getting it (and it will do her finances no end of good!), it's just that I miss having her at home. Here then are my displacement activities from the past 2 weeks, as I try to distract myself from my sad little empty nest:

R and I took a trip to Calne and then Devizes in Bridget. Whilst wandering around Calne at around lunch time, by happy chance we managed to stumble across a cute little veggie/vegan cafe set in a small courtyard. As we weren't that hungry, we just opted for panini (delicious!). although R then regretted his choice when he noticed our fellow diners tucking into a veggie curry and vegan all day breakfast!
 Another play at The Watermill. The girl playing Bottom stole the show.
 A relaxing day doing an embroidered hanging workshop at a local farm. These were the ones provided as exemplars:
 ............... and here's the one I did:
 2 finished objects. Firstly, my Soiree Sweater in Stranded Dyeworks' Shiner Colourway:

....... and my Hipster Shawl (pattern by Joji Locatelli) in Malabrigo 'Hot Java' yarn:

I would apologise for the state of the unplumped cushions in the background, but that would imply that it is not the usual state of affairs!
Making a new willow cloche for the garden:
 L moved to a new flat in London and R and I drove in to help her move her things. I should have taken a photo of our car, packed to the gunwales with stuff, but you wouldn't have got the full effect without me being present in the passenger seat with my feet on her printer and knees under my chin! Her boyfriend J has moved there from Oxford and, whilst I had grown fond of her old flat, I'm happy that they can be together and that their beautiful new flat (it is gorgeous) is far more convenient for her chambers.
After unpacking we went to Cafe Van Gogh  for lunch. This is a vegan cafe set in a church around the corner from where Van Gogh used to live. The setting was lovely and the food delicious.

 My new cast on - the Featherweight Cardigan from the pattern book that L bought me for my birthday: 
 Going to see John Finnemore's show at The Anvil Theatre. I thoroughly enjoyed this, although the evening itself was a bit of a disaster as R's train was cancelled and I ended up having to go on my own.
 Taking photos of some of our sparrow box residents. As usual we have sparrows in 2 of the 3 boxes and bees in the end one:
 A day trip to Winchester with R. I have been many times before, but this was the first time that I had actually gone in the Cathedral.

 Jane Austen's Grave:

 St Swithun's remains:
 Stunning Medieval tiles:
 Whilst walking round the Cathedral, we spotted a couple with binoculars peering up at the window. Being nosy, I asked what they were looking at, and they showed us the Peregrine Falcons nesting on the Cathedral ledge. Apparently, they used to nest on the old police station before it was demolished. Knowing that they would need a new nesting site, a tray of gravel was deliberately placed in the gulley to simulate their preferred nesting sites. It worked; the falcons have reared 3 chicks and next year it is hoped that a webcam can be placed there, allowing visitors to get a closer look.

My first attempt at Kimchi. The recipe was from The Good Eatings Podcast and was supposed to contain wild garlic. Not having any, I substituted with normal garlic and some spring onions. 
 Finally, my supermarket Irises:
Well, that's all for this week. It's a bit dull but dry today, so Hamish is off into the garden and I'm going to clear out the larder - it's long overdue. I can't do it with Hamish in the kitchen as the bit at the back goes into an inaccessible recess under the stairs and the little darling loves nothing better than to disappear in there! Wish me luck.
Toodle Pip for now. x

Friday, 1 June 2018

Well, that was May ....

Can you believe that we're into June already? We're half way through 2018; where has the year gone? I'll stop now as I'm sounding very old! Well, white rabbit and all that. May was nice enough - E finished her uni exams before her friends, so she came home for a week which was lovely. She has now gone back to celebrate with the others and Hamish and I are missing her. I feel I should apologise in advance for what will be a rather photo heavy post. There are lots of things that I would like to remember, so do feel free to whizz through if you get bored!
R and I went to see the NT Live production of Macbeth. As seems to be the case these days, it was done 'with a twist' and set in a sort of post apocalyptic world. It was very good, but one of these days, someone is going to do something really radical and actually set it in Elizabethan times and period costume!
I met up with my friend, S, at the Botanical Gardens in Bristol. This place is a little gem, situated across The Downs and with its own little car park. We were escorted around the gardens by a very friendly cat and then, when we had taken our fill of the plants, the cafe did a very nice coffee and vegan brownie!

 We then walked into Clifton and had a yummy lunch at 'Thali:'
 Whilst browsing through the charity shops, I bought a £4 footstool. I've since had an Annie Sloan moment and it is now sporting rather fetching Old White legs. 
I am currently embroidering a new cover. It will take me a while, but should look rather colourful. I do like the green top, but I'm not really feeling the golfing motif! I am feeling rather frugal though - apart from the £4 stool, the material came from a car boot sale, the threads were from a charity shop and the paint was a left over tester pot.
Whilst I was in Bristol, the British Hen Welfare trust were having a re-homing day. When the hens are a year old, the farmers send them for slaughter and the BHWT save as many as they can find homes for. R rescued 2 which were in a rather sorry state. We always get our hens this way, and given a bit of TLC they are soon feathery and beautiful again. They had a rather exciting ride home in Bridget the Midget as I had our other car! One other problem was that as soon as we got them, we experienced a mini heatwave. It was lovely seeing them gazing up at the blue sky and spreading themselves out in the sun. Unfortunately, they had few feathers to protect them, so whilst I was inside with Hamish watching the Royal Wedding (glorious wasn't it?), R was outside rubbing Factor 50 into the chickens' bare butts! 

 Our local chilli festival. I bought some ancho chillis  and R bought some honey - not very vegan I know, but he got chatting with the bee keeper and then found it difficult to extricate himself without making a purchase! We're not that strict anyway.
 I trip to the garden centre with Bridget - we didn't think it through!
 The antiques fair at our local showground:
 A 'paint your own Delft pottery' workshop at our local museum. This was fun, but far harder than I had imagined. We drew our designs onto squares of paper, transferred them to the tiles with carbon paper and then practised using the brush on more paper - so far, so good. Unfortunately, as soon as the brush touched the unglazed tile, the surface sucked all the paint up and it was really difficult to control. I started off with much more detailed designs but ended up simplifying like mad! Here are my pre-fired tiles:
 A couple of years ago, E did a week's work experience at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. Rather than drive back and forth twice a day, I decided that it was easier for me to just hang around the historic dockyard for the week. I developed my own little routine - drop E off, have my morning cup of tea in the boatyard cafe, thoroughly explore one aspect of the dockyard, have my packed lunch in the small porter's garden, do a little embroidery in said garden, have another little potter and another cup of tea and then collect E and come home. I LOVED every minute and R was insanely jealous. He had never been and was desperate to go, so using some Tesco vouchers, we visited again this month.
 Jelly fish spotted in the harbour:
 My special Porter's garden - it is quite secluded, quiet and sheltered from the sea breeze. It also sells plants, so for 50p I bought a tiny buddleia.
Whilst she was home, E took the 'Bob Ross Challenge'. For those of you who don't recognise the name, Bob Ross was an American painter who had a TV series called 'The Joy of Painting' which can be found on Netflix. He had the most soothing voice imaginable - so much so that his programme should be prescribed for insomniacs! E decided that she wanted to do one of his paintings, so a quick trip to the Works for a canvas and ........:

 Ta- Dah!
 I have just about recovered from having the living room floor covered in an old decorating sheet for most of a week, and am trying my best to ignore the oil paint on the sofa!
Rhubarb and ginger jam:
More kayaking, this time with E:

 Finally, E and I dropped in on Bath on our way back to Bristol. We had a 'treats day' - E chose some tea from Tea Too and an oil burner and some essential oil from the Body Shop, and I bought my treat at 'A Yarn Story'. I chose a skein of Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn in the Bollywood colourway and a copy of West Knits book number 3. We were very happy bunnies!
Well, that's all for May; I hope you had a good one. I'm just off for a swim and then, weather permitting, the gardening calls. Wishing you all a wonderful June.

Toodle pip for now. x