Monday, 3 December 2012

Nearly Taa Dah time and a bag purchase

I have finished edging my granny square blanket and am now at the stage of darning in the ends. - I will post a picture of it when it is done.  To carry on with the Granny-a-Day theme I am sorting out some of my left over stash to make a plain granny square blanket.  This will take me into the New Year, and I will post progress.

The colour of the handbag is not quite right - it is more of an olive green.  

Remember in my last post I had won a business card wallet from Shona Easton?  Shona emailed to say she would be selling her bags at a Christmas Fair in Cranleigh, a village nearby.  So on Saturday I popped over to pay her a visit.  I knew I would not be able to resist buying something - and sure enough I came home with a green leather handbag, greatly reduced because there is a very small mark on the front.   I also bought  an Organiser Bag which I can see is going to be so useful.  It has two zip pockets on the outside, another on the inside  plus pockets for phone and purse and a really useful log tag to attach keys.  This will be so useful to pop inside a shopper instead of carrying a handbag as well.    Take a look here at the Shona Easton website for more great handbags and gift ideas.

Monday, 5 November 2012

It was a funny old week

Last week was a funny old week.  Lots going on, I hardly know where to start!

As the day promised to be dry and sunny, my neighbour John and I went up to Winkworth Arboretum on the Saturday morning to photograph the autumn colours.  Here are a few of the photographs we took, and more can be found here
It was nice to get out and about.  Although Winkworth Arboretum is not far from where we live, we do not get along there as often as we really should.  It is a lovely place to walk whatever the season.

Over the weekend I received an email from Shona of Shona Easton Designs -that I had won a business card prize in her give-away draw - How exciting is that?   This lovely sunny leather business card arrived in the post on Tuesday morning.  It will be so useful.  Thank you Shona.

You can see more of Shona's wonderful handbag designs here

Also on Tuesday we changed out ISP.  Always a worrying thing to do, but so far it seems to have gone without a hitch.

 On Monday, the gas man called - and again on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.   It seems that the houses on the estate behind our house were without gas because water had got into the gas main. Fortunately it did not affect us - or so we thought!  

The men dug a huge hole outside the property next to use and walked backwards and forwards with a thing like a metal detector.  This was designed to detect the gas pipes and it beeped loudly when they found the pipes.  They came into part of our garden, a small piece of land we purchased from the local council about 30 years ago and on which I grow vegetables.  The detector was making a very loud noise indeed!  It was discovered that the gas pipe lies under this small piece of land - we did know about the electricity cable, but no mention of gas pipes was mentioned when we purchased it.  On Tuesday, they decided they needed to investigate and removed a paving slab and dug a hole.  They found what they were looking for and then advised us that they needed to trace the route of the gas pipe, which might be under my greenhouse, and they hoped they would not need to take it down! I was rather worried about that as you can imagine.

  Wednesday morning saw more activity around the hole in our garden and outside on the road.   It was a relief when they told us on Thursday that the pipe did not go under the greenhouse.

On Friday we came home to find a yellow cap on the gas pipe (?) or stand in the garden and a smell of gas!  No one appeared over the weekend and we had hoped they would be around today, but despite two large holes we have not seen or heard from them. 

 If no one comes tomorrow we will have to report the smell of gas in my vegetable plot.    Fortunately were were not without gas, although the pressure has been considerably reduced.

On a brighter note, I have been able to get out in the garden and greenhouse.  I took a few cuttings and tidied up the hostas.  I also spotted that this auricular in the cold frame had decided to flower.  Very early, but she has been sheltering in the cold frame for a month or so, so I expect she thinks it is spring.

On Thursday I was out all day at a training session for the new website of The Pelargonium and Geranium Society.   It was a very interesting day but I still have to have another day's training to learn about the membership database as I am Membership Secretary for the Society.  The new website will be really good once it is up and running - we do have a website at the present time here:

On Sunday I attended the AGM of the Surrey Horticultural Federation on behalf of my Village Gardening club.  The speaker was the Head Gardener of Hever Castle in Kent, and h  was very good.  I've been to Hever Castle and the gardens many times, so the slides of the garden were not new to me, but he was informative about the history of the gardens, some of which I already knew.  But the best part was winning the raffle!   When I bought my tickets I looked at the prizes and by far the best, as far as I was concerned, was a tree.  Grown by a member who has a tree nursery, this was a Liquidamber - an American Sweet Gum.  My ticket was not the first drawn, and I thought  I had missed out on the tree.  But the first winner did not want the tree and chose something else.   Wasn't I lucky? I do have one of these which I planted last year, but another is very welcome.  I have just the place to plant it when I have cleared out the summer plants.

Finally, we had a mouse in our kitchen all last week!  Only a small field mouse, and we think there were possibly two.  They are rather cute, but not in the house!   The last time we had mice in the house was about five years ago, and we do have one of those electronic sonar plugs which we assume has kept them away.  When we discovered the mouse, or mice, we also discovered that the electronic sonic plug was not working.  Brian immediately went out and bought another, but the next day it was evident the mouse was still around.  We are not keen on traps.  In the past they have disappeared from the house along with the trapped mouse.  We have also had one run off across the garden still trapped.  Not nice, even though we don't like mice!.  So we used some bait. It took three days before I found a dead mouse in the kitchen.  We put the bait down again on Friday night and although it was disturbed, we have not had a visitor again, nor have we found any corpses!    I can tell you, my kitchen was sparkling clean all last week.  Every morning I cleaned and disinfected around.  Normal cleaning routine has now resumed!

The Granny a Day project is still ongoing - I am not sure exactly how many squares I will do, but I have about 25 squares to catch up (tut tut).

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Yarn purchases

I popped over to Farnborough this morning - not our usual shopping place as it is about 20 miles away, but it is where I bought the greeny colour yarn for edging the granny squares on my blanket.   As I am almost out of my original purchase I needed more.  Lucky the store still had some of this colour left and I bought just two 100 g balls which I am sure will be plenty.

My other purchase was this yarn I found in a Charity Shop for 50p.  It is quite a thick yarn and I am not sure what I will do with it yet - maybe a hat or scarf for one of my granddaughters.  I think it will crochet up quite well.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A trip to Coventry

I had a meeting to attend near Coventry on Saturday, so Brian kindly suggested we drive up on the Friday and stay overnight so I would not have a long drive before my meeting.  The original idea was that we would visit Waddesdon Manor on the way up.  However, halfway there Brian remembered that he had left his National Trust card at home, so we had to change plans.

As I had never been into Coventry City we decided that was where we would go before arriving at our hotel.

Reconciliation by Josefina de Vasconcellos
I found the contrast between the old bombed cathedral and the new modern one quite moving.  I had not realised before that they are attached.  We wandered around the bombed ruins for quite some time reading inscriptions and marvelling at how sympathetically the 'repairs' and strengthening have been done.  There are a few modern statues inside and I was particularly struck by this one called 'Reconciliation' which had been presented to the Cathedral in 1995, 50 years after the war ended.  The sculpture, by Josefina de Vasconcellos was presented by Richard Branson as a token of reconciliation.  An idential scupture is in the Peace Garden at Hiroshima, Jampa, and was given by the people of Coventry.  The insction reads: "Both scupltures remind us that in the face of destructive forces, human dignity and love will triumph over disaster, bringing nationals together in respect and peace."

Please let me have your comments - I love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Back home

I had a fabulous week in Ireland.  It was my first visit, and I do hope it will not be my last.  We were so lucky with the weather - I know Ireland can be very wet, but we only had a couple of very light showers.  It was wonderful to catch up with my sister Pauline again.   Our hosts who owned the cottage we stayed in could not have been kinder and were so generous to us.   The cottage was really nice - all upside down.  The bedrooms and bathroom were downstairs and the living area upstairs.

The cottage
We visited Blarney Castle, but we did not venture up into the tower to kiss the Blarney Stone.  Partly because of the very long queue and it would have been an hour's wait, and also because both Pauline and I have a fear of heights.  We did look up at it and blew a kiss -I wonder if that counts?   Probably not!

Blarney Castle
Looking up at the Blarney Stone -right at the top of the tower!

We also visited Blarney Woollen Mills and various purchases of expensive woollen jackets, etc. were made by us all.

We took a two day trip to County Kerry and stayed overnight in a B and B. in the town of Killarney. The countryside we drove through was spectacular.   We drove part of the "ring of Kerry" up to Ladies View before driving back to the cottage.

I loved the murals on these walls

Beautiful wrought iron window guard

Rose detail of the wrought iron window guard.
Jaunting Car

Ross Castle

Ladies Ring

We didn't see any Leprechaun's
Another day we went to the Waterford Crystal Factory.   Pauline and I walked along by the harbour and into the town whilst her friends visited the factory and made their purchases.

A memorable visit on our last day was made to Cobh where the Titanic sailed from.   Again, Pauline and I walked along the front and visited the shops whilst the others went into the Titanic exhibition.

All in all it was a wonderful week. It was so nice to see my sister again and spend time with her, and to meet her friends and our hosts in Ireland.

Friday, 14 September 2012

A month later ......

Hello - since I was last here I have been in France for two weeks staying at the house owned by relatives of Brian.  We have stayed before and just love being there with family.

I took my crochet - of course.  I am still working towards One Granny Square a Day and have to confess to lapses and have to catch up.

I am very pleased with the way this is working out.   My first attempt at joining as you go and the easy method I am using to try and ensure all the squares are different.   I am not sure how large I will make it.  At present there are 64 squares joined, and another 8 to join up.  I have almost run out of the turquoise yarn, so will need to get more.

It was my birthday the day after we arrived and I had a lovely day.  Cousin Sue had painted a lovely picture of pelargoniums growing in a planter on the wall of the house.  She knows pelargoniums are my favourite plants and I am thrilled that she painted this especially for me.

Another gift arrived this morning from my friend in California - 

I have been wanting this book for a while and she spotted it on my Amazon Wish List.  Thank you Sandy.   The books is by Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey.  Rachel has a blog and you can see more of her work here.

My lovely husband gave me an iPad, which I am thrilled with.

The yellow raspberries are slowly ripening and I gathered a small collection this afternoon - I think we will have them with our breakfast cereal in the morning.   There is not enough for one dessert, let along two!  I love these - the birds do not recognise them and so leave them alone for us!  I was given plants a few years ago and don't know the variety.

Finally, I have picked the runner bean pods that I left to ripen.  These will be sown next year.  As you can see I have heaps, so lots to give away.  The variety is Stenner.

On Sunday I am off to Ireland for a week to meet up with my sister Pauline and her friends from Australia. They are on a European tour to celebrate the birthday of one of them.   They have been offered the use of a cottage, and invited me to join them.   

Finally, I just have to show you the photographs of some beautiful sunsets we saw in the village in France.  I took these with my Nikon Coolpix camera.

Aren't they amazing?   

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

More than half way through August

I can't believe we are more than half way through August.   At last the weather has changed and we are have a heatwave here in the UK.  Well, for the last week at least.

At the beginning of the month our Village Garden Club held its Annual Show.  As Show Secretary I am very involved, to say the least.  This is only the third year we have held a show, the Garden Club only being formed about six years ago.  I was very apprehensive about the unchangeable weather we were having  at that time, since we hold the show in the garden of one of our members.  The show committee comprises three members and now we are in our third year we each know what we have to do.  The day before the show I am at home to receive show entries - down this year, mainly due to the weather, but also some members were at the Olympics.  The Gazebo is erected and tables collected from the village hall.  On the morning of the show the other committee member and myself prepare the tables with black cloth for the exhibits and a white cloth for the home produce, and place marker rods for each class.   In the afternoon members begin to arrive with their entries and all is hustle and bustle as we shift the marker rods to make room for extra large flower arrangements and displays. It's always difficult to judge how large an entry will be.  Then all members have to leave and the judges arrive.   All is quiet as they inspect each entry.  The stewards bring across to me and my colleague the winning entries and these are logged and prize money prepared.   After the judging the members return to check their entries and it is a really exciting time seeing the joy on members faces as they discover they have a First, Second or Third.  I give out their winnings, but really I am sure they would not mind if they received nothing (actually it is not much at all, just a token).

I think I had the widest grin of all when I was told I had won Best in Show with my six runner beans!  I was so thrilled as the judges had told me the last two years that my beans had missed by a pip (or should that be bean?) to a flower display the first year, and a display of gladioli last year.   In fact, the judge was very impressed and said I did well in this difficult year to grow such good beans.  Wow!   We did have a short shower at one point in the afternoon, but we were all so busy I don't think anyone noticed it. It was a lovely event.  After the show we all went across the road to another members garden for a barbecue which was most enjoyable.  Of course, the next day we had to dismantle everything and I had the accounts to sort out, but all in all it is really good day.  Now we start to plan for next year!

Did you all watch the Olympics?  Like a lot of people, we got hooked and really enjoyed it.  I particularly enjoyed the track events and the gymnastics.

I love this photo of Mo Farah (GB) and Usain Bolt (USA)