Friday, 22 September 2017

Yesterday's river walk

As you can see, we had a lot of rain overnight on Wednesday into Thursday.  The river rose significantly and if you fell in, you would be in Carmarthen Bay in double-quick time!

This is my favourite photo-spot along  the river and you can see how high up the river sides it is.

The remains of the tiny cottage where a widow-woman once lived in the 1840s.  She earned her living by charring (rough cleaning) in neighbouring farmsteads.  I always imagine her falling asleep to the sound of the river. 

You can just about see the tiny fireplace in the back wall.

One of my best close-up shots - taken on Scenes (Action setting!!)  Well, it was a bit windy . . .

What a weird beastie - well, it's the hopeful stem of the Himalayan Balsam, hopeful in that when the stem falls over, it will be able to root itself in soil.  A bonus to chucking out loads of explosive seeds everywhere!

Sunshine on the lane going home.

Danny has gone home to his digs today.  He is in the process of changing Dr's surgeries, and is going to have some mates round tonight to cheer him up - I sent him home with a tray bake of Chocolate Raspberry Brownies. 

Off to try and sort out my lace as I screwed-up about an inch back and left out a pin, which is fairly dire to the results!

Thursday, 21 September 2017


I'm glad to report that Danny got checked out at A&E today and was told he was OK, but to go and get his eyes given the once-over by a good Opthalmologist, and he needs to have a blood test at the GPs for good measure.  He just needs to catch up with his sleep as much as anything. 

Finally finished.  I was past caring that some of the angles on the hexis weren't right - it depended on the stiffness of the cotton, although it was all 100% cotton.  I don't care, as I enjoyed making it, especially the embroidery.

Close up of the finished pocket, with a Measles House as Keith calls it!  I unpicked one of the flowers close to the chicken.  Below, a rather blurry picture of the instructions and finished article, using the 1/2" hexis.

I managed to get out for a 3 mile walk today and enjoyed that, down along by the river, which was racing through as we had a lot of rain overnight.  Photos of that tomorrow.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Gardening and worrying

Just a line to say our son is coming home early from his holiday as he is quite unwell and needs to see a Dr.  Needless to say, I have been worried sick and spent yesterday gardening like a maniac, doing what I threatened to do and removing everything that has lots of leaves and a short flowering period.  This includes inmates which moved here with us from Dorset (I said I'd be brutal).  Yesterday it was the turn of the scented-leaf Geraniums.  They spread and sprawl terribly.  Also gone are the variegated leaf Iris from the side of the pond, although they are also IN the ponds, and I will allow them to stay there, and I have removed all the roots of interlopers I could find along that stretch too and put down a couple of buckets of spent compost and planted it up with spring bulbs - Allium and tulip.

I can't eat when I am worried either, so this is good for the waistline if nothing else.

A little sewing and a little unpicking on the pocket happened last night and I'm nearing completion.  I just need to sew it on the bag, sew the handles firmly in place and finally sew the sides together.  There should be a "ta dah" moment very soon.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Monday roundup

All finished - the embroidered pocket.  I'm not happy that the little house looks so stark and very yellow, so I may embroider some extra windows and/or some roses up the wall. With the benefit of hindsight, a tiny-printed pale fabric would have been better than the yellow, but hey-ho, I only have to please myself at the end of the day . . .

Yesterday was a Malvern Fleamarket day, and of course we were up in the middle of the night to drive up there, and came back more or less 12 hours after we had gotten up.  It makes for a very long (but enjoyable) day.  We clocked up 22,000 + steps according to my Fitbit.  About 15 Km.  We walked up and down the rows, and round and round, 2 1/2 times at Malvern, then went on to the car boot sale at Ledbury, and did the same again - it was very busy there, but very little to buy (we didn't get there until it was half way through).

The spotty jug is one I bought at Malvern, for me, as is the beautiful big scarf below.  I loved the vibrant colours.

Above and below: bargains of a different kind, from Aldi.  The cutting mat was only £2.99 (I needed a smaller one) and the craft storage box only £3.99.  I just put the bits and bobs I had in a smaller ceramic drawer which is on the table beside me, waiting for a cat to come and knock it off!

Above: this beautiful glass perfume bottle, French and 1930s (according to the French dealer selling it yesterday), came home with me and will be going to the big Antiques Fair at the Botanic Gardens next month.  It is signed on the bottom (M Lupi) but it is not a well known name in glass making . . .

Below: this more modern piece of glass came from the same dealer (and neither were cheap!) but I think it's beautiful and hope it too will attract a buyer soon.

Finally, my little helper Little Whale.  He is either curled up on our bed, or keeping an eye on me when I am in my office, or best of all for him, as it is WARM in there, accompanying me when I have a bath, to make sure I wash properly!

Friday, 15 September 2017


Now, THAT'S looking better.  A lot more interesting now I have that top border finished on it, and I am enjoying the embroidery.  It has been so many years since I last did any.  I sewed the top border last night, and the flowers this morning as I was up early.  The rain was absolutely pounding down around 6 a.m. but it has dried up and cleared a bit now.

Keith and I have found a good new series to follow on Amazon Prime - called Copper it is set in 1860s New York, just after the end of the Civil War.  It's a sort of American version of Ripper Street, and very entertaining.

This morning I am going to do some baking for the freezer, and as I have lots of fallers (with a little help from the birds) off our eating apple tree, I shall chop those up and start an earthenware jar full of mincemeat.  You start off with apples, adding brown sugar, dried fruit etc, ground cinnamon and ground cloves and I keep adding to it as more apples are available.  Cookers are fine to use too.  Just don't bother with the mushy Gala type apples you get in the supermarkets.  Fresh and home grown is best.  The last of last year's is in a glass jar in the fridge and will probably go into a Mincemeat Cake today.  Yummy.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Yet another LEAK!

Finally the plumber came back today.  Our fault, as although we had phoned him a couple of times, Keith neglected to tell him quite how bad the leak under the sink was (from the hot water pipe).  The last time Keith called him he only said it had "got worse".  Well, I phoned last night and asked when he was coming out as we had a gallon a day leak and a too-small bowl to catch it overnight (as the pipe was low down and only a shallow bowl would fit under.)  He said he would be out first thing this morning, and he was. 

Unfortunately, when I got back from a protracted shopping trip to town (with a list of car stuff to sort for Keith), one leak had been fixed, but ANOTHER one had manifested itself.  This was one which Keith could hopefully fix, as it was the waste pipe to the sink which must have got nudged when the plumber was jammed under the sink today.  Keith has had it apart and it seems to have stopped for now, but we still have the bowl beneath that one, and we may need a new seal or something.

Meanwhile I have been going through a box with two half-finished quilts in (sorry girls) which I am going to get finished this autumn.  I was looking for my log cabin strip templates (missing in action), a wash-off marker pen (found two marker pencils) and Omnigrid quilting ruler.  Damned if I found any of them, so will have to continue my search tomorrow, up in my sewing room in the attic.

However, as the photos above and below show, If found a few excellent magazines and the book above, which I had forgotten I had a they were in a box of fabric.  It was good to see them again and the beautiful quilts within their covers.

Below:  meanwhile I have made a start on doing the applique and embroidery on the pocket to go on the hexi shopping bag.   The wonky trunk on the tree is about to be ripped out and restitched (note to self: don't watch tv when sewing). 

The very faint marks you can see are made with a silver grey marker pen, and will be covered by embroidery thread.  I've now sewn the leaves on the little French knot flowers.

This is how it should look when finished.  Hah!  I am currently sewing the tiny 1/2 hexis onto a fine linen strip to top the pocket and will start on the flowers tonight.  Now I wish I had used invisible nylon thread to do the applique.  Anyway, it's just for me and I shan't complain if it's not perfect.  I'm enjoying doing it anyway.

We have just had a very heavy downpour of rain again.  First rain, then hailstones.  I noticed the last two House Martins who have had a very late brood over in the farm buildings, were out flying around looking for insects.  The hailstones sent them diving back to the barns though and who can blame them?  All the other House Martins and the Swallows left for Africa in the last 10 days or so.  Even the Crows were upset by the weather and a number of them, 20 or 30, flew over the farm and away down the valley, either trying to outfly the weather or heading for cover.

Tomorrow the new loo for the shower room should be delivered.  Keith is going to start work in there next week.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Autumn rhythms

I managed a short walk yesterday - the first proper walk for ages.  The hand of autumn is being dragged across the land, and as colours fade and bracken yellows, the seeds of Umbellifers have set.

After the turning point in my walk - I had been delayed chatting to a neighbour, and as the skies were looking a bit threatening, I turned around early and began to head back towards home.  This still all looks very green and verdant.

A slightly out-of-focus photo of Scabious.  It gets its name from the fact it was used to treat Scabies in the past. 

More shades of autumn down along the river.

Three white flowers - an Umbellifer (my botany books are downstairs!), a white Himayalan Balsam to the right, and above the bracken you can just make out the white Bindweed flower.

Back at home, with strong gales forecast, I decided to take the plastic greenhouse  down and put it away for the winter.

Today the postman brought me this book, which I had ordered via Amazon.  It has all the patterns and advice I will need to get a little further with my lace-making, although I can already see where I have gone wrong on the bookmark (Lesson no. 1) which Dawn started me off with.

Finally, Wednesday is the day I go to my patchwork class, and I have started a Pineapple Log Cabin design for my lap quilt, using the beautiful machine-embroidered ladies wot sew which Dawn made for my birthday last year.  I can see I have cut off a corner on the bottom one but this is just for me, so I won't complain.

I have also been working on my patchwork (hexi) shopping bag and got the hexis on both sides now, and also put bias binding on the fray-edge of the linen to stop it fraying back to the zigzag stitch I machined either side.  Photos to follow.