Friday 31 May 2013

Busy . . .

 Sturminster Newton Mill, Dorset

Sorry for the long delay between blog postings, but I have been alternately resting and being busy, and now we have our eldest daughter here, which is lovely.    I have been working on various craft projects, including re-rushing a stool with fabric-covered seagrass, which is an incredibly long-winded job and certainly not commercial . . .  Photos to follow. 

I have finally bitten the bullet and bought an external hard drive to accompany my reconditioned stack/hard drive, so I am slowly getting organized.  It took all day to transfer my photos across yesterday.  One more day (or less) of other stuff and I can recycle the old computer (minus hard drive which I shall get my OH to destroy).

Meanwhile, it's off to the car boot sale this morning . . .  We'd have been there much earlier, but we have to take our son into work first . . . at the most inconvenient starting time of 8 a.m.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Our house and its place in local history

The days seem to be going past so fast at the moment.  Remembering last summer I am trying to make the most of every moment of sunshine, and enjoying it to the full.  My cooking apple tree which is still thriving despite keeling over a few years back, is in full bloom and has a Jackdaw perched on it, with bees still busily working all around him.  I saw a sunny wall-side garden in Llandovery today, where their Aquilegias were in full bloom.  Elsewhere, my garden included, they are in bud, but not full bloom yet, and I know from the gaps in the border that I have lost some of the more interesting colours and petals.  Sigh.  That includes a small pure yellow one which was struggling last year and which I didn't manage to get seed from.  I think I need to visit Touchwood Plants again and get some more seed or young plants.  I need to phone and find out when the Garden is open for viewing - should be any time soon.

Anyway, our jaunt out today  got us another replacement chimney pot and cowl (though not as cheaply as the pair bought last weekend.)  We found that one of our present cowls was cracked so needed replacing, and the pot we bought on Sunday is just a tad too large to be one of a pair on the North chimney stack, so we will sell that (hopefully) at the car boot sale.  It was a nice drive out to beyond Llandovery, and we stopped for a wander round the charity and antique shops on the way home.  I found an elderly paperback edited by Fred Archer, about Country Life, which was just my sort of book so I blew £2 on that.

The current building works/repairs have shown that our little back kitchen window was once a raised doorway to the house, approached via steps.  We thought we had the same on the opposite side of the house, but it is actually a window.  We can also now clearly see that the front half of the house was the original Medieval (15th C and earlier) Great Hall, although much-modified (Georgian proportions) in 1718 according to  the plaque over the doorway), and again in early Victorian times.  It is fascinating finding out the history of our house, which may date back to the 12th C, according to a carved stone in the wall of our local church.  The family who were here in the 15th C joined the Welsh army of Henry Tudor (subsequently Henry VII) gathered by Rhys ap Thomas and marched off to Bosworth to do battle with Richard III.  As a result, one of their sons was made Esquire to the Body of Henry VII . . .  How strange that I should now be living at the home of the one family and volunteering at the estate of  the other . . .  Oh, and that our wonderful builder also had an ancestor involved in the battle - how weird is that?

I am busy with crafts at the moment - and repairing old stuff to sell.  New frames for old pictures, re-upholstering a couple of stools, patchwork, all sorts. 

Healthwise, I am on a strong course of Steroids again and took my last antibiotic (of a 2nd course) today, so hopefully I am on the mend again.  I am feeling a bit more energised, but the Pleurisy is still there in the background and I remember it if I am climbing anything much more than a gentle slope or trying to run up the stairs here.

The bluebells in the top photo, by the way, were photographed in the orchard of Thomas Hardy's Cottage last year.

The lake beside Talley Abbey.

Friday 17 May 2013

Poldark and prose

Top photo not from my garden, but to remind me that it is nearly Aquilegia time!

I sat in the garden this afternoon, with "Demelza" by Winston Graham, as I had been chatting elsewhere about the remake of the Poldark series for tv, and thinking about who I would choose to play Ross Poldark.  I think . . . and I haven't thought very long or hard about it yet - I think, it might be Toby Stephens, who played Mr Rochester in the 2006 miniseries of Jane Eyre. He seems,to me, to have that slight cynicism and edginess to him, along with charm and wit, and I can see him playing Ross. . .  What do you think?  And who would you choose for Demelza?

Anyway, as I was sitting in the garden, I relaxed and was aware of the apple-blossom buds looking just like pink lipstick, fading to pink-blush and white as they opened, and humming gently with bees.  There were sparrows squeaking, a Blackbird whistling in the paddock, and a Robin was hovering over a discarded cat bowl, like a stout and very dowdy humming-bird.

In the nearby flower bed, the deepest purple of the Cranesbill "Widow's Weeds" are  perfect for the the Bowles Mauve Erysimum, and beside it were the iridescence of the pink flowers on the Scnted-leaf Geranium.  My untidy borders have Cowslips rubbing shoulders with Lady's Smock, as the Celendines fade and wither for another year.


Beside the pond, the green and yellow striped blades of Iris stand straight like a battalion of swordsmen, and the breeze tousled the snowberry leaves and blew through the Mossy Saxifrage so their flowers trembled.  The sun sunk down behind the house and the Speedwells began to think of hiding their faces for the night.  Spring bliss . . .

Wednesday 15 May 2013

New (to me) computer

You will have to bear with me for a while, as I have got a reconditioned computer stack with more memory, before the old one seized up completely on me.  All my photographs (with the exception of some from my memory stick) are still on the old computer, so it will take a while to get them across.  The photo above is one I've used before - the view from inside the beautiful Fiddleford Manor, near Sturminster Newton in Dorset.  Back later.

Thursday 9 May 2013


Isn't this granny square blanket absolutely WONDERFUL?  No need to ask where I found it . . .  It was definitely my lucky day though!

Above and below are close ups.  The lady that made this was a superb craftswoman, with infinite patience too.  There must be hundreds of these little squares in the blanket, and then when she's used the black wool to crochet it together, she put a fringe on three sides.

I have to say I am NOT in the same league. The skirt I unpicked is now being turned into a lap quilt, all summery colours.  Bear with me, as I have been doing several other things craft-wise too, so it will be a while before it is finished . . .

Here is some recent inspiration.  All of a sudden I got my crafting muse back and a couple of craft books I have picked up have had me champing at the bit to make everything in them, which is good in a way (if totally impractical!)

I have been trying to publish these photos for a couple of weeks now, but the computer has terminal constipation and only today have I finally had success . . .

I have been collecting all sorts of material in my travels, and gradually building up a better stash for patchwork again.  Some I have actually bought, but much has come from car boot sales.  Pure cotton frocks, unpicked, help the stash no end.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Back from my travels

Just reporting in to let you know I am back from Hampshire, where I gave my Edward Thomas talk, which i was satisfied with.  They all thought I was a teacher "in real life"!!

I had a lovely break, with good friends, and I was "back home" (though we have been here 25 years, sad to say I have never really felt like I belonged here).

I have about 60 photos to share with you but the computer is being moody and constipated again, keeps telling me my virtual memory is very low, and despite my efforts to solve this, I have a feeling a new computer is necessary.  Hmmmmm.

I will try and post some photos later.  Meanwhile I am having to rest up as my Pleurisy is still rumbling round, and any gardening absolutely floors me - like suddenly having flu, with shivering, and feeling absolutely lousy.  I have a pile of books, however . . .

The new header photo, incidentally, is the wonderful kitchen at Avebury Manor.  I stopped for about 2 hours at Avebury on the way down to the New Forest, just to charge my physical and spiritual batteries.  I can say it really worked!