Monday, 21 June 2010

Hardy's Cottage

I went abroad into Dorset today to do the tourist thing at Dorchester. I took my daughter and friend so that they could go to the Dorchester museum and I searched in vain for a yarn shop. We then made our way over to Higher Bockhampton to Thomas Hardy's cottage. It was a good stretch of the legs from the car park but it was through woods, which was lovely because it was such a hot day. Apparently, Hardy wrote Under the Greenwood Tree here and Far From The Madding Crowd.
The cottage is a lot smaller on the inside than it looks from outside. The rooms are very small and the cottage is only one room deep. There is a small staircase at one end and a step ladder at the other. It is owned by the National Trust who are trying to re-furnish it at the moment because they had the wrong class of furniture in it.
The garden is beautiful. It looks overgrown from this angle but it wasn't. It has spiralling paths around the garden so that you have to walk all the way through it before you get to the front door. There was also a lot more colour in the garden than can be seen in the photo.

If you are a Hardy fan it is well worth the trip both to the cottage and the Dorchester museum.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The dark side

Ok. I admit it. I have been seduced by the dark side. After many years of knitting, I have now decided to have a go at crochet. Well, a granny blanket to be precise. It all started a short while ago when I happened upon a blog called Attic24. It was such an explosion of colour that I resolved to try to crochet again. Oh yes, I have tried before but unsuccessfully. I ordered one of the yarns that Lucy recommended from First4yarns. The cotton has been so popular that they have created their own pack called Lucy's Creative Cotton Pack. The colours are much better represented in their photo. Apparently, they have been inundated with orders so I had to wait a while for mine. It arrived this week and here it is.

I enlisted the help of a friend who was very patient with me. She not only showed me how to crochet but also a way of fiddling the ends of yarn in at the same time. It all looks so neat and there is no sewing the ends in.

Here they are. Sunbathing. The idea is to make a nice blanket for the lounge. We live in an old farmhouse that gets quite cold in the winter so it will be nice to have a blanket to snuggle under. I think I will have to buy some more cotton to make the blanket a generous one.

Some individual squares.

This blanket has also been a welcome distraction to the stripey sweater which seems to be taking forever. I am sure my hair is growing quicker than the jumper! I am now half way up the first sleeve so the end is in sight. I hope to get more done this week.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Beautiful blog award

Being a very organised person I have just got round to catching up on some of the blogs that I follow. I have been nominated for a beautiful blogger award by Life and Yarn or Yarn and Life and Wool and Cotton. Thank you so much.

I now have to tell you ten little known, interesting facts about me and nominate ten other blogs for the beautiful blogger awards. So here goes:

1. When I was in junior school our rounders team won the Middlesex County Rounders Championship. It is the first and only time I have excelled in sport and have remained dormant ever since!

2. One of my favourite songs is Lovin' You by Minnie Riperton. I love the shreaky part and insist on shreaking along everytime I hear it.

3. I turned down tickets to go and see Live Aid at Wembley. I know.

4. I moved in with my husband after knowing him for only a week. We married six months later.

5. My favourite garden is Great Dixter in West Sussex. When Christopher Lloyd was still alive I encouraged my husband to take stalking photos of him on my behalf so that I could put him as a pin up in my shed.

6. One of my favourite quotes is from Pride and Prejudice where Lady Catherine de Burgh talks about playing the piano (I think) and says "I would have been proficient, had I ever learned". I quote this all of the time but have never read Pride and Prejudice or looked up the quote.

7. I cried so much in the opening chapters of Angela's Ashes that I couldn't read it anymore.

8. I had pre-eclampsia in my first pregnancy and my daughter was born six weeks early weighing 2lbs 9oz. (She is now at Manchester Uni and loving it. Here is her blog). I went on to have three strapping boys.

9. I would love the learn how to use my iphone properly. At the moment I use it for phone calls and emails but also as a vuvuzela whilst watching the football.

10. I don't know really what blocking is or how to do it. Can anyone help?

I am going to pass the award to ten people, some of whom must have had lots of nominations but I like their blogs. My nominations are:

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Sheepishly round

Here are some photos of a roundabout in Shepton Mallet not too far from where we live. It has some statues of about six or seven sheep on it and one black sheep slightly out of the main group. I drove around the roundabout to give my children a chance to take good photos and these two are definitely the best ones. I cannot really see the black sheep. Maybe it is behind a sign.

Someone always decorates them for different occasions during the year; witches hats for Halloween, Father Xmas hats at Christmas, Easter Bonnets. It is good fun to see what they have been dressed as.

Groceries and Glastonbury

The other night I had to go grocery shopping. Nothing exciting in that I know. We live about ten miles away from a supermarket but it is a nice journey across lovely countryside which I sometimes forget to appreciate. I stopped to take some photos.

I also had some interested spectators.

The hill you can see is Glastonbury Tor. We live about eight miles away. I tried to get a good photo but it was only on my phone.

And it is quite difficult to photograph with an audience!!

It will be a busy time for us over the next few weeks because of the Glastonbury festival. What surprised me when we first moved here is that the festival is not actually in Glastonbury but in a village nearer to Shepton Mallet called Pilton. People in Pilton and the surrounding villages get free tickets to the festival but we are not near enough for that (boo hoo). Locals are allowed to buy Sunday tickets but I forgot to apply again this year. Doh. One year I will get my act together. Our local train station, which is normally very quiet, becomes a gathering place for people in wellies (young and old, but mainly young), taxi drivers, buses taking people to and from the festival site and police. When the festival is in full swing we can hear it in our garden, not very well, but we can. If we play it on the radio at the same time it is almost like we are there. I could go the whole hog and sleep in a tent but you have to draw the line somewhere and I think that would just be sad. (And I like sleeping in my own bed). I will post photos over the next few weeks if I see anything exciting.

Monday, 7 June 2010

To and from

We made it to Manchester. We left fairly early in the morning so the traffic was quite light. Unfortunately, my daughter hadn't made it out of bed. When I had told her that we would be there by ten, she thought I was joking (although I did actually arrive at 9.30). When we left Somerset we had bright sunshine, but at Manchester it was pouring with rain. Just what we needed for loading the car! I was hoping to load the car and start on our way home but I had forgotten what it is like sociable. We had to stop and chat to loads of people, talk about what we were doing over the summer, say goodbye, promise to keep in touch, etc, etc.

Hall of Residence 1

Hall of Residence 2

Hall of Residence 3

As you can see, the Halls of Residence are quite nice. But the car is always a long way from the room.

Finally, we were on our way back home. There were heavy bursts of rain and the traffic stopped completely. Clearly, we are not used to rain in this country. The weather initially got worse around Worcester and Birmingham but then got a lot better just north of Bristol. It made the last part of the journey quite pleasant. There is nothing worse than being on the motorway in the driving rain.

The journey home

When we arrived home my husband had done a fantastic barbeque and the boys had helped cook and get the garden table ready for us to eat. It was great and such a lovely welcome home.

One of the first things I got my daughter to do was to try on the Daisy cardigan I had made for her. You may remember that my tension was wrong and it had ended up being two inches bigger than it should have been which was a shame. Although, she seems to quite like it. I may have to knit another one sometime that is actually the right size!

What a beautiful, if somewhat reluctant, model. So great for our family to be complete again, if only for the summer.

Lastly, I wanted to show you some flowers I bought the other day. Aren't they lovely. They are Sweet Williams and they were always my grandparents favourites. The photo was a spur of the moment thing (can you tell by the hand).

I hope your weekend was good too.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Manchester awaits

Tomorrow I have the long trip up to Manchester to pick up my eldest from Uni. It is quite a long haul from the West Country but a big day out for us. Although it is a fairly straightforward route I always take the Sat Nav because it is like having a friend in the car who knows the way (a rarity in my experience). I love it now because they have M&S in some of the service stations so we are able to have a decent sandwich (and a bag of chocolate covered brazil nuts).

Here are some photos I took of the Uni last year when we went for open day. It is a city centre campus and is much busier when the students are around. It stretches along one main road which seems to go on forever. There is also an area of takeaways and restaurants from all different cultures which is known locally, and by the students, as 'the curry mile'. They even put it in the student leaflets as that. You can get anything to eat there from falafals (I think that is how your spell it) to Italian ice cream, from curry to hamburgers. Every taste catered for.

Hopefully, I will get some time tomorrow to take some more photos to post.

Two knitting books arrived in the post today, both Rowan. One was Studio Book 11 and one was Studio Book 16. The honest reason for buying both of these books is that I want to try some Rowan Bamboo Tape. I have always wanted to give it a try. The Book 11 has patterns specifically for this yarn but there is a cardigan in Book 16 called Cheer by Sarah Hatton that I have seen on Ravelry that has been done in Rowan Bamboo Tape. It is called Philoknits Cheery Cardigan. It looks absolutely gorgeous so I am really tempted to give it a try. Plus, and this is the killer, Rowan Bamboo Tape is dirt cheap at Kemps. I had better hurry up and decide.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Goof lick

I know that this is a really odd title for a post. This morning it was my daughter's last exam before the summer break. I wanted to text her to let her know that I was thinking of her but couldn't find my glasses. As my phone has predictive text I pressed the buttons and hoped for the best. It was only later when I looked that I had written 'goof lick on your exams'. It made me laugh so much. Thank goodness I had put the space in the right place otherwise it would be 'goo flick'.

Here is another photo of the yarn from yesterday. I think the colours are more representative of the yarn.

I just thought I would add some photos of some plants in my garden that are looking particularly nice at the moment.

This is a honeysuckle that was already here when we bought the house. The farmer we bought from said that he had bought it from Woollies years ago. It has such a glorious scent.

I am surprised that these poppies made it. They are at the top of a dry stone wall that seems to house field mice (I think). Earlier in the year, I didn't think that the poppies would flower because everytime the leaves grew, the mice ate them. I suppose the mice now have lots more to eat.
Here are some irises. I am sorry, I don't know what type they are but I love the colour. You can see how dry the ground here is now. We seem to go from being completely waterlogged to have ground like cement.

And here is the pride of my garden at the moment, Papaver 'Patty's Plum'. This was given to me by Mrs Patricia Marrow at Kingsdon Nursery in Somerset. The original plant was found by Sandra and Nori Pope who ran Hadspen Garden. They found it on Mrs Marrow's compost heap. She tells me that she had spent ages trying to kill it with weedkiller because she really didn't like it. She always says that there were much nicer ones on her compost heap. The Popes' named the poppy after her. It is such a striking colour.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Sale yarn

Here, at last, is the yarn I got from Get Knitted at Bristol. It was incredibly cheap in the sale.

As usual I spent far more than I should have done (my children will have to go without shoes this winter) but I could have spent a lot more.

I am particularly fond of the cashmere merino silk Aran in both colours. I envisage a cardi for hubby, one for one of my sons and something stripey. They are such good colours.

I also bought some dk cotton both organic and soya. Has anyone knitted with either of these? I don't think the photos are terribly good because it was getting quite late and the sun wasn't quite as bright as it had been so the colours are not as clear as I would have hoped.

Sublime organic cotton dk
Shade 92 Borage

Sublime Cashmere merino silk aran
Shade 0056
A sort of browny colour

Sublime soya cotton dk
Shade 148 Pool

Sublime cashmere merino silk aran
Shade 0060
A lovely blue

I hope you can see the beauty of the yarn. I am really looking forward to knitting with it. But at the moment I am content to just squeeze the aran every so often.

Also, I don't know how I got blue writing at the top of this post. Please excuse it and hopefully normal service will be resumed next time.

How odd

A little while ago a read a post on Mooncalf's blog about some trees that she had seen outside the council offices that were covered in fine webbing. It amazed me because I had never seen anything like it before.

On the way home today I noticed the same sort of thing in the hedge. I stopped and photographed so that you could see. It is like a big candy floss hedge.