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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Scarecrows

Such a long time since I updated the blog - my apologies. 

Remember the fiasco with the beaded tea lights last time, well I decided to look on YouTube and found a useful video and hey presto, here are some more


so it looks as if I may have cracked it!!  I am going to make more to give as small Christmas presents.

The other Friday I went Nordic walking on an absolutely fabulous October morning and as we all met at Stanwick Lakes I took some photos of a new totem pole they have put up
Look at the colour of the sky!
I am told that the swan changes direction with the wind, though I cannot confirm this.  We set off for the village of Stanwick and were delighted to find that they were having a Scarecrow Festival at the weekend so our planned walk went out of the window and we meandered round the village and photos were taken - lots of them
 
 
A bookworm with the sun shining over the fence!
 
 
 
 
The Vicar and two choristers
 
The Nursery contribution
 
'Macmillan' coffee morning

The Old People's home


"We're going on a bear hunt"

.... can you see the bear in the cave?
Such fun and brilliantly executed!!  A great many more but I couldn't show them all.
 
Mini mania continues and here is my September offering which was obviously 'Circles'
Still a Work in Progress
 
The only problem is that it measured 9" x 10" when finished and I realised my sewing was not accurate as it should have been a square, so now I have taken it apart  to remake it.  October's make is 'Squares' and that is complete and waiting for the end of the month.

I was shown this wonderful bunny
and was lucky enough that a friend had translated it from Turkish and for our benefit the American crochet instructions were in English.  I had to make it, but having spent all one evening trying to start I managed to get going at Crochet Group with the help of teacher J.
One foot - now to start the second all on my own

Amigurumi is not my favourite crochet but I will keep you updated on progress because I am determined to finish this one, however difficult!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Being guided in various ways!

This last month has been so busy with all sorts of 'craft' projects that at times I am not sure what to do next!

However I have finished my 'Attic24' Moorland Blanket

and it has already been round my poor old legs keeping out the autumn drafts.

At crochet group the other week I started my version of the 'High Tea Crochet Fusion Quilt' as  I need to store my monthly mini mania quilts.  At present they are hanging on a board in my studio but now I am trying to adapt this pattern to all the different sizes and turn them into one quilt and hopefully take up less room.
Blanket stitch round the edge and then crochet into the blanket stitch
So far so good!!

On Monday I went to the 'All day' at Higham Piecemakers as there was some beading going on.  After three, yes, three false starts I eventually got going and managed to finish in the day and start another one which I made at home.
Beaded tea light covers
So pleased with these that I am going to make a few more for Christmas.

Continuation of the above written a week later!!

I have tried to make some more tea light covers with a week in between and cannot begin to start.  I have tried four times and no luck so back to Piecemakers next meeting for another lesson.  It cannot be that difficult as it is only peyote!!

A friend asked me to do a talk about the work of Pyjama Fairies to a ladies group.  This is no problem as I was provided with the presentation and statistics, but I realised that I had to show them some gowns and pyjamas so August was spent sewing stock.  Some very generous ladies and I was able to give the charity £50.
Some of these items were for a hospital order

Every Tuesday I go to Bedford to look after Will and as a result of this I organised a guided tour of the town for the 50+ Adventure Club.  We were incredibly lucky with the weather as rain had been forecast but it was hot, hot, hot!  We met our guides and our first stop was to meet this gentleman -
Sir William Harpur who I feel I have known all my life!

who endowed, through the Trust that he set up, the school that I went to.  I did know that the BBC Music Department was evacuated to the town during World War 11 and regularly broadcast from 'Somewhere in England' and so on to St Paul's Church, the principal parish church of Bedford where many of these concerts took place -
Memories of the BBC

In fact Glenn Miller gave concerts from the Corn Exhange and was staying just outside Bedford the night before he left for his fateful journey to Paris, from RAF Twinwoods just outside the town. 

Next stop was the statue of John Howard, the great penal reformer


and onto the Castle mound, which we did not climb, but instead viewed a bronze model of 

old Bedford which was awash with rainwater.  Round the corner is one of John Howard's houses
 

that backs on to the churchyard of the Bedford Meeting House and the John Bunyan Museum can be seen in the corner.  We saw the door of the Meeting House

that is based on the great doors at the Duomo in Florence (though not nearly as big) and which depicts scenes from Bunyan's great book 'The Pilgrim's Progress'.

I have tried to read The Pilgrim's Progress and have found it very heavy going, but it has remained in print since it was first published in 1678 and has been translated into over 200 languages.  I wonder who gets the royalties!!

We finished our tour in front of this small statue

to the memory of Father Trevor Huddleston which was re-dedicated by Nelson Mandela in 2000.  Both of these men have inspired me through my early life and I particularly remember boycotting anything South African because of what Trevor Huddleston stood for.

Finally, I have been back at Chester Farm doing some more potwashing before it gets too cold.  Whilst we were there in July a film crew came along and I am hoping that this link will take you there  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSdAm1ZND4U  so turn up the volume if it works!!

It says everything about the site.  If it doesn't work - sorry.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Being Adventurous

Last Saturday morning was sunny, warm but a little breezy as the 50+ Adventure Club met at Canoe2 at Rushden Lakes to canoe the River Nene.  We were fitted with  our buoyancy aid, given a paddle and each boat had a barrel for personal belongings and some had small ones.  I had brought my lunch, a drink, my phone and car keys which went in the big barrel but I kept my camera in a small one.
No, the dog did not go with us!

We had the usual safety briefing and then decided which way to go.  Originally it was planned that we would go upstream to Wellingborough, but we were advised against this as the first lock was 375 metres for the portage which is a long way to carry a heavy Canadian canoe, even with the wheels provided.  So downstream we would go.

After leaving the Rushden Lake (a short portage of 10metres, watched by visitors, so we tried to look professional!) we entered the river.  It was so tranquil
 
with the sun shining and hardly any breeze.  We went past the first lock with everyone helping to manhandle the canoes out and then into the water, when we saw this canoe coming back - why?
Their set of wheels were floating away and needed rescuing!!!

We approached the A6 viaduct over the valley
 
Note the black sky!!
and then behind that Irthlingborough's Old Bridge 


The sky was getting blacker to our left and there was thunder and lightning in the distance, but we kept on - well we had nowhere else to go!!

Then Irthlingborough Lock came into view and the decision was made to stop here for lunch because it was just starting to rain and how!  A deluge!  The boats were taken out of the water
This photo was taken after lunch but the sky is still grey!

and we all sheltered where we could
Under scrubby bushes
 
In the lee of the lock gate - note the rain on the lens!
Where is she going - sorry I shouldn't ask!
It poured for half an hour and then just as we finished our sandwiches the sun came out, so back in to the canoes.
 

Most of us decided to take a detour up Stanwick Backwater but once I saw this
I knew where we were and we decided to turn round and head for home.  I know that there is a lock a few hundred yards on and we didn't need to carry our canoe again.

It was a wonderful afternoon and on the return trip we saw a kingfisher, herons, an egret and a huge flock of Canada Geese taking off with a great deal of noise  However the highlight for me was when we were on a very still bit of water and I noticed a twig floating along, but it was moving and then I realised it was a snake swimming across  the river.  Only a gentle grass snake but really exciting to see it.

The sky was getting black again as we paddled very fast across Rushden Lake back to base and as I got into the car the heavens opened, but it hadn't stopped us having a great afternoon!!

I have also been smocking, embroidering, crocheting and sewing machining, but this will have to wait until another time!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The end of the holidays!

In the UK the school summer holidays have just come to an end and all my grandchildren started back today.  I have received photos of them in their school uniforms and two of them are starting new schools.  The eldest is my grandson who goes to his secondary school and is cycling there on his own; how he has grown up lately and the youngest is joining her sister at a new school.  She too, looked so grown up.  Good luck to them all.

However on Monday I had the two 'Cambridge' grandchildren for the day and when my son and daughter in law dropped them off we had the grand removal of the plaster on 'Es' arm that she fractured whilst in my care at the beginning of the holidays (see my last blog)!!  I had decided to take them down to Rushden Lakes and hire a pedalo from Canoe2, however in the meantime I had a call from my niece and as she was free we met up including her two boys.  This meant war and needless to say a race ensued, after a bit of practice.
 


I think we won.  In these two photos we were practising and taking pictures of each other!!  We had already had a walk round the lake so after this it was back to my house for lunch and a great day was had by all, even if I did have wobbly legs after all the pedalling!!

I am back there on Saturday as the 50+ Adventure club are having a canoeing afternoon on the River Nene.  Hopefully no-one, especially me, will fall in.  I have canoed with the club before - down the River Wye, on the River Nene from Oundle to Fotheringhay and on the River Severn from Bridgnorth.  I regret to say that on the trip down the Severn my partner and I did capsize, but luckily we were on a sandbank and the water only came up to our knees!  We were still a little damp for the return journey on the Severn Valley Railway!!

At the end of August the Mini Mania group showed of their 'makes', but yours truly had cheated like mad.  The topic was " the Seaside" and we could do anything that we wanted to. 

Back in 2010 I went on a Pat Archibald workshop called 'Banks and Braes' and using a photo from the year before I made this
 
'Sandcastle at Holkham'

The photo had been taken on a holiday the year before when we went to Holkham Beach and the tide was out and so my son and grandson built a sandcastle.  I used foils and glue balls with gold sprinkled over and finished with machine embroidery.  I love this piece and thought it was very apt for the subject matter for Mini Mania.  By the way, this is the same grandson going off to his secondary school and his back view on the pedalo!!

September's Mini Mania is 'Circles' and we can do anything we like and I have a few ideas, but putting them into practice maybe a little more difficult. 
 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Out and about

August has been a deliberately quiet month for me and I planned it that way.  I tried to organise my diary that I had time to myself in order to do what I wanted to do and this included lots of sewing.  I have made 12 hospital gowns or pyjamas for Pyjama Fairies mainly because in September I am giving a talk about the charity to a women's group and  needed some garments to show them.  I have also sat outside on the patio and read a book or two and I have also looked after my grandchildren as it is the school holidays and thereby hangs a tale.

I had the children at the start of the holidays so decided to let them do the high ropes at a local park.  I went to book them in and they went to the playground.  Next thing I heard was E wailing as she had fallen off a roundabout.  Well after a visit to hospital it was discovered she had fractured her elbow and so had to spend their 2 week Mexican holiday in plaster and all under Granny's watch!!

I looked after them last week and decided to go to Wimpole Hall and Farm and we all enjoyed the day out -
 
first at the playground, then feeding the squealing pigs
 

watching the cow being milked


and they loved it!  After lunch I made a bargain with my grandson - we could go to the adventure playground if we then went and looked round the Hall, that was my treat for the day.

Do you know what - they loved looking round the house and this was entirely down to the 'guides' in each room who provided really interesting information for them.  My grandson was impressed when I got full marks for knowing that the last owner, Mrs Bambridge was the daughter of Rudyard Kipling.  Well I knew that from my trip to Batemans so was that cheating?!!  The children learnt about the 'trompe l'eoil' painting and why the backs of some of the doors had rough baize - so that the servants were aware they were entering the posh  part of the house (it was also sound proofing as well).  It was such a success that I might take them to other places.

Tuesday was my day for looking after Will and as the weather was good I decided that he would like Castle Ashby again.  This time we arrived as the Meerkats were going to be fed. 
Looking for the keeper with food!!
 While we waited we looked at the -
Tortoise
 

The Kunekune pigs
and we saw a very large rabbit with enormous ears.  Will shouted that he could see another one
Digging a hole
 
Almost there
 
Gone underground!!
that was digging this hole and immediately disappeared underground!!
 
It was now time to return to the meerkats who we racing round their enclosure and getting very excited.  They are not fed there, but pass through a tunnel to another pen for feeding but one meerkat was always trying to get through the tunnel which was blocked
and then at last they were through -

I wondered what they were fed on -
Grubs that were alive and wriggling!!

Will and I also saw this field of 'elephants' that he loved.
A sculpture of four adults and one baby elephant.

What impressed me the most however, was that when we walked through the gardens he asked me if we could go and see the Mulberry Bush!!  I was gobsmacked that he remembered from April and he is only three!  Maybe it was because we sang the Nursery Rhyme "Here we go round the Mulberry Bush etc"  We sang it again, needless to say.

August Mini Mania is due to be shown tomorrow, but alas dear reader, I have cheated.  I will explain all when next I blog.