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Sunday, 28 November 2010

Rest in Peace

Woe is me! This is the last photo taken before my camera died! I fear it will not be economically viable to repair and that a new one is called for!! For now my posts will have to be illustrated with archive photos - they may have nothing to do with the text which might be interesting!!
As you can see we did have some snow - this was at Montacute yesterday but today it has disappeared from the roads completely - Sod's Law as I stocked up at the shops in readiness for the seige I had been led to believe was nigh!

I have discovered something interesting on Blogger - I am sure you all know this already but it was new to me - there is a tab called Stats and on this you can see how many people have viewed your pages, when and where they are from. I was amazed to know that I have in the past week I have had 7 page views from Georgia, in the past month 16 from India and in the past week 2 in the Phillipines. Not to mention all the European visitors. I don't know whether it isn't a little bit scary to realise that my words are being read in such far flung corners of the globe!!

Enjoy what's left of your weekend and if in the UK keep cosy.

Friday, 26 November 2010


Something which is incredibly important to me is friendship - maybe the fact that I was an only child made friendships especially necessary for me. This card was given to me by a good friend who sadly died a couple of years ago but it reminds me of the good times we shared. Her last words to me were to thank me for my friendship and I replied that it was indeed mutual.

These two fridge magnets were given to me by another friend whose friendship I value and who has seen me through the good times and the bad and still loves me!

The friend who came to stay yesterday has now gone home - it was but a flying visit but we enjoyed catching up and boy do we go back a long way! We walked into town and sat over a hot chocolate and a cake in a favourite cafe talking over old times back when we were both teenagers (half a century ago - how is that possible?) when we were newly weds (she was my bridesmaid) and when our children were small as well as all the usual gossip shared between old friends and then used our bus passes to come home and soon after she was gone. I did enjoy her visit.
As soon as this happens retire with dignity
Postscript Just received this with an e-mail and thought it might make you smile too! Have to admit I haven't quite got to this stage yet!!

Thursday, 25 November 2010


Here's one for the bloggers down under who are too hot! You did say you wanted to share our cold weather photos Helsie! This is the view from my kitchen window early this morning - as we are on a slope the sun doesn't shine in our garden in winter so it all looks rather dismal as well as cold..
This is the rockery alongside our drive - those poor plants all shivering and frosted.

The other side of the drive alongside the wood - poor badgers out there all night eh?!


But in the sheltered part alongside our front door the antirhinums are still in bloom!

And I managed to find a little posy for the guest room - a friend is arriving to stay the night any minute now so must dash!
Hope you are all keeping warm today in UK and cool in the Southern Hemisphere!
Postscript - In case you think we have a dull day here just to say our bedroom - being higher than the garden - is filled with sunlight just now and the views across town to the hills in the distance is beautiful in the sunshine.!

Monday, 22 November 2010

More musings

Thank you for all your kind comments on my previous posts - I am afraid your confidence in my ability to produce a crazy patchwork quilt like the one I showed you here is sadly misplaced! I doubt I could ever do anything as beautiful myself and even if I could I'd never have the patience to complete it so please don't be disappointed when the show and tel pictures never materialise!

As you can see the jumper is finished - just! I will be able to post it tomorrow as suggested and hopefully it will arrive in China before the summer! The little leggings I found in Tesco - I rarely go in there since it's against my religion(!) but needs must occasionally and these seemed to be just the thing to go with the yarn I had. Ironically they were made in China!!

I have discovered a Knit and Natter group here and last week was the first meeting - a lovely group of other ladies with whom I feel very much at home. Today was the second meeting and I walked into town taking these photos en route. They serve to illustrate the rest of today's post.

Having got the knitting sorted out I took the advice on one of the cards in my Time post and took a little "quiet time" and whilst busily knitting up the plain part of the little jumper my thoughts turned to musing on this and that. Such as the double personality I seem to have and how in old age I don't seem to have become what I had envisaged when I was younger.

You see when I was younger I thought that given enough time I would turn into someone different - a cool calm earth mother type but did I heck?! No I think I might even have become more impatient, volatile and cantankerous not less. I imagined I would become wise - did I? No I didn't. I thought at the very least I would learn how to keep my mouth firmly closed unless I had something of interest to say but... you guessed it .. I still dash in forgetting to engage my brain before opening my mouth!

Some years ago I chatted to a lady on the bus who worked in the old people's day centre and I asked her if she thought that old age brought with it grumpiness and cussedness and she said that she didn't think so but that she thought old people became exagerated versions of their younger selves - if this is true heaven help you all if I am still around in my eighties and nineties!!

My thoughts then turned to another mystery - why I seem to be one person on the outside and quite another on the inside. And why it is that I do I not portray the image of the "real" me that is on the inside. Or is that the real me after all? I have often thought that I could probably have made a career as a criminal since nobody would ever be able to describe me to the police in any detail - they would say she was medium tall, middle aged (well I was when I first thought of this!), medium build with mousy coloured hair and grey/blue eyes and was wearing very ordinary clothes probably beige!!! I think I look a rather sensible down to earth conservative (with a small "c") sort of lady but inside I want to be different - to dress in a more stylish, colourful slightly ethnic way - maybe like this?!. Why don't I have the courage of my convictions when it comes to buying clothes and why do I always end up with something practical which "goes" with things? I can't do much about my height and build nor even about my hair or eyes can I but I could be more daring in my dress so why don't I? Then instead of this sensible probably rather dull woman you see here you'd get someone altogether different - stylish, bohemian perhaps and full of confidence and wit.

It's bizarre that I used to teach adults - me who hates to be the centre of attention and has never mastered the art of "working the room" - who at a party is most often to be found hiding in the kitchen with a teacloth in hand should choose to stand in front of 30 students - but was the teacher the real me? Was it because it was all an act and not the real me at all but a role I played? Or was it the one time I felt confident since I presumably knew more than they did about my particular subject or they wouldn't be there?!

Isn't Nature amazing - I love the way plants cling onto life even in such inhospitible places and thought maybe there's a lesson for us too here? Life is possible even when problems seem insurmountable perhaps.

Life's puzzles don't seem to get any clearer and I am beginning to think they never will. Maybe I need to take heed of the second card which advised me to "Be patient with all things but most of all with yourself"!! I am as I am even if that is not what I want to be!!

Postscript - Just finished this little teddy - made from an old tee-shirt - to go with the package - don't think I'll be going into soft toy production any time soon but as time was of the essence and the baby won't care it will do no doubt!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Antiques and Collectibles at Shepton Mallet

We went to the Antiques and Collectibles Fair at Shepton Mallet (courtesy of some tickets sent to me by The Washerwoman ) Thank you so much Lizzie a little Thank You card is in the post to you - it was great to meet you and have a little chat. I did come back to your stand as we were leaving but you weren't there!

I was amazed at the number of stalls there were, many of which were for serious antiques hunters with wads of money to spend and displayed inside but the most interesting stuff for me was outside and I really felt for the stall holders as it was bitterly cold in the open although the weather did at least stay dry. I didn't spend much but I did buy these tiles (neither antique nor collectible) which I thought I might be able to make into a casserole stand perhaps.

These pretty vintage cards,

and this lovely bowl (pity I didn't dust it before photographing it eh?!)

It is Havilland and made in Limoges - I don't know why it is but every time I spot a piece of china I like it turns out to be Limoges and more often than not Havilland. This little bowl was very slightly chipped so I got it for £1!!! I don't care about the chip - I just love it for its pretty delicate design.

I didn't buy this but wished I could have done - isn't it fabulous? I was going to save it for the Monthly colour post as it is so bright but decided not to wait. It was hanging over the balcony and many of the patches were torn and damaged but the workmanship in it was amazing but for £200+ I had to leave it behind and just be inspired to have a go at a quilt myslef using crazy squares. Don't hold your breath though will you as I have the little jumper to finish first - am just sewing it up now and hope to get it in the post before the 24th as requested. Hope to do a Ta da post very soon!!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


When I was younger I imagined that once I was retired I would have time on my hands. When we moved back from France where we had had a very full social life (too full at times) I thought that as we wouldn't know anyone here I would have time to spare. But somehow it hasn't turned out like that at all.

I used to have time to go for an afternoon walk, on days I wasn't working - I taught part time, before the school run. I used to pick blackberries and make jams and preserves, I used to tend the allotment. I knitted and sewed for my daughter, met friends for coffee and lunch occasionally and was still at the school gate by 3.30!

Now the hours seem to disappear and nothing seems to be achieved why is that? I have just looked at the clock and discovered it has just gone 3.30 and there was me thinking it must be about 2.15!! Is there a time thief perhaps? (No I don't have clocks on the table in the conservatory but this was the only place light enough to get a picutre!)

Last week I mentioned the charity China Kidz and said that I had signed up to produce a jersey for a little Chinese orphan - that shouldn't be too difficult nor time consuming should it? Wrong!!!

I bought some yarn and a pattern - nothing too complicated since the child, now 6 months old, needed this to wear asap and not when she was a teenager. I busily cast on the required number of stitches and knitted the requisite 4 rows of garter stitch - so far so good. Then I realised that there was a chart to be followed for the next 14 rows. Even wearing my new reading glasses it was too tiny to see properly so it had to be scanned and enlarged.
However what looked quite simple I found incredibly complicated to follow as on the right side of the work the plain squares were knit stitches and on the reverse the plain squares were purl. To cut a long story short I decided to write out the pattern from the chart - more time spent and having knitted the 14 rows only to find the pattern wasn't looking quite right - more time spent checking the chart and my manuscript revealed that I had made a mistake in my transcription so have had to unrun it and having rewritten the manuscript I will now have to start again.... grrr!
Luckily the sleeves which I have finished have just a garter stitch border!

I get so frustrated when seemingly simple things are beyond me - am I really going senile perhaps? Why can't I do this? I am reasonably sensible why can I not figure out what is required. It reminds me of how frustrated I get when filling in my tax forms - it might just as well be written in Greek! This year I decided to pay and accountant to do it for me and save myself both time and stress but there is nobody who will knit the first 14 rows of a baby's jumper for me is there?!! I WILL get it right in the end but as time is of the essence I am wondering why I didn't just buy a sweater for the baby whose name appropriately enough is - wait for it - Patience!!!

I doubt if I will find time to get back with my Friday Favourites this week so am adding them on to the end of this post as they are appropriate ! These are 2 cards I bought myself some years ago and intended to frame - needless to say they are still in their packets!! I need a little quiet time in which to think about it all!

But maybe I shouldn't be too hard on myself - I do try!!!
Finally thank you all so very much for your lovely comments on my previous posts - it's good to know that you agree with me on some things and I hope I don't come across as too opinionated!
Postscript - I've done it! Finally managed to do those 14 rows right and now it's all downhill with plain knitting!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Friday Favourites

Firstly many thanks to all those of you who left comments on my previous post - it would seem we often think alike. I had wondered if perhaps it was a trifle self indulgent and maybe I'd p*** people off with it but apparently not, so Thank you all. Vive le difference eh?!!

Today's Friday Favourite is my soft toy Tigger given to me by my daughter some years ago. I love Tigger's bounciness, his happy attitude and his ability to see the bright side at all times plus his refusal to be down in the dumps - unlike Eyore (or me at times!) Over the years I have had a few Tigger related items as gifts, usually from my daughter, including the mug in which I have my early morning cup of tea (no porcelaine teacups for me!) and which always starts my day off with a smile and the little book which is full of quotes relating to Tigger.

He is wearing a brooch sent to me by a friend in America which says I love Tigger and don't you just love the expression on his face? I have to say the illustrations in the little book which are the originals by E H Shepherd are my preferred image of Tigger but the Walt Disney toy has such a cute face - you can't help but laugh can you?

A Friday Favourite quote (or 2!) for today:
In view of my previous post which seems to have struck a chord I thought these particulalry relevant!
"Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of somebody else" - Judy Garland
And this one which was written in my autograph book by my mother (back in the 1950s when children all had such things) she obviously knew a thing or two!

"This above all: to thine own self be true and it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man" - William Shakespeare
Have a great weekend. a good weekend.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


A bit of a mixed bag in which the photos have nothing to do with the text but are just there to break up a boring area of text!
I was reading somebody's blog recently in which she said that she felt she was the odd one out being too unconventional for her conservative friends and not wacky enough for her alternative ones. I know exactly what she meant as I have frequently felt that I don't fit in either!

For a start there is the whole blogging thing - why do I do it? Should I respond where possible to every comment (it would be nice but just think of the time it would take) does it matter if I lose a follower or how many comments I get? Have I been sent to Coventry if I get just a few and does it mean I am a really interesting writer if I get a lot? Why do people seem to like some posts more than others etc etc. Am I spending too much time blogging and why do I feel that I must keep up with every blogger who visits my blog and comments? In real life I wouldn't try to forge real friendships with every passing acquaintance so why do I feel I can't stop following someone in case I cause offence (they probably wouldn't even notice anyway!) Don't get me wrong I have made some really good friends out there but why do I feel I have to keep up with the few who I find I am not really akin to (now you might wonder if you fall into that group and if not do you actually want to feel akin to me in view of the fact that I don't fit in?!!!)

Is it only me that gets frustrated with the dishwasher? I have never been any good at jigsaw puzzles (or any other kind of puzzles) and being a recent convert to dishwashing by machine I so often get angry because I can't fit stuff in properly. It seems to me that I spend enough time playing about trying to fit awkwardly shaped items into the machine that I could have done it twice over by hand. It really makes me cross and I fling it all down on the draining board and say to my husband "You do it - you like jigsaws"!!! - tell me is this only me?
b q
Am I the only person who could very easily manage without a television set? When I happen to mention the amount of time I spend watching TV my friends are often amazed and I then feel like the odd one out - AGAIN! And when I told a friend who had just purchased her second new set in less tha 2 years (not an extra set but a replacement) that we have had ours for 19 years she couldn't believe it. Am I alone in feeling that I cannot justify buying a new one when the one we have works perfectly well even if it is not a flat screen all singing all dancing set?! There are a few programmes which I enjoy but they are few and far between! I well remember a friend who was shocked that we didn't have a video player many years ago saying the next time I saw her - "I have been speaking with T (her husband) and he said "Did you know you could rent one"? Yes I did but at the time had never felt the need for one. Nor the tumble drier which she found strange that I didn't have.

Am I the only one who cannot understand the current addiction to Cath Kidson and to cupcakes? Why are they so popular I wonder - what am I missing here?
Then of course there is my alternative Christmas ideas - when I mentioned the fact that I wasn't buying gifts and that we might have cheese on toast for Christmas lunch if it was only the two of us as I really can't be fussed with Christmas you might have thought I had said I was going to run away with the gypsies or to join the circus - although actually I quite fancy the idea of living in a converted bus with a goat tied to the back and some hens pecking round but my daughter tells me I wouldn't fit in there either as I wouldn't do drugs!!
I think I probably need to stop wondering and just get on with life - I have made it this far so perhaps it doesn't matter if I am a tad strange?

Saturday, 6 November 2010

No bucket nor spade but a day at the seaside!

No this isn't me - or at least not yet! I do hope these ladies won't mind me posting them on the internet but the photo opportunity was too good to miss. It reminds me of a card given to me once by a friend which has two old dears sitting side by side and says "Life is nothing with out friendship" How true!

As you can tell we went to the seaside today - a trip to Weymouth. There were some seriously expensive boats in the marina here! Look at that sky too!

The Esplanade

The beach

Tide was out so there were acres of firm sand for walking and hardly anyone about apart from a few people with dogs (not allowed on the beach during the summer months so making the most of out of season access)..

We decided to have lunch on the other side of the harbour and had to wait whilst the bridge lifted to allow the boats through. I knew this happened but had never actually witnessed it.

Bridge was lowered and we crossed to the other side - the smell of the seaweed, the cry of the gulls and the sights of the busy harbour all made for a brilliant outing. I returned refreshed and revitalised. Hope your weekend is good too.