Saturday, 20 August 2016

Holidays - Part 2

Thank goodness I have had a holiday before the Olympics - I am exhausted staying up late, watching TV and cheering on all our GB athletes.  What a wonderful Festival of Sport this has been and I have loved every minute of it and today I will be watching the Ladies Golf and cheering on Charley Hull, who is our local hero as she comes from Kettering, just up the road from here. 

Anyway the second, and you may be glad to hear, final instalment of the holidays.  Every Tuesday a local road up to a 'Col' is closed from 10.00am - 12 noon to allow cyclists to ride up without traffic and my son (who had taken his bike on holiday) was delighted that a stage in the 2015 Tour de France was going to be open going up to Alpe d'Huez so off he went and I decided I should go for a Nordic walk.  
The static caravan that was our home.  Steps on right lead up to hot tub!!
I set off walking by the Romanche river, slightly different from the sluggish River Nene at home.  Mountains on all sides.  I walked about five miles, loved it and saw very few people.

Later that day we returned up the 21 hairpin bends to Alpe d'Huez to have a go on the toboggan, though I thought it was more of a 'luge'!  First we had to get to the top on a ski lift, which I have never been on in my life, so that was a bit of an experience and my daughter in law and I watched whilst grandson, age 10, whizzed down -

followed by my son and grand-daughter riding together.
Note the ski lift top left

I suddenly realised that I wanted a go so up to the start where I struggled onto the tray (I am not very good at getting down low!) and down I went

mainly putting on the brake but occasionally accelerating until I got to the bottom where my son pulled me up off the floor as there was a queue forming behind me!  I would have had another go but our rides had run out.  Definitely an activity for the 50+ Adventure Club if there was somewhere in the UK where we could do it!!

Anyway after a short refreshment break we walked to the edge of the town and I took this photo
The town we had come from in the bottom of the valley

It was nearly time for me to come home but on my last day we went to Lake Vernay where we hired a canoe and a pedalo.

I was in the pedalo pedalling like mad with my daughter in law and grand-daughter, whilst son and grandson went out in the canoe -
The waterfall under the road bridge
Looking at the mountains from the middle of the lake

Then the family all piled into a pedalo and had fun while I stood on the bank and took photos of them.
The wind had got up and it was quite choppy!

Finally, my last photo taken on the last day, showing snow still on the mountain.
A wonderful holiday.

Now I must get on with some crafty stuff including crocheting a string bag and making my Mini Mania for August, that hasn't been started yet!!

Friday, 12 August 2016

Holidays - part 1

Since the last post I have been 'en vacances' in France and what a great time it was.  My younger son, M, and his wife, A, and grand-children, B and E, invited me to join them in Rochetaill√©e where they had rented a caravan and I leapt at the chance.  How to get there?  This is a winter sports area, but in the summer there are no flights in that were suitable so I went by train!

Eurostar run a service from London to Marseille and this is what I booked, leaving the train at Lyon and catching a local train on to Grenoble, where the family picked me up and so started a great break. 

The first night we had a violent storm and the rain lashed down but the next day cleared up and was glorious for the rest of my stay.

The first day was quite gentle and we went to Venosc which is a craft village in the mountains.  We climbed a steep path up the mountain though I did not make it far as I had left my walking poles in the car but the others went up a long way.  On the way back we decided to look at the river and then discovered a path to the Cascade de la Pisse de Lanchatra -
River La Veneon
The river was a grey colour because it is melt water from a glacier and is a tributary of the Romanche river which was flowing near our campsite. 
On the bridge over the river
We carried on over the bridge and there it was.  What is the excitement of getting close up to a waterfall?
The family having fun

The following morning was glorious and we went to Bourg-d'Oisins where there was wonderful market.  We tried sausage, cheese, paste made from wild garlic and I had to refrain from buying too much and taking it back for lunch.

On the Sunday we were back at Venosc, but this time we were going up to Les Deux Alpes at 1,650metres;  I would take my 6 year old grand-daughter up by cable car and the others would walk up the mountainside and this what we did and we decided to come back the next day to go up to the Glacier.

Monday was another hot day and by the time we had driven up to Les Deux Alpes the temperature was 25oC, but we had jumpers, coats and sunglasses with us.  Up we went for 20 minutes in the cable car -

we arrived near the top, but there was still the Funicular to go on, but it was going down, not up?

We went down and if you look closely there is a mound on the left from the white building and this was the tunnel through the mountain!!
Little ones in their ski gear
The funicular was full of skiers and tourists and we came out on this view -

and then I saw this
and realised that I was looking at Mont Blanc, the highest mountain peak in the French Alps.  It was an awe inspiring sight and we were about 3,600metres up.  The temperature was 1oC caused by the freezing wind that was blowing hard.
The skiers

We decided that we just had time to visit the Ice Cave sculptures under the glacier -
An elephant baby and it's Mum
and there were some lovely carvings, very well back lit and once carved nothing needed to be done because it is always cold there.  The children, though well wrapped up, were beginning to get cold and so joining the crowds of skiers heading down the mountain we queued for the funicular and were squashed into a cable car.  Back down in Les Deux Alpes it was still hot, hot, hot and we were able to take off the layers of clothes back to summer wear!!

On the way back to the camp site we stopped to view this hydro electric lake with it's gushing waterfall and delightful village behind it.

We had had a brilliant day out.

Monday, 1 August 2016

The final day

No I am not closing the blog down, but I have been very busy at Chester Farm this week before the contractors move in. 

I had a day pot washing and was so excited when I discovered this amongst a bag of pot pieces -
Only about an inch long
 It is metal and has corroded and normally we do not wash metal, but I didn't realise what it was in time.  My first thought was that it was a loop of a belt but it is probably a ferrule from a walking stick and therefore not of great value.  Oh well, another time.
However the following day I was back again at the Farm in a group with some first timers and low and behold they found a Roman coin -
Beginners luck?  Within the same area we found -
Drilled base of a Nene Valley colour coated ware beaker - Roman
and as we were working I told them to stop because this was becoming evident -
An animal of some sort, partially covered with a piece of a Roman 'dog' dish
I am still not sure which part of the skeleton this was as it broke when we got it out of the ground.

Yesterday was the final day of the dig and so there was a lot going on.  All the 'finds' were being bagged and the archaeologists were measuring, plotting on their plans and drawing. 
I was given my own hole to excavate -
View from my hole
My hole
and me in the hole and nearly finished!!!
Note the four round holes in front of me - they are the remains of Medieval  post holes which would have had wooden poles sunk into them.  I did find some pieces of Roman pot but on this occasion the hole was dug just to see what was there or not there.   Some good 'finds' were unearthed elsewhere yesterday -
A 2nd century Roman pot -
the other side
and another
 Some general photos around the farm -
The threshing barn where we had our breaks
The coach house
and this lady kept us company in the threshing barn and never said a word
'Diana' the huntress
We had these little fellas twittering all around us all day -

and my hole got bigger and tidier, with nice straight sides, sharp corners and the bottom was stony, and it was passed as OK.
Hole number 259/260

I was exhausted but happy!!

I promised a photo of my finished shawl
Thanks to L for modelling it for me

and the reveal of our Mini Mania for July -

In August we will be making Dresden Plate - at least three blocks of it.  Ideas are forming!!!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Hard digging

As I mentioned in the last post I have been back at Chester Farm doing archaeological work.  Last week I was in a group excavating at the bottom of a wall.  We found the first pieces of broken glass which were put in the 'finds' tray.  Next was a neck piece of a bottle with 'North' written on it and finally the top and screw stopper with 'NBC' written on - the Northampton Brewery Company!  Not that old after all but a piece of social history.

This is the final week of 'digging' before the contractors come in and start clearing some of the site during August. 

In the picture below the barns in the background will be pulled down.  One of the ladies was excavating the lines of stones you can see in the foreground.

It is thought that these were originally cart tracks that were filled in when they got too deep.  This is the type of fine detail that has to be undertaken on a dig before it is all covered over.  It also adds more information about the history of the site.

Most of the volunteers were working on the main driveway -
Note the stone well in the middle.

I myself was working on a line of ironstone stones that ran across the driveway, at an angle.
Our wheelbarrow is on the right hand side
It was hard, tough, digging with the trowel, as the soil round the stones was very compacted and dry and though there were four of us working on it we all found it hard going.  However by the end of the day it was looking good (no picture - too tired!) and the resident archaeologist was pleased.  Still more to dig out but we had done our stint for the day. 

As the house is at the bottom of a drive there would be extra drainage added to stop flood water entering the house, so was it either part of a Roman road or a soakaway for rainwater;  I shalln't know until I return later this week.

Though I am not allowed to show a picture of it, the 'find' of the week was a bronze Roman ladies hairpin about 8" long and it caused a great deal of excitement.

For relaxation at home and trying not to think about my aching bones, I have been making my 'Mini Mania' for July and it is nearly finished.  This month we have to make 'Seminole', that is a technique I quite  enjoy but would I manage to get anything made during a very busy month?  Well it is nearly complete
and quite small!  I may not get it finished off this month but the top will be completed on time - I hope.

BUT my shawl was finished last night and I have to block it today.  Show you next time.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Frustration and Demolition!

Not all of us in the UK live in large houses; some of us like me have a small house and it was built back in the 1950s when car parking in front/beside your house was not the norm.   I have to park in the road outside my house so imagine my frustration when during the first weekend in May a car parked outside my house AND stayed there.  I contacted the police who said I had no way of getting it moved because it had all the necessary legal requirements for being on the road and though it did not belong to anyone in my road the owner lived in the 'vicinity'!

However in these days of the Internet by putting in the car's registration I could find out some information - whether it was taxed and when the MOT was due which was 6 July 2016.  Brilliant - it had to go to the garage for that and the car duly disappeared so I could park once again outside my house.

In the meantime I was exploring other avenues to get rid of it and decided that I needed a dropped kerb so now I am in the process of applying for one.

This weekend my younger son came to help and this is what we have done -
Front garden in May

Nearly all gone
I have kept the tree, but the wild flower meadow, hedge and wall have all gone -
An overflowing skip!

Whilst the chainsaw was around I raised the canopy of my bay tree

as the bushes around were being swamped.  The bay tree was planted as a small 6 inch plant in 1999 and has just grown!!  I don't know how it got so big; maybe I should have trimmed it more.

From 16-31 July it is the Festival of Archaeology so I shall be at Chester Farm today, working round the old farm buildings.  I haven't been on this part of the farm for sometime so it will be interesting to see what has been found.  Will it be something Roman, Medieval, or Victorian; it's s exciting!!