Friday, 16 September 2016


Monday morning was quite warm and sticky when we set out on our Nordic walk in Stanwick Lakes and we decided to see how the sloes were coming on.  This route takes us through the Adventure playground (no children - they were at school), along beside the River Nene and past the lock and sluice attached to it.  What's this ahead?  A huge expanse of green duckweed, old bull rushes, tin cans and rubbish were backed up against the floats protecting the sluice and lock.  It looked so horrendous that even moorhens were able to walk over it.  The canoe portage was cut off by the mess.

Two men in orange jackets were peering into the sluice.  Well we are a nosey group so this had to be explored and they were checking the bridgework over the sluice.  I complained about the messy river and they told us that divers were coming and would be informed.

DIVERS - I had visions of fully kitted men with helmets and oxygen on their backs, but we decided to come back later in the walk and see them; so that is what we did.

We passed three Environment Agency vans and one divers van and this is what greeted us.
How many men does it take to look at a sluice?

The divers were diving -
- in hard hats and standing on the bottom!!!!

But look at the green duckweed - they had opened the gates and the rubbish was clear and all the duckweed was going downstream. 
The 'roaring' River Nene

Well done to them for clearing it all up and why was all this inspection going on - because Stanwick Lakes want to install a water turbine to generate electricity for the Visitor Centre!!

That same afternoon I had to go to Cambridge to collect my grandchildren from school, but we were doing a detour via The Leys School because the Davis Cup was still on its tour of the UK.

The children were not as excited by it as me but agreed to a photo (no faces because I have learnt how to do this).  This is the second time I have seen it and I am still as pleased to see it.  It is still touring and on Monday 100+ children turned up to play tennis.  It has to be good for the tennis legacy.

I am pleased to say that I have now gained my full 'fairy wings' from Pyjama Fairies so my work is up to standard and I could make up orders if I wanted.  However I prefer to make for stock - not so much stress.  Hope to make more garments over the weekend and start my Flying Geese Mini Mania - no pressure then.

I shall not be blogging again until after Yarndale which is a week away - so excited and I feel I might be spending money.  Yippee for Yarndale.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

My enthusiasm has returned!!

At last after a long wait my enthusiasm has returned after deserting me during August.  I was going to write 'mojo' but I thought I would check what it actually meant and guess what it means -  'libido' which is not quite what I meant!!!!

During August I didn't do much sewing, crochet or anything at all but suddenly it has returned.  I completed my 'mini mania' for August -
Three Dresden plates

The second was supposed to be half the size of the first but things never go quite right for me and so it was only slightly smaller!  September's Mini Mania is Flying Geese which I don't think I have ever done before.

I am completing another set of items for Wrap Pyjama Fairies and have bought lots of fabric to start making gowns/pyjamas with a new pattern for teenagers.  I find making these garments very therapeutic and hope that in some small way, I am helping them with their stay in hospital.

The weather has been good lately, but Monday's Nordic walk started in a fine drizzle so we had waterproof jackets on.  However it soon became apparent that we would get very hot, so off they came and eventually the misty drizzle cleared. 
No movement in the 'sluggish' River Nene

We pressed on and came to one of our favourite bridges.  Why 'favourite' - well we cannot cross it, but with the ongoing building of Rushden Lakes we are hoping that instead of being a "Bridge to nowhere" it will become a "Bridge to somewhere".

This photo was taken through a slit in the boarding which has gone up to stop anyone trying to cross.

Tuesday was my 'Will' day in Bedford and we had a trip to the park.  This 2 year old little boy is absolutely fearless and loves the 'wobbly bridge' and runs across with no problem, while it sways and bumps up and down.

This slide was very high, yet he scrambled up the cargo net, climbed a wooden ladder, got to the top and whizzed down.  I was terrified as I could only watch all this going on!!
 Finally today I cut the grass, watered and fed the tomatoes in the greenhouse and decided that I had to write this blog!!  Oh and I picked my first Aubergine (eggplant) - now what shall I make.  Still three more on the plant - best year ever.  The Pepper (capsicum) plant is going well and I have had one so far and still more to come.
Very rude tomato at the front

The little orange tomatoes are Sungold and are delicious.  They never get to the house as I stand eating them straight off the vine!  I bite them and get an absolute zing in the mouth.  Highly recommend.

Tomorrow is crochet group where I will continue with my very, very difficult cardigan, but more about that in another blog.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Is summer nearly over?

The summer holiday is almost over in the UK, and the children will be going back to school in another week or so.  I lay in bed this morning thinking what a long month August has been and it has not come to an end yet!  I have deliberately kept my calendar as clear as possible so I could have a 'staycation' at home, after my French holiday.  I have done very little sewing, embroidery or crochet, but have read, watched the Olympics and done some gardening and I have really enjoyed it.

Last week I had grandchildren, B and E, to stay for a couple of nights and we had a great day at Irchester Country Park.  As the children are now 10 and 6 they could try the Adventurer course in the Jungle Parc and they loved it -

 so much so that I couldn't get B of it as he wanted to keep going round and round!  They have different courses according to age/height so he was able to go high up. 
Next day we went down to the Adventure Course at Stanwick Lakes.  We got there early as the it was a beautiful morning and I knew it would get busy very quickly.
The 'sluggish' River Nene in the foreground, gravel pits in the background

I loved seeing this small family -

but by 10.30am we were in the café so I could have a coffee and they had ice creams and then home as the site was packed.

I have been to crochet group and decided to make one of these -
A string bag!!

If you are of a certain age this will take you back!!  Actually it was made from rug wool which the group has been given in abundance and is brilliant as it doesn't stretch too much.  I adapted the top to give me longer and thicker handles.  Should be useful when I visit Yarndale at the end of September.

Mini Mania is due to be finished on Wednesday and all I remembered was that it had to be three Dresden Plates and small, so two days ago I drew my sizing's, selected the fabric and got going.  I will say that, as usual, anything I make from my own patterns never seem to work very well and this was no exception so after a false start I got going.
Is this small enough??

And this is as far as I have got so onwards and upwards.  It will be finished on time!

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 RochetaillĂ©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!!!