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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Will and I go on some trips

Over the Easter break I still looked after Will on a Tuesday, but our little playgroup that we normally go to in the morning was closed so I had to think of other things to do.  My first ideas are always to go to Stanwick Lakes as the Adventure Playground is such fun and they have some wonderful water features for the children to play in. 
He insisted on coming down on his tummy

Yesterday, though sunny, had a bitterly cold North wind, but we went to Castle Ashby.  I had heard that it had a menagerie and a children's playground so off we went and arrived at about the same time as a coachload of schoolchildren!  Anyway we walked though the gardens -
Cricket pavilion and ground in front of ....
 
the house
 

Will on the stone seat
 
The Orangery
 
The Mulberry Tree

We walked towards the Menagerie singing "Round and round the Mulberry bush" though I couldn't remember any of the words and this bush is about 200 years old!!

We arrived at the animals at the same time as the coachload of children so were a little pushed about as they all wanted to 'stroke' the large 19 year old tortoise.  We enjoyed the meerkats -


the Kunekune pigs
There were three

the marmosets, pygmy goats, rabbits, guinea pigs and assorted birds.  Oh, and a chicken which was causing the children some worry as it had got into the pig enclosure and looked as if it might get squashed by them playing and racing round and round!! 

Time for lunch and after that the playground.  Will loved this caterpillar and spent a long time playing on it -


probably because the schoolchildren had finished their picnic lunch and had taken over the playground and the caterpillar was too babyish.  A fun day out near to home.

Recently I went over to Cambridge to work on the kitchen garden.  I haven't done much since last summer because my son has redesigned this area and though very much a 'Work In Progress' it is coming on.


There will be three raised beds with plenty of room to walk between them.  The first has the root crops - potatoes, carrots and beetroot, the second nearly finished will be courgettes (Zucchini)  and giant pumpkins grown especially for Halloween.  The third is still to be worked on and should be Runner and French beans with sweetcorn.  I am growing all these items in my greenhouse and I hope the beds will be ready before they are!!  We could still have a frost at night if this bitterly cold weather is anything to go by.

I have still been doing various volunteering projects at Chester Farm, including leading guided tours, finds marking and land clearance.  However I did go to a very useful update meeting and learnt about the single skeleton found during a recent excavation around the farm buildings.  The volunteers found two pots
 
 


and in the late afternoon another piece of pot that they decided to leave until the next day.  Next day it was discovered that it was a skull, and immediately under the terms of their contract, the contractors closed the site and called the police as they thought it might be a murder!!  However once the police were advised that this was Roman they lost interest and work carried on on this teenage Roman girl.  She was buried with  broken bracelet (please excuse the quality of the photos as these items were in boxes and I didn't want to touch them)
Broken bracelet from a teenage female skeleton

The following items were also shown to us
Roman buckle (I think!)
 

Hairpin
 

Roman glass (what a lovely sheen)
 

Roman needle
 

Samian ware with a maker's mark


Monday, 17 April 2017

They're back!!

Absolutely ridiculous I know, but when I saw this one I got so excited -
Please turn round!
 

Thank you

A few years ago I had a large flock of these on the Nyger seed on my bird table and suddenly they all left and this Goldfinch returned a few weeks ago with another one so maybe there will be young ones.  By the way this was a full container a few days ago!!

I have had a busy week since the last blog I posted.  Last weekend the whole family came to me for Sunday lunch and the grandchildren were particularly interested in this nest  found in the garden.
A blackbird's nest with egg
 


They loved seeing how it was made;  look at the top picture and see the thin strands of black polythene.  Where did it come from; not my garden?  There is some sheep's wool in the bottom picture.

On Friday (Good Friday) I was invited out to lunch by my son in Cambridge.  We had an excellent meal but on the way home I had to 'sing for my supper' so to speak.  "We must put the covers on the cricket pitch in case it rains," so a first for me as I helped to do this.
Love my handbag in the middle!!
 
Little E waiting for Daddy's help
 
Grandson lacing them up

A photo was also taken of the three generations pushing the covers on.  No doubt it will appear in my 2018 calendar!  I love these calendars which I receive every year because it charts the children growing up and the adults getting older!!

My Easter weekend has been spent making things and a small amount of gardening.  While I was in Cambridge my son gave me some of 'Dad's lilies'.  My husband died in July 2005 and it was extremely hot and we had a big container of lilies on the patio and the smell was absolutely wonderful and my sons still remember those lilies so I gave them some each.  Unfortunately my lilies died but the boy's have lived on and so I brought some bulblets back from Cambridge and planted them up.


Let 's hope they grow big with lots of lovely smelling flowers.

I decided that I had to make this kit up as Higham Piecemakers may make it in July.
A Craft Carry Caddy
 
...and no stitching
 
I bought the kit here at the Knitting and Stitching Show last year and the fabric is a Japanese print that I bought at Duxford Quilt Show in March.

Whilst I waited for the glue to set at each stage (I took my time to make sure everything was done right) I also made my April Mini Mania of 'Triangles'.
Just a sneaky peek

Finished with plenty of time to spare - hooray.  Oh and I have cut out hospital pyjamas and gowns as well for Pyjama Fairies, just got to make them up.

Phew - back to normal tomorrow!!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Regimental drilling

Goodness me, it has been a while since I blogged, but I have been so busy!  No excuse but here goes.

The other weekend I went and played 'Footgolf' with the 50+ Adventure Club on a local course.  Now I used to play normal golf quite frequently and though never particularly good I really enjoyed it and occasionally had a good score.  Well, I was rubbish at footgolf.  Please follow this second link and you will see how it should be played.
 
This was the first person off the tee and the more experienced footie players amongst you will probably say that her technique is not brilliant; but neither was mine and at least she kicked the ball further than me!!  My whole game went steadily downhill from the start, but at least I didn't go in a bunker!  One person did and must have taken about 6 kicks to get out. BUT as you can see the sun was shining, we were in good company and finished the game with a meal in the clubhouse and I had to do the write-up of the activity for our newsletter because my team were bottom in the table.

What I did notice was that there were a great many teenagers/youngsters out playing the game and getting some fresh air.  Good for them.

Next day I went to Chester Farm as I was leading a guided walk during the afternoon.  We had visitors from back in time 
1639 - 1644

who had set up camp for the day.


and were showing visitors how people would have made things back in the 17th century.
Making 'lead' shot for the muskets

Not actually lead because of the Health and Safety implications of working with it, but the same technique using pewter.  The pewter is melted over a fire then poured into a mould and finally cooled on the ground.

Then the drilling started
Marching to the drummer
 
Getting organised
 
Firing their muskets - very noisy!
 
Drilling with pikes that are about 20 foot long
 
The pikemen running; quite difficult with the long pikes

It was a really interesting display and then I took my guided walk party round the site.  I think they enjoyed it.

Last week I had two finishes to show at Higham Piecemakers group.  The first was our Christmas 2016 challenge.

We had been given a fat quarter of fabric
Dreadful colour and I don't like it!

and told to make anything using a Fractured Star block.  So here is mine -
The front of the zipped bag - variation 1

The back - variation 2

The same block just a slight variation in layout and placement of fabrics and a useful bag for a class

March Mini Mania was tessellations, so the first thing was to see what that meant.  Once I got my head round it I found a number of patterns but I went for this - Snail's Trail.  We were only allowed to use three colours, blue, green and orange and personally I could have done without the green but I am pleased with the finished result.
About 10" finished

April is all about triangles and again I have found my pattern, now I must keep it small!!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Lock-In

I had hoped to write a bright and photo heavy blog last weekend but I am the biggest idiot ever.

Saturday dawned sunny and bright with an easterly breeze and was the day that the 50+ Adventure club were going to do the Orienteering Course at Stanwick Lakes.  I had all the packs and prizes for the teams and I waved them off at the start and returned to my car to get my walking pole and camera as I definitely wanted a walk on this glorious Spring day.  I closed the boot (US - trunk) and realised I had locked my keys in there!!!  The day went downhill after that.  I should point out that I can have the boot open with the rest of the car locked.

What to do?

- "We can run you home to pick up the spare" - Home key is on same key ring as car keys!
- "what about your spare key?" - In the boot in my handbag!
- "Who are your breakdown assistance?" - On my mobile phone in my handbag .....

and so it went on.  However with the help of staff at Stanwick Lakes I got a phone number to ring and TWO hours later they turned up. Eventually they opened the car and I got the keys back, but in the meantime the groups of Orienteers had finished the course, had had a coffee and a snack and most had gone home so the winners and losers did not get their prizes!!  I delivered them all this morning.

Yesterday's 'Will' day was sunny and warm and after going to 'Rhyme Tyme' at Bedford library he said he wanted to see the swans.  We walked along the Embankment and I noticed two eggs in a nest on an island in the river.  I zoomed in the camera and this is what we saw
"A crocodile" said Will

Wow, this walk was proving an adventure!

We dawdled in the sun in Russell Park and then headed for home.  There were traffic jams in the roads which is very unusual and I had trouble getting across with Will and we came to one where the police were in great numbers and stopping traffic.  What was going on?

"Oh it's Bedford's turn for the Edgar Mobbs Memorial rugby match and there will be a march past on the way back to the Bedford Blues Rugby Ground"  The Parachute Regiment band and members of the Mobbs family could be seen at the war memorial on the Embankment.  Will and I waited and then they came marching up the road
 


The 'soldiers' all looked very young and so I think they were local cadets and their boots made no sound!  Marching soldiers make a lot of noise.

My 'Moorland' blanket from Attic24 is coming along nicely and I am very pleased with it.


Last week at Higham Piecemakers we had a 'Hen' night project and here is my contribution


These 'hens' could either be place mats or turned into a table runner.  I have chosen mine as a placemat and she is such fun!!  I love the background fabric as well - A Hen Rietta Morning by Clothworks.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Orienteering

I have had my Cambridge grandchildren for the weekend as Mum and Dad went to London for a catch up with friends.

Yesterday I took them Orienteering at Stanwick Lakes and after purchasing the 'pack' ,which included a compass though I doubt it is impossible to get lost, we set out to find the first post on the map provided

and noticed this wonderful gnarled Willow tree


before arriving at the Iron Age house, which was a hit because of the mud outside!
A little drafty to live here!

Onto the next posts


and feet were beginning to drag so refreshment was taken before we went onto the Adventure trail.
 

The zip wire is always a great hit and it has been upgraded lately and zips along beautifully and easily.

There were flocks of Canada Geese flying around and, more unusually, a great many swans.  I managed to get a quick shot in of these two flying over;  we knew they were coming because of the noise the wings make in flight.  One 'bevy' (swans in flight) had about 10 - 15 birds which I have never seen before.
 

Finally a quick paddle around the playground!!

Today was something quite different, but again at Stanwick Lakes.
Dr Who had arrived.  This Dalek was scary because it suddenly started to move when there was no-one around and it was 'exterminating' everyone!

The Tardis was there and then the Doctors arrived and the children helped at the control panel
 

However as soon as these arrived
The Scarecrows

Ellie freaked out and refused to stay and so we had to go.  Never mind they might come another day.

Mini Mania for March is complete though you are only going to get a sneaky peak -

The theme is Tessellations and we can only use three colours - blue, green and orange.

My Higham Piecemakers Christmas Challenge 2016 is also complete but I am not showing this until after our 'reveal' in April.  Just three projects left to complete and all timebound!!  Why do I put myself under such pressure?