Sunday, 28 June 2015

Cancellations and thanks

Friday morning was a little overcast as we set out on a new route for our Nordic walking.  I wouldn't normally be out and about on the last Friday of the month because that is smocking class day, but teacher, J, is on her extended holidays so classes were cancelled.

Meeting here we ordered our lunch at the café for later on and set off.  The start was a little 'hairy' to start with as we had to walk on quite busy side roads with no footpath, but as usual our organisers had it all worked out.  However we were cross when we had to limbo under a concrete post that had been put across the designated footpath - well actually we crawled on hands and knees' but difficult getting up at our ages!!

After that the going was relatively easy and once we were on the 'Nene Way' it was easy peasy!  I really wanted to do this walk as we went into an area that I have seen from a distance but never walked before.
Locals will probably recognise where we were as, of course, this is the main railway line between St Pancras and Nottingham, just before Wellingborough, where it curves over the Nene Valley.
I completely failed to get a photo of a train going over, and there were plenty of them, but I was always in the wrong place and when I was in the right place the camera was not on!!  Lovely 5 mile walk in glorious sunshine in the end.

Saturday was another sunny day and I managed to sit in the garden before my 'Kent' son arrived with the family.  Their eldest daughter, P who is 6, made this for me -
A Hama beads coaster for my coffee cup
She was thanking me for having made her a snail.  A lovely card.  We then headed for the small pocket park near me where there is a slide, roundabout and some swings.
However we were completely drowned out by a group of boys who had a small four wheeler with a lawn mower engine which they drove around very fast.  Fortunately it overheated or ran out of fuel - not sure which - and it was pushed away.  Thank goodness!!

Peace descended and we were able to play ball games and chat, which was good fun. 

They were all staying overnight as my son and his wife were going to a party, that included their cousins and my other son so I understand that a good time was had by all.  They did not get back until about 1.00am and have now gone home looking a little bleary eyed!!  I am as well as the children were up and playing at 6.45 this morning and Granny had to provide breakfast, but it was lovely to see them all.  I am off to Kent again later in July.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

TLC - again!!

Before I get onto TLC - again, I am going to have a short rant!!!!

I have just come back from Cambridge where I have tending the vegetable garden and harvesting some great produce, carrots, broad beans, baby beetroot, spinach (planted last year) and radish, but the sight that greeted me under one of the covers made me mad!!
Nibbled perpetual spinach sown this year
The Muntjac had crawled in and eaten the plants at each end of the wire A-frame and left the middle, which it probably couldn't reach!!
The rest of the row was OK
What was quite interesting is that it quite likes some of the weeds as they have been nibbled!!  Happy with that.

Any way back to TLC - Twisted Log Cabin that I wrote about here and in May.  My first square was, quite frankly, and excuse the expression, a pig's ear!!
The original block
I made three more to go with it and then put them together, tah dah -
Whoops - spot the mistake!!!
What to do now as I was running out of fabric and needed to sort this out.  So I did what I always do - I unpicked it and started again.

Piles of bits, but would they fit?
Well here are the blocks finished and all pointing in the right direction and of course a huge lesson learnt!!  Think before you start.

 Finally the tah dah moment:-
The front -

the back
and the two items ready for the Cushion raffle at the Exhibition.

But what a contrast in using different patterns and colours.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Secret Gardens

I have just returned from a visit to:-
Higham Ferrers

I have to say that I did not visit the more remote gardens and concentrated on the middle ones and the tea and cake!

I loved this garden bounded by one of the medieval walls found around the town:-
A lovely rose
 Next to my friends, J and B, where I loved this very tight headed Allium in their front garden.  It is smallish town garden and B is a fanatical gardener and has an established garden in 3 years.  Quite lovely.
Loved these Alliums
I then cut through to Chichele College (showing off a bit here as some of the land surrounding the town is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster) where they also had a 'Craft Fayre.'

A lot of photos to follow -

Inside the Hall
 I was in the Hall two weeks ago for a talk about 'Richard 111 and Greyfriars Dig' and it was very tidy!  No heating in the winter though!
The gallery at the other end of the Hall

The entrance open today and normally closed

The garden restored by the volunteers - beautiful

Exterior of the Hall
I finished my visits with few photos of the town -

The Market Square

The Historic Trail
Next destination was the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, the parish church.

An optical illusion - the church does not bend!!

The Chantry Chapel next to the church
I have managed to squeeze through that tiny little door on the right!!  People were a lot smaller when this was built.
The Cross
 and finally the Bede House

where Higham Piecemakers always hold their Exhibitions and the next one will be in September - got that publicity in!!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Who would be a cow!!!

Last week the 50+ Adventure Club went on a different activity to normal - we had a farm visit!!  However before getting there in the evening I had a fairly traumatic day.

In the morning I had my embroidery class and as I drew up in front of teacher's house, her husband pointed out to me that I had a puncture.  It was not absolutely flat because I would have heard and felt it whilst driving, but the tyre was very low to the ground.  What to do??  Well I don't pay a monthly amount for breakdown cover for nothing so I contacted them and within a short time they arrived, changed the wheel for my spare and in between I carried on with my embroidery - easy peasy!! 

BUT I had arranged to go on a walk in the afternoon before the Farm Visit and I had to get a new tyre fitted and my time frame was quite tight so my walk was cancelled and I would meet everyone at the pub for supper before the walk.  Excellent meal and then off to the farm.
Wellington boots were donned and off we walked to meet the herd of pedigree Ayrshire cows and the bulls.  The farm supply Long Clawson dairy with milk for their Stilton Cheese which means that it has to have a high fat and protein content and Ayrshires were deemed by this farm as the best.

The bull runs with the herd and the pregnancy cycle of cows was explained to us.  There were some amongst us who did not realise that, like us, cows only produce milk after having a calf!!  They are not like hens that lay eggs all the time.  The calves are kept overnight with their mothers to get the colostrum, before being taken away either to stay on the farm if they are heifers (young females) or sent for fattening if bull calves.  Meanwhile the cow will produce milk for the next nine months or so (decreasing in amount and quality) until it is time for the bull to take an interest again.
Less than a day old calf
I was brought up about a farm and in those days I think it was all a lot more laid back compared with the very business like farming today and it is very hard work.

In this blog I mention that I signed up for a Sustrans long bike ride.  Well I was worried, because I am not a particularly competent  rider and haven't been on a ride for ages so it was with some trepidation that I arrived.  The people were all very friendly as we set out at a reasonable speed and for a while I was able to keep up but as we got out into the countryside I started to fall back.  I was accompanied and encouraged all the way but after about 8 miles I realised that I could not cope, my legs were like lead, my bottom was sore and I was holding up the group as they waited for me, so I turned round and left them to return to the start.  What a wimp I felt, BUT straightaway I felt better, I was enjoying myself, seeing the wildlife and the countryside and it was fun!!  On a very quiet country road, I turned a corner, and at about midday, a large dog fox crossed the road in front of me.  I watched him disappear down the edge of a field.  No camera available unfortunately.

However as I got near to the end I had to go through an underpass under a major road and I spotted this artist at work:-

Well this was an opportunity for a chat and he showed me that what he is spraying is a word and though he had a rough plan it was mostly done freehand.  Very clever and he was happy to talk. 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A day out ......... Part 3 continued

This is Part 3 in a very busy week I have had and this post is about the day out that I had arranged for the 50+ Adventure Club and which started very early last Sunday morning, when we were picked up by a coach and headed for London. 
I think we knew where we were!!
Last summer we climbed over the Dome but this year it was called the London Experience as we were dropped off on London Bridge.   No photos here as it was very dark and no photography inside.  The story of London Bridge was told from Roman times to the present and it was scary!!  Next we were herded into a dungeon, eventually being let out and formed up in a line.  For some reason I was leading with someone's hands on my shoulder and off we went in very little light and all sorts of scary things coming at me in the dark.  I did shriek once or twice and was quite glad eventually get out into daylight but it was very good and I would recommend it to anyone BUT not for children under 11. Then to Hays Wharf for lunch where we saw this very interesting ship that reminds me of something but I cannot think what - maybe Captain Nemo's submarine?

I took the photo below on our way to the next 'experience'......

The three new buildings in the middle are (left to right) the WalkieTalkie, the Cheese Grater and of course the GherkinAt the front behind the trees and completely dwarfed by these three buildings is the Custom HouseNext door is the old Billingsgate Market.  The Walkie-Talkie has a sloping side and when first built it was setting cars on fire because it was reflecting the suns rays!!! 

Our next 'experience' was this iconic structure which I think needs very little introduction:-
... of course, Tower Bridge, the most famous bridge in the World!!
The walkways between the two towers is open to the public and now has a glass floor!!  Lots of photos to follow:-
South bank - the Armadillo and the Shard

Behind the trees on the left is the Tower of London

Looking down on the traffic and pedestrians

Looking downriver to Canary Wharf

.. and using a very long lens - Royal Observatory, Greenwich
However the highlight of the trip was this .....
The bridge lifting (dots are in the glass floor)

A Thames sailing barge going through

Bridge closing
In order to get these three photos for you I waited on the centre spot and elbowed anyone out of the way who thought they would have centre spot!!!!  The bridge lift times are on the Tower Bridge website and there is usually one or two every day.  Note the four black holes in each edge of the bridge - explanation to follow further down.

After this excitement (and I was excited!) we went down to the engine room where the Victorian engines are beautifully maintained, but no longer used.  Tower Bridge is now computerised and all electric.
The engines still go round
If you look carefully at the photo above you can see the original little oil containers with beautiful brass tops.

This photo is one of original metal pins that slot into the bridge when it closes.  You can see the black holes on the edge in an earlier photo.  Nowadays they are square pins in square holes!!

Finally we walked to the Tower of London to catch our coach and so home through a very traffic jammed London.
The Tower of London
We had a brilliant day and each time I go I love London despite the traffic, the people and on this day, the heat.  So much to do, so much to see and you are never short of somewhere to eat.

PS I am trying an experiment - go to my Facebook page and see the video.  Let me know if it does/doesn't work