Tuesday, 7 January 2020

New Year and a new post

May I wish you all a very happy New Year and my thoughts are with my readers in Australia.  It must be quite horrendous and I cannot begin to think how people cope with this.  We in the UK, may moan about our weather, either too wet, too cold or too hot but we don't usually have to contend with massive fires like this.  At the end of 2019 we have just had massive quantities of rain and where I live in Northamptonshire, the River Nene valley has had controlled flooding to prevent the town of Northampton from floods.  It has made my Nordic Walking group walks difficult; where to go without getting our feet wet, but we have managed.  We managed this one
only to come up against this one
which looked a little deep. long and actually fast flowing over the path so we had to turn round and go back through the first flood again!!

I had a lovely Christmas with my whole family in Kent.  I had to avoid floods getting there but the weather wasn't too bad on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Before I went I made these
A few mince pies to keep us going!

and this Artisan Apron
the pattern for which can be found here.  

On Christmas Eve we all went to the Christingle Service in church  and I noticed that the men in my family are almost the same height and my grandson (age13) is as tall as me now - 5'10' (1.76metres) and the two sons are well over 6 foot and I have to look up at them.
Younger son, grandson, older son
 Stockings were laid out for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve night

and so we had a lovely family Christmas.  Yes, Father Christmas did come - phew, but opening these was too early in the morning for me to take a photo!!

Boxing Day is always very relaxed and younger son and family left to go to his in-laws for the rest of the holiday and with older son's family I went into town for the Boxing Day 'meet' of the local hunt.  I know that this is a very emotive subject and in the UK hunting animals with hounds is now banned by law, so this was a drag hunt, but the anti-hunt brigade were out in full force.  I think it is still a wonderful sight.  I apologise for the quality of the these photos but as usual I pressed the wrong button and got a video!!  These are from the video

A very small pony!

What these photos don't show is that it was pouring with rain so we went home and worked on a jigsaw puzzle 
that was completed by the end of the day!!

I have my birthday on New Years Eve and I had a lovely time with my son in Cambridge and we went out to lunch, followed by the pantomime which is always a 'must see' at this time of the year.  My granddaughter aged 10 made this cake for me, with the only help being to put it in the oven and take it out as it was hot.
I was very impressed and it was delicious, so well done her.

Friday, 20 December 2019

A Happy Christmas

I have had a very difficult November and had been planning a post during the month, but it never materialised and I was in danger of not getting up to date for Christmas.  However I can report that, after panicking, I have caught up with myself and only have mince pies to make on Sunday.

With some friends I went to a wreath making workshop here and we knew that as it was only 2 hours long we would not be using a basic ring and bound with moss.  We were given a ring of floral foam (Oasis) set into another solid ring and already wet.  Lots of greenery was provided but plus other items and voila, after 2 hours 

and some dried orange, berries, glitter, a bow etc it is now hanging on my front door.

I was unable to attend a Higham Piecemakers workshop in October when members would be making an indoor wreath.  However I was lucky enough to have help in cutting out the shapes from SH a member of CUC (we call them Cock Up Corner but they make lovely things!!) and made this
I love it and released my inner designer self!!

Luckily I had made my Christmas cake at the end of October and it was maturing well through November and then a week ago I put on the almond paste
 and have just finished icing it  I used to spend hours doing smooth royal icing and decorating with piped icing, but now it is rough iced with some treasured figures that are used each year.
I only make the cake for my younger son and a little bit for myself, but when I asked whether one was needed this year, he said "Christmas may as well be cancelled" so here it is.

Finally Higham Piecemakers had their Christmas Parties this week and the Monday ladies always have a bring and share lunch

(the desserts were elsewhere!) and as usual there was a great deal to eat and this was followed by raffles and games.  BUT the final item is distribution of the Christmas Challenge and for 2019 we must -

"Make a 3D item of your choice using the pack of paper pieces provided.  You can use the shape alone or applique it.  You also have a fat quarter of fabric which you can use of not, but it would be nice to see it used in some way.  You have until 30 March 2020!"

My brain is working overtime and I will not start it until the New Year as so many ideas are whizzing around.

My apologies for the shortness of this blog, but I have had a very difficult end of the year, but may I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a good New Year to you and your families.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Spooky goings on

The day after my last post I incurred an injury whilst walking that has laid me up for a few weeks, hurt to go up and down stairs and generally made me feel grumpy and not wanting to write the blog.

However I am now back to normal and though I am struggling to walk too far feel that I can now 'put pen to paper' so to speak.  Actually I wonder if I am the only person who struggles to actually put pen to paper.  My hand wobbles, my thoughts race ahead and there is a general blur in my mind, all of which I put down to typing all the time!!  I have lost the knack of hand writing with a pen.

Anyway here goes - I have had two outings with the 50+ Adventure club (we've changed our website so do have a look) in the last month. The Autumn Walk and lunch and our Halloween trip to Nottingham.

I have no photos for the walk but we all met up in Sandy on a lovely day and made our way into the Riddy along the River Ivel where we had to cross a ditch with some water in it.  The temporary planks looked rickety so I decided to cross on tussocks of grass but put my foot on some and immediately sank up to my knees in water!!!!  Great hilarity for the group, but my waterproof boots filled with water over the top and I sloshed for the rest of the walk!!  The boots were so well waterproofed that the outsides were dry before I got back to the car but the insides were still full of water!!  However the lunch made up for any discomfort!

So to our annual Halloween trip and this was a first as we had to book our own train tickets to Nottingham for two 'Adventures' later in the day!!  We all managed that and had the morning to ourselves, so the group I was with headed to the Justice Museum.  I loved it and took many photos -
Made of Lego
and read this to see what a criminal looks like
'a thief could be identified by small wandering eyes!!'
This truncheon was used at the Peterloo Massacre 

and my friends sat in the original dock from Bow Street Magistrates Court
with a photo in front of them of some of the people who would have sat there, including Oscar Wilde, Roger Casement, Dr Crippen and Ethel Neave and in more recent times Jeffrey Archer.  Go to the link above for Bow Street and you can see what these people were there for.  After lunch in their rather chaotic cafe we went on quick walk round the lace quarter, now turned into flats etc
The Adams entrance 
Our first organised walk was in the sandstone caves under the city.  Considering how soft sandstone is it is amazing that there is a shopping centre above!
The tannery in the caves
 Lots of talk here about pee and poo being used in medieval times in the tanning process!!  Children and the 50+ Adventure Club love it!!
The tanning pits using poo and pee!!

More tanning with oak bark in these pits
 The caves were also used as air raid shelters in the second World War.
The basement kitchen of a dwelling
Great walk and then a visit to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem for a drink and meal before the ghost walk 
Even this pub is set into the sandstone cliffs below the Castle.  It was packed but we had a reserved room, thank goodness!  When it got dark we went on our ghost walk along the castle walls 
Guess who this statue is?  Answer at the bottom -
So ended a very busy, but enjoyable day.

I have been doing some crafty things:-

This is an ongoing smocking project for a file cover tht holds all my patterns.  The last bay tree is supposed to look like that as I will not be using it.  In the meantime I have started this Christmas decoration ring 
All will be revealed in a few weeks!

Sock Club continues and I am making a new pair
 from this book by Winwick Mum and I have also bought another one by her.
I can't wait to have a go at the pattern on the front!!

Answer to photo above - Robin Hood 

Monday, 16 September 2019

Norfolk week with friends Part 2

As I had already walked 16+ miles over three days, on the third day I decided to go and explore on my own. In fact I went with 'L' and we had a great morning in a very strong wind!

I had booked us on a boat for a 'Seal Trip' so we headed off to Morston Quay an hour earlier than booked in the hopes that we could catch an earlier boat, but our provider was not there but another boat was, so after paying we hopped on just as it was departing.  I hadn't paid the other people!!  What a morning we had.

It was quite calm even at high tide, but we could see the breakers in the distance, looking very stormy!  We passed this moored up, East Coast Sailing Barge,
flocks of gulls fishing,
until we arrived at Blakeney Point and the open sea!  The captain of our boat managed to turn it so that we could get in close to see the seals, but it was rough, with plenty of spray.

So many of them hauled up on the shingle - both common and grey seals - who took no notice of us
except this one who came quite close to the boat.

We saw the old lifeboat station
and then it was announced that we could get off the boat for an hour (and would be picked up later thank goodness!) and we could walk around and explore.  Off we got, the boat left
and I personally wondered it the boat would return because it was a long walk back to the mainland!!

L and I explored the Old Lifeboat Station and discovered that three wardens live there from the Spring until November.  
I loved seeing the little clumps of Sea Thrift clinging close to the ground in this exposed position made up of shingle.
In the Old Lifeboat Station there were boards explaining how Blakeney Point was formed 
Double click to get a bigger picture

and this explains that nature has built up the shingle over hundreds of years and is still doing it.  On the return journey we saw more Turnstones (see last blog) very well camouflaged and taking no notice of us!

While waiting for the boat to return I explored a little and then came to a shallow beach and saw this!
A Common Seal pup about 36 inches long

This made my day and I took so many photos and even a little video of him.  I did show our warden who said he was a quite late pup, in good condition and just sunning itself.  He would keep and eye on it, though I did see a seal quite close in the water so that may have been Mum!

We were picked up by the boat and after lunch we drove back to Wells.  It was mid afternoon and I decided to ride the Wells to Walsingham Railway.  It was delightful
Turning  round to go to the front

if a little drafty as the carriages are open.

That evening most of the group met up in Wells, for our final evening meal before returning home after a memorable week away.