Monday, 31 October 2016

Oh Deer!

I ticked off another item on my invisible 'Bucket List' the other weekend!  I went on a Deer Walk.

That might sound very boring, but in the UK at this time of the year the 'rut' is going on in herds of deer and I have never seen it before.  I have seen it on nature programmes on TV but never live, so this is what we were going to see.  I was excited!!

We met in Bradgate Park in Leicestershire and for our morning walk we walked up to 'Old John' which was quite hard going, passing the remains of the Elizabethan house which was the ancestral home of Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen for 9 days, before being executed. 
The little 'huts' are litter bins!!
Old John with the war memorial on the left of the photo

After a short break and a look at the 'map'

we walked over to the War Memorial and so back to the start for lunch, passing some very old, but still living mainly oak trees.

A legend says that when Lady Jane Grey was executed the tops of all the trees in the park were cut off and there are some very old and gnarled ones.

A Ranger joined us in the afternoon and we went into the private deer sanctuary hearing the 'bellowing' of the stags all the time, as indeed we had in the morning as well.  Luck was on our side though and in a clearing in the woods we came on a small group of Fallow Deer Does with their Buck (Fallow Deer have bucks and does, Red Deer have stags and hinds) who was a splendid example.
Fallow Deer have palmate horns
I should apologise for the standard of photography.  They were in dappled woodland and at a distance.
A very noisy buck
There was a buck close by who was making our buck very worried protecting his 'girls'.  Eventually there was nothing more than to lock horns and fight it out.

The interloper ran off and our 'Buck' had his wicked way with one of his females - and though I managed a very blurry photo as proof, I am not putting it on here!!

Meanwhile there were some Red Deer close by with a huge stag in charge, but unfortunately I couldn't close enough to get a good photo before he ran off.  I did get this one of a young adult and a doe, with Fallow Deer on the left.
Nearly a 'Monarch of the Glen'

We were able to get close to our Fallow Deer as the buck was more concerned about his rivals than us!

A wonderful walk.

A quick update on the parking area that was finished after 3.5 days and I am really pleased with it. 
Now to tidy up the garden!!

The Mini Mania for October has finished and it has been quite controversial - Joseph's Coat.
My first effort was literal -
Only about 8" high
but after a think I decided on this

Roughly 10" square, I used Invisible Machine Applique, which is a technique I learnt after attending a workshop given by Dawn Cameron Dick.  Brilliant technique!!

Now to see what we have to do in November.

Friday, 21 October 2016

At last it's started!!

The workmen arrived this week at last, brilliant. 

But how did this all start?

At the beginning of May a car parked in front of my house and stayed, and stayed and stayed  for seven weeks.  I contacted the police to see if they could get it removed, but they said that it was fully taxed and therefore it could not be removed and the owner lived in the "vicinity".  In the UK if your car is taxed you can park in front of anyone's house unless the kerb is dropped to allow access or there are any other restrictions.  I had none of these in front of my house so they couldn't help.

However, I did discover that the car was due to have an MOT test and this meant it would have to go to a garage for testing and while it was away I parked my car - SORTED!!  It was driven back to my road and parked further up though.  I couldn't risk this happening again so I decided that I would turn my front garden into a parking area and have the kerb dropped at the same time.  This takes time (five weeks) as a licence is required from the County Council and the builders had to contact FIVE service providers; gas, electricity, water, cable TV, telephone.

But at long last they are here and working
Lovely son cut down the hedge and knocked down the wall but hedge
is sprouting in the meantime!

Path being dug up

Digger making short work of the stumps
They arrived on Wednesday morning just after I had got out of the shower and I greeted them in my dressing gown.  They moved my car for me and ever since then I seem to have been making cups of tea and providing biscuits but the work is moving on and they have been so polite and helpful.
A digger in the front garden!  Oh little Will would love this.
Getting there
The 'Terram' has been laid
More hardcore required

Well today they have finished the pavement and the tarmac is laid, but the parking area is still ongoing.

I will update as and when.

Meanwhile on the crafty side I went to the re-opening of a local craft warehouse, Colemans and bought this unusual crochet 'fibre' just on a whim!!
I decided to make a bowl and though I found it quite hard on the fingers it did not take long to make.  It felt as if I was using 'raffia', but the amazing thing is that at the end you spray it with water to shape it!!
The finished bowl

Anyway, Mini Mania for October beckons; anyone know how to make 'Joseph's Coat'?  I have seen many variations so will have to gamble which one is right!!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Zoo time

It has been a fairly quiet week and I have actually had some time to myself.  However Tuesday was my normal 'Will' day so my sister and I took him to Hamerton Zoo.  When we arrived there were two coaches in the car park with 90 children and their teachers and helpers and we were concerned that they would be noisy and in our way, but we hardly saw them, so they must have been very busy doing school work!

This is a lovely little zoo, with a mixture of lemurs, meerkats, gibbons (very noisy) hanging around, a large wallaby enclosure, cheetahs -

tigers, both white and Malaysian -
Will thought it looked like his cat at home

some Reindeer -
A Reindeer stag 'wrestling' the fence!

 and circling low overhead was a Red Kite.  It swooped down into the zoo and had something in its talons that it took into a nearby tree.  I grabbed my camera but unfortunately it had the sun behind it so not a good picture -

 We didn't think it was any of the animals that had been caught, but there was a great deal of food lying about, including dead day old chicks being fed to small carnivores.

I haven't been 'pot washing' of the finds at Chester Farm lately but we did clean some bags up that have been dug up in the last month.  The contractors are now on site preparing the new car park and visitor centre so this is last minute archaeological digging.  I was lucky enough to wash this, complete with the 'Maker's Mark' on the rim.
The whole piece
 There was a good piece of Samian Ware also with the Maker's Mark in the centre, so the experts will be able to name the maker.
Maker's Mark in the centre

I loved this piece though I am not sure what the figures are - elephants perhaps
Could that be an elephant's trunk on the left?

and this small pot would have been quite dainty.

I have finished my Christmas bauble at last and though it is not perfect I am pleased with it -
It is called the 'Emperor'  but I think it looks like Peacock 'eyes'.
I still have another kit to make up but that will have to wait as I must get on with my embroidery.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Murder...... !!

In my last post I mentioned that I was organising two activities for the 50+ Adventure Club and so the other Friday I was in Loughborough at the Great Central Railway for a Luxury Murder Mystery evening.  We assembled on the platform where the first part of the play, set just after the Second World War, was enacted and then onto the train and off we puffed, pulled by a steam train.

As you can see from the photos we were in Pullman carriages and what luxury they were; like armchairs!!  We had a five course meal, served by lovely staff, when the train stopped at a station and all the time the 'players' were going up and down the train answering our questions and queries.  Some of the diners were in period dress and I did think about this but I couldn't find the trousers that I wanted as 'Oxford bags' so I must have sent them to the charity shop!

Anyway the next big outing was here at Alexandra Palace, and I went with two friends and we had a brilliant day.

They did lead me off the straight and narrow a little when we stopped at the Spellbound Bead stand and I bought two kits to make Christmas baubles.  What made me do that; I have never bought a kit like this before, let alone two!!  Madness.

I have started one
'Emporer' bauble ready to go

The first part

It took me ages to get one completed so I was pleased with this

and only another four to make -

I had hoped to complete this project in a weekend but I think it is going to take a little longer!!  I will keep you posted.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Local history tour

Since August when I didn't do too much, life has got busier and during September I had two activities to organise for the 50+ Adventure Club.

The first was a walk around one of our local towns, Oundle.  I always enjoy these types of walks because you tend to go down alleyways which in the normal course of events you would not find or know about.

Oundle is famous for it's public school which has over 1,000 pupils, the majority of whom are boarders and pay up to £35,000 per year!  Many of the buildings in the town are owned by the school and we started with a visit to the chapel (not allowed in) which was built to commemorate the Fallen in the First World War.

St Anthony House - one of the boarding houses
We then walked through one of the many little footpaths to get to the main street, after vising the site of the original workhouse!
The Courthouse - now the museum
The Catholic Church

West Street
What wonderful architecture; I love these old towns, especially when you see a house like this with an old dovecote on the side of it. 
Note the Collyweston roof tiles
We headed back to the town centre passing many interesting buildings on the way, too numerous to mention but I liked the shape of this one -
and we had a peep through this doorway -
A beautiful courtyard garden

Oundle School - Headmaster's House
It should read Headmistress as they have the first in the school's history.  It is called Cobthorne and was built in 1656 by one of Oliver Cromwell's Major Generals - William Boteler.

Finally we reached the Talbot Hotel, which is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of Mary, Queen of Scots because the staircase from Fotheringhay Castle was moved here.  Our guide disputed that but I believe it!!  What isn't in dispute is that the Talbot Hotel is an old coaching inn.

Finally a visit to the parish church of St Peter -
and a brief history of the old workhouse church

now a private residence I think.
and we arrived back at Fletton House for a well earned cup of tea and some had cake!

The end of September saw the revelation of the month's Mini Mania - Flying Geese.  Because I had been so busy, I only managed something quite small and not too difficult

but for October we have one word - "Joseph's"!!  This will be interesting!!!!!