Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Just recently I've been stitching 'Long Hexies' from Kath's pattern during daylight hours and knitting when it gets darker - here are the results so far.I've stitched some of them together into individual patches of 4 long hexies and a pale yellow centre square then stitched four of those patches together. Most of them are not joined yet, I'm waiting until I have more sets to choose from. The bottom left individual hexie, orange with a kind of leaf pattern, came from the cover on one of the pots of jam my daughter recently brought me from Holland.

I make lap quilts which are about 45" square so this one is half done. I recently bought a nice new thimble from Cotton Patch, called a Clover Protect and Grip Thimble. It has the usual metal top with a rim to stop the needle slipping but the body is flexible yellow plastic. It's so comfy I wish I'd known about it years ago. This is the latest blanket which I finished yesterday. It's almost the same as the one I did last month as I've knitted this one in 'bars', too. Just to make it a bit more interesting I made every 4th bar in two colours so that it breaks the lines a bit. Now I'm stuck for what design to do next. Any ideas?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


I'd just been out to the kitchen when, as I came back to my armchair, I spotted the badger arriving early. Luckily I'd thrown out some bread but no peanuts - it was only 10 past 8. These photos are taken from indoors, as you can see, without a flash as the door was shut. When the badger first arrives it bobs and weaves its head, testing that everything is OK before it ventures a few steps then repeats the movements.
Everything was OK so it came closerand closer. He was being stalked by the kitten from next door... it's hard to make out but the kitten is the shaped white blob in the top r. hand corner. The badger grabbed a chunk of the (old) bread and trotted off down the path, preceded by the kitten, and back through the pop-hole. He didn't come back until after dark so perhaps the neighbour had scared it off as it would have seemed to be chasing the kitten. When he did he brought his sibling with him so at least the food was shared last night, peanuts included. On Sunday there were three, the last arriving much too late to benefit!

Saturday, 14 May 2011


Yesterday evening, while it was still daylight, the badger came through the hole under the fence and sat on the path judging whether it was safe to come up to the house for his/her supper of peanuts and oddments of food.

It was about 8.15 and I hadn't put out the peanuts so I stepped out of the patio door and walked to the shed - and the badger lolloped down the path, round the bend and out of sight. When I went indoors I was able to leave the patio door open. Wrapping a quilt round my legs I sat and waited while I watched (by then) Have I got News for You. The noise of the TV, changes of light, laughter and music doesn't seem to bother them.

The blurred mark on the left is the edge of the patio door frame and the badger is about 4' away. Looking at their claws it's no wonder that when my neighbour filled in the previous 'pop-hole' they'd made, it didn't take long for another to be dug. Or that badger holes in my so-called little lawns are a problem for me.

I'd wondered whether flash photography would bother them but when it didn't I realised they are used to the outside light clicking in and out - a lucky result. I could see the second one, which I think is a sibling, sitting in the path - then one of the occupants in the next door house came out to smoke and talk on his mobile - and they both disappeared, claws clicking on the path. I hope that one day I'll get photos of both of them. It was lucky that I spotted the first one because it gave me a time frame to sit with the open door...

Sunday, 8 May 2011


Hooray! The Add Image icon is working this morning!
This photo is of the 'tea-cosy' aquilegias which disappeared from yesterday's post while I was trying to close up the gaps which mysteriously appear just as you think you've finished.And here's Ashley, Kath, pretending he can't be seen. He chooses half-hidden places to sleep away the day. When I had a greenhouse he would make a nest in the long grass between the greenhouse and the wire fence - in full view of the neighbours. Last year I posted a photo of him under the conifer.
I've just seen the date - it's VE Day.

Saturday, 7 May 2011


I've been wandering up and down the garden taking photos of flowers which have arrived in the last week or so, so here goes.
I must be forgetting how to crop photos as I'm certain I deleted the bird feeder on the left hand side - but what the heck! These are the first of the large poppies to emerge with plenty of buds still to pop open. Some of the alliums have self seeded into the path too.

Here's a closeup of an allium head.

Aquilegias of all colours seem to have sprung up from nowhere - white, pale pink, dark red and these two-coloured flowers which have self seeded into the edge of the pond. They always remind me of those pleated knitted tea cosies which were so fashionable many years ago. The word 'aquilegia' is from Latin 'aquila', an eagle, as the spurs on the flowers were thought to resemble an eagle's talons. (This photo is another casualty of Add Photo not working.)
Another name is columbine, which means a dove. The flower is mentioned in Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. The beech hedge was very slow in unfurling its leaves then, suddenly, it was there in all its lovely summer colour. The poppies are just in front of this and there's a clematis growing through the beech though not flowering yet. One derivation is that Buckinghamshire is named from the Anglo-Saxon word Bucceen meaning beech trees.

This is a clematis montana, Broughton Star, which I bought the year before last - I think. I hope it'll spread itself into the rowan on the right hand side of the photo.
These are quite dainty flowers compared with the clematis montana grandiflora below...

This is about two years old as well, growing up one end of the clothes line, if you see what I mean. The twiggy trellis has worked quite well and isn't as heavy-looking as the basic trellis so I bought another piece which son Stuart has laid from the top of the post across to the shed in the background and I'm hoping it'll grow across to the roof where it'll join the jasmine and Chilean glory vine. I think I'll need the walking stick to persuade it to do what's wanted, though, as it's already leaning towards the sun, ie, over the fence!
Another clematis, this one is Multi Blue, an inspiring name...It's in a large pot and trails across a Cornus. I need to cut back the greenery to show how many buds there are this year. It's amazing what a handful of fertiliser does! Do you get the idea that I like clematis? I tend to buy a new plant then have to find it a home... These lily-of-the-valley plants were given to me years ago and because they never did anything I dug them all out, well, thought I had! They're round the bottom of the rowan tree.

Cotton grass growing in a container in the pond - its name is really Eriophorum angustifolium - a bit of a mouthful. It's like little tufts of cotton wool just popped on top of the stems. Gillian calls it bog grass, as she lived in Ireland for many years where it was common. The netting is to stop next door's pedigree kitten from falling into the pond as he doesn't seem to have any fear but is fascinated by the goldfish, naturally. There's a black cat with white socks, who visits from time to time, who liked fishing last year so it stops him, too. The pump in the background was waiting to be picked up by Stuart as it's no good in the pond now - it picks up too much silt and I can't cope with cleaning the filter every week so it's gone. Another job I've relinquished...

Weigela 'Victoria' is a small plant compared to the one that was here when I came to this house. It's only 4' tall and won't grow any larger. Weigela is named after a German botanist from the 18th/19th century whose name is Christian Ehrenfried von Weigel...

I've done it again - well, done something - and can't get the very last photo downloaded. I seem to have locked the Add Image icon so no cat after all... Perhaps it'll right itself after it's had a rest. Ho hum. (I don't know about posted at 12 o'clock, it's now 20 to 2.)

Sunday, 1 May 2011


The art group I go to isn't one where we have a teacher or demonstration as a matter of course, just a room in the Village Hall where people who want to draw or paint can gather once a week for a couple of hours. We don't have a model and people mostly copy their own photos or those from magazines etc.

Last summer I found this picture advertising May Celebrations in Hastings in 2008. I think it came from an 'England'-type of magazine. I liked the pheasant feathers and the fact that it wasn't a full face shot - not something I find easy to do at all- so decided to have a go at it.

Here's the result.
I'm quite pleased with it so thought I'd share it with you.
There's an interesting web site about Jack in the Green, the Green Man and May Day celebrations all over England here: http://spiritofthegreenman.co.uk/sotg/links/links.htm and includes a piece on our government wanting to move the May Day holiday to either October or St. George's Day. It says that although most European nations are signatories to protect World Intangible Cultural Heritage events - the UK hasn't signed. Just what you'd expect, really...