Thursday, 25 August 2011


I was in Tesco the other day, heard a child saying, 'Look what I've got', 'Can we have this?' and all the usual pleadings from a child - the Mum had a succinct answer - 'Your ears aren't working'. That just tickled me!
Many years ago I was trekking back to the car to unload my carboot treasures before going back for a second go when a Mum and two small girls crossed in my path having done the same thing. Mum said to the eldest child (6-7ish) , 'You're an angel,' whereupon the younger child said, 'And what am I?'. By that time I'd passed on so I didn't hear the answer- I wonder what it was.
Has anyone heard little snippets that caught your attention at the time?
Bucks have put aside £25 million for road repairs - not everywhere, you must understand, that'd be asking too much! Consequently there are small yellow information boards popping up sited on low easels (of course) on the verges to say Road works will begin here in x days time - when you can read it, that is. But so many roads are going to be sorted at the same time it'll be hard to find a way round them's a case of Wait and See.
Another council has joined the fight against HighSpeed 2 making 17 in all. The aim of the Stop HS2 site is to get 100,000 signatures to force a debate in Parliament. It's estimated that £51m will be the cost to every Parliamentary constituency in the country...If you're interested in signing and saving yourself money - the petition is at
Wouldn't you expect that if you live in the country you'll hear country type noises?? A neighbour across the road from the stables is complaining about the noise of the hens going about their daily business, ie laying eggs. The cockerels were given away at their request.... I have two near neighbours who own chickens and I'm not aware of them.

Monday, 22 August 2011

GARDEN MIXTURE, August, still.

Just a few bits and pieces from the garden, quite a miserable selection really. There's a spindly spider in the top of this newly resprouting delphinium. I saw it by accident as I was deadheading, luckily not this creature, though. I have no idea what kind it is, unlike the Hairy Monster in the bathroom sink last night. I put a jamjar over it and slid a card underneath then let it go out of my bedroom window. Not my favourite items but at least I can cope with them, on the whole.
There are two potential 'fishing' cats which come into the garden. One is the prettily marked young cat from next door who's not afraid of anything and interested in everything; the other lives across the road, a young black cat with 4 white socks and a nicely marked face BUT he does like the pond. Since I saw him washing his face and licking his lips he's going to get the blame for this. It must be about the 6th fish I've found dead and/or mangled even though we thought we had netted the pond. Somehow it managed to get through a small gap somewhere. That'll have to be Gillian's first job, if it doesn't rain on Wednesday, when she comes to do jobs in the garden.
The hydrangea has been quite disappointing this year - there's lots of growth, green leaves in abundance but not much in the way of flowers, just these. It covers one of the badger entrances but I haven't seen one of those for about three weeks now.....
We're puzzled by this plant, which is just over 2' tall. There are several around in this part of the garden. It's nothing we've planted but perhaps it is germinated bird seed so we're waiting to see what happens with the flowers, below.
They look as if they'll be spikes.
At last, a butterfly! Or on second thoughts, perhaps it's more likely to be a moth because of the way it's holding its wings. Haven't seen many butterflies (or moths) this year, not even round the outside light...
Here's a plant that's got just a bit mixed up - a primrose in August...

I found a 'Nature Diary' I began keeping in 1995 and continued when I first came here. In 1996 and 97 I'm writing about damsel flies and proper large dragonflies zooming around the garden and over the pond. There were newts in the pond which I'd see from time to time, several frogs and a toad or two, water boatmen, pond snails and other insects paddling on the skin of the pond - where are they now, what's happened? Frogs and the toad(s) can't get into the pond now because of it having been netted but what's happened to the other species? Not as many bees, or even wasps this year. A few lacewings have just put in an appearance but as yet no daddy-long-legs are blundering about. No mullein moth caterpillars this year. Perhaps some of the species will pick up again if we have a mild winter???

(And my followers have disappeared again.....)

Saturday, 20 August 2011


This might very well be my last-ever post. I'm tired of the way blogger keeps messing me about so I'm not going to paragraph anything here, just keep going. That's just ONE gripe I have with it!
Anyway - on to nicer things.
The photo above is of the fifth blanket I've made this year and now I'm having a break from kniitting, just for a while, probably until Knit and Natter starts again.

I've finished the long-hexie quilt I started on 26th April using the English Patchwork method and the PDF Kath sent me of the hexie itself. I finished it yesterday morning, 19th August. I hung it on the line to take this photo as it was a sunny day, unlike today which has turned grey.
I tried to do some of it every day and only missed a few sessions for one reason or another. I'm aiming to put it in a local Horticultural Show's Handicrafts section though don't expect it to get anywhere - too many of the patches don't match up and the quilting on the back is - well - Could Be Better. Never mind, it's 'mine'...

This is my plastic quilting frame which comes apart for storage. I've had it for twenty years, or perhaps more, since I can't remember where I bought it. It would have been at a Quilt Show somewhere, perhaps Malvern? The 'bar' resting against the part on the floor is one of the grips which holds the quilt in position when it's spread over the top of the frame.

Here are the 'grips'...

I was given this wooden chair about 10 days ago to pass on but I've kept it because it goes through the frame - my dining chairs are too wide in the seat - no, not me, of course!

This is the bag I made when I first got the frame. As it comes apart this is the easiest way to store it between quilts and it doesn't take up much room, either. I made a tube, cut a circle of firm cardboard which I covered and then stitched to the bottom of the tube. I think the cord through the top came from a duffel coat or something similar plus a couple of beads from - can't remember. It's never been washed but would have to be only part washed as I'm not taking the whole thing apart...

The frame's in here now.

I'm trying out some more crazy quilts and these three trial runs are just plonked on the wall as
I finish machining and pressing them, not in their final position, assuming I continue with them.

These are 5 1/2" wide strips made in the same measurement downwards, too. I saw a blogsite with a quilt made of strings like this so am having a go to see how I feel about it. It began as 9 1/2" wide strips just to be joined into 4' strips without any sashing. I decided that would be over-powering for a lap quilt so cut each piece to 5 1/2" widths, meaning to use the 3 1/2" left over pieces as 'piano key' edging - when it's finished. At a car boot last weekend I bought a single cream duvet cover with this kind of quilt in mind.

Lastly there's this pattern. I fancy this design and the offcuts from this go into one of the other examples. I've had a couple of goes already, one on backing paper (no...) another as a QAYG (no...) and then found this one meant to be cut from widths but, being me, I'm spending ages fiddling about using up scraps. I wonder which, if any of these three, actually become quilts and which end up in the Orphan Blocks box???

Now to see what the layout looks like.

Monday, 15 August 2011


Well, on Saturday I finally got to see where I had lived during the war years. Lots of things have changed but there are many things which have stayed the same.

The house photo above dates from 1979, the last time I went back, when I still had the nerve to drive through London. Definitely wouldn't do it now! It's really depressing, the way it's been allowed to deteriorate - this is about 17 years after my parents left and it never looked like this in their time. The windows have been changed to PVC, the fence and hedge have gone and it looks so rundown.

This is 2011 and still feels neglected. It doesn't look as if anyone lives here. There's the dormer window, an ugly construction; the fanlight over the door, an original feature, as been removed and a couple of steps lead up to the front door. I wonder how the change in floor level inside has been accomplished as it would be level with the original doorway...? There's a little brick wall at the front even though it's not bonded to the next one on the right hand side.

The road, in the 1940s, had no cars parked in it and we children could play rounders, using the telegraph pole and lamp post as bases - the latter has been moved several feet. Hide and seek was possible as metal fences had 'gone for salvage' and we hid behind the bushes and hedges before being scared off by a rap on the window from the irate householder. We played 'he' (or should it be 'hee'?) and Statues. Was that different from Grandmother's Footsteps? We were always outside, in my memory, playing ball games up against the brick pillars of the house opposite (one pillar is still there), 'dabs' or 5 stones, skipping and hopscotch, the grids drawn with pieces of red brick. And 'Knocking Down Ginger', though not me, of course!!!
By 1979 there were a few cars but on Saturday both sides of the road were crammed with cars and this road has been designated as a one way street. Since I was never taught how to back into a space I'd hate to live here now - I'd hate to live here, full stop.

I could still walk along remembering who'd lived in the houses in the 1940s; two elderly spinster sisters and their equally elderly brother whose home smelled (the only time I went in, for some reason) of sweat and old age. Clothes weren't washed frequently then and winter dresses took a long time to dry so this must have been the reason for some of the odour. The hedges have gone, original windows replaced with modern style PVC, front doors have been changed and many have been painted. The little shop has been replaced with another house, too. Stuart and I even walked along the next road to see the back of the houses but extensions and trees obscured the view.

We walked down to see the Catholic Primary School where I went during my pre-Grammar school years, despite being a Protestant. I think we all went to the nearest school so that if there was an invasion our Mums could come and collect us... There's still a school on the site but completely rebuilt, with parking spaces... I must write to them when term begins again. The head, a very Irish man, with big features, ginger hair, red faced and with a strong accent, which I didn't realise at the time, still greeted me even when I was at work years later as he made his (walking) way home.

The road to the school is still a main road but the little cottages which lined one side of the road and the prefabs which replaced them once they were bombed have all gone to be replaced with blocks of flats; the big Victorian and Edwardian houses with large gardens have been replaced with these unlovely constructs.

At the end of my road was this wall with an 'itchy powder' tree, a large London Plane, right on the corner. This is from 1947, me with 3 friends, but unbelievably the wall and the wooden boards at its top is still there, as is the pretty little cottage, though the tree has gone.

And this is me on Saturday against the same wall, having a breather before walking up the hill to the parade of shops. I enjoyed the visit but have no wish to move back to London, I prefer my leafy home with views across the fields, plenty of trees and wildlife - I just wish it wasn't such a dark house. Oh well, can't have everything!

Now, I wonder if this bloomin' thing will double space at the ends of the paragraphs...

Friday, 12 August 2011


Tomorrow, I've been promised, my son will take me back to where I spent the war years, in South London to see how it's changed - again. I last went in 1979, then found an estate agent's advert in 2008 and I wonder how tomorrow will be. When we lived there it was an ordinary working-class road of Victorian houses which, by 1979, had definitely gone downhill. By 2008 it had turned into commuters' paradise with a rejuvenated house at a cost of £324,950 just a bus ride into London.
Then I got thinking about the fruit and veg we used to buy in those days...
Apples and pears often had maggots wriggling in the core, apples could be warty and scabby, split and cracked, plums, Victorias of course, always seemed to have those hard bits of 'jelly' in the middle. Peas had maggots, too, horrid to squash one when I was shucking the pods open and running my thumb down the inside, potatoes sometimes had little black slugs in them and were weighed by the greengrocer (what's that???) dirt and all, then tipped into Mum's American cloth shopping bag (what's that???). Lettuce from the allotment had black slimy bits, too, even though they came from the allotment my Dad had a bike ride away.
But the apples were small and sweet - Beauty of Bath - oranges and bananas almost unheard of, homegrown rhubarb which seemed to go on for ever, tomatoes tasted like tomatoes should and smelt that way, too. A greenhouse full of tomatoes on a hot sunny day, yum! Big brown and white spiders lived in there... exuberant mint to go with the lamb - a roast joint on Sunday, cold meat on Monday washday, mince on Tuesday. Celery, proper celery, not the green stuff we have to have these days but blanched white. If you ask for that now in the supermarket no one knows what you are talking about. Fruit in season when you really appreciated it because it wouldn't last for ever...
Ho hum, ain't memory a wonderful thing???

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


As you can see I found this letter in a magazine, bought last weekend in a charity shop. I thought it might interest all the stitchers out there.

Years ago, when I was a Gallup interviewer I went from house to house interviewing anyone who was right for the particular survey. Very often I got chatting about their house name. I remember one which was called 'The Wrong'. When I asked why, the lady of the house said it was because when her husband was indoors, he was always in it... Another was Little Meddlers named because of her three sons. She couldn't use Little Medlars as it was already taken and the PO said No.

I didn't do my surveys very quickly but I do have some memories - interviewing a man in his mini swimming costume while lounging on his sun bed by the pool, a lady whose husband had been an engineer in India, a black cat making itself at home on my beige cotton trousers....

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


At the weekend, when the computer was playing up - again - though it turned out to be the free-floating mouse in the end - I received a message from PayPal, or did I?
It asked me to fill in all my details as there was an error in those they held for me.
The accompanying request had three spelling mistakes! Hmmm.....
So, yesterday, I was able to find the Paypal site and get their phone number. I rang and spoke to a human (!) and no, it wasn't from PayPal, it was someone on a phishing expedition. I forwarded the email to them to investigate.
This is the second phishing email, the other being some years ago, that one purporting to come from a bank - but I don't have a bank account so I reported that, too.
So, beware, my friends.