Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Today I was in Thame and one of the things I wanted was to get a card for next-door as their third child was born yesterday - another girl. As I looked through the 'baby' cards I wondered why manufacturers or designers thought it necessary to have cards addressed 'For a New Baby' as if you'd been thinking about, perhaps, having a recycled or reconditioned one...Isn't our language strange sometimes?

Waitrose have a line of food now designated as Love Life but that wasn't how I read the title of this magazine from several feet away - I thought they'd gone into a new line of business!!! Sort of True Romances brought up to date.

Last night's sunset was such a strong pink I had to go upstairs and take some photos. It was a toss-up whether to use a landscape photo or a portrait photo. I finally plumped for the landscape as it shows more of the fantastic sky. In reality it was a much brighter pink than this - more like a male bullfinch's chest.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


 Just a few photos from,mostly, recent days. The tree surgeon came for a quick chat the other Saturday and was surprised to see bullfinches flitting about, but I was more pleased with seeing a pair of great spotted woodpeckers coming to the open topped peanut holder, taking a peanut and then flying into the oak tree. Not once, but many times in three or four days. He said that bullfinches are becoming rare but to me they're just those pinky red breasted males with paler wives which visit the garden on numerous occasions.
Plants this summer either seem to be going crazy or have totally disappeared - here's a delphinium thats, at themoment, about 7' tall, I reckon.

 This contraption formed out of wire netting, an old piece of trellis, pieces of 2" metal mesh and rolls of pea netting pegged to the anti-heron wire are what has been keeping next door's bloomin' cat from fishing out the goldfish - this was taken in April, but at long last Stuart has found time and enough plastic posts to come and replace it all.
 The fish think they're in an open-air swimming pool now that the 'roof' has gone, as well as a lot of weed, replaced by this.
 It's an electric fence, run off a battery, which will, I hope discourage That Cat from fishing in my pond. I'll just have to remember to turn it off before we start gardening...No,not Stuart.
 The honeysuckle has done well-hanging down from the (reclaimed) trellis over the path.
 I don't know what variety it is but it has a scent though not very strong.
 Gilluan brought a couple of handsful of these ages ago and they've all taken - it's polemium, aka Jacob's Ladder. They're all blue though I had some a few decades ago which were peachy coloured so these rather surprised me.The bees like them,
Here's a closeup of the flower, quite a dainty thing.

Do you know what this is? I'll show you later on ...
Sunset at the end of May, just before the sun finally disappeared behind the trees on the Waddesdon ridge.
That's all folks...

Friday, 15 June 2012


Here's something else I had a go at, courtesy of the husband of someone I was teaching with at the time. The microlight was owned by a pair of brothers. One took a couple of photos while the one in the blue overalls was the pilot. He's making sure I'm dressed up OK. The microlight is this arrangement of scaffold poles and material plus a motor mower engine behind the 'car seat' I sat in. I'm kidding, it wasn't home made but did fold up into a large carry bag, if I remember rightly. Well, it was 1986; at least I remembered to date it on the back of the photo.

This is taking off from the family-owned field in Haddenham, the Chiltern Hills are that pale blue line in the background. This is the only time I saw the Asylum ( as I always think of it as, having done the local history) or St. John's, as it was known to everyone else. It began as the Lunatic Asylum in 1853, when it opened, changed to Mental Hospital in 1919 after WW1, then St. John's when the NHS began. Demolished beginning of the 1990s, so I just managed to see it from the air.
This was a one-off trip. I haven't 'done' a helicopter - yet.
Can't find the ballooning photos, I've put them 'somewhere safe', you know the feeling...

Thursday, 7 June 2012

STRIPPY SQUARES QUILT - finished at last!!

I've finished this at long last - I posted about the squares when they were on my design wall -last September - so it's taken longer than that. I didn't have a very good winter so didn't do any work on it for at least a couple of months, I can't work when the weather is gloomy and my house faces almost due north so a dark house once the clocks have gone back..

Some of the materials I used, new, recycled and bits given to me.

The border material was given to me - a couple of yards or so - and I didn't really want to cut it up but I knew I couldn't keep it for always, so I used it. There's still some widths left, a few inches deep.

I kept the same material for the binding, too.

I like to have reference pictures of the reverse as well so that I can see, in the future, how I quilted this design. I knew I didn't want to do a huge amount of quilting so thought that just quilting 'in the ditch' would be sufficient. I'm not very good at Maths so hadn't thought it through that there are 49 squares all of which needed to be stitched round. How daft is that?

Kath made me some labels last year and I still have two left. I decided to use this one, which I bought at Threads and Patches in Bletchley, because the flower border matched the backing, though you wouldn't think so from the photo above. It's really small blue flowers and the border sinks into the background. The label's attached now. As usual - the Blog decided to play up and I had to call on Sarah to come and fiddle with it. A couple of clicks and it's behaving itself, Touch Wood!!!

I looked out another quilt top which I want to use Decatur knots on but decided it's not quite wide enough so, when I can bear to leave the second long-hexie English patchwork quilt I'm making, I'll make another border for the Crazy Quilt which is on the design wall upstairs.

I found a quote for stitchers everywhere:
'All my scattering moments are taken up with my needle.'
Ellen Birdseye Wheaton 1851.

Friday, 1 June 2012


Waitrose stores have these boxes near the exit and you are able to choose a local charity to support.
The green counters are given to you (or you can take one) when you leave the till.
They're local, mostly to Oxfordshire as Thame is in that county, but sometimes you get  Bucks charities, too. 

The labels at the top of the box give information and these three are for (on the left) Brain Research UK, in the centre is The Veterans' Charity and on the right it's Youth Cancer Trust. I know you make your choice depending on what is most important to you after you've read the text but I was surprised to see that The Veterans' Charity had the lowest collection rate.
I think this country has a poor record on the whole for looking after its discharged servicemen and women - no wonder so many charities have appeared which are fundraising for ex-service personnel.
I have an item from a Radio Times, undated unfortunately, but kept within the last year or so. It's by Colonel Tim Collins who fought in Iraq in 2003 and was once CO of 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment. He stated that 1,100 ex-servicemen are homeless within 2 miles of the Cenotaph; 28,000 now suffer from alcohol or mental health problems. And that was many months ago. One charity, Combat Stress, supporting sufferers said it takes on average 14 years for the PTSD problem to emerge, so soon it'll be the turn of those who were in the Balkans.
I have no connection with any of the forces but it strikes me that not much has changed since Kipling wrote:
'For it's Tommy this and Tommy that, an' 
'Chuck him out, the brute!'
But it's' Saviour of his country' when the guns begin to shoot.