Thursday, 26 July 2012


There are three swallows nests at the stables this year, Stuart told me a few weeks ago. The birds tear past just over your heads if you are sitting out in the coolness of the evening and into the stables to feed their young. It's a little bit unnerving to start with but you do get used to it.
However, yesterday Gillian and I could hear a lot of twittering coming from the walnut tree a few gardens over but couldn't make up our minds what was causing it, well, it was birds of some kind. It sounded like hundreds of long tailed tits having a meeting! We didn't think any more of it.

As I was getting something to eat at 'teatime' I heard the noise again and this time there was an ever- changing crowd of swallows just outside the kitchen window, landing, taking off, zooming round in pairs and singly. The photo above was taken through the kitchen window. I went outside and found even more birds were sitting on the phone wires.

 I tried taking closeups as they weren't bothered by me standing almost beneath them and got these before they decided they'd had enough and flew away.

I've never seen swallows in our lane before and I hope they return before they take off for their winter home. It seems a bit early to be thinking of departing. Have you seen them gathering yet?

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


I thought the beech hedge was getting out of hand, much too exuberant, a bit like a 'bad hair day'. It had got too much for Gillian to reach so I asked one of the tree fellers if he'd come and cut it for me.

He brought the tools he needed to do the job and it now looks neat and ready to sprout red shoots again. He also took away all the cuttings which filled, I think, three of those builders' merchant's bags - a cubic metre in each?

I had a hedgehog holly which had been in a pot for 15 years - another thing we couldn't manage on our own - so that was extracted, a spot chosen, the hole layered with goodies - fertilisers etc - and this poor spindly shrub has been planted, giving it a second chance. Another job done which would have taken us forever. And it's more or less rained every day since...

Remember the Crazy Circles Quilt I blogged two or three blogs ago? I went to Cuddington Fete on Saturday (sat under brollies in the rain before it opened) then laid out our wares once the sun came out - and sold that quilt. I'd made mini knitted teddies, too, just 4 of them, but they all sold, pocket money toys. Brenda sold a rag rug, too, much to her delight as she wouldn't have to take it home and look after it!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


Skies are everychanging scenery but how often do we look and really see? This was a brilliant display of oranges, golds, pinks and blues with clouds edged with light - lovely. 8.15 in the evening.
This afternoon there were huge 'ice cream' clouds which provided thunder, another h-u-g-e downpour to follow the one which marooned Gillian in the shed at the bottom of the garden at lunchtime - why do we always talk about the weather? And it's not even Flaming June any more!

Monday, 9 July 2012


At last (again) I've finished this top, bar embroidering a label. I made it at least a couple of years ago when Kath told me how to make crazy patchwork squares. Each square has four small squares stitched together so it was easy to find the 'centre of the circle'.

 I'm still using up yardage given to me by a friend and although it looks blue in the sunlight it's really a black background. I like small prints like this, it hides a multitude of errors! The bowl at the bottom is the badger's bowl where I put 'sloppy' oddments, like baked bean leftovers and last night, a couple of spoonsful of rice pud and pear peelings.
 I wanted to quilt it quickly because this Saturday coming is Cuddington Fete and I want to take it there. Lots of tiny handquilting wasn't going to be feasible so tried something I haven't done before - large running stitches. When I used to patchwork 'all day, every day' I kept anything that looked like a source of usefulness and by scratching through the drawer of Useful Things, I found the circular card insert of a tub of Wall's Cream of Cornish Ice Cream. I have no idea how many years ago I collected it but it was just the right size - 5 1/2". I found the centre by trial and error (Sorry, Bernard...) so could use the junction of the four small crazy squares to place it.  

 This is how the quilting turned out - I used a sashiko needle for the first time and cotton perle No.5.
My quilting stitches are a bit variable these days - That'll Do... I was quite pleased with the result and would do this size of running stitch again, especially for speed.

Sunday, 8 July 2012


I went out to lunch on Friday at my friend, Sheila's, house in Chesham where her sister and two friends were also invited. I'd met the ladies before, bar one, who had come as the (young) Homeward Journey driver as Sheila's sister can't manage both directions. Incidentally, just for a change I wasn't the 'baby' of this group...! They're all several years older than me! And all quilters, too.

Sheila has made, over time, three wall hangings for the four seasons - Autumn is yet to come. Not so easy taking photos in someone elses house, is it? This is Spring, which she was reluctant to offer for show since she doesn't like the arrangement of the flowers.

 The one below shows Summer, more of a stained glass effect. The white dots in the centre of the panel are yachts with full sails.

This shows Winter with rabbits hopping about in the snow. The panel is made in horizontal strips but don't ask me how it's done and the trees are also incorporated.  

 This bag is made to take a cutting mat, rotary cutter and all the other bits and pieces needed when you go out to sew, again made by Sheila.
 She's very much into Christmas items and the Christmas Wreath is packed with these little shapes, not skimpy at all.
 The quilt below was made by Sheila's sister and shows different colours of poppies in three bands.
Very clever work but not the kind of quilt I'd ever attempt, I'd get bored with the same things to stitch time after time. But a nice piece of work. I'm too much of a 'That'll Do' stitcher...
I thought it was going to be a real Show and Tell day but didn't quite turn out like that. Never mind.
We talked non-stop, as you can imagine. We're all getting old, so don't know how many more get-togethers we'll have. And driving becomes difficult, too.
Ho hum.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Do you remember, a few posts ago, I put up this photo and asked if you knew what it was?

 Now it's in flower -well, one of them is - this is what it looks like.
 It's a flower I'm very fond of, with a scent which some people find just a bit too much. It's a Regale Lily. You weren't too far off it, Bernard.
 It has these pink stripes along the back of each flower...
 And here's a closeup of inside a single flower. It's a shame it's such a cloudy day.


Then, after buying a box of Yorkshire Teabags this morning I found this on the back of it. It seems they have a recycling Pirate who has shown the Company a way of salvaging much of what they had previously dumped as rubbish. I hope it will enlarge for you or I can rephoto it. Kath will be able to tell you about Aylesbury's recycling centre where firms have taken all kinds of their commercial oddments.
Unfortunately ARRC, as it was called, is closing on 25th July, another facility for schools and the disadvantaged going the way of the underground market and the bowling alley.