Saturday, 22 November 2014

Just not feeling it ...

... are you?
I've been trying ever so hard.
Maybe it's the unseasonally warm weather we've been experiencing.
Or the fact that frosts haven't yet forced my pelargoniums inside.


But I just haven't got the Christmas bug. 
Not yet.

There are three separate Christmas productions going on at school.
And glitter abounds.
But even though the beautiful strains of 'The Snowman' keeps echoing down the halls  I'm still not 'getting it'.

This morning we received our first Christmas card. I've put it next to our gorgeous smelling mulled wine candle (I told you I was trying) on the mantelpiece in an attempt to ramp up the Christmas cheer - but no. Nothing.


The ingredients for the Christmas cake - usually mixed together with great competitive fervour in anticipation of winning our annual 'cake off' - are gathering dust behind the fruit bowl.


Don't get me wrong. I like Christmas. My singalong songs during December vary from anything between 'In the Bleak Midwinter' to 'All I want for Christmas - is Yoooooou' (for which I apologise). But I think that might be the point. It's still November.

I have many dear friends who already have presents wrapped and cards sent. But for me Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the mad dash around the shops hours before the big day. 

Something needs to snap into place. Just like the urge to plant seeds hits me in the Spring, and making jam is an absolute must in Autumn.

So what have I been doing?
Well I've made a couple of happy purchases.
Look at this set of pretty glasses. £2.50 for six!


Surely these will twinkle perfectly against the fairy lights on Christmas Eve?


And I had to snap up this sign for £1.


Who wouldn't want a knitted brassiere - that fits!


I've gathered the last of our apples.


Made lots of soups.


And been fascinated by the rate this hyacinth bulb has put down it's roots.


I've also been doing a bit of crochet. I love the idea of having a snuggly wrap around shawl for the colder evenings.


With a chunky wool and 7mm hook this is building up really quickly.



I've also been tempted by the new Rosie Mitts pattern by Pink Milk.


The embroidered rose detail is so sweet.

So there we go. I'm not complaining. In fact as I sit typing this I'm being bathed in the most glorious winter sunshine. Mr K is down at the allotment adding finishing touches to the shed and I'm about to don my wellies and wander down with emergency coffee. 

I'll try and spot some robins!

Jane 
xxx



Sunday, 9 November 2014

Meanwhile, back at the allotment .....

...there's been stuff happening. 
But only if you look closely. 
Really closely. 


Like lie on the floor and zoom in.


It's a broad bean!!!
I never thought I would ever get so excited about a humble bean, but to me this signifies the start of great things. 
If you like beans that is.

A little further on garlic wars are still going strong.
Mr K decided to plant some cloves from a regular shop bought bulb whilst I got a special garden type one from Wilkos.

Mine is the one in the bottom box compared with Mr K's in the top one!
Imagine my delight each time I walk past and see mine rocketing ahead. (I realise that this delight is petty and incredibly selfish but you have to take it where you can find it!)

The light was so beautiful today that I couldn't resist wandering down the lane and seeing what was going on in the other plots. 

Come for a wander.


I love the fact that number 4 keeps a 'nice, smart hedge'

.
Brownie points if you can spot the London Midland train in the background.

Part of the land to the left of the allotments is used to store old vans and campers. This one would make a fantastic 'project'.


Looking ahead. 


Past sheds.


Crops still waiting to be harvested.


Whilst others have seen better days.


Nearing the end of the lane.


Where I met the lovely lady at number 9 ... 


...who informed me that things weren't quite as idyllic as they might seem. Apparently she is currently under threat from a herd of goats that have been grazing in the adjacent meadow. No sooner do her crops start to fruit than they scale the hedge and help themselves. Apart from her gooseberries. Apparently goats don't like gooseberries. The farmer has promised a taller hedge.
Naughty goats!

Back down to our plot and the one major thing that has grown is our shed. Mr K picked up the frame for ten pounds and has been scouring skips and the like for the cladding and pallets. Friends and family have been chipping in to help and mum and dad kindly donated some of their old windows. We now have an allotment shed with leaded glass - fancy nancy! Of course shorter days now mean that we can only build at the weekends as it's fairly dark after work - but slowly and surely it's coming on.

From this.


Then this.


 Followed by Mr K trying to explain
 the rudiments of shed making to Big Sis.


Who really just wanted to be hiding behind another shed eating a raw parsnip.


A bit of sawing from my good self.


And then being told to look happy as I was doing it!


A big family effort to get the frame on the base.


And then today came the walls. Or at least some of them.


Oh for the joy of making a shed!

So there we are.
Up to date on our newly found precious piece of land. 
Light and weather will dictate how much time we will be able to spend down there over the coming weeks but for now there is lovely warm feeling of satisfaction.

And of course the knowledge that my garlic is the best ;)

Have a good week and remember to look closely for the positives.

Jane
xxx

Friday, 7 November 2014

I've Finished a Thing!!!

Now just in case you think you must have stumbled in to the wrong blog I would like to assure you that it is I - dreamer of many things, starter of some and finisher of few - who has indeed completed 'a thing'! I bought this wool at the Bakewell Wool Gathering last year and swore I would have it all wrapped up and round my neck by December. What I hadn't considered was that it might be the following December. It's a wonderfully soft Blue Faced Leicester twist - not sure of any of the other details now as the ball band disappeared into the pale blue yonder many moons ago. 

The one on the left!

As you can see from this little chap this is not his natural colour.

Image courtesy of  cottontailcrafts.co.uk

It had been hand dyed a rich orange with a mottled effect. Because of this I decided to stick to a straightforward moss stitch. I cast on fifty five stitches on 4mm needles and just went for it. Obviously the repetitive nature of this became stultifyingly boring after a while, which may have explained it's absence from my list of priorities.


To 'tidy up' the edges I slip stitched around with a 4mm crochet hook, and added a little bit of extra detail with some teeny tiny loops at each end.




Overall I'm really pleased with it. It could have been a bit longer but to be honest it's snuggly, it's warm and it it's a perfect contrast for my new to me five pound coat!

Bad picture alert - it's tipping down outside
and 
 try as I might I can't get these colours to
ring true
- the coat is actually teal!

If Maud had thumbs they would both be up!

I'm busy beavering away at something else at the moment for which I'm trying to write a tutorial. Crikey! Hopefully I'll be able to tell all soon.

Wishing you all warm and well.

Jane
xxx


Thanks to all of you who contributed to my last post - stories are still appearing in the comments section so do go and have a look if you fancy a 'spooky' fix!

Friday, 31 October 2014

Draw nearer ...

It must be the time of year. But for me the changing colours, abundance of mists, smell of woodsmoke and 'nip in the air' go hand in hand with the telling of tales. 



As I've already mentioned my post last year correlated almost exactly with the one this year in which  spooky tales abound. 
And when I threw down the gauntlet to the rest of you I wasn't sure what to expect. 
But as ever my fears were unfounded as you have provided me with so much to 'consider'!

So now it's time. 

Draw up a chair. 

Turn off your phone. 

And read ...

The first comment to my post had the hairs on my neck standing on end. It came from Angel  Jem.

Lacock Abbey. And a cold hand on the shoulder .....

Others agreed. It's not somewhere I know, but in those few words Angel Jem has summoned up a terrifying atmosphere.

Irene hints at strange goings on with this comment.

I have had a few spooky/weird things going shortly after my Father died. Clocks chiming, blinds going up and down and strange sensations in the house. Thankfully all is quiet now.

How many of you can empathise with that?

Pam tells us of a strange everyday experience that she had.

My husband went upstairs to use the bathroom while tea was cooking. I was in the dining room. I felt someone go past the dining room door so I went into the kitchen to ask hubby if tea was ready. But he wasn't there. So who went past the door?

Say no more.

Melody relates a story she shared with her mother.


Happened many years ago. My Mum and I were at her Aunt's big, old house cleaning (Aunt was in the Hospital) ~ we were the only ones there. The house had two set of stairs, the main stairs ~ and the back stairs that lead from what would have been the "maid's quarters" in times gone by, directly to the kitchen. I was in the kitchen, on hands and knees cleaning the stove. I heard Mum walk down the entire wooden stair case, and then stop at the closed door. So I got up, figuring she must have had her hands full, to open the door. I did, but she wasn't there. I was confused, so I went up the stairs to find her?? She was in the bathroom, cleaning the tub on her hands and knees.. with the water running. Yup, true story. ~ and my only personal encounter with restless spirits. 

Mum spend a lot of time in the house growing up... and always heard people walking around, stairs creaking from feet, and closing doors. It seems who ever lived there before just couldn't bear to leave?

Linnet in Oriel provides us with a tale that has become family legend.

My Granny used to tell me a story that her Granny used to tell. Great Great Granny Margaret had a little son named Hughie. One day she noticed that something was up with the little fella and asked what was wrong. Oh dear, he said, but I am going away, some where far and very cold. Poor Hughie died within the year and they said that when his mother was nearing death she swore that young Hugh never left the end of her bed....

For more detailed stories you wont be disappointed if you visit Wendy over at September Violets. Her story is not only fascinating but features the most wonderful photography - with an unexpected twist at the end!

Mrs Black also thrills us with an experience that she stumbled over after taking a different turn in the road. Just be careful when driving in the rain!

Frances over in New York shows us just how Hallowe'en is celebrated over in the Big Apple with fantastic pictures from her neighbourhood.

So what about you?

Does this time of year make you look sideways - instead of straight ahead? 

If nothing else this goes to show that the age old tradition of story telling is alive and well. 

And maybe closer than you think.


Jane
xxx

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Calling all story tellers!

Last shout for any more spooky stories that I can put together for Hallowe'eeeeeeeeeen! 

It doesn't have to be a novel - one of the shortest comments had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck! 

So come on - you can either leave it as a comment or a link to your blog and we'll see if we can get spooky!

See my post here for further details. 

Looking forward to hearing from yooooooooooooohoooooooooooowoooooooooo.



Jane 
xxx

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Looking closer

As the clocks went back this weekend we were all treated to that precious extra hour in bed. But the flip side is that the nights are with us far sooner now, and being able to enjoy those dwindling hours of daylight is becoming more of a luxury. Long gone are the carefree days whereby we could just decide to go for a walk and not pay any heed to the time. Now we have to consider where we might be when it gets dark, will we need a torch, are we sure of the direction?

When some dear friends came to visit at the weekend Mr K and I wanted to show them our new favourite walk - the Aston to Burston loop. 

By the time we set off along the canal we were already losing the light.


Looking to the left over to the marina.


And to the right over the fields.


I loved this seat - I wonder who made it?


And the back of this grand house with it's walled garden.


Up to the stile.


Then looking back across the bridge to that glorious red tree  - I can't remember the name, can you?


Over the fields now toward the river.


Looking down through the last of the brightly coloured leaves.


 The sun sinking behind the treeline.


And the birds gathering across the lake.


Stark silhouettes.



Last time we were here the hay bales were waiting for collection.


Now the earth is resting until the spring.


The hedges have been pleached.


But by now the light had almost gone and it was almost impossible to keep taking pictures.


One final treat though as we headed home was this pond. I'd never noticed it before - perhaps lush summer growth had obscured the view - but now it seemed calm and magical.


Although the colours have all but faded this was a wonderful walk. Perhaps we appreciate the colours that are left all the more. We have to look a little more closely but the appreciation is ten fold.

By the time we returned home it was pitch black. We lit the fire and tucked in to our home made apple cake and fresh coffee. We were pretty tired by then but were left with ruddy cheeks, muddy boots and lovely memories.

Jane
xxx

P.S. I've had some great responses to my request for spooky stories but would love to hear more in time for Hallowe'en. If you think you could contribute take a look at my post here - I'll look forward to hearing from yoooooooooou...........