Sunday, 25 January 2015

Off the Top of my Shed (a post pants presentation!)

Following my recent Pants post I had decided upon a little poem to show that things aren't really that bad when you've got some finished objects too show off (I know...) However today''s glorious Winter sunshine sparked off a new idea. 

How about if I showed you around our new allotment? 

Having nothing other than my camera and Mr K's arms for assistance I got overexcited and trooped merrily down there straight away.

And talked.
And pointed.
And talked a bit more. 

So if you're interested in seeing me pointing at bits of soil and talking incessantly you might want to take a peek at this. 




What do you think?

I know. It's in three parts. And the last bit gets a bit jumpy. But as yet there is no editing software to speak of so I'm afraid that's as good as it gets.

At the moment I'm quite excited as using it as a way of documenting our first year at the plot by way of monthly updates.

Not sure. 

I think I've got another wip!

Jane
xxx

P.S. I mention Freegle a couple of times. This is a site, much like Freecycle, where people can advertise goods that they they might want, or offer things they don't. A great form of recycling - well worth looking up to see if there is one in your area.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Pants

This isn't a post.

It's a moan.

Not a very long moan. 

I haven't got the energy for that.

But sometimes things are just pants.

Pants. Pants. Pants.

However rather than show you a picture of some pants I'll show you some nice ducks.


There.

That's better. 

A bit.

Jane
xxx

Saturday, 17 January 2015

A Rare Review

Some time ago I wrote a post called Brightening Up about taking on our new allotment (did I mention we have an allotment ;)) In the comments section the lovely Frances from City Views, Country Dreams asked if I had read a book called Four Hedges. I immediately looked it up and was blown over by the cover alone. A few days later I was happily ensconced in what I consider to be one of the most enjoyable pieces of writing I've read.  


Written in the 1930's, Clare Leighton - renowned wood engraver - told of her experience of creating a garden in the Chiltern Hills. Alongside her partner, Henry Noel Brailsford, she fought against the not too ideal location to develop a garden that provided both visual and spiritual pleasure.


Divided into sections - one for each month - she not only observes the plants and wildlife but also the weather, social etiquette and the symbiotic nature of gardening.


Even if you're not a gardening nut such as myself you would find it difficult not to be moved by her deep understanding and appreciation of the senses.

To quote from 'January':

There is nothing more satisfying than to lie in bed at night, secure and warm,with a whistling wind outside. Windows creak and flap and grumble; one's senses are limited by the dark to hearing, and so the moan of the wind lifts and falls, strengthens and diminishes with a range of sound that is unimagined during the daytime, when hearing is tempered and distracted by sight, and wind means the racing of clouds across the sky.


In the introduction Carol Klein tells us

As you read each word, as you study each line, you smile. Yes, you want to say, yes, yes, you want to shout, that's it!

Not only battling with the plot and the weather, they also have another battle on their hands. That with their gardener - someone for whom they have the utmost respect but are too intimidated by to disagree with. This leads to often subversive methods in order to try and garden 'their' way. The local villagers also enrich their gardening knowledge with local lore.When their housekeeper Annie turns up with the phrase 'Coo! There's thunder about' they are confident that rain will soon appear to end a prolonged period of dry weather.


Clare urges us to look at things from a different view. When all seems grey and stark in the middle of Winter she notices the brightness of the birds plumage, and furnishes us with a beautiful account of watching the first iris open.

Throughout the book there is an air of appreciation and optimism. She manages to put into words what so many of us might feel but would find difficult to express. The eloquence of her writing is enhanced by the intensity of her engravings.

 A truly beautiful read.


So - how to follow up such a book?

Recently another blogger (I'm sorry I can't remember who - please put me right if you know!) put up a book for a giveaway. This one was called Allotted Time and with the strapline 'two blokes' one shed, no idea' I knew it would make a perfect gift for Mr K. Very loosely linked, in that it is about developing a garden, it provides a light hearted recount of the trials and tribulations of starting an allotment with - in their words - no idea. The writing may not be as lyrical, but the events are just as recognisable - with battles against the similar obstacles of land, weather and locals. 

Good fun.



So there we go. Two books - similar themes but very different tones. Both perfect for snuggling up with on these dark January days when all we can do is dream about what the year ahead will bring.

I'd love to hear if you've read either of these - or if you have any recommendations yourself.

Keep warm

Jane
xxx

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Looking forward to ...

Seeing my socks continue!
Can you believe I managed to detangle that mess that I showed you in my last post? I'm loving the roundy round knitty knit thing at the moment. Of course it might all turn sour when I hit the heels ...


Seeing some of these start to pop up in the garden. I couldn't resist treating myself when I saw them at the supermarket for £1. I keep having a good old sniff whenever I walk by.


But what I'm so so so looking forward to this year is seeing our newly acquired plot develop.

It was bitterly cold today but Mr K and I spent a really happy couple of hours planning and planting. The beauty of having been granted the allotment during what is essentially the 'dormant' season is that we've been able to get to grips with the essentials. Shed, greenhouse, paths and beds are all ready and waiting for the fun to begin.

 The shed has even had the seal of approval from H.R.H. mum when she visited at Christmas! 

Today I transferred a whole bunch of herbs from my poor overburdened back garden to their new luxury pad.

Am I alone, when transferring plants from pots to fine soil, in going - there you go, that's good isn't it etc? It's the same when I put petrol in the car. Just me?

I know. This looks more like a patch of mud than plant heaven but I'm seeing thriving herb plants attracting bees and butterflies galore. Of course this has left a few gaps at home which means I'm going to HAVE to look out for some replacements. 

The fruit patch (yes - those twigs) is now full of raspberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and gooseberries. Oh to pick our own soft fruit. 


And of course we got the chance to try out Mr K's favourite Christmas present. 

A storm kettle!


I remember watching a clip of gardening guru Alys Fowler visiting her allotment in January and making a cuppa using this fantastic device and thinking it looked like such fun.

And it was!


So much to come - fruit, flowers and socks!

Oh and well done to those of you who guessed what the wire thingummyjig was.
It was - and still is - a duck.

Although Brownie points to Angel Jem for her imaginative suggestions - sadly 'tis not a false bust, a pasta drier or - my favourite - a lamp shade for a submersible caravan!

Mum and dad found it inside a tree at the back of their garden. I think it was originally meant to be 'topiarised' but instead was unceremoniously hanging from a twig by it's beak. 

Not quite sure what to do with him yet - any suggestions?

I hope you all have something to look forward to this week.

Jane
xxx

Monday, 5 January 2015

Tangled

I'm starting with the positive.

Some time before Christmas I showed some sneaky little pictures of some Christmas knitting here. Now they've been and gone and been merrily received I can do a g-r-a-n-d r-e-v-e-e-e-e-a-l.

First there was this.


Which turned into a crochet shawl for mum.




Ravelry details here.

Then this.


A hat for Big Sis' big squeeze.


Followed by these.


A couple of happy dishcloths for the lovely Gloria over at Canela Kitchen. A blogger who I was fortunate to be paired with for Amy's Christmas card swap.


But that's where the woolly wonders finish. I've gone off at a bit of a tangent and got myself in a right royal twiddle.

I decided that I could easily knock up a pair of socks for Big Sis in time for the big day.
I was only half way through sock one when I lost three of the needles.


I decided to fall back on my tried and tested 'easy armwarmer' pattern. 


One down one to go.

Now I know at this point there will be some of you thinking 'why doesn't she just get that other armwarmer finished and then think about starting something else?' 

I'll tell you why.

I'm a terrible flitter.

I saw Teresa's lovely diagonal crochet hotpad and at once requested the pattern. The lovely lady that she is immediately obliged and I had visions of snuggling under a diagonal afghan by the end of the month.

This is the result so far.


I'm sorry Teresa - I will keep trying!

But to top it all. The knotted turret atop the castle built out of confused yarn (I really don't know where that analogy came from). The project that I got so excited about that I sent off for some new interchangeable needles.

Was this.


Can you guess what it is yet?


How about now?


No? 

It's a miracle way of knitting socks that means you can knit two at a time via a magic loop.

Honest.

It's just having a few technical problems.

Anyhow I know the question you'll all really want the answer to. You're wondering what that metal wire type thing is loitering on the edge of my dubious quality photographs.

Do you really want to know?

Really?

Go on have a guess.

I'll tell you next time!

If I'm not completely tangled up in wool that is.

Oh dear.

Jane
xxx


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Blessed

Such a busy week but, after the terribly sad news about Vanessa Cabban, I'm lucky to realise that it has also been a blessed one. With that in mind I'm going to limit this post to as few words as possible.

We have enjoyed...

wonderful food


Wintry weather


Colour and cheer


And surprise gifts!


But most of all the warmth of family and friends





At a time that can be - and has been - so difficult for some I feel truly blessed. 

And out in the garden, under all the dead leaves and frosted ground, there are new things emerging. 

And with them comes hope.


I hope that wherever you are - however big or small they may be - you all have some blessings to count.

Jane
xxx