Friday, 12 December 2014

Five on Friday

Please excuse how dark the picture is, I've been trying to capture how good my wooden Merry Christmas banner looks !
I'm joining in with Amy's Five on Friday, please find my five below -

1. My eldest returns from uni today for the Christmas holidays, I really can't explain how excited I am, I'm feeling much more festive now!

2. I've been baking for his return (cherry & almond loaf amongst other items) & whilst I would much prefer a curry to eat this evening he has requested enchiladas.

3. I'm off for two weeks wahoo! Reading, crafting & lazing awaits! In reality I will be running after a damp dog with a mop to remove his muddy paw prints. 

4. This weekend marks the end of my Christmas treat shop, I must investigate the hire of a bank vault to hide the goodies from me. (See the start of No 3)

5. I will consume my body weight in Snowballs this festive season. I have not given up hope that one of my boys will marry a nice American girl in the future! They sell huge cartons of eggnog over there in the supermarkets, I've seen them on Christmas movies & I'm pretty sure eggnog & advocaat are the same thing or a close enough match! 

I am joining in Five on Friday, taking five minutes from our day to enjoy five things.  Please go and visit the other people who are also blogging about Five on Friday this week.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How we roll here

I was pondering to myself last night how things change as you age & your family develops with & around you.

Since having children many moons back (the youngest is now 13) there are few opportunities for random nights out, they have to be planned in advance!

I was more pondering as I was sat on one sofa with a basket of knitting & Mike was on the other sofa with his Christmas jigsaw. A happy nearly middle age couple we are too!

Suddenly I heard a baby elephant run down the stairs & clatter into the hallway, the sitting room door was flung open & Harry (the youngest) fell in with excitement holding a case of game chips. ' Does any one want a game of poker?' He asked happily ?????????? That's how we roll here now!

In case any of you are in any way jealous of my way too perfect life I shall leave you with a photo of my real world -
My beautiful large Christmas tree relegated to a corner of the dining room, set off by a wall without plaster & the other without wallpaper. A work in progress like quite possibly every room in the house. My lovely Mike the one who works full time, likes to fish at the weekend & thinks he can renovate a house which didn't need renovating in the first place single handedly!

On the plus point I do believe the skirting board has been fitted now, not on the brick wall though. We are debating on an opening for double doors you see, hence why we still have a brick wall. The main point for the debate being the placing of said double doors, but that's how we roll here now!

Enjoy your day all xx

Monday, 8 December 2014

Is anyone feeling festive?

I am feeling slightly tingly with excitement but there doesn't feel to be any magic to proceedings this year.

I am feeling slightly flat about things, perhaps it hits us all at one time or another, I put it down to the fact we have had a shockingly bad year & there will just be four of us for Christmas day this year. Something which has been unheard of in all the time Mike & I have been together. Therefore there has been no major preparations, no mincemeat, no cake & no stashing of food/drinks. No children in primary school either so no plays or fairs to look forward too! Harry is far to old for the church crib service but I think Midnight Mass will be in order this year.

Blimey, I do sound like a miserable old hag don't I!

For some reason I didn't buy myself an advent calender this year, my sister then presented me with this creation -
She had spent a couple of months making this for me, isn't it sweet. A bit dishevelled now after 8 days in mind, it needs propping up! Apart from a scary looking key ring I have had an assortment of sweets. Harry was rather excited about this handmade creation & has insisted on opening it for me day by day. I have to wait my turn of course. Harry opens his first then the dog has his, naturally I am last. Out of the 8 days worth of little gifts I have acquired a scary looking keyring & a strawberry cream. The others were part of Harry's vast favourites so I have passed them on!

Mike has requested beef for Christmas lunch this year, 'Really I asked him, have you gone mad' so we have ordered a small joint of beef, a small turkey & a ham. I rather enjoy cold cuts. So as a change this year we are not having  a cake & I am buying mince pies, heck I might even buy the mulled wine ready made.

I've treated myself to two weeks off starting from the 14th December most unheard of, I may even switch my Blackberry off for the season. Then again I may twitch if I do, I might put it in a drawer but leave the ringer on instead.

Mike has told me to cull my rather extensive Christmas book list, I can have two. I'm finding it rather hard to pick though, I'm having a craft book & a gardening book. Any ideas on a gardening book please, not a how to one, I'd like one I can read too if you understand. I'm rather taken with 'A taste of the unexpected'  but am open to other ideas.

Right I'm off to cheer myself up with a walk, the weather was shockingly bad earlier on this morning so the hound hasn't been out. Not that I think he is missing his walk as he is snoozing on the sofa at present.

I took my camera with me yesterday morning on a walk with Mike & the hound, naturally there was no power to it possibly due to the large number of selfies I find on it of Harry & Rocky.

Enjoy your day xx

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Looking ahead to colour

The weather feels, looks? rather grim today. Everywhere is looking grey & damp & there are no sparkly frosts to be seen.

Last night I was curled up under my blanket holding a mug of tea, Chai  if you are interested, my current favourite. Though if I'm honest I much prefer the M&S version to the Twinnings one. Anyway there was nothing fun on the TV, so a quick rummage in one of the many bookcases & I pulled out these -
Next year the veg garden will be planted with baby veg plants via mail order. I've seen the package I want & details have been passed onto Mike. This means my propagator can be used mainly for flowers. Not just any flowers but cut flowers for the house.

Now I have had a good look to see what space I can spare without losing any of the veg patch. Luckily I have three separate narrow areas which I think will be perfect!

Even better, adding these three areas together gives me a combined space of approx 60 square foot, which gives me ample opportunity for numerous posies & enough flowers left for the wildlife.

As always enjoy your day xx

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A slight peevement

Not sure if peevement is a proper word but it was how I felt last night. In fact last night I felt more than slight peevement!

As a fairly new to crafting person you should not a) Watch TV & b) talk to ones husband whilst trying to knit!

If you do this happens -

Forgive my awful camera skills, but the bottom photo towards the left, what was supposed to be a blue row of wool became twisted somehow with the pink row before it. Naturally I noticed after I knitted the row & now have to carefully unpick said row! Never having done such a thing before it can be quite heart stopping. A minor thing really in the grand scheme of things but still a slight peevement.

Look, aren't they beautiful !
I spotted this pattern on a trawl through blogland prior to my birthday in September on the Little Cotton Rabbits blog. With my birthday funds as well as a bundle  of other wool I invested in the wool used to make these wrist warmers which you can see here & here. How I love this wool now, proper wool too, I'm adding to my collection monthly!

Thank you for your comments yesterday, I was particularly heartened there were no mass 'get rid of the dog' comments. It is a work in progress & we are nearly there.

Another couple of things that has brightened my mood considerably are - Amy's Christmas card swap  I have posted my card to Amy & will post the other card once I receive my other swap address. I also had an email from Marlene over at Simple Living to say I had been drawn out of her Christmas gift swap hat. Te he, super excited now, I do like this time of year!

Enjoy your day xx

Monday, 24 November 2014

Teaching an old dog new tricks!

Oh its hard, you think you are getting somewhere & then there is a set back. Normally caused by someone else & this instance I lay the blame entirely on Mike!

On the whole Rocky dog is settling in well, remembering he was rescued from an abusive home when he was a puppy then rescued by an old man who he spent five happy years with.

The five happy years being lots of attention as it was just the two of them, lots of treats & table scraps & being allowed to bark at passing dogs & people whilst out on a walk. Of course there was the teasing about cats too!

Santa Swap package.

Rocky gets lots of attention now too, he is an affectionate dog & will quite happily clamber on your knee for a cuddle or tap you with his paw for a stroke. Lesson No 1 learned that if he wanted to be by himself not to approach him (as in young teenage boy to sit as close as possible & stroke him)as he would emit a low growl as in 'piddle off & leave me alone'.

He gets 'good boy' only treats now & certainly no table scraps.

He is not allowed to bark when we are out, I'm very firm on this one as it is me who does the majority of the walking. He used to pull a lot so I bought a harness for him & a nice new lead. If we approach a cat or dog I hold him close & cross to the other side while repeating quite firmly 'NO', it seems to be doing the trick. We have had the odd bark but his normal reaction now is to either whimper & pull a bit or just to ignore the other animal.

Now onto the biggy, We have a lot of cats that visit the garden, we are surrounded by fields & they hunt in there & come to sit under the bird table. At first Rocky was happy to wait patiently for the door to be open so he could be in the back garden. Over the past couple of weeks Mike despite my strict instruction not too as been winding the dog up about cats! Now when someone goes to the French doors he gets beyond himself with  excitement, to stop this I bought a dog gate so I could contain him ( he also gets beyond excited when Harry returns from school) the gate is useful for that too. Would Mike wait until he was behind the gate, no, he didn't!

Rocky wasn't allowed out yesterday morning & as Mike can be rather bullish shall we say, he thought he could push an extremely excited dog back with his legs to stop him getting through the doors. Naturally the dog took great umbrage at this & growled, barked & snapped at (not on) Mikes foot.

I am now dealing with an upset Harry as Mike is threatening to get rid of the dog & an upset Mike as I have been shouting at him over his behaviour.

I have spent a lot of money, time & effort to integrate the dog into our family home, he knew he had done wrong yesterday & while I lay the blame firmly at Mikes feet Rocky was also on loss of privileges. No treats or cuddles, he was allowed a stroke though. Perhaps Mike might listen to me now.

On a happier note my house is super spic and span, I spent the afternoon cleaning & putting clothes away. I even posted my Santa swap parcel on Saturday too, this means I can spend today knitting,

Enjoy your day xx

Monday, 17 November 2014

Monday mornings

I do like a Monday morning, only the hound & I in the house. The beds have been stripped & the washing machine is on. The house needs a good dusting mind but I shall get to that later!

There is something bugging me though, I'm pretty sure a pigeon has fallen down the chimney or a collard dove as there is some sort of deranged cooing sound going on!

Anyway back to my Monday I'm pondering next years plantings. Not the veg ones mind as I'm going down the baby plant delivery route next year. Mike is taking over the greenhouse, he has taken a lot of interest in the greenhouse this year so I'm leaving that up to him. He has bought a sulphur candle for it & some cleaning solution.

Anyway my thoughts are more towards flowers & other garden pretties. For some reason I can't get the idea of white snapdragons out of my head. So I plan on having a block of them in my cut flower patch.
I'm planning on taking an aerial shot of the plot each month, no time like the present so here is November 2014 which admittedly looks bleak.

There is more to the garden but short of tying my legs to the radiator I was most reluctant to lean out any further. Mike is much more taller than me perhaps he can take next months shot for me!

So what can we see, the fruit bush plot to the left. I removed a red current & white current bush the other month. I have some yellow raspberry canes to the side of this bed & I really struggled to get to them, I have one red current, two black currents & two gooseberries left now. I cut the alpine strawberries & the asparagus back & lifted the dahlias. The sea kale has disappeared hopefully underground or the slugs, snails &/or pixies ate it under the cover of the cosmos forest of summer.

From what you can see of the main veg bed, it's all empty apart from some apples for the blackbirds & thrushes. It's snoozing for the winter we shall say politely! Raspberry canes to the back which have been most rampant this year & have already been snipped back. I shall cut them right down in January & tradition I like, to me it signals the start of the year.

The rest is out of shot so we shall leave that for now, I've rambled enough for today. Enjoy your day all xx

Ps It wasn't a stuck pigeon, upon further investigation I traced the noise to Harry's room. The pump on his goldfish tank is blocked, as it seems to be a bit of an icky job I shall lave it to Mike to sort out this evening.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Do you want to squeeze it Mike?

Te he, what a way to get your attention. Now I am always extraordinarily proud of anything I make & grow. It surprises me each time I harvest or finish something that little old me could do such a thing. It also gives me a huge amount of satisfaction.

I have made & completed the above stocking for my sister for Christmas. Isn't it beautiful? I bought this magazine last year. I wanted to make the quilt on the front cover & bought a selection of material. Well you all now how my summer panned out so that didn't happen. There were quite a few things I wanted to make from the magazine & when I saw the above pattern I knew I wanted to make it for my sister.

The patterns in the magazine needed to be increased in size which was beyond my printers capabilities & quite possibly mine! So I bought a stocking pattern & cut the pieces out approx two months ago & em sort of left them.

Two days ago I thought I really had to get a move on as I knew my sister would love to have a stocking full of little gifts this Christmas. Could I find the magazine anywhere? No I couldn't, I had a good memory of what the design would look like & with a little jiggery pokery I finished it.

As I said I am always pleased when I have made something & when Mike returned from work I eagerly set upon him.

'Look Michael, I've finished it', 'Oh yes, I see, very good', 'Is that it, is that all you can say', ' What do you want me to say, it's very good Sue will love it', 'Would you like to feel it Michael, give it a squeeze, it's padded I quilted it'! So on & so forth as I followed the poor man around the house.

The conversation finished with the words ( quite possibly an hour later|) 'For Christ sake Joanne put the thing down, you will wear holes in it'

P.S when I say fill the stocking I don't quite mean to the top it is rather large. There will be a few nice gifts in there for her which I have picked up over the past few months. I just need to buy a mug & replace the chocolate Gruffalo which I ate the other day. I shall leave you with a close up of Rudolph. Enjoy your day all xx

Thursday, 13 November 2014

A lonely homegrown pumpkin

My one & only pumpkin, it looks green in the above shot but I can assure you it is a rather lovely pale shade of blue. I think it was called Blue Hubbard & perhaps without my neglect it would prove more productive. Out of the three plants this was the only harvest.

It is a little scratched & a tad warty (aren't we all)! , but I plan to do something special with it. My first idea of handmade pasta filled with pumpkin & sage drizzled with butter is a no no.

Mike discovered he was lactose intolerant last year & while he his not as badly affected as other sufferers, butter is a big no no. He has lactose free milk & cream which I find agreeable, the butter substitute however is not good + I am quite unsure where the pasta machine is currently hiding.

If I am to make something from such a handsome pumpkin it has to be perfect. I suspect I shall roast some of it with some spices as a side dish. I could perhaps have some in a curry & I'm sure if I have seen a bread recipe somewhere.

In all honesty I shall probably leave it whole until Rob returns from uni next month, ones thing for sure it wont be turned into soup. Enjoy your day xx

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Hound!

Rocky dog who enjoys two walks a day, behaved himself extremely well at his first visit to the vets, who has suffered a change to a higher quality dog food, who would like to eat one of the cats he spies on his walks, who would also like to nibble on one of the squirrels that scamper past him & whose being here has eaten considerably into my craft budget.

Harry used to be terrified of dogs, a neighbour helped him get over his fear by tying his dog up outside to the front garden gate. Gradually over a period of weeks Harry edged up to the dog & they became the greatest of friends. Ever since then Harry has wanted a dog of his very own & to be honest if it wasn't for the death of my father in law he would still be waiting.

Rocky dog has settled in extremely well over the past few weeks & certainly seems here to stay, I have even bought him his own Christmas stocking!

See that shockingly bad bottom photo, I was trying to take a shot of where we are extending the cut flower bed. The compost bin is being moved & the concrete to the left is being chipped out. Every time I knelt down to take a shot the hound came scampering over! Enjoy your day xx

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Tentative plans

Thank you all so so much for your lovely messages on my last post. Mike was rather touched when I told him about the comments left so I thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

The funeral was a pleasant affair, well as pleasant as they can be! Mike, his two brothers & a nephew wanted to carry the coffin in & out of the church & the rest of the funeral party to follow. It's what they did with their mum many years ago.

I walked down the aisle with Harry & an elderly niece of Mikes dad. An absolutely lovely woman, if you could choose your parents I would have picked this woman like a shot! Anyway imagine the scene if you will a short lady in her earlier 40's dressed in black, holding the hand of a teenager & her other arm linked through an elderly ladies. Walking gracefully & respectfully in a line with the other close family members.

Now I was doing my level best to make sure Harry & the elderly niece were ok it was after all a sad occasion. I wasn't keeping too close an eye on the floor of the church you see & didn't notice the grid until I walked over it & felt the heel of my shoe squeeze through one of the holes rather too tightly for my liking!

In a split second I felt horror, despair ,why the heck did I have court shoes on my feet & not proper heels, trying to remember if they were expensive shoes as one would have to be left behind, how was I going to warn the mourners behind me, should I let go of Harry & elderly niece to try & retrieve said shoe, how would I hobble gracefully & respectfully down the aisle with one shoe on my foot or should I really set the scene & kick my remaining shoe off! Split second passed by & I raised my foot up & thankfully my shoe came out with it. I shall remember that sensation for the rest of my life & the snorts of laughter it brought afterwards.

The hound has settled in well, he came with his own crochet blanket!  I do have photos to show you but after a big tidy up the other day I have misplaced my camera. I am yet to download the latest batch of photos so you are stuck with the one at the top of this post.

We had a big garden clear up & I took a couple of shots from my bedroom window to show you how bare my garden is looking now. It's quite a nice feeling knowing that the garden is ready for next year & I have the the winter to make plans.

I have a couple of days off so am treating myself to some Christmas crafting, the heating is on the hound is snoozing on his blanket, a candle is lit & Christmas movies are on the TV, As always enjoy your day xx

Friday, 17 October 2014

I won't be around for the next two or three weeks unfortunately Mikes father passed away last night. Not totally unexpected but we didn't realise it would happen this soon. As devastated as he is is Mike is out making arrangements as I type, playing the big brother as he is with his youngest brother.

We spent a surreal few hours together this morning, Mike received a phone call at midnight along with his brother saying he needed to get to the hospital. Sadly they were minutes too late & his dad passed away just as Mike was running through the hospital to get to the ward, he was minutes behind his brother. They spent some time with their dad which was a comfort to them both.

The surreal part came when Mike returned home & we sat up together drinking coffee & watching Christmas movies. He insisted on opening one of the curtains in the sitting room as he recalls after his mum died she looked through the window. Mike believes in that sort of malarkey you see, he saw my granddad in his bedroom when he was younger after he died, many moons prior to us getting together that is. It was an interesting story when I put two & two together after our third date that his parents lived next door to my grandparents.

We have also inherited his dads dog. I told Mike last week if the lady who was looking after the dog was unable to keep him we would be having him. I couldn't see him shipped off to a dogs home, his dad rescued him as a puppy you see after he had seen him being mistreated. I don't think I can have any chickens though with him, I shall have to see!

 The staff on the ward have been absolutely fantastic with the boys over the past couple of weeks genuinely caring & concerned. I don't think you realise until you are in that situation just how hard they work & the whole range of skills they need. The chaps on the same ward have also been a good bunch, the boys are popping in this morning to say their goodbyes which I think is one of the sweetest things ever.

Anyway I shall return in a couple of weeks or so, once the hound has settled down & the funeral out of the way. I shall post some photos, of the dog that is! - I am busy googling pet insurance.

Thanks for your comments on my last post, you really are a super bunch - take care xx

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Wooly bits & bats

The beauty of having a birthday at the end of the garden season (to me, my garden is a summer pursuit) is I can purchase lots of wool & books to see me through autumn & winter with my birthday funds.

Also we are in the middle of Wool Week   which gave me the perfect excuse for some British wool buying - a selection of wool (10 balls to be exact) from Jamiesonsofshetland & Jamieson and Smith to have a go at some Fair Isle cuffs found here
I also added to my stash because -
A) I have an addiction, B) It makes me happy C) I used a discount code & D) It never actually cost me anything as it was birthday money!! Would you like a closer look?
A total of 18 balls of 4ply yarn in three shades. I have a super easy cardigan pattern for this wool. As it's 4 ply it is taking me yonks plus I'm a slow knitter anyway. I think I only have 5 more shades to buy then I will have the cardigan in every colour way, in about 23 years that is as I am still on the first cardigan! Three balls of red chunky yarn because I liked the look of it
Three balls of sparkly yarn with a book to crochet snowflakes & last but not least

a selection of nice yarn which I collect a few balls of each month for when I am a proper knitter. Hopefully by the time I have grandchildren which in all honesty is at least ten years away I shall have lots of this lovely stuff stashed away, possibly in the walls if Mike gets his mitts on it!

Would you like to hear a funny story - I had completed my wool & books buying purchase with birthday funds & further additions from Mike. I came across this post  for a cardigan knitted in an aran wool. Oh I thought I like that & naturally investigated shades. I decided on three shades & happily transferred funds out of my savings account into my current account. Except I actually transferred the money into Mikes savings account & he won't give it me back until next month to teach me a lesson!! I was too peeved to buy it after that!!

I shall be back later on in the week with my books, Mikes dad was taken to hospital at the weekend & Mike & his brother were both called in last night. Thankfully it wasn't as serious as first thought & he should be out by the weekend. I'm getting a little peeved at what this last 18 months has chucked our way but am being positive as I feel my posts are getting more & more morose of late & I am trying hard to be positive because in real life I am a positive person. I need to play catch up again. Enjoy your day all xx

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


I feel I am being a miserable old crone of late & I need to snap out of it quick! I have no reason for such negativity so I am turning myself round double quick!

My return to the office went just as I suspected yesterday, one not in & the other popped into my office to say it wasn't them. I pointed out that I knew exactly who was involved & that they had started on the wrong person, I'm known not to take things lightly. I have also heard on the office grapevine that the other person has said she didn't mean anything! Like I said severe back tracking I shall leave it at that until it raises its head again or they start on anyone else. We have a couple of new starters at HQ out of the shops & I'm sure it can be quite scary for them. I don't like bullying or unfairness in any shape or form I am more than happy to step in if I see anyone else suffering!

Anyway drawing a line, positive thoughts, positive thoughts! I had the most divine Sunday & Monday, I have gone back to my two days off, I've done my fair share, I've kept my department up & running & to be honest I'm whacked. My second in command (I hate the word assistant) is due back on the 24th of this month, oh how I can't wait.

On Sunday the lovely Mike moved some of the fruit trees. Due to the garden being fairly small they are kept in large pots. I now have myself a little orchard of sorts.

It looks better in real life, I assure you! Can you see the higgledy piggledy concrete fence? This area was earmarked for Mikes new shed. He replaced the fence panels with these concrete ones, no maintenance you see when the shed was up. He though the higgledy piggledy look would be fine as you wouldn't see it. We spent a weekend preparing the base, mixing up concrete, laying it & I helped with the mixing I will have you know! Mike went shopping with his measurements for a work shop type shed & found his ideal one at a joiners who makes them to order. There was a ex display one you see, much larger than the space Mike had dedicated but much, much cheaper. Naturally Mike went for that one, which had to go in the seating area due to its size which also means I can't have a new conservatory where I wanted it so will be stuck with a smaller one at the back of the house. Plus I have higgledy piggledy concrete fences on show which I will have to cover with something! Mike is super happy with his new shed though & has all his work benches up with tool type things to make items with & I can have chickens in an orchard! Breathe Joanne breathe!!

My lovely day on Monday, my first day off to myself since the middle of July & what did I do. I knitted, I did some crochet, I received a delivery or two, I read, I polished, I hoovered, I eventually got round to planting wallflowers & sweet williams & I also prepared beouf bourguignon for dinner. A proper one too, not just ingredients flung in the slow cooker first thing in the morning & we had fresh potatoes & carrots with it from the garden.

Thank you for your comments on your my last post, it surprising just how often work place bullying occur. I can't really say it was work place bullying as I'm in the position to be able to stop it happening to me, I would also do my level best if I found anyone else in the office in the same position. Would you mind awfully if I didn't reply to your comments, I'm trying to find a proper balance with work, home & blogging & sometimes well often I struggle to post comments on your blog posts as well as reply to the kind ones you leave on mine. I know you wont mind, but I suffer from a severe guilt complex at times, I'm still feeling it from last week when Harry asked if he & a friend could play upstairs. The awful child knows he shouldn't ask if I'm working from home as naturally I need to concentrate & two boys on an x box doesn't allow me to do that! It doesn't stop him from asking & I normally give in to him, not this time though & I had puppy dog eyes all night.

I'm recovering slowly! Right I have rambled on enough already, enjoy your day all xx

Friday, 26 September 2014

Time of year

I can honestly say that autumn is my favourite time of year. Out of all the seasons I think autumn is the most unique. Hot, cold, sun, frost, hail, windy, rain, calm - you really don't know what you are going to get.

I like the first little tingle of the cold on my skin when I step outside. Not the normal chilly feeling when the sky is overcast, but the tingle you feel towards the end of September when there could be the threat of a slight frost, lovely! I like a good frost, at this time of year of course. A bad snap towards the end of spring can wipe out those carefully planted baby plants.. Not a good feeling at all.

It was my birthday yesterday, little old me 41 years old! I like getting older, one of my ambitions is to reach the age of 102. Each birthday takes me a little closer to that great age. I come from a long line of long lived relatives, I should get somewhere near it. I also come from a line of pessimistic, vindictive & just so unhappy not willing to make any changes, generally disagreeable people. I've been thinking of them lots lately & quite frankly its just a waste of life, to want to be that miserable & want to live that way - well its just shocking. My sister & I both work hard at making sure we don't turn out the same. Our children have been brought up with love, understanding & compassion. It makes such a difference!
Birthday flowers! My lovely Harry bought the two bunches you see at each end out of his own money along with a box of chocs.  I say out of his own money, each time Rob returns to uni Harry raids his room for any change he may have left. Rob leaves change on purpose hiding it around his room, on this occasion Harry collected £45!!!Rob bless his heart roared with laughter when I told him over the phone & said 'the little blighter can do without a birthday present this year, £45 blimey, how did I manage to leave that!' Rob has ordered something for me , something he said he thought long and hard about as he didn't know what to buy. It hasn't arrived yet but we  are used to getting a special card from the postman asking us to visit the sorting office when Rob first started sending things through the post. You know the ones, to pay the proper postage cost!!

The middle bouquet was an unexpected surprise, one that brought a tear to my eye, a knock on the door yesterday & I received it along with more chocolates. A gift from my brother, well it was actually addressed to aunt Jo from his dog!

I have been suffering from the most rotten cold lately, it really has wiped me out & I have been most fearful of it turning into a chest infection & then pneumonia. A third bout this year would see me in hospital for sure so I have been trying to take it easy & have been away from the office for a couple of weeks working from home. As my lovely 2nd in command may not be returning until after the 21st Oct I have taken the step of reverting back to two days off each week now, enough is enough!
I also seem to be suffering from an attempt of bullying, I can't stand bullying & unfairness & stamp down quite firmly with my size three feet. Small I might be, scared I'm not & the people involved seem to be peddling backwards as fast as they can, shame I am to quick for them. I shall certainly have some fun next week when I return to the office, I am most looking forward to it.

The lovely Mike was off yesterday & because I was working & ill we didn't go out anywhere. My lovely man cooked breakfast, lunch & dinner & brought me numerous cups of tea. We talked, we laughed, we made plans for the three of us to go out on Sunday. I stayed in my jim jams all day wrapped up in a quilt with my lap top on my knee. A most enjoyable day, even more so when Mike passed over his debit card & said pick what you want. Wool, books & baskets are winging their way over to me as I type. As always enjoy your day xx

Friday, 19 September 2014

Be careful what you wish for

Back when my vegetable garden was new I began trawling the internet for advice & tips. Along with gardening sites I became aware of blogs. Now it was a couple of years after I started my veg patch that I started my own little blog.

Back to the story there was one post & the blog name escapes me about raspberries. The post was mainly about how peeved the person was that their few canes of raspberries kept on throwing up runners far from the initial planting. Another peevement to these people was the amount of raspberries their plants produced were far too much!

What complete & utter tosh I though to myself, how on earth could you have too many raspberries!

Now while I may have a small garden I vowed to fill it full of wonderful things to feed me & raspberries were a definite. I had the ideal space in mind, there is a small path at the back of the veg bed which made the perfect spot.

I researched varieties carefully, autumn fruiting was the best for me being a lazy gardener. Short plants which could be cut down at the beginning of the year ready to sprout again, none of this tying in malarkey perfect!

Except nature rarely does what you want it to - roll on several years after my rose tinted specs moment!
I purchased approx 6 raspberry canes several years back, sufficient for what I wanted - a few punnet's of fruit & some for jam. Year on year these canes have multiplied despite careful culling, they send their vast runners through the veg patch. So much so I could pot them up & start my own little empire selling them. The canes have grown so large  & heavy with fruit they have broken the supports we had put up for them. There will be lots of culling next year!!

There is a thing of too many raspberries, even the birds are sick of them, so the moral of the story is be careful what you wish for.

Enjoy your day xx

Thursday, 18 September 2014


No idea if the spelling is correct but I liked the title. Now I do like a nice parcel through the post & whoever thought of the first blogger swap, well what a fantastic idea!

Trawling my way through blogland a couple of months back I came across a 'From my home to your home swap'. What a fabulous idea I thought to myself. Off I went to look properly & found it was being held by betty-thewoodfairy. So I promptly became a follower & expressed my interest to join. I was matched with Linda from Vintage Hearth.

The lovely thing about this swap was that we had yonks to get our gifts together & the way my summer ended up this was ideal.

So here is my package I sent off to Linda. Due to time restraints I couldn't get out shopping . I really can't tell you how thrilled Mike was, unfortunately for Mike we have the internet so I set about ordering things.

Excuse my jumbled up photo I leave everything to the last minute. The morning the parcel was posted Mike had finished work at 9:30am, he had started at 7 I think & had to go in for records or something like that but as he was way over his hours he finished early. I digress, I saw my chance & hurriedly wrapped my package of gifts so Mike could take them to the post office.

That is possibly where things started to go wrong, I was actually working at the time & no one could locate any sticky tape. Not to be put out as I was determined to post that day I hastily wrapped tissue paper round my gifts, naturally I ran out of tissue paper & had to wrap some of the gifts together. I would like to add this was nice coloured paper & not toilet roll.

I had bought some rather bright wrapping paper with Welsh words on it as after all my home is here in Wales. The lack of tape made me wrap the package together with a ribbon so far, so good.  The package then refused to fit into a large padded envelope I had bought! The parcel probably included strands of my hair at this point.

I was getting more & more peeved, Mike & Harry were battling for control over the TV remote, Rob was mooching around for the possibility of breakfast. I was struggling to wrap my gifts & was about to commit murder.

I chucked the parcel at Mike along with Linda's address & my debit card with the instruction Go to the village post office, buy some brown paper & wrap & address nicely! Get me next day delivery if the cost is suitable.' Now I have no idea what Mike thinks is a suitable price but he spent £13 of my pounds on next day delivery, ahem! Dipstick!!!! In fact double Dipstick!!

Anyway Linda did indeed receive her parcel & thankfully liked the contents. Mike had christened most of the contents as tourist tat but I like things like that I have cupboard full of them. In fact I nearly kept the slate coaster. Mike made me post it.

Our gifts were to include a handmade item, so I elected to make a lavender bag type thing. A little larger than I wanted but I embroidered some daffodils & naturally had to include them. I backed it with my favourite fabric which has all four UK flags. Depending on the vote I might have some valuable fabric on my hands!

I received my package from Linda the other day & it was full of lovely things

Look at this lovely crochet hook holder that Linda made for me, isn't it wonderful! It is now full of my hooks. A tea caddy too, I haven't had one of them before & a lovely tin bookmark, a sheep weathervane /teller thingamajig, a mug, a lavender heart made out of an old Durham quilt! Some books, the one on Beamish is fabulous, I am busy planning a trip there but as it is a three & 1/2 hour journey each way I don't think that will happen until next year. Anyway I received a lovely parcel & was thrilled with the contents. A very enjoyable swap. 

Enjoy your day all xx

Monday, 15 September 2014

Lost tribes!

I think there are one or two tribes of pixies & goblins living amongst the planting of the soft fruit bed, I'm afraid it is rather overfilled with this & that. One end houses the asparagus & the other the currants. In between there is sea kale, cosmos, dahlias, sun flowers gladioli, sedums, other plantings that escape me   & of course some weeds! The bed is then edged with alpine strawberries & backed with yellow fruiting raspberries, so it is rather full indeed.
Unfortunately last night whilst we were asleep in our beds, some of the pixies & goblins must have found there way into the house. I was woken at some ungodly hour by a faint whimpering, upon investigating I found Harry out of his bed & pointing at the curtains.

Now A I was still half asleep, B I didn't have my glasses on & C Harry is known for sleepwalking it was a rather confusing few minutes. Harry was adamant he was wide awake & gazing at his curtains waiting to drop off. Suddenly I was told with the great dramatics that Harry is also known for , that one of the curtains lifted in the middle & he heard a noise! The fact that his windows were slightly open combined with Mikes & my window being open & the landing window being open didn't appease him when I said it must have been a draught. Neither was he calmed down by Mike prowling up & down his room saying he has had some experience with hauntings & he was sure there was nothing there! The incident ended with Mike being packed off to bed with the words 'think before you speak dipstick' ringing in his ears & me spending the most uncomfortable night ever with Harry & his extremely noisy fish tank!!

I am rather sleep deprived this morning as while Harry has a double bed he also sleeps like a star fish. He also slept rather lightly last night so each time I moved he woke up & that fish tank was nearly thrown through the window!!

I did however have a lovely day yesterday, Mike was persuaded by my good self to take me out for tea & cake. Naturally the place I wanted to go was Abakhan where I was also treated to some more Christmas fabric, then again it was less of a treat as I'm pretty sure I bought it. Enjoy your day xx

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Autumn greenhouse

It's quite hard getting back into this blogging lark after being away for a month or two.

I took a few snaps of the greenhouse the other day as within a few weeks we will be clearing it out ready to overwinter some of the outside plants.

Mikes chillies have done well, far too well actually. Looks like I will be having chilli jam on my toast instead of plum.

The cucumber is still fruiting, I wish the blinking thing would stop, miserable old trout that I am. Its only me that eats cucumber & quite frankly there is only so much you can eat or give away!

I am rather excited about the bottom photo though. The tomatillos have done rather well. The two plants in the greenhouse have scrambled all over the place & I think I have enough to make something nice next weekend!

I find myself child free today, Rob is back at uni, Harry is away & will be back in time for tea. My plans for this unexpected event I hear you ask - a trip to the garden centre NO, a trip to a place full of lovely yarny fabric type things again NO, lunch out its a NO again. My lovely Mike is replacing some skirting board in the dining room & then would like some help with removing a rather large bookcase from the landing & putting it in the dining room.

My only day off & he is also enquiring over the possibility of a cooked breakfast! I am taking very deep breaths. Enjoy your day xx

Friday, 12 September 2014

I'm back!!

I had visions of entering autumn with some plum jam to have on my toast or even scones.  As I have had such little time over the last couple of months to dedicate to anything other than work or the  boys I couldn't keep an eye on Mike in the garden. Mike has eaten all of the plums off the tree leaving me with no jam!

My lovely work colleague has had his heart op & is due to return to work next month, I don't know who is looking forward to his return more, me or him, I will be able to days off each week & take weeks off too!

Anyway positive thoughts, I'm still on one day off a week as its the only way I know in my mind that work can be kept on a controllable level for me. But that's my choice & more importantly helps keep the stress levels down.

Mike is taking Rob back to uni today, I can't believe he is starting his third year already. The time has absolutely flown by & he has loved every minute of it, I truly cannot believe he will be graduating next year!

I managed to complete his blanket for uni & he loved it. It's blinking huge, far bigger than I thought it would be but as Rob is 6 ft tall it's just as well!

Garden is looking good & the harvests have been fairly reasonable. Two big disasters to report my net protection had blown off the brassicas & by the time I noticed the slugs & caterpillars had them!! The windy weather a few weeks back caused all of the peaches to blow off the tree, again the slugs had a feast. Minor issues really in the grand scheme of things.

I have taken part in a couple of swaps which I shall do another blog post on as I have forgotten to take a photo of such a lovely fabric Christmas tree that Amanda sent me. I hope to that on Sunday.

Anyway thanks for keeping with me, I really do appreciate it, I'm off to do some catch up.

Friday, 8 August 2014


A quick post just in case you were wondering where I had gone!

Thank you ever so much for your lovely messages on my last post & my apologies for not responding to your comments.

My lovely second in command in work had a heart attack while I was convalescing & is due shortly to have a triple heart bypass. To say that trumps my illness is an understatement!

To accommodate his time off work & my illness I have had to do a little jiggery pokery which means I am mostly without a laptop as my son uses it to work from home in the evening while he is home from uni. If any problems occur I am then on hand to deal with them. This however cuts down hugely on the amount of time blogging. Hopefully the middle of September will see me return, though that will mean a little more jiggery pokery!

Mike ensures I rest in the evening which means I have been busy crafting away, unfortunately no photographs yet! The garden has been super good this year & apart from some blossom end rot on the greenhouse tomatoes everything has been good. I have yet to plant my PSB for next year & hope I haven't left it too late.

Hopefully I will be able to access a computer again so I can leave you some comments, I'm sure you understand things have been stupidly busy of late.

Hope you are keeping well xx

Friday, 18 July 2014

What's a girl to do

I find myself ill again which is rather strange as I feel fine. If it wasn't for Mike being off yesterday I wouldn't have visited the Doctor Surgery. It was less of a visit more of a frog march!

I have, yet again pneumonia & as it is recurrent in an otherwise healthy person I have to go for a chest x-ray on Monday. I also have an inhaler & a course of antibiotics to get through. The Dr also prescribed rest & Mike growled when I told the Dr I had a meeting to go to (I really don't feel ill) anyway to appease Mike & the Dr I took yesterday & today off work.

So what's a girl to do when this opportunity presents, I persuaded the lovely Mike to take me to Abakhan as I needed some white cotton to make this -

Its a quilt from the new QuiltNow mag which I subscribed to several weeks back, the postman delivered the first copy last Saturday & I was rather taken with this design.

We arrived at Abakhan & I noticed they had two barrels of fabric rolls outside the entrance to the fabric part. I normally ignore these but a roll of fabric caught my eye so naturally we had to investigate.

My shockingly bad photography skills really cant show you just how lovely this fabric is, there was also a roll of a cream fabric there which I thought would be suitable for quilt backings so we picked that one up too! The fabric roll in the photo was £5 & the cream one was priced at £2.50 & each roll contained over 5 meters each! Along with the white cotton fabric I went for & a sneaky wool purchase we returned home after lunch.

So today I will be found cutting these into squares & drinking tea, as always enjoy your day xx

Thursday, 17 July 2014

A posy & a swap

I spent more time than necessary in the garden the other evening as a ploy to keep me away from the housework! I had cleared the broad bean bed in readiness for the purple & white sprouting broccoli to be planted. I may get round to that this weekend but until then I have a lovely clean bed of soil.

I knew I had to clean the bathroom & hoover the stairs, landing & bedrooms & put the recycling out for collection, so naturally I put all of that off for a bit & collected myself a posy.

It contains = calendula, cosmos, dahlias, cornflowers, stocks, sweet peas, large daisy's, & some white frothy flowers amongst others. It was a pleasant half hour spent & surprisingly also contains a large amount of critters too!

I have joined a few swaps because I rather like making things & it keeps me quiet! I keep on forgetting to put the swaps up in my side bar. This latest one was organised by Lisa who also organized the stationary swap I took part in. Its a secret swap as in you send a handmade ornament to someone & someone else ends you one. I ambitiously decided to make two ornaments & finally decided on a stripy knitted Christmas stocking as I thought my limited skills would be up to it. They were until I sewed the seams together, lets say after much hair pulling it was the neatest they were going to be! I added a couple of extras to make up for the lack of sewing skills!

My efforts - there is a bag of chocolate coins in each stocking, one recipient in England the other in  New Zealand!

And I had a package back & it was fabulous -
This lovely package was sent by Kimberley all the way from New Zealand & I love it, ermmm the wrappers in the background contained some chocolate that Kimberley included. It actually lasted several hours before it was eaten, unfortunately it was eaten & I shared it before I took the photo! 

As always enjoy your day xx