Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...


Stepping off at the deep end

I'm a teeny bit terrified if the truth be told,
a little bit elated,
(ok a little bit more than 'a little')
 Plans and discussions
are turning into
Scary stuff
but good too!


Edited to add....

Thanks Jill for the hint..!
Forgot to say when it is, silly me!

21-22 October
In Trawden,   Lancashire.

I'll share proper details
as they are confirmed xx


Did you see it?

The skies this evening......
Were glorious
On fire
 Did you see them?
They even made the national and local weather report news.

And while I was marvelling at the beauty,
two teenager girls walked by.
They'd not noticed me,
they were so engrossed in their own
profanity filled conversation ....
almost as colourful as the sky
but certainly not as outstanding.

Welcome to my new followers - lovely to see you here in my little corner of the world, 
glad you have come along for the ride :)

My Wildlife Campaign


Now the rain has stopped

After two days of fairly solid but oh so welcome rain, 
this evening was beautiful  
The sky was filled with swallow screaming parties - a wonderful sound. 
We escaped the confines of the house and went into the garden.
The cats were pottering around, Himself and Youngest were in the workshop 
and I stood and listened to the sounds from the garden, 
the excited screams of the swallows, 
the buzz of insects foraging
 and birds settling down in the trees.
I thought it would be a good time 
to 'hunt' the bees as they rummaged around for their final meal of the day.
The more I looked and listened,
the more I noticed the plants 
and giving up their precious nectar. 
The evening light made taking clear pictures
a little tricky
as did the cats as they came to 'help'.
They like to watch wild life too (that's what they keep telling me!)
 There was a very buzzzy garden bumblebee
inspecting each blossom of the Polygonatum (Solomon's Seal).
I tried to creep up without disturbing the bumble
and no sooner than I'd focussed with the camera,
the bee was off checking out another flower.
The rain had really brought on the garden,
flowers are opening
and the bees are feasting!

Just look at those little baskets of pollen on the bee's legs! A busy little worker :)
I think this one is a Barbut's cuckoo bumble bee, 
I hesitate because although the markings are similar,
 this variety is mostly found in the the south, 
we might be a bit to far north here in Lancashire.

Eventually the midgies desire to eat me whole
sent me indoors.
But not before I stood at the gate for a moment longer,
observing the swallows 
dashing through the sky.

They are a joy to watch.

My Wildlife Campaign


In which I discuss rain (briefly) knitting (a little more in detail), birthdays (to include baking) and #30DaysWild

Now, I am not one to get excited about the rain, but today I am happily making an exception as I watch the rain hammering down the window. After a rather dry winter and a gently warm and dry spring, the garden is a little parched. The water barrels have been completely emptied onto the potager keeping the veg seedlings alive. So to see the rain, steady wet stuff, makes me (and my garden) rather happy :)
In my last post, I shared a snippet of my current knitting and a smidgen of the book I was using .... Sorry J, should have imparted more detail! So, I shall reveal the finer points ..

The book I was gifted is called 'The Best Of Jane Austen Knits 27' (I have linked it to amazon but I have no affiliation nor am I paid in peanuts/wool or books by them). It is also on Ravelry HERE. The wool is DK 'Colour by Numbers' by John Arbon Textiles and has been in my stash for some years, I was lucky enough to find three whole hanks languishing at the bottom of a box. May be I should dive in head first more often!
It is a gentle rhythmic pattern with a ten row increase until the centre back, then the reversed gentle decrease. I am half way as I type and really want to get it done so I can start wearing it.
When we collect and drop of Eldest to uni, I have two hours each time of dedicated knitting time - they are the fastest two hours of the day.... I don't often decided to repeat a knit but I suspect I will with this one. May be the next one will have rich wintery colours or autumnal tints, oh, what a wonderful thought ... one for each season in the perfect seasonal colour. Yum.

Sunday was my mum's birthday and the sun was shining. It called for a picnic birthday tea in the garden. It was such a pleasant afternoon, sitting in the sun, drinking tea and eating various rather calarifically loaded goodies while watching the cats bounce on flies, flop over and sunbathe on the path, tramp through the potager with size 10 cat feet. We rather overdosed on chocolate cake, butter biscuits, scones and homemade fudge. I waved my waistline goodbye as it rapidly disappeared.... must go and find it again (but not just now!)
Youngest has been experimenting in the workshop and has been creating sparks (I try not worry, but I do a quick finger count each time he appears ... yes, still has 10 - phew)

It is still raining. Still steady earth soaking stuff. Good. The water table must be quite low, the rivers and reservoirs levels are down. 

Image result for 30 days wild random acts of wildA gentle reminder of this month's Scavenger Photo hunt, remember - only choose ten words and share with us your stories and pictures.

Then in June, I am part of #30DaysWild and will be posting a daily 'wild' themed story and photo. Our June Scavenger Photo hunt list will be similarly 'wild' but is only the usual ten words.  

I am not asking you to join in with the #30DaysWild, but do ask you to pop over and see what it is all about - you may even be inspired!
Related image

If you fancy seeing what sort of things 
I blogged during the previous two years
2015 - HERE
2016 - HERE


The fickleness of knitting friends

I have been rather quiet on the knitting front, mainly because painting has been taking precedence, partly because gardening has called and somewhat because what I'd been knitting just wasn't... wasn't. Wasn't happening.

I knew I was pushing it with the amount of wool I had, I knew it was way less than the pattern insisted on but I thought that it would make a lovely and natty little shawlette. With that happy little thought in my head, I knitted away, the feather and fan pattern falling off the needles in a jolly wavy motion. My plan had been this shawlette would lounge beautifully on my shoulders during cooler summer holiday evenings, it would twirl it's feathery magic around my neck - oh the shawlette and I would be firm friends and have such fun together.

Then... the ball of wool ended. Just like that. Bam. Gone. Done. And the shawlette looked shamefacedly at me, it was barely a 'kerchief never mind a shawlette. It took me all of 30 seconds of indecision, then I reached for the end and pulled it back. The horror on the faces of the other ladies at our knit and natter was worth the weeks of knitting.  Hey ho.
So, no knitting or crochet for about a week. In a strange sort of way it felt rather liberating. Gardening and painting kept my hands and my mind busy. Then .... I felt that knitting itch, that itch that quietly grows until it is beyond shushing or ignoring and the only cure is to dive into the stash, head first and open handed! So that is what I did.
The pattern choice was an easy one. The same day I'd demolished the shawlette, I'd been given two lovely books filled with shawls, scarves, haps and cowls. I was spoilt for choice. I'd looked at each one, weighing up the design and gauging my 'need'. Two shawls stepped up to the mark and this one called to me a little louder.  
 It is a gentle, rhythmic knit. A deep and simple lace border, a strong dividing line then a gradually increasing shawl.
Tuesday evening was a delicious warm and sunny one, a delightful contrast to the chilly start of the day. It seemed perfect to take my new best friend out to snap a photo or two. My new best friend who will grace my shoulders during the cooler summer holiday evenings, who will twirl it's magic around my neck - oh the shawl and I will be firm friends and have such fun together.

And yes, I have PLENTY of wool this time .... I checked.


The barefoot gardener

I grew up in Africa, where shoes were an optional extra. Mine sat in the cupboard or under the bed or (probably the majority of the time) in the middle of my bedroom floor. Kicked off as soon as got home from school, I would abandon them, change out of my uniform and escape outside.

As children we would free range, sometimes with shoes but mostly, we were happily dust red and barefooted.  Even as a teenager, shoes were added only if we were 'going out' or to school/college/shopping.

I can remember when I was about 11 or 12, hesitating just on the threshold of a thorny bushy strip between where I was standing and the dusty track behind the house where my friends were standing waiting for me.  Although a hardened barefoot 'explorer', I felt this bit of wilderness, this bit of 'bundu' was just a little too spikey, a little too thorny and I wondered if there was a bush-path or connecting track. Pricked by the comments by my less than impressed peers at my cowardice I was about to turn back and give up when an African man who'd been walking up the same path stopped and said to me ..... 'Just run, run like there is nothing there'.

Image result for african devil thornsSo I did.

And at the other side as I pulled out a number of devil thorns from my foot, it was with a feeling of elation. I'd not felt them as I'd run, nor did I feel them as I removed them from my heel, it was only later, in the evening that my foot felt bruised. However, my ego was not! (picture source)

Coming to England was more than a culture shock. It was a hard lesson in shoe wearing.

I did try and bare-foot it the first year when ever I could, but eventually the cold and hard ground, the cold beach sands, the rather disapproving looks forced me to don shoes. It felt rather repressive (and unfortunately necessary as winter approached!)

Over the years, during summer holidays and warmer weekends at home, I have resorted to being as barefoot as possible when outside. This weekend I managed to garden entirely-ish with naked feet and it felt brilliant.
The grass had been gently warmed by the sun but still damp from the morning dew and the ground beneath I could feel was still cold and asleep.  I love the feeling of grass between my toes, I love the direct contact of soil against my feet, I feel as if I am connecting with the earth.

As the day progressed, standing on the hot paving slabs was positively delicious, the cats agreed and lounged around like baking lizards.

Eldest repotted most of his house plants - he has a very 'male' taste in plants, venus fly traps, cactus, succulents, palms and ferns. His bedroom at one time had about 15 pots but now each Sunday when he returns to uni, a box of greenery leaves with him. He won't be able to move in his uni room soon!
Youngest was snowed under by coursework so disappeared to his desk and papers, we did managed to drag him out for his dose of sunshine D with the promise of lunch on the lawn and mug of tea and cake in the afternoon.

Moss on the other hand preferred the cooler slabs in the greenhouse (we've got covers on the sun-side of the greenhouse as it get extremely hot and arid in there!) She is gently settling in to the art of gardening-by-pets (sleeping in the sun/shade/grass/greenhouse) and can be often found with a happy smile on her face as long as the big scary tools are moved calmly and quietly and in the opposite direction.  Anyway a sneaky dog biscuit can often soothe any tension should hammering or sawing occur.
This weekend was quiet, slipping through our days gently. 
Nothing happened, lots happened. 
Swallows and swifts held screaming parties in the air.
Gardening, breathing, living.
Just how I like it.

And you?
Do you yearn to walk barefoot?
Did you garden over the weekend?
Was your weekend a gentle healing restful one?

I love to know what you get up to :)

Thank you for your lovely comments and welcome to my new followers - glad to see you here in my little corner of the world.


Potager and garden update

April was a month of  incredible greening up.  Not only did the garden suddenly take on a feeling of lushness and promise but the lanes and hedgerows also looked greener and fatter - it felt so much more positive.
Watering can, sweet peas
spinach, comfrey

Our little potager continues to grow and develop. The seedlings in the greenhouse have been thriving in the warmth and the cats have continued to walk across them (sigh). Our girls are allowed to sunbathe and recharge in the greenhouse so they take every opportunity (it is a cat right) to lounge around on anything they fancy .... kale seedlings ....purple sprouting broccoli shoots .... twisted willow cuttings ... nothing is too sacred. (more sighs).
The chive 'fields', Little Gem lettuce,
Valmaine lettuce, Eldest weeding the potager

More bricks have been laid out, doubling the size of the potager beds and a new lawn area has been reseeded (twice ... cheers little hungry birdies who are not put off by anti-bird nets). The main lawn has also been reseeded (Moss is a little boisterous for our lawn to cope over winter and spring so needs help until it can grow and toughen up).
The almost daily egg from the elderly hen!, spinach, chard, lettuce growing
'Staff' enjoying a tea break, strawberry blossoms

I've continued to heap generous quantities of home made compost into the garden - it is rather rough and ready, but I keep telling myself that it is good to help counter the heavy clay I have.  I do sift it for seed sowing and the seedlings but when they go out in to the potager, they have to take the lumps - like it or ... erm... lump it!

Pan in the greenhouse, cherry blossom at the end of the garden,
Himself demolishing and rebuilding 4 compost bins, Pepper in the sun

Weeding and general gardening still stresses Moss out, tools have to be wielded with all the slow method of a tai chi movement however she is improving and hopefully by the end of summer she will no longer fear gardening and all the apparent death-by-hand-trowel issues she harbours in her little head.

Right. Best stop blogging. I have paintings to complete, a new commission of a rather handsome ginger cat and stock to create for the art exhibition. But before I do, a quick wander through the garden will do me a world of good  .... so if you'll excuse me..... until next time :)

The Potager Gardens page has been updated


Now for something different

What a lovely selection of stories and photographs again, I am always delighted when I read through everyone's posts.  Such a wealth of vignettes and memories.  If you missed any of these posts, please do go and visit, you won't be disappointed.

Jak's Tales gave everyone a chuckle when she told her story of a rabbit called 'TDR',  which amused me too as it is one from my childhood.  Lovely Lady never fails to amaze me what she gets up to. She is (and I know she won't mind me saying this) a slightly built lady but - hell -  she packs a punch. How she manages to build stone walls when most of the stone probably weighs more than her - I shall never know!

Aril from Gnat Bottomed Towers (brilliant name) joined us for the first time and provided some excellent quirky interpretations.  Aril has a knack for finding the eccentric and downright odd - an enjoyable read.  Julie from Julie's Scrapbook had me all excited when she shared her 'mechanical' - 'Speedweve' I got all giddy and with her help am getting myself one.  Curious? So was I - go and check out her Scavenger Hunt post.

Susan from Granny Smith's Quilting shared a very varied selection this month - she does gad about and find some interesting images! My favourite was certainly the rusty 'Squiggles'. Last, but not least, J from SimpleNaturalHandmade did hers in a montage style again - I really do like that. Her stories of her dogs, crochet and life are a pleasure to read.

Edited to  add ... Fil from Fil Place joined in, a little late, but who cares, she has a lovely post full of beautiful photos and words, please pop over and have a look x

Thank you every one.

Now for something different.

Over the months I have been sent suggestions for inclusion in the list of words I put up each month.  I now have a goodly selection which I will present to you.

The instructions this month are slightly different but the end result will be the same.

The list is much longer than usual, however PLEASE ONLY CHOOSE TEN WORDS.  I have omitted 'My own choice' this month as the selection is so wide and encompassing. This should be fun. Our deadline date will be - Friday May 26th. Remember - choose only 10 words from the list.

My Wildlife Campaign
June is slightly different again - I take part in the #30DaysWild run by The Wildlife Trusts each June. So, along with hundreds of other folk, post a photo a day on a theme of nature.

As normal, I will put up our regular list of 10 words for June which will be also on a theme of the great outdoors.  I am not asking you to take part in the  #30DaysWild but do suggest you have a look and see what is going on.

I will remind every one of details nearer the time, 
until then - here are May's Mega-list of aMazing words -Enjoy!!

  1. Lichen
  2. Glass
  3. Piano
  4. Group
  5. Valley
  6. Vast
  7. Green
  8. Avocado
  9. Ray
  10. Bush
  11. Silhouette
  12. Steam
  13. Chocolate cupcake
  14. Wave
  15. Deep
  16. Bark
  17. Weave
  18. Stitch
  19. Modern
  20. Suitcase
  21. Time
  22. Sharp
  23. Long

Finally (if you have stuck with me this long - well done you, a medal for perseverance is in the post),
a photo from my weekend.

Moss sitting on the bench in the greenhouse - only the best spot would do....


April's link up Photo Scavenger Hunt!

If you have joined in with my

Scavenger hunt, please link

with me on your blog :)

Please add your name to the

link up tool below,

just follow the easy instructions,

don't worry - if I can do it so can you!

Please just add your Name or Blog Name in the 'Link Title',

Now, let the Link-up Party begin!

Don't forget to leave a comment when you visit :)

April's Scavenger Photo Hunt

Welcome to my April's Scavenger Photo Hunt! Enjoy xxx

Eldest and I a couple of weeks ago, built four new compost bins for the walled garden we volunteer at. The Rangers had kindly sourced all the pallets for us and delivered them to the garden. It was up to us (and a huge flask of coffee) to make four bins before the end of the day. We surprised and pleased ourselves when, by lunch, we had finished! We celebrated by chucking in a load of weeds (and finishing off the rest of the coffee!).

The next few images I managed to get during the course of one weekend walk.  

This rusty bucket we spotted was in a field of lambs which Himself cheerfully decreed to be full of 'lamb-mines'. The metal was so oxidised it was paper thin and dust brittle. Wonder how long it has remained there against the wall, forgotten.

When, on a walk, we stop for a tea break, we 'crack open' the flask and have a biscuit or two. It is rather nice, sitting in the sun, usually alongside a stream or with a view, contemplating life and selecting a biscuit from this lovely box. As soon as I pressed the shutter, Youngest opened the tin and shared a ginger biscuit with his favourite girl :)
Thank you Youngest and Moss for sitting patiently while I took my picture. 

We've done this for years .... not taken ready made packed lunches when we walk...... we take the ingredients - bread, cheese, salad, tomatoes, sometimes ham or fish for the carnivores or pescetarian. When we are hungry, we find a suitable stopping place and I make sandwiches as Himself makes tea or coffee, we then sit and happily munch.  Our walks are more than just being out and 'collecting the miles', it is more about the collecting of memories, views, good lunch spots and photographs ...... and if we get a load of 'miles under our boots' it adds to a truly good day out :)

Begins with ... D
When the list of words for the Scavenger Hunt is collated, I make sure that I do not select words for images I already have. 
I ask the boys, I gather from listening to the radio, sometimes randomly they appear in my head. So, during the same walk, when we passed by this gate, I'd not not even spotted it.  It was Eldest's sharp eyes that saw it and he called me back - thank goodness he noticed!

This photograph must rate as one from a particularly special walk. We were in Uist, our first day and we'd set off from the campsite to explore the surrounding coastline. All along the sandy track to the dunes was the machar (native wild flower verges) which were incredibly vibrant. Dotted along the way were gently decaying old farm machinery. The boys being boys, had to inspect and investigate each and every mechanical skeleton along the way. I didn't mind, it meant I could study the plants and flowers and listen to the bees and hoverflies. 

Something seasonal
Back to our weekend walk. We'd forded a little rocky stream which Moss wanted to play in so the boys obliged. While the antics of the dog amused them, I was occupied by the activities of a busy bumblebee (I think it is a field bumblebee) on an emerging butterbur spike.

Recently finished 
These are finally finally finally done. They have given me sleepless nights and stressful days. I will be glad when I hand them over to their owner (by the time this is posted, I will have done so and hopefully will be skipping with relief and delight when they have gone!)

Begins with ... R
One of the neighbours buys and sells chickens at the local agricultural auction marts. So our feathered neighbours change frequently. During winter we rarely see them but as the weather warms the birds are let out of their sheds and they hop up on the the boundary fence and look longingly at the green things that grow in our garden - They are regularly evicted back to their pens!  (This handsome chap I suspect is a Barnvelder).

My own choice
This walk yielded so many pictures for this month's list and 'My Own Choice' just had to be Youngest and these two. From a distance, we thought we were approaching a flock of sheep but as we neared, two small cream coloured creatures turned out to be ponies in 'sheeps clothing'!

See what I mean!

Now, I am off to check out other entries for the photo hunt, please do the same and don't forget to comment - we all love receiving them, they make our hearts go squeeee! (oh - is it just me then??!)