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...


July's link up party !

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July's words and photos

Good morning!
I am sitting writing this post here and now at 8.08am - yes, today ! This month seems to have been filled daily, hourly with things happening, things to do, dogs to walk, cakes to bake, birthdays to celebrate, sewing, gardening, socially distancing friends to see and work to do .... are these my excuses? No - they are my reality and although some times I wish for a spare moment - I am happy that I am who I am and what I do :)
Right - best stop waffling - here I go!

Something purple

My son and his lovely partner are about to move into their first home and it has a well kept little garden. Their landlords have given their blessing for them to garden the space as they see fit which has delighted them both, particularly Eldest. So over the last six or so weeks we have been collecting plants and potting them up ready for the big day. I had secretly potted up two large tubs with a selection of herbs, annuals and perennials for them and to the mix I chucked in a handful of poppy seed. And joy of joys the striking deep purple blooms have started to open!

Shades of green

My garden.  I have a love/hate relationship with it. I want 'Piet Oudolf' style planting. I have English woodland dry garden style planting. Which seems to specialise in green. Just green.... flowers.... pah who needs flowers.... Cue the grumps! (I do love my garden {mostly} promise!)

Starts with F
I could have chosen fluff (for the cats), feet (for the dog), food (been doing a lot of baking recently), facemasks (been sewing a lot too!), family (thanks to the CV19 lockdown I have had them around) but I am going with Flowers to continue the gardening theme - this rain drenched lovely is a calendula grown from seed saved from the walled garden two years ago :)

Still life

 Not quite what I had in mind when I put up this prompt, I was thinking more of an Old Master style with fruit and flowers etc, but when, whilst looking for the picture I wanted to use for My Own Choice, I chanced on this one from the same walk.  A small and perfectly formed dead baby shrew. It sadly seemed right.

Snapped at this moment
Moss - of course, winking as a biscuit flies towards her - please note the small bone shaped UFO between her ears... very shortly afterwards it bounced off her nose and hit the grass. Even more shortly after that it was scoffed. She can catch - and very well, she just needs a little bit of notice!!

My Own Choice

 Dear sweet Moss, waiting patiently (but very alert) at the Wensley Church door whilst we explored the cool, dark and musty interior.

Woop Woop! done it in record time (it is now 8.50am) seeing I was also sorting out the boys with their breakfast and getting them out the door in time for work.

Ok - have a lovely lovely weekend - we are promised good weather today so we are going to get out as best we can  staying within the new added lockdown restrictions imposed in our area over night. xxxx


The smile behind the mask

Hello, hello, hello! how is everyone doing?
Thank you so much for your lovely comments about my rather wonky sewing. On Tuesday, I wore my 'sailing boats' version whilst on door duty at the community store and received some more positive feedback.

It certainly buoys up your confidence when folk are kind enough to say lovely things about your handiwork.

For the last few weeks, since the lockdown began ease, our wonderful little community shop and library re-opened, initially with restricted hours but recently they have extended them a further two hours.

I had previously wanted to volunteer but hesitated as I really did not want to be 'in charge' of what seems an overly complicated till system. There are so many different sources for the products in the store which all have to be logged into the till under the correct link, with the correct price (not all items are priced or bar coded) and tagged to the correct supplier.  I was also rather intimidated by 're-fill station' where the customer can select their own quantities of dried goods and dispense them into their own reusable containers. Here you have to know the weight of the container, the combined weight of the container and it's contents, the individual gram weight of the contents as well as recognise and actually know what the contents are...! I take my hat off to those volunteers who more than willingly do this particular task.

However, there is something I can do, and can do happily - door duty.

However, yesterday I was very surprised to discover that most of the volunteers actively avoid doing this part of their stint. As the 'bouncer' you have to stand at the door, ensuring a flow of folk so there is no bunching up. Only three shoppers are allowed in at a time and they all have to wash and sterilise their hands as they go in. I have to respectfully request that they wear their masks - however everyone seems to be happily all masked up 😷 raring to get shopping. Once they leave, I have to ensure they keep to the flow route, sanitise any shopping basket they may have used, spray and wipe down all door handles, taps, the sanitiser dispenser. All very easy to do.

The two hours I do allow me to see folk I have not seen for a long time. I don't just mean during the last four months of lockdown. I mean folk that I have not seen for years.

Just normal people that years ago, I would have passed the time of day with whilst the boys were at school and we as parents would stand at the gate waiting for our mini-monsters to come running out of the doors.

The elderly gentleman who I used to see regularly whilst I worked at the Doctor's surgery some years ago. He and his wife were lovely folk, who I quite enjoyed chatting to and grew quietly fond of.  I saw him yesterday and was saddened to hear that he wasn't well, his beloved wife had not been well either and had unintentionally got caught up in the pandemic lockdown. He'd not seen her for nearly three months while she was being kept safe initially in hospital and now latterly in a carehome. The husband tottered into the shop and we briefly chatted as I racked my brain for his name, by the time he came out I'd remembered and I spoke to him again. All his stories tumbled out and I could have cried. He was about to drive himself to hospital for surgery and all he could think of was his wife and wanting her to come home. By the end of his outpouring, I wished him luck and passed my regards on to his wife - to which his reply was that she would not remember me as she now had alzheimer's but he would certainly tell her any way when he next visited her. With that he wobbled his way to his car and drove himself to hospital.

That shook me.

I saw friends that, although we chat via messenger or text, had not really seen face to face or in this case mask to mask since March and it was wonderful. We 'air-hugged' and managed a bit of a catch up.

Then there was the lady who's horse had stood on her leg making it too painful to ride, so she was taking the horse for a walk on the long lead, whilst her husband took their dog at the same time. She stood outside holding on to both leads whilst he quickly popped in for his paper.

The old boy who came in and told us stories that I wish he hadn't - reliving his past when living in Kenya - he certainly has not kept up with the times #BLM and it made for very uncomfortable listening. Fortunately one of the other volunteers is a vague family member and managed to stop the flow of non-politically correct conversation and steered him out. Old beliefs and feelings die hard.

The regular visits of kids, masked up with buffs, hoodies, scarves and Tshirts - all line up, all wash their hands before being allowed in. They are a cheeky lot that need watching!

The regular daily visits by the paper buyers who only pop in for their particular newspaper of choice.  Mostly blokes who come in,  cheerfully masked and automatically sanitize their hands as they chat with me,  the grandma who always has her three grandchildren in tow, the young mum who comes in with a tot balanced on her hip, the builders and window cleaner, the walkers and locals, they all queue up, wash hands and wait their turns. The shy postie, the blusterous bread delivery man,  the brief and efficient milk delivery bloke,  the large bumbling egg man.

They all,  quite unintentionally,  enrichen my day.  😊😷


What to do when it rains ...

Some things I can do - easily, with minimal instructions or a simple diagram - I am lucky that I can 'see round corners' and with a bit of trial and error - come up with 'the goods'.

Not so with sewing. That is something, for me, that remains a bit of 'those who can and those who botch' type skill and I fall in the latter camp. Recently I have dabbled in cushion making with the almost beyond-my-pay-grade skill of adding a zip and some trouser repair mercy missions.

Buoyed on by my moderate success, I tried something a little more adventurous. 

With the present .... You WILL wear a mask (but not if you can't) type instructions ... being the order of the day, I have gone on line and with thanks to those who can sew and have the ability to make videos - I have learn't how to make double sided face hugging masks. The type you can insert a third additional layer if and when it is required.

I have had help - of the furry kind and I have also had positive feed back by the recipients. So, after the initial tentative makings, I set off again today - ultimately I would like every one to have a minimum of two so that they can 'wash and wear' but with time I will make sure they all have more (I am just very slow at making them!)

So far I have made nine - I just  need to complete today's by stitching the elastic and inserting the pipe cleaners in the 'nose band' to help keep the mask fitting comfortably over the nose and under glasses.  With more good luck that good sewing, I managed to pattern match both the Moomins and the sailing boat fabric - cue happy singing in my head and silly grin on my face :D

If you are a competent 'sewing genius' or a 'have-a-go-henry' like me - the link for this pattern is HERE, I have, as always, modified my versions in my usual fashion!

I was supposed to be working today but the rain soon put paid to that .. in answer to some questions about what I am doing, I am an RHS Level 2, FD garden designer and work alongside folk who have mature gardens and need help with the heavy work. Last week I was cutting hedges (about three metres high and certainly in places nearly two metres wide) and today I was meant to finish off the final section however the torrential rain cancelled those plans!


On the road again .....♬♫

When I typed the post title - I had a song pop into my head.... 🎵🎶 on the road again ......and try as I might I could neither 'sing' any further than that line or remember who it was ... thank goodness for 'Duckduckgo' (an add free, track free search engine alternative to the all pervading g00gle)

It was called .... On the Road Again and it was Willy Nelson - problem solved!

Now where was I, oh yes,

Day 1 (now part 3) Saturday late afternoon and evening.

We bumbled on through the countryside, there was no rush, it was just us and Zeb and we were 'just going with the flow'.

We eventually stopped at Redmire Station - a now volunteer run railway station that allows 'wild(ish) camping' on their grounds for a donation. We had three potential sites we could use, the first being the lovely Gouthwaite site from earlier in the day, however as lovely as it was, it was too early in the day to stop so we ear-marked that site for another time. The second one, a wild and distant one high up on the moor with just enough space for four campers - Himself has set his heart on this one -unfortunately it was so over run by 'fly-campers' in their pop up festival tents, cars and kids that we kept going. Saddened by the litter and the large groups of carousers sitting around fires.  The idea of wild camping is to leave no trace and if anything - leave it better than you found it.

Our stop for the night - although not as wild as we'd hoped, was a pleasant little space tucked between woodlands, fields and a flower-filled railway track.

There were a couple of others quietly staying as per the 'wild camping code' which was in such stark contrast to the last place we'd visited.

We set up, fed Moss, I cooked a huge bowl of pasta and we sat, it companiable silence as we ate and looked at the far hills. There was still enough light to do a walk so as soon as we could, we followed the path to Bolton Castle - one with a lot of history worth reading about.  The light faded gently making the views soft and hazy - it felt like we were the only ones out and about. We followed the path up to the castle which took us through the centre of the sleepy village. Then, as dusk was definitely on its way and the first stars were beginning to appear, we returned back via the fields and village of Redmire to our waiting van. Our first night out in Zeb. And so far - we were loving in!

More to follow ...


Wednesday - at a stretch

A  quiet moment before I start blogging.
A beautiful candle (giving off a wistfully gentle scent) 
and lovely hippy-dippy Zen music filling the room...
Not all is as calm and soothing and gentle as it sounds, I have just done ten minutes of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) and ten minutes of stretches and exercises and I am waiting for my heart rate and breathing to become a little more normal! 

All this gardening I am doing for folk has made me stiff as an old boot, so I thought I would crack out the ol' yoga mat and get on with sorting out the creaks (to my shame, I am not as supple as I used to be - so I shall be working on that!).

Later I shall blitz the bedroom which has managed to get ignored in the tidy-up routine a little too long..... then I am off working this afternoon.  The instructions I received by text last night were ..... Can you do two hours and bring saws!! Xx .... Wonder what I will be getting up to this later :D

I shall leave you with some photos from yesterday's walk post volunteering at the village community shop. I shall share more micro-adventures later on in the week, have a lovely and blessed Wednesday.


...the adventure continues

Day 1 (still really day 2) Saturday  part 2

...our micro-adventure continues .... After a soggy start, we left the Coldstone Cut and trundled off through the quieter lanes, following the hills and valleys while all the time heading up towards Wensleydale. Along our route, the only 'we have to stop there' place was Gouthwaite Reservoir, Nidderdale.

We stopped at the reservoir parking, a small but lovingly kept green space with seating and hedging. Across the road was a equally well maintained viewing platform where like minded folk were peaceably keeping distances and whispering happy bird watching whispers. We joined them and through our spotter telescope watched Canada and Greylag geese, Mallard, Black headed gulls, Cormorants, Lapwing and Oystercatchers, Coots, Buzzards, Crows and Starlings.

Moss sat patiently between my feet watching the folk watching the birds.

We reluctantly dragged ourselves back to Zeb, had coffee and cake on the grassy embankment in the most glorious sun while Moss played up and down the sunny slope.

The last drop of coffee drained and all the cake crumbs flicked off ourselves, we settled back in the van and left Nidderdale passing through a beautiful landscape .... onward to our next mini adventure!