Wednesday 29 December 2010

A winter garden on our anniversary

Today is our wedding anniversary so we decided to have a little trip out to Dunham Massey in Cheshire.It is a NT property and last year they opened their winter garden.We have been to the NT winter garden at Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge which is spectacular.The winter garden at dunham is in it's infancy and a little delayed by the recent severe weather.
Poor ducks scrabbling around on the ice.

I am sure this was even more spectacular a few days ago.

Red cornus alba stems.

Silver birches.

Hydrangeas and ?

An amazing tree.

The Well House.

We had a lovely trip out and then ate out locally tonight.Just settling down now to watch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone.Hope you have a happy and healthy Xmas.

Above and below are the two hanks of yarn that were in my secret santa box.The one above has been hand dyed by Allison and is gorgeous.It is laceweight pure alpaca and in the most beautiful shades called Forest Fruits.Even C ,who shows little interest in yarn,said "wow that is lovely and so soft".Watch out other companies Sugar Hippo is one to watch.

The one below is fyberspates 4ply "forest".The photo doesn't do it justice.It is a lovely soft green.

How cute is this gingerbread house!

This has already been used when I took a sneaky afternoon nap to ready myself for 5 days of 5 grandchildren.
Also in the box were hand creams-very special- Burts Bees and some festive hand soap.
So thank you very much.I loved all the items but my favourite is the hand dyed alpaca.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

secret santa

I couldn't wait any longer!Sarah and Allison had opened theirs so I thought why not open mine.Thank you so much -gorgeous yarn,hand cream,hand soap and more.Photos tomorrow.Now not going to Cambridge until Thursday.a lot of snow has been forecast for here overnight.
Hope you are feeling better Allison.

Saturday 18 December 2010

secret santa

My Secret Santa box has arrived and it is huge.I can't wait to see what is inside but I am restraining myself until xmas day.We are anxiously watching the weather as we are off to Cambridge on Wednesday.The one thing I am dreading is freezing fog.Not too much snow here but it is bitterly cold.

Thursday 16 December 2010

Terry Pratchett Discworld

Our not very stylish tree.We shall be away over xmas but I still like the tree up and leave the curtains open so passers by can see in.
More lights on the mantelpiece which is opposite the window and can also be seen.

I have finished one edging on my Debbie Abrahams blanket.You end up with 273 stitches on your needle and that is just one side.Three more to go.The 2011 blanket starts on Jan 1st so I had better get a move on!

Closer detail of the edging.It was rather daunting but does look good and will bring the whole blanket together.

It was my reading group this morning and the book we were discussing was Small Gods by Terry Pratchett.We had a good Q and A session but I didn't particularly enjoy the book.It was funny but not my kind of thing.Have you read any?

FRom there we went off to Bolton to meet my brother at my stepmother's to exchange presents.When we set off it was +4 o .Then it started dropping,right down to zero and as soon as we got there it started snowing and sticking.We quickly scurried back home but the forecast for the next two days is bad.Hopefully we will make it to Cambridge on Wednesday.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

All the presents are wrapped!

Apart from C all the presents are bought and wrapped.Some friends of ours are moving house at the weekend and are bringing their wine collection,houseplants etc to our house tomorrow so I needed everything out of the way and in bags ready to go to their different destinations.
I have sent off my secret santa box and hope the recipient will enjoy opening it on Xmas Day.I shall cetainly keep mine for the big day.
We shall be in Cambridge and had booked to go out for Xmas dinner,12 of us.My son had an email yesterday to say they had decided not to do it.Fortunately they have managed to book somewhere else.Not easy for 12.My DIL would have been in a panic if we hadn't managed somewhere else as she is working until Xmas eve but we would have all joined in and helped but crisis over.

Thursday 9 December 2010

How exciting!

How exciting.I won Kathy's giveaway(postcardsfromthepp).I thought it was just a book but is was a whole goody bag, all beautifully wrapped and a gorgeous handmade card.When I opened the first package(above) this lovely book was in it.I can't wait to read it.

There were lovely Christmassy things.

This photo decided to go side on!

And a candle and an owl to add to my collection.There was also a chocolate snowman,hot chocolate kit and some needles.I was so thrilled and so much thought had gone into it.Thank you so much Kathy.It made my day.It needed cheering because among the xmas post C had a tax demand for over £400.He is one of the losers in the inland revenue mistake.I hope I am not close behind.You work hard ,pay your taxes and then when you retire they tax your pension!Then they get it wrong and they want even more.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Hoar frost

I havn't seen hoar frost like this for ages.This what I what I was talking about yesterday but I hadn't got the camera with me.Today we were off to Chester/Wirral again.Yesterday we were looking after Ruby while Sarah had tests for Addison's Disease at the hospital.We expected to look after Ru for an hour but it turned into three as they were running late,someone had a heart attack on the unit and the tests just took longer.What do you do with a three year old for three hours when it is minus 5!We went to a garden centre where we knew they would have toys out plus a cafe.We then went to a supermarket cafe for lunch.She is so good but never stops talking.We couldn't get a word in edgeways..Her favourite word of the day was "actually".She wanted to know in the garden centre toy area where the bike was.The assistant said they hadn't put it out this year.She had remembered from last year!!She was three a few weeks ago.S's husband had his appointment yesterday at Christies to find out what they were going to do about his brain tumour.They kept him waiting for 90 minutes and then told him the panel hadn't had time to discuss his case!You can well imagine he was furious.Mike is totally laid back and very calm but he lost his rag and insisted on seeing the professor which he did.The prof had the 2 registrars in and tore a strip of them ,in front of Mike,for getting him there and then nothing to tell him.They have promised he will hear in the next 2 weeks.I think the worry and the not knowing is getting to all of us.The only consolation is that they mustn't think it is high priority but we just want to know.I try to put it to the back of my mind but it is difficult.
More hoar frost pictures.

Monday 6 December 2010

Some wintry scenes

These photos were taken this afternoon about 5 minutes from our house.We had been to Chester this morning where the frost was amazing but I had no camera with me!We grabbed the camera when we got back and these are quite good at Loggerheads.

Saturday 4 December 2010

Little jobs

I find it very difficult to do little finishing off jobs.I finished a waistcoat for Emily and a jacket for me weeks ago but have just never got round to blocking them or sewing on the buttons.My Debbie Abrahams squares are finished but not joined together.This afternoon I switched on Radio 4 for Weekend Women's Hour and I got cracking.Ok the buttons aren't on but they are pressed and I havn't done the edging on the blanket but it is all in one piece.Things are moving forward.
I sat there thinking about all these lovely crafty blogs I read and how productive people are.I came to the conclusion that a lot of them are stay at home mums so have all day to themselves.I have all day to myself,being retired, but I have a husband who is here too.Now he isn't the kind of person who expects me to do things with him.We both have many different interests and hobbies but he is around!I never get a whole day to myself.I shouldn't complain as he does most of the cooking and he can iron too!!( but he's not very good at DIY.)
My latest project Ican't say much about as it is hopefully going in the Xmas box.

I'm off to Posh Yarns website now to see if I can spot some wool as Harrogate was so disappointing on that front.

Friday 26 November 2010

Thank goodness....

Thank goodness we decided not to go to Harrogate today.The other night I decided to check the hotel we were staying in( I am sure I had done it before).The recent reviews were awful!Syringes found in rooms,a bra in a bed,never anyone on Reception,doors not locked and people thought it was quite scary.C said we were not staying there.The only problem was I had gone past the cancellation time so I wasted £65.That decision having been made it meant we could go any day so a snap decision was made to go yesterday.It took us less than two hours to get there.I spent three hours in the show and spent a fortune.One thing I bought was the bookmark above.I thought I would do it for Sarah for Xmas,it having hearts on it.Michael Powell was actually selling his own stuff so it was good to meet him.Coming back took us longer because we had to get round Leeds and Manchester in the rush hour.
This is for the Xmas tree from a Canadian company

A new yarn to me.It makes fabulous scarves and comes in fabulous colours.

This was something I spotted.You can make lots of things with it.It's French knitting on a larger scale.I did buy other things but don't want to bore you.

Thank goodness we did go to Harrogate yesterday!It is snowing here and sticking!We live on a hill and any ice and snow we struggle.As it is we are sat here,hot chocolate in hand,watching the tennis,knitting on the go and feeling warm and toasty.
Sarah,Claire and Allison-I met Kerrie's( Hipknits) mum.I was so tempted to say all sorts of things!!

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Xmas shopping

Two days of xmas shopping!We still havn't finished.I like to do armchair browsing to cut down the choice but you still have to go and look and feel etc.Toysrus was one of our ports of call today.We bought two things.The man in front of us at the till spent£794!!We want to get the five grandchildren sorted out first and like to come up with our own ideas but they already have so much it is so difficult.Main presents are sorted.Then they will have a game and something to make.Three parcels each as we will all be together this year.Then it is the adults.......

Our granddaughter Emily is very excited about the Royal wedding as it is on her 6th birthday.It means a day off school but I sense a princess party coming up.

Two more visits to the theatre in the last week."Blackthorn" and "Ill Met by Moonlight".Both very good.Nothing else booked at the moment but we may go and see Dylan Thomas's "A Childs Christmas in Wales" if we can get tickets.

This Friday we should be going to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate but there is snow forecast.The plan is to set off on Friday morning and go via Skipton and the Dales and end up in Harrogate in a B&B which I have booked.I will go into the show and C will do his Xmas shopping and we will head back late afternoon on Saturday.I havn't been for a number of years because of my knee ops so I shall be so disappointed if we don't make it.

Sarah has had a good couple of days,less nausea and as a result feeling better in herself.

Any ideas of what I can get my OH for Xmas welcomed.It is his birthday on Dec 11th as well.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Two theatre visits in one week.

On Tuesday evening we went to see the Richard Alston Dance Company and it was brilliant.They did three pieces-Movements from Petrushka.The music was by Stravinsky played on a grand piano.The second was Out of the Strong.The music Piano Concerto No.6 by Prokofiev again played live on piano.The third was Shuffle it Right danced to Hoagy Carmichael music.All three were really good.Dance is really well supported at Theatr Clwyd and it was almost full.
On Saturday morning we went to the other extreme and took our two granddaughters to Charlie and Lola!Ruby has never been to the theatre before and we thought she may freak out as it was in the main auditorium.She sat on my knee and in the first half kept sneaking the odd kiss but both of them were totally engrossed.Every detail was related to M and D later.We didn't think it was particularly good but what do we know.The kids all loved it.

The weekend ended with Ruby's third birthnday today.See her in all her finery surrounded by all the remnants of present opening.We just went along for a party tea.The main party had been at a play barn yesterday.S coped really well and does seem to be on the mend.Me,I'm ready for a soak in the bath and a few chapters of Jane Austen's Persuasion which I have to read by Thursday.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Update on Sarah

Just a quick update on S.she had an appointment with her GP this morning.Her husband was supposed to be going into work late.he had told Em he would take her to school.He took Ru to nursery and then went to work!!Completely forgot.It was only when he opened his diary in work he realised.He raced back and got there just as she was about to go in.She was so furious that he had let her down by not being there for her and letting Em down she went in on her own.Men!!The GP was very sympathetic and has changed her medication and reduced the dose.He wants to see her again next week and if she is still nauseous they will go back to the old regime.It seems she got very upset and he again will see how that is next week and if she is still low will consider anti depressants or talking therapy but she said to him "I don't need that.I have got my mum".She thought at one point he was going to give her a hug!We then met up in Chester.She wanted a top to wear over xmas.She tried on loads but I eventually treated her to 2 tops in M&S.She fitted into size 14 and they both looked great.I think she was amazed and that will have done her a load of good for her self esteem.She was very tearful all day but I think she will come out of it.Fingers crossed.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Worries about our daughter and my new car.

This my new car.Well,it isn't new.It's a 57 reg but it has only done 15,000 miles.Previously I had a C3 but it was 7 years old and we knew we would have to spend on it for the MOT.It really is an indulgence running two cars now we are retired but C and I have different interests and are often going in opposite directions.So we opted for this Toyota Aygo.£20 road tax and very economical.The trouble is I am not sure I like it!It sounds like sewing machine on wheels.I daren't admit to C I am not too sure.I will get used to it but I did love my C3.

On a more serious note.We are very worried about our daughter.She is a Type 1 diabetic and has been since she was three.She is now 38.A few weeks ago she changed hospitals and consultant.The new one made some comment to s that she would only live to 50.He has since withdrawn this and says she miscostrued what he was saying.This may be true but it is in Sarah's head.He also sent her to ,what she calls,a "fat" clinic.Not a good idea for low self esteem anyway.Plus as well her usual injections of insulin he gave her tablets which have made her nauseous.He insists she stays on them.She has two little girls and it is hard.We think she is sinking into depression.I am going over to see her tomorrow and hope we can have a good chat and stop her getting worse.Em will be in school and C will take Ru out.She has an appointment with her GP on Weds and hopefully she will let C go with her.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Splah of Colour November

My "Splash of Colour" is about keeping warm and cheerful!
This just one of my "stash" bags.
This what I am making with some of that wool.

And, of course, socks.This is just a selection of what I have made but for my OH the more colourful the better.
Just hope these keep our spirits up during these grey months.

Monday 1 November 2010

What a glorious day

After a fairly quiet weekend we were back on grandparenting duties again today.Sarah had a training day in school so we had the girls over to us.We took them to Loggerheads Country Park which is about 10 minutes in the car from our house.With their wellies on off we went.
It was such a glorious day and it was "raining " leaves.

It was warm enough for Emily to take her coat off.We collected loads of leaves ,went home sorted them,did wax rubbings etc.Hot dogs for lunch.

Then it was off to the play area.Ruby wearing one of my creations and carrying another.I have made Emm one of the short sleeved cardies in a dusky pink.S was in Next last week and one of the staff asked where she had bought it.I was so chuffed.

A final look at the glorious Autumn colours.

We delivered them back at 4pm after a fun and laughter filled day.

Friday 29 October 2010

How to lose 3lbs in 4 days!

Four days in Cambridge looking after the grandchildren!We had to try and think of things to do that would interest a 4yr old ,a 7yr old and an 11 yr old.
Fun at the farm.We went pumkin carving.I have never done this before and it is really difficult.They also had lots of other activities.

Go karts.They also had a "Shriek Shed".I thought I had better try this first and it really was quite scary.It was pitch black.I only got round by holding onto the coat of the lady in front of me.There were daggling things,noisy things etc.Only Ella and Grandpa went in.I thought it might give the boys nightmares!

Another day we went Ten Pin Bowling which they could all do.That was great fun.

We also went to Wicken Fen(NT).They have a boardwalk there which is about a mile all round.They had organised a "Who killed Mucky Mole" trail which was good.

We had the usual walk into Cambridge and Ella chose to go to Starbucks.Poor Fin had a rugby school day and it poured down all day.

We had many visits to the park and games of football and played so many board games.I taught Ella how to crochet.very difficult as I am left handed and she is right handed.

We got back last night at 9pm absolutely shattered.The children had behaved well for us.(better than for their parents where they get away with murder!).We laid out the rules at the start-no fighting, no arguing etc.We had a lot of fun and really enjoyed it but it is the non stop all day which we are not used to.We are busy at home but at least can take a lunch hour.

We rest this weekend and then have Ruby and Emily all day Monday.We have never before done such a stint of child minding.Enjoyable but tiring.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

message for Allison and Sarah

Sarah -did you get my e mail address up date?If you didn't it's the same as before but not but you send it to Allison,please?

Allison-I can't seem to be able to send you an email.It's blocked.

I would love to do the Xmas box again.

Thursday 21 October 2010

A few days in France

A 90 minute flight from Liverpool took us to Nimes in Provence.We hired a car while we were there so we get out and about.The first place we visited was the Pont du Gard.It is an amazing feat of Roman building taking water from Uzes to Nimes.
Then it was off to Avignon to see the famous bridge of "sur le pont Avignon".

Also les Palais du Papes.

We managed a trip to Arles and then into the Camargue and actually did spot some flamingoes but they were rather a long way away!

These are les Jardins de la Fontaine in Nimes where we had a hotel.

The arena/amphitheatre in Nimes.

We had a lovely time.It was very sunny but the Mistral was blowing so out of the sun it was cold.Find a sheltered place and it was lovely to feel warm sun on your face.
Our only problem was the French strikes.We encountered demonstration/marches in Avignon and Nimes but the worst worry was whether we would get back.There were no flights on Tuesday and so had the worry that if our flight was cancelled on Wednesday how would we get back with no petrol/no trains etc.Thankfully our flight was ok.We were an hour late but I have never been so excited about seeing a Ryanair plane.The flights only cost us £75 for two return including everything.
So we are back and off again on Sunday to Cambridge .