Monday 31 August 2020

Tui be alive or not

I saw the news this morning, a passenger on a flight from a Greek Island to Cardiff had complained about the fact that many passengers were not wearing masks and were not keeping to social distancing.
She also stated that the aircrew were doing nothing to rectify the situation . 
Needless to say some of these passengers have now tested positive for C-19.
Considering the style of Tui advertising I should be surprised. I am not.
The world seems to be populated by 2 types of people now, the Covidaware and the Covidiots.
I am drawing a line under this with the hope that the second type hurry up and die off before they infect the first type.
I had a good day in the garden yesterday, the tunnel is not only up it is stocked with pots and newly sown planters. A mini greenhouse is on the way, this will live at the end wall and hold tender plants and start off seeds.
My garlic and shallots have been ordered along with some onion sets. I have not used sets for several years but decided that I have enough seed to grow without onion added to the list.
The beds for these will be cleared and prepared in good time and a catch crop of sparkle radish will go in.

This afternoon I have some bulbs to plant and blueberry bushes to go in, I prepared the soil yesterday but ran out of time and steam.

I have the compost bins to empty, any identifiable stuff will go back in one and the other can start being filled again.

I have the promise of some well rotted manure in a couple of weeks and that will possibly have to be stacked for a while. I have an out of the way area that is partially ready for planting and the soil is pretty poor. Once I am ready the manure and some of my compost can go on that as thickly as possible and will be perfect for greedy squashes next year.

As well as the seed sowing and allium plantings I am looking forward to putting the garden to bed for the winter. 
My mind is full of indoor crafting projects and my fingers are itching to get cracking.They will need a good soak in my hand balm first though, even wearing gloves has not stopped the damage completely, they are quite dry and scratchy.

The time has come to get off my btm and get back outside, lunch has been eaten, tea has been drunk and time is passing.

Keep safe.

                 TTFN                                                Pam

Sunday 30 August 2020

Back on the (Not so) Merry go round.

I caught a bit of the news this morning, amid all the flurry regarding exam results, Algorithms, school opening or not and the wearing of masks, some Universities are worried about a further outbreak. One person was concerned that the uni's would become treatment centers for sick students.

It's a bit late in the day to open that can of worms.

These issues should have been addressed much sooner, after all this is the 8th month of C-19. 
I am ready for a winter outbreak, my "corner shop" is well stocked. It's in the corner of the craft room and extra to my pantry. 

No, I have not been emptying the shelves!
No, I do not regard myself as greedy.
And No, I am not bragging.

Each week I have bought a few extra items. Food stuff, toiletries, laundry and cleaning supplies.

By the beginning of November I aim to only need fresh foods for 
5-6 months. I have always kept a well stocked house  and this year have just pushed that by a little. 
If we do have a surge then I will not need a weekly delivery, so I will be able to cancel alternate weeks freeing that spot for somebody else.
Equally if the weather is really nasty I will not need to worry, and will be in a position to help another household out.

I was snowed in for a week, many years ago, and fed 3 other houses till the roads were opened.

We had a little shopping trip this morning, Michael needed an orbital sander. His had been worked well beyond it,s use by and was all  but dead.
I also picked up a Lidl £1.50 fruit and veg box, it was a bargain. asparagus (omelette with some Stilton tomorrow), grapes, bananas, plums, tomatoes, lettuce and carrots.

I estimate that 90% of shoppers were not wearing face covers and were huddled in groups rather than standing back and waiting for a moment.

We were in and out in record time and back home for a late breakfast, bacon baguette with brown sauce. swoon.

Now we are off outside, with Herbie as foreman, to do a bit more in the garden.

Keep safe.

                          TTFN                                    Pam

Thursday 27 August 2020


Was it a bird?
Was it a plane?
Was it Pam on skates?
It was half the plants from the nearby gardens being whirled around by the latest storm.
One of my friends said that she was washing up and saw the runner beans, complete with netting fly over the back garden and land on the shed.
The worst part was that it was their next door neighbours shed. They had not had a single bean off them, next year it will be dwarf beans. For me also.

My garden has suffered and I will be adding to the compost at the weekend. I cannot do anything like that when the dogs are here and all 5 have been here today again.

My friend starts her treatment in 2 weeks but has to have it over a longer period as her heart is not functioning well enough. she will be on blood thinning meds for some time if not forever.

I have been busy with my spindle and hope to finish all my dyed fleece this week, I just want to dye some blue and red and that should give me enough colours. I was tempted to warp my loom up but knew that I would start weaving.

Michael has made me some great drop spindles and I have got fibre on one of them so far, there will be another in use later. They spin far better than the ones that I bought.

My frying and saute pans needed replacing, they have had a long and hard working life. The cost of replacing them is prohibitive so I have bought a set of cast iron ones. Not those posh orange or red coated ones that cost their weight in gold. These are plain black and will need seasoning before I use them. The glory is that once ready to use they will not need washing up, scraped of any detritus and then cleaned with a soft cloth (paper towel will do but not in this house) they will live on the hob or in the oven. If I am totally happy with them a dutch oven and a roasting dish may well join them.

I have to buy replacement lids for my mason jars, so far they are a wicked price. I will be doing some research, it may well pay me to import some from the US. 
I have no idea why preserving supplies are so expensive now. I used to have stacks of kilner jars, I still have some, but over the years I worked longer and bottling went out of the window. Now I have the time and not the money, well not that I want to part with to that extent.
I may bite the bullet ( I seem to be doing that a fair bit) and import a pressure canner at the same time. When I had the pub near Mildenhall I could have got one of my customers to bring me one from the USAF base there. But of course I had no time to use one then, far too busy "slinging hash" for them.

Anyhow, I have to empty one of the smaller apple trees and process the fruit tomorrow, they are ripe. It is an early eater but the fruit is tart enough this early to make wonderful apple sauce. The next one to ripen is better for apple butter, wonderful with peanut butter, or in a pie, or off a spoon.

I also find that buying many things in bulk here to be difficult if not impossible. When you do find them the delivery costs are massive unless you spend a very large amount. Of course no one supplier sells everything on the list so it is a non starter. There are a couple of shops in Swansea where I can get dried pulses in 2Kg bags but there is no way that I would venture there at this time.

Next year I want to grow black beans as they seem to rarer than rocking horse manure here. I can get them in tins from 1 supermarket but they take up so much room. I do buy them at odd times but far prefer to soak and cook the dried ones.

Oh dear, this has turned into a moany pity party.

Not really soap box material, but I feel better for getting it off my chest.

Dinner is in the oven, a tray of veggies and sausages, another of Charlotte potatoes. There is a dish of fresh made apple sauce and a jar of preserved cranberry sauce to go with it. So looking forward to having fresh cranberries again.

I really fancied biscuits and gravy but went for the healthy option. Once it gets colder I will be making biscuits again.

Now I have to get a wiggle on, I want to get the apples picked and washed tonight so I can start prepping them first thing in the morning.

Keep safe.



Tuesday 25 August 2020

Spring Cleaning !! ?

Here we are, a hop skip and very small jump away from Autumn. What am I doing? Spring Cleaning, of course.

My Granny and Mum always gave the house a good fettling at this time of the year.
Their thinking was that if you do it in the spring the flies are all over it in summer and you have to do it in autumn anyway.

That is a tongue in cheek view as we did spring clean, the early March sun is low in the sky and pokes its rays into all the corners, nooks and crannies. No cobweb is left in the dark.

In fact as I remember we seemed to clean constantly, it was a big house with large rooms and high ceilings. The doors and windows were open almost constantly and dust was seen flying through the house when the land was being worked.
Monday was the big wash day and all the beds were stripped and left to "air" for most of the day. If it was school holidays it was my job to go behind the beds and clean the skirting boards and then polish the brass bedsteads. It was a rule that the parts you couldn't see had to be as clean as the ones on view.

"A stranger to a dwile" was the worst thing my Granny would say about anyone. A dwile is a cleaning cloth in Norfolk, usually a part of an old sheet or towel that had been hemmed and repurposed for another life.

I remember being in the village shop and someone gossiping about a local girl who had "got herself in trouble" (I had no idea what she meant) and running her down. My Granny tapped her on the shoulder and told her that only the good girls get caught as the bad ones know better, then she told her to look in her own home.

Off track again.

Anyway, I was chatting to my sister earlier and she told me that she was spring cleaning today as well. It's in our blood, and we did learn it, rather as children learn their times tables, through frequent

So I just have the paintwork in the hall to do today and it's Kitchen and Pantry tomorrow. I will take the chance to make an inventory of cupboards and shelves while I am moving things to clean.

I am that 1950' housewife. I was there. I lived the dream. (nightmare when the sun was shining and I wanted to be outside)

Keep safe.

                      TTFN                                          Pam

Monday 24 August 2020

Where did tomorrow go?

That would be the tomorrow after my last post. Time hasn't so much slipped away as galloped off into the sunset.
I have not even been that busy, some sewing of course, some knitting on the bleh socks now surging towards the toe decreases. Some futile gardening inbetween the rain, mainly making sure that nothing was drowned or blown away. No chance to finish the tunnel, the cover is still stowed away in the sewing room.

I have had the dogs, apart from the weekend but managed to get the Bichons out for a walk Saturday and Sunday.
Herbie loves them and they had 2 good walks both in the park and some pavement walking.

The living room had a little change round and the sewing room is part way through one. I am doing my usual steady stock up of all the basics so come the bad weather I do not have to turn out. I do have a weekly delivery slot from Asda but they do not sell everything that I use. A few early morning trips, duly masked and gloved, to Pontardawe and I am just about set up with essentials for the next 6 months or so.

I heard a comment on the news a few days ago that medical opinion is that we should be free of C-19 within 2 years. I was busy at the time and by the time it had sunk in the TV was turned off, it was only on for the local weather report.

I hope that it meant 2 years from the start and not the present day.
I am quite happy bumbling along with garden and crafts, not to mention the dogs, but another 18 months or so will be stretching it a bit thin.

What effect it would have on those with no outside space I cannot imagine.

My friend, the Bichons owner, has a small front garden and a fairly decent back garden but the recent bad weather and her illness are dragging her down. She should start her treatment soon and once it is over I have promised to help her have a change round. 

I have started knitting some of my handspun wool and so far I am delighted with it. Just a simple hat for my sister, the winter wind in Norfolk is cold and lazy, it does not go round you just straight through, and a hat is essential. I have tried to use the colours that I see on the mountain in autumn and winter but not the snow, white is not a good colour for any gardener to wear.

I have some sewing lined up for today, I badly need some oven gloves/hot pads so using left over blocks I have 8 pieced together. The backing fabric and the wadding is all ready so a little quilting is on the cards for this afternoon. I have lost my bias binding and, although I can make it, I dedcided to make them selfbinding. 
4 of them will be going to my sister, with her hat, warm head and cool hands.

I think that it is time to get Herbie out, he is giving me The Look.

Keep safe.

                          TTFN                                     Pam

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Eyes down for a full house

Bingo!!! Not in this house. I have never liked it, either the prize variety or the ones that you play to win money.

This is a full house of dogs, from a tiny Jack Russel to a mahoosive young chocolate Labrador, not a year old yet, via my Jug and my friends 2 Bichons.

Chessa, 11 years old and making herself at home.

Shelly, 10 years old and staking her claim to the sofa.

Poppy, coming up to 8 years old and the Queen Bee.

Herbie, my Jug, mad as a box of frogs.

Revi, she is another mad creature who thinks that she is the same size as Poppy.

No sewing/spinning/anything will get touched while they are all here, I am likely to end up knitting a Bichon into the socks or spinning a Poppy with the fibre. I can not have the wheel uncovered while Revi is here as she is intrigued by it. It has to live behind a cupboard and fully covered, I have visions of her nose in the wheel and her big feet on the treadle, disaster.

Francesca is loking to buy a car, she was negotiating a deal at the Audi dealership. The salesman looked at her and saw a combination of "dumb blonde" and "£££££££". He told her that the 12 month wwarranty on the website did not apply to the model she wanted, just 3 months, but he would give her a warranty on the Alloy wheels!

I do believe that he was told in no uncetain terms to take a long walk off a short pier. She is still looking and is nobody,s fool, she knows what questions to ask and all the terminology. A petrol head brother and my time working for a main dealership group have given her the verbal tools to use.

All is peaceful, the dogs are draped over various bits of furniture and snoring gently. 
I am not far off the snoring myself thanks to 2 consecutive morning of being woken at stupid o'clock, once by a car alarm and once by Herbie telling me that he needed to be let out. Then, of course he found a toy and wanted to play.

Now I am going to sit back and rest my eyes.

Keep Safe.

                               TTFN                                            Pam

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Sew, sew, press press, sew

I have been doing an approximation of the Foxtrot around the kitchen today.
Revi and Herbie were in full on play mode and Poppy was content to curl up and snooze out of their way. It was raining then dry, on and off and warm with it. The door was open so I set up my little machine on the kitchen table, no wet dogs in the sewing room please.

I have started sewing blocks together and OOPS, there may be far too many for what I need. No worries as they will all go into something else.

I did take a couple of photos but the 'puter has eaten them, I will try again the next time they are all out. I have called time on them for a couple of days. I have the Bichons tomorrow and Thursday and they are not fans of the sewing machine. It sets them off barking, anyone amongst you who has one will know how penetrating the noise is.

Finally the dogs are all snoozing, possibly beacause Michael came in for a coffee and has nodded off. A warm dog on the lap and another snuggled either side can have that affect.

Whilst it is peaceful I will get a few rounds in on the bleh socks. I am aching to knit with some bright coloured yarn but if I cast any on the socks will languish in hiding and may never see the light of day again, they are on my favourite sock needle too.

Hooray, just a had a quick look and 1 photo has appeared.

The light is so strong that it has washed some of the colours out, once they are finished and hanging I will get a better shot. I may make a blind for the window as well as there are so many blocks.

Now I am going to get a cuppa and the socks for a few rounds before the next dog walk.

Keep safe.

                      TTFN                                       Pam

Monday 17 August 2020


It's been another busy one and I have just finished in the kitchen and have cuppa beside me. It will soon be time to take Herbie out, I hope that it stops raining for a little while, we have had intermittent downpours all day.

I had a mountain of apples to bottle (can in the US) and was all set up. 
Jars, lids and bands, check.  
Labels and pen, check. 
Jar lifter, funnel, magnetic lid lifter, spoon and stirrer to remove bubbles, check.
Apples and most importantly the peeler/corer/slicer, check.

The last item is a new buy, my original died of old age and overwork some time ago. Last year the apple harvest was smaller but this year the trees are loaded. I ordered one and it was delivered 24 hours later.
It is good, it works well. The clamp is no good for my worktop but the kitchen table is fine. The only real difference from my old faithful is the height, this one is too low to get a dish underneath to catch the juice and peel. My old one stood several inches proud of the table top.

I went through the sink full of apples in no time and got the prepared fruit on to cook, as these were not fully ripe I cooked them with a little sugar, cinnamon, all spice and raisins. They went into the sterilized jars, lids on, bands finger tight and into my water bath canner. Only 6 jars but they are solid packed and will be in pies or crumbles at some point.

Once I put the kitchen to rights I tootled off to collect the Bichons, my friend has 3 hospital visits this week, and we will have them each time. 

I have done a heap more piecing and all is pressed, ready for some more sewing tomorrow. 

A while ago Amanda, Crafty in the Med announced her return and kicked it off with a giveaway. To my surprise and delight I won.
Of course i had forgotten alll about it and at the time was so busy that I didn't touch the laptop for a while. 

Then I realised that there were probably hundreds of emails to be dealt with. Lo and behold there was one from Amanda. My win is on it's way and will be a complete surprise as I have not gone back to check. Who doesn't love a surprise.

Lady Luck was in my corner this week, Marlene of poppy patchwork said in a post that she had to sell her loom because of issues with her back. I dropped a comment and asked if the loom was still avaiable, and it was. Wowser, it will be winding its way to me soon.

I was moaning, well only a little, about only having 2 drop spindles. I have several samples to try and wanted to compare them side by side. Michael, who was trying to read, looked up and said 
" I can make you some, there's some lengths of dowel in the sewing room. just get some discs, we have some hooks" 

I was on fire as I grabbed laptop, and put "wood discs" in the search engine. 10 will be here by the weekend and I will be twirling myself into the ground if I am not careful.

Now the rain has stopped and Herbie is giving me the look, and it's not of love!. It's the one that says "get off you btm and lets go out, NOW"

Hope that those of you with very thirsty gardens had some of the rain, my garden is full to bursting but we have more  for the rest of the week.

keep safe

                        TTFN                                           Pam

Sunday 16 August 2020

I hates it, I loves it.

Both of it. 
Just letting out my inner Gollum.

Sliver trimming for one. Tedious, backaching, toe curling....

More in the wings.

It has never been my favourite part of patchwork, yet strangely I love it because it is a big step along the way. Once finished and the blocks are assembled it is downhill all the way to the finished project.

More tedium. 
Waiting for the sweet moment when setting point is reached.
I don't mind the prep at all.

Then the moment of triumph.
something tasty and home made to put up.
In this case it is Plum, chilli and garlic.
Not a very firm set so perfect for dipping.
Stir Frying.
Casserole enhancing.
Or straight off a spoon as cooks perk.

It has been a productive morning and all by chance. I woke early full of the joys of spring?! and hit the ground running.

With my pot of Assam I stitched for an hour. Then with toast and coffee took in a podcast and some knitting (those bleh mustard socks).
Michael came bumbling down, all bleary eyed and in shock at the early hour, in search of tea.

I was reading through the blog list and spotted a comment relating to weight loss. It was Eating Well so with food mentioned I had a look. Spotted a recipe for sweet potatoes, planned for dinner tonight, and printed it off. Rather than plain roasted we will have Melting sweet potatoes with herbs and garlic. I toddled up the garden with dish and scissors in search of thyme and rosemary. The rosemary is close to the Victoria Plum tree and there were the last few dangling almost in my face. Of course I picked them and filled my apron pocket.
Over 1Kg once halved and stoned, a windfall Brammley apple, a lump of ginger root, some garlic and other bits and bobs and the maslin pan was soon bubbling away.

4 medium jars ready to be gifted, 1 large jar for the pantry and a taster jar. That will liven up the sweet potatoes.

I am in a sweet happy place, I love serendipitous happenings with a good ending. A "When Harry met Sally" moment.

The radio is on Gold with Elvis back to back, my Mum would have been in her element. She was a big fan, later she "discovered" Westlife and Dad sighed deeply.
We were happy, no need to anxt over gifts from then on.

I have been sat here tapping away for what seems ages, Herbie is sound aslep on the sofa, snuggled up to Michael who is "resting his eyes". No snoring yet but it won't be long.

I am off to clear the detritus away and write labels for the jars.

I hope that you are all having as good a day as I am.

Keep safe.

                       TTFN                                           Pam

Saturday 15 August 2020

a social distance Takeaway

The first time since well before lockdown. We went out for a takeaway dinner, nothing fancy just Fish and Chips at our nearest and long time favourite chippy, Charlos in Pontadawe.

We checked that they were open.
We checked that they had systems in place for safety.

There are 2 doors to the shop and in front of each is a table. You stand at one or the other and give your order. Someone comes and takes the money and you can either stand and wait or in our case wait in the car.

There was a 10 minute delay from ordering to service, so rather than block somebody from placing an order we had the option to return to the car and have it delivered.

Amazing service.
Amazing food.

One problem.
Too much food even with a small portion of chips between us.
Herbie has some fish, minus batter, in the fridge for tomorrow.

Maybe two problems.
We both enjoyed our food but did not enjoy the mouthfeel of grease afterwards.
I do not think that it will be repeated for a long time.

Too many months have passed and our eating habits have changed completely. Fried food is a rareity, eggs are poached sometimes scrambled. If I start anything off in oil it will be a tiny amount of good cold pressed olive oil or coconut oil. I do make stock and a well reduced stock that is a little bit syrupy makes a good substitute for any oil.

We have always eaten good food but over the past months have made much more healthy choices.

Our only weak spot is cheese but we eat better and less. I would rather have a small amount of a richly flavoured variety than a slab of a mundane low taste cheddar/cheshire/whatever.

Last night we had some sublime Gorganzola, perfectly ripened and just soft enough to ooze round the knife but firm enough to stay in place rather than run across the plate.

There were lots of people around the town, but a fraction of what was there last year. Most of them were not wearing any sort of face covering but there were no large groups milling about.

Herbie has had his walk and is snoozing on the floor near Michaels feet, I am feeling a snooze coming on so need to get up and move a bit. I feel it will be an early night.

Keep safe.

                     TTFN                                              Pam

Friday 14 August 2020

Major rant

It has come to the point where I can not watch the news as it seems to be full of people whining about the way that Covid had ruffled their lives.
Why can they not be thankful that they have a life to be ruffled.

This may be callous but I do not give a fig about those people returning from holiday and going, so reluctantly, into quarantine. 

What I care about are the people who could be infected and the NHS staff who have to deal with the fallout.

The news this morning was all about holidaymakers returning from France. If they are not back by 4.00 am tomorrow they have to quarantine for 14 days. The sense of outrage at the short notice, plans having to be changed and the difficulty and cost of getting back within the deadline was overwhelming.
My question is why didn't it come into force immediately. If there is a "clear and present danger" it should be put under control directly. 
After all if there was a real threat of invasion we would get an instant response.

This is a real threat of invasion. Just not from hostile human forces.

Or is it?

Our leader seems to be blowing in the wind and the leader of the opposition is making detrimental comments.

If he is so clever perhaps he should be given the reins and told to "put his money where his mouth is"

There is no easy solution.
It means a life change for all of us.

There is a growing wave of dissent regarding education and exam grades.
Yes, these are important.
Yes, there are students who feel that they have been hard done by and their grades should be higher.

That happens every year.
It will be resolved, just not immediately.

I have heard "It is not fair" dropping from the mouths of many.

Life is not fair.
It is a circus.

I do my utmost to protect myself from others.
I do my utmost to protect others from myself.

I am missing out on so much that it hurts.
But I am alive and well.
Michael is alive and well.

The TV is off. 
I may check the news headlines online.
I may not.
I am simmering and do not need the gas turned up.

'nuff said.

Keep safe. Living is the only priority.

                 TTFN                                                 Pam

Thursday 13 August 2020

Thunder and lightning

very very frightening. Unless of course you are a Jug named Herbie.

Then you take a dim view of whatever/whomever is making that noise in YOUR home and garden. You launch your body from asleep to wide awake in full attack mode and bark like the Hound of the Baskervilles.
Lightning, frightening, it's the lightning that should be afraid. Very Afraid, 'cos if a Herbie gets it he will shake it till its neck  breaks. Just like a Jack Russel with a rat.

He is almost pure Pug on the outside and pure, concentrated Jack Russel on the inside. Thank goodness that he calmed down by bed time as he even threatened the rain.

The garden had a much needed watering and we had a much needed drop in temperature, just not a big enough drop.

It is still warm and muggy but nowhere near as bad, if we get at least some of the predicted storms it will become more comfortable.

I have no envy for those in the hot and steamy parts of the world, the flora and fauna may be wonderful to behold but the humidity would drive me doolally. I can cope with dry heat and cold but once the air is damp I am a hot or cold wet lump of misery.

I did a little sewing in the first light of the morning, just another pile of strips sewn together. The ironing and cutting will happen tomorrow. I have the 2 Bichons here today as well as the other 3 and one Bichon had a full hair cut and nail trimming session. The remaining 4 sat in a semi circle and watched every move. I felt that I was being awarded points out of 10 by the judges. A bit like Strictly without the music and glitterball.

Those little dogs are a delight, they leap around like puppies, the eldest is 12, and join up with Poppy to put Revi and Herbie in their place. That place is, of course, The Wrong. I love having them here but will be so happy when my friend is finished with her treatment and the hospital trips are but a memory.

On that note I have to leave, all the dogs are in the garden and it is Quiet. Could be up to mischief.

Keep safe.

                     TTFN                                               Pam

Wednesday 12 August 2020

What a difference a day makes

Well half a day.
After that whingy, whiney, poor little me post I had a good nights sleep, got up and showered and turned the page.

I have put the fleece and spindles away for a little rest.

I hauled out fabric, machine and the necessary tools.

I raided the box of 2 1/2" strips and started sewing.

Much pressing and cutting later and I have piles of 4" square blocks. These will be sewn together to make fabric, if you watch Sew Very Easy on youtube there is a quilt made like this as the backdrop. I am hoping to empty the box. All the trimmed off bits will go into another project, straight away they will not be put into a box.
The fabric that I make will become curtains for my top run of kitchen cupboards. I do not like doors, they are dull and boring. I like the French style of fabric behind wire mesh but have no inclination for it in my kitchen, so curtains it is. The base units have curtains made from a massive box of charm squares. But I wanted something a bit more interesting for eye level.

I did some dying yesterday.

A chunk of fleece dyed with Kiwi food safe dye. I will be carding this at some point, probably at the weekend.

There was still some dye left in the bath so I added a few drops of another green and popped in a bit of natural cream Jacobs, I did soak both in citric acid water first. I could see that there would be some of the sea greeny dye left so soaked some undyed skeined dk, added the remainder of a little bottle of teal and popped those in, I lowered them in slowly to get a somewhat variagated look.

This is not a true colour, they are very much Teal with a good mix of shades with some undyed and barely dyed here and there. This will be a hat for the gift box.

These are more small skeins for the rug, my colour palette is growing nicely, the Kiwi will be added next week. Fingers crossed.

Then fate put her hand in and gave everything a stir up.

The postie came and rang the bell.

A paecel from The Fibre Hut, Yippee.

4 Samples to play with.

4 x 100 gram packs of dyed fibre.

I will not be opening any of it this week. I will be firm. I can do this.


I have a list, get me!, of all the various projects that need finishing.
Another of all the oustanding jobs in the house.
And garden.

Once, and only once, these have been worked through will I open the parcels.

I am an adult (allegedly) and I can make lists and follow them. I always have a To Do list for short term and long term tasks. I have even been known to follow them. Just lately I have let my mind wander around unsupervised and it may have become a bit feral.

My butterfly mind is legendary in the family, but so is my resolve. My willpower may well be shaky in the cheese and chocolate (No Not together) departments but I like a job done and dusted in good time.

I am in no way blaming the current state of affairs regarding Covid and the constant government Uturns, Maggie where are you when we need you, and knee jerk reactions. If only people would just accept that we live in a state of flux. Then just get on with doing their best to not exacerbate the situation we will win through.
I only blame myself, and my Mother of course, for letting myself get so off piste that I was almost lost in the snowdrifts in my mind.

keep safe.

                           TTFN                                             Pam

Tuesday 11 August 2020

I need a Delia.

Anyone got a copy of Delia,s Christmas book? 
The one with all the recipes and a timetable to follow.. I could do with a timetable to get through the day. It's not that I have too much to do, or that I am pressed for time.
It's my flibbertigibbet mind, it floats from one thing to another often getting sidetracked along the way.
I do get all the essential house jobs done, I even manage to polish on a somewhat regular basis. It's all about prioritising and time management.

That was WORK SPEAK.

I am retired.
I want to be free to dabble as the mood takes me. A "rota system" may be perfect for some. 
Monday, knit for 1 hour. crochet the blanket for 30 minutes.....

Not for me, I do see the sense and in a strange wat it is very close to appealing.

However once free of the shackles of paid employment, where my time was ruled by production schedules and the clock, I can not face it. Rather I can not face sitting down and drafting it up.

That's where Delia comes in. If my Granny was here she would have me organised in a flash. 
If my Mum was here she would have me sneaking off up the garden to do whatever took my fancy.


That's where the blame lies. 
My Mum was just the same, the essentials were done, everybody had clean clothes and meals were sort of on time. But once that happened she would pootle out to the garden do a bit here and a bit there. Come back in, wash her hands and pick up some knitting or open a book. She might even decide to empty and polish the dresser and make some of us wash all the china. Then something would catch her eye and she would be off down the next rabbit hole.

My Granny and Granddad were very "routine driven". Breakfast at the same time with the radio on a certain program. Tea and a Norfolk Shortcake at 10 with the newspaper, Granddad used to read bits out. Dinner at 12.30 and then a sit down once the washing up was done. A cuppa mid afternoon and tea at 5.30. Around all that the washing and ironing was done, food prepared and the housework done. Also The Archers and Mrs Dales Diary were never missed.

You might get up to find a hatching of ducks or chicks drying off in the warming oven . 
If it was bitterly cold Patch, our dog, would be under Grannys chair. He much preferred being outside or with Granddad in the shed.
But those were the exceptions that proved the rule.

I do try to keep it under control but a new interest gets me hooked, the spinning has all but taken over. I dyed the last of my washed fleece today and will card it tomorrow. I also dyed some jacobs combed top (carded this afternoon) and a couple of 50 gm skeins of DK wool to mop up the dye. 

It has all been consigned to the sewing room, once the fleece is carded it will be some overdue weeding and some knitting on a gift. I still have to graft the underarms of the Penny sweater, that should have been done once it was cast off then blocked.

I have more fibre coming but will get the loom warped up and the weaving at least started before I dare to open it. 
I think that crunch time came as I had to hoover up fluff and fibre for the third time today.

So if anyone knows of a Delia, I would have said Mary Poppins but the singing would get on my wick, point her in my direction.

Keep safe

                              TTFN                              Pam

Sunday 9 August 2020

slight hiccup

It is all my fault.
I acted in haste.
I did not work out the measurements before ordering the hotspot tape.
I also did not read the length of tape.

I blame only my excitement.

The frame is up, the door is hung.
It fits perfectly.
I had to dig out the red gooseberries, but they went straight into pots and will be back in the soil tomorrow. Albeit not in my garden, they are going to live with Jess.

There is rhubarb in there but that can stay till it has died back when it will be moved. All part of the plan.

I have not wasted the extra spare time.
I have dyed 2 lots of fleece for the rug, I didn't weigh it as it was always to be a spontaneous project. I do not want to end up with matching amounts of each colour.

Now I have started to ramble on so toodle pip.

Keep safe.
                          TTFN                              Pam

And it begins.

The challenge of the Tunnel.
It is going to be hot but Michael assures me that we will be finished before the temperature soars.
Herbie has had his walk before anybody else was abroad, we still had to stick to the shady side though.

Herbie loves water, puddles, streams, rivers, he has tried to jump in the bath once or twice.
Soooo, we bought a dog safe paddling pool, filled it up once it was sited in a semi shaded spot.
Did he love it?
He had a look, walked round it and walked away. I stepped in it and he followed, walked round, had a drink and got out.
We will leave it in place for a few days and if he still ignores it I will pass it on.


On a happier note there was a myriad of insects dropping down for a drink. I have a couple of unused containers in the top part of the garden and I think that they will be sunk into the ground and filled with rainwater. Some stones and a bit of wood to allow perching spots, ingress and egress and obviously out of reach of the dogs should be a good addition.
My neighbour has a fish pond with a few fish and now has a visiting lizard. How cool is that, Revi and Poppy have seen it but after an initial bark and bounce session have treated it with distain.

This weather has had mixed effccts on the garden, the blueberries are in full production and I am struggling to keep up with them. The plums are swelling and splitting due to the rain and more have rotted than picked to use. The apples are so loaded that even after thinning I am having to pick some early and prop some branches up.
Courgettes are picked and used at finger size or they rot on the plant and tomatoes vary from huge growth and few fruit to so loaded that I worry they can hold the weight. The cucumbers are full of baby fruits and flowers but slow to produce full size fruits, I see lots of pickles in my future.

The apples that I had to pick will be bottled, canned in the US, tomorrow along with the plums that I rescued. Blueberries are in the freezer ready to make Purple Porridge in the winter. Along with a few fluffy pancakes and the odd muffin or three.

The blueberry bushes have put on so much growth over the past year that I plan on taking cuttings. Soft wood ones from this years growth with no flowers or fruit and some hardwood ones once the plants go into the dormant state. They are Patriot and the fruits are large, sweet and juicy with a wonderful flavour. I hope to have plants to gift next year.

Right, the Time has Come, the walrus said. This time has nothing to do with Lewis Carroll and everything to do with wrestling metal into a sturdy structure.

Keep safe.

                           TTFN                               Pam

PS I may have gone slightly mad on the Fibre Hut website. There could be half a sheeps worth of fibre coming my way. A rainbow of dyed Merino and fibres from a selection of various breed of sheep for me to play with. I also plan on dying some fo my own fleece.
I had a touch of the "greedy mcgreedies", or maybe I am just planning ahead.

Friday 7 August 2020

Not in hibernation

just keeping busy. I dog sit Monday to Friday, as you know, and now I have a pair of Bichons in the mix. They are only here for one day a week at the moment, their owner is having a series of tests and now scans.

When her treatment starts that will probably escalate, Doggy Day Care in action.

There is some talk about the possible transfer of the virus from human to pet, apparently the current thought is that cats are at risk but not dogs. My neighbour works mostly on his own, and out in the elements or in his designated work building.

He drops off the dogs into my little courtyard and I let them into the house once he has left, we do it in reverse when he collects them.

My friend has been diagnosed with a Nasty and has been shielding.

I feel that collecting her Bichons and then returning them is safe as we have no close contact. I put them into her lobby and remove the collars and once I have shut the door behind me she lets them into the house.

It would be lovely to stop and have a cuppa and a chat but we are all aware of the possible outcome. So we don't, and none of us can see a time when we can be so sociable.

In the meantime we are all keeping busy. I have been organising the garden to make room for a solar tunnel, it is here and we will start putting it together tomorrow. I used to be quite good at the Tetris game,

The vegetable beds are keeping me tying in, cutting back, pinching out etc, and I have made a brassica cage using metal stakes and a reel of scaffold netting. Well less than half the reel which cost far less than buying said cage. I did have to sew 2 lengths together, 30 minutes including measuring.

Then there is wool, lots and lots of wool, ranging from raw "smells like a mucky sheep" to prepared yarn that smells like a clean slightly perfumed sheep.

Delivered in a feed sack, freshly sheared, by my lovely neighbour. There was one for Jess as well.
Once washed, dried and carded I broke out the spindle. This was a bit too fine for my purpose so it has been wound into a ball and set aside.
Time for some colour.

Some thick and thin, full of texture wool that is destined to go onto the peg loom and be a rug when it grows up.

There are many more days of dyeing, carding and spinning to come and I look forward to each and every one. The only small inconvenience is to do with the dogs. If I stand and drop spin they want the spindle and after one too many near misses I now spin sitting down. It takes a bit longer but I am in no hurry, this is pure unadulterated pleasure.

I have also dug out a bag of bumps of merino fibre and am spinning some of that. It is so smooth and I am spinning as finely as I dare.I have blended various shades hoping for a fade, they were only little bumps, and have around 35grams. I aim to finish the blues and then carry on with a contrast colour, possibly a pale grey or pehaps a very pale blue. Wind it into a centre pull ball and then ply it. That is how I did the pink and grey for my rug and it was so simple. Just the one ball to control rather than having 2 flying all over the place. Straight into a dogs mouth perhaps.
I have been reading quite a bit and we have had some Telly evenings and binge watched a few things. I sit closer now and am front and center of the screen so that I do not miss details. 
I am knitting vanilla socks and have just managed to finish the Penny sweater from Tin Can Knits that I started months ago. Cream wool and a good light were essential for the lace pattern and I love it.

My time is fully occupied with all the things that I love and I feel blessed. As I type away I have Herbie on my left, Revi and Poppy on my right and the Bichons on the back of the sofa washing my neck and ears. Once they go home I will have another shower.

Michael is busy in his man cave, The Shed. I can hear faint noises every now and then. I do believe that he considers that he is Tidying Up. The trouble is that hardly anything gets removed because it "might come in handy". 

I have been through the cupboards and the sewing room has a corner with several items in it. I have not used them for a good while and if they have not been used by the end of the year they will be leaving.
Some will be donated but much has had a long working life and is a bit too dilapidated to pass on.

Once again we have talked about having a fryer, our treat of fish and chips from the shop is but a distant memory. It is likely to remain that way for another year from the look of things. After much humming and hahing we have shelved it, we are happy to have the occasional meal of oven baked fish and chips, not as finger licking good as deep fried but so much better for us.

I think it is time to call a halt here, this is in danger of becoming a novella.

Keep safe
                           TTFN                          Pam