With all the modern day talk of bucket lists and ‘you only live once’ I signed up for something completely outside my comfort zone. Pretty much outside my common sense zone too since my ears are faulty and artificial amplification does not seem to be an area of technology anyone has done much with. All that aside it was reasonably successful.

Tom Chaplin of Keane fame played at the Nottingham Glee Club. I had to do a crash course in intensive listening and learning so that I could make sense of the music being played live. It’s a difficult concept to explain but once I’ve watched the track being sung on YouTube say, with as much of the singer visible as possible, I can begin to tune into new music. Anyway, it was good, exciting stuff. The venue was small enough not to be too far away from the stage.

It was slightly surreal knowing that I first met Tom when he was about two years old and he was proudly showing off his own little patch of garden. My brother became very good friends with his older brother. His solo album, The Wave was the main feature but he also did several Keane tracks including Sovereign Light Cafe which never fails to make me feel homesick. There were some serious fans in the audience who knew all the words, punched the air with their fists, whooped and danced the night away. We were a little more restrained but we did buy a tour t shirt! Way to go!



I’m not exactly sure when gardening fell by the way side. E and I used to take quite an interest in our little garden when we lived in Oxford. OK so she was small and the novelty of watering everything that moved never waned. I took cuttings from various sources to produce new plants, most notably a small snip from something I liked the look of in the car park of a hospital in Birmingham. It travelled all the way back to Oxford in an inch of water at the bottom of a takeaway coffee cup. Hormone rooting powder is a wonderful thing. That nameless shrub was over three foot tall and round by the time we left that property. It flowered abundantly every year and required very little maintenance. Hooray for car park gardeners I say.

Attempts at proper gardening have been thin on the ground since those days. Our latest garden is perhaps the biggest but also the wildest. Grass cutting and hedge hacking as we like to call it, is all we do. Ella, however, still has green fingers but with a slightly bad habit of abandoning house plants that fail to thrive. Hence we have a casualty bay in the kitchen because I just don’t like to give up on a plant if there’s any tiny signs of life left. Currently several cacti are being nursed back to health along with this cheerful yellow bucket of dwarf sunflowers that germinated very quickly but have been doing very little else for months.

This morning I spotted the first signs of a flower head which made me ridiculously happy given the challenging week I’ve had. Among other things we’ve been without heating and hot water for several days now whilst waiting for the gas engineer. Thank goodness it’s been so mild, the only discomfort has been the chilly evenings in front of a woefully inadequate electric heater. Jake has learned that it is possible to wash his hair in the bathroom sink with hot water from a kettle and a small jug. I feel it’s a life skill he will find useful in the future.


I’m not usually one for small cute animal ornaments but I do like pottery and owls are very topical round here. If we are coming or going from home in the evening M will more often than not tell me that there’s an owl hooting somewhere nearby. I picked up these twelve owls in a charity shop a little while ago without knowing exactly what I would do with them. Continuing with the theme of getting rid of silly stuff lying round doing nothing I hit upon the idea of crochet nests for them, so these little owls will hopefully be sold along with my leather, wood and metal jewellery on Saturday.


Things have been quite different at home lately. M has been working away for a month, coming home for weekends only. The first week was fun. I reacquainted myself with the television remote control. I binge watched Netflix series that he would rather have taken up knitting than watch with me. I went to bed when I felt tired, regardless of the time.

By the second week I’d had enough television so I dragged a brighter lamp next to the sofa in the evenings and started working on a long term blanket project (4mm hook, DK, zig zag trebles, what was I thinking?). By the third week I was awake at midnight scraping plaster off window frames, undercoating window sills, fitting under cupboard lighting strips, fitting cupboard handles and sorting out kitchen cupboards, and that’s when it suddenly occurred to me. This is my natural rhythm. I’m an evening person, a night owl. I do my best thinking, my best work when the sun goes down. Its the way it’s always been. When M and I got married I saw it as an anti social thing to do; to suddenly decide ten pm was the time I wanted to get up and paint the dining room.M starts a new court case next week, closer to home. The days will be long but he’ll be home for the evenings. I guess I’ll have to find a balance between cosy nights watching tv on the sofa and gently persuading him that I want to paint the dining room into the small hours!


It has pretty much rained all week. Along with sorting cupboards, doing DIY, and making jewellery for my upcoming craft fair I’ve also spent a couple of mornings upcycling old magazines into envelopes. The leather earrings I make are already backed onto decorative luggage tags which I cut using a die cut machine. The tags are ideal for display but still need a paper bag once purchased. I thought it would be a long and boring process to make a useful quantity of ‘bags’ but these are easy, fun and quick. It helped that Ella supplied me with a pile of magazines that have plenty of quirky full page photo’s.

I used an old C5 envelope and carefully prised it apart, then made a stiffer template using the cover of an old magazine. It’s just four folds and a dab of glue on two sides. To keep the envelope flap closed I have a random selection of small stickers, most of which have come free with something or other or were leftover from when the children were younger. Since I have the concentration span of a gnat I aimed to make just ten a day over ten days, in reality I’ve cut, folded and pasted half a dozen envelopes every time I find myself in the kitchen keeping an eye on a pan or waiting for my coffee to brew.


Blogger and I reached the end of the road since I switched from an ancient iPad to an iPad Air and they decided there wasn’t enough demand from iOS users. Boo!