Scarf

So what did I do on the warmest day of the year so far, a balmy twenty two degrees no less? I finished crocheting a double thickness woollen scarf of course! When M returned from work we had a good laugh about the irony of that and he said he would wear it to work tomorrow no matter what. I’ve since checked the weather and it looks as though this scarf will have to be carefully packed away in his chest of drawers for next winter, or perhaps chilly evenings when we start camping again, even with a snug and warm caravan M likes to sit out under the stars until it’s time to sleep.

I can’t wait until our teardrop trailer is ready to roll. The caravan is great for a week or longer holidays but it’s big and we have to carefully consider where to take it. M used to favour an awning the size of a house with its millions of poles and the need for four strong men to put it up if there was a slight breeze. I talked him into buying a quick porch awning which is like a tunnel tent and takes ten minutes to put up and another ten minutes for M to meticulously bang all the pegs in to anchor it. Even so we sometimes find that caravanning is quite a bit of work. One day we will trade the caravan in for a small campervan but in the meantime the teardrop trailer will give us the facilities we need for day and weekend trips. It fits nicely with my view that the simplest days out are the best ones and for that a simple stove, moka pot and tin mugs are top of the list. I have visions of long walks on the beach, coffee, a picnic lunch and afternoon naps or reading with the sea breeze wafting through the teardrop.

E took her class on a school outing today that involved a trek, a campfire and a bulk buy of sausages. With a dirt smudged face and huge smile, one little boy announced it was the best day of his life! Isn’t that just wonderful? At six years old with not a single iPad in sight he really did ‘get it’. I had days like that when I was a child and that kind of feeling stayed with me for life. I hope it does for him too.

The dogs drank a generous amount of puddle and ditch water today. It was hot but we had a day or two of torrential rain earlier in the week so there were plenty of opportunities for getting muddy. Harvey in particular understands the benefits of lying down in puddles. That bark photograph was taken without my macro lens, isn’t it something? It’s a very old horse chestnut with lots of big sticky buds just appearing on the branches.

Regardless of the weather I am glad the scarf is finished. It’s a stitch M can wear without it being so obviously a handmade crochet scarf. I feared messing it up with dodgy tassels but I learnt how to do those quickly and easily when I did my first proper weaving so that helped. The grey wool is a similar composition to the patterned yarn and when held next to the grey in the scarf is an almost exact match. It’s yarn I had leftover after a spell of making Toft Menagerie animals a while back. It was good to use that up.

We deliberated on the length and came to the conclusion that M would prefer to wrap it once round, cross the ends over and and then tuck it into his coat or jacket, and because it’s double thickness anyway, it doesn’t really need that extra wrap round the neck. So it’s a tad shorter than your average scarf but it works well for M. We didn’t exactly check the price of this yarn when we bought it in Wales and it turns out it was fairly expensive (Β£9.60 a ball) but the two balls have made a really warm colourful scarf (M loves bright colours) and it was luxurious to work with. It still didn’t cost as much as the lovely Italian scarf we bought somewhere in Italy which M left at a cricket match never to be seen again. I’m hoping this one lasts longer!

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Haul

We’ve been having a little break from DIY this week. M built a rustic bed base last week which turned out just perfect. There are still wardrobe doors to build and small jobs to finish. The weather has been far too good to waste indoors. Last minute work cancellations mean that M gets paid for staying at home or taking me out for coffee.

So today we drove through the Wolds again and I dragged M into a few charity shops in between coffee breaks. I picked up a few paperbacks and we found some amazing shirt bargains for M, three with the labels still attached and never worn and one as good as new. Even though we spent a considerable sum on business shirts in London this year it’s still fun to find four casual Marks and Spencer’s shirts for less than a tenner. M has ‘shirt blindness’ when it comes to distinguishing between a shirt suitable for going out to dinner in or one that is only suitable for wearing whilst painting walls so it’s never wise for him to have expensive casual shirts.

We had coffee in the Auction House Cafe. I really wanted to take some photo’s this time. They have reclaimed materials everywhere including amazing wood panelling along one wall. Unfortunately today there was a transvestite sipping coffee by that wall and I didn’t want it to look like I was being cruel by taking a photograph. I always feel as though I’d like to help when I see a man dressed as a woman who perhaps hasn’t done the best job with foundation or hair. Not that I’m an expert on either.

By far the best find of the day was yarn! I love seeing the bargains that other bloggers pick up so I thought I’d share my haul today. Each of those wound cakes of natural coloured yarn is 110g (strangely) so that’s nearly 900g yarn for Β£3. There was also a 30cm knitted square in the bag which I’m leaving unfrogged at the moment. It’s a clever stitch and might make a good back panel for a cushion.

I also found three 50g balls of Knoll chunky tweed yarn in blue for Β£1.50. Their original price was on the ball band at Β£3.70 a ball and I’ve worked with this yarn before. I made a hat with three balls of the mustard colour which is somewhere on my old blog. I’ve no idea what I’ll do with the blue version but I know something will come to mind eventually!

Finally I couldn’t resist a ball of Rowan Fine Tweed for 50p. Together with some existing supplies of this I’m trying to gather enough for a simple striped triangular scarf. I need new supplies like a hole in the head but it was a fun, cheap day out. We should really have focussed our energy on gardening but M insisted that it’s still too early to start cutting the grass.

The off white yarn fits a pattern I’ve bookmarked in one of my books for a child sized loopy waistcoat, a retro looking kind of thing. I know a nearly two year old who’d rock that look! Then again, a large bobbly crochet sheep would be great fun and nice and soft with this yarn too. Now where have I seen a pattern for one of those?

Frangible

I know, I know, what happened to the wip clean up? It morphed into a stash clean up! Almost as good, yes? I spotted the shawl on the front cover of Inside Crochet recently and remembered this laceweight malabrigo yarn I had. I’m not sure what possessed me to buy laceweight yarn, I don’t find fine yarn easy to work with but it always comes in such tempting and colourful skeins, and these were also half price.

Winding had to be a very careful procedure. This yarn is fragile but beautifully soft. The pattern calls for a 4mm hook rather than a toothpick sized hook thank goodness and it’s not as fiddly as I expected. However, there are two things I’m not totally in love with so far and I’m not sure whether to carry on regardless or try and frog it. The first is the fact that this shawl shape seems to be going into a very deep arrow kind of shape rather than a wingspan kind of thing. The second is the colour seems more dull worked up than in the ball. Frogging is probably out of the question given the nature of the yarn so it looks as though I will have to keep on going and have a little more faith in the outcome.

This is definitely one project that I will have to keep well away from a certain four legged friend who likes to be as close to my side as he possibly can. In fact I often have to grab project and yarn and raise them in the air when he hops up and lands next to me. If I’m not quick enough we have a minor tangle to sort out, which is all very well with tough aran but wouldn’t be a pretty sight with fragile laceweight.

We had a lovely meal out tonight at the fairly new to town branch of Wildwood. It was a Mother’s Day meal a day late because M had to attend a police job yesterday evening after dashing home from J’s football match. I’ve learnt never to get too attached to any plans we make which is usually fine, I’m good at spontaneous. Sometimes we end up with cancelled plans and sometimes we get an unexpected short break somewhere nice (like the job in Wales recently).

It’s becoming increasingly tricky to coordinate all four of us for a meal out so it was especially nice to get together and reminisce about funny things that have happened over the years. The subject of my not so finest mothering moments came up including the time I was the only Mother to forget to supply their child with a straw hat for an Easter bonnet transformation, E seems to be over the trauma of it now but I will never forget her forlorn face when I picked her up with her stapled together paper hat alongside all the girls with straw bonnets. I reckon I’ve made up for that with all the crafts we’ve done together over the years, all the rag dolls we’ve made and wardrobes for them too. Not bad for a Mother who loathed dolls as a child herself.

Poor J though, he will never live down his early acting career. He loved dressing up when he was small, especially if it involved hats and so he was asked to play one of the frogs for a nursery performance of ‘three little speckled frogs’. He looked amazing in the costume with green face paint and smiled quite happily while the audience were finding seats. When the song started he was supposed to sing and then fall off the log at the right moment, we’d had a few sneak previews at home. Unfortunately this little speckled frog did not want to fall off the log in front of an audience of complete strangers. So the little speckled frog completely froze on his log while other frogs were falling off and refused to sing or move until the entire production (of nine other songs) was over. We refer to our walk out of there as ‘the walk of shame’. E and J literally cry with laughter when we recall this story.

Mothering

A walk without coats, hats and scarves! What a luxury! I swear even the dogs were excited. With the rapeseed fields in partial bloom it felt very much like a summer’s day yesterday. As usual the dogs were our first priority and we tried a new public footpath/farm track not far from home. I think they like new smells to track and it didn’t take Riley long to find evidence of foxes. Luckily a loud bellow from M put him off too much rolling in it.

We spent a lovely hour or so sitting on a sunny bench in the cathedral/castle square of Lincoln, with coffee, just watching the world go by. I tend to be able to identify the different nationalities of people by sight and M verifies it by ear. We make a good team. There was a huge variety of tourists yesterday all snapping away with their phones. There were many dogs being dragged round the cobbles too. Ours would not have liked that at all. Harvey hates being on a lead and Riley isn’t keen on crowds.

I finished the crochet project bag. The pocket wasn’t too tricky. I attached it along the bottom edge first of all to get it nice and straight and then just pinned the sides and sewed those. I decided against pockets all the way round like the bag I was replicating, I just don’t need that much pocket space. I did divide the pocket into thirds though, a third for hooks and the rest for my notebook and scissors. Like the original it holds up to four 100g balls of yarn at a squash, three more comfortably (two with a large bar of green & blacks πŸ˜‰); this will meet most of my needs for a project bag.

I could have done the eyelet row a hundred different ways but kept it simple with a row of trebles, threading the leather cord through every other group of three. Thanks to my big sort out I’ve identified at least three or four more random leftover balls of slightly coarse yarn that would make another two or three of these bags. They are fairly quick to make and could be used for something other than crochet projects.

It’s a quiet Mother’s Day here this year. M and J are at an away match somewhere near Skegness today. J has scored a goal with his head apparently. I should really be watching but I tend to fob J off with the excuse that I come to all of his cricket matches and I really can’t stand the Dads shouting at football matches. E is working at the children’s farm and dealing with the usual lack of common sense and good manners. It is extra busy today because the weather is ideal and probably because all Mother’s get a free plant!

E’s card is spot on (she does drive me bonkers but I love her too). She goes off to uni in September and I’ve gone through all the emotions and ended up with the shock; ‘oh hell, my child is leaving home!’ J’s card is another very funny handmade variety where my head gets superimposed on a different body. This year, somehow, he managed to find a muscly body sprinkling fairy dust, so I’m looking down on a bed of flowers sprinkling fairy dust with big muscles. Just don’t tell the men in white coats or they’ll take him away!

Challenge

In the interests of trying new things… today a photo challenge and a new app. I’m always late to the party with these linking things but Hawthorn ( hhttp://livelovecraftme.blogspot.co.uk/ ) has drawn me in with the promise ‘if I can do it so can you!’ So, the above photo collage was done with ‘Pic Collage’, an app I’ve had on my iPad for a while but haven’t done much with. It was very simple to use. From top to bottom, left to right…

Flowers. Experimenting with my new phone camera macro lens. A viola? A mini pansy anyway.

Baking. Always bread. Eaten fresh from the bread maker (yes I know that’s not proper baking but it’s as close as I’ll get!)

Reading. Gritty new novels or old classics. I’m not fussy.

Comfortable. This dog invented the word.

Favourite colour. Blue, any shade, anywhere, anything.

Candles. Every day. Pine, sandalwood, fresh linen.

Hat. Ella loves this one I crocheted for her. I need one myself!

Walk. Easily done without dogs, but extremely amusing with them. Springers; why walk when you can bounce?

Favourite mug: so many pottery mugs to choose from my growing collection, but this seventies one is current favourite, it holds a lot of coffee!

Own choice: How I’d like my Mothers Day breakfast tray to look tomorrow morning! Lots of elements from the photo hunt plus chocolate!

Huttoft

Today was a good day.  (This is not the place to talk about yesterday). I’ve tried to explain to M that when you grow up by the coast the lure of the sea never leaves you. Thankfully Rick Stein said something very similar a few nights ago while M was watching one of his programmes from about thirty years ago (I’d happily live without sky tv thanks!). Upon hearing Rick reflect on this matter M looked ‘enlightened’ and I knew we’d be heading towards the coast pretty soon.

Riley has never seen the sea before. It would have been overwhelming for him when we first adopted him. Back then he hated new places. If we took him for a walk somewhere we’d been before he’d trot off happily but if it was a new location he’d walk beside us with his head down. I think it was a sign of trust that he ran off like an over excited child today. He took one sip of the sea water, decided it wasn’t that tasty but still stayed in the water for a very long time. Although the tide was incoming today it was quite rough and deep in places so we had to keep calling him in. We could see that his legs were being washed from under him at times. He just hasn’t experienced tidal water before, unlike Harvey who seems to sense when to go for a swim and when not to.

This beach was new to us too. We’ve often visited this stretch of coast since it’s the closest, as the crow flies. Although it’s only about forty miles it takes some time to drive down narrow and winding country lanes for most of the journey. We travel through the Lincolnshire Wolds which is always uplifting since the rest of Lincolnshire is so flat. The beach itself is called Moggs Eye Beach near Huttoft, I can’t find any information on where the Moggs Eye name comes from but the village of Huttoft is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book several times apparently. I’m not much of a history buff but I can’t help but imagine what life was like when you drive by ancient churches, windmills and tiny little white stone cottages.

It was too windy and cold to sit still on the beach, even between the sand dunes, so lunch was eaten in the car with the dogs well and truly worn out and snoring in the boot. It was soothing to watch the waves break onto the sand but also entertaining to watch other dog walkers. One very brave man arrived with a camera and tripod and did a series of delay timer video clips of himself doing star jumps and little speeches on the beach. I thought he might be a travel vlogger and M thought he was making a video profile for a dating website. I guess we will never know.

My wip attack has taken a bit of a nosedive in favour of a project idea that suddenly came to me. In fact it was the result of sorting out wips that gave me the idea to make a duplicate project bag! I bought this fantastic canvas project bag in Brighton last year:

http://yarnandknitting.com/product/ditty-project-bag/

It’s been absolutely perfect, it sits flat because of the round base, it opens easily with the drawstring, it has plenty of pocket space on the outside which I use for hooks, a notepad, ball bands, scissors and a pencil. It’s a good size for most of the projects that I’m likely to cart around with me but not big enough for blankets or perhaps garments unless just for transporting parts of those. 

I’ve quite literally chucked it in suitcases, large handbags, baskets, backpacks, the floor of the car, wherever I go! I often empty out one project in favour of another depending on the type of project I want to take on the road which is why it’ll be useful to have a similar project bag. I’m simply using the dimensions from the canvas version and recreating it in crochet. I picked up the yarn for less than Β£1, it’s too coarse for anything worn next to the skin but ideal for a bag or basket. It must be about Aran/worsted weight and I’m using a 5mm hook to make it a tight fabric but not too stiff.

I haven’t got a plan for attaching the pocket(s) but that should be fairly straightforward. I might dig out some leather cord for the drawstring. I’m undecided about whether to introduce a second colour. I’ve got a similar yarn in a deep mustard colour which was also thrifted (I’m wondering whether these are rug yarns perhaps?) but knowing me this could end up being a monochrome affair!

Macro

The first day of Spring in Lincolnshire leaves a lot to be desired. Plans to take our four legged friends to the coast (for me as much as them) have been shelved until the rain stops. The last time we took a drive out to the coast it was sou’wester weather and we spent much of it clutching a weak mug of tea in a steamed up fish and chip shop.

Harvey has experienced the sea and sand on numerous occasions but we’ve only had Riley for three years and can’t quite remember whether he’s been to the coast with us. He’s certainly been everywhere else imaginable, forests, nature reserves, canal side walks, lakes, country parks, camping. He loves car journeys and looks out of the window constantly on even the longest road trips. I suppose the rain does give me a bit of extra time to do some amateur dog grooming. Neat coats make for less mud, well a little bit less anyway.

Another wip bites the dust this week. It was quite a tedious and long sewing up job and took me most of the Sunday football match that M and J watched yesterday. There were a gazillion ends to weave in too. Overall I’ve no idea whether the finished jumper will be a good fit or not. It looks long in the sleeves and short in the body to me. I’d use a yarn with a bit more fuzz if I made one again, that way the cables would still be defined but not as clearly as they are with this yarn. The pattern called for three balls of 100g dk yarn but this size has only needed two. If I pay attention to yardage I might be able to make another using a dk tweed yarn from my stash. On the other hand, why make something twice when there is so much choice out there?

M ran a few errands this morning, mainly dog food purchases and men’s toiletries. I swear that M and J use ten times the amount of toiletries than I do. I have mentioned the ozone layer on more than one occasion. Today though, I did not. M spotted an inexpensive clip on lense for phone cameras and thought I might like it for blogging. I love it. It actually has three lens; macro, wide angle and fish eye. I’m having trouble wth the tiny screw thread on the wide angle one but the other two work perfectly. I’ve spared you the fish eye photographs of both the dogs noses!

The macro lense is incredible. That yarn close up is lace weight can you believe? I’m not sure how often I will use it for blogging but it’ll be a lot of fun for nature and wildlife subjects. OK maybe just nature. I tried the four legged wildlife in the house for close ups and they move too much. I need to teach them to stay still for a reward or maybe a tennis ball. I’m not proud of this particularly, but I taught one of my previous Springer Spaniels to balance a dog chocolate button on his nose for however long i wanted him to and then with a nod or raise of one eyebrow from me he would flip it in the air and catch it. I was young, is all I can say, there is so much more you could train a dog to do. Alerting me to the doorbell would have been more useful for a start!

I’ve now got four quite monotonous wips to tackle. I will probably stick with M’s linen stitch scarf to start with. I’ve realised that projects get shoved to one side when a potential problem creeps into my mind. In this case I think I might need a third ball to make it a wearable length and I’m also wondering about the yarn I’ll need for the tassels. I’m going to ignore those niggles and see what happens when the yarn runs out.

The other three monotonous projects are another scarf, socks and the blanket currently pictured in my header. I think I can at least find some enthusiasm for finishing the blanket because it’s going to be much needed when M finishes the teardrop trailer this year and we take it on its first camping trip. I’ve got a blue vintage suitcase packed with vintage goodies to kit the trailer out with so crochet blankets fit the bill nicely. I’m working on M to agree to doing Route 500 some time later this year. So far, every time I mention Scotland he mentions midgies. They can’t be that bad surely?

Chilling

So, what is the technical term for when you attack your wips and actually get a few finished? I’m sure there must be one. Suggestions on a postcard… 

I woke this morning and announced to M that I was going to do a spot of wip shaming today. He’s long suffering when it comes to knitting and crocheting talk but to be fair he’s also supportive. Way back when I was learning how to cast on for knitting he surprised me by showing me that, not only could he cast on, he could knit too. He’s quite vague about how or why he learned to knit though. I’ve told him that if Russel Crowe knits then it must be cool but he says he’s never felt the need to be that cool!

What on earth is wip shaming was M’s reaction to my plans for today. I had the fabulous idea of gathering all my wips and photographing them for a visual ‘to do’ reference; a printed out reminder not to start anything new! A list of shame! Several projects in and I’m beginning to think it’s time that would be better spent actually getting on with one of them!

The pram or newborn sized ripple blanket only needed twenty more rows to make it a useful size. If I’d worked that out and ploughed on regardless of the blue yarn issue I’d have finished this, ahem, a while ago! The intended recipient is coming up to her second birthday. This may have to go in the future grandchildren box, which might be never according to E who is spending a year with a class of six year olds, loves them all to bits but is very glad she doesn’t have to take any of them home.

I only needed to do one stripe (two rows) in the new blue and it’s really not noticeably different to the other blue after all that procrastinating! I kept the border simple with four rounds of dc stitches. I’m definitely improving when it comes to borders, I can remember feeling puzzled when I did my first one and it ruffled up a bit. I now know that was due to introducing too many stitches. This blanket could do with a light pressing but the border is staying flat fairly well. Along with the blue yarn running out I think I was also worried about messing up the border. I need to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ more often!

Let’s not talk about how many knitting wips there are in my two wip boxes. In my defence I switched to crochet because it doesn’t cause any wrist pain. I can get those wips finished but it will take a lot of short sessions. I may decide to frog a few and use the yarn for crochet.

I’ve photographed three crochet wips so far, I think there might be three or four more! The Aran jumper is just waiting to be sewn up now and edged. This will no doubt be quick and easy and I will wonder why I put it off. The socks are from yonks ago. I think I just got bored and lost confidence in the sizing of the part I’d reached. It’s a 5mm hook but thin sock yarn which I find a bit tricky to work with. I must have been carting this project around to various cricket matches when I last worked on it because I’ve photocopied the pattern I was using and also left an old aluminium hook in with the project to remind myself of the size I was using. I don’t use these hooks anymore but they are a quick way of leaving the size info with a wip.

Finally, the Newt Scamander inspired scarf for E. I think this one has finally taught me not to start very long very repetitive projects! It is lovely yarn and I reckon there will be some leftover, even after adding tassels, for something like short wristwarmers so I’ve got that to spur me on I guess. I’ll enjoy making the wristwarmers more than the scarf.

Harvey and Riley are enjoying our chilled Sunday morning. J is finally feeling fit enough to play football again even though he still has a lingering cough which doesn’t seem to want to go. M is watching the match and sending me frustrated texts about how useless the rest of the team are (he might be a bit biased!). E is in Leeds this weekend. So it’s the perfect Sunday morning with just my four legged boys at home.

I never stage any of the photographs of Riley. I simply wait for him to do his thing and rearrange the blankets or cushions and then make himself comfortable. He spent some time digging and tugging this blanket into a suitable nest and yes, I must admit, it looks pretty cosy. I wouldn’t mind adopting a similar position myself, instead of tackling laundry, hoovering and dog walking.

In a few hours when we’ve braved the gale force winds here today they will no doubt be needing a long drying off session or even a quick shower before they go anywhere near crochet blankets and sofa cushions! I do sometimes wonder what I would do with all the time I spend on hoovering up dog hair and mud, bathing dogs, washing dog towels and bedding… and then Riley comes and lies down, puts his head on my lap and sighs a big sigh of contentment and I figure it’s time well spent.

York

I had a pleasant few hours in York yesterday. It’s such a photogenic city but I was on a mission rather than a ‘photo walk’ so I only snapped a few quick shots.  Mission Birkenstock failed unfortunately but I found J a tall, skinny fit sweatshirt which was a coup of sorts. It’s not always easy finding a basic item like this for a skinny 16 year old who happens to be 6’3. He likes them to fit like a glove, have enough sleeve length, no loud colours, no big slogans. Thank you Superdry for ticking all those boxes! He doesn’t have much non school clothing but what he does have he’s very fussy about.

I found E some nice things too. York was very geared up for Mothers Day and shops/gifts for women. After that I wandered up a road I hadn’t discovered before (in search of a quiet spot for coffee) and happened upon a yarn/craft shop called The York Makery. I managed to resist all yarn (how?) but treated myself to a new mug. I love how the shopping trip totally tells the story of my life, gifts galore for the children and a mug for me! The truth is I’m happy with my mug and don’t want for much these days. I’m even thinking of needle felt patching the parts that Riley chewed on my Birkenstocks. Make do and mend! They are only worn indoors after all.

Wilbur the Whale got sewn up, in bed, quite late, in place of bedtime reading. I gauged reactions the next morning and no-one got that excited about him. One child, who shall remain nameless, thought he’d make a better cushion than a toy. The other was more appreciative of the colours I’d chosen at least! I think he turned out better than expected and is a cheery addition to the top of my wool cabinets for now. He’s no longer a wip which is a good feeling and I’ve dug out the next project that got shelved for similarly daft reasons.

This small baby pram blanket was started quite a while ago. I think I was aiming to use up some basic stylecraft yarn that I had lying about. The reason I stopped working on this project was because it was clear I hadn’t paid enough attention to how far each colour would go. The blue has indeed run out and the scrap of pale blue I’ve dug out probably won’t go very far at all. It is also a tiny shade different. The perfectionist in me doesn’t like that, but now, with the benefit of distancing myself from it for a while I think it’ll make a perfectly nice blanket regardless and the blue is as close a match as I’d ever get not knowing for sure what brand it was in the first place. There is definitely enough yarn to complete a simple border too. I reckon this one could be done and dusted with the help of just two good Netflix films!
Good food to be had at Bill’s, 12 Coney Street.

Good coffee to be had at the Coffee Bike located in The Shambles. https://coffee-bike.com/

The York Makery is at 36 Gillygate.

Perfect


What a perfect day! It was warm enough to leave my dog walking coat at home. I have to take a few bits and bobs on these walks including keys, water, an emergency dog lead even though we never use it, phone, glasses etc, so without the coat pockets I have to use a small rucksack which was exactly where I left it last year complete with bird watching binoculars and sunglasses. I added fresh water in my light weight bottle and off we went.

The binoculars didn’t leave the bag despite there being all kinds out there today. I was in demand with the throwing stick, Harvey is relentless. We took two tennis balls with us and came back with one deflated football. Harvey thought it was a fair deal. He crunches the tennis balls until they are a pulpy mess and don’t fit in the thrower. Then he abandons them and goes in search of a stick, only today he found something more exciting than a stick.

The dogs had an extra long swimming session today while I watched from the bench. Riley came over periodically and shook himself right next to me. He’s a sharing sort. Harvey dropped various soggy reeds at my feet, none of which were suitable for throwing. In the end I found the remains of a dog toy in the bushes and he thought it was Christmas! Easily pleased. There was zero chance of reading a few pages of my book while they ‘played’ so we set off for the return walk. The lake must have stagnated over the winter because they absolutely stunk. They snored like pigs all afternoon after all that exercise.

M was home unexpectedly early from an assignment in Birmingham. In fact just in time to take me out for lunch. We had an amazing ham salad in the Bailgate area of Lincoln not far from the cathedral. It will soon be even more busy with tourists. Today there were a number of groups walking round with maps on their phones. We had quite a good view of lost tourists from our window seats!

This afternoon I had a little time to make some progess with the random crochet whale. I needed to google how to do bullion stitch first of all. I’ve never done it before and you can see that I started off with fat slugs and worked towards slender worms, ok maybe maggots then. I’m quite impressed with bullion stitch, it was fun and adds dimension to this whale. There’s a gusset to sew in between the two body panels which looks quite fiddly but I’ll try not to put it off, this is one wip I want out of the way and he may well end up on top of my bureau to keep me company while I’m weaving!