Forbearance

I feel very lucky to have these beautiful riverside walks pretty much to myself any time I choose to take the dogs for a walk. There’s evidence of plenty of horse riding, other dog walkers and ramblers but I rarely cross paths with them. This makes for a stress free walk since I don’t need to think about the dogs being on leads or saying ‘yes it is isn’t it!’ when someone says ‘morning’, and ‘good morning’ when someone says ‘lovely day isn’t it?’.

Riley will only make a nuisance of himself if other dogs are on leads, if they aren’t he will happily chase or be chased with his tail wagging. We once approached a woman with two dogs who immediately put them on leads. Riley was too far ahead to take any notice of me calling him back so he did get a bit verbal. I apologised and explained that he only barks if a dog is on a lead and she promptly unleashed her King Charles Cavaliers and they all had a great time chasing round in circles. I was relieved Riley had acted as predicted, dogs and children are pretty good at doing the exact opposite to what you’ve just confidently described. Naturally Harvey says a quick hello and carries on with his quest to find a good throwing/fetching stick.

E’s Easter cactus has bloomed all over. These have become a yearly tradition since she first started collecting cacti. They seem like such a lot of flowers for so little money. We buy them from the supermarket for about £1.40. This year there were half a dozen colours to choose from. I’m waiting for a deep pinky red one to flower too.

M is making good progress with the teardrop trailer. Since the first sheet of thin ply went up for the inner lining he’s completed the whole roof lining, sealed it and wired the electrics through the cavity it created. Various trim has been added to make nice looking seams. Lights have been ordered and collected and weather permitting they might be wired up tomorrow. I’m glad to report that we are not talking electrics quite so often now. I had to grin and bear it just once today when M drew a helpful circuit diagram on the back of a receipt for coffee. I had other things on my mind so I just nodded in the right places.

There’s been the usual family ups and downs this last week. The cricket season started with a bang as it usually does. ‘Someone’ gets over excited, takes it all far too seriously and forgets to take into account the opinions and feelings of the one actually playing cricket. I had to step in and keep the peace which I managed to do without even raising my voice. There was a two day sulk and that wasn’t the teenager. In fact it only came to an end today, in the middle of a Marks and Spencer’s Food Hall (definitely more stylish than a marital bust up in B&Q, we’ve witnessed these but haven’t quite joined the club yet). ‘Someone’ was dragging his feet around like Harry Enfield’s ‘Kevin’ and shrugging at every suggestion for dinner. I finally stopped and in a very quiet voice calmly explained that I’d had enough, that he’d used up all of my patience and that if he didn’t stop acting like a complete …. I would feel the need to discuss it, in a louder voice, right there, in Marks and Spencer’s. I don’t like ultimatums like this but boy did it work nicely on this occasion. He’s been his usual funny, life and soul of the party self since and we had a great family meal sitting at the newly positioned dining room table where the evening sun streams in.

I did some furniture shuffling over the weekend. Our dining room lacks proper sunlight since it’s positioned between the hall and the conservatory and doesn’t actually have an outside window (we might put one in one day). J and I dragged the big table through to the sunlounge and put it at the end with the double doors. When it’s sunny and warm we can eat just inside with these doors flung open whilst staying out of the wind that seems to constantly blow across from the fields. It proved good feng shui this evening when everyone was open to trying this new location and didn’t rush to leave the table after the meal. I’m thinking the vacated dining room might make a good craft area! I’ll just get M to knock up a work bench!
https://instagram.com/simplenaturalhandmade72 #aflowerforjenny

Beech

Do you ever have a day planned out in your mind and then it doesn’t quite turn out that way? The kind of day where you go to bed nice and early the night before because you need to be up at six thirty and then you toss and turn all night, either because you’re excited about the change of scene or you’re worried about not waking up on time.  The kind of day where you can’t doze on the journey down the A1 because someone beside you is also tired and doesn’t want to be the only one awake at that hour. Then the strong coffee you eventually get only barely wakes you up enough.

You arrive at the destination city and despite being given the magic plastic rectangle as currency you really don’t feel like, ugh, shopping. So you wander round looking at the cathedral and comparing it to the one in your own city, and think to yourself, ours is better. Then you watch other people taking photographs of the cathedral and think to yourself, this is a tourist place, really? You walk miles looking up at skylines and architecture, look down at pigeons cleaning the under side of their wings in the street level fountains, watch old people still in love and young people puffing on e-cigarettes, and then glance at the time and think holy crap I’ve got half an hour to buy two birthday presents and some underwear.

You meet up with your other half for a romantic lunch for two but he’s in work mode and the phone doesn’t stop buzzing with work offers and when it does stop he’s engrossed in Facebook, so you watch more old people in love and more young people slowly killing themselves with liquid nicotine. On the way home you prop your eyelids open with imaginary matchsticks because it’s still not ok to nap and anyway you wouldn’t want to fall asleep with your mouth open and be seen by traffic passing by or worse still, snapped and put on Facebook.

The day gets better when you get home and insist that you are having a nap now and it is NOT ok to wake you for any reason whatsoever. So you flop, fully clothed on to your bed and don’t even remember your head hitting the pillow, then wake three hours later with your hair sticking up on one side and the pillow imprint on your left cheek and wonder why no-one woke you for dinner. That kind of day.

On the plus side, not only did I manage to get two birthday presents and underwear in that half an hour, I also picked up a solid hunk of wood turned, by an enthusiastic amateur, into a bowl, for 50p. It looks like beech to me. I love this kind of thing (even though we have a growing number of wooden bowls) especially if it’s not varnished and the bark is left on. This one is wool sized! Not such a bad day out.

Doodling

My Scheepjes CAL blanket is finally finished! I certainly wasn’t one of the first over the finish line but I’m probably not the last! The linen stitch border is probably the part I like best, though I do like some of the textured squares like the honeycomb pattern and the waffle. The project also brought me round to the idea of using bobbles a bit more too. It was a great project to do to widen my crochet knowledge. I did a bit of ripping back on quite a few of the squares when I hadn’t concentrated enough on stitch counts. The joining up method was also a lesson in itself. In hindsight I wish I’d used dc and not slip stitch as suggested but it’s very firmly held together and it was a plus not having to sew it up with a tapestry needle. When the teardrop trailer is finished the blanket will be joining us on our travels.

We’ve been having problems sourcing a certain type of bendy wood for the teardrop. We knew that some of the materials would be in plentiful supply where these trailers are commonly used but not so easily obtained in the UK. However, there’s more than one way to line a roof so I volunteered a few suggestions and M actually called me a genius! Wow, we have made some serious progress since the early days when only the supply of builder’s tea was agreeable. M has been cutting curvy roof spars for the galley hatch and it is round about now that I’m wondering whether we’ve bitten off more than we can chew. If M is thinking the same he’s certainly not admitting it. I guess we both like a challenge.

Harvey is suffering with his old shoulder injury so we didn’t walk so far today. The clouds were magnificent. I took a few quick snaps and then just enjoyed the scenery, apart from having to shout at Riley now and then for rolling in unpleasant substances. He also stuck the front half of his body into a large fox hole which is not something I’ve seen him do before and I’m not keen for him to do again. Imagine if he got stuck down a fox hole, I’d have to rely on Harvey to hear where he was and that would not be reliable because Harvey wouldn’t really care where Riley was, only the location of his tennis ball. Brotherly love only extends so far!

I’ve been doodling in wool and on my iPad trying to figure out how to incorporate E’s desire for a cactus flower somewhere on her uni blanket. I didn’t have pink in the weight I’m hoping to make the blanket in so I doubled up a small quantity of dk and tried various combinations of petals. The pic above is the closest I’ve got to the image in my head but I’m still not quite there with it. E likes the combination of green, pink and pale grey that I’ve been experimenting with so I’ve also got to figure out which range does an Aran weight in these colours with a wool content.

The most exciting doodling has been with a new app that I treated myself too. I don’t buy much music these days and very rarely buy an app (usually the free ones do everything I need from an app) so I actually had to purchase my own iTunes card! The remaining credit after I spent all of £2.99 will probably remain on my account for some considerable time! The app is a very simple one, nothing flashy or complicated, it uses a photo’s of your crochet or knitted squares and allows you to plan a blanket layout. I guess it would work with square based patchwork too. You can specify the size of each square and the blanket so that it calculates how many squares you need to make. I used a couple of squares from internet photos which is why I can’t show you my first attempt at a blanket layout but once I’ve replaced those photos with my own I can show you how much fun this app is.

I showed my new discovery to M late last night and I can’t say whether it was the late hour or the lack of enthusiasm for crochet apps that elicited a less than excited response from him. I have an opportunity to visit a proper city tomorrow so I’m hoping to squish some yarn and find the colours I’m looking for. Online buying is so convenient but I find the colours aren’t always what I was expecting.

I’ve been doing a few rows of the ripple blanket shown in my header today. It’s an absolute sun trap where M is working on the teardrop and since I need to get up every five minutes to hold a piece of wood or be shown a new development it makes sense to be nearby. The only downside is that there is now a fair bit of sawdust crocheted into this blanket which I hope will wash out eventually!

Easter

So how did we get from two little cutie pies running round their grandparent’s garden with baskets, hunting for chocolate eggs to one almost grown up teenager who doesn’t like his photo being taken anymore and one grown up teenager sipping prosecco before our family Easter Sunday roast?

It was so nice to have a get together at Mum and Dad’s for Easter. Mum made an amazing Sunday dinner and I must admit that after a g&t and a couple of glasses of prosecco I was feeling pretty cheerful! I never know quite whether M’s disapproving looks are because he’s the designated driver or some kind of bad experience with alcohol in his past. I must offer to drive more often! We had plans to sit in their lovely garden, sipping wine or just walking up and down on Dad’s carpet like lawn (ours is more cow parsley than grass!) but alas the weather had other ideas and we had to settle for lighting the wood burner instead.

Today it was business as usual with a quick trip to ScrewFix. It made a nice change from B&Q but the lure wasn’t quite strong enough so I ventured into a new to us store next door, a sort of bargain place that sells pretty much everything including food, toiletries, home decor, gardening and diy. I think it’s my new favourite shop. I found a ceramic travel coffee mug with a phrase that matches my framed postcard and a cotton tote that I bought last year. It’s also the title of an excellent song by the Super Furry Animals that I play very loudly when the mood strikes!

M came home and laid out all his electrical parts alongside his special new electrical tool, studied his circuit diagrams some more and then set about drilling holes for wires, fitting the fuse box, fitting wires for lighting and so on. I think he’s quite pleased with himself. Whether or not the whole thing blows up is another matter! Having had my first car burn to the ground due to an electrical fault I’m not taking any chances with this so we will be having the whole system signed off by a proper auto electrician.

In between hoovering, laundry, dog walking and ahem, eating chocolate eggs, I started a bobble square using the same technique as the heart square in the Last Dance CAL. E really likes the heart square but she also really likes anything cactus related. She started collecting the plants long before you could buy anything with a cactus on it. It was E’s idea to try the design out in cotton so that she can use it as a wash cloth. I made a whole batch of diagonal rib wash cloths last year and they have been in constant use since everyone discovered they actually work as face cloths! I made the cactus bobble square up using an aran weight cotton that was a charity shop buy for 50p. It was a new ball complete with band and it looks like I’ll be able to make a second one too.

I’m not making any promises with a deadline but we’ve discussed the possibilities of using this square as part of a blanket design.  I’d like to go ‘desert’ and just stick to cacti and desert colours but E is imagining pink cactus flowers and the heart bobble square too so I will be totally out of my comfort zone with this one (flowers and pink!) but I can see it working somehow (especially if we lose the hearts!).

Conversations

M: shall we go and ponder teardrop electrics over a flat white?

Me: um, well we could, on the other hand, I’d rather not

M: you don’t fancy coffee?

Me: I don’t fancy pondering electrics

M: but I need to run this stuff by you

Me: I don’t know anything about stupid electrics, you might as well be talking in German

M: well shall we go and have a stupid coffee anyway?

Me: and you promise not to talk stupid electrics?

M: well…

Me: ’cause that would be stupid wouldn’t it?

Little voice from across the hall: Dad?

M: yeah?

Little voice from across the hall: you’re stupid!

M: thanks Jake!
Conversation witnessed in coffee shop (whilst amusing myself and not pondering electrics):

Husband: (upon seeing wife arrive with tray of hot chocolate piled high with cream) what’s that then?

Wife: posh choclit innit

Husband: you’ve gone all posh now then have ya?

Wife: I ain’t never gonna be posh

Husband: true.

Wife: these plants are plastic

Husband: (feels fake foliage) I don’t blame ’em, easier innit?

Wife: still gotta dust ’em

Husband: true. You got a fiver on ya?

Wife: what do you wanna fiver for?

Husband: I wanna go and buy my numbers don’t I?

Wife: you’re never gonna win the lottery

Husband: yeah, but I can die trying can’t I?

Wife: true!

There were many more mini conversations like this between these two, each ending with a ‘true’. So philosophical! Being able to lipread certainly has its upside, it’s my superpower! 😉

I’m something like eight rows into the fourteen row border for this crochet blanket. I love the look of the linen stitch and it’s lying nicely flat for most of it. Some squares could probably have done with being a tad smaller. I kind of ignored any slight anomalies when I was making the squares in the hope that the patchwork nature of things would be forgiving. It might block out, it might not but it’s unlikely to be a blanket spread out flat on a bed anyway. It’s not really big enough for our king size bed and we use other crochet blankets for keeping snug in the winter whilst watching tv in the evenings.

I’d rather be crocheting all day but I’ve been doing spring cleaning and overdue jobs like sorting out my unruly collection of mugs (a small quantity has been relegated to the charity bag). I’ve also relieved my large spider plant of some of its little ‘sprouters’. I’ve no idea what they are called. I picked them off carefully, put them to one side, potted up some random pots with soil and then couldn’t locate my new tub of hormone rooting powder anywhere. So I’ve planted them anyway and will have to wait and see whether they take or not. If it works we will soon be overrun with them!

Splendid

There are certain words that M really enjoys hearing me pronounce, they include, ‘Sussex’ ‘Disgusting’ and ‘Splendid’. You’d expect them to be words such as bath, path, grass and castle given that those are examples of words we pronounce very differently. I do say Sussex and disgusting quite often (not usually in the same sentence) but I tend only to use the word splendid in jest. It’s seems such a pretentious word. He laughed a lot when I said today had been a splendid day.

Although E has been driving for a while now it’s still quite a novelty when she comes and goes freely. It’s even more of a novelty when she takes her brother along too. At first I thought I’d never allow this but I can’t ban everything I worry about, besides it’s valuable bonding time. It’s all too easy for them to start leading their own lives and not spending quality time with each other. J is quite charitable about being seen in a Fiat 500 even if he does quite literally have to fold his 6’3, nearly 6’4 frame into this tiny car. Today was even more heartwarming because they set off to visit their grandparents half an hour away. J and Dad go and watch the local football team and E and Mum go shopping.

Upon their departure this morning I said to M, this feels so strange, we’ve got a child free day and we didn’t have to take either of them anywhere! Of course we used our time in the most exciting way possible. Yep, B&Q. Wood trim, hinges and a bolt today. All for the teardrop project. Indoor DIY is temporarily on hold until it next rains all day, which probably won’t be too long. Our next door neighbour finally gave in to his curiosity and appeared by the stream that separates our properties. He admitted that they’ve been trying to get a better view from their upstairs windows to try and work out what M is building. It turns out he is an engineer and knows all about aluminium trim so M was in his element talking metal specs with Mr E from next door.

So whilst all that riveting chat was going on I had the back garden all to myself, or should I say the newly jetwashed to within an inch of its life decking? Along with sparkling clean stone frog for company. Even that old table got blasted and I swear only the dirt was holding it together. I must confess though I did not make that crochet blanket. I don’t think I could bring myself to be that random, or use pink, but I still like it. It was a charity shop buy for a few pounds. It’s got a few holes here and there that could be repaired but I haven’t got round to it. In fact I picked up two crochet blankets for very little some time ago and thought that if nothing else, they could be dog blankets, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to subject them to that. Small clean dogs perhaps but these two run round a ploughed field every morning, have a good swim in a slightly stinky lake nearly every day and are most happy when they are filthy. Dog blankets don’t last that long.

I did make that knitted cloud cushion though. It was a kind of practice run, using existing stash, for whether or not I wanted to buy yarn especially for grey cloud cushions for our bed. I’m not obsessed with feng shui but I’m thinking that grey clouds are probably not going to be a good thing for bedrooms and I’m not sure I want white fluffy clouds either. So this beige cloud is just a comfy back rest and nothing more. I was very glad of the cloud today. The viral thing is on its way out thank goodness but I’ve somehow managed to pull a muscle in my lower back. If things come in threes then I’m all done!

We took the dogs to the next village today where there are a few shops and a long shallow beck running behind them. At one end there were children with rolled up jeans and fishing nets so we drive to the other end and hoped the ducks would move up a bit. They did with a bit of encouragement from Riley. He doesn’t go tearing after them, it’s more of a cautious approach. One stern word from us and he headed back as if to say, oh ok then, I’ll leave them for now. I’ve seen him catch up with birds on the lake and he just wants to sniff which of course they aren’t that happy about.

I’d spent some chunk of the morning crocheting a white ribbed square for the Last Dance blanket and then realised that I’d already made the last white square the night before. I was pretty cross with myself! So I laid the whole blanket out again and made a note of all the missing squares which is now only four. Two bobbles and two honeycomb. All four of these are in the last two rows so I was able to do some more joining leaving just those two rows to do. I’m trying not to think about all the ends accumulating underneath.

Mid afternoon saw a delivery from a company I call Dippy D since they managed to mess up the first two or three things we had the misfortune of having delivered by them. They’ve definitely improved and if that continues I might have to start calling them by their real name, DPD. Another whopping box for a tiny phone case. I was so late to catch on to the whole smart phone thing. In fact before I was persuaded to have one I was quite happy with a small mobile that I’d had for eight years and was still going strong. Then along came teenage years and a whole succession of hand me downs. Teens to Mum that is. I’ve now finally caught up with everyone and have an iPhone. It’s an old model and doesn’t have the phone and text service activated which is ideal for me because I can’t hear to make calls anyway and we don’t need texts when we all have messaging instead. The phone therefore costs a fiver a month added on to M’s business phone contract. I’ve never had more than a bog standard phone case either until I saw this one. It’s telling that the three things I’ve bought for myself this year so far have all been wool related. Wool felt. Birkenstocks. A yarn swift. Harris Tweed woven phone case. I should have been a sheep farmer.

Tranquil

J and I got our lovely quiet day today. When M messaged from London and asked how things were I said, ‘peaceful’. Such a luxury thing. I have only to switch off to find absolute silence and M will sometimes even suggest it but silence goes beyond that, it’s about not having to hear. One thing I’ve come to understand since I met M eleven years ago is that his enthusiasm for life manifests in an abundance of spoken words, both loud and fast. In the beginning I tried to be heard, then I quietly gave up trying and wallowed a bit and now that I’m older and wiser I think I’ve found a balance. This still involves listening more than speaking  and also having to find the patience to hear something in two hundred words that could be said in twenty but ultimately it is about being very precise about what I say when I’ve got the floor so that it is heard. It doesn’t always work I must admit.

Having a psychotherapist and relationship expert in the family does help. I was totally wounded when I was faced with the advice that it was me that needed to change. It felt like such a major criticism. It’s really just about not being able to change some things about some people but instead, being in charge of how you deal with them. When I accepted that it was life changing.

I failed to coax J to join me on the dog walk today but he did later finish jet washing our deck and quite a few other things into the bargain. A stone frog that we found in the garden one day and has been used as a door stop ever since used to have a lovely green weathered patina to it… it’s now concrete coloured once more. A bench that I stained with a charcoal colour last summer is now back to bare wood. A patch of concrete that had weathered and blended nicely is now gleaming like newly laid concrete. There are more examples. In fact I was amazed that the charcoal stain came off the bench so at least I know what to use if I ever need anything stripping back to wood! All this jet washing activity and he missed a whole big section of the deck. Words fail me.

The dog walk was just what I needed after round two of nasty viral chest infections. I felt so much better today and the dogs were  bouncing with excitement. The countryside changes so much in a short space of time. This hawthorn blossom wasn’t nearly as dense a week ago. The river was low enough for safe swimming today too and it didn’t take the dogs long to realise that. Harvey dropped a suitable stick at my feet and immediately headed down the bank knowing that I’d throw it in the water. In fact when I look at the photo’s it looks cloudy but it felt much sunnier at the time. It was t shirt weather, the schools are on their Easter holidays here and yet not a single soul was out in this nature reserve for the two hours we were there.

Wool looks so nice and arty in skeins doesn’t it? It was tempting to leave them as they are until I need them but even more tempting to play with my new yarn swift again! It was over all too quickly. One tip for anyone trying one out for the first time; it works best if the skein isn’t too taut over the pegs. It is better to have it loosely draped round the square. M made the recycled timber box above and it now holds all the large skeins wound into cakes.

I’ve probably mentioned already that the Wensleydale yarn will probably be made into unisex baby items for the next family addition. It’s so soft and it’s organic so it seems like the ideal use for it. Those are the four small balls at the top of the wool photo, it looks hairy and coarse but it isn’t! The three balls to the front and left are much coarser and I’ve found a bag pattern that I really like which could be made with this quantity. Finally the alpaca/wool mix will have to be a wrap. It’s soft and warm and I just want to wear it!

I’ve also been working on the missing squares for my Last Dance blanket and I managed to join the first two long rows of squares. It’s fiddly and best done on a big table rather than sitting in the floor and moving the whole thing around on a small coffee table (doh!) I’ve only just noticed that the border will be linen stitch which is a current favourite so that’s given me a bit more incentive to get to that stage. I doubt very much whether mine will sit as flat and perfect as some I’ve seen on the internet. I’m not planning on getting the iron out anytime soon either. Life is too short for ironing.

M and I are keen to book some kind of break soon. We’ve got to that awkward stage where the children will probably only be interested if we go somewhere hot with an ocean like bath water. I’d quite like them to see more of the UK, in particular some of the islands like Jersey or Guernsey, the Isle of Wight, or some of the Scottish ones. They don’t seem as enthusiastic about British weather which I suppose is our fault for introducing them to warm seas in the first place!

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 £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 £1.50. Their original price was on the ball band at £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?

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 😉); 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!