Scarf

It’s absolute heaven with J back at school and M and E at work. That’s not to say the four legged family members aren’t demanding. I only trimmed Harvey a matter of weeks ago and he looks like a shaggy sheepdog again. He needs a regular trim unlike Riley whose coat seems to be made of slow growing silk. Their tails in particular are a constant source of work. They both bring home enough twig foliage to run a small woodburner. I sometimes have to snip it out if it’s mainly thistle. I didn’t have this problem with my previous Springers because it was the norm for them to have docked tails.

It turns out that having a low coffee table and two dogs with long swishy tails is not a great combination. Riley has snuffed out a number of candles simply by wagging his tail nearby. (The candles are now on a higher surface.) Last night Harvey swished a ball of yarn onto the floor and figured it had therefore become a dog toy. It was unravelled in seconds. It took considerably longer to untangle and rewind it. The photo above is Harvey’s, ‘it wasn’t me!’ pose.

I decided to try both crochet and knitted approaches to a double thickness (worked as a tube) scarf for M using the Bluefaced Leicester in the pheasant colour way that he liked. It’s a dk yarn with a suggested hook/needle size of 4mm but I used a 6mm hook and linen stitch to create a fabric with some drape but without losing the warmth. Next I tried used the 4mm cubic circulars and after goodness knows how long I eventually got a tiny little bit of stocking stitch. I couldn’t see me having the wrist power or patience to stick with it. So crochet linen stitch it is, the majority of which has been worked up whilst watching a cheesy channel five movie. If you take notice of channel five movies you’d be forgiven for thinking that one in two women will, at some stage in their lives, awake from a coma to some traumatic situation.

M initially eyed the crochet scarf with suspicion. The stocking stitch example in the yarn shop produced much more definite stripes. Once the project got a bit longer and he could see that it still has stripes he was much happier. Who knew men could be so fussy over a handmade scarf? He’s also stipulated tassels, but not multi coloured ones, just grey ones. He doesn’t want much does he?

I’m pleasantly surprised by the feel of this yarn. You can never really tell how a yarn will behave until it’s worked up. It’s not splitty at all and not so smooth it’s tricky to handle but it is soft and warm. I don’t usually like to use overly excited expressions like ‘a joy to work with’ but in this case it really is. M added this yarn to the pile so I don’t actually know how much it cost per ball but whatever it was it was worth every penny.

Trove

With no rhyme or reason I chose yarn that I liked the look and credentials of. It is all British, some Welsh and some from West Yorkshire Spinners. It’s hard to pick a favourite.

The Wensleydale sheep yarn is extremely soft and slightly silky. If you google that breed you can see why. Secretly I think they have a lot in common with the afghan hound! There seems to have been lots of babies born to both sides of the family lately. I can’t imagine there will be many more but who knows? If there is I may well be making some of this gorgeous organic Wensleydale sheep yarn into simple crochet boat neck tops with wooden buttons. Or perhaps little striped knitted pixie hats like I did for the girl/boy twins recently.

The yarn in my rustic wooden box (made by M) is also Welsh. It’s a little coarse which is ideal for a hard wearing cushion cover, bag, place mats, iPad pouch. It’s going to be touch deciding which. In fact some of it may well end up being made into a coffee cup sleeves. M and I covered over four hundred miles between Thursday and Saturday mainly running on take out coffee! I guess some of the places that sell coffee don’t want to be seen to be providing excess packaging so it seems harder to find the extra cardboard sleeves that help when it’s too hot to hold.

I was sold on the West Yorkshire Spinners ‘Illustrious’ partly because it is British but also because I love that colour! I’ve got a grey hat that I crocheted and wear all the time. It’s time I made an identical one in a different colour.

The Bluefaced Leicester patterned yarn will become a knitted in the round scarf for M since he was kindly paying for all this yarn. He has an expression at times like this, ‘what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is yours too’! There was a scarf made up with this yarn in the shop that he was rather taken with and if I try and push to one side the memories of him losing several scarves, both handmade and purchased, on trains then I will no doubt enjoy making him something so lovely and thick and warm. M is the more colourful of the two of us and if orange is involved then all the better.

I swore I’d leave the knitting well alone after struggling to finish the baby items recently but before I do that I might as well give the knit pro cubics a go. I’ve heard good things about these from several sources lately and even if I still have to work on this scarf in short sessions it won’t be difficult to cart around with me because they are also circulars.

I’m feeling inspired and raring to go with new crochet projects. There’s going to be a fair bit of wool winding before I can start anything. If today’s rather tedious non stop rain continues that’s an activity I won’t mind staying indoors for. We had leisurely Sunday dog walking in mind but we adopted plan B instead which was a quick run round the field for the dogs, home to dry off and then a slow coffee with the Sunday newspapers.

Yarn from: Snowdonia Wool, Abergele, North Wales (snowdoniawool.co.uk)

Wales

A quick look at my photography locations facility on iPad tells me that I have taken similar photos of the highest motorway in England before. No doubt I’ve already mentioned that little fact here too. I find it fascinating. One minute you are gazing out at horrible factories and industrial chimneys and the next you have beautiful snow capped hills. There’s a little farm that is wedged between north and south bound lanes somewhere round about here too. I’m not sure of the story but it looks a lot like they refused to be bought out when they built the motorway. I can only imagine what the pollution levels must be like for them and their livestock.

Anyway, it’s a great stretch of motorway for woolgathering (daydreaming) which I found myself trying hard to do with M’s relentless running commentary about other drivers invading my thoughts. I did politely suggest he refrain but alas that only served to provoke more of the same. Music worked in the end, though it’s always a toss up between the driving rants and M singing along to Cat Stevens, I’m not sure which is worse.

Colwyn Bay was a pleasant surprise, a whole lot of perfectly preserved Victorian architecture. Just look at that WHSmith architectural canopy! So wonderful that it hadn’t been pulled down and modernised at any stage. It’s even got stained glass portraits of WHSmith and Son (presumably!) on one side and literary greats on the other. It was foul weather the half day I spent here. After battling the wind and rain along the coast towards Rhos I had to admit defeat and head back to the hotel for tea and towels.

Luckily M finished work in good time and we headed off to Llandudno. After salty chips from a paper cone and a reassurance that the four mile marine drive wasn’t high up at all (the fish and chip shop man lied) we set off for the scenic ride. I can imagine this is even more stunning in the middle of summer and I’d love to do it on foot one day but with only one afternoon at our disposal we had to make the best of it. We stopped half way to take photo’s; you can see the road we’ve taken. Even though there is no chance of surviving the car going through the low stone wall and over the edge it’s very unlikely to happen accidentally and it helped enormously that it was all one way, unlike in Italy where you just want to hug the solid rock side of the road and not the tiny little inadequate wall with the sheer drop the other side.

The Station in Colwyn Bay was in a good spot for us. Lovely people and good food and it had sympathetically retained its railway station architecture. Even though the children are teenagers now it always feels like such a novelty to be sitting in a pub on our own. M inevitably messages them both to make sure everything is ok even when they have grandparents spoiling them in our absence. He readily admits he doesn’t ever want them to leave home whereas I just view it as an inevitable next stage of parenting. It’s been a shorter journey, by eight years, for M so I can understand where he’s coming from. Somewhere along my parenting journey I really lost a sense of who I had been, who I was now, and who I wanted to be. Not in a dramatic way, just in those few times I actually stopped to think in those full on years with small children. Mentally, these days, I seem to be preparing myself for regaining that sense of self, aiming for a healthy balance.

These coastal views and the sea air really were chicken soup for the soul. Just what I needed after two months of bedroom diy, the disappointment of not travelling south to my home territory and awful coughs and colds (these are ongoing!). It was short but sweet. On the way home today we stopped at a small town called Abergele, at a tiny little wool shop called Snowdonia Wool. I could have chatted all day to the wonderful owner who was very likeminded about British Wool and ‘wool miles’. I’ve added to my yarn stash considerably but I don’t feel at all guilty. It’s my main passion or hobby and we really don’t have much in the way of local places where you can ‘squidge’ good quality British yarn before you buy it. I’ll take some photos of my new supplies soon.

(There are a couple of short videos clips of the Llandudno coastal drive on my instagram feed.)

Woolgathering 

The lesser spotted/photographed Harvey is having a blog turn today. How he appears here is how he looks most of the time. Wet, muddy and with a serious expression mainly due to the fact that he has had to suffer the short ride in the car. He’s always quivered like a jelly when it comes to cars. He willingly jumps in, shuffles to the back of the boot and then shakes like a leaf for the entire journey.

The photo’s are from yesterday’s ‘hello sunshine’ walk. Today it is ‘hello grey skies’. There is a method to the madness of my coastal thoughts and work table however. There is a slight possibility of an assignment near the coast for M. I’m not getting my hopes up but if it happens it will mean I can go along and we can stay on for an extra day. Such is the nature of his work everything can change at the last minute so for now I can only dream of walking along a sandy beach (never mind that it’s the middle of winter!) I recently learnt, thanks to the Times crossword, that ‘woolgathering’ is another word for daydreaming. I can’t believe, after all these years of knitting and crochet that I haven’t already heard of that.

I decided to wind the denim yarn into cakes which fit nicely in my Yak project bag. I’ve had these three balls for a while and I still have no idea what to make with them. They seem ideal for these ‘market’ bags or net bags featured in the Scheepjes YARN magazine, so I might start one and see how it behaves. If there’s too much give it probably won’t work out. I’d like it to work without having to add the suggested fabric lining.

I’ve just attempted to produce one of those crocheted round pebbles (that also feature in the magazine but without guide lines) and they are fiddly as heck. The ultra thin and scratchy yarn I’ve used doesn’t have very good stitch definition so if I try again I will need to locate my fine linen thread. I think a bigger, flatter pebble would be better too.

J had half term and beyond off school and is finally due to go back tomorrow. He needed extra strong antibiotics in the end and I doubt he will back to normal fitness levels for a couple of weeks yet. It’s always difficult to know when to push for further advice or help when you or your child is ill. It is usually a two week wait for an appointment here and we all feel as though we need to be near death to get seen any sooner. Our walk in system has a big long list of what are acceptable ailments for a walk in, including only new problems. It’s a list that many wouldn’t understand let alone memorise. However, if you are clear about what you want then it is certainly easier to get it. I couldn’t make the call myself but I told M that I wanted J to be seen again because his temperatures were a major concern even after four days of antibiotics. They tagged him onto the end of that day’s appointments and said that we were right to be concerned.

We all now seem to be under the weather with coughs, temperatures and flu like symptoms but at least three of us are up and about and carrying on as best we can. In fact E is supervising 25 six year olds on a three day residential farm trip (rather her than me!) If I’d only known what luxury taking to my bed for a few days was before I had children! M will famously say something like, ‘you look dreadful, go and put your feet up’ and five minutes later he’ll say, ‘I can’t find the packet of glue nozzles I bought’ which will usually mean I have to get up and find them. Another five minutes of putting my feet up and he will ask me to come and hold a piece of wood. Worse though, if you want forty winks in the daytime due to ill health, despite the golden rule that says do not wake me up unless someone has died or the house is on fire… five minutes if you’re lucky!

Patience

This is where I’d quite like to spend today with a constant supply of tea or coffee, I’m not fussy. Crochet and a Netflix series would do just fine while it’s cold outside. The trouble is I have two eager faces and wagging tails reminding me that it’s also a good day for walking. There is indeed sunshine as well as a nippy wind. If I very slowly and very quietly open my sock drawer… nope, they’re onto me.

I snapped off this little twig of pussy willow from the chopped down trunks near to that mini log cabin at the weekend. If I’d had the right snipping tool I think I might have taken a whole bunch. It seemed such a waste, I hope they had a good reason for chopping down perfectly healthy trees. The pussy willow buds were pale and velvety at first and now they’ve gone to seed they are  fluffy and yellow. I’m grateful for all those nature walks my school took us on, it fostered a lifelong fascination for thing like pussy willow, catkins, conkers, beech nuts, pine cones, acorns. The ‘treasure’ we took back for the nature table truly felt like valuable finds.

I once met a mother when our daughters were both about seven and suggested a picnic outing. She arrived in high heels for a vertical climb to a stunning viewpoint with a huge meadow and insisted that she walked everywhere in them so they’d be fine. Clearly not the outdoor or picnic type she hadn’t so much as packed a ball or a kite for her sons so I sent my two and her three children off on a hunt for as many different tree leaves as they could find. It was such a surprise to me that not one of her children could name any of the trees whose leaves they had collected (along with dandelion leaves and other random weeds). When I’d identified the trees and they’d run off for their next challenge she asked me if I’d done a university degree in trees (as if) and I simply told her that it was a primary school subject for me.

On a different subject entirely. We had a bit of a drama yesterday. Let’s just say that it’s never a good idea to take more than 24 hours to remove your bedroom door, shave the bottom of it and refit it when you have dogs. Have you seen the advert…

It’s the one with the rather muddy dog who decides to jump up on a pure white duvet and have a little shake. Well, think Riley and think brand new duvet cover only not quite as sludgy as the dog in the advert thank goodness. Nothing the washing machine couldn’t put right. Pretty relieved I went for the charcoal grey cover and not the white one.

Exploring

Gosh, Sunday’s are coming round rather quickly these days. Is it really time to shut myself away from the rowdy football again? I don’t mind though, it’s been a good Sunday. The weather has been a steady and mild eleven degrees with only a slight breeze, just perfect for dog walking.

The mood at home this week, on my part anyway, has been a bit ‘cheesed off’ and irrationally blaming the entire county. It kind of sums it up if I tell you that I put into google ‘what the f*** is there to do in Lincolnshire?’ Google cheerfully replied with the top ten attractions but in well behaved language. It has taken a while but the penny has finally dropped with M and he now understands that I cannot cope with doing the same things week in and week out and part of my childhood is to blame because we went on big long hikes with our black cocker spaniel, somewhere different every weekend. His suggestions for places to take the dogs, bearing in mind he has lived here all his life and has had a dog for a lot of those years, have been uninspiring to say the least but today he totally made up for it with a new location and I was amazed that we didn’t even have to travel far.

This new to us place has been created along an old railway route, it is absolutely miles long in both directions from the free car park and you can even hire a bike for a fiver a day because the route is also a cycle path. It was ideal for M who struggles on uneven ground due to his back injury and pretty good for me with my recovering knee. The dogs soon went off course into ditches, fields and woodland so they were impressed too. Everyone seemed cheerful and friendly except for two grumpy Lycra clad cyclists who didn’t ring a bell (according to M who would have heard one) and yet expected us to know they were behind us. Presumably we were also required to immediately jump into the hedge for them too. Don’t you just hate grumpy people? The path isn’t marked into two lanes either, just in case you were thinking we had strayed!

Isn’t that mini log cabin awesome? I really wanted to have a closer look but it was down a steep six foot bank and I didn’t trust my dodgy knee to get me back up again! The dogs went and had a sniff round on my behalf.

I managed to get a brief video clip of just one of the muddy streams that the dogs jumped into and surprised myself by being able to get it onto my instagram feed (simplenaturalhandmade72). Woah, there’s no stopping me now!. Harvey is an expert at the bellyflop. I must try and get one his more dramatic launches from the lakeside into the lake, he gets a good run up for that one! He’s not a ‘look before you leap’ type guy.

Naturally we needed coffee at the end of our ‘hike’ and M needed his daily fix of crosswords. I always say that I prefer to read the newspapers but without fail I end up finishing off the clues he’s left, it’s the competitive side of me! This place is one of our local cafe nero’s. We always gravitate towards cafes with urban rustic decor. Love those stools!

So, I’m avoiding the football once more and I’ve been sitting at my bureau with this rubber stamp set. I recently bought two of these along with two ready to paint wooden boxes and made up two kits for making tags and labels. I sent one to a very good friend who also knits and crochets and makes things and I’ve kept one. I decided not to stamp as I go with mine but rather just stamp a batch of random designs from the selection ready to use at a moments notice. I made the actual tags with my Sissix Big Shot die cutter which I’ve had for years and has been a really useful thing to own. I used parcel string but of course ribbon or yarn would also be nice.

I’ve written pattern and yarn details on a couple of the larger tags and attached them to two projects I’ve been working on so that I don’t forget what hook size I’ve been using or where the pattern is. This has become a bit more important since my iPad doesn’t seem to want me to use bookmarks anymore and a lot of the patterns are online. I’ll be choosing a tag and replacing the string with leftover yarn for posting the Ermeline cardigan soon too. I feel incredibly organised on that score but my actual yarn stash and wips are all over the place while M still has a yarn storage solution to build for me. We are thinking wooden crates at the moment since he’s made several that we use around the house and for camping and it’s easy to make them look old and battered. All the lovely old metal or wooden pigeon hole pieces of furniture I’ve seen lately cost the absolute earth!

It’s telling that Harvey, although technically mine, has decided to hang out with the men whilst Riley very rarely leaves my side. Harvey is a man’s man whereas Riley seems to know that loyalty is due to the chief dog walker in the family and the one who warms their towels after a cold, wet walk!

Abstract

Along with crochet I can highly recommend weaving as a therapeutic activity. I view this first piece as something of a novice sampler because I’ve thrown everything at it in terms of techniques and methods, at least everything that I could find in my book and online. I’m sure there is plenty more to discover.

In the final half I added rya knots, tried the soumak technique (the charcoal grey seams that look like stocking stitch) and unworked loops. I wasn’t that taken with the unworked loops but perhaps there are other ways to do this. I knew my bottom tassels would reveal a bit of warp and I haven’t rectified this yet. I could just weave a couple of extra rows of the yarn I started with or I could pull each warp through the back of the tassel, but that would be tricky because there isn’t enough to tie it off or knot it. Next time I will attach those differently. For now though I shall just leave it and enjoy having the thing on the wall for a while.

The photo’s are the best I could do in the poor light we had available today. Storm Doris made coastal or woodland walks out of the question yesterday and in fact Sherwood Forest which was high on my list of options was closed to visitors on that extremely windy day. Even night lights and fairy lights haven’t improved the lighting.

I must have enjoyed the process of weaving because M asked if I was finished with weaving now that I’d made a piece for the wall. I told him certainly not! I already feel like rigging up the warps again (tighter this time) and maybe having a vague plan of what to do this time. It feels like just the beginning of something and it’s such a good way of using up all those random yarns I was attracted to for their unique and interesting textures but which are an absolute devil to crochet with. Not to mention the perfect excuse to rummage through the wool baskets in charity shops without worrying whether anything I like the colour or texture of is actually a useful amount to make anything with.

At the moment it is quite hard to imagine spring like weather let alone summer. Our slightly wild garden is a black soggy decaying mess for the most part. At the end of every summer I never quite manage to ‘winterise’ the garden and so we tend to look out on dead stuff all winter. Now that I’ve committed those words to print it might be something I will remember to do this year. Somehow it all bounces back, especially with a little bit of effort and a big bonfire. I’m looking forward to setting up my loom outside with the dogs by my feet. Harvey’s frequent offerings of sticks and branches may just end up getting woven into a piece!

Lemons

Alas the trip was not meant to be. J is on the mend but looking after the dogs and cooking would have been something he’d have needed a hand with. Turns out that wasn’t available. Even with M staying behind to hold the fort I can’t manage the 4-5 hours of driving with my neck and shoulder problem. The equivalent train journey is long with several changes and expensive, not to mention inconvenient whilst I’m down there. My last trip’home’ was a year ago and not with M, I think it’s been at least five years since we visited together so it’s not surprising that I was looking forward to it.

Although I was extremely disappointed last night I’m always practical in the cold light of day. M wanted to spend his three days off doing bedroom diy. There are smaller jobs to finish off now including sanding and painting the skirting boards, fitting a couple of new pieces of skirting board, rehanging the door, shelves to put up etc. He is tired and has a hectic schedule from next week onwards so not having a break at all didn’t really make a lot of sense to me. I finally got him to see the logic in having a few excursions from home instead. We only ever have an odd morning or an afternoon here and there which means we tend to stay local. So, with much moaning and fuss M agreed to drive out to Horncastle which is yet another small market town in Lincolnshire. It’s nothing special but has quite a few junk and antique places, a river running through the town, a few half decent places to have coffee, the best hardware shop ever and a great, meandering old book shop called Jabberwock Books. There are two or three sewing/haberdashery/yarn shops too but I wasn’t going to push my luck and have a look at those!

The church in the photo’s above is an easy antique place to miss if you don’t know it’s there. It’s packed to the rafters inside and M finally started enjoying himself when he came across an old, hand carved wooden bucket, I’m not sure whether it’s an old milk pail or for butter making but it has come home with us, along with a big old wooden scoop. I think we might end up using it for dog mixer, I’m all for using old stuff!

I’m a sucker for pottery so my purchases were both in this line. The bowls are hand thrown and marked Sandwich and the green stem vase is a by a potter with a mark (Hy) I keep coming across but have no idea who or where they are based. Total cost five pounds for the bowls and the vase. I think the latter might be classed as a second on account of its wonky top but that’s precisely what I like about hand thrown pottery, nothing needs to be too perfect.

So, it certainly wasn’t an antique/junk hunt in the ancient cinque port town of Rye, with a take out coffee overlooking a windswept Rye Harbour and maybe a bit of yarn gathering in ‘Penny Royal’ and it’s probably done nothing towards me liking this part of the country anymore than I did before but it was marginally better than moping at home.

Goodness only knows what I will dream up for tomorrow but it will probably be met with more man moaning and end up with the comment, ‘that was a really good idea of yours, what a lovely day we had’. My tactic is always to start with the threat of IKEA and quite honestly anything I suggest after that is usually met with approval because he has escaped the very place he hates most in the world. It goes something like this… ‘so, IKEA tomorrow then?’. He says, ‘Oh you’re so funny!’. I say, with a serious look on my face, ‘well actually we haven’t been for a while and I could do with some shelf brackets, a few plants, maybe a throw and some cushions for the bed.’ He then turns a deathly shade of white and says nothing. I then seal the deal to get him to go somewhere else without so much fuss by saying, ‘oh and we could do with a few new kitchen utensils and another one of those glass storage jars’. It’s so specific it’s convincing. Then I suggest freezing our backsides off with a cold and blustery walk at a coastal nature reserve with no shops for miles, which is much more my kind of thing, but probably not his, and he’ll say, yeah, great idea.

Homeward

It’s tough being a grown up sometimes when you just want to jump, skip and generally bounce off the walls. There’s just a tiddly chance of travelling in a southerly direction, with a tiddly chance of me singing Take Me Home Country Roads, much to M’s dismay. It’s not exactly West Virginia but it’s home and it’s where I feel I belong. We wouldn’t travel down by train despite the train timetable. M brought that home recently after a Croydon job and noticed that the line linked up to Bexhill and Hastings. There seems to be a lot of court work there lately so I could tag along and then hop on a train at some stage in the future. It’s always difficult trying to shoe horn a few days away. Currently the issue is whether J is over the worst of his man flu or not. After this small work free slot for M things get ridiculously busy so it would be me travelling solo after that or not at all. Just the thought of seeing proper hills is exciting enough, then there’s the sea, hearing familiar accents. Fingers well and truly crossed.

I am packed and ready to go, just in case. As always the crucial part of packing is choosing the right crochet project. I don’t feel as though my concentration levels will be very high and it may well be cold by the coast so I’m going to take the tweed yarn and make a tailored pair of fingerless gloves for myself, or for M if he expresses an interest in owning a pair. E and I had a great time on our visit last February and the project bag on top of my suitcases was from Yak in Brighton. It has been in constant use since then, it is surprising how much it can hold.

Riley has been eyeing the suitcases with suspicion. If there’s one thing he hates in life (because of his early years elsewhere) it is being left, or someone leaving the house. It’s noticeable how much happier he is when we are all home. He stops pacing and growling at every slight noise outside.

I’ve started reading Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I like these old pocket editions and I’ve got quite a few. I’ve read the Jane Eyre copy several times but Villette is new to me. I loved the programme that was on earlier in the year ‘To Walk Invisible’. I find I have to be in the mood for this kind of reading, just the same as I wait until I’m in the mood for other types of novel. One I never tire of is Larkrise to Candleford. I loved the television series but the book is so much richer in detail. I will always prefer the depiction of simple living in a book like this than I ever would something like Downton Abbey. I’ve enjoyed Downton Abbey, but I prefer the tales of hardship.

Simple rustic crochet, good literature, the sea, hills, leisurely coffee and visiting family. My idea of a restorative break!

Random

A random selection of photographs today. One uber cool t shirt for my little niece. Bunny was one of the buzz words over Christmas and although she’s probably moved on linguistically since then who can resist a bunny with a red nose and heart shades? Not me. In aid of Red Nose Day too so it’s a win win.

Secondly, the state of my favourite Birkenstocks. Aarggghh! I knew it was a mistake to gift the dogs an old slipper each, now they think that all footwear is up for grabs. I’ve had these for years and I think they would have lasted quite a bit longer had they not been helped along by the adorable, but mischievous Riley. E said just recently, ‘I’ve never known a dog with so much personality’. Just a little bit too much personality for my liking! M, ever helpful, told Riley he’d be docking ¬£50 from his pocket money. So helpful.

Love my little camping pan even more now that I realise it’s a left or right handed pourer. Pretty darn handy since M is left handed and I am right handed. If it wasn’t gale force wind here today we could have brewed hot coffee using our Kelly kettle in a little tucked away woodland walk spot we found last year. We drove around for quite a while (I made M drive around for quite a while) before we found a quiet spot with a space for the car, a woodland walk for the dogs and even a big old fallen tree trunk to sit on. All for the sake of trying out the new gadget. Coffee definitely tastes better when you’re sitting on a rotten log in the middle of a forest in my opinion!

Finally, an update on my weaving progress. I’m still making it up as I go along and it’s supposed to be abstract despite each family member in turn asking if it’s a mountain, or a temple or a pyramid. No, I say patiently, it’s abstract. I’m annoyed that the sides are gathering inwards. It’s not because I’m weaving too tightly, it’s because I didn’t set the warps taut enough. Lesson learnt for next time. There are two joining methods on this piece, the ‘mountain’ uses the interlocking method I believe, where the two colours are wrapped on the same warp thread. Forgive my lack of technical jargon. The other random shape uses a front and back warp where the colours meet, I have no idea what that’s called. I must look these things up! I actually prefer the fuzzy look of the interlocking method even though my counting was a bit off. I need to be brave next and dig out some roving or add some more tassels or something. I’m better at symmetry so this is a little outside my comfort zone!