Sunday, 7 July 2013

Friends are a true blessing

Richard and I have just had the most amazing week with our friends staying with us.  To say we were concerned before they came is an understatement because it hadn't stopped raining and we had been flooded, twice, just missing coming in the front door by inches.  We picked them up from the airport and the weather changed and so the holiday began, as did the sunshine.

The best part of having Brian and Di to stay is the fact that they just want to see the way we live here, do all the usual chores and visit our friends, so when we speak to them on the phone and talk about our friends, they can put faces to names.  We had lots of meals with fun and laughter with friends and family and a trip to a very pretty town in Spain - Ainsa.  To be honest Richard and I were very sorry to see them go.

I will show you some photos of what we were up to, mostly gardening.  Once Di had got a bee in her bonnet, there was no stopping her.  Talk about a little "light weeding".

A few more weeds were in a HUGE trailer ready for the tip!

Work in progress

We now have a hedgerow we can see, and those small trees are wild plums!! Yummy

Di found this chap and was brave enough to lift it and put it in the bucket.  Me?? I screamed and ran when it started walking up the bucket so I could take a photo!!
I wonder how many miles Di walked with this wheelbarrow

What is it with men and bonfires??  They just love them

A beautiful day out in Spain with a fabulous meal.  Just perfect, good friends, food and weather.  It also got Di out of the garden for the day!!

While Brian was here I was taking the opportunity of taking advice on my new camera.  I told him the effect I wanted and after a few takes, I think I got it.  Not a fancy camera, just basic.  I would really like to take some good macro shots and I think my camera will do that, sort of, because I don't have a macro lens, just the facility on the camera.  I will let you know later on....  Watch this space.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

I think it's time I came back

I don't know why I stopped posting but time has just vanished, so no excuses, though I think maybe I should try again.  This is just me dipping my toe in the water to see if anyone is out there.  Later on I will sort out some photos and get back to normal again.

The weather here has been dreadful and we were even up at 5.30am on Friday making and filling sand bags to stop the water coming into the house.  Luckily the water stayed about 1 foot away from the front door.  Very scary.  The last couple of days has been lovely and warm but we are due to have the rain back again.  Our pond is still overflowing and we can't get anywhere near it because of the boggy ground so if we have more rain, goodness knows what will happen.  We have never had this amount of rain in this part of France, it's the wettest May on record.  We have just planted some tomatoes and courgettes and we hope we don't see them floating down the road!!!

This year I was very lucky to go on a quilting retreat in Kentucky and it was absolutely amazing.  I will try and sort out some photos to give you some idea of what it was like.

I will close this post now and hopefully I will be able to continue these posts but make them more interesting.

I hope someone is out there ............

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

We don't live the high life do we??

The heading is a little misleading because I did live the high life for just about an hour.  It was amazing, especially for a person who doesn't "do" planes.

Just as we were taking off

That's me in that shadow on the most beautiful day
How proud I was that I did it

In that little dinky toy down there is Richard and David chasing us
ready to pick us up.  It's just a shame they lost us !!!!
I have to say it was an incredible experience and I thank David and Eleanor very much, especially Eleanor as she is a fairly new pilot and she put me so much at ease I could only enjoy the flight.

The next photo is back to our cats again, well Sophie actually.  Why is it, when you put protective blankets on your bed so you don't get hair everywhere, they always want YOUR blanket.

Perhaps if I keep very still, mummy won't notice
We went to see our nephew and family last week and it's always a lot of fun there and you never know what you are going to see or who you are going to have a meal with.  You are always surrounded by dogs, cats and chickens, and these two, bless them, had decided to lay their eggs on the dresser in the outside eating area in a basket of walnuts!!  They didn't care at all that we were eating our meal beside them, (thank goodness it wasn't chicken) they just know they have to be there for days hatching their babies.  How cute are they and so very, very pretty.

Contented, happy bantams

Here are some they prepared earlier

Having fun knitting these hats

I wish I could wear hats, but not having much hair, I just
looked like a boiled egg with a cosy on!!!
I'm sure you must have seen enough by now so I will save the others for another day.  The weather is getting warmer now and hopefully we are going to be able to start our kitchen in a couple of weeks time.  We have to dig out the floor that is there and put down a base (it now has tiles laid on mud) and re-tile.  A horrid, very dirty job but we can't wait to get it done.  We have lost quite a lot of furniture and food due to damp and mildew so bring it on!!!

I will sign off now, take care all my family and friends and remember, spring is just around the corner, so close we can almost smell it.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Just a few random snapshots

Not one particular subject to talk about today but a few photos to share.  The first couple are of our beautiful cats who are so pleased to have us back even though their "Uncle David" spoils them while we are away.  I will always worry in case they get a bit uppity on our return and pack their little spotted hankies on a stick and walk up the road to their other parent!!

They have become good friends

No mummy, this is our bed
The next picture is rather sad.  I found this beautiful lapwing struggling in the field behind our pond and went to rescue it, as Sooty was there as well.  There wasn't a mark on it so don't know what the problem was apart from the fact that it couldn't seem to fly.  I don't think it was Sooty as the bird is almost as big as he is and I would have thought there would be some damage. There are telephone wires overhead so whether or not it went into those I'm not sure.  I warmed it up, kept it in a box to let it get it's wind back, but unfortunately it died.  I was amazed at the colour of it though, his back was an incredible dark petrol green and it was a very special moment to be able to hold it for just a while.

How beautiful
The next photo should bring back a few memories to some people.  Richard and I are really enjoying it, to drink the coffee from it or just look at it.  It was sitting in mum and dad's kitchen for - I don't know how many years, and I finally asked if I could bring it back home with me.  Isn't it the most glorious coffee pot?  Very retro and very authentic.

Is it from the 70's or the 80's?
This last photo was taken on Richard's birthday in January while we were in the UK when we all went out for lunch, all our family and 2 very special friends.  I just love the fact that my mum and Jaime are sharing a special joke and look so cheeky.

3 generations apart and can still share a joke - priceless
 Well that's about it for now.  Hello to all my friends who read this but don't leave a comment so it was such a lovely surprise to me to know they look in.  Hopefully some craft items will be put on next time.  Also, a "hello" to my beautiful sister and her family.  Love you guys.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

How lucky am I ???

I may be in my PJ's, but who on earth cares?  Not me.   How many people can say they were dancing with their 93 year old father to let in the New Year?  I love you dad.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

I must plan to achieve

Now is the time to start planning as to what I am going to make for gifts for next year.  Clare had given me inspiration with her cross stitching and I loved doing it, so it makes sense to plan what to do next.  The idea of just having one colour thread works really well for me so this is where I start.  I also want to create something for over my fireplace and I have the idea of three framed cross-stitch words, but it is surprising how difficult it is to think of 3 words that mean a lot to Richard and me without being too obvious.  Below are a couple I did as gifts this Christmas.

One version finished

Another version unfinished
What I need to do next time is make sure I stitch them the right size so I can get a frame to fit.  I couldn't get one for either of these and it makes the gifts rather expensive to have them made!!!!  Clare is the planner and I usually "borrow" her patterns, but this time I think I need to do it myself.

I am also going to do a quilting project with my friend in America and I am rather nervous about that because I'm not very proficient, but I am looking forward to the challenge.

We are going back to my parents for a couple of weeks now so I won't be able to access our computer again for a while.  I do have my patterns and graph paper though so I won't be idle.

Take care all of you, talk again soon.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Every picture tells a story

Looks like my dad telling one of his many funny stories
As the heading says, I am posting just one "Christmas" picture because this sums up our Christmas.  It is always a worry as to how things will turn out, but the decision to take my mum and dad to Clare and Kenny's for 6 days was certainly the right one.  You wouldn't believe, looking at this photo, that they are 93 and 91 would you?  The day we went for a walk was Boxing Day and although not raining, it was very, very windy, but my dad absolutely loved it.  They don't get out much any more and are rather worried about walking when on their own because if one goes down, they both go down, so to have the security of their granddaughter's arms was good.  When they go out now, it's my sister who usually takes them in the car either to the sea or to the New Forest, so I'm not saying they don't go out at all, far from it, just the walking part and that was something they loved to do.

We had a really wonderful time when we were in Cornwall with lots of good food and entertainment and we even went to see the Christmas lights at Mousehole on Boxing Day evening.  Beautiful and very festive.  Again, my dad loved it and my mum stayed in that time.

We are now with Vicki and family and thoroughly enjoying catching up with the children.  We went for a New Year's day walk yesterday and it poured with rain and we got drenched, but still managed to have a picnic and stop at a pub on the way back.  There were about 18 of us so a lot of fun and as you can imagine, the children were very excited, all on their bikes and absolutely filthy by the end of it.  So good to see children out in the open air in all weathers, rather than inside watching a TV.  A nice warm bath for them when we got back and the end of a lovely day.

We will be going back to my mum and dad's soon and try and catch up with other family and friends.  We are here in the UK until the end of January so we have a little time yet.

I wish all of you a very Happy and healthy New Year and I look forward to chatting to you all again soon.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Piccalilli, Packing and Presents

Well, as the title says I have been busy making, washing and ironing and wrapping.  We are getting ready to go back to the UK so I have to finish off everything here.  The first thing we did was make some piccalilli and it is amazing how the colour changes during the process.  Oh my goodness though, how it made my eyes smart while stirring the sauce.   I assume it was the mustard and turmeric that did that.  Fun though and now the shelves in my larder are beginning to groan under the weight of chutneys and jams etc.

Just with the vinegar

A little further on

Stingy eyes sauce nearly ready

Voila - 8 jars of piccalilli
I have to say I was surprised with the colour, because when you buy it in the shops it is very yellow and this is quite a lot darker.  I suppose it's no colouring, preservatives etc.  The only problem is, you have to leave it for 3 months before you try - well that's what they say.

I have now finished wrapping all the Christmas presents that I have here though I have a lot in the UK waiting to be wrapped, but at least I'm ahead of the game for once.  Also, my head is buzzing with ideas of what to make for next year.  I certainly need to start sooner so come February, I will start choosing what needs to be done.  You heard it here ....... will it happen?  Who knows.  Good intentions though.

Slowly becoming friends
As you can see our little kitten Sooty has settled in really well.  He is adorable and the two of them have a lot of fun together but also, the fur flies sometimes because he is such a tinker and keeps jumping on Sophie and play fighting.  He has also got the hang of using the cat flap so we have no worries when we are back in the UK, they both now have a bolt hole and their own little french farmhouse.

Now I need to get my head around what I need to pack for over the Christmas holidays.  We are staying for most of January as it is Vicki's 40th birthday so we need to take quite a bit of warm clothing with us.  I hate and detest the packing part of going back to the UK, I seem to be doing it all the time.

Take care everyone, much love to my family who are reading this and see you soon.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Handmade Christmas??

It has been such a long time since I have posted and now I have to try and remember what I have been doing.  Well ............. the main and most important thing is me FLYING to the UK to stay with Vicki and the children for a couple of weeks.  Not so important ???  It is to me because I am absolutely petrified of getting on a plane, but Vicki made a throw-away comment about how she would like me to be there with her while Bill was away and I thought, could I?  I was very lucky in that a friend of mind was returning to the UK so I flew back with her but I came back on my own!!  I am very proud of myself and would I do it again??  Watch this space.

Needless to say I had a wonderful time while I was there and one Saturday when Vicki was working at a Christmas Fair I had the girls to myself so decided that was the day to make the Christmas puddings.  We had great fun and did a lot of stirring and flicking of ingredients all over the place and the kitchen was smelling wonderful.  Of course the best part of making Christmas puddings is stirring and making a wish at the same time.  We did this a few times and then we called Grampie, who was still in France, and William stirred while Grampie made a wish, the girls each had Clare and Kenny, they stirred while they made a wish.  It was left then overnight to soak up all the ale and brandy and then daddy came home and stirred and wished as well, so you never know, next year could be a good year!!  I did some cross-stitch while I was there, I also wrote all my Christmas cards and did most of my present shopping as well, so all in all, a very good visit.

Home now and back to the making of presents.  I am trying to make as many as possible this year and to be honest I am enjoying it.  I made a good start while we were staying with Clare and Kenny in September and since then I have made some more.  Obviously I can't show you all of the things I have made otherwise it won't be a surprise for the recipients!!

2 cheeky little sock monkeys.  One by me, one by Clare

2 little rag dollies, both by me
It's funny isn't, I did one of these dollies while I was staying with Clare and Kenny, it is Clare's pattern and she has the templates but how to make it up was in her head.  While with her, I managed it, but doing one on my own back here was a nightmare, I just had a mental block.  But ........ many phone calls to a very patient daughter later, I finally finished the one on the left today.  Whew!!  I didn't think one of the recipients was going to get one.  Needless to say, I have now written down my version of the instructions and hopefully I will be able to make another one some time, should the need arise.  Don't hold your breath Clare.

The weather here is glorious, very sunny and quite warm, but the mornings and evenings are cold.  Just perfect for autumn.  Both the cats are running about outside and the little one especially is finding his way about.

Is it a dove? Is it a Snowy Owl? No - it's a kitten, pretending to hide on a misty morning!!
 Does he really think they are going to come to the feeders with him sitting there in all his glory?  Bless him, perhaps that's what he wished for when I was mixing the puddings!!

I'm off now to make some biscuits, we are off to church in the morning for the first Sunday in Advent and we are all taking a bring and share lunch.

Take care everyone, will talk again soon.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Meet Little Kitten

I thought I would post and introduce you to our new addition.  Once again, this kitten was found in a friend's garden and although she was desperate to keep him/her/it, she has lost 4 already on the busy road she lives on before they reached a year old and she wasn't prepared to go through the pain again.

It was brilliant because we have just had very good friends staying here for a week and they are cat lovers so we were able to go and pick up "little kitten" while they were with us.  As you can imagine, time is just wasted while watching the antics of the kitten and meeting our Sophie.  Here are some photos for you which Brian very kindly took for us.

Little kitten about 8 or 9 weeks old

Very naughty - found some bread on the table.  Not allowed up there!!

Mmmmm...  licking lips, very nice

Peek-a-boo - who are you

Shall we play?  Please don't hurt me
Haven't settled on a name yet, our friend had called her Lily, as in Lilliput, but we think she is a he.  Could we still call her Lily if she is a boy?  Such a cute name though.  Others we have been given is Sooty!!, Snowy, Sacha and Putty as in Lilliputty....Clever though I'm SURE our vet here in France wouldn't get that at all.

We have had the most amazing week with our friends and nearly every tree and shrub in the garden has been pruned, chopped, tidied and made beautiful.  Herb bed has been weeded by Di and they have loved it.  You can't go wrong with friends like that can you?  Just being yourselves and not having to try to be anyone else.  I will certainly miss them and can't wait for them to visit again.

A bit of shopping at the local weekly market
Well, once again, that's it for now.  Love to everyone reading this, especially my family.  Will post again soon.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Chilling out

I thought I would just post a few photos so you can see what a lovely time we are having here with Clare and Kenny.  The weather hasn't been great so far but it hasn't stopped us from doing anything and I have got a couple of projects completed, which is amazing for me!! 

It's strange isn't it how different your children can be and the different times you have when staying with them. Richard and I are very lucky in that way because we get to stay with them when we are back in the UK and have good quality time with them.  With Vicki and family, apart from the lovely catching up time we have, we have of course got the children and they keep us on our toes and we absolutely love being with them; the cuddles in the morning and the stories at night time are not to be missed.  We also go to church with them, as a family, and that's quite special as well.  We feel very privilaged also to feel part of their group of friends, and they have lots of them and that always helps keep you feeling young.  I even get to go on "girlie" evenings or lunches which is great fun.  Then with Clare and Kenny, we have lots of walks, doing craft and mooching around "crafty" shops which I absolutely love, poor Kenny always sorts out our computer problems without EVER complaining and just being able to sit on the rocks or beach and watch nature at work.  Brilliant.

Clare and Kenny's raspberries being made into jam

Catching up with breath-taking scenery

The power of mother nature

Well deserved treat after our walk

Clare trying out my sewing machine
A very old but wonderful Bernina

2 projects completed so far
Well, that's about it for now, should any of my family be reading this, especially the "Smith" family, I hope all is going well.  Jess, I'm sure you are enjoying yourself at your new college, can't wait to hear all about it.  Briony, good luck at Uni, I hope you settle in soon, knowing you, it won't take long.  Clare and Kenny are looking forward to seeing you at their house.  Charlie, I guess this is going to be a tough year for you at school so good luck.  Hi to everyone else.

I am now going back to my knitting while Clare is working, perhaps I will be able to finish something else while I'm here!!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cornwall and Craft - Family and Fun

Well, here we are in Cornwall staying with Clare and Kenny and the rain hasn't really stopped since we arrived.  Do I care??  No because Clare and I are having such fun crafting.  The first project is a little rag dolly which Clare has made before but I have to take my hat off to her because all she got were a few bits of paper cut outs as you will see from the photo, but with no instructions whatsoever, so here I go .............

I suppose it's a start !!!!!

Off we go

2 arms and 2 legs for each of us

Always full of fun

Looking a bit deflated, dolly not me!!!!!

Enough for one day, more tomorrow
I am having the most amazing time and if I can pass on any tips to Clare that I have picked up at various workshops then that makes it even better.  It is so good working together, more so because I don't see her very often, but the best bit is seeing just how talented she is and to be honest, Clare is teaching me more than I am teaching her!!

This morning we made a batch of raspberry jam and I made a taggy for my best friend's grandchild who is due in about 3 weeks.  I wonder why it is you get the motivation to do more stuff when you have someone to do it with.  I know I do "stuff" when I am with my mum and she certainly does more when my sister and I are about.

While I am crafting Richard is on about his 5th book!!  How often do we take the time to "just read" and of course, to snooze every now and then.

Also I have just finished the 4 books of the Twilight series and Clare has the first 3 films so of course I now know what the characters look like.  Perhaps not quite as I imagined but oh my goodness, I can't wait for the next film to come out.  Who would have thought I would have enjoyed the books so much because, let's face it, they are targetted to the teenage females but I really enjoyed them.  The escapism I suppose.

Time to go now and start thinking about colours, buttons, ribbons, threads and what to do next.  So many projects, so little time.  Oh by the way, I have knitting projects on the go at the same time.  I find it easier to knit in the evening, not so hard on the eyes.  Oh!! the joy of getting older........  Here's to tomorrow, bring it on....