Sunday, 27 April 2008

Quality Time

Well here I am back at Clare's after spending 4 days with my mum and dad. It was really good to catch up with them and while I was there we spent a day with my sister for her birthday. We had a lovely meal with her and all her children and grandchildren came round to give her gifts and good wishes, so it turned out to be a lovely family party. While at mums, we did a bit of knitting because my grandchildren are needing some dolls clothes, so after we had sorted out some patterns from my sister, we came home and started. The knitting needles started clicking and the little clothes started growing and it was a contented time sitting with my mum sharing our hobbies. While we were knitting, dad was busy in his work room making a box for Clare's knitting needles. He is so happy when he is doing "stuff" and when he has any of his family there, quite different to when they are on their own, but then, I suppose we are all a bit like that. One of the things that was fun was the mornings, dad would get up and make us a cup of tea and I would hop into bed with mum and we would chat and read, just like the old days.

Today, being back at Clare's she gave me a real treat and we went in search of bluebells in a village close to where I used to live. We found them and they were fantastic, this carpet of blue especially with the contrast of the new green of beech leaves. To me, there is nothing in the world like english beech woods with bluebells and cowslips. Once we had been there, we went for a bit of shopping and some lunch. All this was done in quite a short space of time but oh! so worth it. Thank you Clare, I loved every moment. Tomorrow I am spending time with my oldest friend, we have known each other for 52 years, oh my goodness, that is frightening when I see it in black and white. We used to live next door to each other so really she is more like a sister, so I am looking forward to that; then it is back to my other daughter's and the grandchildren. Sometimes, when I am over in the UK, I wonder where I am and whose bed I am sleeping in but it is all fun. Now it is looking forward to spending time with my beautiful grandchildren again. I hope Bubbs likes the little vest I knitted for his teddy. Well actually, it is Vicki's old teddy and he is very threadbare, hence the vest.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

R and R in abundance

I haven't posted for a while again because I just feel whatever I write is going to be so boring, so I am even more grateful for the award I was given from Deborah of From Here to Eternity. Thank you very much, I feel honoured.

The days are passing very quickly even though they are not jam packed with building, gardening housework etc, except via the telephone with Richard. Bless him, he is doing so well and it sounds as though the room is coming along nicely. The windows are in and the electrics are now going in, so there is going to be such a change when I get back. He will be coming back here to the UK in the first week of May and then I will be going back with him, with our daughter and her husband and I can't wait to show Clare what we have been doing. She has only seen the house once and that was quite a while ago and she was only there for a night, so we are going to have lots of fun during their visit. I can't wait :-) It will be good to hear the sound of the toads and frogs again, and the cuckoo which we don't seem to hear in this part of the UK. I think I have probably missed the tamarisk in bloom but hopefully there will be lots of other shrubs and trees out. We have a couple of acacias, which, when they are in blossom, the perfume fills the garden.

I have nearly finished the book Divas Don't Knit by Gil McNeil, and it really is a very good read. Very light and I can relate to so much of it, as I'm sure a lot of mums will. I know it has taken me a long time, but I am a slow reader and to be honest, I feel too guilty to sit and read for the whole day. Why, I have no idea but there you go, it's in-built.

It's my sister's birthday tomorrow so I am hoping to go and see her and take her present. As you know I have this brilliant book called 25 bags to knit, well, I have found this lovely book by a different author, called 25 cushions to knit and it has some very attractive cushions in there. Would you believe they are using Rowan wool again, but I will tell my sister that perhaps she should use an alternative. Good advice from aims, I should have listened the first time!! By the way, I did hear back from Rowan and they say their rule is 2-3 knots per ball of wool, and although that doesn't help me with my beading project, I'm pleased they replied. No parcel of wool arriving though!!!!
Well I think it is time I made my children a cup of tea and get my book out. Actually it is Clare's book and she is itching to read it now, so I better get a move on. Talk to you all again soon.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Time on my Hands

I feel very guilty having this time on my hands. It's strange isn't it, it's what we all would like and then when you get it you feel guilty and don't know what to do with it. I have had a wonderful time sitting up in Clare's office while she is working and I have been reading a book. It's called Divas don't Knit and so far, it's a very good read. A few naughty words, but then it's quite difficult to find books without those nowadays.

Also I have been knitting but not getting on as well as I should have done. The trouble is, I bought some very expensive wool that the pattern for my bag asked for, Rowan, and I started the bag with beads. I did the back which was plain and then I started the front. I have never knitted with beads before so after looking at the instructions I threaded the beads onto my yarn and started knitting. How disappointed I was to get 12 rows in and finding a huge knot in the yarn. I am using Rowan Big Wool so there is NO WAY I can push the beads over the knot. What do you do then?? You are completely stuck. I sent an email to Rowan but have received no reply and I went back to the lovely wool shop today and asked if she would give the feedback to Rowan for me. She was brilliant and very helpful, which is more than can be said for Rowan because she said they wouldn't bother replying, they don't even reply to her. How bad is that? The answer they give is, in the UK, it is acceptable in the industry to have 5 knots in a 100g ball of wool. Personally, I think that stinks. I am so discouraged by this because the bag is lovely and it was going to look very good with the beads.

Meanwhile I fiddled about making a little flower. This will be needed for my new bag as you can see in the photo. Clare wanted to try various small projects that can be finished quickly so I tried it out first. It's very quick and can be used as a brooch. While I was knitting Bilbo came up and of course was giving me a helping hand. Cats always like to be in on everything don't they, the thing here is, not to have the wool draping over your leg. Ouch!! After I had made that I sorted out the other wool for another bag, this one is really pretty and let's hope the wool hasn't got too many joins in it. I hope that when I am ready to post again, there may be something nearly finished to show you.
I have spoken to Richard today and he is getting on very well with the house though he wishes I was there to make some of the decisions about where to put electrics and things like that. We did discuss it when I was there, but you know what it's like, and he hates working without me there. I did offer to go back now, but he says no, so Richard, when you read this, I know you will make all the right decisions and I love you for staying there and getting the room ready for our family.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Filling the Internal Treasure Chest

As I sit here at Clare's with the very rare luxury of "time on my hands" it gives me time to just think of where I am and what I'm doing here while my lovely husband Richard is slaving away in France trying to get our room somewhere near finished. Basically I came back because I miss my family, my two daughters, my grandchildren and my wonderful parents. I feel so lucky that I still have my parents and that I can have so much fun with them. My father is 90 in August and my mum will be 88 in October, and in June they celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary!! How cool is that? I have to say, hand on heart, that they are as happy now as they were when they were married, so much love they share with themselves and with us, so a great example to all our family. Also while I'm here I want to catch up with my sister and my friends.

As you know the first few days were spent with Vicki and the grandchildren. Wow, what a whirlwind few days that was. They are adorable and Bubbs the grandson is talking so well now and some of the things he comes out with are classic. I will share a couple of them with you. Firstly he wanted to sleep in the room I was sleeping in, so when he asked me it was "Excuse me nannie, please could I sleep with you?" I looked at his mummy whose eyebrows were raised and I said, yes if mummy says it's OK. he replies "Mummy said it's OK but please nannie will you not snore this time, it wakes me up" Ho hum, out of the mouths of babes. The other one was, in the mornings, he comes into my room and we read stories or play pass the parcel, but on the first morning, he handed me my glasses and said "Could you put your glasses on so you look like my normal nannie" The twin girls are just as adorable, just 19 months so not so vocal, but like the word "No". Why are boys and girls so different at that age, boys are so much more placid, little girls give this high pitch scream which boys don't seem to do and they are much more independant. I love it when their little arms are lifted up to be carried or cuddled and I did a lot of that while I was there. The three of them love having stories read to them and they have lots of books, so I found myself many times with the three of them on or around my lap listening to a story or making the sounds of the animals we were picking out of the book. Oh what very special times they are.

Also while I was there it was time to take my cat to the vet for his annual injections. Gizmo is very good with this, so no trouble and when we got home we gave him a bit of a cuddle and fuss and then when Vicki and I came back into the room this is what we found. One of the girls thought it was great fun, getting into the cat's travelling cage. I thought it was bad enough getting Gizmo in and out of there, but when I tried to pull a little girl out of there who was quite content to stay in and play, Gizmo was a doddle. Not quite the healthiest environment to play in, but hey, you have to be exposed to germs of all kinds to survive. That's my story anyway. I felt really bad leaving my cat behind when we went to France and the reason we did, was because we inherited an old cat with the house we bought, and I didn't want to upset both of them with us coming and going, and Vicki said she was quite prepared for Gizmo to stay with them. Coming back this time was lovely because he looks a lot more settled now and gets on with the children so much better. He adores them and lies down each morning for them to give him a cuddle and give him treats. He will be 12 in May, so perhaps he will be living out the rest of his years in the UK.
I am going to spend the day with my parents on Wednesday, we are going out for lunch and again a day I will treasure. I am thinking that the days I spend over here in the UK, I am filling up my internal treasure chest (hence the title of my post) so that when I'm back in France, I can pull out the memories one at a time when I need them and savour the moment. Don't get me wrong, I love being in France and doing what we are doing there, but I wouldn't be normal if I didn't miss my family and friends, and we are all very close, thanks to my parents who bind us all together with the invisible bonds of love.
Talking of time on my hands, I think I may go and do a spot of knitting, I have just noticed the cats are out of the room, so I will go for it while I have a chance :-)

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Shopping and Knitting

I had a lovely day today being out with Clare and doing some shopping, just doing "girlie" things together. We went to a lovely market town and found the most amazing wool shop and managed to buy some wool, two lots, for two of the bags in my book. Clare also managed to get some wool so she is having a go at her first project, a cushion cover and she is getting on very well. I could have stayed in that wool shop for hours, it had the most fantastic yarns in there and the owner was brilliant, very helpful and a knitter herself which always helps, so gave good advice. We also managed to have lunch out, which again was fantastic, we sat in this little old fashioned restaurant, in a window seat and people watched while eating a lovely meal.
After we got home, Clare was eager to start her project and anyone with cats will realise what happened next. Oh what fun!! for the cats that is. This is Bilbo and he turned out to be a very good knitter :-) As I am typing this, Clare is knitting away and all I can say is, it's brilliant, very even and she still has the right amount of stitches. Her cushion cover will be finished in no time, but the funny thing is, she wants to make herself a pair of socks, now for someone who has never increased or decreased and only knitted stocking stitch so far, she aims high. "That's my girl" I have no doubt that the socks will soon be on her feet.
Tomorrow we are going to see my mum and dad and Clare will take her knitting with her to show her Nan how well she is doing, because it was my mum who taught her a few weeks ago. Mum will be so pleased, she said to me it was so good to be able to teach Clare something, she just loved it.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Very Tired and Very Happy

Here I am once again. I am in the UK staying with my eldest daughter and my grandchildren and I am absolutely worn out. The girls were up most of the night on my first night here and the trouble is, I am so tired now, I can't get to sleep!! Ho hum.... Having said that, I love being here with them and I didn't realise how much I missed them until I had them all in my arms. I haven't got any photos because, would you believe it, my camera needs new batteries which I will have to go and buy tomorrow.

I am here until the weekend then I will be going to stay with my other daughter and I can't wait for that either. I am so lucky that I have two such beautiful and loving children and they don't seem to mind me staying with them. Whether that's what they tell their husbands at bedtime, who knows? :-) Anyway, I am on a mission when I go to Clare's because I need to buy some wool so we can have a go at knitting various things. Clare has just started knitting and she would like to try to create something so it is going to be a fun time trying our crafts together, something I haven't done with her since she was at school and we used to do lacemaking together. She made some beautiful bobbin lace.

While I am at Clare's I will be visiting my mum and dad. They know I am back and they are very excited as you can imagine. It is going to be a busy time while I am here and I am going to love every moment. If I can prop my eyes open I will post again soon.

Hello to all my blogging friends, I now have some catching up to do reading everyone elses posts.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Redstart Village

Wow! What a day we have had today, you will have to humour me because there will be rather a lot of photos. We have been very fortunate that our new neighbour came round to give us a hand because he can't do anything at his place because the ground is too wet. How lucky are we? It's difficult to explain where the wall and window was going but I will post this photo and see if it shows you how big a project we have. You see we have a massive open space in the front which is the next project and the one at the back of this photo is where they have been working today. This is the place that takes all the weather so the sooner we get this wall and window in the better and would you believe, the wall is in and the window will go in tomorrow. What a difference having an expert on the job makes, he made it look so easy and Richard was as pleased as punch knocking up the cement and keeping him supplied. As you can see it's all finished and setting ready for tomorrow and then once the window is in, we will "crepe" the outside to match the rest of it, that will be with mud and stones. I just can't believe that this has been done in a day, we were really worrying about it and then this wonderful man comes along and helps us. We feed him and let him use the shower and then when the weather is good, Richard is going to help him get his footings in for his house. Richard will once again keep him supplied with cement etc. I love this bartering, especially for time, such a help.

Now the reason for the heading of this post........ While the men were building this wall, they called me to come and have a look. First of all our swallows were starting to build in one of the old nests which would end up right in the middle of the bedroom and would be sealed in by the ceiling, so we managed to take that one down before they got started. That was bad enough, but then they said, come and have a look at these. There they are, a little street of Redstart nests, 3 of them, I don't know if you can see them in the photo, but there are 2 this side and one the other. What on earth do we do? Richard said we could possible leave the window out this side and let them have 1 brood then we will have to take the nests down. These little redstarts are adorable with their little wagging tails. We also have a black redstart at the other end of the barn, but that's quite safe there.

Lastly I planted up 4 more of my herb pots so I now only have one space to fill. I would like some basil for this one but I will have to wait a little while just to make sure the frosts have gone because I don't want to lose it. Hopefully it will look a little more established soon. I now have mint, thyme, sage, rosemary and the garlic chives. It was good to be outside again because the weather has been so awful, the pond is overflowing and you can see the frogs swimming on the lawn!!! Mind you, it is supposed to be dry for the next few days so it will soon go down, the ground dries very quickly here. Gosh I seem to have rambled on a bit, sorry about that, I better go now and see if anyone else has rambled the same as me. I love this blogging. :-) Goodnight my new blogging family.