Thursday, 24 July 2014

Monsieur Bearnard...

Riley must have had some kind of adventure in the fields of broad beans while I was in Sussex. His paw swelled up a little and it looked like something might have gone into a small entry wound. We've been there and done it with grass seeds when Harvey was a puppy and he had to have three surgically removed from his ear. They can be dangerous things. A friend of ours had a Springer with a grass seed that travelled through to its spinal cord and paralysed it. It had to be put down. Terrible.

So, we weren't going to take any chances with this lump on Riley's paw. £241.75 later and he's had an operation to investigate and repair the tissue and had the paw stapled together. No foreign objects, just a wound. He took an extra hour to come round (snoring apparently) and he wagged his tail when I picked him up. I cried with relief on the way home. The vet had detected a heart murmur when he examined the paw for the first time and I was worried he might not be the best candidate for an anaesthetic.

Harvey paced up and down all day not quite knowing what was going on. He was pleased to see Riley again and did something quite amazing; he dropped his precious tennis ball into Riley's bed where he was resting. He never gives up his tennis ball for anyone. Must be brotherly love! Never mind that Riley couldn't pick it up with his cone on!

He's got to wear the plastic cone for ten days while the paw heals. So far he is pretty rubbish at negotiating steps and furniture. I've even lifted him into his bed after watching him repeatedly fail to lift his head up far enough to get in! He finally settled when I sat down with him on the sofa and luckily I had my latest project within reach. He's been fast asleep beside me for as long as it took to run up two arms, one leg and a French beret for Monsieur Bearnard! That was quite a long time actually. I haven't knitted for yonks and I was a bit rusty. I had to remind myself what skpo was! Definitely not my neatest piece of knitting but Monsieur Bearnard will be travelling on the dashboard of my jeep while we drive right through France to Italy.

(The bear comes as a free kit with the latest issue of Simple Knitting.)

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Random tales from Sussex...

The woolly acquisitions (yesterday's post) was clearly only half of the story. A big pile of books and a Rye Pottery mug also came home with me after doing the rounds of charity shops. The mug is a very large one and is going to be my new favourite. It's screams 70s to me but I haven't looked up the design yet. It goes very well with a Rye Pottery vase I bought up here in Lincolnshire.

I've started The Missing One (yes I am very behind on updating the reading list in my sidebar). When I chose it I didn't realise that the female character in it lived in Oxford but grew up in Sussex. I've also lived in both, but there the similarities end. It was the book I took down to the beach when I had a couple of opportunities to sit on the pebbles and read. I'm now back in the thick of it; families and the s*** that goes with them sometimes, and wishing I was back on that beach!

The Italian phrase book is a very good one, it has lots of advice in it as well as the lingo. I need to do some bedtime reading and swot up. M is using an app to listen and repeat key phrases but I need to see it in black and white.

Home Made Simple seemed like my kind of book. On closer inspection some of the projects are a bit obvious but if I use just two or three ideas from the book it will have been worth the £1.50 I paid.

Now I bet you're wondering what the picture with the cream tea is all about. I think the cream tea tradition is bigger in Devon but it is certainly popular in Sussex too. I had to take that photograph very quickly before the scones were scoffed! This was at a lovely garden centre near Catfield called Great Park Farm. All the teapots had different knitted or crocheted cosies. My kind of place!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Acquisitions of the woolly kind...

Home sweet home! I'm on my fourth washing load. I've emptied the bins that were overflowing (they must think the bins miraculously empty themselves!) I've swept up twigs, mud and leaves (dogs), I've wiped all the worktops which clearly hadn't been wiped in a whole week, yuk. The funny thing was that E said, proudly, 'we hoovered yesterday!' I resisted the urge to ask where they hoovered. Actually I won't bore you with the rest. Suffice to say it's going to be a week before I get the place reasonably hygienic once more.

In the meantime, on the newly scrubbed kitchen workbench I have gathered my woolly acquisitions and photographed them to show you. That dolly mixture of gorgeous tweedy yarns and muted wools was just £2 for the whole lot in a charity shop in Bexhill. I think some of it is Rowan sock weight yarn.

The unusual wooden oval bowl was also from a charity shop, just 99p, I loved the carving. You can never have too many bowls for creative use; I use them for my pins, tape measure, crochet hooks, whatever I'm using at any one time.

The handles have turned out not be the right size for a project I had in mind but I know I will use them at some stage.

Before I tell you about the scrumptious Jaeger wool I must fill you in on the whole Uncle and Auntie thing. It is with some horror that I've found my children didn't really go along with the whole auntie and uncle thing when they were smaller. For relatives yes but not for very good friends of our parents like my brother and I were required to do when we we children. It doesn't seem to be the way of their friends and so I've let it go. Now that I'm (ahem) years old I do think it's time I dropped the Auntie and Uncle thing. In practice it's harder to drop the habit of a lifetime and so I bring you, Uncle R and Auntie F. You know who you are!

AF won't mind me telling you that she is amazing when it comes to all things creative. Oh how I wish we lived closer. Spinning lessons? Tick. Rug making? Tick... I think the list is probably quite long. When there were murmurs of 'getting rid' of some supplies that were hanging around I didn't say no! (Jaeger wool!) In fact we had an impromptu rug making lesson at my Grandfather's party. I've picked up a couple of rug making books on my thrifty travels and never quite trusted the information that nothing needs to be knotted. See pic 5, it's a square of old blanket and beautiful hand spun, undyed wool. Here, I must confess that I didn't hook all of this, in fact my bit is the slightly dodgy dark brown patch which proves I need a bit more practice. I can now see how it all holds together. I can also see this becoming quite addictive!

The Jaeger yarn looks like an aran weight and with about 400g to play with I've got a few ideas. I love this kind of wool, I call it 'slubby'. It's got a good wool content so I imagine I will be making a warm item with it.

Not photographed is four 100g balls of Patons wool blend aran weight wool. £1.25! All different but natural shades. Two are grey shades and would work well with the Highlander. I'm thinking stripes, or patchwork squares. This is most definitely going to be back to front or random crochet. Acquire the yarn and then work out what to make with it as opposed to choose a pattern and buy the wool for it! Random is so much more fun!

Homeward bound...

It's with a heavy heart that I leave the county I grew up in. In fact it's been a heavy week in some ways. I've never felt a connection to where I live now, no matter how I try and convince myself otherwise. Though I do return to it with a renewed desire to try and make the best of it, and if that means trying to enjoy gardening then so be it. Having enjoyed a beautiful garden this past week I realise ours is sadly lacking in all things flowery. I must admit Harvey was never brought up to respect plants because we've simply been taming the jungle throughout the four years he's been with us. He knows just how to join in with the pruning! Unlike Archie (last pic) who prefers shoes!

It's been hard to know that now my children are old enough to fend for themselves for a few days I can pop down to Sussex and spend some time there. This is something I wished I could do a few years ago when my Nan was still alive. I've always thought graves were a comforting thing to have, but three years on it is still extremely difficult to visit hers.

On a happier note though, it's been great to spend some time with my Grandad. We had a party in the garden for his 90th birthday with about 30 or so friends and relatives. Since then I've been fascinated to hear all sorts of stories about his childhood that I hadn't heard before. My children have absolutely no idea what life used to be like!

I really do love the coast and took every opportunity to dip my toes in the sea. I looked in rock pools when the tide was going out. I walked up and down the whole length of promenade, several times. Oh, and fourth photo down... I sat behind this dark haired, six packed, guitar player until he started turning round and singing directly to me. Awkward moment! He definitely picked the wrong person to sing to, I couldn't hear a thing! I did smile nicely though and went and found another spot in the beach!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Welcome to the world...

Aw! Isn't he gorgeous? Baby B, born a few days ago.

I had a little cuddle today, he was just adorable.

He's my second cousin, the tiniest of all my cousins.

Dubbed a 'future Volkswagen driver'. How do we know? His t-shirt says so.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Postcards from Sussex...

Loving my time here in sunny Sussex. I'm home! Woohoo! I stood in those shallow waves today and it was wonderful. I picked up pebbles with holes in them and filled my pockets. I closed my eyes as I sat on the pebbles and thought back to when I was 15 or so and used to swim in the sea with my friends.

There's no place like home.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Crochet trainer socks...

I made some crochet trainer socks! I'm not a big fan of socks. In the summer I live in flip flops and in the winter I prefer slippers without socks. In the evenings in summertime however, my feet get cold. If I have to wear socks I prefer the trainer sock type so I thought I'd crochet some. Before long most of my posessions will be crocheted!

(And yes that is the pre holiday tan that comes from watching 50 odd cricket matches and counting...)

So, I had a lovely session combing through my back copies of crochet magazines, probably a good half an hour browsing the internet for a pattern which used the weight of wool I had on stand by. No luck. So I did much the same as I did for a pair of mittens I made yonks ago and made it up as I went along. I even got flashy and made a little loop for the back of the heel. Woohoo! Not that I will be hanging these up very often but I just fancied a loop ok?

I even remembered to write down roughly what I was doing so that the second one would come out approximately the same. It did, I was surprised!

Of course, you could embellish these in a hundred different ways but since that is rather overwhelming and I like plain and simple things I stuck to plain old oatmeal.

They are packed in my little suitcase, I am off to Sussex for a little while, leaving dogs, children, husband and cat to their own devices. That will mean coming home to mud throughout the whole house!