Wednesday, 29 May 2013

come rain or shine...

The glorious three days of sunshine are being replaced by three gloomy days of rain. More rain is forecast for tomorrow.

Yesterday I packed my cricket spectating basket accordingly and grabbed a few random balls of yarn in a chunky weight, for a change. I am in danger of overdoing this wonderful ripple stitch but it gives a lovely plump and textured feel which I thought would be ideal for a simple cushion cover.

I like simple projects that don't involve counting stitches or rows for journeys or matches because it's easier to pick up and put down that way.

Somehow these colours look nicer in reality than in the photo's. They kind of go with the other cushions at least, and the wool cupboard is gradually diminishing!

Yesterday Ella had a one hour coaching session with two of the Ladies England Cricket Team no less! Jake was a bit envious! Ella picked up some good bowling and batting tips. They were really nice and approachable. We had a brief chat at the end.

I did find myself wishing I hadn't spread myself so thin when I was Ella's age. I did every sport going; hockey, netball, rounders, golf, athletics, a bit of tennis, badminton, squash, swimming. I did athletics quite seriously for a while and then golf. Cricket was mainly for fun in the back garden with my brother but I did once get asked to play a county match which was terrifying because I barely knew the rules at that age. If I'd known then what I know now... I'd have played more cricket!

The under 15s county girls team had a one day 20-20 knock out format today but it was rained off after the first match which was really disappointing as we had all got up at 6am to travel to the venue. I spent the entire first match sitting underneath a pile of blankets, with two jumpers and a coat on and I was STILL cold!

Jake's evening match for the under 15s was also cancelled. It looks likely that his under 17s match tomorrow will also be rained off. I am a little nervous about him playing with such older boys (he's only 12) but he assures me he will be fine and only has to deliver the 70mph balls not face them!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

catch up...three whole sunny days!

It's been all systems go here lately. M and I have spent every spare minute painting a house, and not even the one we live in. 20 litres of magnolia emulsion later (and 100 other DIY jobs) and we ached from head to toe. Saturday was the day of potential tenant viewings so we finally had a day off house maintenance duties.

We dropped one teenager off in town and took the other to the cricket club to watch an adult match for a change. It was tempting to just stay at home and potter about but I needed the rest so I joined the men. They 'parked' me on the boundary with a blanket, flask of tea, crochet magazine and knitting and went off to bowl a few balls in the nets. I couldn't have been happier. A picnic suits me just fine on a sunny Saturday afternoon and the cricket suited them.

Sunday was spent in glorious sunshine at a cricket match for the boys under 12s. Another picnic, another leisurely day. A lovely drive through countryside there and back.

Today, was a day of solid work. It's a bank holiday here in the UK and the sun was out. Never a good idea to do anything that might be popular on a sunny bank holiday, like drive to the coast or something daring like that. So we drew up a list of house maintenance for our own home and steadily worked through it from 8 in the morning until early evening. The lawn got mowed (after a trip to the garage for petrol), a visit was made to the local tip, a gutter got fixed, paths were cleared, my dog proof picket fence (for my herb patch) finally got installed, stinging nettles were pulled up, logs and railway sleepers were repositioned, a rogue plum tree bough was chopped down, broken old garden lighting was unearthed and ripped up, wheelbarrow upon wheelbarrow of weeds were taken up to the bonfire, a space was cleared for the basketball net (Jake's third favourite sport after cricket and football), tennis balls and sticks were thrown for the dog, M's workshop roof finally got felted... oh and I got tough with our mad bamboo and hacked it right down so we can at least see over it now!

In fact we probably did even more than that little list but in between there were lots of cups of tea and a little standing back and admiring the improvements. We ended the day with a big bonfire, but not before another drive to the neighbouring village with the sludge monster, who was too black to venture in the house let alone the shower! He enjoyed his 'play' in the nice clean river (actually Harvey it was a B.A.T.H hahahaha) and is now all fluffy and white once more.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Wind swept and rosy cheeked...

Another cricket match done and dusted. It stayed dry but I doubt it reached the promised eighteen degrees. We sat in a chilly breeze which felt even chillier with cloud cover. I wore my rope stitch poncho for the first time! Woohoo! The older I get the less I care whether something is cool or not! (See 'super chunky poncho' in my 'off the hook' sidebar).

E didn't say 'what are you wearing that in front of my friends for?' So I guess it can't have been too bad. E gave J a run for his money with her bowling stats. She bowled six overs and only went for 16 runs. There was almost a wicket in the shape of a dropped catch. She didn't bat today because we got all the runs we needed with just 4 batsmen.

The venue was rather nice. Witham Prep School near Bourne, set in a lovely countryside location. Very nice sporting facilities and the grass was just like carpet. Days like this I don't mind being a cricket mum.

We get there an hour before the match so the girls can warm up and do some training exercises with the coaches. Today it was warm enough to set our chairs up and for me to do a spot of knitting in the sun. Yes knitting, not crochet for a change!

I sorted out some colourful wool for my sister in law this week and came across a jumper I started at least four years ago. It was a bit on the large side because I had wanted a baggy one but since losing a bit of weight it would have been ridiculously baggy so I unravelled the lot! The wool winder has got to be the best £3 I've ever spent. So I have cast on again, this time four sizes smaller.

To be honest I thought that it would be too painful to do more than a few rows a day. I switched to crochet when I got frustrated with the wrist problems I was having with knitting but it seems that the bigger needles (6.5mm in this case) aren't causing too much discomfort for now.

So, I sat there today wearing my crocheted poncho, knitting a hooded sweater with my thrifted basket by my side, watching my daughter play county cricket, thinking to myself, yep, I've spent worse Sundays than this.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Red sky at night...

My Dad has taught me a lot of useful things in life but it's the funny one liners that stay with me. He has quite a repertoire and I am still coming across the sources of some of them. My husband had never heard of the classic 'red sky at night, shepherd's hut's on fire!'

Just in case you are with my husband on this one the correct version is; 'red sky at night, shepherd's delight, red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning.' An old saying relating to the impending weather. Naturally I can't see a sunset without thinking of my Dad's version.

This is the fantastic sky photographed from our deck the night before last. I was rather hoping for the same tonight and the promise of a warm day for tomorrow's cricket match. Oh well, the blankets are packed.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Spark out!

It's a tiring business travelling round the country playing cricket but someone's gotta do it!

It wasn't good cricket weather in Cambridge yesterday. When the sun did come out from behind the many clouds it was still cool and extremely windy and the rain came as predicted round about 3pm. Luckily the ground had a car park in view of the match so I was warm and toasty with a flask of tea for the second half while the boys bravely soldiered on.

J wasn't very happy after the last match, not taking any wickets and bowling a few wides. He has got his confidence back now after bowling five overs and taking three wickets for only eleven runs. He didn't bat because we only needed our first three batsmen to get the required number of runs but he didn't mind, he did his bit. Chatted for all of two minutes in the car and then fell fast asleep until we got home.

...and I totally approve of the coach's decision to make them do their 'warm down' routine after the match despite the fact that it was bucketing down by then.

There was only one thing on my mind on the two and a half hour drive home; a nice hot bath.

(and yes he did have his seatbelt on!)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


Funnily enough I am praying for rain, lots of it. No, not for the garden. I would like enough rain to fill our stream up to about a foot deep. At the moment there is a pathetic trickle just deep enough to house some minnows and just shallow enough for the dog to be wading up to his tum in dark sludge! Doesn't smell too fresh either.

Tonight we had to take him to a neighbouring village where the becks are deeper and sludge free just to clean him off. Naturally he loved every minute, but could I get a decent photograph? No chance. They are all a blur!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

And so the cricket season begins...

Excuse the cheesy smiles. This snap was finally taken after twenty silly ones. Here are my two county cricketers in their 'match arrival' get up. It seems not all counties have an arrival outfit because Norfolk under 15 girls arrived in their training shorts and t shirts. Not that my two are particularly impressed with having to think about arrival outfits, training outfits (to warm up in and change into for cricket teas) and cricket whites. Huh, not to mention the massive pile of laundry I have to contend with this morning!

It's a mystery why our county chose black and pink for the girls tops when everything else is green and gold, but hey, E quite liked the polo shirt. When I was fifteen I would have just been glad we didn't have to play that particular sport in a netball skirt. Yuk.

Despite warnings that the bank holiday was going to be very hot and therefore very congested on the roads into Norfolk we managed to avoid most traffic queues. We didn't beat Norfolk but it is always a nice day out with a picnic. The Norfolk girls team Mums were swigging back the Strongbow and I heard the under 12 boys Mums were drinking champagne! I was making my own herbal tea with a flask of hot water, classy eh?

Only another two matches this week. It feels rather like being a travelling salesman, living out of a suitcase, except we travel around and live on the contents of the picnic box.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Following in her footsteps...

Not a single day goes by without me thinking about my Nan. It has been a little over a year since she died but the grief feels just as raw. It was only a few weeks ago that I felt able to wear her purple cardigan that I'd saved after a big sort out. It's a big soft one and I knew when I saw it that wearing it would be the closest thing I'd have left to a hug from her. So the other day I had a hug.

Other things are much easier and happier to deal with. Whilst still with us, Nan gave me lots of her sewing and knitting things. Every now and then I use some wool or some fabric and it feels good to be doing some of the things she loved to do. Her patchwork is in the house in various forms; an unfinished cushion piece in the shape of a star was rescued and I made it into an appliqué cushion front. Ella's bedroom chair has another patchwork cushion on it and I have the double bed spread that was made by both Nan and Grandad for me when I was about twenty something.

I had a big sort out of clothes for charity the other day and came across an old shirt that now fits me again. Ive held onto it for years because I really like the dandelion head embroidery on it. The long bohemian style sleeves were always annoying so I got the big scissors out and chopped them off at three quarter length. I turned to Nan's tin of cottons and found the perfect shade of pale green to hem the new sleeves up with. Thanks Nan! You'd approve of my make do and mending!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

My family and other animals...

Happiness is...

Having a teenage daughter who 'doesn't do mornings'!
Having a nearly teenage son who bounces or kicks a ball through the house every morning without fail (think Cat in the Hat type disaster zone)
Having a husband who decides to drive a 120 mile round trip to get a small split in a cricket bat repaired because cricket is the be all and end all from April to August

On the other hand happiness is...

Having a dog who is always stupidly pleased to see you
Having a dog who knows when you are ill and turns into a canine hot water bottle
...and whilst lying across you, hot water bottle style, is ultra twitchy with guard dog duties
Having the house to yourself for half a day.... Heaven.

NB. Daffodil rescued from over active dog. Yes it really is this colour, a peach blush at the end of the trumpet. Quite amazing and the only one like it in the whole garden.