Wednesday, 29 June 2011

June photo scavenger hunt...

Its that time again, so thanks to Kathy for the inspiration, here are my efforts for this month...

Something with your town's name
For as long as I can remember this grandfather clock has been part of my life. I guess my parents must have acquired it not long after we came to Norfolk when I was a child. This was in the 70s when 'old' things were not at all in vogue and they picked up loads of antique furniture at auctions and 'junk' shops. I do mean loads...this was passed on to my when my father bought the fourth long case grandfather clock and my mother decided there was a bit of a space and chiming issue! Anyway I love it and it stands at the end of my hall. When I remember to wind it (or can get to it! at the moment the hall is full of son 2's clobber from uni!) it has a lovely soothing loud tick.

An elephant
I struggled a bit with this one! Thought it would be easy - Norwich is full of elephants! Including one at work which I pass every day and has a lovely glass and metal tree sculpture behind it. I will take a picture of that one of these days to show you but didn't manage it this month. Then last weekend I saw these two lads heading off down the street with their busking gear and they made me smile, so I whipped out my camera for a quick snap!

A wheel trim
Another acquired family antique! I think this came form somewhere in my Scottish family and I've had it since I was about 8, I should think. Its a Singer treadle sewing machine - I learnt to sew on this and used it until I got my electric sewing machine for my 21st birthday. Its a really beautiful thing although the wooden case is looking a bit the worse for wear now.

An architectural detail
This is the church I mentioned in yesterday's post. Parts of it are 900 years old and as well as local flint stones, it is built with reclaimed Roman red tiles from the Roman site it stands on. 

Our local town had its first farmers market last weekend - lots of yummy food including this amazing chilli smoked cheddar, very more-ish!!

I nearly didn't put this one is as its such a rubbish picture - but then decided what the heck, its the only night one I have. The sky was amazing one evening on the way home form work and this in no way does justice to it. My little camera just doesn't do night photos (I have tried honest!) - they just come out dark and grainy. (and no, although I got some lovely things for my birthday, camera wasn't one of them...:-()

Tree branches
A lovely old tree at Stinson Lock by the canal in Derbyshire.

I brought these back from Morocco. They are hand carved from a single piece each of lemon tree wood and are so lovely to touch. In the mountains we used spoons like this every day for porridge and soup.

A childhood memory
I was an incredibly accident prone child. I was always falling over, running into things, getting stung etc. We had a very spiny cactus just inside the front door and I managed to implant most of the spines in my wrist as I ran past! I must have been about 4 or 5 and I can remember being sat on the kitchen stool while my mum painstakingly pulled each spine out with tweezers! And I can still remember how much it stung!!

A farm animal
This was from one of my early morning bike rides early in the month. There were just these two friendly looking cows in the field and I thought they looked rather lovely with the early morning sun behind them!

Something beginning with Z...
I was struggling a bit with this one - until yesterday I had a fairly uninspiring photo of a piece of ginger (zingiber officinale?!). Then I looked up damselflies on t'internet when I was posting yesterday and yay! The 'proper' name for damselflies is Zygoptera! (Zygo - meaning paired or joined & ptera - meaning wings; in case you were wondering!)

The view from your front door
Crikey, doesn't this look flat! It doesn't really give you a sense of the view as actually it is countryside both sides of this section too - need a wide angle lens to capture it better, I suppose. But it is what greets me when I step out of the door each morning - could be worse!

I need to get my act  together and go and get packed - I'm off to Cardiff for a couple of days for a conference. Looking forward to seeing a new place - what does Cardiff have to offer I wonder?!

Til next time


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

feeling hot, hot, hot...

Yesterday was the first day of my two weeks "absolutely cannot faff about, must finish my assignment" spell... was sooo hot! The car temperature gauge said 31.5C and it did feel boiling! Gorgeous bright sunshine, a little bit of a breeze and blue, blue sky. Plus, the computer was with the nice people at apple for most of the day (yay! they seem to have fixed it - although it still seems to be getting a bit warm?) so I had to have quick divert outside... I have no self discipline at all!

Got very distracted by these...

...damselflies zipping about around the pond. They don't sit still for long so they were a bit difficult to catch in good focus but I love the sun glinting off their delicate wings and the brightness of their bodies. They look a bit prehistoric to me!

They seemed to like this particular leaf and I resorted to son 2's telephoto lens in the end to try to capture the detail.

The day lilies are flowering...

I went for a short walk round an old roman site near us. The pretty little church sits in the middle of the remaining earthworks...

The thistles were making dramatic silhouettes against the cobalt sky...

The brambles are covered in flowers and the beginnings of blackberries (note to self - come back here in the autumn!)...

I know the sun is not that good for you but I do love these hot sunny days! They just seem to make everything seem much more alive and vivid.

Now, back to that assignment...


Sunday, 26 June 2011

days out...

Just a quick post in case the computer dies altogether and then I'll forget what I wanted to say!!!

Not so much a day out really as a trip to Derbyshire to help son 2 find a flat to live in while he's on his work placement year - so a whole load of driving in the space of 24 hours really! But amongst looking at the tiny overpriced flats we did manage to have a bit of a look round some pretty villages and came upon a little coffee shop by a canal lock. We just timed it right as two boats were going through the lock; I have always found the whole performance fascinating, from the cleverness of how the lock mechanism works to the characters on the boats. 

We have some lovely waterways in Norfolk but nothing you have to negotiate in a watery 'lift'!

The power of water pouring into the lock was quite impressive and it filled pretty quickly. The people on the first boat had been living on the water pretty much for 20 years and deftly negotiated the boat through the narrow gate...

before letting the water drop and heading through the next gate...

The whole thing took a very leisurely 15 or 20 minutes, during which there was plenty of time for chatting. It struck me this must be a very relaxed way to live, and a good lesson in compacting most of the 'stuff' we accumulate to fit it into a 60ft narrow boat! I'm not sure I'd fancy having to fetch water (especially in winter) or deal with the whole chemical toilet thing though.

For those of you who live near the canals I guess this is a familiar sight but I was quite excited by all this!

I feel when S is settled a proper trip to Derbyshire for a bit of exploring is on the cards!

Keep your fingers crossed for me that the nice people in the Apple shop can breathe new life into my laptop tomorrow...

Til next time


Saturday, 25 June 2011

new colour this week...

I think my family are getting the message about my love of colour! (It has only taken a tonne of bright crochet cushions, blankets, mugs etc to make them realise neutral not realy my thing...!)

I was lucky to get some lovely things for my birthday last week...

These pretty little Marrakesh-inspired tea light holders were from my sister.

Cheerful stripes to match my charity shop mug from R - not that we're really posh enough to use a milk jug on a regular basis but I like the idea and its very cute. 

I had been wistfully eyeing up roses as I didn't have any in the garden at all and R came up trumps here too! This is a lovely, fragrant old fashioned shrub rose called 'Buff Beauty' which the label says flowers over a long period - now I just have to work out how you are supposed to look after a rose...  

And in the garden this week, the lobelia in the window box is flowering an electric blue...

The nasturtiums are fiery...

I found the first water lily hiding in the pond...

Then today I had a naughty yarn treat...

Yesterday was payday...which doesn't really make any difference, because its all accounted for already but I excused myself on the grounds that if I master the sock-knitting thing I might make some for pressies (I know, way too early to be thinking Christmas but it is entirely possible it will take me that long to knit them, how does Alice do it???!). This is Opal 4 ply sock yarn, which slightly scares me and slightly thrills me at the same time - I NEVER use 4 ply because it seems so thin after my usual yarn and I am worried I may get fed up before I ever finish anything! But... I think it might make better socks and I am determined to get at least one pair right! And it is pretty and lovely and squishy. So in my book that little splurge is ok...

I am still plugging away at my second pair of socks with the DK yarn...

I'm liking this top-down pattern on DPNs better (although I haven't got to the heel part yet!) and although I like the colours in this yarn (its not actually quite so orangey-bright in reality), I do thin its a bit chunky for socks really. But I had the yarn and I wanted to try to get the pattern sussed in my mind so am plugging away at it. I do quite like that its a portable little project that I can easily stop and start, I just might have to be disciplined to complete the second sock...!

Think my computer is about to go on melt-down - the fan seems to have stopped working and it is now too hot to keep on my lap, I'm sure this is not a good thing... so will call it a day here!

Til next time then,


Monday, 20 June 2011

Special Sunday things...

Thank you all for your lovely comments on my garden in my last post; I think when you see it every day its probably very easy to take it for granted - good to look at it through a lens and to appreciate it!

And thanks for the tealight jar cover tutorial Annaboo, this is definitely on my little side project list! Will let you know how I get on!

This weekend has been a very short one! I had to work all day Saturday but today had a nice mix of family and friends.

My sister moved house on Friday - which, with 3 children under five, was somewhat stressful I think! We nipped over today to see how they were doing.

Smallest nephew was uncovering the evidence of why his mummy was feeling a bit fragile this morning...!

Always seems a good idea the night before! 

Cousins had a bit of 'together' time...

These two are the eldest and youngest cousins - the very small person is just crawling and the most easy going contented baby.

I do love baby feet! Just the most delicious, soft tootsies!

Then tonight, I was treated to dinner with some lovely friends to celebrate my birthday tomorrow (Today! I've just looked at the clock! Holy moly, I'm 45!). Lovely food, lovely company and look at these gorgeous mugs I received...

Aren't they fab? They are the work of ceramics artist Richard Godfrey, via the Grapevine Gallery in Norwich - I love them.

Oh, and I've started socks mark 2! No pics yet but I'm using a different pattern (aptly called basic socks - should be up my street!) - on DPNs and working from the top down, so we'll see whether they are an improvement on the first pair! Would love to treat myself to some of the gorgeous sock yarn I keep seeing on various blogs but am trying not to do any more yarn splurging just yet... Next pair, maybe!

Til next time


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Midsummer garden...

Funny, I don't really think of June as mid-summer, but we are racing towards the longest day and we're not far off summer solstice which I think is meant to be in midsummer, so I suppose it is. The garden is a bit ahead of itself, I think, maybe because of the early warm weather we had in April so a lot of the early colour has gone but we have had some lovely bright evenings when the shadows are long and the air is heavily perfumed with honeysuckle.

So...this month's photo...

I have to confess to cheating a bit and shifting the angle as the hazel tree on the left (with the bird-feeders) has grown so much that if I stand in my original spot I can see nothing else!

Looking at these photos, it feels a bit like the garden is just full of greens and makes me want to go and plant sploshes of colour all around! Up close there is some colour...

The fences are clothed in honeysuckle, the delphiniums are a gorgeous blue-purple and there are odd patches of pink and purple geranium and bright red nasturtiums but, if I'm honest, I'm a teeny bit disappointed with the flower beds this year. My hopes are pinned on the hollyhocks that are budding up - always a surprise as they have seeded themselves around the place so I never know exactly what colour to expect!

I seem to have a lot of plants that have appeared largely by themselves! Some I might have just encouraged through the fence (its ok, I know they go the other way too!) and some I think have just arrived with the wind or the birds. I'm quite happy its this way; if I really think a plant has chosen the wrong home I try to move it, but often I quite like where they have turned up.

I'm sure I only planted one honeysuckle; a white and yellow, later flowering, semi-evergreen variety...

But I have another two versions as well - I'm not sure if they are really the same variety but they are slightly different colours and the flowers have been a bit staggered. 

This is the earliest to flower and the opening buds are deep deep red initially - this one definitely is a shared plant with the neighbours! The other has a much paler, more orangy bud and I'm pretty sure migrated from my Mum's as a little rooted stem in the pot of another plant...

The fragrance from these is quite intoxicating and they are buzzing with pollen dusted bees at the moment. Not so good for hayfever sufferers, as we discovered when my friend was here at the weekend! But lovely for me!

I have a big patch of architectural thistles at the end of the garden..

They are almost perfect globes of spikes which, as yet, have just a tinge of blue but will soon open out.

In the pond, I am enjoying these tiny blue water forget-me-nots...

The paperbark maple glows in the evening sunlight...

It really is this colour - it kind of 'sheds its skin' with a think top layer of bark peeling off to reveal a smooth shiny surface underneath. 

In the greenhouse, dainty yellow flowers ...

...are turning into these...!

Yum! Looking forward to picking these once they ripen!

Looking back through this post, there is colour out there; you just have to get up close and personal to appreciate it!

Whereas this splash of brightness... difficult to miss! This is 'my' little corner where I am making slow progress on what I hope will be a Big blanket eventually! Am just mulling over another little project to have on the go...I'm hopeless with just one thing, need a bit of variety now and again!

Hope you're enjoying a bit of colour in your life too!

Til next time