Mirror, bead and thread (and old knitting needles)

Even though the exhibition of Mirror, Bead and Thread had been on at the Beaney Institute since 11 February, it was only yesterday that I actually managed to get there to see it on the very last day. The exhibition is of Kanchan Malde, a collector of Gujrati textiles.

The notes say a bit more about her motivation for collecting such beautiful examples of textiles:

Her collection came about when she realised that the traditions of folk embroidery were dying out. The pressures of modern-day life, and the aspirations for a more materialistic lifestyle, have resulted in a more commercial version of textile art forms. This relies far more on machinery and high output that on safeguarding traditional values.

This got me to thinking about how much pleasure and enjoyment I get when I’m knitting or making something. I had forgotten about the pleasure I get from wearing something I’ve made or seeing someone else’s enjoyment of something I’ve made for him.

I am so pleased that Alicia’s postcard from me arrived safely. I don’t think my love scarves actually arrived at my our friend’s house in Germany which is a little sad but I won’t be disheartened. Every other package I’ve sent has arrived so one missing isn’t too bad. I am a bit sad as I had thought up how to make these especially with the recipient in mind but I thankfully took lots of photos so I can always remake them.

I’d never been to the museum before so I was delighted to come across this display of knitting and sewing equipment. Don’t you love the vintage knitting box?

I thought the spinning jenny was really lovely, too.

Lace bobbins.

And one of the two darning mushrooms in the cabinet. I’d never heard of a darning mushroom before pao told me about them.

We’ve been out for lunch and tea at A and J’s house which has been such great fun and so relaxing. They so kindly invited us after church this morning and we’ve been there for a huge part of the day. A showed me round their most beautiful garden and pressed lots of willow branches on me to take home to decorate our lounge for a while. I hope that the buds will start to shoot out a bit of greenery. I’m so relaxed now I’m utterly sleepy!

I’m not a name, I’m a number

Gulp! This is my race number for the Race for Life. This makes it all scarily real for me. For reasons beyond her control, MrsSJT was unable to register for the event so I’m going to walk on my own. She has very kindly offered to come and cheer me on and sponsor me.

Seeing the words 5km does make me feel a bit nervous but I have decided to take it slowly and not rush and enjoy myself. I have been walking as much as possible since I signed up just so it doesn’t feel alien to me when I go!

I promised you some before and after photos earlier this week so here they are:

This is me in February when I was a bit plumper.

This is me yesterday evening at a Tapas Bar with pao. If you feel brave enough to look closer, you can see a subtle difference in the chubby chops round my face. When I looked at these photos at first, I really couldn’te see a difference but after looking at them for a bit longer, I realised that I had changed.

A couple of weeks ago, I pulled out a few items which I haven’t worn since I got married in 2001 but kept in one of those vacuum bags at the bottom of the wardrobe and I’m closer to the weight I was five years ago now!

All this walking has taken a bit of a toll on my knitting time but there will be knitted items soon – I promise as I’m off out now with my Cherry Tree Hill sock and the instructions which the very kind Jeanne sent me.

Vintage Housekeeping Swap

Marion and I have been participating in Ms*Robyn’s most wonderful Vintage Housekeeping Swap. The most wonderful parcel turned up yesterday when I was at work and I had to force myself not to open it until my camera had fully charged when I came home from the very late-running and heated church AGM (Annual General Meeting, Chris). It was quite a lovely relief to come home and open Marion’s lovely parcel to see these lovely packages all covered in an orange crepe paper and tied up with beautiful black ribbons – very fitting for the month!

As soon as I’d taken them out of the parcel, Ophelia came straight over to sniff them.

She has given them her seal of approval by sitting on them!

Imagine my surprise and delight to find that Marion had also wrapped each of these packages in this gorgeous print paper.

Marion had very cleverly written out little clues to what was in each package and pao and I had a lovely time trying to guess the contents. What great fun! I thought I’d share her lovely clues with you as you look at my package with me!

For the Vintage Traveller…. Come on Sam, get going….
Indulge in a little French luxury!
Put a bit of sweetness into the evening

Tired Feet

For the Vintage bottle of wine
To help the Vintage Housewife get all dried up

For blogging friends
Spoon together with Mr P
All set… Dinner for two!

Its been a stitch in vintage time

A little pretty for the Vintage Housewife

Marion, I can’t thank you enough for the wonderfully thoughtful gifts. I will most certainly enjoy all of your generous gifts. pao and I had a walk before and after dinner tonight so I think a nice bath and a splash of foot cream is in order. I will put those gorgeous vintage linens on display – they are just so wonderful. Thank you ever so much! Your kindness has made a very difficult couple of days much easier to bear!

Bleachy head

BEWARE: This is the effect that rolling around on bleached surfaces or rubbing the head against smelly shoes will have on your cat.

I’m very tired today which might have a great deal to do with Merlin waking me up at 5.45 this morning. My friend R-C thinks I’m good at writing twaddle so that is what I’ve been doing – all day long! Well, I was writing a proposal for some money to do something so it was hard going as I was in the realms of buzz word bingo: you know “projected objectives”, etc etc. Bleurgh! I’ve got to run off now as it is the church AGM in a minute and I want to go this year for a change. I just hope I don’t embarass myself and fall asleep. Poor pao has a migraine today so I’m just nipping off to give him a hug as there is little else I can do for him.

Random Wednesday goes yellow

And today’s post is brought to you by the colour: YELLOW! This post is so bright you’re gonna need shades!

(Yes, I have finally lost it completely – I was ASSERTIVE today! And I haven’t even been on the course yet. Disclaimer: This assertiveness was by email though)

This is a really lovely florists which I pass on the way into town sometimes. They often have lovely displays of flowers in the window and pao has been known to have bought me the odd bouquet from there.

This sign always makes me think of Alicia. I suppose the cycle reminds me of cycle class and the number makes me think of kacha kacha.

This shop is bad for the waistline. They do a bacon and cheese turnover which is mouthwatering. It is hard work to walk past but I keep on truckin’. When someone has taken a recent photo, I’ll show you before and after shots.

This made me think of the Knitter’s Tea Swap that I’ve just signed up for.

Last but not least,

some more photos of flowers because they are beautiful and they won’t be around for much longer.

It wouldn’t be Random Wednesday if I didn’t throw something completely random in. Here is Ariel helping me wrap up Marion’s presents for the Vintage Housekeeping Swap.

Project Spectrum Photo Essay – Oranges

Surprisingly it was more of challenge to find orange in Canterbury than it was to find yellow!

So here is what I found:

The orange street light is round the corner from my house, the jacket is from a posh boutique near the Cathedral and the graffiti is on a tree which I spotted on one of the walks I went on. It was such a contrast to the rest of the beautiful things in the park. Lucy is doing what she does best – resting her eyes. The coffee shop is right near the Cathedral and they do a large selection of alcoholic coffees – in the summer they’ll be opening into the evening so I’ll be going there for coffee and Grand Marnier 🙂 (straight to the hips). The condiments bottle is some sort of vinegar which we spotted when we went to eat a Wagamama.

Luckily, a new kitchen shop opened and they had lots of orange things in their window. Orange is a mobile phone carrier. Ariel is also very orange.

There was a black dog in the yellow post – Jasper has an orange collar so he’s in this post. We even have a street in Canterbury called Orange Street. There is a club on Orange Street which we used to go to occasionally because it had really great jazz and blues bands. We haven’t been there recently and it changed owners so we don’t know if it is still the really nice chillout place. Unfortunately it is a smoking venue so sitting on the sofa listening to music and knitting is a no-no until the no smoking laws come into effect next year.

Subtle changes

Even though it has cooled down a lot today – it is still really pleasant outside and great for walking. I really wish I could share with you the scent of the flowers that is in the air. It is such an amazing smell. I took these photos when I was out on Saturday. I was just walking into the town centre to meet my friend Michelle for coffee and I was struck by how perfect and beautiful it all looked.

I always say something to the park keeper about how lovely it is. I don’t think he gets many compliments as he said he was so glad I liked it and that I wasn’t wielding a frisbee. He also said that things would completely change in a month as they would be putting in summer bedding plants so you’ll have to all watch this space.

After work today, I went for a long walk just round town, by the river, through the Cathedral Cloisters, round the Dane John and back home. I didn’t have my camera with me so I’ll just have to do it all again tomorrow 🙂 I figure if I walk for about an hour every day or two days then I’ll be ok with 5kms in June. It is just so nice to be able to walk and I’m enjoying myself so much at the moment.

Even though I hated it when the clocks changed at first, I am now enjoying the longer evenings as I’m not so keen on walking around in the dark. I just felt so happy when I arrived home. I think pao is really starting to be fed up with being at home and not being able to do much so it was nice that he could cook dinner tonight.

I had my last meeting with my counsellor for a while today too. I had to fill in a questionnaire about how I rated certain statements according to what I thought e.g. I felt alone, I felt friendless, etc. When I’d started in February I had a score of 57 and I left today with a score of 17. I think the test is to see how miserable you are so I started off quite miserable and I’ve cheered up a lot! I also feel so much stronger and able to cope better with all the bad things. I also realised that I’m just on the start of a journey – like a mummy who is ripping off her bandages. I’ve still got a lot to unravel but at least I’ve managed to make a start.

I also think the walking is making a big difference. I wasn’t able to walk at one point so being able to walk is a real blessing which I’m really cherishing.

Now to answer Tink’s question about what other lyrics were made up to to the tune of Wannabe:

  • Do you wannabe my gasman?
  • Do you wannabe my plumber?

Project Spectrum Photo Essay – Yellows

I have been taking photos throughout April this time so I figured that a couple of composites would be better than lots of individual photos….

The flowers are from the Westgate Garden except for the ones on the window ledge at the bottom. Those flowers were one of the arrangements from my friend Anna’s wedding to the lovely Ken. I couldn’t resist snapping the chicks – they looked like so much fun. The Easter bag is from the same place called Temps Perdu which is sadly closing in June. The yellow fish is part of a cat toy in a shop which I’ve forgotten about called Nothing But the Cat. I went in there the other day with Mrs B when she wanted to buy some new collars for her cats Billy and Clint. I couldn’t resist the Lindt bunny – it will be hard but I will bite the ears off some time soon!

The old yellow signs are from a hardware shop which is up the main road in Wincheap. In a country where individual shopkeepers are now becoming increasingingly rare, it is nice to have a shop like this close by. Sadly, I admit that I visit the larger DIY chains or go into the city for my hardware because I’m mostly not around when it is open but it is an interesting place to gaze through the window. I don’t know anywhere else which sells the springs for a pair of secateurs. Most places would expect their customers to buy a new pair. The felted chicks are in the window of a shop called Jems which is packed full of exciting craft stuff. I don’t know how they manage to stock so much as it isn’t a big shop. I was seduced by the medium of dry felting the last time I went in there and that is what I made Alicia’s postcard of. The shell is in a display case of curiousities at the public library. I can’t remember if it is actually supposed to be something or not. I’ll have to check the next time I go in there. The black dog is Mrs B’s guide dog called Hugo. He is not the most well-behaved dog having been known to scoff a whole plate of Danish pastries but he looks after Mrs B so that is good enough for me.

Last but not least…

Why on earth has she taken a photograph of a traffic light, I hear you cry! Well, it is on yellow 🙂 Secondly, it is the traffic light by which pao blurted out his marriage proposal! I know he had had a great plan to take me to Broadstairs for a nice dinner then propose on the beach but he blurted it out when we were stupidly singing Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ and he was making up silly new lyrics for it. Who said he was romantic?

The lesser spotted Moof

In case I had you wondering yesterday: here is what a lesser spotted Moof looks like. This evening, pao, George and I all joined a load of friends for a curry with Moof who is sadly going back to Spain in the morning.

Highlights of this evening included:

Lizzie flashing her knitting. I’m not sure I can claim I turned her but I’d love to 🙂 I heard the story of how the lovely Christine had to stay in hospital for seven months and knitted all of Lizzie’s clothes for her.

Alan eating a cardamom pod.

Poppadom-Liz (not to be confused with from the Slinky Malinki books)

And the picture to rival all those on Stuff-on-my-cat:

Stuff on Alan!

Hopefully now I’ve got all you UK people’s attention, who’s going to sponsor me for the Race for Life? Gulp, I’ve really signed up now so I’d better get into training!

The warmest day of the year

I’ve been going to work early because I’ve been really keen to see the bunnies cavorting before the rest of the world wakes up. Just watching them running about makes me feel a whole lot better about the day. I was quite disappointed when I arrived at the spot where they’d been dashing between the bushes and there were none! I turned the corner and my heart was glad when I saw this little chap. He was hopping about all cute-like.

I miss seeing pao at lunchtimes and foo had already gone home because he was on earlies today so I took myself off on a wander. I went to the duckpond and saw this heron. Isn’t he magnficent? He stood and stared at me for a long time, flew off, crashed through the water, and stood and stared at me again.

When I sat down and opened my sandwich packet, this chap came and sat down next to me.

Last year, pao and I used to meet for lunch by the pond as it was close to my old office and I named all the birds. I haven’t seen Beaky or Mummy or Pinkie and Perkie this year but I did spot Michael the Jackdaw.

On my way back, I saw this thrush on her nest.

And this beautiful blossom.

I bumped into the lesser-spotted Moof which cheered me up immensely then spent the rest of the afternoon feeling much happier. So much so I ended up working late but it did mean there were less people around so these brave bunnies came out to play! (You might need to click on the picture as I didn’t want to traumatise them as some silly man ran at them before I took this picture – I did tell him off).

It’s the Queen’s 80th birthday today – she’s had a nice day for it! Happy Birthday, Ma’am! If she had a blog, I’d tell you to wish her happy birthday there. You’ll just have to settle for sending a birthday email.