Too sick for yarn shop

I heard all about a new yarn shop in Seasalter which sells Brittany Birch needles and I just feel too ill to want to go there or go into town to fetch the yarn for the Tour de France KAL! I’ve been coming home really tired all week and going to bed early or waking up very late (8am!!) feeling very tired so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that my get up and go has got up and gone without me.

I’m planning to rest in all day today and hopefully I’ll be better for travelling to London tomorrow. pao has produced some knitting vouchers to try and jolly me better. Even he has been feeling a bit ropey this week, too so there must be something going round.

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All mrspao wants is a good long catnap!

Exploring in Littlebourne

It is always fun to go to open garden events just to be a bit nosey and find out what people are doing to their gardens and houses. A bit voyeuristic I know but also a good source of cheap plants etc. We had the opportunity for a quick look round the open gardens of Littlebourne so we had a brief look to see what people’s houses were like as we often walk past and only see the hedge or gate.

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There were some amazing alliums (I think) in the first garden.

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I don’t know what this big pink flower was but I liked it!

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These nigella are just so pretty.

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I don’t know what these flowers are but I liked them 🙂 (sound familiar)

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There was a big rhodedendron in the garden with a tennis court – it was fun to see what is behind the green. The season for them is almost over.

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This is a flower border from that same house. I’m sure they must have a gardener! I saw no weeds!

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I love roses and I really liked this pink one.

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But loved this Bagpuss-esque rose. It also made me think of raspberry ripple ice cream

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This bench looked idyllic 🙂

All this nosiness has given me a lot of inspiration for our garden. We now have a multiplication of pots and I’m growing all sorts of things! More on that soon!

Wednesday, already?

Last weekend was slightly traumatic for reasons I won’t go into and for the last two days I’ve been waking up very late (8am) then running tired. I think I may be a bit virally so it will be early to bed. pao is out visiting a friend so I’ve got the place to myself for a change. I’ve been sitting watching bad TV and knitting and thinking and I’m just hoping that I don’t succumb to whatever the germs that are attacking me at this moment otherwise I’ll have to miss Nic‘s baby shower on Sunday and that is certainly something I intend to be at. Just two more days now and it is the weekend. Friday week, I’m going spinning! I suppose I’m a little nervous – trying out something new is always a challenge and now I’ve got all that lovely fleece I’m wondering if I will like it. I haven’t tracked down a net bag yet so I haven’t managed to trial wash some of the fleece yet but I’m hoping that pao will be feeling generous enough to stop in town on the way home and the shop will be open late so I can buy a net bag.

I was reading Knit Wit’s account of her college nerves and remembering how I used to feel. I’m still a little nervous around new people but hey, I’m planning to go to a baby shower with a whole bunch of people who I’ve never met before on Sunday – just hoping they don’t poke me too much with their pointy sticks. I think my confidence levels have improved in the last year – the thought of going to London to meet strange people would have me running a mile. I’m still trying to persuade pao to forgo the Grand Prix and travel up on the train with me. I absolutely hate the Tube so have been trying to find other ways of getting to where the shower is even if it does mean a million mile detour (no route yet but I’m working on it – even a boat would improve matters!!!). Actually that is slightly untrue – I hate the Tube when there are a bazillion people on there and you are squashed against a sweaty someone. Bleurgh! But Sunday should be ok, shouldn’t it? And I could completely break the yarn diet and call into Loop (sadly Stash isn’t open on a Sunday) so I can buy a bit more Frog Tree Alpaca?? Or even a little foray into that John Lewis place might assuage the pain of the Tube….

Well, I’m going to stop rambling on about my strange unfounded fears about meeting new people and show you what goes on at a typical country fair. These photos were taken at Preston a couple of Sundays back.

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There is the ever popular hoopla. This is a giant version.

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Lob the Loo Roll! Not something I’ve seen before.

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Splat the Rat is another favourite – this must be the Splat the Rat extreme version!

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Strawberries and cream are synonymous with the English summer.

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I was lucky enough to be sitting next to this lovely musical machine which played old tunes.

pao and I love visiting these sorts of things because they are a cheap source of books and it is fun to see how inventive the games are. Often you can find little surprises so they are great fun to be at. I’m on the look out for a hat and coat stand!

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But we did find this retro hair dryer though! Groovy, baby!

A shorn surprise!

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We are great advocates of Freecyle having got rid of numerous bits of furniture and odds and ends through them so it was bemusing to find that someone had sheep’s fleece advertised on there. Being the good husband that pao is, he immediately got me to email and we collected two on Sunday. I don’t know anything about cleaning fleeces or anything like that so I’ve found something on the web which said I should put small amounts in net bags and immerse in hot water with washing up liquid so that is an adventure for another day as I do not have any net bags yet. I’ve got to admit that the sheep’s fleece does pong a little but surprisingly not as much as I thought it would so I will be glad to get it clean. After I have cleaned it all, I’d better hope that I enjoy the spinning day that pao has booked me onto otherwise it will have to be used to stuff a cat bed or similar!!!!

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Phoebe: It’s my go on the chair but that fleece stuff sure does look comfy even though it is so smelly….

Summer Reading Program 2007 – Books 1-6

Kat with a K is doing the summer reading program again this year and I’ve already finished my first few books of the summer.

Summer Reading Program Books 1-6

All by James Herriot:
If Only They Could Talk
It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet
Let Sleeping Vets Lie
Vet in Harness
Vets Might Fly
Vet in a Spin

It’s June – it’s Summer Reading Program time again!

pao put me onto this series because he thought I’d find it amusing and he was right. I read all six straight away and I’m on the look out for more. James Herriot is a newly qualified vet who gets his first ever position with the inimitable Siegfried who immediately throws him into the deep end in a rural Yorkshire practice. Late night call-outs and snappy customers are all in a day’s work for this vet. Tristan, Siegfrid’s intelligent but lazy brother, is also around doing as little as he can get away with whilst he is trying to pass his veterinary examinations. In the 30s, when the book is set, training vets were allowed to practice and Tristan occasionally accompanies James on some visits.

The patients (and their owners) are ever so entertaining. There is Mrs Pumphrey and her Pekinese dog Tricki Woo. Tricki Woo sends his ‘Uncle Herriot’ gifts of smoked kippers so it is no wonder that James takes easily to that role particularly when Mrs Pumphrey decides to buy a piglet as a companion! There are many dour farmers who are either extremely kind in the face of great poverty or extremely mean.

James meets Helen in the midst of these stories and eventually she becomes his wife on the verge of the war.

These are such entertaining stories but some of things that went on would make you wince a bit – particularly the drink-driving but those were simpler days when there weren’t as many cars about.

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Now here is Ophelia enjoying our new chair! This was being thrown out but looked like it had hardly been used so we brought it home. It is very comfortable indeed!

Random St Nick

It has been incredibly muggy here so much so I had to get up and go sit in another room with a fan a couple of nights which made it hard to get restful sleep. I think I may have gone slightly mad if I didn’t have my friendly fan.

As it is Friday and my brain is in a fog-like state from sleep deprivation, I thought you might like to see more of St-Nicholas-at-Wade but I am only capable of randoms today!

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This is St Nicholas at Wade church.

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I loved the detail on this cross.

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Looking down the nave.

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Mmm purple – what a great choice for flowers!

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Have I reached Narnia?

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That dog knows how I feel today!

(waves from under desk….zzzzzzzzzz)

A secret underground chapel

We visited St-Nicholas-at-Wade one Sunday because the biennial open gardens event (lots of red there which I posted photos of yesterday) was on and I wanted to see the secret underground chapel which is in someone’s house. We didn’t see many of the gardens because it was hot, muggy and there were lots of people milling about in a small space and we wanted to get home for a nice cup of tea and a quick look round Littlebourne’s open garden event (nothing like being nosy in your own neighbourhood).

Anyway, St-Nicholas-at-Wade is supposed to refer to the way that sailors had to wade across to the sea shore. (St Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors.) I was quite astonished to see how busy the flower festival was (even busier than Wingham’s scarecrow trail) so we decided to look in the church and the chapel and revisit in 2009! 🙂

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We went down some very steep steps

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which led to some more steps lit by candlelight.

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We got to the bottom of the steps to see the most amazing underground chapel. The flash on my camera over illuminated things because it was very dark down there but you’ll have to take it from me that it was Amazing!

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Red red red

I haven’t been as active in Project Spectrum this year as I was last year but I saw these flowers during an open gardens event at St Nicholas at Wade and knew they would be perfect for the two months of red-black-metallics. This is probably my favourite combination out of all of them but I am looking forward to purple-brown-orange in August and September.

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Thunder and lightning

… and a very short blog post today as I’m not sure how well the wireless is coping with intermittent power cuts! There is a huge amount of rain out there and the patio is overflowing – luckily we have better drainage here than we did in the old house. The cats seem ok with it – poor Ariel is still terrified by the big bangs but we haven’t had a lot – just spectacular amounts of lightning.

So here are a few WIPs, I’m working on in June…
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A red scarf which was destined to be birthday present but now will be a Christmas present instead. I’m using a simple square pattern to provide some interest.

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The first sock I’ve worked on since about March. It is the Child’s French sock from the Nancy Bush book. I found that I’ve had to concentrate quite a bit with the pattern so it is possible that the first one may be wonky in places where I’ve lapsed. It does look nice though. pao and I spent ages unravelling the yarn for this when we were on holiday in Montenegro. He still has to unravel the very tangled pink yarn which I took with me just in case!

Better go – I’m pushing my luck with the wireless!

Growing into June

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What a difference a few weeks makes!
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We think our blue tits fledged quite a while ago so we’re watching out to see if the babies come back to our garden again. I think we saw some of them eating peanuts a week or so ago.

I planted up a whole bunch of new things in the vegetable patch. I just had onions and garlic there before. I planted some courgette plants, two pumpkins, and lots of beans. One of the pumpkins has had it’s head eaten off and the other looks like it has been dug up so I’m suspicious that slugs have been at work on one plant and the birds on the other. I may well have to buy another plant (only two out of the four seeds in the packet came up and it is possibly too late to plant seeds but I might give it a try!).

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Something is eating my beautiful courgette flowers. There are sad stumps where the flowers were – I suspect slugs again so I have been forced to put down some pellets. I have been advised to put plastic bottles over the top so the slugs can’t get near so I’d better get drinking!

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I managed to purchase some new courgette plants at our church fair for just 90 pence in total (I paid 99 pence each for the plants which have been devoured) so I have some spares! This may backfire and I might end up with more courgettes that I can possibly ever eat since pao doesn’t like them…. I am going on the theory that slugs will probably eat most and then I won’t really have that many fruit… There is also a foxglove in that photo which will probably go in the front garden.

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We bought two espalier apple trees to plant in big pots to fill in a big gap near the back door. I love looking out and seeing them there rather than looking out on another brick wall.

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pao loves acers (Japanese maples) so when we saw this beauty at the nursery in Preston where the espaliers came from, it had to come home with us 🙂 pao thinks that the Preston Nursery is a garden centre for boys because it doesn’t have many flowers.

pao also has a baby acer which we are cultivating.

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I have been inspired by a garden we saw in Wingham which was mainly populated with pots so there will be more pots appearing! I am growing potatoes and french beans at the moment.

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I took pity on Perdita last week because it was really lovely outside and let her roam in the garden. Unfortunately, she decided to climb up a tree and disturbed lots of birds next door so we had

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a very angry blackbird twittering at us.

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Ariel says she is going in – it is too noisy in the garden.