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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Prolific produce

Dear souls, it is apple season and we find ourselves awash with a glorious variety of apples. Red stripes, pink blushes, pale green, darker green, some large, some small and somewhere in between. Oh, what a bountiful harvest we have, my dears. If an apple a day keeps the Doctor away, I can only hope we are reaping just rewards with our prolific consumption of such sweet, juicy fruit. Who does not love home grown produce, fresh from the garden, so deeply delicious, my dears. The added bonus from this bountiful harvest is the birds, bees and butterflies, as well as some stunningly beautiful dragonflies that visit the garden. We are so very fortunate, dear reader, to witness this spectacle. Nature at its best. 

The practice garment for my friend and colleague has been knitted, sewn together and tried on. Oh, the joy of a garment that fits well and the recipient is delighted with. Dear souls, one can breathe again. Now, the garment can be tweaked for personal preference; colour, texture and finishing details, all those delightful elements that make a garment. I am, dear souls, in debt to my friend and colleague, for in the time I have taken to knit one garment she has produced several garments for our little band of crafters. I am quite determined to pay my dues with my softly spun woollen currency. The response of my friend and colleague to an item that is bespoke and fits her well is music to my ears, as well as her enthusiasm for a reciprocal item being a joy to behold. 






Saturday, 16 September 2017

Ethereal autumn beginings

Hm, I do believe, my dears, that the temperature early this very morn was just 5 degrees. There was indeed a more chill air abound and the most beautiful, ethereal low lying mist. As the sun rose above the horizon the colours of the countryside were noted to be changing; whilst still largely green and verdant there is a slow creep of golden hues upon the horizon. Oh, how I do love the colours of autumn and the freshness to the air that invigorates one. Why by 9 am I had been out in the carriage, completed my business, returned and had a fine line of washing upon the line. The day has continued apace with the laundry freshly ironed and packed away, the house full of fresh crisp air and every nook and cranny dust free and ship shape.

The upstairs bathroom has been looking a little tired of late and thus, with the chores complete and my business for the day concluded, I have proceeded to put a fresh lick of paint upon the walls. I am really rather pleased with the new colour and shall delight in the finished decor in due course for it compliments the tiles more readily than the previous colour; quite delightful , my dears, quite delightful. 

After our little foray into the world of art and the artist last week we have had to, ahem, rearrange our existing small collection to accommodate a few small works. I know, dear friends, but one really does have to support the local artistic community and, it has to be said, what is not to like for a few well executed and chosen pieces of art really do become a home. Home, after all, really is where the heart is, do you not agree, my dears?

Saturday, 9 September 2017

10 Parishes Festival

Well, my dears, it is the beginning, this very day, of a most glorious event called the "10 Parishes Festival", with the Somerset Arts Week following hot on its heels later in the month.  Now, as I am sure you are aware, the male guardian and I do so appreciate those talented individuals who paint, pot, sew, sculpt or the like for a living. Indeed, I do so envy their talent but am realistic to the limits of mine own. These two events showcase some truly talented artist, some established, some just beginning but so worth a little peruse. Thus, we oft find ourselves during this time taking the carriage, or if close to our own locality, walking out with the intent of spending a little time appreciating the fine talents of these artistic people who open their homes, barns, galleries or indeed, garages to the general public to showcase their talents. I do so love a little viewing; what is not to like, my dears, on a Saturday or Sunday, taking time out of one's busy life to appreciate the fruits of another's labour. It does so remind me of the poem, "What is this life, so full of care, we have no time to stand and stare" (WH Davies); what better way to embody these words than in appreciating a painterly representation of nature or the like. Delightful, quite delightful. I do so hope you have the opportunity to take the time to "stand and stare" as I fully intend to do so over the months of September and October, both very rich in artistic talent in these neck of the woods.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Glorious art

This very eve the male guardian and I have enjoyed a glorious time spent at a private view of a local artist who resides minutes from our small estate. We are most fortunate to be well served in the locality with some very talented individuals indeed and therefore 'tis always a joy to spend time appreciating fine works. The scenes are a variety of views both local and national and oh, how glorious they were. Dear me, the heart was torn for I do find it most difficult to resist fine art. I am most keen to support local artists but find the number and variety really quite overwhelming. Sadly, one also has to consider the small matter of space, for I have gathered a small but personally aesthetic selection of local art. Such conundrums, dear friends.

Once again, colour, texture and the various mediums excite me.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Oh my, what fun

Dear souls, I have had such a wonderful day of crafting. My two friends and colleagues have spent the day with me happily making things together, one teacher, two students, and oh, what a day it has been. My gifted seamstress friend bought along a dress she had made for me in quite the most delectable of fabric and colour - why, my dears, I was quite overcome with joy, not least because of the exemplary craftsmanship that had gone into the making of said garment, it really is quite exquisite. As my other friend and I completed our simple dresses, my seamstress friend proceeded to not only tutor us but produce a most becoming linen t-shirt dress in quite the most delectable checked fabric; her talents have no end, my dears. The dresses we have produced ourselves have been crafted with many new skills learnt along the way, from the correct way to press a garment in the making to overstitching a seam for a professional finish. Oh, what fun with beautiful savoury scones and fresh coffee to refresh ourselves. What a glorious day, why I really have enjoyed myself, my dears.

The cropped cardigan is coming on apace, with the back completed and the left front commenced. Indeed, the garment was sufficiently advanced to show my seamstress friend who also admired it and is currently choosing a colour for herself. Quid pro quo at its best, one crafted garment for another. I really am so delighted that I am in some way able to return the favour.


Monday, 28 August 2017

August Bank Holiday weekend

Sadly, my dears, the male guardian is once again at toil however we have had one day together and the mornings to enjoy the amazingly clement Bank Holiday weekend before he sets off in the carriage. Just as I talk of autumn, the sun blazes forth from its hiding place and blasts us with temperatures up to 26 degrees. We have utilised the mornings to take time in the garden before the male guardian must leave, and then, when the hottest hours of the day have passed, I have spent time tidying the garden with a number of mechanised tools. Oh, how I do enjoy a piece of garden machinery, it makes one's life so much easier. Not that I am a shirker, you understand, for I am more than happy to wield a spade, shears or an axe like the next person, however, I am realistic in the use of time and some of these well chosen pieces make light work of some of the larger, heavier jobs. I am sure the gardening contingent amongst you will agree.

There has been a huge flurry upon the farms around us with the onset of  that rare commodity "sunshine" and tractors are abound from dawn to dusk, a sound I am most inordinately fond of. I am happy to idle in my carriage, strategically tucked in to a hedgerow as a tractor wends its way t'ward the farm laden with harvest. A wise move, dear friends, for they are larger than I and I would not like to meet them head on as I fear I may come off worse. A cheery wave is all I ask in return for the courtesy. 

Whilst the male guardian toils, I have returned to the stash of wool my late mother kept in preparation of knitting me a cardigan. Sadly, it never reached fruition but I kept it knowing that at some point I would utilise it. Well, my dears, I have begun a small project of a light, late summer/early autumn cropped cardigan in a most becoming sage green. I am sure you are familiar with the type of garment  I allude to, light enough to take the edge off a crisp breeze, yet warm enough to enjoy being outside without heavy encumbrance. My mother and I chose the original pattern and colour together and whilst I am as yet unable to execute the pattern she would have undertaken, I have chosen one with elements the same,  of a complexity I will be able to complete - might I suggest you take that to mean "easy" as opposed to "complex" in any way, dear souls, for I am nothing if not realistic in my abilities as a knitter. There is enough wool to undertake this, and maybe a little besides. This project is dear to my heart because we chose it together but will also serve me well, for if executed to a good standard, may be the garment I reproduce for my esteemed seamstress friend in return for her guidance in the needle and thread department. Now, what is there not to like about that, my dears. 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Sights and sounds of the country.....

As I write this missive, the sounds of the harvest being gathered abounds as the farmer wields his tractor to gather the bales. The sun is shining, the cows in the next field are heads down, enjoying the sun warmed grass and all around is dappled in sunlight. The last few days have been warm and bright in true summer style, with a cooler feel to the morning  and evening, a tell tale sign that we are edging t'ward autumn. Oh, how I do love mornings like this, waking to the sound of the countryside, with the smell of harvest in the air. The pigeons are cooing and the geese fly over intermittently with their distinct honking call echoing as they fly in their "V" formations; such a beautiful sight and sound. Our days are paced by the sounds of ripened apples thudding to the ground as birds alight from the branches. It is a joyous, plentiful time of year and busyness abounds as we prepare the harvest for the colder months.

The male guardian and I spent yesterday outside in light of the good weather; he wielding a paintbrush on the many windows and I wielding a most delightful hedgecutting machine. The windows required the coat of protection to be updated in preparation for the seasons to come and the yew hedge it's annual trim to keep it in fine condition. The hedgecutting machine is a most delightful thing for it has replaced the hand shears previously used and oh my, my how much easier a job it is now. It is a light and easy wielded piece and I am inordinately fond of it. I am also most proud of the yew hedge, protecting the bulk of the garden from inclement weather, standing proud and tall in crisply shaped finery.  

We were most delighted yesterday to receive a missive via the postal service from the Australias - such excitement I cannot tell, to receive an actual card in the post. Whilst I have taken to the electronic system like the proverbial duck to water, there is nought so delightful as a hand written something being delivered to one's home. We were most pleased to receive it and trust the reciprocal item is received in due course across the waters. 

The bells have begun to ring calling the faithful to church as the farmer gathers his harvest; sounds  so resonant of history through the years in these parts, as in many others. Another joyous day begins.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Such delightful fun....

My dears,  I have had such fun with my friends and colleagues for on Sunday last the three of us gathered for a day of learning, cutting, stitching, laughter and, of course, a garment, near completion. Why friends, I cannot remember such a delightfully fun and educational day for my friend is a very good teacher indeed. My other friend and I were duly instructed in the art of fabrics, cutting, familiarised with our machines and sewing techniques. Oh my, my, there is much to learn but, thankfully, my dear wise friend had planned a project that would allow us to produce a simple well made garment very quickly but also, wet our appetites for more. Well, the appetites have been well and truly wetted, indeed one could say that we have been positively salivating over the vast choice of fabrics available - we are like children and a sweet shop, our noses firmly pressed against the glass unable to make a choice from the selection arrayed before us. Oh, such delightful choices, so much potential; our dear friend is gently guiding us t'ward sensible choices at the correct level of complexity for our fledgling abilities and thus a garment nears completion much to both of our delights. It is a joy to learn a new and practical skill; who knows what delights await us, dear souls. I  am, however, most realistic to the fact that I have much to learn and am more than happy to be guided by my learned friend. A garment near completion and another on the needles, why, a positive ensemble emerges, my dears.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Colour and texture

Oh my, my, dear reader, the simple pleasure that colour and texture can elicit in me really is something to behold. I have spent an enjoyable few days immersed in just this and oh, the choice. Why, one's mind is all a dither for I have reviewed the full colour spectrum and how happy it makes me is beyond belief. Discussions about weight and colour, drape and texture have filled my mind for both material and yarn. Then, my dears, it is the consideration of season, for it is a most imortant aspect when considering a project. Not only are there these elements to scrutinise but also that of shape and form. Dearie me, so much to consider but so interesting to see the requirements of a garment, be it in yarn or material, that are generalisable to the two different mediums. At this fledging stage of my dressmaking ability my favoured maxim is "simple is as simple does" and I have therefore listened most ardently to my experienced friend when purchasing material for a little project. At the same time I have been scrutinising many a pattern to ascertain exactly the requirements of a reciprocal garment for my friend - such excitement dear souls.

It has been reported in the daily news bulletins that this has not our best British summer for some time. We had the brief spell of over thirty degrees and thereafter it has been rather wet, although one has to say, still warm in my opinion although, to be fair,  this is not perhaps the best milestone from which to judge being rather prone to the heat and preferring the cooler months. Whilst harvest began early it was stalled by the weather and I fear that t'is not the best year for the farming community with poor crop yields.  Alas, one's livelihood is be rather dependent on the weather as a farmer.

The orchard continues to flourish and the male guardian enjoys plums straight from the tree and juicy early eaters (apples). We are nearing a most prolific time of year and much work will start shortly on harvesting any crops not susceptible to the wet. We do hope you fare a little better than I fear the farmers will do locally

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Home baking......

Today, dear friends, was a baking day; a day to weigh and measure, beat, roll, stir and mix to the sound of Mozart playing gently in the background. There was pleasure in bringing together wet and dry ingredients, "sugar and spice and all things nice" as the saying goes. As you may remember, the male guardian is, ahem, slightly fond of a little sugar now and then and, in times gone by, I would bake every week but had latterly gotten out of the habit. Occasionally, I have a day where the male guardian is at his professional toil throughout a weekend and I take the opportunity to produce a little something to titillate the tastebuds. Often very simple, such as a Victoria sandwich or sticky ginger cake but enough to enjoy with fresh coffee and the periodicals, and, if we are lucky (and the male guardian does not cosume it all in two sittings), a tasty morsel or two for a day or so after it has been baked. On other occasions, when the tastebuds require something savoury, I turn to cheese scones, for we are inordinately fond of cheese scones for what is there not to like and, it has to be said,  my personal preference for scones. Once the chores of the day are complete there is nought so pleasurable than a fine cup of freshly brewed coffe and a slice of cake or a cheese scone to replenish ones energy levels, do you not agree? 

Since completing the woollen garments bound for the Australias, my mind has been contemplating the next project. I have to say, dear reader, I am a little excited, and yet a little nervous, as in return for a day spent tutoring me in the art of dress making, I have offered to knit one of my dear friends and colleagues a garment in return. Now, it has to be said, there is one thing to knit for family but quite another to do so for others, especially as said person is THE most amazing seamstress. I only hope I can live up to her own example BUT, fair is fair and t'will be done for I am a firm believer in the Latin saying "quid pro quo". With this in mind, I am currently scrutinising yarn and patterns in preparation, for it will be a delightful discussion to be had. Despite one of us being fair haired and t'other red haired, we share a similar colour palette and my friend has a clear eye for colour so it should be a good romp through colour, texture and pattern - what is not to like, dear souls.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Completed......

Oh such joy, my dears, for I have completed the two items of clothing now bound for the Australias. I am so pleased and delighted and I do so hope the recipients are too. I do so enjoy making and giving, such simple pleasures in life. My next exciting project awaits me, as yet undecided, but I do not believe it will be long before another garment is on the needles. 

Today has been a glorious day for airing the house and letting in the air, lines of washing have flapped in the breeze, curtains stirred at the windows and the glorious scent of the countryside pervaded our little home. The swallows swooped and swirled, twittered and tweeted and gloried in the air currents - such an amazing sight to behold. 

The little orchard is heavy with fruit and the little striped, red early eaters are so crisp, sweet and delicious. Later they will be followed by the cookers and then the glorious red orbs that keep so long that we enjoy them well into spring if stored well. We are so fortunate indeed to be the keepers of this little old orchard.  

Friday, 11 August 2017

Nearly there...

I am delighted to say, dear friends, that I am currently employed on the final leg of the gansey project for the Australian contingent of the family. The second garment is in the final "finishing" process and will soon be complete. I am quite delighted that both garments will shortly begin their journey t'ward the Australias. It has been a labour of love and I am most pleased for I am not an experienced knitter and have learnt new techniques along the way to add to my repertoire. It is such a delightful craft and I am enjoying the challenge but more importantly I find it most satisfying to see the various garments worn by the recipients. I am by no means in the league of my dear late Mother, for she was a knitter of many years experience and oft find myself wishing that I was still able to seek her advice on the more intricate complexities of the craft. All is not lost however for I will persevere in my endeavours and am most fortunate to be able to tap into some very experienced and creative people for all things woollen and knitterly - such fun, dear souls, such fun. I do so hope they are well received and fit the intended recipients, having had to use the male guardian as my model during the process which has been so very helpful. Time will tell my dears, time will tell.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

All in a good cause....

As described in my previous missive, the male guardian and I have been sorting, clearing and tidying.   
Many, many things have been repurposed and perhaps the most heartwarming is the one for the local animal charity. Oh my dears how hard it was to see so many delightful creatures requiring homes but we are safe in the knowledge that everything received will be used to fund care and attention for animals in need. Why, even the wool will be made into animal blankets by a willing band of volunteers and I have no doubt that the odd blanket will be crafted to join the donations from my own stash, for one cannot resist a good animal cause. 

Maintenance of our little home continues apace with more internal and external decorating complete.
In the latest electronic missive from the Australias we have heard that the Australian contingent of the family are employed in much the same, maintenance and gardening as well as harvesting of crops for the larder. As we begin the journey t'ward Autumn, they begin the journey t'ward spring; the ever revolving cycle of seasons following the earths revolutions, so reassuring in their consistency. 

''Tis a full and beautiful moon this very evening, a glorious shining orb in an inky sky - such beauty to admire and walk in the cool night air, bats swooping and foxes calling, the scurrying of small creatures underfoot as we partake of the glorious sweet and cool night air. As the nights begin to draw in at an earlier hour the temperature drops, all the better for sleep, cool dreamless sleep.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

"A place for everything and everything in its place"

With the completion of the recent works on our little home, the male guardian and I have been looking afresh at our home. As the years have gone by, we have been the recipients of many items, some wanted or dearly desired and some not quite so desired, when it is perhaps not in the kindest or politest of moments to decline those items pressed upon one, as I am sure many of you can also attest.   It was with a gimlet eye we have been reassessing the contents of our home. Being thrifty, we have also stored many items for those "just in case" times that never arrive. We have therefore, dear readers, been acquainting ourselves with many a local charity or thrift shop, as well as delivering items such as old towels and blankets to the animal charities and local vets who have been most grateful for the donations, never having enough of said items. It has, my dears, been both cathartic and great fun for the house now seems to have space to breath and we have had the opportunity to revisit times through photographs and items that remind one of snippets throughout one's life; photographs, birth/marriage and death certificates, items passed down through families and more. As well as these, we have culled items that we ourselves have introduced, plus the everyday detritus that can accumulate if left unchecked. The poor recycling gentleman have also been busy on our behalf for much paperwork has been reviewed and, that which is not relevant, has been discarded. We have utilised the oft used maxim "a place for everything and everything in its place" to assist our efforts; such sensible advice, dear friends,  as true today as when first uttered in the 17th Century, although I do believe there are a number of people who are associated with the first declaration.

As we move in to the month of August, this year feels like a "doing" year; completing works, sorting out, moving on and planning for times ahead. Before we began, it all seemed a little daunting but, my dears, now we have started it has been such fun. I do so enjoy a job well done for, as the saying goes "if a jobs is worth doing, it's worth doing well".



Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Great British summer weather..

Well, we did need a little rain and, oh my dears, how it was delivered upon us last evening. The forecast for yesterday predicted a plentiful downpour with weather warnings declared. As the evening wore on the air became evermore humid then, at one am, preceded by the loudest crack of thunder, the heavens did open and the deluge commenced with glorious lightning to accompany the tympanic beat of the rain upon our roof structures. Thrumming and drumming through the night, the ground drank that which poured forth, thirsty for water. This morn as, I set off for my professional toil, the landscape around our small estate was lush and verdant from the nights weather. Today has seen a repeat performance of humidity and quite the largest drops of warm rain bursting forth from the heavens down upon me as I arrived home for the day. Dear souls, it really was most refreshing and one has to confess to lingering a while in the estate gardens to appreciate it all the more after a hot, busy day spent in toil. What a foil to the day, surrounded by green lush foliage and washed in warm rain - I cannot put in to words the joy at the fresh breeze. I really am quite adamant, dear reader, that there is nought so enjoyable in returning to one's sanctuary at the end of the day to appreciate the fresh air and beautiful countryside we live in, whatever the weather.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Scented alchemy..

The smell of something can be so evocative it can recreate instances as though transported in time. I remember, as a child, visiting an old house in which there was a delightful set of rooms so unbelievably British with leather wing back chairs, wood smoke, old books and the lingering scent of wood polish. The family, grandparents to a school chum, lived in a delightful rambling home where dogs and cats roamed, with the homely smell of baking and laughter were ever present. I do believe, dear reader, that  we have recreated that scent of homeliness in our own small cottage, albeit aided by the presence of a rather delightful smokey scented candle, leather furniture and good old fashioned beeswax polish. How it does transport me, my dears. We are most fortunate to be able to purchase the most alluring of scented candles made fairly locally; not one for over sweet or cloying scents, I find myself in a minority it would appear, in a fondness for the smokier, woodier, chypre type candle. The male guardian and I were recently intent on purchasing one such candle at a well known department store. On asking if they stocked the more "masculine" type one prefers, the assistant exclaimed at finally meeting one of the "strange" people who liked said type of candle, stating they smelt awful. Why, my dears, the male guardian and I really found this most amusing indeed, and had quite the little joke with the two assistants, reminding them, with tongue firmly wedged in one's cheek, that "the customer is always right". Dear souls, how we all laughed and how delightful to reaffirm that no two people are alike. It is with great joy that I am still able to purchase my favourite scented candles as well as be reassured that, in the words of Lucretieus, "One man's meat is another man's poison". Clearly, as apt today as it was all those years ago.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Made in Great Britain....

Such excitement, my dears, for delivery of the long awaited sofa has arrived and oh, my, my, what a sofa. We are most delighted that it is British made and showcases the quite extraordinary craftsmanship available within our very own shores. Well worth the wait and diligent financial management to ensure a piece that one hopes will stay the course. The history of the company highlights a pedigree of supplying many a quality establishment with such pieces therefore we feel sure it was a wise choice, only time indeed will tell.

As I ponder on its fine lines, I have considered the wares we use within our home and am delighted with being able to showcase some further examples of fine British craftsmanship; utilitarian articles such as everyday pottery ware from both British and Scottish artisans, fine woollen items from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, bedsteads and mattresses, logburner, baskets, material, why even my wooden spoons and kitchen ware - all from the four countries that make us truly Great Britain. How I do love that, as I look around my small home, craftsmen and women from the four corners of this great country have added to the character of it, diligently working to produce fine or utilitarian pieces that contribute. Why even the wool that I use to fashion the woollen garments I oft allude to, is British. My dears, my little heart is swollen with pride as I am sure is yours, whatever country you hail from, when you see the diligence of your fellow countrymen or women set out before you. 

With that thought, dear friends, I feel the necessity for a fine cup of English Tea to celebrate.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Thump, thump, thump.........

Oh my dears,  I am so excited for the harvest has begun. The combine harvester arrived mid morning and so it began and still continues. Accompanied by grain tractors, up and down the field they go, the two grain tractors racing to and fro to collect the harvest. They have been joined by that most delightful piece of machinery, the baleing  machine. Oh, how I do so love the sound of the baler, thump, thump, thump, spewing perfectly formed golden bales in its wake. Clouds of birds rise and fall across the field, gathering their free meal as they go. I have given a cheery wave to the combine accompanied by the most widest of grins; they are used to me watching them, smile in place each year, delighted by the cyclical farming year marking my calendar. A full moon is anticipated tonight, better to appreciate the changing landscape surrounding us.

All change....

At last, dear friends, we are on the homeward straight and await the last tradesman for some minor adjustments to the room we have been refurbishing. We are inordinately pleased with the result, all the more for knowing it will be warm and snug through the winter months. There is something delightfully pleasing on seeing the results of upheaval suddenly turned into a place of warmth and comfort; my dear late father would certainly be most pleased that it was finally completed for it was not perhaps his favourite room in the house, it has to be said, for it had a tendency to be somewhat cool. Why, I can almost see him looking down upon us with a beaming smile upon his face, dear reader. 

We have also taken the opportunity to have the airing cupboard doors replaced whilst we had the relevant tradesman with us and oh, what a fine job he has done indeed, customising them to suit our little home. They have replaced a rather tardy set of doors that we inherited which really were not suited to the job in hand, having buckled with the warmth of the airing cupboard and did wax and wane in quite the most annoying way. I had long abandoned the hope that they would ever shut properly, my dears. The new customised doors really are a thing of utilitarian beauty that appeals to my simplistic eye and more importantly shut properly and firmly, much to my delight.

As part of the upgrade, we have been looking for a "new" sofa. The male guardian and I have always believed in upcycling thus when my dear late parents offered us a most serviceable sofa when downsizing, we eagerly snapped it up. This most solid piece of furniture was bought at one of those delightful of furniture auctions when I was a mere sapling and had been in their possession for some years. Grateful for such a finely made piece of furniture, I set about recovering it, and reader it has lasted the male guardian and I for over twenty years (already having been bought at auction and owned by my parents for many a year). Sadly it was decided earlier this year, as we sank ever lower in to the upholstery with spent springs abound, that it 'twas perhaps time to consider a replacement. My dears, what a minefield. I keenly searched for another second hand piece, hopeful to upcycle as ever. It is, dear reader, incredibly hard to find a well made resilient piece that one hopes one will buy and not have to replace in ones lifetime; a piece that is not a nod to fashion nor throw away as much appears to be, but a solid, well made piece of furniture that will stand the test of time such as that we had been fortunate to be given many years earlier. After months spent searching, we took the long considered option of looking at a new piece. Those who know the male guardian and I, know that this is not taken lightly and much research, checking, testing and considering is undertaken. At last, dear souls, a choice was made. The establishment visited on a number of occasions, sat on, bounced on, indeed almost turned inside and out, specifications discussed (for one is able to make a number of personal amendments to the specifications) and discussions had. Finally, a decision made and we eagerly await the piece, delivery imminent after being made in the workshop of the chosen establishment. It is a classic, solid piece of furniture that we hope will stand the test of time and the rigours of daily life. 

So much has happened in this first half of the year, why I do believe I am quite exhausted by it all, my dears. 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Fields of gold...

Dear souls, it has to be said that the peak of the summer months are not perhaps my personal favourite time of year due to an aversion to heat, however, I hold a strong aesthetic appreciation of the changing landscape around our little country home and beyond. The fields abutting the estate have turned from the acid green of spring to the darker green of early summer and now, with glorious sunshine abound, to the rich, ripe colour of gold preparing to be harvested. It is such a beautiful spectacle with the crops creating waves in the breeze like a golden sea before me, such a joyous sight. The smell of ripened crops is really quite a delicious fragrance unless of course one is afflicted with hay fever, when one is not quite so enraptured, me thinks. Once deemed ready, the harvesting tractor will cut swathes through the crops as a ship on the sea, with cut crops spewing behind as if a golden wake. Crop dust billows and all around us will be engulfed in the rich aroma and birds will follow in its swathed path in hope of any easy meal. I do so love the sights and sounds of this annual event.

The male guardian is once again in professional toil and I am most fortunate to have returned for the evening from my own toil. I am truly grateful for it has been another very hot day and we are most fortunate to have a gloriously cooling breeze to cool us in the sanctuary garden and surrounding countryside. Such a joy to return to on such hot days, with deep dark shade under the apple trees where cooling refreshments can be partaken. I find the orchard such a joyous place to be on hot days for it affords coolness at the same time as the ability to sit and enjoy the sounds of the birds and the lazy drone of the bees. What is there not to like about an English country garden, my dears? 


Sunday, 2 July 2017

A painterly weekend..

The joyful look upon the male guardian's face was really quite delightful, for a further day of sunshine announced itself early this morn, filtering through the apple trees and creeping in to the bed chamber. Once awoken, the dear chap prepared a most restorative cup of English breakfast tea, to be partaken sat up in bed - such a genteel way to start the day. Once restored and ablutions completed, we took the carriage to a local hardware store and purchased a rather becoming shade, mixed to our personal specifications, to decorate a newly refurbished room. Oh my dears, it really is quite lovely, we really are most pleased with the result even after just one coat. It really is most satisfying when a long held project reaches completion, is it not? I have no doubt there will be some marked activity over the coming week to complete the project.

What is it dear reader, that when the sun shines one feels the need to clean and clear, de clutter and repurpose? I do confess it is a process I enjoy very much although I am not so sure the male guardian echoes my sentiments. That said, the external fabric of the house has been assessed and my male guardian has proposed a number of small, but important, projects be undertaken during the summer months, thus further ensuring the upkeep of our little home. We will thus be snug as the proverbial bugs, one hopes, over the winter months.

This does not mean, dear souls, that we do not take every opportunity to enjoy ourselves and have very much spent the weekend outside enjoying the clement weather whilst we can, it is England after all.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Fruitful diligence...

My dears, life has continued apace, the garden continues to be fruitful and we were the most fortunate recipients of some delightful fruit grown by a dear gentleman whose allotmenteering is something to behold. Roses abound and generally our small estate gardens grow.

The male guardian enjoys the sunshine at every possible opportunity, why this very day having soaked up every possible drop of warmth and sunshine before the grey clouds have once more swept in. It has indeed been a lovely day and I took my chance to ensure the laundry flapped upon the breeze from an early hour. I do so love to see the laundry flapping in the breeze and to smell that beautiful fresh scent as I store the linen in the lavender scented airing cupboard. 

The schedule continues apace to complete the restoration of our small home; there is nought so satisfying as seeing long planned works come to fruition - so gloriously pleasing. Alongside this is the completion of the back of the second woollen garment bound for the Australias and work on the front commenced. Truly evidence that hard work and diligence brings benefit on both accounts.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Busy, busy, busy

Well, my dears, one can only describe the past ten days or more as busy, why I really cannot think where to begin. Perhaps 'tis best to start with our dear little home.

You may remember that each year we review the fabric of the house, consider the upkeep required and projects to be undertaken? Dear souls it has been full steam ahead, taking advantage of the good weather and utilising it for the better. Once again one must credit the small but merry band of workmen that we are most fortunate to have available to us. It has been most gratifying to see the work come together as they weave around one another to ensure timely completion of their individual crafts. Such delightful gentlemen. The male guardian and I bought this small estate in the knowledge that one could not afford to undertake major restoration all at once, therefore, we set ourselves a twenty five year plan to slowly but surely safeguard and maintain our home. My dears, we are nearing the end of the plan but the benefit of following our plan has allowed us to learn about our home, how the light affects it, how the weather can batter it and, importantly, how the essential rhythmic ebb and flow our daily lives affects it. When we arrived, it was a cold, damp, draughty building with a small amount of surrounding land that required a moderate amount of love and attention. Like any old estate it will need to be maintained and we are merely guardians for our time, preserving it, one hopes, for generations to come. For now, we are enjoying the fruits of our, and our merry band of workmens,  labours and what joy it does give. A lawyer, Mr Edward Coke,  in 1628 was credited with the Maxim "an Englishman's home is his castle" never more true today, I do believe, although perhaps the term "Englishperson's" would be more appropriate in these modern times.

The second woollen garment bound for the Australias is now in full production, growing stitch by stitch, day by day. Such a delightfully enjoyable pastime and so gratifying to produce such a useful garment. I was, this very day, the recipient of THE most finest knitted socks from a most generous individual who has taught male and female alike, across the generations, to knit woollen socks. My dears, they really are the most exquisitely stitched pair of socks, why I was quite beside myself with surprise and delight. Quite the most generous of gestures do you not agree?

We do hope you too have been enjoying the recent spell of warm weather though, as many a gardener can be heard muttering, we do need some rain for the garden. Happy pootling my dears.


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Oh my, my....

Goodness gracious, my dears, what on earth has happened to the great British weather? Normally variable with a tendency to the inclement, we are quite unbelievably enduring scorching temperatures - why, 'tis almost as if the world be upside down. Being fair of complexion and typically British, one does not "do" heat. The male guardian on the other hand is, as you know, inordinately fond of warm weather, although, even he endures it when going about his professional toil. Quite how the Australian contingent regularly cope with temperatures above 30 degrees during their summer months is beyond one's belief. I am not overly keen on anything too much above 20 degrees, it has to be said, especially when at toil. In our small country home, blinds remain at half mast and windows flung wide at night to aid sleeping, for it is most difficult to be comfortable with night time temperatures at 15 degrees and above - one is more used to seeing the mist of one's breath billowing forth in the cold night air than basking in warmth. I have no doubt the weather front will break soon and our usual service resumed. 

The second woollen garment bound for the Australias grows bit by bit, day by day, painstakingly slow, but it grows. Certainly a labour of love in this heat. Delightful mindfulness, click, click, click, the brain and mind intent on the growing garment, such a delightful state after a day of toil and, particularly, whilst waiting for the heat of the day to dissipate.


Saturday, 17 June 2017

Such fun....

Well, my dears, what a glorious day and not least due to the glorious sunshine we have enjoyed (or endured, whatever your particular penchant happens to be). The male guardian was once again duty bound, much to his consternation, in view of the sunshine of which he is more than a little fond, it has to be said. I was most fortunate in that I was to be attending a short course in the basement of a building where the art of Lino cutting was being taught. Outward bound early this very morn, I collected two girl friends who also happen to be colleagues, and we set forth with open minds to attempt the aforementioned art form. Dear reader, what fun we did have with a delightful time had by all - my companions really are quite gifted, producing some very nice images indeed - differing in style and form but really quite something to behold. It was a small group of eight which afforded the gentleman tutor time with each of us. The anticipation and thrill of the first print was palpable. Lino cutting took a little time to comprehend in that it requires the removal of sections of Lino that one's brain really believes to the contrary. After a number of false starts, we were away and the many images left in the drying racks for later completion showed an array of skills from experienced through to beginner (the latter bracket, my dears, One is happy to inhabit for there were a number of experienced and gifted students whose work was indeed an art form) and oh, what a lovely group of people. A thoroughly good day, with the next eagerly awaited to complete one's prints.  Oh the simple pleasure in making and producing is so enriching; learning new skills, grasping new concepts and bringing them all together to form a piece of art (of sorts, in my own case). So very good for the brain  too, to be challenged and stretched - so vital to keep one's brain working and moving forward.




Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Mid summer is nigh

Oh, how I do love an English summer with the mix of burgeoning flower beds, roses aplenty, the air scented with philadelphus, birdsong and bees abuzz with delight at the plentiful nectar; all so delightfully interspersed with a fine English downpour to refresh the air, blow away the cobwebs and start again. If we are fortunate, there are big blue skies with cotton wool clouds, or more oft than not, grey with darkening, looming clouds building to drench the land. No matter, for the light fades late in the evening and the dawn is announced with the sweet melody of birdsong at an early hour. Mid summer is nigh upon us and the summer solstice announces the beginning of shorter days. I can scarce believe we are here already, but here we are, my dears.

Our busyness continues with boundary hedges given a light trimming, lawns kept tidy and short, new growth monitored, plus regular dead heading of faded blooms. Such a joyous and plentiful time of year.

As I await the return of the male guardian from his professional toil, my hands are kept busy at the needles and lo, the first garment bound for the Australias is complete with the second begun. I am most pleased with the result and cannot wait to have it delivered to its intended recipient once the second is also complete. Click, click, click go the needles at any slight opportunity - a row here, a row there, all increasing the garment stitch by stitch. The male guardian can oft be heard quoting,
 "slow and steady wins the race" a maxim I am sure many of you are familiar with in the wisdom of the Aesop Fable,  " The Tortoise and The Hare", a most delightful maxim and lesson in morality for life itself. How interwoven in one's psyche they become, barely discerning when or how they were taught or, indeed, learnt. My dear late parents, however, were ardent readers and I remember a most delightful copy of Aesop's Fable residing in the bookcase on the upper landing, complete with beautiful illustrations. Why, one really should obtain a copy for one's own library.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

"When I'm an old lady, I shall wear purple...."

One is never too old to learn tricks nor new skills it would seem. A dear friend and colleague is quite THE most amazing seamstress, making all of her own clothes. Her eye for colour, texture, pattern shape and form really is a revelation, my dears. I do not believe I have met such an amazing seamstress, apologies to those of my siblings who undertake this art, but one really must praise such skill. Her attention to the finest of detail is something to behold. If a certain type of fabric is required but the colour not right, why she simply changes the colour of her chosen material. It is from this dear soul I have learnt the art of revamping my wardrobe with the simple skill of dyeing - such a discovery, my dears. With advice from my experienced friend ringing in my ears, I made a hasty early morning visit to the local hardware store (I do love a hardware store). The choice really was quite difficult but, the chosen colour selected, purchased and I was homeward bound before many souls had even ventured out for the day. Oh the excitement and wonder of this tantalising alchemy. Amongst the laundry now flapping gently in the breeze is a beautiful linen apron dress that I have dyed to a most exquisite French lavender shade upon the instruction of my most talented friend. My dears, how simple yet so clever and, it has to be said, practical. I do believe I am smitten with this simple skill and t'will not be last you hear of my ventures in to this chameleon like art.

The woollen garment bound for the Australias grows at a steady rate and now has two sides and a sleeve complete, with the second sleeve on the needles. I really am rather taken with both the shade and form; this pattern will become a firm favourite to use in years to come, such is its simplicity. I do not believe it should be too long before the second garment is in the making. As many fellow knitters will affirm, the next project is never far from one's thoughts; it is with this in mind that I have been perusing the vast collection of patterns for a short cardigan. The joy in looking, considering and pondering both the pattern and the wool is quite a delicious process that I am enjoying very much whilst my needles are busy. My talented seamstress friend and I both glory in the type of establishment that stocks our chosen craft materials and can spend hours lost in texture, colour or pattern. Yet another simple but remarkably practical pleasure to be had, with the additional joy in a completed garment.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Late May Bank Holiday

Who does not, dear reader, enjoy an English Bank Holiday? The late May Bank Holiday is all the more joyful for announcing that summer is around the next corner with the advent of the month of June and the longest day. Oh how the seasons flit by, barely a breath taken and we turn from spring to summer.

My dears, it has been a busy and fruitful week; you may recall the decision earlier in the year to continue with final push to update our little home and lo, it is all in order with plans discussed, dates negotiated and sections of the work already completed. Both the male guardian and I have undertaken small projects over this long weekend to assist in the final push. Such excitement I cannot tell. I find myself inspecting colour samples of paint with gleeful anticipation and not a little concern, for one wishes to ensure a practical yet inviting environment in which to reside. The male guardian is oft to be heard muttering "looking, looking",  a habit I do believe he has picked up from a certain element of the Australian contingent of the family, as he considers the options before him, much to my amusement.

We have tidied and sorted to our hearts content, such a cathartic busyness. I do so enjoy a sorting, tidying time, do you?

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Welcome breeze and weather warnings, the great British summer is here!

Well, my dears, there is nought like a weather warning to make one realise that the great British summer has truly arrived. We have endured or enjoyed, depending on your particular weather persuasion, temperatures of 25 degrees this last week and I, for one, am grateful for the gentle caress of a warm breeze this very day. The week before was a most becoming rolling thunder that resounded above my head - I do so enjoy a thunder storm. My late father was also inordinately fond of a good gloriously riotous thunder storm. I remember many a late evening, lights out, kneeling on the bed with curtains flung back, my twin sister and I with my father between us, an arm firmly round each of us, delighting in the crashes and flashes of natures full force. The rain drops seemed bigger, the lightning brighter and the booming crashes wild and hurricane like. Oh, how we delighted in those moments with my father explaining how the gods were throwing rocks at one another. To this day I have a vivid picture of the scene within my minds eye, my darling Father with the biggest smile upon his face, enjoying the spectacle unfolding before us. I do believe, dear reader, that my twin sister and I both still enjoy a good thunder  storm.

Summer was also a time of joy for my parents oft erected an enormous old army tent in the back garden for us to shelter under, eat under, sleep in at night and generally enjoy. The chickens and rabbits, if they had escaped again, wandered in and out as would the various dogs and cats, plus my siblings and I, six in number. The only creatures not welcome were the pair of albino rats my brother kindly added to the menagerie. Such joyous, fun, memories of growing up and the how the seasons formed part of those memories. I am most fortunate to remember them so well, like an old film roll in my head, albeit in the glorious technicolor of the particular season.

One memorable year my parents afforded our one and only family holiday which comprised said army tent and the whole family decamping to a place still dear to my heart along the coastline, barely fifty miles as the crow flies. Reader, we believed that we were in heaven, particularly the second week, which was afforded with much consideration and counting of hard earned pennies on my parents part. I cannot tell the joy of the moment as my twin sister and I realised another week was secured. Such simple delights, fishing, cooking on a simple stove, sleeping, living, laughing under one roof and the freedom, oh the freedom of sea, sand, countryside and spinney. Such innocent, joyful times that memories are made of.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Glorious sunshine

Why, dear friends, I do believe we have had our first taste of summer this very day. The sky was a most becoming shade of blue and the sun shone brightly. As is the habit of the great British public, every inch of grass, garden and park bench displayed a recumbent form lapping up the warmth of the sun lest we see no more and to feel the warmth upon their bones. The  look of sheer bliss upon their faces really was a sight to behold. I only hope, my dears, that a certain element of caution was also undertaken by those of a fairer complexion for the heat of the sun can fast turn a golden glow into a burning fire upon a fair skin. 

On return from our professional toil, windows have been thrown wide and the sun warmed air allowed to circulate through our home; why one can almost feel the deep breath of fresh air it inhaled, the warm scent of summer pervading every room - I do believe the male guardian was in heaven for he is somewhat fond of the warmer climate.

We have spent time in the sanctuary garden, enjoying the fresh breeze, and admiring the cottage borders, tending to plants and generally pottering. Our farming neighbours are tending the land, toiling early and late in the day; the familiar sound of the tractor part of everyday life. 
Tomorrow is forecasting another warm day; oh my, will it last until the Bank Holiday is upon us? I do fear, my dears, the curse of the Bank Holiday weather may beset us.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Literary completion...

Dear reader, I am quite beside myself with happiness for this very morn I have completed my little project. As I write, the male guardian is transferring his collection of literature that has erstwhile sat on the floor (so tardy my dears, but what is one to do) in to his "new" bookcase. I cannot tell the joy it has given me to take up the mantle again and upcycle a piece of discarded furniture. It really does give one a delicious frission of delight to see it completed and, importantly, in use. I have a firm feeling that this will not be the last project that I undertake. Chalk paint is a very nice medium to work with and gives such a becoming finish; I thoroughly recommend it, my dears. 

The knitted garment currently on the needles continues apace and the front section of the garment is nearly complete. I have no doubt that the first sleeve will be in progress before the weekend has passed. Such an enjoyable pastime and important to continue the craft through the generations as those have done before us; why, my dears, my darling twin sister is even showing signs of interest - so exciting to think that all of my mother's daughters will continue in her knitterly footsteps. Only time will tell but I am confident that I see a glimmer of hope twinkling. 

Much to my delight and hilarity, a dear friend and colleague sent me a moving picture of one of her gorgeous bantam chickens making that most delightful "racket" they elicit when excited - my dears, it did so make me laugh. I am very fond indeed of chickens having grown up with them and find their "chuntering" and "clucking", as they go about their business, really quite relaxing. A neighbour also has a few chickens in her garden and one can often hear them throughout the day clucking and chattering - delightful, quite delightful.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Well hello.....

Well, I do declare, it has come to my attention that we suddenly have a marked following from our Australian friends - a very warm welcome to you all. Indeed, it is so delightful and most gratifying to see the interest from across the globe, from the Australias , through America, Canada, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, France,  and so many more -hello to each and every one of you. I do hope you find our little musings interesting and amusing, a little light relief to enjoy. 

Unusually for England, and the great British weather, we experiencd a prolonged dry spell for the first part of the year, why mutterings of a drought had begun to abound, much as we British are won't to do - never more happy than discussing the weather. Much to the relief of the gardening fraternity, we have had a goodly amount over the last few days and, oh my, how does the garden grow. The new yew hedge is showing some good signs of growth much to my delight and, it has to be said, relief. The roses are beginning to bloom, foxgloves abound, Nepeta, geraniums, iris, infact an English country garden - why it makes my heart sing with delight, pride and joy to look at. Within the month of May we have the glorious gardening spectacular to encourage our wildest dreams with the Chelsea Flower Show scheduled. My dears, such a dangerous activity in viewing the delights on offer, why it really can do serious damage to ones bank balance.

The little bookcase project comes on a pace and last evening was spent undertaking a second coat of paint which looks most becoming, if I say so myself. I do like a little project and reusing, repurposing or upcycling (as it is apparently now referred to) really has become de riguer again, my dears. I am an ardent fan, it has to be said, for I really am not fond of the "throw away" habit that was so popular once upon a time. There is an inert sense of satisfaction in reusing items that were erstwhile considered past their sell by date, do you not agree? 



Sunday, 14 May 2017

First coat...

It has been, my dears, another productive day for the male guardian and I. Firstly, as we sipped our first cup of fine English tea, the male guardian espied an electronic message from Australia, how very exciting. We duly sat and partook of our tea whilst still in repose amidst the bed chamber - quite a delightful start to the day, dear souls, I really can recommend it. Such an update from afar, with all the news and goings on, that makes one feel part of it all. Much progress has been made and a busy pair of bees they have been indeed, being of a "doing" nature.

Not ones to sit on our laurels, we too have taken the opportunity to tidy and trim the garden as one oft has to do at this time of year. Whilst the male guardian undertook the never ending task of keeping the lawns at bay, I undertook to put a first fine coat of chalk paint on the bookcase we had purchased. Well, my dears, what a transformation, I am most pleased. There are further coats to be applied and a fine wax finish but, I have to say, that I am already satisfied with a most prudent outlay. More importantly, the male guardian has approved the project, much to my delight. Dear friends, I foresee many such projects in the future.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

A little something for the male guardian......

Well, dear souls, I really am most delighted with our most judicious purchase that was delivered early this very morn. The male guardian has for some time required another, yes, my dears, another bookcase to hold his growing collection of fine  and varied literature. Being keen to utilise a piece that had seen some use, we have for sometime kept watch for such an item of furniture - they really are quite, quite difficult to find at a reasonable price. As chance would have it the male guardian took the carriage through a local town recently and I happened to glance to my left and there sat the very bookcase at the front of a house clearance establishment. From that quick glance I was able to determine the well made dimensions and solidity of the piece despite its somewhat vulgar, poorly executed decoration. Why, my dears, we returned with alacrity before it could be snapped up and the male guardian most courteously haggled with the charming lady owner. For the princely sum of £75 fine English pounds we are the proud owners of said piece, delivery being part of the deal. I am really most delighted and have spent some hours today hand sanding the entire piece in preparation for the first coat of a rather becoming shade of chalk paint, chosen by the male guardian himself. Words cannot tell the absolute delight this piece of furniture has afforded me.

Now you may indeed be wondering how one has the temerity to describe the "vulgar, poorly executed  decoration" and then clarify ones intention to paint the item oneself - it is perhaps best at this juncture that I reassure you that I am indeed fully qualified to undertake this having served a three year apprenticeship many years ago before my current professional calling. I did, in my early years, run a small sideline of furniture restoration or "upcycling" as I believe it is now called. It was a most enjoyable venture and produced a most welcome extra means of finance. I am overjoyed to see this form of recycling come to the fore once more and can firmly expound the delights of such a project. I really cannot wait to see the item in place but patience is most important for "preparation is key" was firmly reiterated time and again by the the master craftsman who tutored both the male guardian and I at the local higher educational establishment; a most talented of gentlemen. This is indeed where the male guardian and I met, marrying much to the delight of the Tutor who took great delight in explaining to all and sundry that he had attended the wedding of two of his apprentices - it was really not usual for there to be a female apprentice in those days and caused quite some confusion when said, much to the  great hilarity of our dear, gentle tutor. Ah, how times change indeed for this is not unusual at all in current times. 

That said, I really must get on, for supper is yet to be prepared and the physical exercise has given me quite an appetite, dear friends. I will, of course, keep you updated on progress; who knows, a little seed may just have planted itself for future reference in relation to sidelines - one must have hobbies, my dears, must one not?

Friday, 12 May 2017

Busy bees

Well, dear reader, what a busy week the male guardian and I have had. The log shed is satisfyingly full, a section of the Orchard has been re-seeded, cakes baked, visits to the delightful city of Bath undertaken as well as smaller towns nearer home, select items purchased for the house, deliveries delivered, tests undertaken, workmen seen and plans made. My dears, it has been quite the most productive of times. The woollen garment currently on my needles grows daily inbetween activities, favourite books revisited, fresh brewed coffee partaken and even lunch a' deux partaken in the City of Bath; why I do believe one needs a quiet weekend to recover before our usual routines are restored. It has to be said, we have been most fortunate with the weather. Sitting outside a most pleasing establishment in Bath, one had the opportunity to watch the world go by, glory in the most delightful architecture and enjoy the glorious sunshine. Dear souls, whilst one enjoys these trips to the City enormously, one really does like to come home; we travelled through a most delightful amount of beautiful countryside in our travels but none more welcome, in the resonant voice of that well known Welshman, than "the green, green grass of home". We are, it has to be said, home birds and enjoy nothing more than time spent on our little estate, which amidst our busy schedule, we have also taken the opportunity to do. 

A calm weekend is planned and no doubt some time will be spent pottering about the estate. A most enticing iced ginger sponge is tantalisingly stored in the larder, along with fresh coffee and some fine English tea to be brewed - such largesse, my dears. I have no doubt, English weather allowing, some leisure time will also be had enjoying the garden and partaking of a little light refreshment. We do so hope that you too have such delights awaiting you.


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Logs and lemon cake

Oh my, what a day we have had. Full of doing and busyness but oh, so satisfying. Woken by birdsong and light, I woke early, keen for the first cup of finest English tea. Our thirst quenched and a number of rows added to a garment bound for the Australias, I rose and went to purchase the Sunday broadsheets as well as a few supplies. The male guardian was ensconced in pages of a most riveting book and lay a while whilst I gathered my purchases. Thus ready, I donned my apron and baked a luscious lemon cake to partake of later in the day, much to the male guardians delight. A short time pursuing the broadsheets with a further large cup of English breakfast tea and thus we set about our task. The day was spent in toil filling the log shed with dry seasoned logs in preparation for the colder months. Tired but satisfied, we stopped at teatime and partook of a generous slice of luscious lemon cake along with a further large cup of tea. Dear reader, it was a most welcome repast at a the end of a busy few hours spent in physical toil. 

Once refreshed, we spent some time catching up with the Australian contingent, swapping photographs via the electronic postal service - such an amazing invention my dears, one really should try it. Thus updated, we have spent a quiet evening enjoying our leisure time. We do so hope your day has been as productive and enjoyable dear friends.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Glorious May

Well, my dears, what a glorious month is the month of May. The weather is warmer, the days are longer and all around us abounds. We are most fortunate that our small country home is nestled amidst rolling countryside, on a single track lane with hedges that are currently brimming with the most bountiful cowparsley, bluebells, pink campion and wild garlic - oh the joy ''tis to behold, quite, quite beautiful. The roses in the sanctuary garden are just beginning to bloom, the nepeta has grown apace, and so much more - why it makes one glad to be alive with all the fresh growth and beauty. 
The male guardian and I have spent the day in the garden, tidying lawns, potting on and planting, staking and tying in. The laundry has flapped and dried and is now stored, sweet smelling in the airing cupboard. Such a joyous day; simple pleasure in jobs well done, laundering complete, house aired and warm. A simple country supper will be taken and a quiet evening spent enjoying our time together. 

We have spent some time considering the list of jobs required to keep our home in best health and therefore decided on a plan of action for this year; a time of excitement and trepidation for the upheaval, however, one must not "spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar" and thus we move forward.
Come winter time we will reap the benefits and the hope of satisfaction in a job well done. We will, of course, keep you up to date with progress, dear friends.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Early May Bank Holiday

Despite a deluge of rain throughout the evening and night, the early May Bank Holiday has been a glorious day. The male guardian and I popped along to the May Fair, as we have  done for many years. We have always purchased a number of plants from a delightful team at one of the regular stalls; they are renowned for their good quality plants. Today was no different and we purchased some glorious geraniums for the window boxes along with numerous other tempting plants for pots around the sanctuary garden. The male guardian also most generously bought me a new basket of a most delightful shape and size, the dear, kind man knows me too well. 

After a light repast, we spent some time reviewing and clearing the log shed in preparation for next winter's wood. This has been stacked for a year or so drying and will now be cut, chopped a stacked once more in the log shed ready for use. We are most fortunate to have had the space to build a large log shed when we moved here many years ago, that has two bays. Each year a bay is allocated for the fires and the other to be drying in preparation for the following year. We have also tidied and sorted the shed in to a semblance of working order. Such a fruitful weekend.

After a small supper we have spent the evening quietly and I have taken the opportunity to add the odd row or two to one of the garments bound for the Australias; so very satisfying. I do so hope your weekend has been equally good.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Hello, dear friends.....

Hello dear souls. We are sorry that we have not been in touch for a while but sometimes it is good to be introverted and restore one's equilibrium, and we have been doing just that. It has given us time to contemplate and consider and make plans.  The male guardian and I have continued our professional toil but also taken time to consider our options. Thus, there are many changes afoot, some large, some small but adjustments and tweaks to one's personal and professional lives to make the future brighter, more considered, with new vigour and verve for life. We have spent time in the garden, particularly since the British Summer time began and how delightful to see the fruits of one's own labour, most delightful. The hundreds of daffodils and narcissi planted were quite a most spectacular show and oh my, the heady narcissi scent, a joy to the olfactory sense. The apple blossom is in abundance and creates a confetti layer upon the lawns. The yew hedge planted a year or so ago shows determined sign of growth much to our delight. Our home continues to steadily progress and provides a welcome sanctuary, as always. Our professional toils have also brought joy with promotion and recognition for commitment, how utterly delightful. 

In our time at home we have once again revelled in time spent together amidst our busy lives. We are both once more hale, hearty and happy pursuing projects together and separately that give us both joy.    
I continue the fine yarn art and am several pairs of socks down, plus currently being mid project for the Antipodeans. Our other interests continue apace and give great joy with some successes. 

The Antipodeans continue to delight with news from afar, and oh the news they do share, most exciting and uplifting; we are so delighted for them. News from other sources, both at home and abroad continue to delight and we revel in everyone's news. All so exciting my dears, so very exciting.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Dear reader

Dear reader, life without our gorgeous Lucy & Jinks goes on. There is nought so strange as returning to one's home at the end of one's professional toil, not to be met by the overtures of our beloved Maine Coons, as they lead you up the garden path, chirruping at how late one is and did I not realise the time, for supper really should be ready by now. 
Many times I have caught myself looking for them, or feeling for them at night as I lay waiting for sleep, the comforting weight of their warm body whilst the male guardian works his night shift. Life, as you have seen over these few years, throws many a curve ball but regardless, goes on. This is indeed how we find ourselves. Spring flowers raising their faces to the sun, primroses, daffodils, hellebores and snowdrops bringing such joy. The euphorbia is really quite spectacular with beautiful acid green bracts, so vivid, why my dears, they quite glow but all without the ever present companions, for this is what they were. I find myself reflecting on the joy they gave, along with the comfort and companionship in return for a comfortable, warm home and regular meals. 
Very much as both Lucy and Jinks would wish, other felines have benefitted from any stocks of delicacies and the like that we had stockpiled for their delectation, fond as they both were of a fine morsel or two, as you may remember. 

The pattern of life is therefore changed but we continue, with a little mark of sadness eternally etched upon our hearts. The Antipodean cousins however are flourishing in their surroundings and we are fortunate to receive regular updates on progress, which is always most delightful. Our own lives are looking forward t'ward the future but our pleasure in a simple country life continues. As the wind and rain build, our little home is warm and snug, the log burner lit against the chill; beautiful classical music echoes gently through the rooms as I work upon a second pair of fine woollen socks for the male guardian. I do so like a little something to keep me busy for we do not wish for the Devil to find work for idle hands now do we.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Goodbye Lucy

Dear readers, 

Lucy has gone now to see her brother, for which she was ready as her body was tired and she was weary. Thank you so much for following Lucy, and indeed Jinks, over the last few years. It has been our pleasure to share their antics, and there were certainly many. From the day we brought them home we knew that our lives were going to be different, very different. Where Lucy went, bold as ever, Jinks would follow, somewhat more slowly and with trepidation for, despite being the larger of the two, was the softer, more nervous. They did however give us many, many hours of laughter and love for which we are truly grateful. Maine Coons really are lovely animals and love nothing more than to curl up with you. We thoroughly recommend them and would not have been without them for a moment. They have left a gaping hole which will be hard to recover from.

Thank you once again

Lucy & Jinks' Guardians

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Last day

My dear friends, if one could select one's last day on this earth, then I truly wish you the one that I have just had. Our night was spent snuggled together, with myself carefully ensconced between my darling guardians. On waking, we spent a glorious hour or so cuddled together before rising. Sadly, my hard earned appetite had once again deserted me, but no matter, for I was not preparing for hard work, merely enough to enjoy my last day. We have spent another short spell in the sanctuary garden for the sun shone enough to enjoy the warmth and the breeze to gently ruffle my coat one last time. How glorious to sniff the fresh country air full of the promise of spring, listen to the birdsong and just breath. Sad, as I am to be leaving my guardians, I am ready, for my body grows weary and my brother awaits me. My guardians are heavy hearted but, like myself, believe in quality of life and the dignity of a peaceful death. 

As I look back on my life I experience a feeling of joy at the life I have had with my brother and my darling guardians. It is no mean feat to look back on one's life with no regrets, for I have none, just a joy at the simple pleasures our little family have enjoyed; watching over my guardians caring for our small country estate, entertaining a select number of visitors, particularly the Antipodean members of the family, winter evenings spent around the fire, summer days in the garden together, all four of us enjoying the fresh country air. Oh, what a life. I do so hope you enjoy yours too, for as my lady guardian can oft be heard to say, "life is not a rehearsal, this is it". Do not wait for those big events, or the expensive pleasures, for they pale into insignificance beside a simple handwritten missive, a kind word, love, kindness, laughter and, importantly, touch. My guardians give the most expressive cuddles and hugs despite their reserved exteriors, for I should know, having experienced many in my time with them and will do so til the very end. Every day is a bonus and for those who are old, frail or ailing, as I am now, the simple pleasures are what makes it bearable; comfort, warmth, kindness and peace, all of which I have had in abundance and will be my lasting memory of time with my guardians.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Holding my own

Well, my dears, I am still here and am apparently "holding my own" whatever that may mean, but I do know that the intended visit from the V-E-T today has been put off. I know that this is all down to the care and attention I was afforded at the hands of the said gentleman, who was diligence itself. No hair was unturned in his intent to improve upon my ailing health which has given me a small reprieve from the inevitable, even though this means hours and days rather than weeks or months. I am grateful for this, as I wish to spend what time I have with my loved ones. The care I received, along with fluids and medication, restored my appetite, albeit small. Who, dear friends, would not be tempted by rotisserie chicken, freshly purchased by the V-E-T-I-N-A-R-Y team, and fed to one whilst warmly ensconced upon a lap? I do believe they went above and beyond the call of duty in their attempt to assist me for which I, and my guardians, will be eternally grateful; a few more hours or, at best, a day or two, to spend in each other's company, is all we ask, and, for the moment, are hopeful of.

This morning, I have had a small, light repast of tuna and some fluids, and even a brief turn around the sanctuary garden to say my goodbyes to all those nooks and crannies that are so familiar; my favourite apple tree, the beginnings of spring buds beginning to show and the freckled faced lemon clematis that scrambles up the branches from next door, resplendent in its spring finery, the tête-à-tête daffodils planted in the large pots by the back door are discernible, and all around me I see the beginnings of another year. I took some time to pay my respects to my darling brother, forwarning him of my imminent arrival, for, as you may remember, he never did like surprises. I am calm and at peace with the inevitable but know that the hearts of my darling guardians will be broken. Time, as they say, is a great healer and I know, in my heart,  that my brother and I will never be forgotten. What more could one wish for in life and death.

For the moment, I will relish what we have, which it has to be said at this moment is the mildly enticing wafts of fresh chicken roasting for my personal delectation, should I so wish it. 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Well, my dears, after a difficult week health wise, I am thankfully returned from a little visit and overnight stay with the v-e-t. We are now aware of why I have been unwell and, dear friends, it was not good news. I am, however, where I want to be with my darling guardians and we will spend as much quality time as we can together. I know my guardians will, as always, cater for my every need/desire but these are simple and I have all that I wish for as well as knowing that I will have a peaceful end. My only other wish is to be buried alongside my darling brother who I hold dear in my heart for we weathered much in our early lives together.

As with many who have gone before me, I look back over this life of mine with its inherent upsides and downsides. After a difficult first three years, my brother and I were lucky to be taken in by my guardians and, oh, how our fortunes changed. We learnt the joy of a loving family life, the patience of my guardians as we adapted, a warm comfortable home, regular healthy food and joy in the simple things in life; a glorious country home, peace and safety, of which I have oft extolled the virtues. Life, stripped back to the bare essentials comprises these simple but important elements, with the more extravagant paling into insignificance. All of this brings me great comfort and I will relish the time I have left with those I love. 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Bleak mid winter

The weather was quite bitter again today as my guardians went about their chores of bringing in the wood and ensuring enough kindling for the week ahead, as well as meals prepared ahead to give wholesome comfort on their return from their professional toil. I have observed them as they work and considered the countryside in which we live for it intrigues me that we sing about the bleak mid winter to celebrate Christmas yet February really is the bleakest month. Bleak, however, does not necessarily convey the beauty one can also observe for the countryside may be stripped bear but there is beauty in this with the clean lines of the hedgerows and trees, smoke emitting from chimneys and people wrapped up against the weather. Seed heads, ivy and evergreens forming the foundations of gardens in winter time. Frosty weather sprinkling it all with glitter or bitter winds causing birds to rise up and swirl in the currents. The Nordic countries have introduced us to the more enjoyable elements of hunkering down and taking comfort in these harsh condition rather than enduring; a log fire, wholesome food and drink, good company and enjoyment in simple pleasures, as I myself believe in. We have therefore very much embraced this ethos this weekend and enjoyed fire time with the log burner lit early each morning, going about our little routines and enjoying time together.  Time to recharge and rejuvenate where possible. 

I have been off colour for some time and really only observe life from the comfort of a warm lap or my gloriously comfortable basket that is raised off the floor and so comfortable, protecting me from draughts with raised sides and soft, warm fleece on which to snuggle down. My guardians are tending to my every need but I have somewhat lost my appetite and joie de vivre. It pains me to see their concern but, in cat years, I am elderly and have enjoyed a good life here in our little country home. I am loved beyond belief but, as we all know, every life comes to an end. Only time will tell, dear readers, how this little episode will end but for now I wish you a fond goodnight, 'til, hopefully, the next missive.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

A most beguiling blog

Whilst enduring the rigours of the winter weather we have employed ourselves in various ways such as the essential chores but fitness, music, reading and the arts too. It is whilst perusing the latest updates of fellow bloggers, as we are apparently termed, that I espied my lady guardian reading a missive from a most intelligent and gifted lady, Kate Davies. My lady guardian admires the craft as well as the art but also the masterly word and presentation. Here is someone who has endured potential catastrophic health problems but has overcome to rise with aplomb and excel at something she clearly adores in a most delightful situation in Scotland. In short, a most successful recovery and one that has bought such richness for her and her husband, along with their companion Bruce. It is, one has to note, a little sad that one does not hear much of their feline companion but, perhaps they are as shy and retiring as my late dear brother. My lady guardian is a fellow knitter but, as she is very quick to comment, of basic ability and in no way comparable to M/s Davies but nevertheless follows her musings, writings and productions with great delight. Something to aspire to, as she is oft to quote. Do take a look if you are at all interested in intelligent and gentle scholarly discourse on the art and craft of knitting, there is a whole new world of history, art, craft, textile and wool in which to immerse oneself at this time of year as well as the most beautiful photography by her husband Tom, all intertwined with the joy of life, good friends, furry companions and the most awe inspiring scenery. Something to enjoy, my dears on cold wintery days.

https://katedaviesdesigns.com/

Snow flurries

February, my dears, is not truly February without the addition of some snow and today we are seeing the odd flurry. ''Tis nought but the odd burst but the wind is bitter and one feels it keenly. I have little  doubt that my guardians' will ensure the homes fires are alight early to warm the fabric of our little home. As we write, I am curled upon my lady guardians lap, swathed in a most comforting knee rug of the finest wool to keep me warm, for I feel my age most keenly on these bitter days. Ensconced thus I am free to observe the world or nap as the will takes me. It is times such as these that I take time to let my mind wander at will; my thoughts are currently of fond memories of life with my dear brother and my darling guardians. We were most fortunate to find each other in times of need and have spent the last nigh thirteen years thus. As I ponder, I am greatly aware of my advancing years and health that is beginning to decline. Like many of my fellow felines, and indeed, humans, we find that age does not come alone and one's world begins to narrow to the essentials of food, if desired, warmth, love and kindness. I am in the fortunate position of having an endless supply of these essentials but alas know this is not true for everyone. 'Tis important to remember, however, that life does not come with a guarantee of reaching our later years and it is a time to enjoy, where possible, for there is enjoyment to be had. I, as you know, believe in simple pleasures and am greatly enjoying the warmth and comfort from time spent with my guardians whilst we experience this cold snap, with the benefit of a most comforting warm rug.

The Antipodeans continue with the new phase of life, currently betwixt and between, but with a most definite forward trajectory and we regularly monitor their progress from afar. How delightful to see the twists and turns of individual life maps. Whilst my lady guardian and her sister may be twins their life maps have been quite opposite, true Pisces, swimming in opposite directions across the hemispheres but connected by blood lines. So very fascinating for one to observe and pontificate upon. As one ages, one considers one's family and the relationships with the twists and turns across the map of life that play out before one. Life however comes down to simple things in the end, something one only realises with the benefit of age but the important addition of maturity, and a little wisdom thrown in. 

Monday, 6 February 2017

Oh dear me......

Oh dear me, dear friends, where does the week go? Why it has been so busy of late my head quite whirls, full of music and art and other interests, aside from the usual daily routine. As well as their professional toil, my guardians manage to slot in such varied interests that enrich the hearts and minds, as well as giving such great enjoyment. My lady guardian is most diligent in her attempts to learn to read music and play an instrument; most days see some form of practice, be it the instrument itself or the music. Why, whilst my male guardian was engaged in his professional toil over the weekend, many hours of practice have been accomplished and, as the maxim states, "practice makes perfect" for my lady guardian is able to play a short classical piece already, much to her delight. Perhaps the greatest delight is that we have not received any complaints from local residents yet, for which we are grateful; one does assume that two foot thick walls absorb the sound but one must be mindful to ensure neighbourly relations, must one not!

The Art classes are sadly coming to an end and what fun they have been. My lady guardian has been enthused anew and is researching further options to enhance upon that which she has recently undertaken. As my lady guardian says, there is so much more to experience in the field of art. The hours spent at the art class are a world apart from everything else and the mind is freed to embrace visual concepts, or as my lady guardian says, "float in the ether and enjoy" (ever practical and down to earth, dear reader).

The Antipodeans have taken the next large step in their life plan and briefly spoke to us via technology over the last few days. Oh what a step they have taken and one that made our family smile for they did appear most joyous, something that makes us all happy. Despite clearly being tired at the upheaval, it was worth it and we are sure that the next phase of their lives is well and truly begun. My cousins, Timmy and Tammy, have taken to the upheaval in their own ways with Timmy grasping it with both paws and Tammy, much as my dear brother would have done, by seeking solace somewhere warm and out of harms way. Once all has settled, I am sure that this little family will be most truly content, as we are, my dears. All part of life's rich tapestry, dear friends.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Sunshine, daffodils and washing lines

My dears, the sun has broken forth, the sky is largely blue and, oh my, how fresh and bright it does feel. The light has changed and one feels the tiny movements towards spring. Taking stock of the garden, we have espied daffodils poking shyly forth from whence that have been resting. My lady guardian has embraced the day and the washing line flaps with quite an enormous amount of linen being refreshed and how we shall enjoy the aroma as we fold and store it all later this evening - such a simple pleasure but one that satisfies the soul. Kindling has been prepared and logs gathered in for this evening as, though 'tis delightful during the day, it remains cold at night. The windows have been opened and the house breathes lungfuls of crisp air to refresh each room and the house begins to stir in preparation for the lighter months. For this evening, my guardians have both received a journal, through the postal service, to be enjoyed as the fire crackles and warms the refreshed rooms. 

The garment started by my lady guardian's late mother nears completion, wool chosen to contrast with that started and buttons, yet to be chosen. A garment kept with memories and joy at having completed a project that was shared. My lady guardian's mother was a prolific knitter, having six children to clothe, and taught them all the art and craft of the needles, all of whom produce garments of one type or another. How lovely to contemplate the art of the craft continuing, such a delightful heritage, and really,my dears, quite the most practical.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Time....

Well, dear souls, it has indeed been an interesting time of late. Not only has dear England made some important decisions but all eyes are on our American friends as they move from one president to another. Interesting times indeed; for some frightening, others enlightening; whichever direction, lets us pray, dear souls, it is peaceful.

Time is also something that has become better utilised in our own lives as we move from one phase to another; time has been freed from previous commitments to allow for new ventures and horizons. Life twisting and turning in ways one had not foreseen. One has to say, my dears, from where I, the feline member of our little family, is sitting, we are indeed in a fortunate position

January can, dear friends, seem like such a bleak month. The last few days have been frosty and cold but the joy in hunkering down, log burner ablaze, is really quite delightful. My male guardian returned from a night of toil yester morn and we have spent the time delighting in our favourite simple past times, simple but significant, as family time should be.