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


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.