Tuesday morning Pitch and Stitch - 10.00am to 1.00pm

Tuesday morning Pitch and Stitch - 10.00am to 1.00pm
This hanging from Annie Downs' Hatched and Patched book should be in every caravan as a cushion or decoration!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Fab Four and Liverpool

What an amazing time we had on our day trip to Liverpool!

Of course, it started fairly badly when, due the roadworks at Didcot Station, we missed our first train.  However, the staff were fantastic and re-did our itinerary so, by 12pm, we were rolling into Lime Street station.

Liverpool was everything I didn't expect it to be - clean with beautiful buildings, full of friendly people and so much to see.   First we headed to the Albert Dock

Then, at 1.00pm we hopped onto the Magical Mystery Tour and were taken everywhere - to the Beatles' family homes,

(How could 4 boys who went on to be known world-wide have started life in such ordinary houses?)

as well as to

and to see all the other amazing buildings.

Then George spent hours (seemed like - I went off to have a rest) looking round the Beatles Story exhibition.

Then we went to look across the Mersey

Then for a quick peak in the

Then a stroll (which eventually turned into a panic-stricken sprint when we got very lost) through the Christmassy shopping streets back to Lime Street Station for our 6.30 train home:

It was quite an adventure!!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Fruitless Search for Holy Quail Eggs

So it's finally upon us!  I spent today driving a round trip to Bristol Airport to exchange presents with my sister.  It took me about 6 hours instead of the 3 I expected.  Besides getting lost numerous times and driving through the middle of Bristol, I also stopped at every town on the way home trying to buy Quail eggs.  I wasn't surprised they didn't have them at the service stations but I did expect more from Waitrose.  Although feeling a bit frantic about it (gets like that at Christmas, I find - I tend to get obsessed with details) I finally realised that my own eggs sliced in half would be just as good!

I was very pleased to find, when I finally got home, that Jonathan had made a Christmas corner in the best room!

It doesn't sing or walk around or fly like the stuff I buy,  but I love it!

The last of the 2015 Lorne Hill Farm workshops was held last Wednesday

And Jackie made some lovely felt decorations at Pitch and Stitch.

I haven't managed to finish my Father Christmas, but will do over the next few days.  After tomorrow, when I do my final gift run in the morning and have our friends and neighbours over for a musical evening and buffet (two of whom are from Australia and one from Scotland - so not close neighbours), our Christmas will be the quietest we've had for twenty years! - so I plan to batten down the hatches and not leave our little valley for at least 3 days!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Christmas Wreath-Making

What a lovely, busy day we've had.

Wreath making, with Linda, is always huge fun - and the best bit is: I get to keep her demo!

We've had 16 ladies over the whole day.  This morning as well as Dawn, Toni and Sharon from London, my friends from work came.  I've suffered all week with them going on and on about it - some wishing they had never signed up for it, some worrying they wouldn't be able to do it - but in the end they were all really pleased with their efforts

Some of them have posted pictures of their front doors which is lovely to see:

They look splendid!

Then in the afternoon we had some of the ladies who come back year after year and it's like an annual reunion.  Some of them starting coming in 2009 so it's great to catch up and hear what they've been up to over the last 12 months.

And of course, they enjoyed the 48 mince pies I made, and the jugs of hot chocolate, coffee and tea (and squeazy cream - as pre-ordered by Mandy)!
I should also mention my little helper, Sophie, who was brilliant at helping serving and I couldn't believe my eyes when I went in the kitchen and saw how she had cleaned everything up  - she was fantastic!
A very, very good day - and our second to last workshop of 2015!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Those Naughty Dogs Again.....

Does everyone have a 'guilty' cupboard - the one which is one step away from the rubbish bin; where you put everything that you say may come in handy but in fact will sit in that cupboard for years and years.  Mine had old bubble wrap, used envelopes, plastic things that George has bought over the internet and I don't even know what they are, brochures, old wrapping paper, - a load of old stuff piled up on top of unused plates.

Well, I've found a way of sorting it out.  Leave the dogs at home with your husband and son so they don't get enough exercise, then go out for the evening.

You will come home to this:


Sunday, 6 December 2015


Two reasons for 'Well!'

Firstly, I can't believe Mince Pie time has come around again so quickly

Mr Snowman there was a present from our neighbour who made us the two lovely reindeer a couple of years ago.  He's made out of wood and we think he's brilliant.

Secondly, I was in Newbury on Thursday and parked my car in the underground car park.  As I was walking away a man called out "Do you want your car washed?"   I said "No thanks" but then thought - well, perhaps it would be nice to have it cleaned before Christmas.

"How much will it cost?", I asked.

"Let me have a look", he replied.

I was thinking, well,  I'll Pay anything up to £12.

He had a quick look round it and said "Sorry Ma'am, Can't do it.  It's too dirty".


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Snoozy Sunday Afternoon

Well, it was dark by 4.00pm, the wind is howling around the house and I had to break off from making Sunday dinner to take a photo of these two

I have to step over them and open the doors above them but they don't move an inch!  They had an amazing time this afternoon trying to run as fast as the wind and are obviously now completely exhausted.  The floor under them is warm, and there are nice cooking smells coming from the oven so I suppose it's dog Heaven!

So, this is the last Sunday in November and I am now willing to admit Christmas is coming.  The Hungerford lights are being switched on this evening and I was thinking of going but have decided against it - too windy out.  The lights are always the best I've ever seen though so looking forward to seeing them as I go shopping for pressies.

In the workshop, it's all wreaths, wreaths, wreaths.

On Wednesday 9th December we are making wreaths in felt

and fabric

- a lovely hand-sewing day and there are still a couple of places.

And then it's real wreath-making time with Linda Maynard.  The workshops on Saturday are full but there are still spaces on the morning and afternoon of Wednesday 16th.  It's always great fun with mince pies and oranges to eat and hot chocolate to drink!


Saturday, 28 November 2015

An Eventful Week

Well, we've had quite an eventful time since my last post.  An excellent Pitch and Stitch on Tuesday where Anthea finished her Christmas stockings for her youngest two grandchildren

and Denise basted the quilt she is making for her grandson.

There were also a few new Modular Knitters there - it really is quite addictive.

Then on the Medallion Day we were all mad about Lynne's latest Di Ford quilt

I really don't know how Lynne does it - all those tiny little pieces:

Inspiring and daunting in equal measure.

I have been working on some Christmas crocheting from my new 200 Crochet Blocks book.  I am still really only a beginner, so I was very pleased with myself, although also annoyed with the book, when I spotted a mistake in the pattern.  Clearly there had to be 12 triples, and not doubles, in the centre.  I thought I'd check on line for amendments and saw that there were already two or three there.  By now I was truly indignant and bursting with self-righteousness.  I decided I had to add the error I had come across to the list.  As I was filling out the form, and saying that the pattern had said Double crochet instead of Triple crochet, I thought I'd better check the book to get the abbreviations right. 

So, double crochet was dc, and treble crochet was tr.....but,  what's this? - dtr ?  - double treble crochet?  Never heard of it.....better refer back to the pattern "1 dtr into next st, 2ch". 

Fair enough, the book appears to be right.  Apologies to Jan Eaton - it really is a very good book and I am quite happy with my four blocks (although they're supposed to be the same size!)

Finally, we have started having our open fires again - not every night, it's still fairly mild, but every now and again.

However, we were very surprised when the phone rang on Tuesday and Flanners, who lives in the farm cottage, said, "Fire at the Farm".  What?  "Fire in the barn at the farm!." 

We raced down there and sure enough the wood pile was burning away in the barn.  With the help of neighbours running back and forth with buckets of water until the fire engines came, it was all put out, didn't spread and lessons were learned.  Never stack wood if you have been using a blow torch on it to remove metal screws - even if it looks like it has stopped smouldering, the fire can be worming away inside.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Naughty Little Pup

George went out to shut the chickens and geese in yesterday evening - and look what he spotted through the kitchen window:

And if you can't see what I'm talking about, here's a closer look:

So now we know what the angelic little Milly gets up to when she thinks she's alone....explains a few empty cups of tea that I thought I hadn't finished!  So, chairs tucked in when we've finished at the table from now on! (Oh, and by the way, I did clean up after her very thoroughly).

On a happier note, we had a lovely workshop yesterday, with the group learning modular knitting.  I am still working on my blanket, and it is steadily growing, and the ladies made brilliant starts on theirs:

The reason I say 'starts' is - well, look at the size of the balls of wool they have:

Apparently Louise was up at 6.00am this morning and knitted four more squares, so I have a feeling their blankets will grow a bit quicker than mine!!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Morris Dancing

At Pitch and Stitch on Tuesday we were all so impressed with Jackie's figure for the Museum of British folklore.  Any Morris Side could send off for the doll and then had to dress it in their side's outfit.  Jackie's is amazing

All the tiny little details: bells, ribbons, hankie and even a stick.  But we all decided she looks a bit younger than us!

 I think I've been dancing with the Garston Gallopers for over 5 years now.....it all started when we wanted to have Morris Dancers at our village fete - and no sides were available.  Jackie decided we would have to make our own side, and since her daughter-in-law's mother already ran a side called the Kintbury May Maids, she had someone to teach it already.  She duly put signs up all around the village asking for volunteers - and no one came forward. I said to Jonathan, "as Chairman of the Parish Council, you really should set an example and volunteer".   He replied that nothing in the world would make him go Morris dancing - in fact he hates dancing.  Weeks passed and still no volunteers, so, again, I approached Jonathan.  In the quiet way he has, he slammed his fists on the table and yelled "I AM NOT GOING MORRIS DANCING!"

It came to the first practise, and I told Jackie that I would go along to support but would not dance in public.  As I was going, I said to Jonathan that it was pretty poor that he wasn't coming too.  "Alright", he said "but only to the practise to show support".

After the practise he said it was the best thing he had ever done and he was never going to stop.

I decided that if he was going to do it, I suppose I should because otherwise we hardly did anything together.

This Saturday we are having an open workshop to try to attract more dancers, preferably a few more men....

Have a Go at Morris Dancing!

Saturday 14th November 2015

East Garston Village Hall

Musicians welcome too – any instrument as long as it’s portable!
Hopefully we'll see a few new faces......it is good fun, and we get to go to some lovely places, and it's not really that weird: it's tradition.  As Louis De Berniers said at his talk 'People in England are bonkers' - and I think that's probably something to be proud of.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Dog Pictures

Lots of people have been asking how Milly is getting on - and I'm pleased to report that she is settling in really well.

She has picked out a chair for herself:

She gets on really well with Reuben:

Although sometimes they are a bit boisterous:

She is also very difficult to take photos of, because whenever I get down to take a pic she comes running up so I usually end up with something like this:

Only very occasionally do I manage to get one like this:

And if I sneak up I may get one like this: