Twelve Year Itch

I have, what I describe as, a tolerant nature.  I can put up with things and situations that others would find intolerable, even abhorrent.  But there you are.  If you buy a French farmhouse, complete with barn, outhouse and cellar, you need to let things be or just turn a blind eye sometimes.  Cobwebs adorning the landing window (so delicate and symmetrical you have to admire it)?  So high up that to reach them involves a plank and ladders?  Well, they’re not hurting anyone and it’s not like we can look out of…Read more …

Pest Patrol – Successes and Failures

Our new Sweet Cherry tree, just a stick in the ground when we planted it back in November, now stood taller and fuller with lots of lush new growth…and was hosting many, many Blackfly. Using the Spray Away technique passed on by his mum – fill plant sprayer with warm soapy water, aim, squirt, bye bye Blackfly – DH worked his way around the tree, diligently turning each leaf, always thorough, some might say obstinate.  Let’s go with persistent. But so were the pesky Blackfly.  Next morning, the Spray Away technique having been…Read more …

Back to the Future

No matter what your sport, it’s probably true to say that if you don’t work up a sweat you’re not putting in enough effort, and not getting much out of that little effort either.  But no matter how hard I work, if my feet and legs are cold I can’t concentrate on isolating my muscles or getting in the zone.  Anyone else have that problem? Thick socks and long woolly socks made my feet slide and overheat;  then my friend’s husband’s 1980’s-themed birthday party prompted a vision of Jane Fonda complete with legwarmers. …Read more …

Cone you believe it?

What is the attraction of traffic cones? Why do people like to move them, wear them or take them home? A friend of a friend (ahem) collected about nineteen of them over a period of six weeks so that…well, I have  no idea why. I do know that he and his friends would joust with them on a Saturday night, one on each arm. They could definitely do some damage with them. And the more he collected them, the more he seemed to come across. Little groups of them congregated on street corners…Read more …

Introducing the Grainfather

Cue haunting music...no, scratch that, this isn't about the Godfather but the Grainfather, a nano brewery and the ideal birthday present for the man who has everything (read that as the man who has very specific tastes).  Duly ordered and delivered, and with no expectation of being wrapped as DH had researched and selected the system himself, the Grainfather took up residence behind the settee in the lounge, ready for action.  But I wanted to come up with a surprise for the day itself. My DH now knows that yarn is likely to…Read more …

Hopping into Spring

It's that froggy time of year again; time to find or make something along amphibian lines for my friend's birthday, something that can be sent through the post to arrive on the day.  Now, I've nothing against presents arriving after the event - how can I, after a three-present haul when we met up last month - catching up after a birthday or two...                        Read more …

Hats off to Head Bands

I’m not a hat person.  Never have been.  Whether it’s a wide-brimmed sun hat, a fascinator, a beanie or a bobble hat, I always look like somebody’s maiden aunt.  Worse, particularly when I remove the hat, I get a glimpse of my future eighty-year-old self.  A baseball cap is slightly better but jars with a smart coat and has few insulating properties.  However, the head band has solved most of those problems. Apart from on the ski slopes, I spotted one, sported by a sharp dresser on the high street.  I looked online,…Read more …

A Woolly Christmas to you all

Ah, Christmas.  What to make and give to friends this year?  In September I started searching for ideas among those free patterns generously shared by other knitters, and struck lucky.  Five different Christmas tree decorations which suited each individual on the receiving end of a knitted gift, and I don't mind telling you I enjoyed every knitting minute of making them (even when those twiddly bits of mistletoe went missing under the sofa).                                        …Read more …

Lavender – the Colour of Summer

What looked like a bruise on the landscape, vivid and dazzling against the hedges and traffic of Croydon Lane, proved to be one of Surrey’s best-kept secrets.  At £1 entry per person (under 16s go free) and plenty of free parking, that was a small price to pay for the opportunity to enjoy the warmth and aroma of Provence...in Banstead. Mayfield Lavender Farm, Shop and Café is a place for all ages – the children I saw were very happily running up and down the rows and watching the organically-grown lavender being hand-cut…Read more …

An Ode to Real Ale

Happiness is bottle-shaped for my DH.  And if it is accompanied by trains, travelling and food, so much the better.  So an Ode to Real Ale for his birthday featuring places visited and those to come should cover all angles...An Ode to Real AleRead more …