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 …

Easter en France

It’s Easter.  I'm in France.  What do I give my visiting French friends as a gift?  Eggs?  Chocolate?  Chocolate eggs?  Egg cosies?  Chocolate egg cosies? Of course.  Themed knitted egg cosies for chocolate eggs.  But I’m not just going to hand them to them on a plate; they’ve got to find them first, so following clues in French, English, Franglais or Frenglish, depending on their skills and enthusiasm, voilà...                                                …Read more …

Spring Cleaning, Anyone?

If anything is going to put the drudgery of spring cleaning into perspective, it’s a behind-the-scenes look at Ham House’s conservation programme during the winter months.  Filthy filters from museum brush vacuums and bags of dust and dirt, meticulously recorded for study and scrutiny, shared table room with badger and hog hair brushes and pots of furniture beetles.  Two experts in stockinged feet padded around on a 400+ year old carpet, methodically and silently replacing furniture for the imminent re-opening of the house to the public.  Their description of the painstaking and lengthy…Read more …