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 …

In the Pink at the Medicine Garden

Guilty of eating too many calories and given up on your New Year get-fit-quick regime?  Glad to have seen the back of ‘dry January’.  Whether you’ve over-indulged over Easter or are longing for longer days and shorter hours of darkness, don’t beat yourself up.  De-stress with a shot of peace and well-being at The Medicine Garden, just a stone’s throw from Cobham High Street. Whether a cold, crisp morning or a dry, rain-drenched afternoon, your visit can still deliver the effect you’d hope for from a place with a name so suggestive of…Read more …

Mugs à la Mode

Winter.  Wind, rain, hail beating against the window.  Maybe even some snow?  Bring it on, as long as I'm on the inside looking out, preferably with a cup or mug in my hand. But not a scalding china cup or a knuckle-burning mug.   Oh no, a cosy, woolly handful keeping my hands and my tea warm.                                 All these patterns are found in Mug Hugs by Alison Howard A great little book, full of fun designs and…Read more …

Fun, Festive AND Useful?

The annual dilemma - what to knit and give for Christmas presents.  A coaster?  Done that.  A personalised dishcloth?  So last year.  A bookmark?  Whaahh?  Yes,  a bookmark can be just as fun and festive, and personalised, as it is useful.  So as my colleagues love books almost as much as they drink tea...             Thanks to Cveti at http://cvetulka.blogspot.com for the pattern and the inspiration to make and enhance further this great design.    Read more …

Alchemy – a Study

I love quince.  I'm sure others do too, but I've only ever met one fan of the bulbous fruit in the UK.  In France, however, it's a different story.  On sale in supermarkets, windfalls gathered by the armful, or taken directly from the tree, the quince is a magical fruit.  Hard as a rock, one can smash a pair of glasses from a  drop of a few feet (believe me) and it is sour to the taste. Its grey furry coat will cling to a sweatshirt with the tenacity of a leech, and…Read more …

Meet Sharon. Sharon Fruit.

Mmm, exotic, sweet and firm to the touch; what more could you want? Crisp and succulent when young, soft and custard-like when mature, Sharon Fruit is to die for. Maybe not as luscious as her cousin, Persimmon, who is often at her best when plump and ready to burst at the seams, but Sharon is glowing, good-natured and consistently delectable. She's seen in all the best places, although she sometimes plays hard to get, and last week it looked like Sharon had gone to ground. I was heartbroken. Was it something I’d said?…Read more …

‘Hey, the fruit looks ready for picking…’

Ah, September. The start of the academic year. The chance of some good weather, or at least better than August. The meteorological start of autumn, my favourite season, which signifies the bringing in of the harvest; for me that’s apples, pears and late-developing peaches. However, the days of hovering under a tree in flip flops, wearing shorts, tee-shirt and sun glasses, with outstretched cupped hands and an over-enthusiastic penchant for apple crumble have long gone. Too many pairs of glasses have been bent or shattered, and too many cuts and wasp stings have…Read more …

Screen Saver

New phone, new worry - how to avoid scratching the screen.  Solution?  A knitted phone cozy, of course!  Thanks to Charlotte Nash  this simple but effective pattern is great in itself but can be adapted, as you can see...                Read more …