Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Two Awards

I have been really grateful to receive two awards recently, but have been so busy I have only just managed to post them!
The first one I got ages and ages ago, (sorry) from Old Kitty at Ten Lives and second chances.

And the second more recently:

from Alijane at Gingercat.

Both awards require quite a lot of thought from me to come up with 7 interesting/unknown things about me, I'm cheating slightly (as usual with me) by combining the seven things from both, as I'm sure I really can't think of fourteen. And I think I may have been supposed to do something else as well and possibly haven't done things quite properly but I'm so busy right now this is all I can manage! By now most of you realise I won't be actually passing anything on to specific people, but I do appreciate them both, thank you both of you very much.

So I leave you with seven random things, not sure how interesting they are! (they are a certainly long enough, I got a bit carried away once I'd started, for which I apologise.)

Perhaps the most interesting, although it's not about me really:

1) My mum is/was the first woman to read the news - she's not famous as it was only the regional news on a programme called Points West rather than nationally, which is why nobody really has ever heard of her. Here she is in 1957:

Now sadly the press cuttings from the time are buried somewhere in her hoarded papers and I can't wait to find them again one day, they contained some amazing letters from people, expressing opinions along the lines of - "how can we allow a woman to read the serious issues of the news - she just cannot give it the gravity it deserves" and "we don't want our husbands being distracted by looking at a woman" - I can't remember exactly but these were the kind of sentiments being voiced, really incredible and so interesting to see how things have changed.

Of course to me my mum is my mum, but she has had an absolutely fascinating life, involved in travelling theatre as an actress and even in 'A Town Like Alice'

She's the woman on the left. She only had one line, and died in the desert!
Anyway, that's my most interesting thing! Perhaps one day I'll share some more about her.

2) I grew up in a Sixteenth Century timber-framed cottage - reputedly the oldest house in the village. The walls were originally wattle and daub, with brickwork later, and I had holes in my bedroom wall that I remember plugging with pink toilet paper. My mum still lives there.

3) You wouldn't know it to see my DiY now but in my student days I wrestled our (I lived with a girl friend) dying twin-tub onto its side while it was half-full of water and somehow fixed it (I think prayer may have been involved in this process somehow - seriously!)

4) When I was seventeen I camped half way up a welsh mountain in gale force winds and rain, with other people from our youth group - we had gone on an activity week at an outdoor pursuits centre. It felt like one of the longest nights of my life. I don't camp any more.

5) One summer holiday when I was a student I got a holiday job in a cafe on the edge of Lake Winderemere in the Lake District. I hated the pressure, couldn't use the till and one day flooded the whole cafe with milk from the milk machine because I forgot to turn it off. Apparently everyone did it once. I decided to leave after a couple of weeks to make sure I wasn't the first one to do it twice.

6) I used to work full-time in a reprographics department with a massive photocopier, it seemed ten-feet long but was probably only six or seven. It did whole booklets at once, and with an attachment even folded and stapled them. Surprisingly very happy days, due to my lovely colleagues.

7) I was a terribly deceptive child - I used to hold the mercury thermometer over the heater while my mum went out of the room so it looked as if I had a temperature (got to be careful with this though to avoid making it too high). I coloured my thumb nail in with a pencil to make it look bruised so I could get out of a piano lesson (could only use this one once) and when I was fifteen I managed to get out of a whole half-term's swimming lessons by lying creatively, for a whole six weeks (I absolutely could not bear to be seen in a swimming costume). I can't believe I did all this now!

Well, that's quite a lot of information, not sure if anyone will have made it to the end!
Have a good week everyone.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Archie's Diary no. 5

Hello again, I thought I would tell you my latest adventures.

I am, of course, growing much bigger and am very hungry all the time. I would mainly like to go out in the garden all the time and chase bees. I have a loud and very insistent meow now and I can use it really well, if I do it long enough by the back door and jump up and down to get at the handle someone usually takes me out.

I went up to the vegetable patch this week where my mum had just sown some seeds and dug them up a bit so I could wee in the earth. I love to stare at the bees and then pounce on them. My mum can't hold a camera and a harness very well while I'm pouncing but here I am staring:

I do like to suddenly charge off up the garden too in quite random directions. Usually I am following the bees, and they do keep changing where they are buzzing. The neighbours must think my mum is mad running after a kitten on a harness, especially as they don't like cats at all. I am scared of the neighbours and run inside when they come out. I have met the dogs next door on the other side too. They ran up to the hedge and barked a lot. I stood and looked at them for a few seconds and went bushy then ran back home. My mum feels she would like to keep me safe on my harness for a bit longer but my dad says I have to go out without it soon.

When I am in I have to find other things to hunt, but sometimes I make a bit of a mess.

My mum is training me to help her make felt by sitting and watching.

I can do this for a bit but then tend to creep up slowly to get closer and play with the net. I stole a finished felt pot of my mums this week and ran off with it, carried it around in my mouth and killed it.

She gave it to me in the end because she said I'd wrecked it. I also ran off with a needlecase but she managed to save that. She's not ever really cross with me though because I am a very sweet kitten and still like lots of snuggly cuddles.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Felt Roses and a cat thief

There has been a lot of felt-making going on here recently, but very little completely finished yet. Here are my strips of felt ready to be made into rose brooches, I thought the colours just looked lovely together. I had another sackful of wool tops arrive last week and spent a very happy morning putting new colours together - I think it's my favourite part of the whole process and not nearly such hard work as the actual felting!
I've finished just a few brooches so far.

Archie has developed a real desire to hunt down felt items he can carry in his mouth and charge around with. He's quite determined about the whole operation. He's broken into two boxes now where I've been storing small felt things and has been doing it very secretly while we're in another room, but last night OH found him in the process of happily stealing one of the roses and managed to rescue it.

I've done a few more bags, they just need straps. I did finish one for a friend's birthday yesterday:

it's turned out a bit different from what she asked for, she wanted one with an asymmetric flap bit, like one I did ages and ages ago that she bought for one of her friends, but the way the band of colour migrated during felting meant the flap had to be symmetrical or it just would have looked odd. Luckily she still liked it. The colours are very vibrant blues and greens in the coloured band but try as I might I can't get good reproduction in a photo.

I've been busy bidding for more vintage china on e-bay and will post photos when it comes. It's a very addictive habit though, and I must stop soon!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Proper tea in the garden

I have to start by saying this is not how I live my life! I think it's the first and only time ever that I have bothered to make such an effort with a drink, I tend to whizz as quickly as possible from one thing to the next and find it difficult not to be doing something all the time, and the thought of sitting still and doing nothing makes me feel strange and fidgety. And I never bother to set the table for a cup of tea like this when it's just me, or two of us.

But then if I don't make an effort to have space in my day to stop, think and appreciate what I have got then my day is emptier, it just becomes a list of chores to get through.
So I am going to try and do this more often. It was such a beautiful afternoon and we'd had a busy day so it was lovely to stop and pick some flowers from the garden. Can you spot who suddenly came to join me, just for a fleeting moment:

Must love wallflowers as much as I do! The beautiful deep, velvety red is one of my favourites.

The china cup, saucer and milk jug are my latest e-bay purchases.

I have been wanting some proper tea cups for a while but it took me a while to find some I liked - these are apparently from the 50s and are made by Colclough, which I'd never heard of- very pale green and very pretty, and I'm not sure what's come over me really because I'm not a flowery or pretty china person at all. I bought some more today, on e-bay again, and they've got flowers on, so I must be having some kind of a personality change. Once I'd put my tablecloth on the table and laid everything out it felt like being in a cafe for tea!

The garden is at its best right now, it never quite regains this level of promise and colour again.

It's a long thin garden with a veg patch at the end and it gets progressively messier and weedier the further you get from the house. I'm busy sowing some summer-flowering annuals but it really is best in the spring and it was lovely to come down this morning to see the sun shining through the leaves and tulips.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

An Archie Update

Here is Archie's latest present. I have to admit here to being completely extravagant about this - but we had a very cheap one before for a long time- in fact the top half of one set and the bottom of another which didn't match - and I've wanted proper 'cat furniture' as it's called for years - something with plenty of claw-sharpening space which didn't clash too terribly with our room (I nearly got one two weeks ago but OH rejected it on the grounds that it had giant plush blue paw-prints all over it).

So here are some blurry 'action' shots to show how much Archie loves it!:

He can leap all over it and run up the posts very well.

His favourite thing is to try and catch the mouse and then take it away,

but of course as soon as he gets it down to ground level it just springs back up, and he has to start all over again.

The mouse was having a bit of an identity crisis when it came because it had a tail and some bright feathers - but now it is just a flying mouse and doesn't have this problem any more - can you see the tail on the floor at the bottom right of the photos?!

He is growing really fast and eating loads, also sleeping loads!

We took him back to the vets as he still has some inflammation following his vaccines, but she said she was sure it was nothing to worry about at this stage and had just been on a training course about exactly this sort of a reaction, so she said she would keep a really close eye on him. He didn't bite anybody this time!

He has been out for his first few trips into the garden, he doesn't mind the harness at all and quite likes playing with it as we try to put it on and take it off.

The garden is an interesting but scary place - he crouches low as he walks, until he sees a bee to chase, then he jumps and runs after it! The neighbours are very scary - one does lots of hoovering (obviously not in the garden, but the door is often open) and the other has two very loud barking dogs, so we go out at quiet times for the moment.

Climbing on my shoulder gives a good view of things:

(My head is in my hands as I'm trying to sort out a website thing!)

When he's worn himself out properly he comes and sleeps on my bags of wool while I'm felting next to him. He is getting beautifully black and shiny!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Happy Easter! And a wet holiday

We have just got back from a lovely but very wet break in Derbyshire. It's good to be home and I missed Archie SO much, the woman who ran the cattery said I couldn't have him back because she wanted to keep him! Although she did say he'd escaped a couple of times and run up the corridor, and had been climbing up her legs. He's come back a bit bigger with a slightly deeper meow, and he's been helping with unpacking:

before curling up on my lap purring where he belongs!

We got back to these lovely spring flowers in the garden,

I love the blue Pulmonaria as it's a true blue and contrasts so well with the greens and other colours.

And these tiny stripy tulips are outside my kitchen window looking very bright and cheerful unlike the weather.

It was good to be away in such a comfortable place - we stayed in this cottage:

at Bolehill Farm. It was so warm and cosy with a small woodburning stove and so clean with heating and lots of equipment all included - (I've never been able to blend soup at a holiday cottage before!) They seem to have gone to a lot of trouble to go the extra mile for people, so I can highly recommend the place if you like Derbyshire.

We only managed one cycle ride and a lovely walk along part of Lathkill Dale in the sun:

before it snowed! The rest of the time we explored local towns and their coffee and tea shops!
So it's been a good break but it will take me a while to catch up with everyone and find out what you've been up to!

Happy Easter to you all.
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