Last night after I had finished my shift at work at 9pm, we had to drive up to Salisbury to meet our son who is away at university, from the train. As we drove up there the landscape was quite breathtaking with low mist hanging over any damp bit of ground. The rivers looked almost ethereal and ghost-like with a white mist over them. Unfortunatly I was unable to stop and get a photo, but I wish I had now. Mist has the same effect as a covering of snow does on the land, it's like a blanket that muffles sound and makes it all look wonderful, it covers the bad bits. Anyway I think I may get up early one morning when it has been damp the day before and see if I can capture mist over a river with the camera.
My daughter gave me these fabrics for my birthday yesterday, so pretty, I think I might make them into a bag and also a mobile phone case as D gave me a phone ( which I probably need a degree in to understand it!) I used to have a mobile but it broke about 6 months ago and I must admit I haven't really missed it at all. How did we get so dependant on these things? I now feel I can't do without it again now that I have one ! My youngest son cooked a meal for us last night as his gift...it was quite a long affair as an hour went by between starter and main course! By the time sweet course came round he lost the will...so we had a piece of cake instead! He was all dressed up like a waiter, tea towel over his arm and we were instructed to dress up for dinner too. He couldn't find any wine so we were served with lemonade in wine glasses instead! He even washed up.....! Strange, but I swear the main course came out of my freezer.....well it was lovely not too cook for once! Saw this old rowing boat down by the Fleet and thought it looked nice with the green weed round the base. It's got a load of water in it because it rained solid all day the day before. If the oars and rowlocks were there it would have been tempting to tip the water out and go for a row over to Chesil beach or just where the wind takes you.
I went back to Moonfleet today with my very good friend Suzie, we had a lovely walk along the shore, it was so quiet there. Suzie had never been there before and seemed to love it as much as I do, although maybe not all the mud I made her wade through to get there! I kept telling her the view would be worth it but I'm not sure she was convinced! We had what was supposed to be a snack but was a huge meal in a lovely old pub at Osmington Mills overlooking the sea. Very few birds around the Fleet lagoon, no swans (they are probably all at Abbotsbury nesting at the moment) a few mallard ducks and thats all. I did see this beautiful orange tip butterfly as we neared the end of our walk and chased it along a hedgerow to get a photo while my long suffering friend removed her mud-caked shoes...sorry Suzie. Is it my imagination or are butterflies more brightly coloured in the countryside than in the suburban garden? The reason for the relaxing day...my birthday!
I thought I would show someone elses work today, so...this is my Mum!....she had made the lace picture and had just been awarded a 'Highly Commended' at the Dorset arts and Crafts exhibition last year. As she has got older and a bit less physically able she has taken up lacemaking and is very good at it. My Father says she is as efficient working backwards as she is forwards as she is forever unpicking bits she is not happy with! She has always been a good needlewoman but for the last few years lace has been her passion. Mostly this is a safe hobby but a few weeks back when it was sunny (remember that?!?) she left her lace cushion in the bay window where she works on it, to have lunch. As they were eating a smell of burning wafted past, they ignored it to begin with, after all they had just been cooking. A few minutes later they decided to investigate and the lace cushion was on fire and a few lace bobbins were completely burnt through! She had left her magnifying glass in the sun...whoops. Thankfully the lace was OK and apart from a few lost bobbins and a hole in the cushion, all was not lost. You didn't know lace making could be classed as a dangerous sport did you!
The garden has enjoyed the rain over the weekend even if the people haven't, the roses smell sweeter and it all looks fresher for a good drink. This is the rose Gertrude Jekyll underplanted by Cranesbill. We still went for a walk yesterday...well Wrecks insists! We walked from the back of Milton Abbas school, down a bridlepath to Hilton the next village. Actually we lost the path so went three ways before we found the right path, I know we should have taken the OS map with us but it was raining and we didn't want to get it wet! As we walked across an open field it poured with rain even harder so we admitted defeat and retraced our steps back to the car so didn't quite make it to Hilton but we will return............ on a dry day! Over the weekend we also did a walk round Thorncombe woods where Thomas Hardy's cottage is, the famous poet and author, we sat by a dewpond for a while and saw several male Broad bodied chasers, but no females ( could be a problem for their future if some don't turn up!) Just behind the cottage we heard alot of calling of birds and disturbance high in an old tree, stopped to watch and saw an adult Spotted Woodpecker with a beak full of food and we think there must have been chicks up there in a hole in the tree that we couldn't see calling for food. The noise was incredible.
Yesterday was our daughter's 23rd birthday. She and her best friend Caroline were camping between Weymouth and Abbotsbury for a few days, so we went down to join then for a BBQ last night on the campsite. Our very old friends own the neighbouring farm to the campsite so they all came up to join us too..all 10 of them! It was a lovely evening and considering the weatherman said it would rain yesterday and we had wall to wall sunshine, it was amazing. The tent was decorated with balloons and the BBQ went well....if a little flame grilled in places! All topped off with a chocolate birthday cake which I had only finished making just before we left home and it melted a bit on the top...but tasted OK. When it got to dusk some of us walked down to the fleet lagoon across the fields where there were horses in and we could hardly see a thing on the way back. Through some woods with just a tiny torch to guide us, over stiles and gates. It was worth the walk, this picture is a bit shaky , I should have put the camera on a wall or something but you can see how beautiful it was down there. The lights in the distance are of Portland and the strip in the top of the photo is the famous Chesil beach ( it's a very long spit of shingle beach running from Portland to Abbotsbury ) Here's the birthday girl in the dark as the sun was setting over the water, it's the most amazing scenery. I have been going down to the farm since I was a baby with my parents and have seen this view and the sunsets so many times but I never tire of it and our friends who live there I think never tire of it either. One last picture, we came back through the fields and it was so dark and up the lane and through the woods when it was pitch black...well just a little moonlight. Everyone trying to spook each other, little brothers trying to scare the girls! Then home, feeling a little sad at leaving it all behind.
When you see this little cottage you are drawn to this lovely window that is painted onto the side. I read somewhere that this former utility building was made into a dwelling and the owner could not get permission to put another window in so she had this painted instead....genius! I'm fairly sure that when it was first done only the dog in the window was there and now there are two, so I wonder if one dog has died and this is a memorial to it. On the other side of the building there is a cat sitting in a round window. This derelict old building is in Swanage and at first glance you wonder why it's in such a state...but look again. It's all painted on, all the cracks in the brickwork are painted too. We parked at Swanage last night and had some fish and chips then walked along the coast path to the west. It's a long pull uphill so that should have walked the fish and chips off! Saw some birds diving into the water vertically, I tried to take a picture but they were too fast for my camera (and me!) Some children were on the little stone pier lying on their tummys trying to catch crabs, they caught quite a big one and it was fun to watch them all crowded round it having a look and the childish enthusiasm it gave them. One little boy was more daring than the rest and I was sure he would end up in the sea...but he was still dry when we left! I love people watching, and these little ones were great, doing what children should be doing, outdoors having fun.
I was on night shift last night and at this time of year it's quite nice. To see the dawn creeping in from the east and gradually lighting up the day is a very special time. I have noticed that the birds begin to sing about 4a.m. but by 5a.m. they seem to go quiet for a while and then have another burst later. I could hear a fox barking and wood pigeons cooing, blackbirds and Robins singing. A yellow brimstone moth had found it's way into the office and kept us company next to the lamp all night...I left him in the tender care of the day staff when I left. Unfortunatly by 05.30 the humans are beginning to get up and the roads are busier with cars and early workers on their way to work and then the special part of the morning seems to have gone. Never mind....there's always tomorrow!
Sometimes on the way home after night shift I stop by the harbours edge in the photo and chill out a bit before I go home, it's a lovely spot and lots of seabirds to be seen. I recently saw some Turnstones, what pretty little birds they are.
Whilst trawling other peoples blogs I came across a recipe for Popovers, I think they must be an American recipe. They grew like Yorkshire puddings with a gap in the middle but are more bready. If anyone knows how you eat them I would be grateful...do you eat them as they are or do you add butter and jam ( I think thats jelly in the USA ). They do taste nice as they are though.
Wrecks and I walked nearly three miles last night round part of Poole Harbour, it was a lovely evening with this peaceful sunset.A few water birds about and again alot of swans, perhaps it's a good year for swans! This area is called Holes Bay. Considering this is on the edge of town I expected to see alot of other people about but only saw one runner and two cyclists, D says it's because the European cup was live on TV, well I was glad because it was such a pleasant peaceful stroll. The garden is really beginning to fill up with colour now, summer is really upon us although the temperatures are still low....that's why I'm indoors playing on the PC instead of doing the garden today!
I haven't been anywhere today so I'm putting in a few recently taken pictures. This cross is in a graveyard of a tiny chapel called St Catherines which is perched on the cliffs overlooking Ringstead Bay near Weymouth. The cross is so simple but beautifully positioned. There is a lovely walk down to the sea but it's a long pull back up the hill again. When we were at Lulworth Cove the other evening I found this hanging on the sea wall, it's made up of jelly shoes and babies dummies. I imagine they have all been collected on the beach after the visitors ( or Grockles as they are known in Dorset ) have gone home. .....with screaming babies no doubt having left the dummy behind! And just up the road we saw the very rare 'Bucket and Spade' tree. I think it is only grown in Lulworth and was obviously in full flower when we saw it.
Last night and the evening before we went for a walk............no amble, over Hartland Moor. As you can see there were deer everywhere mostly in groups of 6 or 7. Cuckoo's were calling alot and other birdsong all around us. This was where we saw a pair of Ospreys a year or so ago. No-one about last night really, just a couple of fishermen by a pond...didn't look as if they were catching anything. The first roses are out in the garden and fittingly the very first to flower is this one and it's called Snowgoose! It's not my favourite rose but the Gertrude Jekyll is going to be out any day and that smells and looks wonderful. Going to walk with my daughter tonight round a local country park, hoping to see a few birds there. She is all keen since passing her driving test last week so I'll make the most of it while she's so willing to drive!
Meet Wrecks, my personal trainer and exercise machine all rolled into one. He's a rescue dog who went by the name of Rex when we got him but we didn't like that too much so we just changed the spelling so as not to confuse him. He is actually our daughters dog but I do alot of the walking with him as well. Poor old Wrecks has had a difficult past and is very nervous of anyone he doesn't know and won't let any strangers touch his head. He's as loyal; as they come to us and we love him despite all his problems with fear!..he's scared of the washing machine, old crisp packets, old carrier bags that rustle, other dogs (especially Golden Retrievers) , some people, fireworks and the vet. I really don't understand how anyone could have been cruel to him he is so devoted and lovely. I'm working over this weekend, I finished at 9pm last night and am back in at 7.30 this morning until 6pm tonight, one more early shift tomorrow then some days off...and I'll be back walking in the countryside looking for nature stuff again! May even go out after work today for an hour or so. Last night at work I watched a squirrel in the Horse Chesnut tree which is level with our staff room, he was eating the flowers of the tree. He looked so pretty as he held the flower 'candle' and nibbled on it, I had no idea they ate them. It would have made a great photo, I'll take my camera to work today in case he returns during my coffee break.
Well to follow on from yesterday I put the mealworms out for the robin but he didn't come near. However this morning a mob of Starlings came in like RAF fighter jets and polished the lot off within minutes! Their beaks were so full they could hardly hold it all, the only thing that scared them was a Magpie dive bombing them....he was the jumbo jet! If you click on the photo you should be able to enlarge it. Excuse the overgrown state of the garden in the photo, I like to keep alot of undergrowth (or overgrowth depending how you look at it!) around the bird table for the birds to hide in....well thats my excuse! My friend ,Karen from work has introduced me to three things; 1. Blogging! and I love it, it's a nice way to express yourself in words and picture and 'meet' new people too. Karen is a blogger too and writes about her allotment and birds. 2. Mealworms...see above! 3. Asparagus peas. I had never heard of them before but she gave me some seeds to grow and they are coming up nicely Thanks Karen.
These are more photos that I took the other evening, I am quite pleased with the close-up shots, I only have a fairly basic camera so was surprised to see the amount of detail I could get. The cow photo....well I just couldn't resist putting another picture in! I have a day off today for which I'm very grateful, difficult shift last night when we lost a young person with several children, always hard to cope with. Very kindly Sister has just phoned to check I am OK today as I dealt with the family afterwards. I have to admit I didn't sleep well last night but have to move on today. I bought some mealworms this morning to tempt the robin, it's a bit grusome as they are wriggling about! No sign of the Robin yet, I told the family that if the Robin doesn't eat them they'll be for supper......or maybe pets!!! The remainder are in a bag in the fridge, I know my daughter is going to hate that when she gets home!
Last night was a beautiful early summer evening, Mr G and I walked along by the River Stour near Sturminster Marshall until we saw the sun set in a big orange ball over the meadows, reflected perfectly in the river. The land I believe is owned by the national trust so they do not use chemicals to care for it and it is filled with wild flowers and wildlife growing naturally. As we climbed over the first stile off the lane it felt like we had gone through the wardrobe into Narnia and found another magical world beyond. The river was just gently moving along but the Mayfly hatch had happened and thousands of Mayfly were flying all over the river and field and us! We counted 46 swans on the river, I don't think I have ever seen so many, apart from at the swannery at Abbotsbury. We saw and heard a cuckoo which is quite rare I think, it's only the third I have seen in my life. We heard Kingfishers but didn't see any last night. The fields were full of buttercups, clover, cow parsley and grasses in flower but we will have to go back there in a month to see what else has flowered in the meadows. This cow and her friends were in a field away from the flower meadow, I expect they will be allowed to graze in the meadows when all the flowers are over to crop it ready for next year. We have put her on our PC as the background picture now...isn't she lovely! I had meant to write about quilting today but I'm afraid last night took my breath away and I wanted to share it. If you read my blog "Three silly boys in a boat" ...this is where the adventure started when they sailed down the river. ( 27th April )
Why does a line of white washing blowing in the breeze stir feelings of cheeriness in me...I don't know, but it does.I used to like seeing a line of white terry nappy's blowing out in the garden when my children were small. I only have a small garden but the washing line is essential if a little short but I don't have a tumble dryer (and I don't want one either!)
I've been to a friends home today to do some sewing with her and another friend, the idea is we do some quilting together...... but alot of chatting goes on, alot of tea drinking and sometimes lovely cakes get made. Sometimes not much stitching gets done at all! Well I did do one more block for the quilt in the picture, I have been sewing one block a day by hand in the evenings and I'm up to 24 now and I have another 32 to go.
This sunset was glorious seen from Ballard Down which is above the seaside town of Swanage. Amazing views all over the bay and Swanage and the other side over Poole Harbour. The field was a feast of wild flowers, orchids and cowslips especially. Only saw one other brave soul up there and he cycled up there on a mountain bike ( obviously insane! ) Came home with a bunch of cow parsley ( not from there I might add) which is in a jug now, on my kitchen table. I have to say that I prefer garden or wild flowers to adorn the kitchen table, florist stuff doesn't excite me at all really. I grow alot of wild flowers in the garden and they are just lovely. At the moment we have cowslips, primroses, bluebells, sweet cicely, cuckoo pint, Grannys bonnet, buttercups, ox eye daisy's and of course the odd dandylion in the garden. Cow parsley is so beautiful at this time of year, the lanes look like they are lined with lace on a soft green background. I think creativity is one of the most amazing gifts God has given us and we should enjoy it and use it as a gift. Look at the picture of this orchid, it's perfect and beautiful in every way and just left there for us to find and see and enjoy.
Mmmmmmmmmmmm, Our daughter treated us to a cream tea at Worth Matravers this afternoon. It was a 'thank you' for all the hours spent accompanying her while she was learning to drive. As she passed her test last Thursday she wanted to buy us this wonderful tea in the garden of the tea room. While we ate, a blackbird, some sparrows and a robin pecked around the table and one brave sparrow came up onto the table! It's very hot today so we made sure we sat in the shade. We may go out this evening when it's cooled down a bit.
It's been a beautiful evening and so we walked from just above West Lulworth to Durdle Door and back to Lulworth Cove. My personal trainer came with me...Wrecks the dog and my husband too. I think dogs are like an exercise machine or a personal trainer because they badger you until you give in and walk them. The first picture is looking west towards Durdle Door and the next is Wrecks admiring the view over West Lulworth and the cove and the last picture is taken down at Lulworth Cove. We had one sticky moment when Wrecks and we two had to walk through a herd of cows that were wandering across the track, we didn't mind but Wrecks can be a bit jumpy, thankfully all went well and no stampedes! As I was on night shift last night so felt very tired my husband nobly said he would climb back up the hill to get the car as we had walked 3 miles by then and I was finding energy levels a bit low. It was peaceful down by the cove and I sat and watched the fishermen going out for a nights fishing with their lobster pots piled high. Well I'm away to sleep now..perchance to dream...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
It's a lovely spring day and I am on night shift tonight so I feel able to spend a bit of time relaxing today as I have to be working all night! This is a corner of our garden and it's all beginning to look pretty, the fruit tree in full blossom with the sound of bees buzzing all over it. Last year the bees took up residence in a nesting box right near the trees, ousting a pair of Blue tits but we had a bumper crop of apples and pears as a result. Just behind the trees is a huge lilac which has been lovely this spring too. In front you can see Grandmas Bonnet (Aquiligia if you like) Cowslips are nearly over and the roses are well in bud.
I shall spend a little time reading a book, Consequences by E.M.Delafield which is written by a lady about 100 - 130 years ago and is a fascinating novel about life in those days and how hard it was for young girls to have any choices about the way their life would be.
No doubt Wrecks the dog will join me in the garden and keep me company. Great news my daughter has just catapulted through the door having just taken her driving test and passed first time with only '2 minors', if you have 14 or more you fail or of course if you do anything major you fail. I am delighted for her, this will change her life alot, being an independent young woman. I didn't sleep well a couple of nights ago having worried about her driving test but when I asked her how she had slept she said "Fine, slept like a log!" Why do we parents give ourselves such angst over our children?
Today has been a work day, on an early shift so no nice walks or sewing done. I thought I would put on a photo that I took in the famous Roman city of Bath when we went there about a month ago. This man was dressed as a statue and would poke people as they passed by or stick his tongue out at them and them go back to being a statue again. Great fun to watch and crowds were gathered, if a little nervously in case he jumped out at them...I think the little boy in this photo had his hair ruffled a second after this shot was taken! Bath is such a beautiful city ( and I have to say that I am not really a city lover, I always opt for the countryside) we went to see the Blue and White Kaffe Fassett exhibition and then ambled round the town. Well I must be off to walk Wrecks again, I did take him to a local country park last night and for a while we sat in a courtyard and watched the birds feeding on huge feeders there, Chaffinches, Great Tits, Greenfinches, and lots more. I watched a Heron standing on one leg next to the water, he didn't seem hungry but was busy just preening himself, I just watched him for about 10 minutes...amazing.
This is where we walked for about 4 miles this afternoon, it's a little village called Piddletrenthide....try saying that after a glass of wine! My husbands family is from the village and his Great Grandfather was a colourful local character who was the blacksmith. As you can see from the picture of my daughter and the dog the wild flowers are blossoming out. Cow Parsley and Red Campion, Wild Garlic and Bluebells, a few butterflys are flitting about and the little River Piddle (yes it really is called that) trickles through the village. The village is very beautiful and quiet and a lovely place to walk, and there is a lovely pub which does good meals there, however we didn't visit it today. My husbands family from many generations are buried in the churchyard of the Church pictured. From my blog it looks as though all I do is get out and about and walk...not true, but we do on days off and whenever we can. Today is a Bank Holiday in the UK so we made good use of it. Still trying to make one block a day for my current quilt, did the 20th block today out of 56. I'm doing it all by hand so it does take time.
My daughter is learning to drive, in fact she is due to take her test this week. So we have been doing lots of practise with her and going out and about, doing the manoeuvres but we didn't expect this sort of hazard! Although I suppose we should expect this at milking time, but its all good experience. I really hope she passes not least because the test is so expensive to retake if she fails. Anyway, lets be positive...I've already bought a congratulations card! It's bank holiday today so hopefully we'll get out and about (probably in her car), but at the moment we have light rain.
My son decided to ice the cake for me today and for some odd reason he wrote this weird message on it, if you can stand on your head and rotate round you can read it...if not I'll put it at the end of the blog. It tasted good anyway. Walked the dog again this evening and the picture is of him admiring the view across the fields. It was so quiet, just the birds singing and the most beautiful thrush in full song and a deer grazing in one of the fields. We walked through a wood full of bluebells like a carpet and didn't pass another person during an hour of walking. I haven't yet worked out how to seperate these photos with the words, there must be a way but I haven't found it yet! Thank you for looking at my blog and commenting, I was beginning to feel a bit lonely! ' I like oxo cubes' is on the cake
This was a quilt I made a few years ago as a gift for my late Mum-in-law to keep her knees warm, although in latter years she liked to keep it on her bed in her rest home. It was made out of left overs, I don't think I bought any fabric for it. The quilting was a bit fiddly but I'm glad I did it as I think it improved it. I planted the sweet peas outside yesterday, I hope it isn't too early but living in the south west we really don't get too much frost in the winters now and certainly not in May. The roses are all in bud now and look promising. I love old fashioned roses and so because my birthday is in May I tend to get given a whole new lot of bushes every year...I got five last year! I will find it harder to leave the roses behind if we move (see yesterdays blog) than the actual house. My youngest son has gone off to the river again today with his friends as he did last week (see '3 silly boys in a boat') They have a day off for a staff training day and the weather is good so they've gone off with suntan lotion, disposable barbeque and sausages! A couple of weeks ago he cycled down to the beach with two friends for the evening and they locked their bikes together onto a railing. When they returned their bikes were gone and the lock smashed, they called the police who said they were unlikely to get them back. Eventually one was found in the sea but my sons and one other was no where to be seen.One of the lads Fathers brought my son home in the car and as they went back to their house they saw two lads riding the stolen bikes! They followed them for a while until they ended up at a house 5 doors away from our house (which is about 2 miles away from where they were taken). The Father challenged them about where the bikes came from and they said they "found them" but gave the bikes back after being told that the police were looking for them. So we managed by chance to find them quicker than the police did. I would love to have been a fly on the wall in that house when they knew they had been caught red-handed! Justice!
I heard a Cuckoo!...it's official summers coming. At first we wondered if it was a pigeon with a sore throat but no, it was a Cuckoo. We were walking along the old Somerset and Dorset railway line near Shillingstone with Wrecks the dog on Sunday afternoon when we heard it. Looked out for the kingfishers on the river but didn't see any this time. It's a shame but at the station end of the walk they have a problem with Japanese Knotweed, every time we go it seems they are trying to deal with it but it always seems to come back, it's so rampant. I've been playing around with colours and strips with the patchwork lately and enjoying the different effects you can get by putting a central colour in each block that is the same. I'm inspired by www.heartstringsquiltproject.blogspot.com and wonder if I might make one for charity, however this trial one is my first contribution to our dream of setting up a Bed and Breakfast of our own.We are planning to go more rural and have a bit of land to make into a small nature reserve to appeal to people who want to get away from it all, maybe birdwatchers, walkers, artists etc... Well it's a dream at the moment and as Christians we need to do a bit of praying about it, but I've started to make quilts for the beds so maybe it will happen!