Archive | May 2013

Flowers for the kitchen.

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The other day it was so windy I decided to cut the tulips, which were swaying dangerously about. If I hadn’t, they would have been battered for sure. While I was making the rhubarb and apple crumble you see in the pictures, I was watching out of my window and it was as if the tulips were saying ‘save me, save me’ so I did.

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I think they made a lovely show in my country kitchen, don’t you?




The chicken butter dish is new.  Isn’t it just so cute! My last one was Tupperware and had lasted for more than 40 years. Can you believe that! Are you still using Tupperware? If so how old is it?  Can you beat me at 40+ years?

Even so I couldn’t bear to part with my Tupperware butter dish, which had been such a faithful friend all those years. It’s been dropped on the floor numerous times by my three exuberant sons. I can’t see the new one lasting so long.


These parrot tulips fascinate me.



…and through my kitchen door, I can see this pretty bowl of pansies. They have survived right through our harsh winter and are now in full bloom. Just lovely!


Once Upon A Time – Please Welcome Mr. Small!


There were two lovely people called David and Michelle.

They got married:

It was a beautiful wedding.


They had a lovely cake:


…and all their friends came to help them celebrate:


Then last September, they told us some news…

Gingerbread mum and baby

and we’ve been waiting excitedly ever since.


The Nursery was prepared…

New crib for Sam

Mum was getting bigger…

Sam May 2013

Mum and Dad

David was providing all the odd foods that Michelle was fancying..

and then:

on Monday 27th May 2013 at 6.29 a.m. Mr. Small made his appearance.


His name is Samuel Alan and he weighs 7 lbs 8 ozs.


He has his mama’s dimple and his daddy’s curly hair!


Well done Michelle.  We’re all so proud of you.


We are all ecstatic!

Hand-spun, ecru merino wool sweater – finished at last.


Well I did say I would post on the sweater I just finished, so here it is. Sorry I’m not smiling in the picture. I did smile but J took the picture before the smile materialised and beggars can’t be choosers!



Here is a reminder of where I was with it about 3 weeks ago. The weather has been so awful that I got a move on to finish it so I could wear it, despite the fact that we are nearly into June!


Originally I bought a kilo of the ecru merino wool and spun it up. I didn’t know if I’d have enough and I didn’t. I had to buy a little to finish the top of the sweater. Consequently I may dye the sweater at a later stage just to make sure the colour is consistent. On the other hand if I do that and mess it up, it will be worse than if I leave it be. Decisions, decisions.


So that project is finished. I enjoyed spinning the wool and knitting up the sweater and now I am free to start something new, which is always a good place to be. I can wear the sweater while I’m working on the next project or finishing two that I’ve already started, namely a lace-weight knitted shawl and a crocheted blanket for one of the beds. The blanket is almost finished and the shawl is about half way through.

More of those in a future post.



On my spinning wheel.


I’ve just finished spinning up the bag full of ecru merino roving. It was a a delight to work with. This will be spare because I have finished the sweater I was making with the bulk of it. I’ll show you how it turned out soon. This roving was easy to spin and easy to draft and the result was very smooth as you can see above and below.


Now on my wheel today is some more of Miss Babs blue faced leicester yarn, which you can see is much more woolly. It is more difficult to draft and I have to be very careful that the thread doesn’t break. Once I get in my stride with it, it will be just fine. I just have to take care because after using the merino, followed by the mixture of Alpaca and silk, this one is tougher to use.




and I’m pleased with the result so far 🙂


Millie has an argument with The Ghost!


This has been a slightly worrying week with Millie because she had an ‘argument’ with The Ghost – a large Tom cat who lives across the road.

The Ghost has always been a source of annoyance to me because he is ever-present and determined to live here, even though he has a perfectly good home of his own.  I say perfect, but perhaps he thinks otherwise. Some of the problem has been my own fault because I have tolerated his presence to a certain extent. Here’s what happened …

About four years ago, we noticed that we had a ‘stowaway’. We first saw him making a dash through the cat-flap after stealing Patch’s food one evening. We didn’t hear him come in. We only heard him going out! Then we started finding him under beds, hiding. It seemed like he wanted to stay, perhaps to keep warm, perhaps for other reasons. He was very sneaky. He used to hide and stay the night. We didn’t even know he was in here most of the time. That was when he was a kitten. As he reached adulthood he became more noticeable. When he started to spray, we shut the catflap and kept him out. He wasn’t welcome!!

I made some enquiries as to who he belonged to. My friend around the corner told me he belonged to a lady in my street. She never had The Ghost neutered. I wish she had. The older he got, the more of a nuisance he became. Finally he started chasing Patch into the house and frightened her. She is an old lady and likes a quiet life.

Then Millie arrived. I was a bit worried that he would ‘have a go at her’ and sure enough he did – last week. She came indoors looking very sorry for herself and started licking her tale. I knew something was up. Luckily the bite  didn’t turn into an abscess but she was a poor thing for a day or two. I think her pride was hurt. She didn’t expect to be set upon by the neighbours.  After all she had been through to get here, she didn’t deserve that.

Now she is better (thankfully). I wasn’t looking forward to a trip to the vet’s office. She will have to learn to live with The Ghost. That will not be easy. There’s always one, isn’t there.

Come to think of it, there’s always one in the human world too, isn’t there.  Always someone to ‘get along with’. Someone you don’t really like very much or who picks on you or bullies you or makes your life unbearable.

Is there someone in your life that gives you a hard time? Can you ‘shut up the catflap’ or must you endure?

When we were deciding how to handle this situation with Millie, we had discussions. My house partner suggested we shoo him away. I wasn’t in favour of that. I asked myself, ‘what would St. Francis do?’ The equivalent of Jesus’s ‘turn the other cheek’ scenario perhaps.

In the end I decided to let the cats sort it out for themselves. I have enough problems.

Here he is, the devil, alias The Ghost. For the moment peace reigns!

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Book Review – The Postmistress by Sarah Blake


I didn’t warm to this book at first, but as I’ve found in the past, it’s worth persevering sometimes. I had a bit of difficulty with the characters because at the beginning, the author kept jumping from one place to another, one character to another. However, once I’d sorted that out, I realized what she was trying to achieve, i.e. the importance of news reporting during the wartime.

A female American news reporter travels to London and later through Europe and reports back to her American audience as to the full horror of what was going on in Europe during World War II. She carried with her a ‘portable’ talking machine (not actually invented till a few years later)and recorded what people were saying, on trains, in the underground stations etc.

A young American doctor, newly married, hears one of the reports and decides to go to London to share his skills. Before he leaves, he gives a letter to the local postmistress and asks her to give it to his wife, should he not return.

There is a lot of poignancy in this book. In places it is hard to read but overall it is an unusual take on the events which ordinary people get caught up in during the last world war.

I recommend it.

The Bluebell Wood


These cherry trees, full of blossom, simply shout ‘Spring’ don’t they; although it does look a bit like snow. If it wasn’t for the buttercups and daisies, I would be a tad suspicious…

This is my local park, not five minutes from my cottage and beyond is the wood where I love to wander. Last time I took you there, we had just received a heavy fall of snow.  If you want to be reminded, click here.

However if you’d rather stay with Spring, come look at the beautiful bluebells, almost out completely in these pictures.






I even managed to find a few white ones.






and just when you were getting dreamy, here we are back in the park again.


When The Bluebells Bloom

There is so much beauty in Nature but as lovely a thing as I’ve seen
Is in May when the bluebells are blooming on the ditch along the old bohreen
The wild hyacinths of Mother Nature so lovely and bell like and blue
When the bohreen is lit by bright sunlight they sparkle in the morning dew.

Of the beautiful bluebells of Nature the memory with me remain
On the damp and shady ditch of the bohreem they bloom in the wind and the rain
Surrounded by Nature’s leafy greenery where nesting birds whistle and sing
In fancy I can visualize the beauty of the Northern Spring.

In May when the bluebells are blooming birds whistle on the hedgerows and trees
And the wildflowers blooming amongst the long grass are dancing in the freshening breeze
And the hawthorns are heavily laden in their fragile blossoms of white
Than the natural beauty of Nature there’s not a more beautiful sight.

When the bluebells bloom by the bohreen the little brown lark upwards fly
And pleasant the sound of his carolling this tiny speck in the Spring sky
And though I now live far from the bohreen in distance almost a World away
I fancy I hear the birds singing in the leafy woodlands of May.

Francis Duggan

My English Garden – May 2013


My English cottage garden has had a wonderful show of tulips during the last week. It’s so wonderful to watch them opening up every day when the sun comes out!


Each year I lift some of the bulbs and dry them off. I usually pick a hot, dry day in summer and let the bulbs have a good baking.


Once they are dry, I rub off the soil and store them until the Autumn when I plant them out again, usually haphazardly. I like to see where they come up, mixing the colours as I go.


Just love to count how many of each colour I have each year.


…but I always buy new ones, usual ten at a time. That guarantees that at least some of them will come true. I put the new ones in a tub by the back door to the cottage so I can see them from the kitchen window.

The cowslips are pretty too, aren’t they!


The primroses and primulas are mainly over now but there is still a bit of colour visible.



What a joy my Spring garden is. It delights all the senses.

Have a good week everyone.


Lilley Flower Festival – 2013


This is St. Peter’s Church, Lilley last Saturday when I visited their glorious Flower Festival. You can read more about Lilley and its church here.

The graveyard is delightful, as is the church and I love to visit every year if I can. It is not my local church.


This year’s Flower Festival theme was ‘  On the Air’   and the festival ran for three days over the recent Bank Holiday weekend.  For once the weather was kind, which made the whole thing more enjoyable and hopefully helped to raise the funds needed to keep this beautiful church in a healthy condition.

Here are some of the exhibits:


‘Radio Times’ by Monica ThomasOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

BBC World Services by Kim Major:


‘Gardener’s Question Time’ by Betty Sharp:




‘The Chris Evan’s Show’ by Susan Constable:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

‘Listen with Mother’ by Maureen Bland:



‘Sunday Half Hour’ by Pat Sayer & Margaret Dickenson:


I’ll show you some more of these wonderful flower arrangements next time,

and before I go – a Very Happy Birthday to my son David, who is 33 year’s old today and soon to be a dad for the first time!

Mum and Dad

Not long now …

Sam May 2013

It won’t be long now until I am an Oma again and as you can see from the picture above, my daughter-in-law is blooming. She looks great and is all prepared.

The baby she is expecting will be much loved and well cared for. A lucky baby for sure in this world as it is today. As I look forward to this happy event with the rest of the family, I can’t help thinking about all the children who are not so lucky so I’m giving them my thoughts too when I go to bed each night and pray for a happy outcome.

This is such a wonderful time of the year to be having a baby.  Two of my own sons were born in May and I remember how getting up in the night to feed them was not half so difficult in May as if it had been November, or worse – February!