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Barbecuing in the rain!


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Sorry about the quality of the picture. I haven’t mastered my I-phone camera yet!

Larry has been in England over a year now and is still very much enjoying his life here. Here he is barbecuing in the rain. Look how much weight he has lost since he’s been living in England! He is really slim now and looks much better for it. I have been quite strict with him because he admits to eating junk food when he was in America, living on his own. I don’t really know what junk food is. Food is food, right? However, I suppose it is obvious that some foods contain far too much sugar and fat for our health.

Next month we are going to the doctor’s for our annual check-up and it will be interesting to see how Larry’s blood tests come out. For the last few years he has been borderline diabetic and took tablets to readdress that. Here in England, the NHS (National Health Service) does not give preventative treatment for that condition so when L had his blood tests, obviously the results were good because he’d been taking the tablets. However, now he’s had a year without those tablets and only been eating the food I’ve been giving him, I’m keen to find out what the difference will be. Do you take any preventative medicines?

Actually, we have had a lovely summer but over the last week or so it turned cold. Now this week we are going to get a heatwave. Our weather certainly is changeable!

Oma

We went fishing!


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Those of you who are familiar with the programme ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, which has been running for many years, may see a similarity here. We went fishing – to a stream near the cottage, all four of us. On Fridays my grandson Dylan comes here to enjoy himself and I don’t see why we shouldn’t all join in, do you? With Dylan in the picture is his Grandad J and my husband, Larry in the background.

We took nets and buckets and gloves etc. and down to the riverbank we went. It was fun. This time I tried not to fall in. The last time (but one) that we went fishing, I had an unfortunate mishap and ended up stuck in the mud and had to be rescued! This time things went better. I stayed on the bank and left the fishing to the men and a very good time was had by all.

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When we had finished fishing, we filled up some receptacles with blackberries. When the jars were full, we ate our sandwiches, but just as we got to the crisps, it started to rain and we had to beat a hasty retreat back to the car.

It wasn’t a very productive fishing trip. The fish were wise to us, but we had a great time, as you can see.

Oma

Jane Austen Knits – Capelet project finished!


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Remember this project? Well, it’s now finished and keeping me warm. Here’s another picture from the magazine:

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The second picture shows the shoulder joining, which is tied with a pretty ribbon. However, I wasn’t too sure about that ribbon, so on my version, I plaited some of the yarn I had spun previously, like this:

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I think it looks a lot more natural.

You can read about how the wool was spun here and then here

So the lacy top is mohair in a gorgeous orange colour, but I crocheted instead of knitted. It’s so warm…

This is the back:

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I added a bead feature at the corner:

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All in all, I’m very pleased with it 🙂

Oma

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Roving to yarn!


This glorious Autumn-coloured roving was mine to spin recently whilst I was in America.

I began to spin and soon it filled the spool.

Here it is once plyed and hanging in skeins.

I brought it back to England with me and put it into balls, using my Swift and ball winder.

Now, what to make with it? Perhaps some mittens? or a pretty shawl.

Purple mittens waiting to be decorated.

I can’t decide yet but whatever I make, it will be more enjoyable for having spun it myself!

Lighting the fires.


The last two mornings here at the cottage have been very misty and foggy. So, it’s time to light the fires and cosy up. Personally I don’t mind the dank, dark mornings and the early evenings when I have to draw the curtains at 4 o’clock. I’m definitely not a summer person, although I do like my garden during the summer months. That’s mainly for the flowers though, not the heat.  We didn’t get any heat in England this summer, nor much sun either, but I made up for that when I travelled to Tennessee and spent a few weeks with dh in the hot humidity!

After I’d been there for three days, I got a spider bite, which necessitated a visit to the hospital emergency room!

For the next 5 weeks I was unable to wear any sort of footwear except flip-flop sandals or Scholls! It is almost better now – six weeks later. I had to take strong anti-biotics. Just as the antibiotics were finishing, I developed a wheezy cough, which was annoying both day and night and would not go away! Eventually I went to the doctor who did a chest X-ray and an asthma test. Both were normal so he prescribed Nasonex, a nasal spray for allergic conditions. I had to take that once a day at night for six weeks! Considering I had arrived in Knoxville with a very sore back, I was not doing too well was I? and I began to long for my cosy cottage back in England.

Worse was to come! My dh started having panic attacks about coming to England. As you know we were going to bring the cat, Millie, and stay in England for three months with the idea that dh might like to consider moving here permanently. He just isn’t up to it!! So we are destined to remain apart and I’m not at all happy with that situation.

Anyway, I’m back in England, thrilled that I’m going to be an Oma again next May and for what comes in between, let’s just wait and see…

Here are some lovely pictures of the beautiful trees around the area where I live in Knoxville:

A Woolly Scarf to Keep You Warm!


The other day the wind was chilly!  I got to thinking about a little boy, 4,500 miles away and so I got out my knitting needles and some bright, pumpkin coloured wool.

I started to knit and the knitting began to grow…

The needles were sharp, just like the wind.  They flew on the breeze as the leaves began to come down.

With my tape measure I measured, yes that’s coming on…

The pattern had told me just where to cast on…

I looked at the end result with a puzzled frown. Something is missing? I know a fringe must hang down.

Something to tickle a dear little face with smiles and giggles all over the place…

As the clock ticked, the winds blew; a cat slept in the room

…and a certain little somebody is going to get a parcel in the mail soon!

A Grandad is someone who has silver in his hair and gold in his heart!

It’s the first day of Autumn.


‘Autumn prepares us for the change from warm to cold as we head towards winter.  The days are shorter and colder, the colours of the leaves alter and fruits are ripening, but we feel invigorated.

For many, Autumn is the most vivid and wonderful of the seasons, bearing comparison to a growing personal maturity and a delight in the ripeness of life.  Now is the time for completing outdoor tasks and drawing inspiration from nature’s myriad activities.

We too can plant seeds that will dwell on through the colder months and germinate as projects the following Spring.  Let’s make an effort to acknowledge the harvest this year – either at Hallowe’en or Thanksgiving.  Let’s note the changes, celebrate them and respond to them.  Our senses and energy are heightened by the blend of sunshine and crisp, cool weather. Enjoy it!

Herbal Therapy

Try never to miss the magic of a moment.  At this time of the year, as the sap of trees and flowers returns to their root systems, we too are preparing to turn inward.  Use these last magnificent days to prolong the joy of the harvest.  Gather in your late summer herbs and make herb pillows and amulets from the bounty of garden and hedges.  Amulets are small pouches stuffed with different herbs chosen for love or success, into which some of your own magic words have been spoken.  Cut lavender and rose for love pillows, mint to rid yourself of negativity, majoram and rosemary for protection, lemon balm and basil for success in business.  Make simple pillows or bags and give some as gifts.  If you haven’t enough of your own grown herbs, buy one or two pots and harvest from them.’

from Titania’s Book of Hours

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John Clare (1821)
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The summer-flower has run to seed,
And yellow is the woodland bough;
And every leaf of bush and weed
Is tipt with autumn’s pencil now.

And I do love the varied hue,
And I do love the browning plain;
And I do love each scene to view,
That’s mark’d with beauties of her reign.

The woodbine-trees red berries bear,
That clustering hang upon the bower;
While, fondly lingering here and there,
Peeps out a dwindling sickly flower.

The trees’ gay leaves are turned brown,
By every little wind undress’d;
And as they flap and whistle down,
We see the birds’ deserted nest.

No thrush or blackbird meets the eye,
Or fills the ear with summer’s strain;
They but dart out for worm and fly,
Then silent seek their rest again.

Beside the brook, in misty blue,
Bilberries glow on tendrils weak,
Where many a bare-foot splashes through,
The pulpy, juicy prize to seek:

For ’tis the rustic boy’s delight,
Now autumn’s sun so warmly gleams,
And these ripe berries tempt his sight,
To dabble in the shallow streams.

And oft his rambles we may trace,
Delv’d in the mud his printing feet,
And oft we meet a chubby face
All stained with the berries sweet.

The cowboy oft slives down the brook,
And tracks for hours each winding round,
While pinders, that such chances look,
Drive his rambling cows to pound.

The woodland bowers, that us’d to be
Lost in their silence and their shade,
Are now a scene of rural glee,
With many a nutting swain and maid.

The scrambling shepherd with his hook,
’Mong hazel boughs of rusty brown
That overhang some gulphing brook,
Drags the ripen’d clusters down.

While, on a bank of faded grass,
Some artless maid the prize receives;
And kisses to the sun-tann’d lass,
As well as nuts, the shepherd gives.

I love the year’s decline, and love
Through rustling yellow shades to range,
O’er stubble land, ’neath willow grove,
To pause upon each varied change:

And oft have thought ’twas sweet, to list
The stubbles crackling with the heat,
Just as the sun broke through the mist
And warm’d the herdsman’s rushy seat;

And grunting noise of rambling hogs,
Where pattering acorns oddly drop;
And noisy bark of shepherds’ dogs,
The restless routs of sheep to stop;

While distant thresher’s swingle drops
With sharp and hollow-twanking raps;
And, nigh at hand, the echoing chops
Of hardy hedger stopping gaps;

And sportsmen’s trembling whistle-calls
That stay the swift retreating pack;
And cowboy’s whoops, and squawking brawls,
To urge the straggling heifer back.

Autumn-time, thy scenes and shades
Are pleasing to the tasteful eye;
Though winter, when the thought pervades,
Creates an ague-shivering sigh.

Grey-bearded rime hangs on the morn,
And what’s to come too true declares;
The ice-drop hardens on the thorn,
And winter’s starving bed prepares.

No music’s heard the fields among;
Save where the hedge-chats chittering play,
And ploughman drawls his lonely song,
As cutting short the dreary day.

Now shatter’d shades let me attend,
Reflecting look on their decline,
Where pattering leaves confess their end,
In sighing flutterings hinting mine.

For every leaf, that twirls the breeze,
May useful hints and lessons give;
The falling leaves and fading trees
Will teach and caution us to live.

“Wandering clown,” they seem to say,
“In us your coming end review:
Like you we lived, but now decay;
The same sad fate approaches you.”

Beneath a yellow fading tree,
As red suns light thee, Autumn-morn,
In wildest rapture let me see
The sweets that most thy charms adorn.

O while my eye the landscape views,
What countless beauties are display’d;
What varied tints of nameless hues, —
Shades endless melting into shade.

A russet red the hazels gain,
As suited to their drear decline;
While maples brightest dress retain,
And in the gayest yellows shine.

The poplar tree hath lost its pride;
Its leaves in wan consumption pine;
They hoary turn on either side,
And life to every gale resign.

The stubborn oak, with haughty pride
Still in its lingering green, we view;
But vain the strength he shows is tried,
He tinges slow with sickly hue.

The proudest triumph art conceives,
Or beauties nature’s power can crown,
Grey-bearded time in shatters leaves;
Destruction’s trample treads them down.

Tis lovely now to turn one’s eye,
The changing face of heaven to mind;
How thin-spun clouds glide swiftly by,
While lurking storms slow move behind.

Now suns are clear, now clouds pervade,
Each moment chang’d, and chang’d again;
And first a light, and then a shade,
Swift glooms and brightens o’er the plain.

Poor pussy through the stubble flies,
In vain, o’erpowering foes to shun;
The lurking spaniel points the prize,
And pussy’s harmless race is run.

The crowing pheasant, in the brakes,
Betrays his lair with awkward squalls;
A certain aim the gunner takes,
He clumsy fluskers up, and falls.

But hide thee, muse, the woods among,
Nor stain thy artless, rural rhymes;
Go leave the murderer’s wiles unsung,
Nor mark the harden’d gunner’s crimes.

The fields all clear’d, the labouring mice
To sheltering hedge and wood patrole,
Where hips and haws for food suffice,
That chumbled lie about their hole.

The squirrel, bobbing from the eye,
Is busy now about his hoard,
And in old nest of crow or pye
His winter-store is oft explor’d.

The leaves forsake the willow grey,
And down the brook they whirl and wind;
So hopes and pleasures whirl away,
And leave old age and pain behind.

The thorns and briars, vermilion-hue,
Now full of hips and haws are seen;
If village-prophecies be true,
They prove that winter will be keen.

Hark! started are some lonely strains:
The robin-bird is urg’d to sing;
Of chilly evening he complains,
And dithering droops his ruffled wing.

Slow o’er the wood the puddock sails;
And mournful, as the storms arise,
His feeble note of sorrow wails
To the unpitying frowning skies.

More coldly blows the autumn-breeze;
Old winter grins a blast between;
The north-winds rise and strip the trees,
And desolation shuts the scene.