Tuesday, 17 January 2017

No View from Bag End

What a dreary day; cloud so low that although it has not been raining you get wet from all the moisture in the air.   Absolutely no views from Bag End today 😉

Rather than grumble about it I've had a thoroughly satisfying 'indoors day'.  After walking Her Ladyship I got busy with the sewing machine and finished three covered pads for the caravan.  One is to fit a gap between a bulkhead and Daisy's bed where gloves have a nasty habit of disappearing.

The next fills an irritating gap at the end of the nearside mattress.  I get what Bailey have done - the two single beds are different lengths but they have provided identical mattresses, hence a space which was annoying me . . . space no more.

The third pad goes under my pillows.  The surprisingly comfortable 8" thick mattress is higher than the framing at the end of the mattress area which means that pillows have an alarming habit of sloping backwards in a way that my neck doesn't like at all.  A folded towel has sufficed up to now but making a little pad is better.

I was reminded how much I dislike sewing which relates to three-dimensional soft furnishings and why I love making nice flat patchwork quilts! The fitted sheets for the caravan are probably the only ever exception:

(just noticed how horrible one of the cushions which came with the 'van looks - we don't do "shiny fabric" so that's an incentive to make some new covers, not sure why it is in Daisy's bed though?)

It always seems such an indulgent luxury to light the woodburner before it gets dark, and Daisy never minds a few extra hours of laying in front of the fire although she does feel the need to "make a point" when her bed is TEMPORARILY moved so I can vaccuum.

A bit of afternoon telly (yes, another episode of Doc Martin) whilst I caught up with the ironing.

I made one of our bulk casseroles, (Pork, Apple and Mushroom) which gave us 14 portions for the freezer and a lovely supper for tonight, and today was the turn of a huge pot of Steak & Kidney.  The house was smelling wonderful by late afternoon.

And then more sewing.  Lots of very similar green fabrics cut into 2½" strips and sewn back together, firstly in pairs, then fours, and so on until I have a a very, very long strip.   This is my version of the "Jelly Roll Race" quilts that have become so popular in recent years but I prefer my end result with much shorter segments.  Once quilted the fabric is destined to be cut up for caravan projects so I need to get a hurry-up.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

This week in the garden, 2





I have excuses reasons:

Monday - at Moffat
Tuesday - driving home with caravan
Wednesday & Thursday - rubbish weather and the post-trip laundry mountain took  priority
Friday - ah yes, Friday; started so well . . . walked Daisy, did supermarket and other errands, came home, pottered around - and late afternon was struck down with something that could only be described as food poisoning.  No idea where I picked that up?  Nothing strange had been consumed, M and Daisy were perfectly OK so our best guess is maybe I touched something whilst out (supermarket trolley?).
Weekend - collapsed, curled up, did a bit of sewing.  Binge watched the box set of Doc Martin which I bought with some Christmas money.  Am I the LAST PERSON in the world to discover this programme?  What a joy and delight, so gentle but very clever.

It's all First World problems and the garden will still be there tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Spur of the moment

When I got back from errands in Cockermouth on Wednesday morning I was 'caught' by a neighbour who I try to avoid because she often goes into 'campaign mode' on various issues and I do not want to get involved.  She TOLD me that at the weekend I was going to help her do bla bla bla bla bla.  Saying "no" just does not work . . . sigh 😠.  Believe me, I have tried.  I rather over-reacted and told her I wouldn't be doing anything of the sort because we were going away.  Which meant I HAD to find a caravan site in a hurry and book it! Fortunately Management is endlessly supportive when I get myself into spots like this 😀

So Wednesday I drop myself into a hole, Thursday I booked a site, and Friday was spent doing a quick bit of shopping and packing our lovely Rosie.

On Saturday morning we got away just after 11.00am and in less than two hours we were pulling onto a pitch at the gloriously deserted Camping & Caravan Club site in Moffat.  Out of 180 possible pitches (I think that number includes grass space for tents) there were no more than 20 occupied vans and by Monday that had dropped to a dozen.

We're starting to feel considerably more confident and competent these days - it had taken a surprisingly short amount of time to get loaded and hitched on Saturday, and even less time to set up on site and have something to eat.   We all needed a walk and as the weather was grey and chilly the decision was made to stroll around Moffat itself before the light went - what an excellent choice.  We both fell in love with the town, reminded me very much of Cockermouth with its wide street and Georgian buildings, but it had a very Scottish feel to it as well.  If we like the place so much on a cold damp weekend at the beginning of January then we definitely need to return later in the year.

Although I am constantly trying to pare down 'stuff' and unnecessary possessions, I fell in love with a half-price Christmas decoration in the delightful Manse Interiors, definitely a place to return to.  So utterly stinkin' cute I cannot possibly put it away until December . . . for now it will sit on top of the dresser until I find a better place to enjoy it.

A VERY slow start on Sunday meant it was well past midday before we went out 'properly'.  Despite low cloud it wasn't as bad as the pictures imply.  Management kindly drove us up to the Grey Mare's Tail waterfall where we were lucky enough to see one of the peregrine falcons which hunt there. 

At St Mary's Loch we took a very narrow road up into the hills past Megget and Talla reservoirs.  That was gorgeous - completely deserted and lovely scenery.  The boot of M's car took on a very "British roadside picnic' look when we stopped for a quick cuppa and a bun!

Management went home Sunday night (only took him a litle over an hour) so Her Ladyship was able to stretch out on the other sofa - not that she is exactly short of places to relax in the van. 

If only she wasn't such a messy eater 😊

On Monday I spent the whole day relaxing and blethering with a cousin who lives about an hour from Moffat, and whom I see very rarely.  Annie brought her delightful little Bedlington (Lottie) who was as good as gold all day and extremely cuddly 🐶

Daisy was not so convinced . . .

The original plan had been to stay until Wednesday.  Once I looked at the weather forecast (thank goodness I took the TP-Link and had a good mobile wifi signal) plans changed . . .thanks to The Met Office and screenshots from the iPad:-

It would have been insane to tow a caravan in those sort of winds, and it's not as if I HAD to stay any longer.  Tuesday's forecast looked much better so I packed up early the following day and left by 11.30.

Got home safely in 1 hour 45, but it was still wetter and windier than I expected.  Never mind, we got back safely and that's what matters.

It was a  lovely little break;  not as calm and relaxing as usual because I was doing something each day but I'm delighted to have got away in the caravan so early in the year, even if it was a spur of the moment running-away-and-hiding exercise.  I guess the nuisance neighbour did me a favour after all!  There is now loads of laundry to be tackled and a completely filthy caravan and car to be washed ... but none of that is happening today.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

This week in the garden, 1

(I'm sort of talking to myself here, if it gets even more rambly and incoherrent than usual feel free to ignore me!)

By the end of 2016 I was feeling thoroughly cheesed off with the garden.  A combination of three recurring problems had left me feeling that I was never going to get on top of the space, and wondering why on earth I bothered in the first place.  The three problems are:

The weather - I start a job, run out of time to finish and don't get back to it for weeks because of the weather,

LP - he is often not available when I want/need him, and then wants to work on days which don't suit me,

Me - I do not always have enough energy to get outside and make some progress even if the weather is co-operating.

Well, I can't solve the first problem but I can do something about the other two.  Firstly be more assertive with LP and not allow him to dictate the schedule, in fact, I started on that a couple of months ago and I think LP was shocked . . . but so far it has worked out OK.  The second problem - well, thanks to endless support from Management I think we have both the shoulder and blood glucose problems under control.  I've got more energy and less pain and, now that I'm sewing again, if I cannot get outside to work in the garden then (whooppee!) "it's a sewing day"!

I did absolutely nothing outside over the Christmas holidays, just occasionally looked at the garden with a depressed feeling of "oh heck, so much to do".

All those years ago starting this blog worked out well as a way of keeping track of our progress so I can use the same device to remind myself just how much I DO get done!  Until I get bored with the idea I'll make a little note for myself each week of just what has been accomplished.

So, with no more delays . . . this week I've had three short sessions outside, each of less than an hour, and completely cut back the willow fedge next to the pavement.  Seeing as it is over 25 metres long that's quite an achievement for the first week of the new year!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Far too nice to stay at home

I have no doubt that sooner or later the weather will start chucking all sorts of nastiness at us, but for now we're blessed with mostly clear skies and despite the cold, this afternoon it was definitely time to get out!  I was more than a little shocked to find the NT car park near Scale Hill packed just after lunch so Daisy and I took the 'path less trod' leaving numerous grandparents and small children to make as much noise on the beaches as they liked.

We walked over Turner's Hill (I know that is not what it's really called!) and were blessed with COMPLETE AND TOTAL SILENCE, not even the sound of wind.  Only an hour's walk, but quite wonderful 😀

This is all on our doorstep - I still have to pinch myself occasionally  😉

Monday, 2 January 2017

Arriving slowly

We slipped quietly into 2017, or rather, we tried to until some nearby plonker started letting off fireworks which sounded like grenades or mortar shells. Took quite a while to get back to sleep after that . . .

Thanks to much help from Management all the decorations were back in their boxes by lunchtime on 1st January.  The sitting room looked quite bare afterwards, but in a good way.  We are still to re-hang pictures (but knowing us that could take months and months ...) but are very happy with the new decoration.  Farrow & Ball Vert de Terre this time which is not much more than a slightly lighter version of the Lichen we've used before.

(I think I meant to put a picture here   😁  )

Our astronomy year started well with lovely views of the conjunction between Mars, Venus and a crescent Moon, with a glimpse on two nights of the faint comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Padjusakova (no, I can't pronounce it either!).  Neptune was hovering about in the same general vicinity but we didn't work out if we'd seen it or not.  Such is the way with star gazing . . .

M. continued to do clever things with tiny bits of plastic and I made great progress on a quilt top which was cut out back in Hampshire and has since (in my head) been redesigned on numerous occasions. I found a post from January 2012 when I thought I knew what I was doing with the pieces - although the zigzag strips never happened and I subsequently unpicked the blocks made for Sue's Diamonds quilt :(   I have no idea what my 'grand plan' was back then, but for now at least I am on the way towards a bed-sized quilt top!

There was much messing around trying out different layouts,

and I ended up with this, which is still not finished 😊

I also have no idea why, about ten years ago, I made a huge pile of Hourglass Blocks . . . I've been moving them from box to tub to basket for what seems like forever.  I also unearthed a pile of really weird 9-Patch Blocks and I might put them together, or I might just wrap it all up again and "file it away" for another decade?

Not a bad way to commence 2017 and spend the 'limbo days' between Christmas and New Year.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Going gently

This year Christmas was an exceedingly quiet time at Bag End.  We did not go anywhere, see anyone or do anything - absolute bliss.  Of course there is always something to keep me busy - looking after Daisy and lots of gentle local walks comes high on the list.  Relaxed ambles around the village lanes afforded lovely views of interesting clouds and pretty sunsets on more than one occasion.

Management seemed to chill out pretty well and spent much time engrossed in hobbies.   As he is unable to purchase a (fairly) historically accurate kit of a 3rd century Roman trireme he is making one from scratch.  Even with glasses on I can barely see the detail he is scribing into the plastic; it makes messing around with fabric seem easy by comparison.

And (At Last!!) there has been messing around with fabric.  The new furniture configuration seems to be just what was needed and I have succeeded in clearing out a lot of unfinished projects and making huge progress on one which has been sitting around for over 9 years.

The weather has been kind, mostly dry and fairly cold which enabled me to feel no guilt whatsoever about lighting the woodburner earlier and earlier each day!  Announcing 'Daisy looks cold' is no more than an excuse because I love sitting in front of the fire as much as she does.

All in all, a good Christmas, a gentle winding down of the year and a chance to recharge our batteries for the coming months.