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Monday, 18 May 2020

A couple of things missing for the last eight weeks . . .

Eight weeks!  No, not the length of time since our lives changed but how long since we had a drop of precipitation fall from the sky at Bag End.  I know other parts of the country have had a good soaking but there has been nothing here.  This is how low the Top Pond had got before I emptied one of the 1,000 litre IBC tanks:



The staining on those big stones at the far side show where the water level should be:



The Little Pond in the Cottage Garden received a much needed 200 litres from the water butt at the front of the house.









The Big Pond level is down about 8" - 10", the planting shelves are completely out of the water and it will take more than a couple of large tanks to make any difference.

Last night, thankfully, we had a bit of rain but not nearly enough.  Looking at the 'new' level of the big tanks this morning there is barely any change.  I keep thinking "this can't last" but that is what lots of us thought about lockdown when that started . . . it is a very strange year and it could well get a lot more strange 😩




The other thing missing since March is any contact with the sewing machine or fabric.

Making quilts has always been a balm, a place of creative joy and fulfillment (even when things are going wrong!)  I can look at any quilt I have made over the last 20 years and know exactly what was happening around me whilst it was being sewn.  I might not be able to articulate that to you, I probably do not even want to 😊, but deep inside I can remember what I was doing, what I was feeling, where Ollie or Daisy were . . .

Which is why I have not been able to sew recently.  Anything I made now would be 'tainted' with the worry, uncertainty, fear of what is happening to our world during this pandemic.  Sure, if I had not decided to work my socks off in the garden I could be using up fabric, making pretty things, keeping busy but I would end up hating everything I made - if I finished any of it at all.

However we are now being advised that a 'face covering' should be worn in some places, and after a lot of rummaging around online - and some false starts - I have found a pattern which works for me and have sewn masks for Management and myself.

I feel very sorry for inexperienced sewers - some of the patterns and YouTube videos around at present are complete rubbish.  But with a love of The Sewing Bee, and all things Patrick Grant I would recommend this article at The Foldline:   Patrick Grant Campaign   and out of all the tutorials on that page, the one which worked for me was by Dhurata Davies.

If you cannot sew at all, then have a look at Patrick's Big Community Sew project, and scroll down to the video from Peter, one of this year's Bee contestants - incredibly easy to make and the guy is a natural on camera.

For someone with claustrophobia, wearing it is not a bundle of joy,  but at least it will rot up any facial recognition cameras I might wander in front of!













29 comments:

  1. I've used all my elastic, and like other items it's out of stock in local shops, but we all do have a face mask.

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    1. This pattern does not use elastic Marlene - mine has some old ribbon and M. used a soft shoelace!

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  2. It's been extremely dry now for weeks. I live in what's called the Tendring peninsula and area of Essex that gets very little rain fall. Your garden is beautiful.

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    1. Thanks 🙂. If you are used to low rainfall I guess you can garden accordingly - but this is West Cumbria, edge of the Lake District, land of plentiful rain and three catastrophic flood in the last ten years . . .

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  3. Not much rain here either, I think we had one day of rain during this lockdown. I have ordered a couple of FFP3 grade masks although they cost me £20 each and have yet to arrive but as you know my circumstances I thought it was the wise thing to do. The cloth face covering I've used a couple of times made my glasses steam up! I like watching the Sewing Bee too even though I don't sew and I'll check out the link from Peter, thank you for that x

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    1. Hi Eileen, completely understandable why you need FFP3 ones, I hope they arrive OK.

      I think these cloth ones make everyone’s glasses steam up!

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  4. Dear Jayne
    I am busy watering pots at the moment and we have had a little rain over the last month, but not enough. I'll check the mask links too - thanks for that.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Cheers Ellie, hope one of the links suits you.

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  5. Up to now our huge water holding tank is providing water for the poly and net tunnels, but we've not had rain either for a long timer. Most unusual for North Wales, it's looking promising today but the high winds are blowing the rain clouds over before they can settle :-(

    It's a good job you had some available water to top up the ponds or your frogs would be packing up and moving on!!

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    1. Thanks Sue. We have had dry Spring before but they are usually followed by thoroughly wet Summers, so we shall see.

      We’re the same as you - I can see loads of clouds on the fells but they’ve blown over us.

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  6. We haven’t had any rain either and it’s been really windy. At one point we thought the pond had a leak because the water level was going down so quickly. We’ve gone from soggy muddy soil to dry dusty earth in a matter of a few weeks

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    1. Frightening how quickly that can happen, isn’t it?

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  7. We've had a few dull days here since the end of last week but still no rain. One question - have you still got the frogs? :)

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    1. The frogs move out of the pond as soon as they have spawned. They will now be living under bark chip, bushes, piles or stones, anywhere cool and dampish they can find and eating as many slugs as they can fit in - bless ‘em !! The spawn are now large tadpoles and in about a month, as the weather warms up, I expect to see loads of 1cm long froglets near the ponds.

      If you want to see daft - watch me running my hands through the long grass at the edge of the lawns to move them away before I mow!

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    2. That is meant to be “piles OF stones”

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  8. The garden is just soaking up last night's rain here, as the grass was beginning to look quite parched. I have also thrust a few houseplants out of the back door to give them a gentle water and clean.
    I should possibly set to and make myself a mask. I like how your's gives a good amount of coverage. No doubt there are many who will tell me it is an improvement. X

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    1. Glad you have had some rain Jules, we’ve not had nearly enough but more is forecast for this afternoon and tomorrow so I have everything crossed.

      Good luck with the mask thing, I am sure it has improved my outward appearance!

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  9. Strange year indeed!
    I know what you mean about the quilting. I don't enjoy sowing but I knit - and when I have had the opportunity I have enjoyed weaving too. With both, how I am feeling influences whether the stitches are the same size, whether the sides of the material are exactly straight. If things are 'happening in life' they show up. I am currently trying to knit a jumper for a friend who is a doctor in an intensive care ward for Covid patients. While I knit I think of her - and of all the things which are happening around us all. I've never had to undo and re-do anything so much in my life. Worries show up in the stitches, the choice of colours, the design. I'm thinking of it specifically now as a coronovirus clothing.

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    1. Lucy, thanks for your lovely comment, I get ~exactly~ what you are saying about the knitting, and how our worries show up in creative work. Take care. x

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  10. We have had a little rain here, we had one day a couple of weeks ago when it rained hard all day, it refilled our large water container. We have some forecast for tonight and I am hoping it arrives, it feels strange to be wishing for rain after such a wet and dreary winter.

    I have never done so much sewing as I have in the past eight weeks, I have made so many things, I love having the time to do it. Funny I have never thought of it being tainted by this time of uncertainty maybe because I have been loving having all four of us at home, perhaps that will change now as husband went back to work today :(

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    1. Tainted? That’s just me being weird. I am so glad you have had a good time sewing. Hope the back to work goes well. x

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  11. It is raining today woop woop - just light and gentle grey stuff but I am not complaining as my rain butts are equally gently filling. We've been wearing masks for shopping, I use ones that Youngest bought when he was working so they are a little large for me, but with the wire on the nose clamped firmly and the cord around the head tightened around my hair to keep it on - it makes for a virtually full face mask - so I am opting for a career change to bank robber!! (just need to find one open with a short queue teehee)

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    1. So glad you have rain too. We’ve had a bit, not nearly enough yet and I need to go and do battle with a possibly blocked pipe because one of the tanks is not filling as much as it should . . .

      I cannot really see you heading for a life of crime :-)

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  12. Strange year here too, along with this damn virus, we've had more rain than usual & colder temps for May as well. We've already had 3 frosts & snow down to quite low levels on Mt. Baw Baw just north of us. After severe drought last year & the horrific fires, it's doing my head in. We also use our tanks to fill the pond when it's low. I'm sewing sporadically & should do a mask too, as I've printed off a pattern. I do hope we get The Sewing Bee soon, as there is absolutely "nothing" on TV either & with a big blister on my thumb from cutting up branches with K, I can't crochet of a night.

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    1. Thanks susan, hope your hand heals soon and that you can sew again.

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  13. We had quite some rain one night last month, so much so that I thought we might get flooding again, but I guess the grown was so dry.

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    1. Oh Nikki-Ann, that’s an “F” word we really don’t need at present, on top of everything else.

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