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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

City views

Last Friday the church walking group ventured into the City of London around the Monument area. Thirteen of us noticing the changes in this area, Ian especially aware of the changes since he was involved with the construction of Richard Rogers’s Lloyds building. The main attraction was to view the Garden in the Sky from the 35th floor of the Walkie Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street,  names and tickets were obtained beforehand, be prepared for long queues and airport style security checks but so worth it.

Following are the phone photos I took of the views, slight mist on horizon to the south west of the City, otherwise perfect weather and not cold at all. I expected to see more green walls and roof gardens, the tops of many buildings were quite ugly.  

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Unintended consequences

Last Wednesday was a meet up with former housemate, we linked up at Kew Gardens station, had a coffee before going into the Botanic Gardens, I’m a Friend so easy to pop in, this time it was to see the Colombian orchid exhibition, unfortunately the exhibition was closing early for a private function.  Instead Friend and I went to find the International Garden Photographers of the Year Exhibition of the year in the Nash Gallery, she reckoned it was more interesting for her than the orchids, many of the places worldwide she had visited.

Recommend visiting if possible, and there are orchids dotted around the Nash Gallery too. One photograph was taken as the colours linked in with the Sweet Pea blanket that I’m crocheting.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Little things.

The tiny splodge of purple is a stray crocus that has popped up in the front garden, the grass was laid last Autumn, it was thought that all the old bulbs had been relocated to the flower beds, indeed bulbs are appearing through the newly fertilised beds but I loved this one tiny spot of colour that bravely fought through the new turf. It was one of those mindfulness moments, the beauty of nature that lifts one. Not that I needed cheering up, we had been to the church coffee morning, won some lovely heart shaped chocolates and a small patio rose - suspect this rose will find a home in the church grounds somewhere - before we tootled off to Teddington and Piazza Firenze, as usual ate a pizza fiorentina, my usual choice when eating Italian. 

An unassuming day, simple pleasures, a good meal, a stray crocus, newspaper to browse, two cakes made, the Victoria sponge went to the coffee morning, the pineapple fruit cake is for our consumption,  a copy of Country Living purchased, ideal reading for a townie, it’s ok as the cake recipes and design ideas aren’t necessarily just for country living.

Progress was made with crocheting the Sweet Pea blanket, I’m way behind but it doesn’t matter, each stitch formation is calming and meditative. 

Friday, 1 February 2019


Just wanted to show the crochet scarf I made for Ian, the pattern was designed by Lucy of Attic24, published in a Red Nose Mollie Makes craft publication in 2017. The original pattern was for a skinny scarf of 15 rows, I bought extra Stylecraft Batik yarn to make a wider scarf, also local stockist didn’t have all the original colours so substitutes were employed. It was meant to be a surprise Christmas gift, didn’t finish it time, it was very difficult to work on in secret, so much more progress was made after Christmas Day. Interesting project in that one didn’t turn the work at the end of the row but fastened off and started a new colour on the right hand end each time.

The fringe was difficult too, Ian helped with measuring and cutting and then modelled the scarf  for the obligatory photograph to be loaded onto Ravelry, Instagram and here.

Today I won’t be out and about in the cold wind, instead will be cutting up the final batch of oranges and lemon for marmalade, crocheting the Sweet Pea blanket, loading the washing machine and ironing. We live such exciting lives - ha ha! At present my left foot is wrappped in an ice pack to counter an attack of Achilles Tendinitis, maybe I should try a few Pilates exercises as it was too cold yesterday for me to venture out to the early morning class.

Saturday, 26 January 2019


Last Wednesday I saw a muscular skeletal physio lady who was critical of my black, flat heeled knee high boots, was slightly appalled that I am barefoot wherever possible in the Summer and recommend a lace up style shoe with a slight heel to counteract the effect of Achilles tendinitis and hip problem. Needless to say I didn’t admit that I lived in my lovely flat, sheepskin slippers over Christmas and New Year, I didn’t go outside for about nine days, quite happy hunkered down in the warmth, busyness and yarny world of Pixie Towers.

So, after my session at Local Studies yesterday I attacked the shoe shops,well just one, because the first one I entered had racks of sale shoes and joy of joy, the first pair I tried fitted, didn’t rub, weren’t too wide, are lace up, have a slight heel, are black suede so a little boring, DD suggested coloured laces.  Let me explain why all this gave such joy and pleasure, it is so rare an occurrence, my feet are long, narrow, size 7 now, used to be an 8 but I have shrunk, I have a high instep, much as I would like to I cannot wear a court shoe, I always need support. Most shoe purchases have been sheer luck especially when I haven’t been looking but just see something by chance. I still adore my red suede Mary Janes bought in Jones the bookmakers sale, they do have slight heel and are fun, each time I wear them I receive favourable comments.

I wore these new shoes today to go to Knitting & Crochet Guild meeting in Kingston, no one saw my cosy warm feet tucked under the table but the happiness was there, I walked the nearly half a mile from the bus stop home and my feet didn’t ache, there was no pain and I didn’t turn my ankle once. All this may sound very silly but this experience has made me so joyful, I recall even as a teenager not being able to wear fashionable or stylish shoes so as an old lady I’m quite grateful that clumpy lace ups are acceptable even with dresses and skirts, I’m not a trouser person.

Finally a couple of photos, retrieved from WhatsApp to show DD the footwear.

Monday, 21 January 2019

It’s that time of year again.

Yes, mid January and time for marmalade making, Ian’s annual visit to the independent greengrocers in our town, once known as Cousins as it was owned by cousins, now one of them has given his name to the shop, Paul Cooper. Forty years ago there was an estate agent in the same town, we bought our first home from them, they aren’t in business now and the greengrocer is too young to be the same guy.

Anyway back to the marmalade making, today I’ve cut up the first three pounds of oranges and a large lemon, they are soaking ready for making tomorrow.  When I mentioned to a friend that I would be cutting up the oranges today she said commiserated with me, certainly not needed as I enjoy sitting at the kitchen table, radio or iPad to hand for a missed TV programme, or indeed just with my thoughts, admiring the varying shades orange, wondering why one orange had no pips, all those inconsequential thoughts that float in one’s mind.

Very old shopping basket, we have two, one was mine and the other was my Mum’s, very useful for storing fruit and vegetables in our larder. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Getting on with things.

A long time ago when I retired I vowed to keep learning new skills, last year I conquered the basics for solving sudoku puzzles, quickest are the easy ones in the Metro, some labelled moderate are doable, I spend much time attempting them using two methods, dots to show numbers that are possible, I call this chicken pox method or I list the numbers missing, this clarifies my thoughts and I see if there is a pattern so for me the better way. Sometimes I end up giving the puzzle to Ian, he checks to see if I have filled the answers in correctly before swiftly completing it. Here is a man who can do fiendish sudoku. Wow.

Newspaper and magazine reading take up time, on Monday we shopped in Waitrose so apart from the regular paper we have on subscription, there was a second newspaper, a magazine plugging ITV programmes and interviews with glamorous persons and a healthy living magazine plugging unusual foods and some weird exercise regimes.  It was Tuesday morning before I read the newspapers, attempted the “quick” crossword, didn’t bother with the politics, it maybe wrong but I’m much in the “whatever will be will be” camp now. Now why didn’t I read the papers on Monday evening? Well, apart from Only Connect and Uni Challenge there is the current addictive Crochet Project. Capitals I know, but it is so hugely satisfying, enjoyable, easy and comforting, so much just pick it up for a few moments and do a few stitches and leave the ironing and correspondence for another day. Even the names of the colours are soothing, candy floss is the present delight, there was blush, cream and blush is to come.

Photo is a bit dark, colours will be on Stitchcraft site and all the FB discussion groups - wow that’s another way of losing time. Rather than send Christmas cards by snail mail, I intended to write a short letter to email, haven’t got far with that, when I do I could refer them to here, but I won’t. It reeks of the boastful round robins that came with cards, I did enjoy them though.