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Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year's Eve

Just a quick update blog on a rainy grey New Year's Eve. Like many others I haven't ventured out, Ian braved the heavy rain for the newspaper, milk, tomatoes to add to our Christmas remainders. I do like the slightly odd, unbalanced meals that post Christmas dining can bring, last night we had the last of the Christmas pudding cheesecake as well as bread pudding. Sadly the last of the Christmas pudding has gone, likewise the brandy butter and cream which was enjoyed with fruit salad, preceded by smoked salmon and salad so some healthy eating.

We sat down and had one of our planning meetings, kind of broad policies for the new year, one of which includes an effort by me to socialise and maybe even entertain a bit. I could quite happily stay home, potter, knit, read, drink tea, sit in the garden (when the weather is right) and generally ignore the world. Ian excepted of course, except whilst he is studying. As I lived on my own before our marriage I was used to my own company, even when I lived with a family whilst a student my mother warned my landlady that it wasn't unusual for me to disappear to my own room to be alone. Another decision was that maybe we will sometimes eat breakfast at the kitchen table rather than in the dining room so there will be less lingering and more of the day to enjoy.

Our Christmas was good, each day we were seven, my paternal cousins, one set all day on Christmas Day and another set visited on Boxing Day afternoon and evening. With all the talk about the bad winter that started Boxing Day 1962, I am reminded that we went to this cousin's home on Boxing Day, her father and mine were brothers. It was snowing when we left our home in Twickenham, at a cross roads in Richmond my father braked but our Austin A30 just kept going, fortunately in the right direction without any mishap. My diary recalls that we played Monopoly and I won. No games on Christmas Day, on Boxing day it was Scrabble for four of us and Sorry for the other three.

With wider family joining us, there was no way I could attend a Midnight Mass, I would be so tired after the late night so we went to an 8am Holy Communion service on Christmas Day. Right decision, as last night I did feel so tired, ill with exhaustion, couldn't function so didn't stop for shoulder exercises, just for medication and slept many hours. Not sure why this happened, had been out just for the newspaper, the rain again later precluded going out, the day had been relaxed.

Very tired now, so off to the land of Nod.   All best wishes to all readers for the new year, and thank you for reading this.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Today on Christmas Eve, whilst listening to a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings,  I would like to send Christmas Greetings and my best wishes for 2013 to all who read this blog. Thank you to all who respond, to those whose format, ideas and thoughts that I may have used and my apologies to anyone that has been upset, angered or annoyed by my writings.

Just a quick update, an appointment came through for me to see a musculoskeletal physiotherapist about my painful shoulder, apparently a rotator cuff tear. Yvonne the physiotherapist gave me exercises to do thrice daily, these have been much help, although there are movements that are impossible or very painful.    I see Yvonne again in the new year, if she has the results from the x-ray by then it can be determined if I have a partial or full thickness injury. Rapped over knuckles for not going to see GP immediately after I fell, paracetamol and time were never going to repair the damage from this simple fall.

Good news on the knitting front, this be day 26 and since I last wrote I have made a cowl for myself. Have not worn it yet, it requires steam pressing but will do so as I wish to wear it tomorrow. The pattern, Rivulet Cowl was bought through Ravelry, the yarn is Spud and Chloe it is super bulky wool and organic cotton so size 10mm circular needles, such a contrast from 2.5mm size that I used for the socks.

 Photos were taken using my iPad rather than my Canon camera, will try to be photographed wearing the cowl.

Now to decide what to make next, maybe I will continue with the hexipuffs, 161 completed and not start anything else but I have yarn specifically for cushion covers, plus loads of wool to use. Was very satisfying to complete something in a few days so maybe more big needles and chunky wool

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Questions of style

Like others I have been writing Christmas cards, and have been pondering the order of the sender and the recipients' names.

Starting with the sender, nowadays it is just Ian and I sending cards so whose name comes first? Alphabetical, age, the person writing the card? My solution is to put the person first who has the closest connexion with the person to whom the card is sent. So, when sending a card to Ian's brother, obviously I put Ian first, also would put his brother's name before his wife's inside the card. So, a card to my sister, same rule, she is named first inside the card and I sign my name first.

On the envelope for married couples it is just Mr and Mrs, unless I know the addressee is a Quaker, or follows Quaker practice of not using titles. Fair enough, then there are the couples with different surnames, here I use the closest link rule again.

Another quirk I have is where there are children named on a card I don't keep always to a chronological order but may put the youngest first for a change. No personal experience here, I was the elder so my name
came before my sister's. In my twenties I sent out Christmas cards in my own name when still living in the parental home, cards sent to my parents included me and I rarely received cards in my own right. My sister had married so this didn't apply to her, nowadays we are still have receiving a few cards with our children's names on them. Both thirty somethings have left home.

It is a small aspect of manners I suppose, one of my father's ways of judging our boyfriends when we were younger. There was much criticism of one young man who didn't see my sister to the door, or at least put her in and pay for a taxi; another was found wanting because he didn't walk on the outside of the pavement.  I remember one who ensured he grabbed the last comfortable chair so my mother would have had to sit on the low woven stool had not some one else given their seat to her. In retrospect, many of these young men may not have known the rather arcane rules so may not have been aware of breaking them.

However, even today I worry about the niceties of social encounters, should I shake hands in the European style, surely preferable to the air kissing and insincere mwahs. I think I may go and consult one of our 1930s books on household management and as we live in a 1930s house follow that decade's practice. Such larks!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Day 25 - completion.

Just a quick knitting blog, just had to tell you all that at long last the socks are finished. Also pleased that I got into the rhythm of Kitchener stitch whilst watching the Sports Personality of the Year, rather disappointed that Ellie Simmons, for whom we voted, didn't win, but then I am not inspired by Wiggins.

Really finished, ends sewn in, details added to Ravelry, these photos taken by Ian as it not easy to photograph one's legs.

The picture was taken on the top steps, with the top landing behind, light would have come up from the ground floor, the flash was turned off so maybe that's why the stripes of light.

Have learnt from these socks, I will knit another pair with fewer stitches round even allowing for my slightly tight tension, my legs and feet are quite slim and this pattern assumes a slightly more chunky wearer.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Thinking aloud or thinking allowed.

With the radio programme of that same name I am never sure which was the correct spelling, not that it mattered, I enjoyed the programme. Must admit, I have lost the habit of listening to the radio quite so much. When I was home alone, before Ian was given early retirement, I listened far more. Now, life is so different that I rarely listen to a whole half hour programme, think this has come about as I don't spend so much time in the kitchen where the radio is, if I'm in the dining room or lounge one needs to put the TV on to listen to the radio, if I am using my laptop I need to concentrate. I do use the iPad to catch up though. One programme still sacrosanct is The Archers but that tends to coincide with dinner, if we miss it we can listen at 2pm the next day or on Catchup. Now there's a word that I think sounds like ketchup.

Bit of thinking about things today, well it is our son's 32nd birthday. Weather then was wet, mild and windy and today it has been the exact opposite, high pressure, very cold, still and foggy. Adam and his wife stayed overnight here the other day, one small incident made me realise that we don't know the minutiae of their lives, not that we should. Ian and I make a drink before we retire for the night, usually coffee, occasionally warm milk, cocoa if we have some in, so of course we offered a drink to the youngsters. Oh no, never have anything before we go to bed was the reply. What changes folks from the way they were brought up? Does one half adopt the ideas of another? It's like washing up by hand. If there isn't too much crockery and pots and pans to be on the draining board I prefer to leave it all to drain, then maybe dry up and return everything to its place later, say whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. Ian washes up and everything is dried and put away immediately.

Two pictures, the before and after,showing the drying up which was done whilst waiting for the kettle to boil for our coffee and on the window cill is the aforementioned kitchen radio.

Oh, post 24 of 31, I knitted some more rows of a hexipuff whilst waiting for the train at Richmond station today. Also wore the pink beret I knitted last year, very much a hat day today. Need to join the toes of socks, Kitchener stitch here we come.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Opening day

Often I have posted here about the building plans held by Richmond upon Thames, how the Local Studies Volunteer Support Group have accessioned and catalogued the plans; more recently assisted in producing a booklet for an exhibition. Today that exhibition was formally opened at Orleans House Gallery, there is a smaller collection of plans in Richmond Museum. The plans are mind blowing, beautiful works of art in themselves, you can see them online, to see the framed plans themselves is awesome.   is the catalogue for Local Studies.

The Building of a Borough
Found this example, think this was built, many plans were not approved of course.

This is the original press release from the Heritage Lottery Fund way back in March 2010.
An oriental-style café, complete with onion domes, could have been a prominent landmark in central Richmond, and Twickenham might have gained its own theatre in the early 1900s if plans had come to fruition. 
A fascinating treasure trove of Richmond borough’s built – and un-built – environment is to be made available for the first time thanks to a grant of £46,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Richmond Local Studies Collection will be cataloguing some 22,400 sets of plans from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The records, from the former boroughs of Barnes, Richmond and Twickenham, are mostly hand-drawn and colour-washed providing a vivid insight into how the towns developed, not only in terms of their physical but also their social growth.
And documents revealing building schemes that were rejected provide a glimpse of an alternative Richmond that can now be imagined for the first time. The plans for the onion-domed café were submitted in the 1890s. The building would have stood in Hill Street. The unsuccessful Twickenham Theatre scheme was submitted in 1909.
Working in partnership with Richmond Museum and Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham, public exhibitions will be created as well as learning sessions with the support of the Workers’ Educational Association and the University of the Third Age. Local schools and colleges will also be able make use of the material as an educational resource.
The collection of plans will be catalogued and a proportion digitised so making them available online. A CD will also be produced for use in school projects. As a first priority plans relating to buildings of historical or architectural interest, schools and domestic buildings will be digitised. The work of sifting through the mass of plans and deciding which will de digitised first and which are in most need of conservation will involve local volunteers.
The thousands of plans were discovered by Richmond Local Studies Collection during office moves about four years ago. Because of the sheer volume of them they have been in remote storage without public access. The HLF-funded project will at last make some of them available.

The whole project has been more than capturing the history of a Thames Side Community, but it has led to fellowship and camaraderie amongst the volunteers, we were greeting each other like lost friends today. The whole set up is very relaxed, I for am for ever changing the days on which I work but it doesn't matter. There are no rotas, no signing in, we are there because we wish to be, we are welcomed and, like so many volunteers, receive so much in return, none of which is measured in financial terms. Teabreaks provide an opportunity for a few rows of hexipuff knitting whilst a hot beverage cools, more knitting is done when I come home by bus.

Now I've mentioned knitting this can be post 23 of 31, nearly at the toes of my socks, worked on them this evening whilst talking to Martha on FaceTime, two ladies multitasking, or multishirking a label from another message board.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Day 22. Knitted cushions.

Yup, am creeping towards the end of 31 days of knitting with some good news. Have sewn up the knitted squares for a second cushion cover made from wool generously donated by some one on our local Freecycle. There is more yarn, it will wait while I complete the socks, also given the cold weather I'd like to make a cowl for myself as I am such a chilly mortal. I have Spud and Chloe yarn for this, it needs winding from a hank to a ball, just as I had to do when I knitted as I child and bought wool in a shop near my grandmother's home in Kew.

So this is the latest cushion, 50 x 50cm with cushion pad from IKEA, no buttons this time and below the chair with both cushions.

Just to show we don't just rely on the home spun, cottage industry, craft look we have bought cushions from the Royal Academy featuring anemones in a print by Dame Elizabeth Blackadder. Loved the cheerful design, reminds me of our visit to the Bronze exhibition a few weeks ago too. Another link, very tenuous I know, Dame Elizabeth is from Falkirk, not that far from Stirling from where Ian's Mother came and where his relations live still.

Attended reading group this morning, only two finished White truffles in winter, (I didn't) none of us were impressed even after viewing the BBC4 programme about Escoffier. Our next read is Before I go to sleep by S. J. Watson. I know nothing about it, have until mid January to read and consider it, even though that is a long way off mustn't procrastinate. Meanwhile, I need to complete those warm socks......

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Disappointed on day 21.

Some years ago I was sitting in Book Data's office car park listening to the car radio when the news came through that women could be ordained priests, felt so pleased that the man made church had moved at last to include the other half of humanity. Today, knowing the talents, compassion, complementary ministry and understanding that women have bought to the priesthood I just cannot understand why the laity have rejected the measure to ordain women Bishops. I would have understood the clergy rejecting women Bishops, there may be clergy who are scared of the competence, efficiency and popularity of women priests but for laity, and especially other women, not to give everyone an equal opportunity to serve the church - well I despair.

Just had a thought, the Head of the Church of England is the Queen, no one has ever said female Monarchs cannot be Head of the Church, so why so much discrimination within the church. Works both ways, surprise has been expressed that Ian is one of the church cleaners, he has helped with flowers arranging in the past too. It is barely 30 years since our church choir became mixed. We used to see and be recognised by the previous Bishop of our diocese in the local supermarket.

Back to other matters, saw a GP yesterday concerning my right shoulder, x-rays and physiotherapy are being organised. Such pleasantness and efficiency at our surgery. One thing I've learnt from this, I am not as left handed as I thought, have had to consciously use my left hand rather than it being instinctive. May explain why offspring are right handed in spite of left handed parents.

Ian met the kittens' new owner this morning, apparently they have taken up residence on her bed, also they were quite baffled by stairs.

Now day 21. Am undoing the instep shaping where I have gone wrong, it appears just on one side but I'm a perfectionist. Also whilst waiting for the laptop to fire up I have been weaving in ends of the cushion cover squares prior to sewing up a second cushion cover. Martha kindly picked up cushion pads in IKEA and brought them here. Need to plan design for next cover, but sock completion is first.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Kitten news update

Great news. Kittens have been named and are in their new abode with senior cats to guide them in the way of their new staff.

Ian and I had a phone call yesterday at 9am, we know the lady and her family so we were delighted to hear she wanted the kittens. Instant decision was made for us to drive to the coast to deliver a chair we had for Martha and to transport kittens and their luggage back here. Trip had to wait till after lunch as Ian was booked in for a Eucharistic home visit, too late to pull out, but if we had been able to go in the morning we wouldn't have had a problem with the sunlight whilst driving.

One of the roundabouts on the route was called Clark's Green Roundabout, I pondered whether Clark has any other roundabouts and if so, what colour are they.

To the kittens, they were so good in the car, no squeaks or mewing, they'd never been in the carrier before, never left the flat but looked quite calm in the carrier when we delivered them. Their new owner named them, the white and tabby is Mary and the all tabby is Martha. So appropriate for sisters, however I don't think there is a Lazarus in the menagerie. Another bonus, their new owner is a friend of the family who have Molly and Tabs, the parents of M & M.

As it's lunch time will blog another time about the sock knitting, also have a doctor's appointment about painful shoulder, I haven't recovered from what I thought was Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, time and paracetamol haven't worked in the five weeks since the walking weekend. Ian had to take over driving yesterday, it was so painful holding arm on steering wheel. Haven't been driving little car recently, it doesn't have power steering.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Fluffy kittens

This is more of an advertisement than a blog, as one never knows who is reading this so it may worth a try to find a home for Martha's unnamed kittens. They were going to a family in West London and at the last minute the Dad has decided he doesn't want them, children very upset of course.

The kittens are 12 or 13 weeks old twin sisters, one is tabby and white, one is tabby, very sociable, good tempered and house trained. They are free to a good home, they have not been outside as their home has been a first floor flat till now.

Martha lives on the South Coast, we are in SW London so kittens can be delivered within reasonable distance of these locations, also she would be willing to take them to Dorset as she has friends and family in that county. Moggies will come with toys, travel box, dirt box, unused automatic feeder.

These pictures were taken early September, there is a more up to date one below.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Day 20

Day 20 of 31..  Knitting.

Just progressing with socks, have completed the heel flaps and now will be turning the heel whilst watching BBC4 programme on Escoffier. He is the subject of the reading group book, White Truffles in Winter by N. M. Kelby. Am finding the book heavy going, tend to read it whilst using the nebuliser as there is not much else I can do then. If the TV programme doesn't inspire me I may give up.

On another tack, unintended consequences. So often something good can come from something that is not good. Like many, I received an email about a scam whereby a so called delivery company asks for debit card details to pay for a delivery. Email was forwarded to Ian, who passed it on to his contacts. The result that he has had many cheery emails, updating him on friends' activities, news and suggestions of catch ups.

Off to view Escoffier, wonder if that is where the English word 'scoff' comes from? Doubt it, me being silly, for as we used to say to the kids when they were little, Everyone, even grown ups, are silly sometimes. 

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Completed cushion on day 19.

This will be about knitting as I have finished the first item that I made from the yarn  I acquired about a year ago through Freecycle. It was very chunky, I have made 16 squares, all garter stitch, some mitred, some started with one stitch then increasing and decreasing again. Now the first 8 squares are a cushion cover, the pad of which is 43x43cms and adorned with five lovely buttons.

The buttons were part of a parcel of goodies I received from a blogger who posts on Ravelry too. Last year she had a competition to celebrate a blog anniversary, anyone who commented on her blog in March 2011 had a chance of winning. I commented once about the London Marathon, in which my daughter and her son were running, not having seen anything about the competition and won thanks to a random number generator.

The lovely buttons are on the right of the photo. If you want to see the blog of the kind person who sent me what has turned out to be perfect buttons it is here:-  There is some beautiful knitting there, I am so inspired by her work.

Time to join Ian, he has stopped studying - or doing his sums as we say - so will go, maybe even sit on the new cushion.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


Was looking back at my diary for 50 years ago when the calendar lined up with this year, well from 1st March as 1962 wasn't a leap year. Easy to remember a leap year, it is the last year of a US president's four year term of office.

A few other differences, 1962 half term was a week earlier than this year, we had just three days break, spent on a geography field study in Surrey. Holmbury St Mary youth hostel was my first experience of youth hostelling, I noted we sat on the scarp slope of Box Hill to eat lunch on the first day. Delights of the second day included drinking cider at the Stephen Langton pub in Friday Street, we're talking fifth years here so aged 15 or 16 with one teacher.

We were cut off from news, so we returned home to hear about the Cuban crisis although nothing is recorded about this in my diary, cannot decide whether I wasn't interested or it didn't impact on my world.

Looking at the entry for Tuesday 6th November, I record meals, bacon and egg for breakfast; school, the Headmistress said the hockey team was no good - didn't work as a team. She was right, we had a match that afternoon to which we travelled by bus, lost 4 - 0 and "home in Miss H*'s car. Lessons that day included French "went on with verbs"; Scripture "finished yesterday's work & started transformation" [Yesterday's Scripture work was about events at Caesarea Philippi] and in Geography started SW Peninsula. "As usual a good lesson". No idea why I wrote that, nor any indication as to what a good lesson was. 

Back to my Blog of today and Day 18 of Knitting Purchased wool for another pair of socks, just £6.00, Stylecraft Aviemore 4ply superwash 75% wool and 25% nylon in the local garden centre after lunch with ladies from the church. The wool, pink and grey random dyes comes in one 100g ball so will be unable to knit both socks simultaneously so careful row counting will be needed. First have to finish the pair I have on the needles. So stopping here to dash away with the smoothing iron and will knit this evening.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Day 17

As you know I decided that 31 days of knitting was not going to be consecutive days, if it had been so I would have failed. As my son says, failure is not an option so I changed my specification.

Knitting hasn't been a priority, we are considering extending our downstairs cloakroom to include a shower, this project will involve filling in the gap between the back of the integral garage and the utility room. The designer emailed the drawings today; two builders know of our proposals so the talk has been of heated towel rails and whether the shower screen should have obscure glass. The three waterbutts occupying the space will need to be rehomed, the pedestrian door to the garage relocated and slightly recessed.

As to knitting, more hexipuffs have been made, the cushion cover squares have been washed, blocked and are ready to sew up.

Not very clear picture, sorry folks, taken with my iPhone, emailed it to myself as am compiling this blog on my laptop then somewhere lost it for it didn't appear in the photo gallery. The knitted squares are on the cushion pad secured with one pin, the ones for the back are beyond and it all needs joining up. Quite pleased with the rustic look, all from yarn obtained from Freecycle, hence washing it as not sure of its provenance. Once the cover is complete I will need a better picture for my Ravelry project picture. Haven't even put it on as a wip.

Have enough square to make a second cover, need to pop into John Lewis to buy another cushion pad, originally was going to make the squares into a throw but have changed my mind. Also there's plenty more yarn, will knit some finer wool using double moss stitch for another cushion cover.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Day 16.

Knitting update: yesterday evening worked on socks, ready to start heels, this time intention is to make them very neat so will take time.

Have been working on squares from recycled wool, almost at the end of the cream so completing last square with mitred corner. This square has so many joins, what I think is a complete ball of yarn has breaks in the middle but will need to use all to complete the cushion cover. Will sew in ends, wash and block squares before joining up to make the cushion cover.

A little more hexipuff knitting in odd moments too.

Today is a special day as 30 years ago I was at Queen Charlotte's hospital, our lovely daughter Martha was born there at 12.02 pm. Thanks to Face Talk we had a chat with her this morning, tea was being drunk to celebrate. Lots of greetings on Facebook from family and her many friends demonstrate what a super person she is.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Day 15 of 31

mmmm, nearly half way through talking about knitting.

Just to say yesterday I decided I wasn't happy with the standard of knitting around the heels of socks so whilst chatting to son and daughter in law undid the socks to way back, think just above the ankle when I was nearly at the toes. Have put both pairs back on the needle, one ready to go, other one needs to be tidied up, stitches untwisted and perhaps stitch below to be knitted too.

Haven't touched socks yet today, did some hexipuff whilst on phone.

Notice 'yet'. when I've been asked if I have visited somewhere my answer is either 'yes' or 'not yet', thus combining a sense of optimism with an acknowledgement of how much I have travelled. Great way of annoying our beloved offspring is to shout 'been there' at the TV or radio when a specific town or place is mentioned. Between us, these parents can clock up a few miles!

There aren't too many places that I yearn to visit, Montecello has been on the list ever since my OU studies: the Settle to Carlisle railway appeals but more often travelling is to visit people rather than places. Today, someone was surprised that we hadn't been away on holiday this year, well apart from a weekend in East Anglia, but that was based around joining other bloggers for a lunch party. People not places, it was so lovely.

Back to sock knitting and catching up on Bake off spin offs......

Monday, 22 October 2012

Misty Monday

Day 14 of knitting is just more progress on a hexipuff in odd moments of time. I had intended to take up the socks again whilst watching the Masterclass from Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, had assumed an 8pm start but discovered it was an hour earlier. Still there is always iPlayer.

I wore my pink socks with my winter boots yesterday and have realised that I knitted the feet a little big and made the boots uncomfortable so switched to the first pair I ever made which were a better fit. this time I shall try the new socks on when I reach the length indicated. Both pairs of winter boots require socks inside, my feet and legs are slim but boots are made assuming everyone has fat legs.

Looking at this picture the feet do look longer than the legs. Still ok for wearing around the house though!

Yesterday's church service back here was a complete contrast to the previous week but none the worse for that, for I came away knowing I will remember some of the teaching about service - as opposed to a service - and the pleasure of seeing some of the rather elderly ladies of the congregation participating in "Simon Says"! Yes, it was the monthly service for the younger age group but it was done so well it was right for all. How good for the children to be around the altar, to see what the priest does at the Consecration and sensing the importance and reverence.

This is why when we go away Ian and I try to attend the local church, although once in a village near Skipton we were accosted as newcomers, nearly signed up for the PCC and flower arranging before we could escape back to London. Visiting other churches gives a fresh insight into faith, a different emphasis on a familiar form of worship, learning something new and being able to look at one's own church on return to compare and contrast. The same benefits accrue when the vicar goes away for the four Sundays he is apparently allowed off and we welcome visiting clergy. Many years ago a priest who had been a teacher, or a school chaplain, not sure which, maybe both, used to cover and his sermons were like RE lessons, so much information about the background to Jesus and his life and about the world of St Paul.

As part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Guide company a presentation of their activities at a muddy PGL centre recently was screened. Guiding is just another world now, looks so much more fun and relevant. Like domestic science at school, much of our guiding seemed to assume being wives and mothers would be the most important part of our lives, the badges, like Little Homemaker reflected this.

It was my turn to host the reading group today, back went the Salmon Fishing in Yemen, in came White Truffles in Winter. Those of us who haven't read our free copy of Oliver Twist in this Dickens year were given a gentle reminder of the delights of this author. Am planning to download an unabridged audio so I can knit and listen.

Well enough of my waffle, busy week ahead.

Friday, 19 October 2012

PixieMum goes out west.

Right, let's get the knitting for Day 13 over. Have done half a hexipuff, then noticed had 19 instead of 20 stitches so will be undoing it. (Please insert your own mild swear word if you like) 

More success in completing one of the large Freecycle wool squares whilst having a chat on phone.

Right. Now the reason for not knitting or blogging was that I was away with the Strollers walking group. The name is becoming more and more apt, at times I found the pace a little slow and was glad to be at the front, striding ahead and then having more of a break and a photo opportunity.

Big difference this year was that I went without Ian. Now I know plenty of women of my age have no one with whom to go away, live on their own, don't wish their husbands to join them (or vice versa of course), but we tend to come as a package. However, Ian's OU maths exam was last Wednesday so there was no way he could lose three days revision so we thought it would be a Good Thing if I went without him so he could revise in peace and quiet.

Yes friends it went fine, I missed him terribly at odd moments, during the Sing Praise we have before Saturday's dinner, at the end of dinner where I suddenly realised that if I didn't go and fetch my coffee I wouldn't have any. Another time was on Saturday afternoon walked into Shaftesbury, it was odd pottering around a strange town on my own. Did consider walking down Gold Hill, but I opted out as I would have had to climb up again to return to the hotel. I had just about coped with the two walks I'd done.

The view of Gold Hill on Sunday morning after church at St Peter's Shaftesbury. It was very misty in the distance, clouds as one sees them from a plane obscuring the views.

Rather pleased that I managed to attend the 8am service, especially as it was BCP, said reverently, clearly with the correct emphasis, no servers to distract. I was amazed that I remembered all the words of the prayers so familiar from my teenage years onwards until the 1980s Series 2 and now Common Worship which can seem banal. BCP makes me think about what the words really mean, and this service, the worshipfulness, the peace and calm emphasised what is missing in my church back home. Additionally the excellent  talk by the priest, without notes, so apt, the church was celebrating Harvest Festival later at their 9.30 service so it was in that context.

Looking back over the weekend, there were some arduous walks as it was so muddy, there was slurry as we walked through a farmyard, there were stiles in a variety of styles and wobbliness and some steep inclines all of which has convinced me that I need more regular cardiovascular exercise and confirmed by the nurse discussing the results of my blood test.  I feel far less breathless than before I went away so we have an appointment next week to see what the local gym offers these old crocks. It has taken a few days to catch up as I have felt very tired, it has been suggested that I may have Delayed onset muscle soreness, nothing that time and paracetamol won't solve.

Just an example of the lovely views we encountered.

On Sunday, we breakfasted after church, group photos were taken before some departed for other destinations but the rest of us convoyed to Stourhead to find the place heaving. Had every National Trust member on Wiltshire and beyond chosen to go there on that beautiful sunny day? Admired the kitchen gardens, checked out the NT second hand bookshop and walked around the lake but no time to go into the house but am encouraged to return on a weekday.

After Stourhead, drove to my Friend-from-junior-school-days, so lots of catching up and chatting before I drove home on Monday. Both drives, on Friday and Monday were nearly two hours non stop, I used the Sat Nav successfully, before I have left it to Ian to set it.

Good night everyone.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Day 12.

Very brief note about my knitting journey, then after I have cleared the ironing marathon, will attempt a chat about the weekend away. With my walking boots I wore the very first pair of socks I knitted, on my return home socks needed a long soak to remove the mud. Worth it, feet and legs were dry and comfortable.

No knitting done until Sunday evening, but then just a few rows of the hexipuff during the advertisements on Downton Abbey.

Then, next knitting was during British Bake off but again, TV took preference; yesterday just knitted one of the  big squares for the throw whilst talking on telephone, so good to have loudspeaker on handset.

Not the muddiest part of the walk, I haven't asked permission to put photos here of other Strollers so that precludes some muddy events. Even though I doubt they are aware of my blog it would be bad mannered of me.

Right, off to iron, then a chatty blog later.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Day 11.

Just briefly after yesterday's huge photo, can say that the socks have grown because went to Royal Brompton yet again.

Have come away with a nebuliser, saline solution and slight confusion when I read the cleaning instructions. What with controlled breathing techniques, all the medication and now a nebuliser I shall have to be up early to do all this. Then most of the schedule is repeated again in the evening, I reckon we are talking a little shy of at least one and a half hours each day.

I should be fitting in some form of regular exercise into the day, walking to the High Street to collect the paper really isn't enough, especially as this activity depends on the weather.

Much knitting was done both on the train and the hour's wait for the pharmacy to provide the saline solution. Still have doubts about completing socks to wear at the weekend even though I am taking knitting with me to Home Group in a few moments.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

nine of thirty one.

Just a late, brief note to keep the momentum of daily blogging going, to say that I have established a method for ensuring an equal number of rows are knitted for the feet of my socks.

Method: different colour stitch markers on each sock.

On a post it note record the number of rows done for each sock using the 5 bar gate system.

Sit on comfortable sofa with one sock on each side.

Watch interesting TV programme and take it in turns to knit each sock and recording round.

None of this would be necessary if only I had put my ro-tallies on the needles when I started. Will know next time.

Good night everyone.

Monday, 8 October 2012

District Line knitting on day 8.

Had to travel to Royal Brompton hospital so of course I knitted a hexipuff on the train and whilst waiting at the hospital. 

Although this is the 152nd hexipuff, everything seemed to go wrong, either an odd number of stitches, or 12 stitches on one needle and 16 on the other, or the tail tanged with the knitting thread. I think I undid as much as I knitted. 

Far more important was the good news at the hospital, all my tests have come back clear, I am much better than in early July and next visit to consultant is in a year's time.

To celebrate this Ian and I went to Westfields, Ian had never shopped there although he was involved with the planning of the building, much evidence of his company's products were noted by us. Shopping was successful, including gold nail varnish (don't ask yet

Now off to complete socks, to be worn with gold toe nails of course.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Sunday Day 7.

Just a brief mention that I knitted a little whilst watching Downton Abbey, progress has been made on the socks in that I  am back to 64 stitches, knitting the foot so creeping towards the toes.

Went to a service to commemorate 75th anniversary of founding of 2nd Whitton St Augustine's Guides. Church was quite full, but only one other girl from my time in the company. Didn't matter, I knew plenty of the younger  guides and leaders. So many changes, from the Promise to Taps. have never forgotten when I was about to be enrolled, another girl asked me if I knew what 'on my honour meant' as it was part of the ceremony, haven't forgotten the answer. My honour means I can be trusted. Maybe haven't kept to that always in the past, but now in my later years can keep that promise.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Saturday 6th.

As the thirty one days concerns one subject I shall start with knitting, but then just add in an ordinary blog.

So the picture from the other day won't load onto here, have taken another one but Blogger wants me to sign up to loads of other stuff so will finish the blog on iPad, take a picture with ordinary Canon camera, go upstairs and  edit blog on laptop.  Now using laptop and camera so you can see the progress and how different each sock is. The wool is Regia stripe, there's a link to Kaffe Fassett on the ball band.

Unusual Saturday, daughter drove up early from Sussex, she had ticket for Hedda Gabler at Old Vic but before then we went into Kingston as she was concerned that I wasn't wearing right size bras. I had been measured a few years ago in M&S, just bought same size each time replacements were needed, often didn't wear one at all.  What I (and apparently lots of Mothers) don't know is how these garments should fit. So lots of trying on in John Lewis, purchases were made before moving to M&S for more trying on and slightly more inexpensive purchases.

Have to admit, I am feeling a little more comfortable than usual at the end of the day but don't ask me to explain English bra measuring systems, or to remember the overheard snatches of conversations from other changing rooms and from the shop staff. Made what could have been embarrassing a laugh.

Daughter went off to go to London, Ian joined me as a break from study and for lunch. Think I had forgotten how crowded shops are on a Saturday, we are so spoilt being able to do so in the weekday calm that we returned home mid afternoon. Of course had quick look in John Lewis haberdashery to see if any suitable wool for hexipuffing on sale -wasn't - and checked in Tiger but now acrylic only.

Daughter came back here, spent time with us before driving home to her cats. We gained an extra paper as she left her copy of The Times here, good to read the news from another viewpoint.

Friday, 5 October 2012


Very briefly, again tried to write on my iPad but Google/Blogger wouldn't allow so will just tell you I have made a hexipuff, just need to complete the three needle bind off.

This evening whilst Ian was at choir practice worked quite a few rounds of my socks, enjoyed BBC2 programme about servants a hundred years ago whilst knitting.

Today is the first day of Christmas preparations, bought a tin of Amaretti biscuits and telephoned a cousin to invite him and his wife to join us over the holiday. They have for the last umpteen years so this one should be no different, am pleased about that.

Will take photos tomorrow with my camera, upload them here so you can see knitting progress. Boo hiss to iPad!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

On the fourth day of thirty one ...

Well earlier in the day I tried a couple of times to post this on my iPad but it just gave me a Google error message so on our return from home group I have opened up the laptop to give you an update. Even here it started to tell me about an error.

The iPad photos I took of my knitting will have to wait for another attempt, can say that it has been a good 24 hours as last evening I realised that I had misread the pattern! Oh doh! As I had the right number of stitches couldn't understand from where the extra ten stitches to be knitted were coming. It wasn't ten to be counted, it was to knit ten to reach the beginning of the round.

Went to knitting group, didn't feel part of it, maybe because I no longer read or post on Ravelry - just use it to record my projects and stash - the conversations were lost to me, I felt like an outsider.

Have worked on a hexipuff at Home Group and worked on the giant squares for the throw at other times. I don't do the socks unless I can ensure I have time to work on both, perhaps tie on luggage labels to identify which round I am on. Should have put a ro-tallies on when I started, too late now.

Home group was interesting, kind of refresher course about worship, better than the York Courses or discussions about hypothetical topics that have no relation to the lives of the group, all of whom, with one exception, are all retired.

Will try to add pictures tomorrow.

Good night.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Day 3.

Have done knitting but not socks yet. Knitted hexipuffs in the car and on the bus to and from Local Studies today, think this will be last one in Rowan 4ply pale green. Traffic bit slow, so well on way to finishing.

Also completed quite a large area of a square using wool from Freecycle haul, just pick up the work when maybe on loudspeaker phone or waiting for something to cook.

As far as socks are concerned, have undone knitting so will have to pick up heel flaps again and try to achieve right number of stitches this time. If it doesn't work will go to knitting group for assistance as time is running out. Had hoped to make a cowl before walking weekend, this is some chilly autumn this year.

This is an experimental blog, for once didn't fire up my lap top, instead worked out how to write it on iPad, with Bloggers new style template.

Let me know if it is too bad.......

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Day 2 of 31

Not a great knitting day so far, did complete the 150th hexipuff, so able to start a new one.

Actually started it in Squires Garden centre café as there for lunch with other ladies from the parish. This is the second one, couldn't make last month, but there is nought else socially for ladies at our church. The men have a monthly meet up in the local pub, it is my understanding it has been very successful in terms of friendship, fellowship and laughter.

Anyway, whilst we waited to see who else would be joining us, sat on squishy sofa and commenced another hexipuff, but just time to cast on 20 stitches, and transfer some to the magic loop needles. Suspect casting on was a little tight as it is proving tricky to do this.

All knitters will appreciate I'm taking stitches from red needle to wooden needles alternatively.

Was not able to continue after the meal, for although we sat around chatting, I was showing the others information from my iPad about the Local studies CALM website, found details of the woodwind orchestra in which the organiser of today's lunch plays. This is at the church at the other end of our urban village.

Now back to the socks. They were left in favour of ironing yesterday, so today will try again but can concentrate whilst watching British bake off?

Monday, 1 October 2012

31 days in 2012

No way can I take any credit for this title, I read about this on The Bookworm's blog, so went to her source, which is the blog of The Nester.

Confused? Don't worry, so was I, but basically one blogs every day in October about a chosen topic. Some of the topics chosen are amazing, I suspect one would spend all of one's October reading them all.

I have decided to just post daily about my knitting progress, especially as I was making good progress with the socks but having joined the sock flap back up, picked up the stitches from the sides, then asked to knit 10 more stitches, I am confused as it will mean I think I will have too many stitches.

Any way, here is a picture of the socks so far .....

There is a deadline for finishing these, I would like to wear them when I go walking the weekend after next.

Of course, all may be well, but I shall leave my laptop, go and iron, then return to the knitting. These are the third pair I have made, perhaps I shouldn't have knitted and watched Downton Abbey at the same time.

to be continued tomorrow. Day 2/31.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Chatting about stuff

Wednesday, SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

This Week: 26th September 2012

The weather ... Wet and windy with gales and some very heavy downpours.

I am wearing ...  black East dress, orangy-red CC cardigan and brightly coloured Tradecraft scarf. Dress is so comfortable, not fitted at waistline, I dislike the feeling on being strapped into tight clothes.

I am reading ... Salmon fishing in the Yemen, haven't read much, but am enjoying it so far.

I am creating .. hexipuffs, chunky quilt, phone cover and finally socks. Bought the yarn in Shoreham a few Saturdays ago when we broke our train journey back from Martha's. There was a very large yarn shop there,  Shoreham Knitting and Needlecraft, so bought sock wool. Decided to make both socks simultaneously, found circular needles, off I went but broke the needle pulling the yarn tight to avoid the 'ladder' effect. Found another circular needle, measured carefully, was sure both were same size although different brands (Pony and Knit Pro) and have almost completed 19cms before starting heels. (Knit down, not knit up). Measuring and row counting showed a miniscule difference, so on Pony will probably knit an extra round so knitting is same length.
Colour not very good here, the colours are much more vibrant.
Anyway, have bought two pairs of 3.25mm KnitPro symfonie yesterday, the helpful lady in the shop and I decided that there was no need to undo the knitting. It is very difficult to see the difference, but before working the heel I'll transfer both socks to the new needles. As socks will be worn with walking boots or inside ordinary boots it won't notice if there is one extra round on one. After all, my feet and legs aren't exactly the same size.
I am listening ...  well whilst ironing was listening to pod cast of confessions from the Radio 2 Simon Mayo drive time programme. Takes a lot to amuse me, but some of these succeeded.

I am watching ...   Downton Abbey, Great British Bake Off, Who do you think you are?, Love and Marriage: a C20th romance, all whilst knitting.

I am enjoying ...  my efforts at meeting up with friends, some of whom go back to school days. Last week went to Museum of London, saw nothing of the exhibits but spent over 5 hours chatting and catching up with friend who lives up north. Apparently I haven't changed in nearly 50 years!

Learning notes ... Ian received his final TMA for this course today, as he opened the envelope he said that he felt he hadn't done very well. Mmmm, so 77% isn't doing very well. I hope the result gives him confidence for the exam.

On the menu ...  not sure, we have bread I made yesterday and banana bread made the day before. 

On the calendar ...  meeting at Local Studies about the Building our Borough exhibition, although this clashes with a day walk with the walking group. Weather may play a part in choice of which activity I choose to do.   

A picture from last week ...  from our bedroom window showing the more open aspect now Ian has cut down, pruned, pollarded the trees and shrubs in the back garden. Our kitchen is much lighter too, a compensation for the loss of light from next door's extension.

My thanks to The Bookworm from whom I copied this format. Never quite sure whether to make my blog a kind of journal or diary, or a more reflective muse. Think it kindest to make it a chatty journal, rather than a catty view of this parish's recent events and meetings. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Still here

MONDAY,septEMBER 10, 2012

Simple Woman's Daybook: 10th September

Outside My Window ... ought to mention that Ian has been cutting back the jungle that our back garden has become, a combination of the heavy rains earlier in the Summer and the brief, recent warmth.

View taken from the back bedroom window.

I am thinking ... about the Panorama programme this evening about pensioners and alcohol. It is very much assumed that one will have a drink, I have a fear of having even one drink and driving, even if I will not be driving that day I'll not have alcohol. Occasionally we have been trying cider, we test the specialist brews when they are on offer at Waitrose or Lidl's. Certainly no scrumpy these days.

From the learning rooms ... Ian's last assignment for MST208 has been posted; revision continues whilst the course materials for MST209 have arrived.

I am thankful ... for a quieter week ahead, for last week was busy. On Tuesday I went to the monthly Prayer & Meditation group at church; then we went onto  a U3A lunch in a beautiful Surbiton garden followed by a train ride to Vauxhall, bus across the river to a meeting of ALMA reps. ALMA is Angola, London, Mozambique Association, established by the Bishop of London to give support to the Anglican churches in these two African countries. Ian and I are the reps for our church, our sewing group made a banner for our link church in the Mozambique town of Mecanhelas. I think it is in the Niassa region.

From the kitchen ... like much of the country have begun to bake again, made quiches to take to Ian's U3A lunch in someone's garden (I was invited too!) and last weekend my family signature bake, those coconut slices. 

I am wearing ...  light grey trousers, white shirt with Monsoon cotton jumper with swans on it. Too warm for red cardigan, it came off.

I am creating ... 3 projects: hexipuffs, have reached 149; the freecycle throw continues to grow, am casting on 11th when laptop goes slow and have started a pair of socks for myself. Same Regia pattern as before, but have two  Magic loop needles so knitting both socks together. Have broken a Knit Pro nedle whilst trying to ensure there was no ladder in the ribbing so using Pony bamboo one I had in reserve. As the socks and hexipuffs both are made on 2.5 mm needles will have to buy another one as haven't a third one for hexipuff.

I am reading ... well will be, London: portrait of a city by Reuel Golden, published this year by Taschen. Also, will be starting book for reading group, its Salmon fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday.

A picture, or two, thoughts I am sharing ...

This robin was pictured at the Millbank café, outside Tate Britain. I had met my friend there to see Another London: international photographers capture city life 1930-1980, of course we needed coffee before going around the exhibition. Well actually, we had coffee and lunch before going round the exhibition. 

A little gripe: the captions were stencilled on the wall, but nut under or near the photos to which they related, so we were bobbing back and forth trying to read and then view. An interesting collection, some of the views reminded me of London when I was a child, certainly the greyness and fog and others recognised the me I was in the sixties clothes and look. 

Mmm, rather late will add more ramblings some other time, have been reminded that I need to take evening medications. This is not a quick task.

Interesting the link between meditation and medication, both should do some good.


Find instructions and links to other daybooks at The Simple Woman

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Crafty things

Very pleased I have finished the hat to match the sports coat for friend's grandson. The collar of the coat was garter stitch, most of the hat is garter stitch too. the brim is stocking stitch so it curls up a little, making it slightly less beany style.

Have checked, you haven't seen a picture of the coat, well not this version of it in navy Sirdar.

to coordinate, here's the hat,

Rather difficult to have an idea of scale, but I have made the garments for a one year old, because I knit a bit tightly sometimes, to allow the child to grow into the clothes, not all children come in British Standard specifications for their age and who knows what may have interrupted my knitting.

Have completed 141 hexipuffs so far, but they are an out and about project, so once the baby hat was finished I looked around for another project. There is quite a stash here, so marrying up what I would like to make or need with what is in those ziplock bags is fun. I see a pattern, then think, oh, that would be good, then the yarn doesn't line up, I am torn between making items for my home or for me to wear. So far I have made just two pairs of socks, would like to try the toe up technique; have patterns and the book but would need to go out and find the yarn. Given the thunderstorms we've had this afternoon it is a stay at home day.

Last November I acquired a huge amount of yarn from Freecycle, don't know what the weight or make is, but decided to knit some up into a square. Found some chunky wooden needles size 7mm I think, the how to knit a square pattern  - cast on one stitch, increase one stitch at beginning of every row till square is a big enough triangle then reverse the process. Have made two following the instructions, third one I have modified the instructions so first stitch is slipped and this has made a tidier edge.

This is much quicker knitting than hexipuffs, 36 stitches before I decrease again, so I am using up the cream and will make quite a few garter stitch squares before using moss stitch, or even double moss stitch. Will make at least 4, or a multiple of four of each design and use all the cream wool before starting on the other neutral colours of which there is less.

The wool I have started is on left of picture, colour isn't clear but it a natural creamy colour. Am considering crocheting some squares too to give a different texture to the throw, need to mug up on techniques, it is a long while since I was hooked.

Lastly, am not sure how to proceed when turning sheep's wool in its raw state to beautiful yarn for when we went on the walk a month ago I gathered some wool from the hedgerows. A few days later I was given considerably more so have washed it all, dried it by hanging a netting bag on the washing line. Now, for the next stage, can the fluffy wool be turned into thread without a spinning wheel? Wouldn't want to buy one just for this quantity.

Any thoughts, criticisms, ideas, comments all more than welcome, but in the meantime, enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend and the Paralympics.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Cake recipe

As it is Saturday evening and for many years my mother made cakes at this time I shall give you the recipe of our family favourite - coconut slices. Sorry, there will be no pictures as we have no cake to photograph.

The recipe came from the side of a Viota coconut packet, I think it was first made shortly after we moved across the River from Richmond to Twickenham so not a new recipe.

2oz butter or margarine
3 oz caster sugar
2 eggs
4 oz dessicated coconut
2oz flour.

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs with a little flour. Fold in coconut and rest of flour. Vanilla essence is an optional extra.

Bake at 190C, 375F or Gas mark 5 in a square flat lined tin. (We have used Yorkshire pudding one) for about 20 minutes.

Ice with water icing when cool, top icing with a little dessicated coconut and cut into slices.

As we have two Yorkshire pudding tins I frequently double the quantities and cook two together. The uniced cake can be frozen, as it is fairly shallow will not take long to defrost.

If anyone wants more detailed instructions for making this cake just leave a message and I'll expand it but am assuming most readers are familiar with the creaming method of cake making.

Other news.

It is a year today since I started knitting hexipuffs, have achieved 141 to date. Not quite the number I had hoped but other knitting has been done.

Good night all, enjoy your baking.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Clocking in.

Time to tell you about Ian's clock that has been lovingly restored by Mike, who blogs as The Armoury. .

We had taken the clock with us to Z's bloggers' party in May,  Mike kindly agreed to look at it, today they brought it to our house, Ann and Mike were visiting family not so far from here so not too far out of their way.

It was lovely to welcome them here, to see the clock back on the wall, for our other clock to be identified as coming from the Black Forest and to have tea/coffee and cake. Cake was coconut slices, my mother's recipe, very yummy that once my father's friend ate a whole cake. It is cooked in a square Yorkshire pudding tin, iced and cut into either 6 large or 8 standard slices.

A view of the clock and its surroundings.

Knitting has been done whilst watching TV, in the car, travelling to London last Wednesday thus the number of hexipuffs has reached 136, including completing the 'lost' hexipuff that was found in the kitchen drawer in a small brown paper carrier bag. Picture below shows all the hexipuffs so far, about one third of the number required for a throw. Not sure yet how I will join them, want the back to look as good as the front. That was my dress making rule, the wrong side was as neat as the right side.

Suggestions and advice welcome always. Off now to continue with collar of a baby's jacket I'm making, will carry on whilst watching the Olympics closing ceremony. Just wish it finished before 11.30, must stay awake.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Cakes and other thoughts.

friDAY, august 10, 2012

Simple Woman's Daybook: 10th August 2012

Outside My Window ... the darkness of a suburban street, except with street lights and Heathrow airport a distant glow it is never really dark here.

I am thinking ... that I have been married longer than I was single, the landmark date was in April this year but I hadn't worked it out then. Must say that the second half of my life is happier than the first.
I am thankful ... that London was awarded the Olympics, it seems to have made London a jollier place. Well, it seemed good on Wednesday when we went to South Kensington, and the Royal Brompton Hospital so I could have a CT scan on my sinuses. I must comment how pleasant, helpful and cheerful all the staff are at that hospital.
Afterwards went to Hummingbird café for coffee and cakes. When did iced buns become cup cakes? The icing is different, cup cakes have American style frosting, iced buns have water icing. My mother used to call them Sunday school cakes, this is what she made when we had to take cakes to chapel. 
Because of the VAT rules whereby the cost is 20% less if one has cake and coffee sitting outside amongst the smokers and traffic fumes, I was able to photograph the shop with no one inside. 

 Can recommend a cake called a black bottom, lots of chocolate cake with creamy topping.

The last picture is the view of the shop we had when perched on stools at the end of the café, a good place to be as I like sitting in a corner watching the world. Don't like being in the middle of a room, although in a crowded place that cannot be avoided at times.

From the kitchen ... yesterday made 12 jars of damson jam, mostly from fruit given to us by our vicar's wife but topped up with some from our garden. Have made two damson crumbles from our fruit, there are a few damsons still so will combine them with home grown blackberries for a couple more jars of jam.

I am wearing ...  East linen summer dress, aquamarine, grey patterned design, loose, cool, comfortable as I went to local studies today which can be a warm place to work.

I am creating ... still hexipuffing, but have finished the green variegated sock yarn purchased in Bath, it made 39 hexipuffs, would have been more if I'd not had such long tails sometimes when casting on, but so what, the colour has balanced out the pinks and blues. Am now completing the hexipuff that I lost and found in the kitchen drawer.

I am reading ...  The Victorian Railway by Jack Simmons. Found this is a bookshop near South Kensington station on our way to the V & A last Wednesday. It is not new, (was first published in 1991, then in paperback with corrections in 1995, reprinted in 2009)  but gives a rather different take on trains, such as structures, art, the railways' vandalism, literature. I notice that it is only in England, not America or Europe that there were excursion trains, and that the word "weekend" can be traced back to 1870 according to the OED. So much for Downton Abbey and the Dowager Countess's question 'What is a weekend?'
 It will be a dip in book, bit heavy to carry around but to open at those moments when the book catches my eye.

I am hoping ... to tidy up the back garden, needs windfall apples to be used or composted, some cutting back, weeding and watering of pots. In other words, a visit to the green gym.

I am hearing ... the dining room clock chiming 11, so will need to finish this soon as I have a sinus rinse to do and other medication to take before bed time.
Around the house ... investigations are continuing as to whether we accept the estimate/quotation for a glazed veranda to extend from outside the kitchen , along the side of the building to the garage pedestrian door. It will enable us to go to the garage, also used as a workshop by Ian, without getting wet. We cannot understand why it will be cheaper to have a loan from the company than to pay cash. I asked the question if we take the loan can we pay it all back as soon as we are satisfied with the work. 

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ... not much of the week left, just one day as I believe still that Sunday is the first day of the week. Tomorrow morning may go to a Blooming Great tea party at the church hall at the other end of town, where fund raising is for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Find instructions and links to other daybooks at The Simple Woman

Good night everyone.