The ‘paddling pool’

Tonight I expressed a mild desire for a paddling pool. Four years ago I bought my Mum one for her dog Lucy. It’s about 3 feet across and hard plastic. Perfect for dogs to lay in and drink out of. I was thinking I could get something similar but as Mollie may or may not get in it, I could paddle in it too. 

Roll on an hour and D came back from collecting my newest prescription and presented me with this: 

8 foot wide, nearly 3 feet deep….

Now I should have expected this. D is extremely generous but he does like to go big and in bulk. Remember my fabulous toolbox for my cotton yarn? He wanted to buy me one on wheels that was 3 times as big and was surprised when I opted for the one I wanted….

My Mum pointed out that I should be grateful he didn’t buy two. Very good point!

Anyway, if it’s the hottest day of the year and you have a paddling pool, you have to put it up! 

I had been laying on that towel…. Then we had to move it because the ground wasn’t even…

I’m paddling. It’s nice. I need to get my nephew & niece round to enjoy it! 

Inspiration

Since I decided to stop forcing myself to do specific projects I’ve lost my crafting mojo. It’s coincided with me needing to get the garden sorted out and I’ve been really focussing on that, wanting somewhere nice to sit when I finally get it back! 

So on Friday I added to the border: 

And sanded the bench in preparation for a little make over… Sadly I didn’t take a before picture but as of last night: 
It took me all day to do this! Cuprinol Shades ‘Forget Me Not’. I’m delighted with it! While I was doing that Mum added some annuals to my beds and did my pots. She does them every year, I am grateful and lucky as they’re always fab! This year I’m going with fuschias, petunias and lobelia, both bush and trailing. As you can see we also dispensed with the scruffy rosemary bush and discovered a load of primroses growing underneath it!
As you can see from this pic, the lawn needs a lot of work which my lovely friend Sam has volunteered to do. 

Damon also insisted on buying two hanging baskets when we went to Homebase. This one is so glorious I didn’t want to hang it where I couldn’t see it. 



So today, I only mowed the bit that is still grass (!) and then was free to do this: 

I’ve settled on making a doily called ‘Flirty Fifties’ in the three colours right at the front and the violet and green just behind. They’re the colours I’ve chosen by and large for the garden so they should be fab on my outside dining table! 

I’m hoping they might work as placemats. I’ve still got lots to do in my garden but I’m really pleased with how far I’ve got and hopefully my doily/ mandala will inspire me! 

Taking Stock

Kathryn inspired me with her blog post on this subject, as she was by other people. It’s that time of year when you think about the past and future… 

So, without further ado, here’s my taking stock. 

Making: a pink knitted bolero for my niece in Rowan Cocoon and a lace scarf for my line manager’s birthday in Devon Sun Yarns’ Dazzler. 

Cooking: tomorrow I’ll be making chilli and a fruit pie for when D’s son and his family arrive for a visit. 

Drinking: mostly Prosecco and Baileys over the holidays. Not together! Presently indulging in some diet 7up. 

Wanting: my house to always be as tidy as it is now all the time with minimum effort (a girl can dream!) 

Looking: at a contented snoring Labrador lying under the Christmas tree! 

Playing: a board game called Mexican Train with my nephew & niece. 

Deciding: to read more history. I love it and have neglected it for knitting and audio books. I need to read more in 2016. 

Wishing: to really get to grips with being a vegetarian with a nut allergy who due to a bowel condition needs to eat a low (possibly no) lactose and low wheat diet. A friend gave me a book called ‘Deliciously Ella’, which is an offshoot of a blog of the same name, for Christmas which I hope will give me inspiration. 

Enjoying: not having to get up early! This is partly due to me being a night owl and finding it hard to go to bed at 11pm to get up at 6.30am. I prefer bed at 1am and getting up at 8.30am!

Waiting: to be inspired by my current knitting. I really wanted to knit with this yarn and I like the pattern but I’m not LOVING it. And I’m nearly finished!  

    
 

Liking: the laziness of the Christmas holiday period, when it’s OK to sit about reading or knitting! 

Wondering: whether I can be as organised about my knitting as I’m planning. Earlier this year I made myself a plan of what I wanted to make before Christmas and, by and large, I’ve achieved it. I have decided in 2016 to be more organised and work out what I want to make. The plus side is I’ve worked out what yarn I need – and it’s all in my stash! Of course, if I want to vary it I can, it’s not going to be set in stone. The only thing I have decided is not to buy any yarn in 2016. The only exception is if I’m spending a voucher (I have two saved up!) or if I’m abroad. I can buy yarn abroad. As I’m hoping to visit Stephen West’s yarn shop ‘Stephen & Penelope’ when I visit Amsterdam in January, this is a must! 

Loving: spending time with my family. Today my Mum, sister, niece and I visited Stonehenge! It’s about a 30 minute drive from where we live and we haven’t been since they built the new visitor centre. It was fantastic!  

    
    
 Yes, it was raining and windy and cold. And yes we all own the same size Cath Kidston handbags in different patterns! 

Pondering: my New Years resolutions. They’re all going to be achieveable. 

Considering: whether I should make versions of the Santa hat loo roll cover for everyone who liked it on Facebook for next Christmas!  

 

Buying: 2 history books when I visited Stonehenge today. ‘Britain AD’ by Francis Pryor and ‘A History of Ancient Britain’ by Neil Oliver. Oh and a toy sheep for my niece that she very appropriately named Henge. 

Hoping: that my 2 year fixed term contract will be made permanent in 2016 or I’ll be job hunting in early 2017. 

Needing: to do some exercise and hoping that my new bike will help me with that. I have been very sensible with my redundancy money, putting a good amount in the bank as I only have a short term contract, a new bathroom and lots of things for the house, including our new IKEA furniture:  

 Anyway, I decided to do two things for myself with it (as well as buying D really good Christmas & birthday presents), to go on the yarn retreat and to buy a Victoria Pendleton Somerby bike in mint green. I got it on the 19th and I 💚💚💚 it! It looks like this, only with a basket on the front!  

 Smelling: onion bhajis I cooked for D for his tea!

Wearing: an acid yellow Taking Shape knee length dress (this one, but don’t be fooled by the colour on the website, it’s the same colour as my scarf in the pictures above), a grey long sleeve top over that, black leggings and brown Timberland biker boots. My dress is basically a grown up version of clothes I would have loved to own when I was 15 in the ’80s. I adore it!

Noticing: I drive slower when I have passengers in the car. Also when it’s my Mum’s car! 

Thinking: about the possible options for my career over the next few years. 

Admiring: my Christmas earrings from D and the two project bags I was given for Christmas. One by my Mum and the other by my #stitching Santa Bekki!  

Sorting: my Ravelry queue. I’m actually going to use it this year! 

Getting: my house ready for visitors.  

Bookmarking: patterns I want to make on Ravelry! 

Coveting: I’m not really a covetous person. I have pretty much everything I want. Of course I’d love a lovely big farmhouse and to not work and to be able to afford  various things, but that’s just dreams. In real life, I don’t covet anything. 

Disliking: the amount of packaging things come in. 

Feeling: slightly concerned about Mollie who unbeknownst to me ate some foil that covers chocolate coins on Christmas Day (the only possibly opportunity) and has been subdued ever since and then vomited them up today… 

Snacking: not really a snacker despite my girth! But I did have some homemade fudge (smug face) after dinner. 

Helping: my sister is helping me by hosting a big family party for D’s family on Wednesday. Her house is a lot bigger than ours and we’re having a second Christmas Day with his grandchildren. 

Hearing: about the floods up north and thinking about the people affected. 

💚

Anniversary

No 9! (Yesterday) Can’t believe it!  We’re quite opinionated and like our own ways so it was either going to work or really NOT work! So far, it works!   Mollie has been with us 9 years too  as she was my wedding present. 

   

I was taken out for dinner at The Grange at Whatley, with a taxi there and prosecco waiting for us!  

 
And I tried to take a selfie after we’d drunk that and another bottle. It was a moment of great hilarity… I think the photo shows that even though it’s blurred.  

 
Knitting posts will now resume…

First week

Well I survived! I loved my first week at my new job. I am half way through my induction, have lots of reading to do but I’m happy to learn, have been asked to do a specific training course next week, discovered I am entitled to and been given a parking permit (yay!) and starting learning my way round the building & equipment. But more than that, I really like all my new colleagues. My biggest fear when looking for a new job was that I wouldn’t like my colleagues. I appreciate its early days yet but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. 

I’ve also been getting stuck into putting my granddaughter’s blanket together. This has been done on Cathedral  Green at lunchtime with a Costa or at home in the evenings when I’ve collapsed with exhaustion! 

   
      
Tonight I’ve travelled to Manchester for a meeting tomorrow and I’ve had a chance to lay it out on the white hotel bedding. Rubbish light but you can see how it’s coming together.  

 

Muchelney Abbey

Yesterday I invited Damon to take me out for the day today as we both had the day off.  This morning we decided to go to Muchelney (famous for being the island that was cut off during the 2014 floods) and visit the Pottery and the Abbey. We wanted to buy a two handled Wassail mug for Damon’s best mate’s 50th birthday, and as his friend is German, we thought a really Somerset present was in order. When we got to Muchelney Pottery, they had ONE Wassail mug left!  Talk about serendipity!

We then went to visit Muchelney Abbey, which is an English Heritage property, and as we’re members, free to get in to! It was beautiful weather and we really enjoyed wandering round the ruins and sitting with a drink just enjoying the scenery. 

  
   
     

   

That building behind us is the Monk’s Latrine! 

We also visited the Muchelney parish church, which had the most incredible painted ceiling, which is very unusual in an anglican church.  We then went to Long Sutton, where we had lunch at the Devonshire Arms.  We sat at the front of the pub (I say pub but it is quite posh) overlooking the village green.  How quintessentially English is this!     

The food was very good as was the coffee!  

 
And this evening was my nephew’s 13th birthday party! Here’s the cake…. 

  

A core was cut out of the middle and filled with sweets!  Amazing.  Hope you all had a good day too.  

I won!

Dear friends. This blog will return to knitting and crochet and yarn appreciation very soon, but I wanted to share with you something that is really important to me.  I was re-elected for my fourth term as a district councillor today alongside my husband Damon. I am very proud to represent my ward and my town.  Here I am making my acceptance speech:  

 

But it’s not easy to enjoy it.  As you will know if you live in the UK, my political party was wiped out last night.  We lost 49 seats and now have just 8 MPs. Although I won, we are also losing council seats across the country. Our party leader, who I admire very much, has resigned. Politics is a hard business.  

I knitted on this last night through my tears while the election coverage…