Thursday, 29 November 2012

November Colour

                                                   View from the Front Door this morning.

After a very cold night last night, the full moon hanging hugely in the clear sky, I was expecting a heavy frost this morning. However, though it is cold, there's no frost here, just damp and wet, and very, very sunny. We have been so fortunate where we live, to have escaped the devastating floods elsewhere in the country. I do hope none of you have experienced the heartbreak and chaos we've been seeing on our televisions the past week.

At the weekend, a friend and I took a calculated risk and drove down to Evesham in Worcestershire for some more music making. We checked with the Premier Inn we were booked into, that they were flood free, as the online videos of some caravans bobbing about in several feet of water had made us think twice!!  Our journey was uneventful and we spent a great day in the barn at The Fleece Inn, and the evening at a session in the pub itself. GREAT music, and lovely to put faces to the names we knew only from the melodeon on-line forum.

                                                               Deep Concentration!

                                               Lester's Melodeon Maintainance Spot.

The next morning we left after breakfast, no rain, brilliant sunshine. We later learned that the proposed lunch-time appearance by the local dance side had been cancelled as the road to the village flooded and no-one could get through! We left in  the nick of time!

I feel I ought to be putting some textiley bits on here at last! So here are a couple of shots relating to 'patches'.

The patchwork top waiting to be layered up and quilted! Well, at least I now have the wadding!

And the silk and velvet patchwork cushion on the cane chair. This has been sat on so much the patches are beginning to shred, I need to repair it...possibly over-patch it, that would be fitting, wouldn't it? Yes, I think that's what I shall do.

Some of you commented about those lovely ceramic spoons I bought in Bury the other week. This is why I immediately knew they would fit well into our kitchen. You'll notice (again) that I don't go in for the minimalist look!

And more colour in the Big Bowl, I'm so glad Jim prompted me to buy this , we use it all the time.

Coriander looking a trifle woebegone! Most of it ended up in the Moroccan Meatball Sauce I made earlier this week, after watching Ottolenghi. Be still my beating heart - I am smitten by Tunisia!

Well, that's your lot. Just remains to say a HUGE thankyou to all those lovely people who rushed to my aid with advice and 'virtual hand holding' when I panicked over my photo storage trauma! You saw me through it; don't despise us technophobes, you clever people, we obviously have other - just as useful - talents! Many thanks to you all. I love Blogland.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Normal service has resumed.......

Well, here we are, back from the Land of Desperation! First of all, look at this little bundle of goodness! Arrived last week from lovely Penny at L is for Love blog, with whom I've been having a few off-blog chats recently. I'm very fond of gingham - reminds me of Junior school dresses! I know I will have fun incorporating these pieces - quite possibly into the 'vintage' style quilt which is on my to-do-before-very-long list. (I've been planning for this quilt for about two years now, time it grew some legs!) Thank you Penny, totally unneccesary but very gratefully received!

Jim and I spent last  Sunday (ie a week ago) - wasn't it a glorious day? - driving down to Suffolk to see our grand-daughter Morgan, taking her birthday present...I'm not saying what it was but if `I say Jim put a quality amount of credit on it to start her off you will get the clue I'm sure! In return I snagged her Hunger Games books two and three! I did take a photo but it wasn't very good - to see our gorgeous girl you can spin through the Kiwi Tales blog posts of earlier this summer. She is a stunner, just like her cousin Beccie. (Grandparents' Rights, the occasional brag, now come on, fair's fair, it's my blog!)

We had intended going home via Norwich  and have some lunch, but decided it was too late in the day and the place would be packed with desperate last-minute Christmas shoppers. Ok I'm being ironic. But I can never understand the frantic many shops does it take to buy your Christmas Dinner, and a few presents? Why does it take six to eight supermarket visits, each one with two toppling high trolleys?

I digress. We decided to go to Bury St Edmunds instead. I hadn't been for years, befor eall the new shops were built. I have to say it looks very well planned and was quite bustling - but not aggressively so, on Sunday. We had a wander round some nice little shops, then popped into the museum at Smiths Row, the Market Cross  to see the Christmas Craft Fair. Well, what a treat that was! I asked permission to take photographs for the blog. I also bought some Christmas presents, I was spoilt for choice.

Aren't these spoons just gorgeous? I do have  a few bits of brightly coloured china about the house, these will fit in very well!

 I was hoping to have this post up before the exhibition finished there, but unfortunately Blogger chose this time to tell me I had run out of phot storage and it threw me somewhat. Had LOADS of helpful comments, and I do thank you all out there in Blogland who wrote such helpful and supportive comments - I was having a Major Wobble! When you are not very technologically minded it doesn't take much to throw you. And I still don't understand, if I have my photos stored on iphoto, /My Pictures  /drop box etc, why I need a FURTHER storage facility in order to put photos on my blog? WHat's that all about, apart from creaming off some money? I didn't ask for my photos to be stored in Picassa! They are already on my computer, for Heaven's sake! Unless you know better, in which case, enlighten me, do!

Anyway, I have purchased extra storage but will also look into reducing the size of my photos when I upload them if I can work out how to do it.and it isn't too long winded a process every time. So, sorry to the very nice lady at the Museum Shop who was expecting a heads up for the exhibition. Catch you next time with more textiley news!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Emergency Blog Post!

Sorry folks, this is an old photo from my blog, it's one of my stipple quilts. This header should have been a photo of some lovley gingham fabric and embroidery threads sent to me by the lovely Penny, of L is for Love blog fame. Penny and I have been doing some off-blog chatting recently, and she kindly sent me a fab little bundle of goodthings which I wanted to feature at the top. Only to find that I have apparently exceeded my storage! Some very techie stuff and options which make no sense to me come up when I want to upload more photos. Well, I can upload them from my camera into 'pictures' but I can't access any for the blog. I remember some of you, over time, have mentioned similar situations but don't know what you had to do to resolve them .

Can I throw this open to Blogland and ask for some advice? In words of one syllable if possible! You are talking to the terminally inept here! Posting this in great hopes of assistance and reassurance!

Monday, 19 November 2012

A Tale of Two Cities (2)

          Slightly blurry action shot of Steve and Jan demonstrating a ceilidh, Sunday afternoon.

My second city visit was to Witney, in Oxfordshire. Now, to be honest, I don't think Witney is a city at all, but it was too good a title not to use! It has the dubious honour of being the Prime Minister David Cameron's home constituency. And it shows. I have never seen such a heavy Friday-night police presence on the high street, keeping the lid on the pubs and clubs. Really, there were dozens of them!

These three suspicious characters are pobably why they were out in force! Cate, Liz and Ellie great fun to be with and much better on the buttons than me, I can tell you!

Anyway, I digress! My reason for being there, getting re-acquainted with the Northampton Ring Road once again on my way there (DEEP joy!) was to attend Melodeons at Witney, two days of melodeon workshops with some of the best international musicians walking this earth. I had chosen workshops with Emmanuel Parisell, an incorrigible Frenchman of great charm and humour, learning about music of Breton dance.

             Emmanuel demonstrating how to get a musical note out of a bicycle pump!

 Then I did a workshop on adding really juicy chords and basses with Saul Rose, who often gigs with Eliza Carthy.

 My final choice was.......need you ask? Working with Andy Cutting on his tune To the Edges, utilising all the wonderful chord sequences he is famous for. It was perhaps the most difficult workshop, I noticed even people who had been playing much longer than me were struggling, BUT we got through the whole tune (by ear) both hands. Absolutely great experience.

We actually kicked off the weekend with a meet and greet in the assembly hall of the Henry Box School (no pun intended!) where the course is held. This became a session which finished at 9.30 when we all trotted off to the pub to carry on playing music. The pub had laid on a table of hors d'ouevres for us which was rather nice (mind you the drinks weren't cheap it was a bit of a shock especially to those people who had travelled down from Up North and had to pay Southern Prices!)

Here's Andy, joining in the session. We left about 11.30 as we were so tired but I think it carried on a bit longer.

Saturday evening was the tutors' concert. It was amazing. Here's a shot of Andy, Emmanuel and Man Mountain Christian Maes. They lifted the roof off!

There was another tutor, who I hadn't heard before, called Paul Scourfield. Now Paul is an East Anglian box player (from Essex I think) who plays in the main, English traditional tunes. I bought a cd of his which has some really great music on. If I ever get the chance to take a workshop with him I will jump at it. Here you see him playing and calling for the ceilidh demo on Sunday.

And here is a better shot of him at the session, sitting next to Lester, a Melodeons at Witney stalwart and Keeper of the Tune Archive on

I so enjoyed myself, it was my second year and I felt I was getting to know people a lot better. I could kick myself as we had the usual, by now traditional Italian meal just before the concert, and I forgot to take any photographs. I had my camera in my bag! But lots of lovely memories, and some really great tunes to take away with me. Though it was nice to get home and see the Old Man. Who, lest you think he was mouldering along on his ownsome, was up in the chilly far north he was just over the border in Scotland.

                  Experiencing his first attempt at fishing for salmon, near Etterick.

Salmon fishing is so far outside the realms of our experience, but the opportunity came up for him to go with a few friends. I might add - ruefully - that no salmon were harmed in the making of these pictures! They were a week or so too late, apparently, but he enjoyed himself and that was the main thing.

So there you have it. As far removed from a textiley post as you could get, I reckon, but I promise the next one will be back on song! (ooops, didn't mean to mention more music!!!!) Catch you soon!

Monday, 12 November 2012

A Tale of Two Cities.

No not the cathedral, but still pretty impressive to my mind. On Wednesday Sue K and I had a jaunty day out. We had a wander round Norwich, fortunately it was just the day for a jaunt as it was a little chilly but very sunny and NO wind or rain. We chose well we thought.

Here at the market is Sue with an encredibly well endowed brain. I have no idea about the provenance of said brain but it also is a pretty impressive edifice!

This paving slab is just one of many interesting memorial slabs to be found in the city.I particularly liked this one as my Grandad was a joiner, and through my dad, my husband has inherited his huge wooden tool box with several box planes like this one.

We spent time in Paperchase...and a few pennies too! We had a cappucino here:

And we were VERY GOOD and didn't have any cake as we were saving ourselves for lunch!

 No I wasn't sitting in the cupboard under the stairs though it looks like it. And yes, it is a blurry shot, but you just be thankful for the fact!

Then, much against my will, Sue DRAGGED me into this lovely little shop. It is an independant  shop with some fab clothing. Remember  Adini? I had a fair few pieces of theirs in the 80's but then they went 'off' a bit. But they had some nice pieces in here. The owner, Richard was such a nice chap, we saw the photos of his family dogs and chatted dogs for a while.

To be honest it was such a lovely old building it would have set anything off to advantage. We oohed and ahhhed all over it!

These lovely one-offs from Poland caught our eyes. Yes, I know, more grey! But they were gorgeous clothes. AND Richard was having a sale! What more can I say? I have a Very Special Family Occasion coming up next month so I was on the look-out for something nice to wear.

I must say in my own defence that I was positively strong-armed into these purchases. Oooops, this purchase. However, Richard was so nice he gave me two lovely shopping bags like these:

And a beautiful scarf which I haven't photographed. If you live near enough, do pop in and have a look yourself, you won't regret it! (Perhaps your wallet will but I take no responsibility for that!)

Then we were off again. We were both so overcome we had to pop into Waterstones for a quiet browse round the books and then we had a nice sit down and a cold drink. STILL no cake! Oh, yes, then we had a quick walk round the Cath Kidson shop and came out feeling a little UNDERwhelmed. Perhaps we are getting all Cathed-out?

Eventually we finished up here:

This is where the old Waterstones used to be. It's a lovely building.

Just a bit awkward to get much of it in shot without including all the passers-by! Anyway, we had booked so we sailed in.

My starter, stuffed zuccini flower oh! The flavours were wonderful!

Sue had stuffed tiny peppers:

Mouthwatering! Then there was vegetarian canneloni for Sue:

And sea-food bucatini for me:

Both of which were sensational. The aromas, the flavours, really brilliant. We had been given mixed reviews about Jamie's in various places, but we were very pleasantly surprised and impressed. Good service, everywhere clean and comfortable, and  excellent food.  We were so stuffed, I'm afraid we couldn't manage any i dolci! So we never did get our pudden'!

Then we tootled off (sedately, after all that food!) to catch the bus at the Park and Ride, and drove back to Sues in time for a quick drink before I shot off to my melodeon lesson down the road. It really was a quite perfect day. As Sue noted, everyone seemed to be amazingly pleasant to us, we chatted and joked all the way round Norwich and had a terrific jaunt. Don't you just love it when a day goes as well as that? Even without spending money! Thanks for your company Sue it was great fun.

Now I'm afraid I am so fatigued with all this typeing and remembering all that food and spending, that I am going to have to split the post, and tell you about my exciting weekend of musical mayhem next time. I will be quick, honest!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Lino prints and feeling felty.

Tapping away at my lap-top in rhythm to the pattering of the rain on the conservatory roof. Actually, I have a sneaking feeling of comfort and cosyness, despite the awful weather; I don't have to go out again today, Jim's away so no big meal to cook, chores done this morning so rest of the day to myself. Off to Norwich with friend Sue K tomorrow- we have booked lunch at Jamie Oliver's new (ish) restaurant, and we will be having a wander round the shops, no doubt. Then on to my melodeon lesson, always a high spot in the week. Thursday again, a take-it-easy kinda day , Friday quick whizz round the shops for mum then back home to pack...I am off for a weekend at Witney, Oxfordshire with a load of other melodeonistas for 2 days of workshops! Yay! And guess who is one of the tutors....yessssss! ANDY CUTTING! Phew, calm down Lynne. Anyway, I wil fill you in about that when I get back...blogging will be a little behind I'm afraid. I am thoroughly enjoying my low-key, kicking-back, sybaritic week.

A photo of the finished wool/felt cushion, I rather like the little 'tongues' round the edge, don't you?

And this is just a glimpse of a felty heart which has been winging its way to a bloggy friend.

And this is a glimpse of the dining room table which is going to stay like this for the next couple of days -  but I will tidy up before I go, promise!

Now though these next photos are not textile related, I want to talk about them for a couple of reasons. The first is that I love graphic prints, and these lino cuts are brilliant. And secondly I love to give a heads up to local Norfolk artists and crafters.

 I adore the work of  Angie Lewin, and pore over her book Plants and Places often; and a book by printmaker Mark Hearld is hopefully going to find its way into my Christmas stocking. I noticed these lovely lino cuts on Pinterest - sorry I can't remember whose - and clicked on through to read all about Amanda Colville, and immediately remembered reading about her as a winner in Country Living's Kitchen Table Talent Awards 2012 - the September issue. Amanda did a printmaking course at the College of West Anglia and went on to create these fabulous lino prints, using of all things, an old mangle! She has a blog and a website. Her prints are available on-line and at some interesting shops around the UK.....our nearest is at  Dalegate Market, Burnham Deepdale on the north Norfolk coast. A really good excuse for a trip out if you ask me!

I have contacted Amanda and have her permission to include her photos here. My post-header is of course one of her prints, too. I'd just like to wish her luck in her enterprise and hope she gets lots of lovely orders for Christmas!

Well that's it for now folks, just like to say I was a trifle overwhelmed by the response to my '50 shades of gery' hair colour! I hope you will be as fulsome in your praise for Amanda's work. See you after the weekend, I'm now going to settle down to more stitching whilst listening to Michael Jayston reading aloud to me from a PD James thriller - what's not to love?