Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Drama at the Allotment

Surely not, I hear you say.  Not at that haven of peace, the only sound the gentle drone of the bumble bee..  What could possibly go wrong there, beyond an outbreak of blight, rust, or caterpillars?

But today's events would have provided several episodes of plotlines for "The Archers", at least in its pre soap opera guise.

We went to our plot intending to establish our bean row, bringing with us our newly- purchased batch of bamboo poles.  As we reached our little shed, we noticed that the door was ajar and the pieces of bent wire which we use to secure the hasp were not in place.  But worse was to come: our fork was not in the shed.  Now, we had a spade disappear in similar circumstances some years ago.  On that occasion, the padlock was wrenched off the door, so we did not replace it.

We were annoyed, of course, because some blighter had helped himself to our fork, and we would have to buy another.  However...

When the chap on the next allotment arrived we realised that our fork had been the cause of some mystery to him, because it had appeared in his plot.  He had no idea whose it was, so there it remained.  The plot thickened.

Next to arrive was Peter, the head honcho at the allotments.  Had we had anything go missing, as Dave, another of the regulars had had his rotovator stolen: whoever took it had wrenched the padlock off the door.  Doubtless they "borrowed" our fork to use as a lever.  Mystery solved.

But you can't help feeling sorry for Dave.  Our new rotovator was an expensive item, many times the cost of a fork.  We do not keep it at the plot.

We were very happy to have our fork back.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Bluebell woods

 With the warming of the weather, the local woods are awash with bluebells and birdsong.

Denser where there is a patch of sunlight, but colouring the ground everywhere with drifts of blue.

At Marks Hall, last Monday, we saw many clutches of goslings being fiercely guarded by Mum and Dad.  Note how the little ones are between the two parents.

Greylag geese...

Canada geese...

And greylags on the water.

The start of this year's drive for the General Beadle Elementary in Rapids City, a primary with a high percentage of Lakota students. 

These sets build up quickly if at least one element is sewn or bought rather than knitted.

I can picture five and six year olds wearing these in the snow, even as the sun warms up here.

Friday, April 29, 2016

 The tulips are in full bloom at Paycocke's, the National Trust House where we volunteer.  Looking at them back-lit by sunlight is just lovely.  Behind is the part of the building dating from 1420.

This is a really extensive garden with some shady areas.

Two different seats.  Visitors often take trays of teas and coffees out to enjoy in the garden.  It has been bitingly cold this last week, with hail showers, but also sunny intervals.

Some of the quainter detailing around the house.

And another jumper for Knit for Peace.  I found the yarn in a box in the attic, along with a part-knitted back.  This smaller jumper uses up some of the rest of the yarn, which must have been there a good twenty years.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tower Bridge

 To London, to meet my younger sister for lunch.  The weather had turned again - back to bitterly cold with brisk showers.

This is a part of London we do not know well, but it is familiar to my sister through her work.  We met at Shad Thames, a street of former warehouses, south of the river, now packed with eateries.  We were soon ensconced in The Chop House, with a fine view of the river.

Such an assemblage of buildings from different periods across the river.  It's always interesting to spot the remaining spire among newer shapes.

The Shard, the top of which was shrouded in mist when we arrived.

And back over Tower Bridge to explore the area around St Katharine's Dock. 
Those of you tracing the progress of spring might be interested to see that our pear trees are in blossom just now, while the apples have still some way to go.  Since we are still having frosts in the mornings, the apples may be taking the wiser course.
Showers of blossom on the viburnum at the bottom of our garden.
And all the yellow tulips out this week.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Wash out...

So, as usual, we went north for Easter.  However, this time the weather was stereotypical.  Each night we watched the forecast, and it was all the more galling to know that "Down South" it was lovely spring weather, while where we were there was a sequence of rain squally showers, hail and a bitingly cold wind, interspersed with tantalisingly brief sunny intervals.

We  went out for our regular walk around Lorton, and ended up quite wet. 

These two were just taking their ease.

A slate-hung end wall.

Everywhere, and especially leading into Cockermouth, birthplace of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, great swathes of daffodils.  Enough already with the daffodils.  What's wrong with primroses, or even celandines as seasonal flowers?  Wordsworth was surprised when he saw the original daffodils; no one is surprised by them today.

A little knitting.  This is Nantucket, by Alice Starmore.  That strange feature of starting the cables up through the ribs does tend to pull in the fabric.   I used most of a large ball of Hayfield Traditional Aran.  The clue is in the name.  It is 100% wool - or more correctly, 99% wool and 1% vegetable matter.  Every few inches there would be a piece of dried grass to pick out, a process which became quite addictive in itself. 

This has gone off to Knit For Peace, hopefully to keep someone warm.

Monday, March 28, 2016


That's "Bockers", as in "knickerbockers," Mary-Lou (Comments, last entry)  The sort of underwear into which one might have been sewn in winter.  The pattern features a gusset, and presumably no picture for fear of offending public decency.  It would have been helpful for the knitter though.

Just as much of its time is this set of patterns from a booklet called  "The Aran Look" - pre-decimal coinage, so sometime in the 60s perhaps.

  Would anyone have left the house dressed in this get-up?  And imagine a country walk in Aran gaiters like this. 

A change of theme - around our village, various dated properties.  This one once fronted up the King's seeds site.  Growing plants for their seed was a major enterprise locally until quite recently.
(Click on the picture to enlarge.)

By the bridge over the Blackwater, this blue plaque:

Coggeshall Abbey was an ancient foundation, standing to the south of Coggeshall.  The remaining buildings are now a farm in private ownership, but the Grange Barn, where the monks stored their harvests, is run by the National Trust.

This one kind of brings it home to you, doesn't it?  Twenty years ago we had an allotment on that same Vicarage Fields.

Here's one where the date is very precise - and probably correct.  However, I used to rent a flat just behind this house.  The owner had brought up her children in the house pictured and one of her sons had trained as a wood-carver.  I think that horizontal beam - the bressumer - in the picture may well be his work, from about 1967.
And, finally, the clock tower from the village square, above the Clockhouse tearooms.  This counts as modern, for us.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Camibockers, anyone?

Alternate days of lovely, sunny, spring-like weather and bitter chill.  Last Sunday,  we ate lunch out on the patio.  Yesterday, it was a huddling sort of day.

Browsing the bookshelf at our cottage recently, I came across this little booklet, published, I think, in 1933.

I do remember the Scotch Wool Shop in our local town, Whitehaven.  It was right next to the department store, The Beehive, where we often shopped.  It did look like this on the outside, as - I guess - did the other 350 branches -  "a mile of shops."

In the booklet a wide selection of patterns, some impossibly archaic.

And the illustrations even more so.

However, one could possibly knit a cricket sweater for a twelve year old from this pattern.
Unfortunately, no illustration accompanies these instructions.  It does say "Begin at the knee..."so you would have some clue, but it is a while before it reveals that you are knitting one half of the garment.  I'm almost tempted to try knitting it, or should I say, them...