Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Clematis Montana

The laburnum at the bottom of our garden, in full bloom  Beneath it, the clematis montana smothering a viburnum.

But look closer.  At the very top of the laburnum, there is the montana, making the most of the best light.  This is the first year it has done this.

Here, a Daniel Deronda climbing up a gate repurposed from the bottom of the garden.

And this is my latest finished work: a little Aran jacket, intended for someone to warm up their toddler. .  It will go to Knit For Peace.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Backtracking a little, in late March we took a trip up to Cumbria, leaving Essex in brilliant sunshine, with above average temperatures, and arriving in Cumbria to find a bitter chill.  Baby lambs were arriving everywhere nonetheless.

St Bega's Church on Bassenthwaite, in a lovely location.

This is Causey Pike, with its distinctive crinkle top here just frosted with snow.  We have memories of the hair-raising scramble to reach the top.

Parking at Lanthwaite Woods, we walked down to the shingle beach at the foot of Crummock, on a gloriously sunny day 

Another day took us to Caldbeck - this is the church where John Peel is buried.  And once again we were delighted to find the church open to visitors.  


A modern stained glass window in memory of a local pharmacist - note the pestle and mortar and the many medicinal herbs featured.


We have seen dippers on the river at Caldbeck over many years.  This one was happy to pose for us.

In Caldbeck church the curate suggested another church in their group of parishes, this one at Castle Sowerby,  a simple structure in a remote location.


Sunday, April 24, 2022

A little outing to Argers Fen, just over the Suffolk border.  It's bluebell time of course.

This is ancient woodland with wild cherry trees in full bloom.

A lovely walk up hill and down dale, then a short drive to the magnificent church at Stoke by Nayland.  We sat on a convenient bench to eat our picnic and studied the brickwork of the tower.

Then, another short drive took us to Dedham where we had a cup of tea, admiring this wonderful white wisteria, well out even this early.


Tuesday, April 19, 2022



A walk along the River Stour from Nayland to an interesting church at Wissington.  Water meadows, lambs and views that Constable might have painted - what could be better?

Along the river, plenty of evidence of storm damage with trees down and trunks splintered. But that did not detract from the general peace of the area.

The church at Wissington.  In the nineteenth century a vicar who held the living for a long time decided to give the church a Norman makeover.  The door here looks ancient but I'm not sure about the stone work.

The main feature here - apart from a strong smell of damp - is the wall paintings.

The best-preserved is this amazing dragon.

And, shoved in a corner, this pair of choir stalls with misericords.  Amazing what you find in ancient churches.


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Hereford and Ledbury

In Ledbury recently, for a family funeral.  So interesting to visit another part of the country after lockdown, even if the occasion was a sad one.  

Ledbury has an unusual church with a detached bell-tower.  We are in the Welsh Marches here; the tower would have been a defensive structure.

Black and white half-timbering everywhere, and that indubitable sign of prosperity: no empty shops in the town centre.

Not so Hereford, where tattoo parlours and vape shops have taken hold.  However, the cathedral lived up to expectations.  It holds the Mappa Mundi, a mediaeval world map drawn on vellum with Jerusalem at its centre.  Even more amazing was the Chained Library with every book spine inwards on the shelf with a chain holding it.

Outside we looked up and my husband spotted a new bird for our list: a peregrine falcon.  

Just across the road: the Museum, with these fine Roman mosaic fragments.  The facade of this building is encrusted with ornate animal carvings.  Once, Hereford had some civic pride.

And, in a glass case, this little knitted needle case in very fine wool.


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Christmas Knitting

This is scarf number 1 - Afetos.  I've chosen a sock yarn with a light tweedy speckle, and it is a pattern I have knitted before.  Quite a high wool content to this yarn.  The lace pattern is not complex but needs care because it is not symmetrical.  

So I was pleased to se this one finished: it had turned out well, I thought.  Then I gave it a bath preparatory to blocking.  Oh dear - the sheepy quality of the wool now made its presence felt.  In fact, it stank.  I put it out on the line to air and then repeated the wash with a rinse using part vinegar.  Now it smelt of sheep and vinegar.  A third wash and a rinse with bicarbonate of soda.  The smell was now in abeyance, but I would not trust it in a rain shower.  

What to do?  This is scarf number 2.  It is a set of Regia Ombre 100% Merino, knitted using the shape of Afetos without the lace panels.  I made the transitions less stark by putting in some stripes at the changeovers.  This feels lovely and looks quite sophisticated.

But, crucially, it has no smell.


Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Leiston Abbey


Who lives in a house like this?  The next town to Aldeburgh, going North, is Leiston, once a major centre for railway engineering. Just outside Leiston are the ruins of Leiston Abbey, and very spectacular they are, too.  

Now managed by a combination of English Heritage and a young persons' music charity who run courses here, the abbey contains some complete structures.  This one is a patchwork of brick, flintwork, beach pebble and rendering.

The abbey itself was clearly a vast structure.

The Lady Chapel has been made weatherproof and may well be used for services, concerts, weddings...

Note the mix of brick, flintwork and timber cladding.

The remains of a Tudor gatehouse.

We left the Abbey and took a path through woodland leading out to the sea, just south of Minsmere, where we sat and had lunch.  Suddenly a black head appeared swimming parallel to the beach, submerging for a stretch and then reappearing. It was a grey seal.