Unexpected joys in Dover

We’d been planning the trip to the battlefields for months – I was determined I was going to get there for the centenary commemorations of the battle at Vimy, and when I saw that Clive from Battle Honours was hosting a trip I booked before I’d even seen the itinerary. With a late morning pick up from the free port at Dover, it was sensible to do the 250 mile trip there the day before. We opted for a cheap and cheerful night at the local Premier Inn, had a great meal at the pub adopted by the channel swimmers, and woke on the Friday morning to the news that there was to be a world record attempt that day.

Depending on which news outlet you use, there were 82, 85 or 100 hot air balloons in the world record attempt to cross the channel. When we saw the item on the breakfast news, they were just about to set off, so we hot footed it outside to be treated to the spectacular sight of dozens of hot air balloons passing directly overhead and gently out to sea. My photography skills are pretty appalling, but good enough to remind us what an amazing sight we were witnessing.  One of the balloons almost didn’t make it over the harbour wall, but recovered and gained height just in time to pass over and rejoin the rest of them for the trip to France.

What a great way to start the weekend; an unexpected treat before breakfast – beautiful weather. It all bodes well for a very special trip!

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36 hour day required

Only one more full week and we’ll have Easter upon us – I must be getting older than i give myself credit for; the weeks are just disappearing before my eyes.  I’d thought finishing work would leave hours ahead of me to do all of those things that I have on my ‘to do’ list. In some ways it did – in others, it gave me the opportunity to add more to the list, and, let’s face it, there are just too many interesting things to do!

Last week I managed to tick off something that I’ve been trying to get around to for months – ventured out half an our or so up the M54 to the outskirts of Wolverhampton to visit the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church.  Armed with a list of 26 relatives to hunt for, I was convinced that none would have a headstone and I would be coming home with several pictures of random grassed areas (bearing in mind our previous trip to Merridale).  The volunteer staff at the Open Church morning were super, giving me plot plans for the two main parts of the churchyard that I needed, and we were rewarded with finding several family members with headstones, as well as being able to mark this without a headstone onto the plot plans. Even better, we ‘found’ two plots that marked the final resting place of family members I hand discovered yet!

The latest Futurelearn course started up this week, and is accompanied by a particularly active group on Facebook – yet another way for the hours to pass me by…..  Add that to my now regular Tuesday morning at the pub with a newly discovered genealogy/WW1 addicted pal, and the week feels pretty full.  I have lost count of the new projects these Tuesday cuppa have inspired, and just hope that I manage to see at least one or two of them through!

Family members should also be warned that I’ve ben directed to a genealogical codicil which has duly been printed off and will be filled in imminently.  Thanks to the Devon Family History Society for that, it’s a cracking idea. Now would be a good time to let me know if you want to be on the ‘first refusal’ list, as it doesn’t look at this stage like any of my offspring will be interested in the mounds of information I’ve unearthed!

Updating the ‘interminable list’, and the 2016 stash down makes me realise I’m never going to get everything done, but hey, it’s fun trying 😉

just to add a little colour to this post, here’s a view of the gaffs and crocus in the local park where we walked Jess this morning, and a teaser till next time, to see if you can imagine what Bob was up to last week….

 

One extra day – use it well!

February 29th – we only get one every four years.

This one seems to have been noteworthy .

So far, I have:

One good friend celebrating a teenage birthday, despite being in her fifties – Happy birthday, Jill!

One cousin who surprised us by getting married – Congratulations, Steve, I’m delighted for you 😉

One friend who has been proposed to (and accepted!) – Congratulations Neil and Sasha!

One son, who forgot the extra day, and kept appointments booked for 1st March.

My sole contribution for the day is managing to finish off a scrap blanket before the end of the month – thank goodness for that extra day…….

Juliet’s shawl isn’t for Juliet.

This is the first day for weeks that the weather has been bright enough to do some outdoor pictures.  I’ve been test knitting Juliet’s Shawl,  a new pattern devised by Samantha from Gradience Yarns.

It’s a lovely beaded, lace weight shawl in a crescent shape.  I had just the right colour on hand to suit a friend; semisolid red in a BFL/silk mixture dyed by Moonlight Yarns.  Not one of my usual colours to knit, so it grew pretty quickly to see how it turned out.

Small beginnings….

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soon led onto a bit of nifty beading and before long it was done….

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As usual it grew like Topsy on the blocking mats…….image_medium22

and is now ready for a bit of pretty wrapping paper and a birthday card……image_medium2

I’m not sure whether the recipient is really ‘into shawls’, but it’s light enough to double up as a glitzy scarf if she doesn’t want to use it as a dressy shawl.Thank you to Samantha for allowing me to test her lovely pattern, I really enjoyed it!

Real, paper books

I seem to read very few hard copy books these days – mostly I get ebooks for the Kindle and review new releases for Netgalley (also ebooks) with the occasional hard copy book being sent for review from Realreaders.  This last week, however, I was lucky enough to get no less than three real books. Three different people sent me a variety of books that say a lot about who I am – lives of women in the First World War, lace knitting and a knitty novel  😉

I’m almost through the last paper book that I bought myself (Death and Disater in Victorian Telford), which is amazing, by the way, so will be able to fondle and explore these new ones straight away! image

Love from Thimbles

imageI’ve been hiding a package from myself for about three weeks.

When it arrived it wasn’t unexpected, as I’d joined a Secret Santa swap on Ravelry, and the ‘love from Thimbles’ code on the outer wrapper was an indication that it was my secret Santa package.  This morning I was sorting out packages to put under the Christmas tree, and so took off the outer wrapper from my mystery package, only to discover that it wasn’t what I had thought.  What a lovely surprise to find a beautifully knitted pair of fingerless gloves, in the most gorgeous colours (and two scrummy chocolate squares, that are no longer available to photograph!)

When I finally worked it out, the gift I had thought to be my secret Santa package was, in fact, a thank you gift for a small favour. I just love my new mitts, and want to say a public ‘thank you’ to Eve for her thoughtfulness and time.  Plus, I still have the secret Santa package to look forward to!

Win, win, I reckon!

Give rabbit time….

So, it only took me two days to work out how to upload pictures from my ‘phone, and needless to say, I unearthed several pictures from earlier months that I somehow didn’t get around to blogging about.

For now, let’s just look at the Christmas markets.IMG_20151201_101925366_HDRThis was the first (only) lady swimmer we saw in the December chill. She watches over the riverside on the coldest of days.IMG_20151201_102747429_HDR

This cheeky chap was a handy landmark between markets in Koblenz, where we found two markets that I’d missed on my previous trip there.

IMG_20151204_095145461_HDRIf it;s Friday, it must be Koln! Damp and miserable before opening time, and a rare quiet moment in central Koln.IMG_20151203_155139271

An hour later, the drizzle has passed, and the shoppers are beginning to gather.IMG_20151204_111340804I was thrilled to bits to get a personal tour round the cathedral from my Ravelry pal, Annagret. Great to hear some of the interesting stories from a local 😉

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One of the bridges in Bonn proudly sports many love locks – some of the sections are laden with locks whilst others proudly sport a single lock.IMG_20151202_093124240

To Bongo, or not to Bongo

So, another Christmas present done, and I thought it was about time I started the shawl I want to make for my sister in law.  Cast on Leadlight with a skein of Zauber Lace ball in shades of blue.  An easy pattern, which grew pretty quickly, though it takes a bit of watching as the increase is unusual.
It’s currently blocking and will be revealed in its full glory once dry.

In other news we had a lovely weekend with an old schoolfriend, by whom we were severely tempted  to join him as a new Bongo owner.  Today has been spent visiting a Bongo conversion expert in Worcestershire, and it looks like we’re weakening…..  More next time if we succumb to temptation!
Sadly, no progress on my stitching, but at least I’m ticking some things off my list.

Christmas is coming!

OK, so it’s not halfway through the year yet, but if you want to give hand made items to your nearest and dearest at Christmas time, you need to do some work through the year to be ready on time.  I made a laceweight shawl in early spring, as a knitalong, and that will be a gift for one of the young ladies in the family.  Today, I’ve just taken a second shawl off the locks; this time a sock weight one. A really fun knit which will be a gift for a friend. plenty more to do, but it really feels like this year I might be ready in good time 😉

I’m wary of knitting too much for the family, just in case I’m way off beam with what they’d like, and it’s always good when someone asks for something to be made.  More Christmas knitting later in the year, I’m sure!