Autumn days

We are having some cracking October weather, as you can see. Lovely sunny days with blue skies and sweet little fluffy clouds. I love it when it’s like this; it feels like it’s a bonus when we get t-shirt days in autumn. I went for a good wander around at Blenheim Palace the other day and it seemed I wasn’t the only one chuffed about the warm temps. I heard lots of tourists say they didn’t expect it to be so warm! They actually said this in tones of awe and wonder. I soon gave up with the idea of wearing my hoodie and tied it round my waist instead

There’s a major two year lake dredging and Grand Bridge restoration project beginning. More details here. Someone will be interested enough to read all about it. I know it might seem odd to feature the water pipes, but there was something really appealing about the shiny blue paint and newness of the connectors. Do you think that piece of 2 by 4 is vital? I was so tempted to give it a tug and see what happened. Naughty! If I added sound to this photo, you would hear the water rushing through, as the engineers gradually lower the water level. Apparently all the fish are going to be netted and moved from the Queen’s Pool to the Great Lake. I’m not sure what the birds are going to make of it all. There are hundreds (thousands, when its breeding time) of grey lag, canada and snow geese, plus coots, herons, moorhens, swans and ducks. Others that I can’t name too.

I would have loved a ride in the little inflatable boat, but as it was tethered both ends I imagine you need a rowing boat to reach it. The boat house was some way away. And they don’t just let anyone random grab ‘em. Shame isn’t it? I contented myself with taking lots of leaf pictures instead. The autumn colour isn’t just in New Hampshire in the USA, you know!

It’s been so warm that we sat outside in the pub garden the other evening, for a cheeky drink and pre-dinner snack. This is not necessarily something we’re still doing in October. Later in the season they light the fire and it’s a race to get to the nearest tables because it’s so lovely and cosy. When the ‘Beast from the East’ Siberian weather came earlier in the year we sat at the table almost on top of the fire and literally thawed out, as we’d walked in minus temperatures.

It‘s just been Apple Weekend at Waterperry Garden. In the supermarket there are generally half a dozen varieties that you can buy year round including: Pink Lady, Braeburn, Cox, Granny Smiths etc. Then you go to an apple weekend and there are allsorts of local varieties which you’ve never heard of. After tasting everything on offer, we bought bags of Old Fred, Red Pippin and Egremont Russet. Plus a bag of Comice pears. There are Apple days happening all over the country at the moment and it’s such a good idea to go. You can taste apples with such different flavours (apples which taste like pears, anyone?) various textures (very dry and crisp, sweet and juicy or tough skinned varieties; ideal for peeling and crunching with strong Cheddar cheese.) This always makes me realise that supermarket apples are mostly bland and boring, especially when they are all the choice we’re given year round. We have a spare fridge, usually referred to as the wine fridge, the sourdough starters live there too. You get no prizes for guessing what it’s chock full of at the moment…

Another exciting aspect of Apple weekend was finding a new farm shop has opened on part of the grounds. Waterperry Farm Shop is stocked with produce from the nearby farm. It was such a lovely surprise to find freshly baked cakes and savouries, their own meat and products from the local area including cheeses, rapeseed oil and preserves. Even yarn!

We bought 3 red peppers, 2 sausage rolls (gone before we even got into the car for the journey home) and a lardy cake which we popped in and shared with my Mum over cups of tea. 

I really love autumn.

Whitstable

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Old Neptune, Whitstable

Another week away, it’s not a proper Summer holiday if it doesn’t include the sea.

Yes, lots of pictures of dead fish but aren’t they great to look at? All shiny fresh and ready to make delicious meals. I’ve included the price board in the fish market because someone will find it interesting. I occasionally write down prices in my diary, knowing I’ll be comparing then and now, fascinated in the future.

I have to capture the colours of the fishing boats in the harbour, the blue sky and the fluffy white clouds. I love staring too, drinking in all the colour and movement. The fishing boats draw a crowd of onlookers. After elbowing a few children aside and pushing a couple of Grandmas into the water I was able to peer into the boxes stacked with fish, exciting but I really couldn’t tell you exactly what kind.

Lager shandy, chips, a lemon sherbet or rhubarb & custard in the car, miles and miles walked each day, wild plums picked and eaten, trying to spit the stones out as far as possible while walking along a coastal path (but usually just bouncing next to my shoe, useless) intending to buy greengages while they’re in season, but inexplicably not getting around to it, reading The Memory of Lost Senses by Judith Kinghorn and not knowing whether to shout ‘Just get on with the reveal!’ or revel in the slow pace and unfolding of the not-really-a-mystery, navigating old style; leaving the Sat Nav shut away, searching for sea glass treasure; trying not to put my iphone in the same pocket, enjoying the folk music, Morris dancers and the Tap & Sync Appalachian dancers (from Northamptonshire which is surprising somehow) at Broadstairs Folk Festival, losing a pounds-worth of two pence pieces in an arcade, feeling no need to crochet, knit or sew until going into a Margate Vintage shop and seeing someone crocheting behind the counter, then really having that itchy fingers feeling, lingering in shady lanes looking for geocaches and receiving curious glances from dog walkers, laughing at out of context fragments of other people’s conversations, feeling a curious hint of Autumn in the air, noticing darker early evenings, cooler breezes, beginning to anticipate cooking soups, casseroles and Autumn fruit crumbles….

Off to the South coast next, the last seaside trip of the summer.

The next post will contain knitting, and nothing else but knitting. What a treat to see craft on a craft blog!

Autumn at Blenheim Palace

A brisk walk in the crisp Autumn air, muffled up with scarf, hat (apparently it makes me look like a pixie, hmmm) and fuzzy red gloves. But tell me why is it that dogs always swerve in a circle to the one who is not so keen, completely ignoring the other who would no doubt stop, have a stroke and a chat?

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Are you enjoying Autumn? Where are your favourite Autumn places?

Social crochet

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A village pub

3 friends

Tia Maria & coke, cider and Guinness, in case you’re curious about our drink choices

Delicious pub-grub meals (mushrooms in a creamy garlicky sauce, chilli, lamb koftas, fish & chips, more mushrooms, bangers & mash with onion gravy – if you’re curious about the drinks then it goes without saying that you also have a need to know what was eaten!)

A lot of chatter

Some sparkly Christmas crochet

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After lots of the above and the landlord starting to whistle, which I always take as his hint that it’s time to make tracks, we wandered merrily to our homes.
A lovely evening.

*~*~*

I notice that I didn’t get the top of the star on the Christmas tree in the photo, but it’s better than the picture of the tree I took in the snug where we were sitting: there’s a lot of radiator, a wonky tree and a quarter of a beautiful old stone fire-place. Blame the drink(S)!

*~*~*

Sunday

We had a lovely day out yesterday, to a pottery then a pub where we sat by the river in the sunshine (yes! we’ve had some more sunshine!)

Then we took some nutty oat and raisin cookies I baked on Saturday to a friend. That was quite funny. We arrived and were saying what we’d been up to for the day, but honestly it was like seeing Scooby Doo in action; the nose went up, the eyes were fixed on the tin in my hand. “Cake? Is that cake? I haven’t had CAKE for ages!”

I’ve used a gallery setting for these photos, click on the first one to view in a slideshow setting at your own pace….

Red White & Blue London

Yesterday I met a group of friends to share some books, have a few drinks, some lunch and a wander by the Thames.

It was a perfectly sunny day as you’ll see, so I walked from Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes lived there you know, at least in lots of our imaginations!) grabbed some breakfast from M&S in Oxford street and walked down to Trafalgar Square to sit by a fountain to picnic and watch the world go by (and the minutes tick down to the Olympics) until a friend, G, came to meet me…

A perfect day full of laughing and fun.

Happy weekend to you all wherever you are. :-D

Staithes, North Yorkshire

Hope you had a good Easter weekend. Here’s a little (ish!) record of some of mine…

A little crochet time in the Leeds Marriott in the morning on Good Friday, before heading further oop north to Staithes

We’ve reached our 18th century fisherman’s cottage, it’s great. Look at the alley you walk down to get to it; better not eat toooo many Easter Eggs or I’ll be there an extra week!

I bet I can guess what these used to be before they were coal sheds!

The houses share walls and are crammed in higgledy-piggledy into a relatively small place. You can just feel the history and layers of the past as you wander in and out of the alley ways, along past the small shops, chapels and pubs (many closed now, though there’s still three in the village.)

Super cosy

What a hill to the car!

Stepping stones

One of my favourite views, I love all the colours.

After a LOT of walking and rock clambering and that vertical walk to the car!

Seeing this in the Cook Memorial Centre in Staithes felt a bit odd; I’d forgotten I came across this cottage a long time ago in a Melbourne park. I’d been living in Australia for a year by then, and found it really unsettling and a little bizarre to see Captain Cook’s Cottage!

Easter Sunday morning we lit the fire, opened the eggs, toasted some home-made walnut & cranberry bread and snuggled for a while before venturing out.

And that is enough for now. I’ve got some great pics from Saltburn and the yarn-bombing, but it will be next week before I post them. Trip #2 is about to happen. I’ve got today to turn my laundry around and re-pack and I’m off again early in the morning. It’s a very hard life.

:-D

Crocheted jar cover

I spent my Friday evening crocheting this jar cover while sipping Lady Grey tea. I’d decided to give alcohol for January so was feeling very cleansed and virtuous. That was until, fast forward to Saturday lunch, The King’s Arms in Oxford when I finished my lovely cool pint of lager shandy and looked at my friend in horror; I’d totally forgotten I wasn’t meant to be drinking! After the 3 mile walk into town it had felt like the perfect drink. Oops.

I would really love a perfect bottom (hey, don’t we all?!) but it takes practice I guess. I am perfectionist and there are a few flaws if you look carefully.I made my own wiggly up and down pattern for the top: 3 trebles then 3 doubles repeated. The start of the design was from a Let’s Get Crafting pattern for a crocheted ‘jar’ by Lynne Rowe, but you can see where I carried on crocheting and got carried away from the white sticky outy row onwards, it’s meant to be where the last two rows of crochet fold over at the top. I kept the textured sticky outy bit (technical talk?!) because I liked it. I think I’ll do that again. You basically stop going around and around, turn the crocheted so you are now looking at the inside or the outside and go into the back loop only for the stitch. There are possibilities for more texture in dimensional projects me thinks….

The yarn, by the way, was horrendous to use as it kept splitting. It seemed more man-made than anything I’ve ever used before. But I like the colour combination. It’s very seasidey.