Sunday, 10 December 2017

A Peeved Puss - Sunday Photo

 Bess, my foster cat has been here for over two months now.  She came to me with some skin problems which will be with her for life, but back at the start of the year when she was found as a stray, they were severe.  After months of trial and error medication there have been huge improvements but also set backs. Currently we are doing quite well but her treatment requires a weekly bath and medicated shampoo, luckily for me she is a dream cat and tolerates them with fairly good grace, despite much miaowing.

I love this photo of her as she looks thoroughly disgruntled....notice the blob of cat food on her nose, a result of wearing a buster collar and not being able to position her face in the usual way over her food dish.  

Linking with Photalife's Sunday Photo 
and Animal Tales at A Green and Rosie Life


Monday, 4 December 2017

Bus Trip To Bruges

Last Saturday morning found me jumping on a coach at 0600...destination Bruges. (or Brugge as the locals call it)  A trip had been organised at work and being ridiculously cheap it would have been daft not to go.  Save for one night in Oostende back in the eighties, I'd never been to Belgium so I was looking forward to this trip.  Unfortunately when we drove out of the Eurotunnel in Calais we were greeted by dense and freezing fog which continued into Belgium meaning our first glimpses of Bruges, a UNESCO heritage centre were somewhat eery.

Not for me were the Christmas market stalls, I just wanted to soak up the history and the ambience of the place, which admittedly was a tall order in the four hours we had there.

The town was swarming with tourists and it was difficult not to get swept along the cobbled streets. Unsurprisingly, people everywhere were stopping for selfies as the town is incredibly picturesque, even in the mist!  The 400 foot high spire of The Church of Our Lady was enveloped in a blanket in fog.

The ornate Flemish architecture of the area is exceptionally pretty and a photographers delight, although I'd have preferred blue skies the overcast weather did not deter me from snapping away.

14th century City Hall or Stadhuis

Of course Belgian chocolate is world renowned and plays a strong role in the country's economy.  There are over two thousand chocolatiers in Belgium and the streets of Bruges certainly have their fair share with windows boasting chocolate in every form imaginable.  

Bicycles were parked everywhere, although heaving crowds prevented an easy passage on two wheels.

Noticeable in Belgium were the espaliered trees everywhere and the use of boughs of fir to decorate the shop fronts which I thought particularly tasteful, unlike some of the dreadful, garish tat seen in my nearest town.

After a couple of hours wandering the bitterly cold streets my hands were so numb I couldn't feel the camera shutter button beneath my fingertips so we dived into a restaurant for lunch and a fortifying glass of warme wijn.  (Did I get that right Ann?)

We were attended by a rather sullen-looking elderly waiter, who we all thought should be at home with his feet up, not racing around a restaurant that was bursting at the seams.   The fish soup I ordered (a local speciality) was delicious and my choice was envied by colleagues who'd played safe with boring omelettes.

After lunch we walked back past the canal, more visible now as the fog had lifted and all agreed that a return visit to this beautiful city was in order as we just couldn't do it justice in the few short hours we'd had.

Founded in the mid 12th century Sint-Janshospitaal is one the oldest sites for health care still in existence in Europe.

En route to the coach park I saw this groovy Sister overlooking the park from a top floor restaurant window.  

An homage perhaps to another, more famous Belgian nun?

After that trip down memory lane I'm off now to catch up with the ironing and the latest episode of Witnesses/Les Témoins BBC4's new gripping French drama.  Who else is watching?

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Scavenger Hunt - November

Another month has flown by and the end of November is upon us.... my collection this month consists of snaps taken within the last thirty days and some from my archive.
I've enjoyed this challenge in 2017 and hope it will continue next year.


These cerise hollyhocks looked so striking against the peeling azure paint of the garden gate beyond. 
Captured on Île de Noirmoutier this summer.


My father recently came across this slide image of my family in the garden at Studleigh, my grandmother's home in Crowborough. I imagine it must be about 1972/3  I am the dark haired urchin-like child, pulling a face as usual! 
In front my cousin Corinne, behind me my mother (reading) with my brother behind her and aunties and uncles all deep in conversation.

 Starts with a ...... W
I couldn't resist snapping these eye catching windmills, displayed outside a souvenir shop.... the riot of colour just drew me to them.


 One from a couple of years back at work when I was training to drive snowploughs on the airfield.


 I can't remember the name of this church in Oxford, perhaps Gisela can enlighten us?


 These old cars are still in the toy box at my parents' house even though my brother is now fifty two....my Sindy's there too!


I was scratching my head about this one and then I remembered the magnifique pain au raisin that I demolished for breakfast in France this year.  The boulanger created a perfect and very tasty swirl.

I wish I had a Basil to share but instead I have Bess 

Its not an easy task to take a photo whilst brushing an animal!


 All these and hundreds more are to be found in a tin in my kitchen drawer.

 My own choice

 Another photo from my recent day out in beautiful Oxford. 
 The Tower Of The Five Orders taken from the Quadrangle of the Bodleian Library

Linking with I Live I Love I Craft  

Monday, 27 November 2017

Road Trip Scarf - Handmade Monday

Hot off the hook here's my latest make, The Road Trip Scarf.  I saw similar scarves featured on Jo's blog here and here, the latter crocheted by her ten year old daughter.  That must be an easy make... I thought to myself.  How wrong I was.  It took three attempts to get Row 3 right but once I did, I was hooked. (excuse pun) 

 King Cole's DK Riot was my yarn of choice, an acrylic/wool mix.  It was the first time I have used variegated yarn and I found it hard to put down so keen was I to see how the next colours in the ball would look crocheted up.

 Even after blocking the long edge is still very wibbly-wobbly... nothing I make is ever perfect!
I probably should have pinned it all the way round instead of just the three corners.

The pattern photos show a lot more flowers and dangly bits, but I decided that my yarn was busy enough without any floral adornments at the front so just added one and a dangling bell at each end.  I also omitted the border as it was too fussy for my liking and finished with a row of dc.

(I cropped my head out of this close-up selfie as it revealed more lines than an A-Z)

These are super quick to make and would make great xmas presents.

Linking up with Sum Of Their Stories for Handmade Monday

Monday, 13 November 2017

Coq au Vin, Crochet and Christmas Cards - Handmade Monday

It's reached that time of year when I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark   I think the lawn may have been mown for the last time this year, the front hedge has been cut and garden furniture packed away in the garage until next spring.

What's a girl to do these long evenings? 

I cleared the decks in my craft room and set to.  Fifty xmas cards later and I'm feeling quite smug... never have I been so organised.  I adapted a simple idea that I stole from Pinterest and set up a production line, everything used came from my stash.

Next up, another crocheted cat blanket knocked up for the Cats Protection from odds and sods.  I was whittling down my yarn stash quite nicely until Friday when I visited Uckfield's many charity shops and came away with 200g of variegated DK.
I've a new project on my hook which I'm hoping to share with you soon... provided I  get my head around the pattern instructions!

Speaking of yarn, this next card was made for Helen, a Stitch & Bitch chum who'll be celebrating a big birthday next weekend. (No need to remind her of the number)   She loves all things pretty and pink so let's hope she likes it.

And the Coq au Vin??  Well I forgot to take a photo of it before I dished it up for lunch yesterday but here is the wreckage. 

Did you see Nigella last week?  I'm only surprised that she didn't lick the camera lens!


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Scavenger Hunt - October

I've just realized that tomorrow is the 27th and link-up day for Scavenger Hunt so I'm scrabbling around trying to fill the gaps in my post.  I've been crazy busy this week with a couple of family birthday celebrations and just life generally, so this post is all a bit last minute.


I'm seriously trying to reduce my yarn stash and as I've a load of cotton but only one ball of each colour...what to make?  These mandalas are a great solution and quite addictive, not sure they have much purpose except as coasters and teapot stands but they are pretty.  You can find the pattern at Attic24 on the sidebar if you'd like to try one for yourself.

I also made this chocolate fudge cake this week as a friend came for coffee, it wasn't half bad. 


 My purse !  Well almost, some of these coins are euros!

 Starts with a ...... F
Meet Bess, my new foster Feline.  I'm looking after her for a while until a new home can be found.  She came into the Cats Protection earlier this year as a stray with a terrible flea allergy and hardly any fur and she still has an ongoing skin problem.  As you can see she is much improved, she is the most affectionate puss and has taken up residence on my spare bed.


 A paper wrapped religieuses au chocolat from the local boulangerie in France.

Et voila!

Shocked at how disgusting my cupboards had become, I recently had a thorough clear out and chucked some stuff with an expiry date of 2015, washed all the surfaces and tidied. At least now if I have unexpected guests I won't be too embarrassed to open the doors.  


I took this photo of Haywards Heath High St. from the upper deck of a 1966 double decker bus, more of which later.


 Desperately trying to get a different slant on an everyday object ...and failing.

8. Unexpected

 At the beginning of October this invitation dropped through my letterbox, I hadn't been in touch lately with my cousin who was arranging this birthday surprise for her father, so it came completely unexpected. 

 I prefer a rustic, informal look to my flower arrangements and use jugs often, this one was bought in a junk shop years ago and was just the right size for a last few garden offerings, miscanthus zebrinus and Japanese anemone.

 My own choice

Here's my uncle Ray on his 90th birthday.  His surprise included a vintage bus ride followed by Afternoon Tea at his local football club.

So that's my offerings for October, you can see more interpretations over at 
(I've just realized that I've previously referred to this blog as I Live I Love I Laugh!   So sorry folks, especially Kate... you've all been too kind to even tell me that I'm a buffoon!)

Must dash, I'm on shift all weekend and have a ton of stuff to do before then.