Monday, 29 June 2009

A Random Photo For Tania

Sonata :
Another random photo for Tania , who likes shutters .

We saw this door in IJlst on Saturday . This house , built in 1669 and now owned by a preservation society , seemed to be asleep in the middle of the busy village street .

A giant boat load of day trippers , all dressed as Jimmi Hendrix and tarts for some reason ( when did it stop being Vicars and Tarts ? ) , all yodelled a few feet away and the house just slumbered on .

Thursday, 25 June 2009

At the Office

I feel that when I introduced you in May to the giraffe who came to join us at work a while ago , I should also have introduced the ladies who ensure that his work can continue undisturbed .
June is marginally more approachable than Joan , but they both guard Mr. Smythe most vigilantly from any attempt at familiarity by the junior staff .

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Swap Loot


I took part in the Cart Before the Horse's squares swap and am delighted with my lovely share of the loot !

20 different 10"squares which I'm gloating over . I'm busy planning what to do with them , though some have already decided for me , since they're perfect for tiny quilt pieces . And then there's the square with one of Jo Curry's lovely prints on

which can't be chopped up ! A center panel in a patchwork cushion maybe or I might frame it and hang it next to my tottering stash . I've already got one of The Black Apple's prints there , that lovely one of the girl , sleeping under a patchwork quilt .

Meanwhile , I've added another Flickr group , I Love Haberdashery , to my evergrowing list . Vintage sewing notions heaven !! Cards of buttons , old lace , wooden spools of thread , vintage packets of needles in an astonishing variety of designs and even some Lurex RicRac . Had I known that such a thing as lurex ricrac existed , I would have insisted on it instead of the serviceable green variety my grandmother was so fond of as a trimming for little girls' sun dresses . But perhaps it was invented later ....Switzers in 1950s Dublin probably wouldn't have stocked it anyway .
I had to photograph something haberdashery-ish to put up on the group page . After a rummage about and battling with wilting batteries , here it is . Some bead trim , with what I think are Bugle beads ( ? ) , far too worn-looking to be used as such now ..and rather matronly really ...... but I love wondering what it was used on before I found it .

And I'm sure I can find some more suitable subject matter somewhere in the pile of boxes and bags that is threatening to take over the house !

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Let The Summer Begin !


This week I had two outings. Summer is here and we're all rushing outside to make the most of it .

Tuesday involved taking around 30 pre-schoolers to the little local City Farm , where they all ignored the animals and rushed to the slides and swings . Luckily they are all accompanied by a parent so we don't have to run around counting them all the time . Our job is to chat to parents and dispense refreshments .....lots of refreshments . I envied this hen

But they all loved it and , when asked , can now identify a goat . "That thing , nearly a cow ".

On Wednesday it was time for the annual Works Outing . This year a boat trip to Ameland , one of the Wadden Islands , just off the Frisian coast

With optional mud-hiking . So I thought .... it's now or never and opted to hike too . The boat stops at a sand bank at low tide and you all jump off into shallow water

and follow the guides through gloopy mud , sand and mussel beds to the island in the distance .
All the sensible/wimpy ones stay on board and have another coffee and bun before they get to land in comfort .
The guides shamelessly play to the audience , catching live crabs to the shrieks of the ladies among us , digging up cockles for the brave to eat raw and looking for pearls in the oysters which abound ( don't walk barefoot , they can slice you to the bone apparently )
Once on land , we all got a bike for the day and a packed lunch . It's very pretty in the sun and everyone wandered off to explore and eat apple cake in quiet village cafes .

On the trip back , dinner was served on board and we sailed past a sand bank to see seals close up . Then back down below for the tribal get-together . A 140-strong blend of social workers , youth workers , playschool leaders and family guidance counsellors can party with the best of them ....corny old songs , "There is a little cafe by the harbour ...." , and hokey-cokey with an abandon that might surprise the clients .

This was one of the best W.Os I've been on in the last 8 years . It didn't rain and didn't involve role-playing , frisbees or climbing anything . I would certainly mud hike again too .....oddly fun .

So now it's two weeks till the long holiday . I must build myself up for all that lolling about .

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Out and about at Sissinghurst


We went camping in our van over the week-end, and stayed in a lovely field in Kent. It was sunny enough to sit out in the evening and watch the clouds drift by.

So we were up and about early the next day and arrived at Sissinghurst before they started limiting the entry to the garden. Photos next time as internet connection is playing up today!
The place itself is charming, with stunning views from Vita's tower:

We had lunch, as they had a fat-free soup of beetroot, potato and cumin, and this delightful rhubarb jelly:
I had to buy Adam Nicolson's 'Sissinghurst: an unfinished history' in the shop, which is very engaging. Adam, a descendant of Vita's who is now a 'donor family' in residence at Sissinghurst writes eloquently about his battles with the National Trust to restore the land surrounding the garden as a farm. His descriptions of nature are such that I feel I am still there, walking the land, rather than back in London. His abilty to capture the irony of his situation, living in a place that is his family home and yet not his to run, ensures it is an insightful and, sometimes, funny book about British class and culture.

To conclude, although not at all as tidy or beautiful as Sissinghurst, here is a shot of my garden with its roses in untidy bloom and the bottle-brush tree filling up with flowers. On our return we found that the artichoke plant had bestowed on us a gift which was eaten for supper!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

A Little Bit of Green Like The Queen

Sonata :

Having read on the BBC News page this morning that the Queen ( English , not Dutch ) now has an allotment in the grounds of Buckingham Palace , I realise that it isn't just my imagination . Green is the new Black .

I went to Ikea on Friday and amongst all the quaintly named blonde wood items ( a tilted computer table called Dave ? ) , I found a gorgeous green velvet , vibrant as a tropical toad . Of course I had to bring a piece home . Even my husband agreed that it had to join Groggy in the trolley .

One day I'll make something with it , meanwhile I'm just admiring it and , childish as ever , giggling about Groggy and Froggy .

There's a Flickr website called Green Is Beautiful . I'm a member ( with the same name as this blog , we share it ) , along with 36, 654 other people , and a great game for a wet afternoon is to add a photo to the group and see how long it is till it's shuffled off by the new arrivals took about 20 minutes the other day . The page is so bright and zingy it's almost as good as having one's own allotment .

I feel the way northern European peasants felt , centuries ago after a long dark winter . In love with all the sharp tanginess of it all

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A Young Man I Know

Sonata :

For the last few months there's a chap I've been getting the occasional phonecall from . A little deep breathy "Hello Granny " . ... then a few gurgles , an even breathier " Bye Bye ", a giggle ....and gone . Very endearing .

So despite the fact that , the last time when his mother asked him , "Do you want to talk to Granny ? " all he said was a breezy "Nope " as he galloped past , I would like to find that surprisingly elusive wooden train accessory , a tunnel , for his birthday .

After all , being twice as old as you were last year is quite an achievement !

All that seems to be on offer at the moment is something hideous covered in polystyrene "rocks" , costing almost as much as a real life-size one on the Côte D'Azur . Perhaps he'd like that instead ?
Both the illustrations are from some ancient Pixi-Bucher . The first by Rhoda McGrath , the second by G . Mauser-Lichtl .

Sunday, 7 June 2009

All around the world....


I dipped out of view, because it is exam season at my college and I had stacks of marking to do (pile is slowly diminishing so am able to come up for air). Remember how I showed you the study a few weeks ago? Getting that room back after decorators and furniture fitters had done their finest has meant that we are gradually getting bits of our house back as we unpack. Like this corner of the living room:

The blue set of drawers was found abandoned on the street a few weeks ago, so we hoisted that into the back of the car and gave it pride of place (bottom drawer, Xmas ornaments; middle drawer, games like Monopoly and vintage puzzles; top drawer, sensible stuff like napkins!). The globe was bought at auction a few years ago, when we were buying stuff to resell... but it appears to have decided to stay. The 'Sweet Williams' came home today from the farmer's market. The juke box in the corner does work, and now we can reach it again we may get around to playing it once more!

As the study still looks like a bomb has gone off, I will show you one pretty corner of it. Once some more boxes are out of the way, I will show it in its full glory. A victorian hand-decorated scrap screen, I so wish I knew who had spent their time choosing scraps or cutting pages from magazines to decorate these panels!

We have put an armchair in that corner, so it should be a fine place to sit and think!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Is This An Open Secret ?

Sonata :

Today's random photo is of this HUGE shoe in one of the shopping streets of Deventer last Saturday .

We two hicks just gawped . But perhaps they're everywhere , a common site all over the world ? Friend felt we should get a couple of children to sit inside for the photo .......really it was large enough for them , a couple more and The Old Woman Who Lived therein with them all .