Thursday 31 August 2017

Seventh Blog Anniversary Giveaway And Another Holiday

We go away tomorrow for the second of our summer holidays. This time we're heading to Norfolk and hoping for better weather than we got earlier this month in Lincolnshire.

We're staying in a cottage by the sea so some good weather would be very welcome so that we can spend some days on the beach. The forecast is looking good at the moment but I know that can all change at the drop of a hat.

There's wi-fi in the cottage but I do prefer my holidays to be technology free so I won't be blogging until I'm back, however, I have a post scheduled for Sunday so watch out for that.

It's my seventh blog anniversary tomorrow so, as usual on my blog anniversaries, I thought I'd have a little giveaway. I'll tell you about it now and then I'll be able to pick a winner when I return home from holiday.

I've noticed how the nights are starting to draw in now, it's getting darker so much earlier than it has been, so I thought I'd put a little parcel together ready for the evenings when the curtains are drawn, the fire is lit and it's time to hunker down.

First up is a couple of balls of sock yarn. I like nothing more than sitting with my knitting on an evening and sock knitting is so addictive. This is Drops Fabel in the Pink Dream colourway.

When I think of hunkering down, an image comes into my mind of sitting by the fireside reading a book so I had to include some reading material in the giveaway. I missed holidaying in Cornwall this year so the title of this book jumped out at me, The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick.

Letter writing is something else I enjoy doing when the dark evenings strike. I don't write as many letters as I used to, but it's always nice to have some pretty notepaper at the ready.

Hot drinks are always welcome when the colder weather arrives so there'll be a selection included in the giveaway, tea and hot chocolate, along with some yummy treats. I don't know about you but I can never resist a Tunnock's Teacake.

The giveaway is open to all readers of this blog, old and new, near and far. You don't have to be a follower but it would be lovely if you would click on the link in the sidebar or follow on Bloglovin'. Please leave a comment on this post by midday on Sunday the 10th of September 2017, after which, a winner will be drawn at random.

It doesn't seem two minutes since I started this blog back in September 2010 but I've thoroughly enjoyed writing the posts and reading every comment which has been left. Most of all, I've enjoyed making so many new friends, the blogging community really is the best. Thank you all for visiting and leaving such lovely comments, I really do appreciate it.

See you soon.

Monday 28 August 2017

Raindrops On Roses - August

These are a few of my favourite things.

Old photos. How I love looking back at photos taken long ago. My mum's memory is deteriorating rapidly, she's been diagnosed with dementia and both long and short term memory is affected. I've pulled out all my boxes of old photos and I've been taking an album with me as I visit each day and though she often doesn't remember who's who in the photos, she's been enjoying looking at them, and so have my dad and I. We may live in the digital age but I still print off favourite photos and store them in albums, I don't think you get the same feel for a photo when you're looking at it on a computer as you do when turning the pages of an album.

Days at the beach. We had the first of our summer holidays at the beginning of the month, though we only managed to get on the beach once because of the weather. We had a lovely day at Whitby and Sandsend in the middle of the month whilst Mick was still off work though. There's nothing more restorative than sitting on the sand listening to the waves crash on the shore.

Third Vault Yarns. I bought this skein from Spring Into Wool back in April, it's the Dragon Scales colourway in 100% Superwash Merino. It's such a beautiful colour, you can't really see it here in the photo, but there's green and greys, blues and purples. It's iridescent too so the colours seem to change when you look at the knitting from different angles. I'm thoroughly enjoying using this yarn, it's beautiful to knit with and it's got a great stitch definition.

Homegrown tomatoes. I started my seeds off quite late this year and the plants have never really caught up. They're not very good at all actually, but I'm still managing to harvest some fruit which I'm very pleased about as shop bought tomatoes just don't compare with homegrown. I've only grown one tomato variety this year, Maskotka, which is a cherry tomato with a beautiful, sweet flavour.

Ebay. It's a while since I've used Ebay to sell anything but there was an offer on last week where you only paid a maximum £1 final value fee whatever amount the item sells for, the usual charge is 10%. I had a couple of things to list and they sold for a total price of £60, I paid just £2 in fees instead of the usual £6. That's an extra £60 to add to the savings.

What favourites do you have this month? How about joining me and writing a post about them?

Friday 25 August 2017

Winding Down

The garden has definitely started to wind down ready for autumn now. It hasn't done particularly well this year, I cut down on my veggie growing and just had four containers of potatoes and four tomato plants but even they haven't done so well. I was late sowing the tomato seeds and though I've had some ripe fruit, the plants have never really got going and aren't the best.

One thing which has done well is my little apple tree. This is Gloster, red skinned, as you can see, with a crisp flesh. It had lots of blossom in the spring and it's gone on to produce a bumper harvest. This is only part of the tree, the other branches are laden too.

My beautiful Golden Wings rose doesn't look quite so beautiful once the flowers are spent. There are some new buds though so I should get some more blooms.

Geraniums, or pelargoniums to give them their correct name, are plants which flower on and on all summer. I bought three of this unknown variety earlier this year and they're still going strong. I love the scarlet red ones best.

I've got three blueberry bushes which I grow in containers. They're all different varieties so they ripen at different stages to extend the harvest but only one of the plants have really done their thing this year, one produced just a handful of fruit and the other had a year off. They're all now showing their autumnal colour, a little early really. I wonder if they've been tricked into thinking that summer was in May and June when we had a spell of hot weather.

This unnamed rose was a present from Daniel one Mother's Day, it's never really thrived but it does give me a few blooms each year so I'm loath to pull it out. I'm a bit sentimental like that.

The promise of things to come. It won't be long now until the sedum bursts into bloom. I'm hoping that it encourages lots of honey bees and butterflies into the garden, like it usually does, as I've seen very few of either around this year.

One thing which never looks sad, my little stone spaniel hiding amongst the plants.

I have lots of garden ornaments. Do you?

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Sugar Frost Socks

The Sugar Frost Socks by Marianne Heikknen are the latest pair of socks to make it in to my Christmas gift pile. These will be a gift for Eleanor.

Made from West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in the Sherbet Fizz colourway, I used Candyfloss for the contrasting cuffs, heels and toes. I wasn't really feeling it as I was knitting them up. I wasn't sure if I liked the colour of the stripes, how they worked together or how the yarn worked in this pattern, I'm not really sure what it was.

I'm glad I persevered though as I'm really pleased with them now that they're finished and they actually look even better when they're being worn, the stripes stretch out a bit and give a more pleasing effect overall. There's just one thing that I'm not convinced about and that's the toes. I followed the pattern but I much prefer a more wedged toe which is grafted together, whereas this toe is more rounded and the remaining stitches at the end are gathered on yarn which is pulled through them. It gives a bit of a pointy end, but they look okay on. I won't use this toe pattern again though.

The gift pile is growing steadily.

I'm on track for having all my Christmas gifts made in good time this year.

Saturday 19 August 2017

Sophia's Secret

I received a free book on my Kindle a couple of years ago called The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley and I really enjoyed it, so when I saw another of her books, Sophie's Secret, offered for just 99p I decided I'd download it. I'm really pleased I did as it's one of the best books I've read for a while.

I mentioned recently how hard I was finding getting into a book, well it wasn't a case of that with this book, I was hooked right from the start. Both of the books I've read by this author have covered two time periods and it's a style of writing which she executes very well.

As well as telling the story of Carrie McClelland, a best selling author, the book slips back in time to the beginning of the eighteenth century when Queen Anne was on the British throne and James III of England, James VIII of Scotland, was attempting to regain power. I know nothing of this period and although this is a work of fiction, there's lots of historical fact included which was very well researched. It had me googling names and places as I found I wanted to learn more.

It's a bit like a book within a book as the historical part is told through the pages of the latest book which Carrie is writing, I found this rather clever.

This is a book I'd definitely recommend, I didn't want it to end.

If you want to know what else I've been reading lately, you can find a list in the sidebar. This shows all the books I've read this year and there's also lists of the books I've read right back to 2012.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Let's Go Fly A Kite

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day last Thursday so we thought we'd make the most of it and head off to the coast.

We love the Yorkshire coast, it's a wonderful place to be on a sunny day.

Our first port of call was Whitby, home of Whitby Abbey, Bram Stoker's inspiration for Dracula. We never head for the beach at Whitby, there's so many interesting shops both in the new part of town and along the older streets, it's the perfect place for a wander.

Not the best picture because of the reflections on the glass, but I couldn't resist taking a photo of this crocheted teddy bear sitting on a deck chair in a shop window.

After a good stroll round we decided to head on up the coast to Sandsend where's there's a fabulous dog friendly beach.

Although it was lovely and sunny, there was a bit of a breeze, so I thought it would be the perfect day to get number 11 crossed off my 50 Before 50 list and Fly a kite. We'd bought one when we were on holiday in Lincolnshire but never got the chance to use it, here was my opportunity.

Mick and Eleanor looking very puzzled, it's a good job I knew what I was doing.

I had to show them how it was done, though Eleanor says she hasn't laughed so much for a long time after seeing me running down the beach trying to get the kite airborne.

I managed it though, up it went and up it stayed.

The kite casting its shadow on the beach.

Archie was more than happy to amuse himself whilst we were busy with the kite. He loves spending time on the beach, he has a little paddle, plays with other dogs and dries off whilst sunbathing.

I think it took it out of him on Thursday though, he was a rather tired dog in the car on the way home and he slept very well that night.

The journey home takes us over the North York Moors where I just managed to catch the tail end of the train which had recently set off from Goathland station.

It's a stunning area.

The scenic route certainly beats motorways.

It was another lovely day out and it was actually sunny enough for me to catch the sun on my face. Mind you, I only have to look at the sun and I turn a nasty shade of pink.

Sunday 13 August 2017

Yarn Bombing

After visiting the white horse of Kilburn on Wednesday, which you can read about in my Horsing Around post, we decided to visit the nearby market town of Thirsk. You may know Thirsk as the home of Alf White, or James Herriott as he became known.

We had a little wander to the Cod Beck River. It looked rather muddy to say the least.

Back in 2015 when the Tour de Yorkshire was coming through Thirsk, a local lady put a message out on Facebook asking for volunteers to help decorate the town with knitting and crochet. On a dark, cold April night a week before the race, the Yarnbombers of Thirsk, wearing dark clothing and balaclavas, 'bombed' the town. Since then, the group have gone on to decorate a carriage on a Grand Central train at Kings Cross Station in London, been on the Welcome to Yorkshire stand at The Great Yorkshire Show and 'bombed' an articulated lorry and a tractor. The Market Place at Thirsk has also been decorated a few times now. We didn't realise that there was yarn bombing in place when we decided to visit Thirsk, but the Market Place is yet again adorned in knitting and crochet celebrating Yorkshire Day, which was on the 1st of August. I thought you might like to see some of the decorations.

The white horse of Kilburn and a mouse representing Robert Thompson, a furniture maker from Kilburn, who carved a mouse into the furniture he made.

Yorkshire air ambulance.

A good old Yorkshire breakfast, complete with a pot of Yorkshire tea.

I believe this chap is the Yorkshire cricketer, Jonny Bairstow.

A block of Wensleydale cheese, direct from the creamery at Hawes.

Afternoon tea at Bettys, complete with a Fat Rascal and macaroons.

I believe this may represent the animals at Cannon Hall Farm in Barnsley.

There were a few decorations which I liked but I'm not sure what they've got to do with Yorkshire, perhaps someone else knows.

My personal favourite, but yet again, not sure what it's got to do with Yorkshire. Flies round errrrrr.

These were just a few of the decorations, there were many more and if you're in the area, it's definitely worth a trip to see them.

Thursday 10 August 2017

Horsing Around

You may remember The White Horse Of Kilburn post which I wrote back in 2014. Here is a photo of the horse, which is cut in to the hillside, which I took when I last visited.

I said in that post that we would return to take a walk right up to the horse itself, and I also included Touch the white horse of Kilburn on my 50 Before 50 list, so we went back again yesterday to do just that. I didn't manage to actually touch it, but we got pretty close to it.

There's a car park right below the horse so you don't have to venture too far in order to reach it.

You can take a moderate one and a half mile round walk which brings you back to the car park, a longer strenuous six mile walk, or do as we did and climb up and then down again.

The white horse was cut in 1857 by a local schoolmaster and his class after being designed and financed by a native of Kilburn, Thomas Taylor, who was a Victorian businessman.

It doesn't look it here but the path at the start is very steep, all my huffing and puffing shows just how unfit I am.

We kept getting a glimpse of the horse as we walked further on.

As we turned and looked from where we had come, we got a fantastic view over the Vale of York. This didn't do anything at all for my fear of heights.

After the initial pathway, you come to some steps, 151 to be exact.

We'd let Archie off his lead at the start of the walk but even though he's very good and doesn't usually wander off, we thought it would be safer for him to be on his lead, there's some steep drops, so he was put back on.

This is the view behind us as we neared the top.

The white horse which we'd come to see. I couldn't actually touch it but I got pretty close.

There's a bench at the top dedicated to Fred Banks, Guardian Of The White Horse.

Fred Banks was a Yorkshire farmer who died at the age of 81 back in 2007. He was a rural historian and president of the Kilburn White Horse Association. His maternal grandfather, Thomas Goodrick, was amongst the school children who helped cut it out and his father, Tom, "took care" of it. Fred followed in his father's footsteps in looking after it.

There's a fantastic view from the bench.

Archie had a little trouble with the steps on the way down so he was more than happy to be a pampered pooch and let Mick carry him.

That's number 22 crossed off my 50 Before 50 list but it wasn't the end of our day out, more photos to follow in another post.