Sunday 29 August 2021

To Have And To Hold

It was my niece's wedding on Tuesday. I call her my niece but she isn't really, she's my sister's stepdaughter. My sister died twenty two years ago but we've always kept in touch with her and her brother and it's just the same as her being my proper niece. She was supposed to get married last September but the wedding had to be postponed due to the coronavirus restrictions. It was moved to around Easter time this year but again, had to be postponed, so it was third time lucky.

We had a lovely day, the wedding was held in a converted barn and it was a fabulous venue surrounded by beautiful scenery. The bride and groom didn't want gifts, they said it was enough that we were helping them celebrate their marriage, but we gave them some money and I couldn't resist giving them a little token in the form of this cross stitch.

This is To Have and To Hold from Country Cottage Needleworks stitched on 28 count Brittney Lugana. I really enjoyed stitching it and though I started it at the beginning of 2020, I held off finishing it completely until I was sure the wedding was going ahead as the date had to be added. 

Talking of the date, what a numpty I was. Can you see what I did? The numbers were all charted up for me, I just had to choose the right ones and make sure I centred it in the design, but I couldn't even do that right. I put the year as 01 instead of 21 so I had to unpick it and start again. I added the names to the design so I had to chart some of the letters myself but I think it looks okay.

The bride's hair was supposed to be blonde but my niece has brown hair so I changed that, and the date is actually charted in pink but as I was adding their names I decided to continue in the same colour as the rest of the writing.

I snapped a photo of it in the frame before the glass was added to prevent the glare. I'm pleased with how it turned out. It was a lovely design to stitch.

I think the next wedding on the cards will be Eleanor's, though they still haven't chosen a date, venue or anything else, so I don't think it will be for some time yet. It gives me time to stitch another wedding sampler if I choose to do so.

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Mixed Fortunes

I only planted two containers of potatoes up this year, one was in a purpose made potato bag and the other was in a large plastic pot. I've used both very successfully in the past. Unfortunately, potatoes only grew in one container, the potato bag, there wasn't any growth at all in the plastic pot and exactly the same thing happened with Eleanor's potatoes too. I can only assume that the seed potatoes in the plastic pots rotted when we had the bout of very wet weather earlier in the year, but it does go to show that the bags which are made specifically to grow potatoes in have definitely worked better this year.

Having all my eggs in one basket so to speak, or rather all my potatoes in one container, I was hoping for good results. When the bag was tipped out it looked promising.

All told, there were just over eight pounds of potatoes in the one bag. The 50p is on the photo for scale, there were some really quite large spuds harvested. These are Charlotte, a second early potato which Eleanor chose as she fancied the waxy texture that this potato offers. I grew Charlotte last year too, it was the first time I'd grown them in containers and I got quite a poor yield. They can vary considerably from year to year.

I'm more than happy with what I've harvested this year, you can't beat the taste of home grown!

Saturday 21 August 2021

My Own Surprise Book

I've made lots of friends in Blogland. I'm always amazed by the connections people make even when they've never met in real life. One of my best friends is Maggie from BlackCountry Wench blog. I was drawn to her blog when I came across all the fabulous cross stitching she does, and I always enjoy her varied posts. We seemed to hit it off from the start and though we've still never met, she's a very good friend.

Maggie and I share a love of reading, among other things, and in her recent post about Monday's Outing, she mentioned a book she'd picked up in a National Trust shop. It's a wrapped book so she doesn't know what it is, a surprise. It does have a tag on the parcel with a clue about what the book is about, so I'm sure it will be a lot of fun finding out if her guesses are correct. I commented saying how I thought it was a great idea and yesterday my friendly Hermes delivery man brought me an unexpected package. Maggie had sent me my own surprise book.

There was a lovely card with it too. Maggie said that she thought the book would be something I would enjoy and I'm sure it will be, it sounds right up my street:-


When Helen Forester's father went bankrupt in 1930, she and her six siblings were forced from comfortable middle-class life in southern England to utmost poverty in the Depression-ridden North. Twelve-year-old Helen becomes responsible for the running of the household with little food to feed the younger children. Written without self-pity, this account is both heartwarmingly funny and shockingly moving.


The Forrester family are beginning to win their fight for survival and, now fourteen, Helen's personal struggle is in persuading her parents to allow her to earn her own living and lead her own life, after years of putting her family first, forgetting her own need for care and education. Struggling against illness caused by severe malnutrition and dirt, Helen also has to contend with her parents' selfish demands.

Thank you, Maggie. I know this is a book I'm going to really enjoy.

Do pop across to Maggie's blog if you don't know it already, it's a very good read.

Tuesday 17 August 2021

All Good Things Must Come To An End

We had a lovely time last week while Daniel and Jasmine were here with us. They stayed from the previous Friday night until Sunday so they were with us for quite a while this time but I'm always sad when their time with us comes to an end.

We had a good mix of days out and time spent together at home, and they went off and did their own thing for some of the time too. It was a shame that Eleanor and Jacob were working but they came round most evenings and we chatted, played games and enjoyed the time all together.

As Jasmine comes from Colorado, a land locked state in the US, she hasn't had many holidays by the sea so trips to the seaside were requested. We spent a day in Whitby with a detour to Sandsend, and a day in Bridlington. I'm really enjoying my days out at the coast this year, we've been quite a few times now after only a couple of visits last year owing to the coronavirus restrictions.

I think the next time we'll see Daniel and Jasmine will be Christmas, though we've had some good news, they're hoping to move back up north at the beginning of next year so they will be flat hunting when they come next time. They'll take a short-term rental while they look for a house to buy. I will be so pleased to have all my family close by again.

Friday 13 August 2021


When we visited Matlock Bath at the end of June, I popped into a couple of charity shops. In one of them I picked up Ruth Jones', of Gavin and Stacey, debut novel, Never Greener. I paid my pound for it and when I got home I noticed that it had a Bookcrossing sticker on it.

I've heard of Bookcrossing but have never signed up. 

Inside the cover is a label...

"I am not lost!

This book was left here to find a new reader!

Who left the book?

Who will read it after you?

Who liked it and who hated it?

You now have the possibility to find out. This book is registered at, a world-wide community of voluntary and non-commercial book sharing, where its previous reader already looks forward to a message about its whereabouts."

I was intrigued so I went onto the Bookcrossing site and entered the ID number written on the label. It turns out that this book was set on its travels just under a year ago and nothing has been registered since. Someone must have picked it up as it was left in a public place eight miles away from the charity shop where I bought it.

You can leave an entry on Bookcrossing to say that you've found a book without having to register but it looks like a good site so I'm going to do so. I might even release some books into the wild and watch to see if anyone records that they find them.

What a fun scheme.

Monday 9 August 2021

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

At last, all the family have had their two doses of Covid vaccine. We've been very careful with Jasmine being vulnerable but now we've all had two jabs we feel easier about meeting up again, there's light at the end of the tunnel. It's been hard with Daniel and Jasmine living down in Essex and us up here in Yorkshire, it's not as though we've been able to just pop round and have a chat in the garden as other families have been able to do while there's been restrictions in place but now that everything's opened up again and we've taken precautions, we've decided to have a get together.

Daniel and Jasmine finished work last week and are now on a week's annual leave, so they came up after work on Friday and they're staying until Sunday. It's such a long time since we've seen them and it's especially nice them coming this week as it's Mick's birthday on Saturday so they'll be here to celebrate with us.

We're hoping to have a few trips out but that's dependent on the weather. The storms which have been forecast every day since Thursday haven't materialised but we've had a few showers. We've still managed to get out for some walks but really, just spending time together is what we've all been waiting for. It's wonderful having the family together again, even though it's only for a short time.

Thursday 5 August 2021

Where The Crawdads Sing

I'll be honest, I only picked up a copy of Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens to see what all the hoo-ha was about, I probably wouldn't have reached for it otherwise, but I'm so pleased that I did. This book seems to be on so many people's reading lists, and rightly so.

"For years, rumours of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life - until the unthinkable happens."

A story about prejudice, intolerance and acceptance. I thought this book was beautifully written with wonderful descriptions of the marshes and their fauna and flora. Delia Owens' background as a zoologist and nature writer really stands out in her writing which transported me to the North Carolina coast. There are some wonderful characters in the book who seem to jump off the pages and come to life.

Often, I find books can be overhyped, but not in this case. I loved Where The Crawdads Sing and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Sunday 1 August 2021

Our John

After my mum died I decided that I'd like to plant a rose in her memory. I looked for one with a meaning and eventually came up with Sheila's Perfume which I thought fitted the bill nicely as my mum was called Sheila. I wanted to do something similar for my dad.

Our John is the perfect rose. A floribunda with masses of vibrant yellow blooms and a delicate fragrance. John was my dad's name and many Northerners, especially in Yorkshire, add Our before a name when speaking to, or about, a family member.

It came planted up in a pot but wasn't very big, I didn't expect to get any flowers this year so it was a nice surprise when I found a bud. I think yellow roses are my favourite of all and this one hasn't disappointed. 

As the flowers fade they take on a much more subdued hue which I love. You really wouldn't think that this is the same flower.

I've left it in the pot it arrived in until it settles but I shall get it a shiny new pot where it will live, and it can stand side by side with Sheila's Perfume in memory of my dad.