Friday, 30 October 2015

Witching time

Hallowe'en down at the castle. It was built over 500 years ago, so if there are ghosts anywhere this would be the place. We went to a party there and rampaged around for a while, following a spooky trail, bobbing for apples and playing with friends.

I do like Hallowe'en. The opportunity to put black round my photos and quote a bit of Shakespeare.

"'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world."

Enjoy. CJ xx

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Colour Collaborative: October: Blue

Blue. The coolest of colours. I discovered it late, after a childhood of loving sunshine yellow and a few years of black and purple. I started making scrapbooks, and flicking through my papers one day I realised that almost all of them were blues and greys.

Blue is well known for its soothing properties. It's the colour of gazing out to sea or lying on your back in a summer meadow or the door to a coastal cottage. No wonder then that it's a colour that so many people gravitate towards. It is apparently the world's favourite colour.

The two turquoise properties above overlook water. A bold choice of colour, no? I think I prefer the white walls and the more muted blue door. But I'm happy to live in a world where everyone's different. A world where I can walk down the road and go, "Wow, look at that". I say "wow" a lot, and so does the littlest boy. We're constantly amazed by the smallest things, oohing and aahing over little details and a whisper of prettiness - a flower, a butterfly, a fancy car, a stained glass window. We love it all.

Whilst I don't have blue walls, I love to look at photos of blue. Holiday snaps of sea reflecting sky, little children paddling at the edge, blue walled coastal homes and the peeling paint of salt battered boats.

Blue is a serene colour, a colour of the mind, helping with clear thought and concentration. It's just what I need right now. Cool, calm inspiration. Focus, but not hot stressful focus, more of a measured but driven focus. I should get some blue photos printed off I think, I like the look of them all together. And I could definitely use the psychological benefits of this most soothing of colours.

To visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below: 

           Annie at Annie Cholewa                         

            Sandra at Cherry Heart                                     

            Jennifer at Thistlebear

            Sarah at Mitenska

What is The Colour Collaborative?

All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

A random ten

Joining in with Annie for a few random paragraphs.

1. I love, love, love quotes. I have a notebook where I write down the good ones. My favourite this week, from Anna Lappe, is "Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want". I found it over at Oh Dear Drea, and it's stuck with me.

2. I used to have eighty or so houseplants when I lived in a light airy top floor flat. An older chap I knew said it reminded him of his time in Burma. They didn't really mix with small boys though, so now I have very few. But I still like the look of greenery dotted about the place.

3. I can't stand it if something on the shelf is slightly askew. I HAVE to get up and put it right. Things have to be just so. A touch of OCD maybe.

4. Sugar is not agreeing with me at the moment, I can feel moments of low blood sugar. I need to cut most of it out of my diet. I know I'll feel heaps better when I do.

5. I also need to run regularly. It's a new thing, but it seems to help, mentally, physically, and when it comes to sleeping better. I had a particularly sedentary few days at the end of last week and I felt quite grotty. I run first thing in the morning though, and now that it's chilly I struggle to get myself out of bed. Then I feel cross all day that I haven't made the effort. Must try harder.

6. I think I've had enough rugby. We've not watched masses of it, and I still haven't learnt anything at all about the rules or what's going on. I've got as much comedy mileage as I can out of loose heads, tight heads and hookers and I'm ready to move on.

7. The middle boy is still fishing obsessed, and as luck would have it I discovered a programme (Earth's Wildest Waters: The Big Fish, BBC2, 8pm, Sunday) that appears to be like Great British Bake Off only it's fishing instead of baking. Am letting him watch a bit of that, although it's rather exotic (Iceland, Cuba and Laos so far) and it might make our chilly canals seem a bit on the dull side.

8. I'm wondering if I should have a weekly menu plan and a list of potential interesting blog posts and other top organisational strategies in place. Does it all really make life easier and time more economically spent? Should I stop winging it? In this house I am known for winging everything, it's pretty much my catch phrase. That and "If it's free, it's for me". If I tie making lists in with cutting out sugar and going running it will almost be like the new leaves of New Year. In October. Is this wise?

9. The children brought home a new school dinner menu the other day. In the middle of the traditional dishes of Pizza With Various Toppings, Beef Burger and the ever popular Fish Fingers, is Butternut Squash and Lentil Korma with Wholegrain Rice. Goodness. Literally. 

10. Photos from Bath, again. Autumn has swept across the leaves and left the parks glorious in orange and yellow. Squirrels were working overtime to get the nuts stashed away. When the rain stopped and the sun came out everything lit up. The littlest boy had a crushing disappointment when a promised pizza didn't happen (the middle boy had a tummy ache). The littlest boy chuntered and stomped his way back to the car. I couldn't really hear much of what he was saying, except the odd word, "pizza", "fair", "want" - that sort of thing. He's almost over it now.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along at Small Things.

I've been steadily working away at a wool blanket for the littlest boy. He likes to come and inspect progress at regular intervals, especially now that it's quite chilly of an evening. There's no heating on yet, in fact yesterday was glorious warm sunshine, but at the end of the day a blanket is quite welcome.

I'm enjoying curling up underneath it as I knit. The wool is scrumptious, Drops Lima in dark grey. It's a mixture of wool and alpaca, from Peru, and as yarn goes it's not too pricey. I'm hoping the alpaca from Peru will make it extra warm. The littlest boy's room is cool, so it's definitely in need of a blanket. When I've finished this one (!) I've promised the middle boy one for his room. He likes to curl up on his little sofa and read, and his room can be quite cool too (yes, it's cold everywhere upstairs) so a blanket would be just the thing.

I do so love knitting blankets, there's absolutely no thinking involved at all. Not in this simple stocking stitch one anyway. I watched Downton Abbey while knitting on Sunday. Halfway through there was a warning about disturbing scenes. (Spoiler - if you haven't watched it yet and think you might want to, miss out the rest of the paragraph). I was on high alert for scenes of horror. And suddenly there it was. Lady Mary went down the pub. Honestly, it was so unexpected, thank goodness they warned me. There she was, perched on a wooden chair, clenching everything as tightly as she could to make minimum contact with the seat, in a dingy room holding a glass of sherry in an immaculately gloved hand, thrilling herself with her louche behaviour. I was gripped. Clearly this was the start of the whole downfall of modern woman. Once Lady Mary hit the pub, it was a short slide between there and the city centre gutters on a Saturday night. Later on, Neville Chamberlain came to dinner and Lord Grantham projectile vomited three pints of blood across the table when his ulcer ruptured, which was nearly as exciting. It's a good job I can knit without looking.

I've been reading some of Caitlin Moran's pieces in her Moranthology, which have had me laughing and crying. I'm a huge fan of her writing, she has such a way with words. I have "How to be a Woman" on my to-read pile as well. I might have a little something else in between though. Possibly Notes on a Scandal (Zoe Heller) which I found at the community bookshop yesterday.

So there we have it. Knitting and reading. I'd happily spend a lot more hours on both.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

There's a rat on my fork!

I was down at the allotment, picture the scene, clearing the sweet peas away, weeding, always weeding, and then doing a spot of autumnal digging. I plunged the fork into the ground, pulled it out, but there was something stuck on it. I shook it a bit. Shook it a bit more. Peered closely... and, RAT! Speared on the fork! All the way up the tines! What are the odds??? It was pre-dead, thankfully. But there it was, stuck on the fork. I had to slide it off with a stick and scoop it up with my second-best trowel and pop it into the undergrowth on the other side of the fence. I was talking to myself the whole time. Things like, "Seriously??" and "You have to got to be joking."  I'm rapidly becoming the allotment nutter.

I'm almost over the shock now. It took quite a lot of courage to keep digging though I can tell you. And I can hardly think of anything else that's happened. It's certainly cleared my head out.

The last two photos are from a different allotment site. We went to a park in Bristol today and I had a peek into a nearby site. I like to have a nose at other people's plots. Bit of inspiration, bit of motivation. Allotmenteers are great at making stuff from odd bits of wood and leftover junk. It's a real art.

The usual day of football will follow tomorrow. Hurray for dry weather forecasts. CJ xx

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Old days: good, new days: EVER SO SLIGHTLY INFURIATING

Photos from Bath, taken a couple of weekends ago. For those of you who haven't seen it before, it's a really beautiful city, full of Georgian architecture, and it's a World Heritage Site. I used to visit it regularly years ago, but we live a bit further away now so it's less often. I do love a day spent wandering there though.

Royal Crescent, in the top photo, is the most famous street. I like to try and imagine what it would have been like back in the day, with carriages going past and the wealthy entertaining in their glorious homes. There are more Aston Martins than carriages these days, and no maids and butlers, but it's still a pretty amazing crescent. 

Crashing back down to earth with a sickening thud, I've had a horrible day wrestling with technology. What is it about websites that you need but can't actually log into or communicate with or contact in any way at all that make one feel so absolutely furious and stressed and totally helpless, all at once? Honestly, I really suffer from computer rage at times. I want to put everything in capitals and SHOUT. Except that there's no-one there. 

It's deliberate of course. If there was someone there they might feel obligated TO BE OF SOME ASSISTANCE. 

I'll leave you with some interesting facts that I've learned today, courtesy of the children. The Tudors used to eat herons. I'm assuming there used to be more herons about the place back then. While there are quite a few around these days, if people started popping them in sandwiches they'd soon disappear. Millions of years ago there used to be mushrooms that were taller than giraffes. And finally, at Roald Dahl's school the big boys were apparently allowed to cane the smaller boys. This regaled with the sort of delicious glee imparted by the thought of possibly being able to legitimately hit a smaller brother with a stick. Oh they were the good old days.