Friday, 30 April 2010

3/365 Pink Sunflower


Hennie and Clare have clubbed together to open a shop on MISI named Pink Sunflower where they sell items to raise money for epilepsy research and cancer research. Most of the items are either pink or sunflower related, hence the name, and all have been donated by fellow MISIans. I have just bought this lovely cushion from them to put on my desk chair.

It is a great cushion, I love it, but I find it quite difficult to sit down on the image though (you try sitting down on a smiley face!).
There are several other people on MISI and elsewhere who also raise money for charity, please click on highlighted names and words for direct links.
Cirens Call is selling to raise money for Many Tears Animal Rescue, you can visit her shops by clicking here and here.
Katrina is taking part in a year long project to raise money for and awareness of autism, please click here for details.

Rog and I went down to town today, and as it was raining we decided to catch the bus back, (you will be aware that people of a certain age are able to travel free on buses, well we ARE that certain age). When the bus pulled in at the bus stop and we boarded, the driver asked us if he had stopped in the right place. "Funny" we thought, as we nodded, then he asked us if he needed to drive up to the roundabout. We must by this time have looked a bit quizzical, so he explained to us it was his first day on the job which was when I asked him if he would like me to drive to show him the way. It is the very first time we have ever been asked the way by a bus driver. Hope he managed to find the rest of the route after we had got off!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

2/365 The Crammer

The Crammer is the pond on the green in Devizes. but it is more than just a pond, it is the history of Wiltshire.
Today it was raining and all the usual birdlife had taken shelter except for this solitary swan.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

1/365 Quakers Walk Lodge

As I prepare to embark on my OU course, which starts on Saturday 1st May, I made a decision to do a 365, that is to post every day for a whole year, with a photo and a story attached, and when better to start than right now? I am hoping that we will all notice an improvement in my photography as the course progresses, so please, if you read this and stick with it, your comments will be most welcome.
Here we go with today's picture:


As Rog works from home and is deskbound most of the day with his job as a software engineer, we try to walk out at lunch time as often as we can, and usually we walk down to town for a beer/tea (he doesn't drink the tea!). During the winter months we walk by road, but as the weather improves and the ground dries out we use Quakers Walk, a lovely tree-lined avenue which runs through fields in an almost straight line from town right up to Roundway Park (where we live), and used to be the coach entrance to the old Roundway House. This is the lodge house that sits just inside the gates, so it marks the end of our townward walk and the start of the homeward one.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

good luck alex and a few thank yous

well, after very nearly 4 weeks here with us to recover from his big life changing decision, alex has gone back to bristol. he is a changed man from the one who arrived here, a bit depressed and bewildered, just before easter. he is now fit, well fed and full of confidence. good luck alex, it was great to have you and we miss you already.

now I can turn my attention to other things, and firstly I would like to say a big thank you to gabs of moobaacluck for my free card
which she sent me for being one of the first 15 to join her fanpage on facebook.

secondly I would like to say thank you to carol of crafty people, who has made me a very decent offer for becoming her first follower - I'm sure she would like some more followers.

and thirdly I would like to say thank you to nim, if it hadn't been for her then glen (her mum) wouldn't have joined facebook, and my whole virtual adventure of the last year and a half wouldn't have taken place.

many thanks to you guys

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

nothing much, really

nothing much to blog about this week, except that I have joined a blog roll (click here to find out more details), seems like a good idea, I follow you, you follow me, we all follow each other, and so on and so forth. give it a go, you never know.
I have spent the last couple of days cleaning the house from top to bottom, with only the utility room left to do, which will have to wait until tomorrow now. the dust on everything was almost as much as is drifting southeast from iceland, but as most of it was there more than a week ago, I can only blame my indolence rather than the volcano.
some good news at least, we have one builders quote, and the second has promised to get back to us within the week. so here is a sneak preview of the outbuilding, which will soon be transformed into two very swish and swanky work areas for rog and me.


in front of it you can see my rather small temporary vegetable plot, with 21st century bird scarers in position.
its only a small plot this year so as to be out of the way of builders when they work on the outbuilding, next year it will be larger and will take up most of the space you can see around it. I already have potatoes showing, and a few radishes, which always come up ahead of anything else. the runner beans are still indoors, but are sprouting and will go out soon, likewise the tomatoes, standard and cherry. also sown and not yet showing are lettuce, leeks, chard, beetroot, carrots, parsnips, swede and spring onions. obviously with such a tiny space we wont have much of each, but a useful tasting anyhow. I have grown runner beans every single year for as far back as I can remember, even last year, our first season here in the new house, I put some in a flower bed outside the back door. nothing is quite as magical as home grown, freshly picked and lightly cooked runner beans (something for you to work on nimlet).
back soon

Monday, 19 April 2010

facebook and volcanic ash



I really wanted to upload these photos on to my facebook page, but sadly my pc, which runs in linux, wont recognise the new facebook photo uploader, and they have discontinued the old one.
this volcanic ash may be causing havoc to the airline industry, but it makes for some super early morning and late evening photos. here are last nights sunset and this mornings sunrise.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

sunday lunchtime

and obviously as it's oli's last day with us until july, it was down to the pub.
we spend rather a lot of our time, and far too much of our money, in pubs. in fact in these dire economic times we are on a one family mission to save as many of them as we can.
today we went to the artichoke. it doesn't have a lot going for it really, it's on the main bath road into town, no car park and no garden (although it does have an enclosed outside smoking area), but on the plus side it's very close to the canal, so a decent walk for us there and back along the towpath. the beer is cheap, a pint of 6X is currently £2.60 for instance, but today we were all drinking becks, so with the four of us a round (3 pints and a half) came to £10.50, thats only £3.00 a pint! I italicized the only with tongue in cheek as £3.00 is not cheap, but it is cheaper than most other pubs around here.
we haven't eaten there since the current landlord mark and his partner took over, so I cant comment on the food, but it always looks nice, the menu is quite extensive with what we call "proper" pub food, nothing fancy or nouveau, and with a choice of roasts on sundays. so if you like a clean, quiet pub that you can walk to easily from town then this one comes highly recommended.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

surrey trip, day three and home again

I was to have spent the whole day with jade and the boys, but she had to work until midday and the boys were at her mum's so I had a couple of hours to kill. as tom and catherine's flat is right next to box hill, which is in the hands of the national trust and is an area of outstanding natural beauty, I decided to drive to the top and enjoy the scenery. here is the view of box hill from their gateway.

and here is the view from the top of the hill looking back towards their house, which is more or less in the middle of the picture.


this view is of denbies vineyard, where ed and junko were married and held their wedding reception last july.



jade and the boys live just outside a pretty village called:

with the beautiful tillingbourne brook running through it.

I spent a lovely lunchtime and afternoon with them, which rounded off my visit nicely, then I hit the road for devizes, stopping only to take a photo of this extremely brightly coloured and eye catching cow outside a garden centre near andover.



extended family

before I blog about the third and final day of my trip to surrey, I want to introduce you to three people who are very special to me. now that families dont fit into the nice cosy framework that they used to, I'm sure that I'm not the only one to have an extended family and I dont think mine is particularly complicated, they just seem to need rather a lot of words to describe who they are and how they fit into the overall scheme of things.

here in the picture above is reese, he's the one on the right, with his friend spiderman. reese is ed's son, my grandson, simple, straightforward. . . . . . . but thats where the simplicity ends.


in this picture are jade and tegue. jade is reese's mum, and I quite often refer to her as my daughter-in-law, just to make things easier all round. but as she and ed aren't, and never were, married, thats not strictly true. she is as good as a daughter-in-law, and its a lot easier to say than "my grandson's mum", she is a lovely girl and we are great, great friends. I just wish there was a word I could use, or even an acronym, to describe our relationship. sitting beside her is tegue, her younger son. (his father is rob, but thats jade's story and not mine, so we wont even go there) tegue is reese's half-brother and not really related to me at all, but he is a dear boy, I love him to bits and he is as much my grandson as reese is, so I tell people I have two grandsons.
as mentioned earlier this little family unit is very dear to me, and is really the main reason for my frequent trips back to surrey. I love my two older sons and their partners and its lovely to see them as often as I can, but seeing the grandchildren during school holidays and half terms dictates my calendar completely.

Monday, 12 April 2010

surrey trip, day two (or from here to maternity)

it was a very dull and gloomy day so epsom downs was not looking at its best, but as epsom is most famous for the racecourse where the derby is run, it was a must to appear here. a bit of shopping in town then a quick detour to the racecourse, it wasn't as easy as I expected to get the shot of the horses out for practice through the car window, so you'll have to take my word for it that there were several of them, I just wasn't quick enough.


met up with my dear friend amanda for lunch at the glyn arms in ewell. we haven't seen each other since last summer, so plenty to catch up on over a lovely meal. we both used to live in west ewell and our kids went to school together - in fact our kids went to mother and toddlers together - so we go back over 20 years, she has since moved to hastings and I've moved to devizes, so opportunities to catch up are rare and precious things. amanda is camera shy and refused to be photographed, so instead her youngest, caitlin, who was attending a course at the laine theatre arts in epsom for the day, agreed to pose. she is a real performer, and will appear in the west end one day, remember you saw her here first.


a happy family evening followed. catherine is a great cook and fixed a fabulous meal (so a very good food day altogether). we were joined by ed and junko, who were married last year and were delighted to tell me that I am to be a grandmother again in november (ooh, how I would love to knit something pink for a change).



final instalment tomorrow

Sunday, 11 April 2010

trip to surrey, day one

the distance between devizes and dorking is roughly 90 miles, which divides itself nicely into three 30 mile sections, and whenever I make this trip I always enjoy the upward journey. the first 30 mile section is through wiltshire, my home territory and very attractive. setting out just after lunch, my first stop is at planks farm to buy goodies for the journey and for the people I see at the other end.

here are a few cakes for friends and family, and below is a chunk of lovely dark belgian chocolate, just for me.

halfway across wiltshire at upavon the road crosses the river avon, not far from where it starts at bishops cannings. this is the hampshire avon which runs down through salisbury to christchurch, and not the bristol avon, which very confusingly also runs through wiltshire to bath and the bristol channel.

into hampshire just before andover for the second 30 mile section of the journey, the boring bit, along the A303 to basingstoke and up the M3, boring but quite fast, so before we know it we are nearing farnham and crossing the surrey border. the third 30 mile section takes us along the hogs back to guildford and then through yet more lovely countryside, a bit more crowded than wiltshire and not quite so wild, but still quite awe-inspiring.
tom and catherine, my hosts for the two nights, live just to the north of dorking, in westhumble, near to box hill and the river mole. I went out with tom to take stan, his ancient dog, for a slow amble along the river bank while catherine fixed tea.


this is their home, but they only live in part of it. they have one of the first floor flats, the windows under the parapet to the left of the building are their bedroom and kitchen and the window to the left of the left hand chimney breast is their lounge. I sleep in the lounge with stan, although I have the fold down sofa and he has his basket.
please come back tomorrow for day two of my trip.

mini misi meet-up

saturday 10th april was a bright, warm and sunny day - just right for a pleasant drive through the lovely wiltshire countryside and a pub lunch. which is how several misians in the local vicinity decided to spend their day. the rendezvous was the wheatsheaf at lower woodford, chosen by rosytint, who admits to being a regular frequenter. the food was excellent, the service good, the cake (supplied by mornieg) a real treat, the chit-chatter was non-stop and a good time was had by all.


here are (left to right) mo (mornieg), marianne (jewels of isis) and shelley (mary elliot)


left to right again are ali (magicmakinghands), rachael (rosytint) and jean (talking beads)


and here we managed to get a complete stranger to take a shot of us all - ali, rachael, jean, mo, joy (joyknitt) marianne and shelley. thanks girls for a lovely day, looking forward to the next one, scheduled for some time in july.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

photography

joyknitt loves photography.
here are some of her favourite shots.
above is "torberry mist" taken early in the morning in august 2006.
below is "overhead" taken in may 2009

above is "narcissus" taken in april 2009,
below is "frost and mist" from january 2009

"swan lake" was taken in september 2009.
please make yourself a nice cup of tea, pour yourself a glass of wine, or whatever floats your boat, and take some time to have a look at and enjoy the links below.
joyknitt has two mentors in the world of photography. the first is her cousin glen, a writer and photographer with an amazing biography. click here to visit her website, read her biography and see her wonderful collection of prints.
the second is her friend janice, click here to view a fantastic collection of pictures, please make sure you see them all, and here to visit her website.
joyknitt will be participating in an open university 10 week short course in digital photography starting on 1st may, and hopes after that to be able to emulate the work of these two brilliant women.

creative connections

joyknitt has been featured in the new edition of creative connections, out today.
make yourself a nice cup of tea, or whatever takes your fancy, take the phone off the hook and settle down for a good read.

joyknitt will be blogging again later in the day, this blog will also require a good sit down with a cuppa, or maybe something stronger, as there will be plenty to feast your eyes (and brain) on.