Wednesday, 30 March 2011

My April giveaway

A couple of days ago I reached the grand total of 100 followers to my blog, and announced that I would be doing a giveaway. Here are the items that will be included.



2 sheets of Phoenix gift wrap with matching tag
1 pack Phoenix "wellies" postcards
1 partylite candle in a glass jar (I think they call them votives?)
1 "Casablanca" DVD, new, unopened (I bought it for Rog, and when I got home I remembered I'd already bought it for him !!! DOH)
3 packs coloured paper clips
4 miniature post-it note pads
1 pen recycled material, blue ink
Choccies
5 balls of Glory yarn, blue, from my stash.

All you have to do to be included in the giveaway is to be a follower of BOTH my blogs (you can find my second blog here) and to make a comment on this one. I shall announce the winner on Mothers Day, Sunday 3rd April, so get cracking, you dont have much time.

Monday, 28 March 2011

I also have another blog . . .

. . . which you can find here.
I would welcome new followers on my learning journey.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Giveaways

I was lucky enough to be the winner of the Spring Giveaway by the lovely Tracy of Mad About Bags.
My parcel arrived yesterday.



This is what I saw when I first opened the box




and these are all the items that were in the box.




Here are the entire contents of the giveaway once I had unwrapped them all.




What an extremely generous giveaway. The lovely things I received are (in no particular order)
1) A paperback book "The Spring Affair" by Milly Johnson. I dont currently have a bedside book, so this will fit the bill nicely, in fact I read the first couple of chapters before I got up this morning.
2) A pack of chocs, unfortuantely as I have no small children at home any more, and Rog doesn't like chocolate, I had to eat them myself, I did honestly try not to eat them all on the first day, but sadly I failed miserably!
3) Four fabric pieces, I'm not sure what I'll do with them just yet, so they have gone in my drawer, but they are lovely and I shall most certainly use them for something.
4) Three spools of ribbon, in delightful spring colours, a yellow one with white spots, a green one with pink spots and a blue one with yellow spots.
5) An envelope of brightly spring coloured buttons.
6) Two x 100 grams of sunshine yellow chunky yarn, with which I shall make myself a scarf for next winter, to brighten up dull days.
7) A pack of tissues wrapped in daffodil printed cello
8) A gorgeous spring toned floral wreath, which is just too lovely to describe, and will be hung in my studio.
Thank you so much, Tracy, for an extremely generous giveaway.

If you read my last blog post you will know that I have just reached the magic figure of 100 followers, so I have decided to have a giveaway of my own. Watch this space for details over the next few days.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

100 Followers

Thank you to Miss Syder for becoming my 100th follower. I hope all my followers still enjoy reading my blog, I just feel most of the time that I am wittering on to a loyal few who keep commenting, it would be really nice to hear from a few others now and again, although I know how time consuming it can be to comment on every blog you read.

Today is another lovely spring day, and new stuff keeps appearing in the garden. The first of the forget-me-nots has just opened, I bought a packet of seeds in the autumn of 1986, sprinkled them in the garden in 1987 and they've been reseeding themselves ever since. I admit to cheating a bit when we moved house, I saved some seed and brought it with me, although I needn't have bothered, because we had a couple of self-seeded plants in one of the large pots.



The ubiquitous dandelion is not an unattractive flower, just a hideous plant that pervades and is almost impossible to eradicate.




Last year I planted an asparagus root, and followed the instructions not to cut it during the first season. We are both looking forward to a small taster this year.




Last, but not least, a little bug in a daffodil.


Friday, 25 March 2011

Scales, please note. . .

. . . I spent the morning doing housework, I went out for a walk and a ride on my bike at lunchtime, and I spent half an hour digging the garden this afternoon - AND - I haven't had a beer today (well, not yet), so I would like the numbers to go down this week NOT up. Thankyou.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

First time this year

Etchilhampton Hill is just to the south east of Devizes and is a favourite spot of ours to go for a walk. We take the car to a nice little spot overlooking the Pewsey Vale and then climb to the top of the hill, where we can look to the east towards the Alton Barnes White Horse



and north west back towards Devizes town



half way up (or half way down, depending on your point of view) we passed a field of cattle




and when we got back to the car we sat in the sunshine, enjoyed the warmth and the peace and quiet.


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Crocuses or croci?

Whatever!
Regular followers of mine may remember this post, back in the autumn of last year. Well for a while it didn't look as if any of the flowers were going to appear, and then suddenly one day last week there they all were. Our very own little bit of Devizes in Bloom.






This is obviously not the whole 1500, one patch of crocuses looks very much like another, but take my word for it, there are 3 patches and they look magnificent.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Two bees or not two bees, that is the question.

Well this one is very definitely a bee, although you'll have to take my word for it, the shot was taken through my front room window on maximum magification.



and this one is supposed to be a bee, although its probably a bit too round, maybe I'll try to make one longer and thinner next time.


Friday, 18 March 2011

Salisbury Hospital

Situated just to the south of Salisbury in beautiful rolling and dramatic Wiltshire countryside, the main building itself is relatively new, although a lot of the add-on bits seem to be older, so I guess it replaces an older building. The newish main building is cleverly designed, and being shaped rather like a waffle it means that although it has quite a large footprint, all the consulting rooms and wards have external windows and natural daylight. This layout also leaves lots of small courtyards, most of which have been "decorated" to add a bit of interest. On the whole, quite a user friendly and attractive building for something so starkly modern.










Thursday, 17 March 2011

The road to Salisbury

. . . . . from Devizes, the A360, is a rather narrow and windy (in both senses of the word, is is both bendy and exposed to winds) road with very few opportunities to stop and admire the quite breathtaking scenery. We have taken this road on several occasions just recently and yesterday, as I wasn't driving, I viewed the scenery with my photographers eye.
Had I been able to stop, these are the scenes that would now be accompanying this blog.
1) A lone tractor ploughing a vast field followed by the usual gulls swooping and screaming and making the most of the available exposed food.
2) An unusually straight stretch of road lined on both sides by poplar trees, and very reminiscent of French countryside.
3) A field of some 200 free range pigs enjoying the mud.
4) A field of longhorn cattle.
5) A small field of llamas
6) Acres and acres of newly ploughed, chalky soiled fields, with a backdrop of dark, as yet still leafless trees.
7) A grassy hill with a single tree silouetted on top.
8) The magnificent spire of Salisbury Cathedral reaching skywards from the Avon/Wylie floodplain.
9) A Hercules aircraft flying very low and slow towards one of the military bases that cover Salisbury Plain.
In my next blog I'll show you the photos that I WAS able to take.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Mozart

Last Saturday evening Rog and I went to the English Mozart Ensemble's Concert by Candlelight at the Corn Exchange in Devizes. Headed by David Le Page, a superb violin and viola player, it is a loose group of musicians who come together to bring beautiful classical music to wonderful locations for people who cant necessarily make it to large city venues.
I did take a few photos of the candlelit setting (obviously before the musicians came out) but sadly I didn't notice that the macro button was still set to "on" and although sometimes a mistake like that could lead to some interesting shots, on this occasion I had no such luck, and they were all rubbish (NOTE TO SELF : always check macro setting before shooting!).
The ensemble play other composers' work as well as Mozart, but they always include at least one, if not more, of the great composer's works and this time they played the Grand Sestetto Concertante, which is the original version of the piece better known as Sinfonia Concertante (one of my own personal favourites). The other works they played were Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, Barber's Adagio for Strings and Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence.
A lovely evening in a wonderful setting.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pancake Day

An age old tradition still carried on in the Market Square, this time raising funds for Wiltshire Age Concern.
Practising



They're off



This time its for real



Another lot ready to run (and who has spotted the mysterious man outside the Visitor Centre, checking his mobile to make sure the mad camera woman doesn't miss the bus?)




More tossing




You'll be pleased to know the bus didn't leave without me.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

One of my favourite places . . .

. . . to be on a bright sunny day is the top of Roundway Hill, which, as the crow flies, is about 3/4 mile from our house. From the top of the hill you can see for miles in all directions and, apart from birdsong and the odd piece of farm machinery, it's a very quiet and peaceful place. Looking north-east:



north-west:




due north:




east, over the top of the white horse carved in 1999, towards Pewsey Vale.




and east again, noticing the spire of the church in Bishops Cannings:




Our white horse is a new one, carved for the millenium, but it has become part of the old White Horse Trail, well worth visiting if you are in our part of Wiltshire


Friday, 4 March 2011

Tumble Dryer

My utility room started life as an add-on room at the back of the garage, (on the original plans it's marked as a playroom) and as such was never very well designed. The previous owners of the house had a combined washing machine/dryer and had the plumbing installed for same next to the sink unit. There was no space adjacent to the outside wall for me to put my tumble dryer when we arrived here, so we positioned it close to the washing machine and close to the back door, so that when I used it I could just tuck the exhaust pipe out through the opened back door - fine in the summer when it's warm, but pretty damn cold in the winter. And not helped by the fact that I often used to forget that the door was open even when the dryer had finished.



Rog came up with a plan so that I could use it without having to leave the back door open, and here he is improvising his plan.



And here is the job finished. I can now tuck the pipe out through the window, which means we can keep the door closed. Its only taken us 2 1/2 years to get round to it!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sunshine . . . .

. . . almost all day long, and what a difference it makes.





Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Birthday

I mentioned some time ago that its was my eldest son's 40th birthday on New Years Eve, but due to the weather at the time, and various other matters since then, I didn't get to see him until last weekend, which is when I was able to give him the second part of his birthday present (the first part went by post and arrived in time for the actual day).
As he is a tree surgeon I wanted to get him something special handmade from wood, and I remembered that one of my virtual friends, Karen (of JKJ, click to view her jewellery shop) was selling wooden items made by her dad at his shop All Wood (click to view)



I also asked Karen for a few words about her dad, and this is what she said :
"He was a woodwork & technical drawing teacher until he had to take early retirement due to ill health in his late 40's. He then bought himself a lathe & had a workshop built at the back of the garage and started woodturning. He was quite well known in his local area and sold his work at craft fairs. He was (and still is) given wood from all manner of sources. If people find unusual wood then it always seems to end up with dad. In recent years he's not been fit enough to do craft fairs so I started selling his work online instead. He doesn't make much these days - just potters - and we don't take commissions any more as he gets too stressed about meeting a deadline."

So, if you would like something that little bit different, made from wood, you know where to look.