Saturday, 31 August 2013

Frugal or thoughtful?

I draw for fun and craft for pleasure and my poor relatives bear the brunt of my creations.  This is the card I have drawn for a 16 year old niece's birthday.  It costs me nothing but time and talent.  Is this just penny pinching or a justified act of creation made with love? And is it my mindset or hers that matters?  Is a handmade gift lovingly given rendered meaningless if the recipient sees it as second best? 

 And as I plan a created Christmas (yes crafters have to start Christmas in August:sorry x) should I proceed secure in the knowledge that the value of my gifts lies in my value of them rather than the value bestowed by the recipient?  Perhaps I should stick up my Mary Engelbreit poster that reads "Say it loud; I'm an artist and I'm proud! "


My children

Making them smile

Being a family

The car we are so going to win. To believe it is to achieve it.

I drive a cool car... it's official! (a Clio)

My family (again) I love them so much!!!

My handsome husband, without whom none of this would be possible 

and with whom all of it is such good fun!

When in Germany. ..

Do as the Germans do.
Meat and cheese for breakfast,  presented so nicely.  Yum!

Friday, 30 August 2013

A Little Piece of Quiet

To look,
Priddy's Hard, Portsmouth

 to breathe,
Bournemouth Beach

 to read,
At Buckler's Hard (on Delilah Tab)

 to think,

Holidays are always a chance to stop and think, sometimes to plan
 to pray.

The crypt at Winchester. Such light and shade!

Thursday, 29 August 2013


Literary Heroes.
The Vyne has a display on about a ring with writing on that might have inspired Tolkien. I just loved the hat and ears that meant we could dress up for a little while as some of our favourite heroes from literature.
Gandalf meets the hobbits.

Love the ears!
 Historic heroes.
Winchester holds a special place in history as Alfred the Great's capital city. They honoured him in 1901 with a massive statue in the middle of town.
 Having watched Michael Wood (another historical hero of mine!) and his fantastic series shown recently, I knew we had to go and see Winchester just to walk in the footsteps of Alf.
Yeay, Alfred!!

Legendary Heroes.
The round table is alive and well and hanging on a wall in Winchester's Great Hall. Entry to the hall is free, which I love since it means that people can enjoy the romance of Arthur and his fair damosel whose father legendarily gave him the table without it costing a fortune!
 And also enjoy the information freely given by the really rather nice guides that the table was repainted for Henry VIII who, of course, had Arthur painted to look a lot like himself. The man was a legend as well!
Painted to wind up the French. That Henry, eh?

Childhood Heroes.
OK. Teenage hero. I met the works of Bronte, Hardy, Dickens etc when I was a teenager and , yes, I met the works of Jane Austen as well. My Nan who was a great bookworm made sure I had listened to the tapes of Pride and Prejudice and seen the Laurence Olivier version, the better to teach me what life was about. Of course I had to go see her grave in Winchester Cathedral, although dragging everyone off to Chawton to see her home was a pleasure denied me. Shame.
The grave stone is in Winchester Cathedral.

Heroes of the Silver Screen.
James Bond. Yum. And even better as portrayed by Daniel Craig. The Bond in Motion exhibition at Beaulieu has almost every famous Bond car I could mention; the Lotus submarine, the Skyfall Landrover, the Rolls Royce owned by Auric Goldfinger, but there is really only one iconic heroic vehicle that I wanted to see...
Would you like to come for tea, Daniel?
 The Aston Martin DB5. Yes. And they present her beautifully, in a little space with Goldfinger's Rolls and film showing behind, music and lights showing off her classic lines and shining body. Yum again.
And they blew her up in Skyfall. At that point you knew, anything could happen.

Incognito Hero.
Some say he's a robot made on Mars. All I know is he is the Stig and one of the best presenters Top Gear have.

Mythic Hero.
Minerva the goddess of Wisdom. Of course. I am the Mum whose son chose 'Mother Knows Best' as her ringtone. Ha ha. But seriously I love that Minerva has wisdom rather than knowledge sewn up.
Minerva as a Figurehead in Portsmouth Historic Dockyards

Real Life Heroes.
I watched the rescue of the Mary Rose live on TV. I watched as Blue Peter followed every step of the process, and I watched as the ship was raised and placed in her home. They have worked for over 30 years to bring this slice of history back to life and I count them as heroes, especially the lead archaeologist Margaret Rule who taught me that a middle aged woman could be every bit as much a hero as any man. 
The Mary Rose is finally settled in her new home in Portsmouth
 Inanimate Heroes
As in, not people. I love ships and especially ships with a history and none better than Victory. The history and the wonder associated with walking over the same beams as men who fought for their country 200 years ago is amazing. And such an iconic ship.
Victory is having a spruce up, so the masts are shortened and workers are everywhere.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Noise, noise, noise

Sometimes noise can make or break a holiday. Staying in a busy city where the noise never stops is hell to some people, heaven to others. It's a subjective viewpoint. Family holidays rely on noise to entertain or excite children.
At Buckler's Hard there was a button to press which played 'Hearts of Oak' over and over and over again.... Children can't resist a button. And rope to make a bowline with.
The bowline held his weight. He was happy.
 Nature can be noisy too. Nothing more so than a gang of ducks (gaggle? No that's geese. Not herd? Group? Pancake? Or orangery?)
The ducks at The Vyne run free outside the house.
 But for real noise it has to be man made. And this was the loudest noise I heard all holiday. They didn't ask me to drive, though. Shame.
Don't ask me what car it is. It was loud L-O-U-D LOUD
 I did drive the go karts at Beaulieu, though. Only once, before deciding that I needed to have photos to capture the day. And they were noisy.
 Especially when you could hear the drivers laughing!

Photos can be misleading. This quiet shot of a girl and a statue was in the middle of a busy street, with noise all around. I loved the high street at Winchester. A lot.
The Elizabeth Frick sculpture in Winchester
 Sometimes you just need to take a break, even if the road is noisy. We eat many picnics by the roadside, mostly because a lot of the stuff we go to see is actually city bound. Finding oases of peace and calm can be hard, especially in an unknown city.
Eating our picnic on the street outside Portsmouth Harbour
 And when a museum is called Explosion! I think you have a right to expect some noise. Actually, it was one of the quietest museums we went to. I had to make up for it by buying snaps (50p for 100) and running outside to let them off.
A thing in Explosion.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Granny Squares nearly done....

About 2 years ago I bought a range of colours to make a granny stripe blanket and figured it would keep me occupied over the winter.
Living Room Throw WIP

Well, it came and went and my stripe blanket got no further than 10 rows at most that year, left in the basket at the side of the room. Desolate and unloved.

I love the red, maroon, blue and green combination.
Last year (Winter) I got them out and looked at them and decided that a stripe was not what I wanted to make, so I undid the pitiful 10 rows and began again. With granny squares instead. And I have done well, my son, done very well.
The wrong side. You can see where I have sewn in the ends and where it still needs to be done.

With the inevitable months off for the summer when it is just too hot to sit and crochet a blanket together, I have pressed on. I have done 111 squares so far, an 11 by 11 blanket is planned, and I know that I will finish it later this week. At last.

The right side. I love the joins.
I'm joining the squares as I go along and a couple of weeks ago I sat through a boring programme stitching in the ends. I need another not too interesting show soon to get the rest done, then a few border rows and I will be free.
The basket of wool, with the green squares all done so I could check I had enough wool.

At the moment it's a WIP, but by October it will be finished. At last.

It sits next to my chair and each square is a quick pick up and do.
What's the longest project you've done?


Because a family that laughs together has more fun.
In front of Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
 Because sometimes the simplest things give most pleasure.
Crazy Golf in Bournemouth
Because sometimes you find a place that has the same sense of humour as you do
The Birds' Party in the Summerhouse at The Vyne

Because waiting for things can be nerve-wracking, and laughter is an inevitable release.
Go Karts at Beaulieu

Because Grandparents can be so lovely when they stay on holiday just to share your birthday and then give you a present like this!!! So you, boy!
The camouflage piggy bank off Ma and Da

Because your favourite programmes make you laugh. And sometimes you know you shouldn't.
Top Gear's Police cars; the green one has 'It's the Filth' backwards on the bonnet

Because the best laid plans aft go astray, and it can be so funny when they do.
The Indestructible Toyota Hilux; destroyed

Because sometimes words aren't necessary. Bubblegum ice cream, anyone?
The Princess and her blue tongue.