Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sorrows followed by joys.

This has not been the easiest of weeks. It started with the deaths of two of my clients. No - cheeky - I didn't kill them off! Followed by a very full week of seeing clients with some horrendous problems. By now you're probably thinking what did she say her job was? Well I try to help people stop smoking but it inevitably ends up with them having to share some difficult things that are  current in their lives. But I love my job, I love meeting people and it's such a privilege to be with someone as they journey through coming off the evil tobacco. Then the sharing with them their joy when they succeed.
Thursday night I drove to Leeds to stay with No 2 and his wife. It was not for the joy of seeing them that I went but because I am a huge baby and have to go all that way to visit the dentist! My coping mechanism is to have the first appointment in the morning - so that I don't have to hang around waiting. I only have one tiny white filling and one big one that goes covers two teeth. Probably the dentist too is relieved that I have the first appointment so that he has got me out of his way early! I seem to go from quiet submission to non stop talking as I leave with relief at yet again not having to have any work done.

Saturday 28th April was a birthday day for three lovely people. 1) being my nephew, 2) No 4's great girlfriend (sent her a lovely big bag of lots of bright coloured wools and 2 windmills), 3) my friend Mrs A. I tried to make her this bag. I managed to get the embroidered picture looking the same but struggled with the handle bit. As this lovely book provides templates but you have to get them enlarged by 250% and I struggled with our church photocopier to do this. Was semi happy with the result.

The next joy has been some workmen - they have the job of installing some new electric cables but it meant we have been cut off as if on an island or like a castle with a moat. I quite enjoyed this feeling - sad aren't I?

Joy No 3 was also the trip to Leeds. I promised myself a trip after the yukky dentist to a shop called Emmaus, in St Mary's Street. It is a wonderful place run by men who have been out of work. They collect any unwanted goods and sell them off at such reasonable prices. They specialise in furniture and in the past we have bought many lovely goods. This time I was after an armchair to use in what is supposed to be Mr P's study but is more commonly known as the craft room. He is so understanding about all my lovely crafts and the mess I make with them all cluttering the room and quite often they sneak into the living room! 

 Before clutter!

 After clutter.

I am soo looking forward to spending many hours knitting and sewing in this lovely comfortable chair.

No 4 joy. Ok some of you will probably think this sad but for me it is a joy. I have always wanted a two tier dish drainer and suddenly found one in Ikea!

 Golly another joy that I had nearly forgotten about No 5. Whilst in Emmaus I saw a sweet small coffee table that can replace the rather cheapo nest of tables that we have in our home in Northumberland. The cheapo ones are hopeless you can't even give them a wipe clean without more of the surface coming off. This new one is solid and I am sure will take to be cleaned regularly without any fuss!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Garden Warfare

 I managed to get home from work today before any rain set in and mow the lawn. Also declared war on the chickens and improved on blocking their escape route to the rest of the garden. It doesn't look very pretty but it hasn't cost a penny - just used up things lying around.

Here's one of the chickens on patrol looking for an escape route. Trouble is the grass is literally greener on the other side. Don't you just love my windmill. When the wind gets up it goes flying around the two layers going in opposite directions. I'm sure you scientists out there know why they turn different ways. Also have some more windmills - they are slowly increasing in number!

 I do not have many flowers in this garden so I think these windmills cheer me and the garden up!

Well you may ask why have I gone to such great lengths to keep the chickens from escaping? Well if you read my blog on Saturday you'll know I bought some runner green bean plants. I planted them out today and I know if the chickens could get at them they'd eat them in minutes.

I've left some space in the second raised bed to plant out the tomato plants and red pepper plant when the weather is warmer. I hope I'll be able to show you more pictures of them growing - that is if the chickens, or me, or the weather don't destroy them!

Sunday, 22 April 2012


Mr P decided late last night that he needed to have time(top up his daddy fix) with No 3 - daughter and son-in-law who live in Bristol. I should say it is very rare that he has a Sunday off. So instead of having a nice lazy lie in we were up early ready to hit the road. We haven't been to their home for ages so it was really nice to go there instead of them travelling to us. Oh how No 3 is making the home pretty with her creations and decorations. So with her permission she's letting us all have a little nose around.

These are some of her buntings she's made. I love the toadstools. Apparently she's made some for her office to cheer up all her social worker colleagues.

 Apologies for quality of the photographs - but two cross stitch pictures that she has done recently.

Then a cute picture made for No 3 and hubby by her big sister(No.1) .

Now for my favourites - her paintings.

As you can see I have a very talented daughter and hopefully one day in the next few months I'll be able to show you works of my other daughter. daughter in law and maybe another daughter in law!

But I cannot finish this blog without some cute pictures of their lovely chocolate Labrador - Poppy.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Northampton Outing

Mrs A and myself have had a lovely day out to Northampton. First stop was "Daily Bread". A wonderful outlet that sells masses of yummy dried fruits, nuts, flour, spices, pulses etc etc.
I had forgotten that there was a lovely garden centre next door where people who have varying degrees of disability grow plants and make wonderful things for the garden out of wood. Mrs A was very sensible and bought some geranium plants whilst I went for tomato plants, a red pepper plant, green beans and some terracotta plant tags.

 You may or may not see these plants again depending on whether I manage to grow or kill them!

OK you may be forgiven for wondering what the heck we were doing going all that way to Northampton if it was only to buy some food and plants. Yes we finally made our destination - hours after leaving home! This being the Charles Rennie Mackintosh House, near to the Derngate Theatre. It is an amazing small home that was lived in by a wealthy couple Mr and Mrs W.J. Bassett-Lowke. They asked Mackintosh to redesign their meagre home into this amazing designer home.

Being two girlies, let out for the day, by our ever patient hubbies, we giggled our way around the home. First stop was the video room where we tried in vain to get the thing running but couldn't. Then decided perhaps we were not supposed to touch the remote controls and bid a hasty retreat -  wondering whether we were being watched on some security camera. Next stop was to put on some fancy outer shoe wear - no we were not entering an operating theatre but we looked as if we were.

Fortunately we missed the tour because I know we would have embarrassed ourselves by giggling yet again. The guide was rather full of herself and spent what seemed an eternity in each room, nagging people not to touch this or that! Just out of naughtiness I went and touched a wall! Shocking!
Here are some photographs of the rooms.

Some of the rooms I think we might all find too dark. But the next picture is the guests bedroom. How on earth could anyone sleep in this room without getting a migraine is beyond me!


The other reason for our foray to this house was a small exhibition of quilts. So I'll just show you some of my favourite ones.

As you can see some beautiful quilts done by some very talented ladies of Northants.

By this time Mrs A and myself are feeling quite faint from lack of sustenance, decided we were too naughty to eat in the posh dining area there and went back into the town centre. Ended up at the large All Saints Chruch where we enjoyed a yummy lunch. Thought you might enjoy the pictures on the toilets.

Thanks to Mrs A for a lovely day.

Friday, 20 April 2012


The other day, in the supermarket, I saw a lovely new magazine - called "Landscape". It looked so delicious that I bought it. Today at work lots of my clients did not turn up so I had plenty of time to absorb and read some of the lovely articles.

One of the articles answered a problem that me and Mr P had encountered when we went for a walk through some woods in Northumberland. It was a rather remote woods with very few people ever walking through them. As we tried desperately to navigate our way through them we heard a gun shot and shortly afterwards another one! Being real townies we were a bit scared so we talked very loudly to make sure that whoever was shooting was aware of our presence. We noticed that these shots only happened every 15 minutes or so. We did wonder why this was. Well reading this great magazine it talks about rape seed oil and how the birds can eat half a kilogram a day so bird scarers are used to keep them at bay! Next to the woods were fields of rape! How foolish we were!

Read another article about cuckoos. I had forgotten that they are parasitic birds.  In other words the female lays eggs in other birds nests and lets them get on with the job of feeding and rearing her young! Trying to imagine doing that with my four children - driving around looking for someone else to raise them! Can you imagine what Social Services would say and all the CRB checks that would need carrying out! The other thing that is amazing is when the cuckoo chick hatches before it can even open its eyes it kicks out the other eggs in the nest so it gets all the attention and food from the foster mother!

The bird on the left is the foster mother and the baby cuckoo is on the right!

Looking forward to tomorrow as my friend Mrs A and myself are off to Northampton to the Renee Mackintosh House and also to a quilt exhibition being held there. Hopefully I'll have some photographs to show you next time I blog.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Wedding Memories

Today it is looking like this but I am thinking about fond memories of past weddings.

Last night some friends came to discuss their wedding plans. The lovely young couple want Mr P to bless their wedding. They are getting married in a tiny church near Rutland Water. They went driving around and found a lovely old boarding school -thought this would make a great venue for a reception. So they were bold and drove up the drive, knocked on the door and asked if they could use the building. A week later they were given the go ahead. Weddings are so much more fun than when Mr P and I got married. For us it was a traditional church service followed by a sit down meal above the local pub and a band played in the evening.

Our children's' weddings were so much more fun/adventurous. No. 1 got married in a castle in Scotland, No 2 had a chocolate fountain, No 3 in a tree house and No 4 not married yet but I have a feeling it will involve us all abseiling or on a kayak!

Mr P has also been asked to marry another lovely young couple in Marrakesh, Morocco, in September. The only trouble is that means two wedding outfits to buy - aaargh! I hate clothes shopping.

I thought I was going to be able to go "Tadah" with a finished project but it's not quite completed. A while ago whilst looking in a box of photographs I found an unfinished cross stitch - Celtic bell pull. So decided it must be finished, had a terrible shock to realise since starting this project I now have to wear glasses and use a magnifying glass too! Hopefully soon you'll be able to see the finished article - only 9 years late!