Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Winchester

Having filled the freezer, got up to date (sort of) with the laundry and packed my bag for hospital I decided to have a bit of "me time" and headed to Winchester for a bit of a mooch.

Didn't feel like doing much walking, but went to the Cathedral first to soak up a bit of the atmosphere.  




I love the window on the west front. Apparently it was deliberately destroyed by Cromwell's forces in the civil war and then the glass was later re-used in a random pattern. Really stunning!


Also love the large areas of 13th century mosaic tiles. Some inspiration for quilts there maybe?




Then there's some 12th century wall and ceiling paintings



And of course, Jane Austen's tomb


Leaving through this fantastic door 


I then went for a little stroll round the beautiful close at the back. It is always so lovely and quiet here. You wouldn't think it was the middle of a city!
These buildings are part of the Pilgrim's school, I believe



Then back to the shops, and my favourite;  Cath Kidston.  I don't usually buy much here but always love to have a look.  How cute are these prettily painted shelves?



This bed looked very inviting


And this patchwork chair is lovely, but wouldn't last long if you've got a dog like ours that likes to jump all over the furniture :(


Finally, a beautiful crazy patchwork quilt.  Sorry it was a bit hard to photograph.


Hopefully next time I go I'll be able to walk around a bit more and show you some other lovely bits of the city.




Friday, 19 August 2011

Flowers after the rain

 Thank heavens the sun's back after some really grim weather.  Going out to check the garden this morning I was captivated by the flowers all covered in rain, like a box of jewels sparkling in the sunlight and went to grab my camera before it all dried up.  Here's some of my favourites.

















Thursday, 18 August 2011

A bit more crochet

I hadn't done any more crochet blocks for a week or two due to Other Things going on, and also still waiting for the Cascade wool which is out of stock and now won't be here for another couple of weeks.  I decided to carry on without it and maybe do some blocks with it later.  Anyway, after playing around with the ones I had and laying them out in various ways, I just wasn't getting excited about it and felt they were lacking something.  After a lot more playing around I've added another granny round to each one and I'm really happy with the result.  I know it means more ends to tidy up!  but I think it makes the whole thing "pop" now rather than being a bit "ho-hum".  I'm still going to join them with cream and think it will look really colourful.
Here's the ones I've done so far.  It was really hard to photograph anything today. It's so dark and gloomy. 



I saw the specialist about my ankle and I'm going in next week to have it done!  The waiting list on the NHS was about 5 months :( but luckily we've got health insurance so I'm going to the rather nice private hospital nearby.  Still not looking forward to it though, but at least this time I can buy myself some new nighties and books to take in with me.  Last time, the husband one of the other ladies on my ward brought in her lacy baby doll nighty and wondered why she was cross!
Also need to stock up the freezer with some "easy" food that doesn't need me standing in the kitchen for too long.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

A move to London

We spent a tiring day yesterday moving eldest girl to her new place in London.  Just about managed to squeeze everything into the car, with a little space left for me in the back!  The journey was easier than I thought it might be, thanks to the wonders of sat-nav :)  Then after parting with a frightening amount of money she got the keys and we went to unload everything into her new room

In need of a break, we went for a walk round nearby Greenland Dock in search of some lunch and then wandered back, admiring the boats and agreeing that it almost felt like a seaside harbour (if you ignore Canary Wharf across the river!)





























































I finished the crochet cushion for her room.  For a hastily thrown together project I think it turned out ok, and it feels lovely and soft and cuddly and hopefully reminds her of home :)


























The house does seem strangely quiet now, but I guess I'll get used to it again.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A busy week

It's been a bit busy round here this week.  There's been a lot of veg' picking and more chutney making.  I made another batch using just courgettes, but left it to cook longer and added a bit more chilli. Tastes even better this time.  Also loving the sweet peas and dahlias that I pick every morning.  Just popped in a jug they  really cheer the kitchen up.



Eldest girl has been at home for the last year after finishing uni' and is off to London for a year at Law school.  She went flat hunting last week and found a lovely place that's ready to move into this weekend!  So there's been a flurry of laundry, list making and digging out of all the STUFF that she'll need again.  I'm sure it must be easier with boys, they don't seem to need half as much stuff as girls!

As a quick house warming present I dug out some crochet blocks that I made a couple of years ago and joined them together to make a cushion cover.  It was only  when I'd finished I remembered that one of them has a red second round, before I'd changed to doing the rest in ivory.  Rats!!  Of course I should undo it and make another one, but since no-one else even noticed I'm not going to bother.  The back is just a big granny square in matching colours. hopefully it will be done by Saturday.


Also hoping to go to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham this week, if my ankle holds out.  It has been quite painful recently and apparently some of the pins are starting to work their way out.  I'm going back to hospital to have the metalwork removed soon which I'm not looking forward to, but I guess it will give me time to do some crochet.  Here's a (not very good) pic of the x-ray, when it was first done.


  Sorry if that's put you off your breakfast, but I find it quite fascinating how "low tech" it is, like bits of meccano!


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Courgette chutney


Faced with another pile of courgettes and French beans that are coming faster than we can eat them,  I decided to make some chutney to preserve the taste of summer for the colder months.  I've got a few books on preserves and found a recipe for Chunky Courgette Chutney in  "Jams and Chutneys" by Thane Prince, which I adapted a bit.  I like the way the book is organized with each fruit or veg' having it's own section so you can see a few ideas for the same product together.

Here's the pile of veg ready to go.


In the pan with onions, garlic, ginger, and spices


And then with the sultanas and vinegar.


Yum, looks pretty!

I cooked this for a while and added the sugar and salt and then left it to simmer for about an hour.  The book says it needs about 1/2 an hour but it was still very liquid so I left it longer. It could have done with more really, but I didn't want the courgettes to turn to mush.   It's actually turned out more like a pickle with the veg still having some "bite" and tastes fantastic.  Would be great with cheese or cold meats or with sausage and mash.

Here's the quantities I used.

Courgettes.  800g  diced
French beans.  300g  chopped
Red onions.  4  diced
Sultanas.  220g
Soft brown sugar.  380g
Cider vinegar.  500ml
Garlic cloves.  4  crushed
Root ginger.  100g  chopped
Mustard seeds.  2tsp
Coriander seeds.  1 1/2 tbsp crushed
Mixed peppercorns.  1 tbsp
Chilli flakes.  Pinch
Bay leaves.  A few
Salt.  1 tbsp
Chopped fennel.  3 tbsp (add near the end of cooking)

Potted into clean jars, ready to store away.

























Someone was feeling the heat yesterday!  Not very elegant, but she seems to find it comfy!

























Love This article in the Daily Mail today.  Photos of families at the seaside from the 1920s onwards.  Check out the '60s couple near the end of the article with their suits and her pearl necklace!  Bit of a difference from the modern pic's.