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Sunday, 14 April 2013


This weekend was forecast to be warm and sunny. It isn't. It is mild, very windy and wet now and then. But it is a weekend for doing jobs.
This corner of the courtyard needed a spruce up.
Now that it is empty the pavers can come up and be relaid around to the right, in a curve, and the gap filled with soil and some more permanent garden bed made. The small wall will be curved around in a sweep so the soil level can be raised.
This climbing rose was trimmed rather than pruned and is in good shape but...
This one is a couple of years older and I was loath to remove growth. I so badly want it to grow, but I know that it will be better in the long run, for a thinning out now. I may snip a bit more out later.
Other peoples' flowers are doing well. These pink daffodils are pretty on the windowsill but I think I prefer the normal sunny yellow, specially when the weather is so dreary.
Today's dinner is a spice rubbed, slow roasted piece of lamb. I pretend to eschew Tesco, but the other day when I forgot not to go in they had half legs of lamb for half price. So I got a couple.This one is in the oven now and smells lovely. It came from a Nigel Slater recipe off the internet and was well reviewed.
While it is slow cooking I have finished off the string bag.
Also from a pattern off the internet.
From It's called a market bag but I suspect it will not hold much weighty stuff from my market. Still it was pleasing enough to start another one in blue. This is a 50/50  bamboo/cotton yarn and is very silky to knit with but with a smooth, shiny and regular finish to the fabric.
Visitors during the week got us out and about.

Walking the dunes at Seaton Carew so that we felt we deserved some fish and chips from "The Almighty Cod" and then some ice cream at "Archers"...again!
Two more pictures left the waiting wall and went off to a new home with G and D. More can now be varnished and hung to replace these.
It's lovely to know people want to put your paintings on their walls. It gives me the confidence to go and finish a couple more off that have been languishing half finished on the easels and varnish some more ready for framing. They always look so much better framed and Wilkos do great big frames for a few pounds.
Well the last job is the ironing. It always is but it has to be done and then I can have a sit down and a wine while the lamb goes on cooking.
Cheers Gillian

Monday, 8 April 2013


It's April and there is still plenty of snow on top of the Pennines!
On Saturday we took the van to the seaside and had a lovely session of newspaper reading , coffee making and salad-roll building. It was grand to see blue sky and mild enough to walk outside without hats, scarves and gloves.
But on Sunday we went the other way and found the top of the Pennines still deep in snow drifts.
It's patchy in places but many feet deep in the sheltered drifts.
We cleared the watershed ( or snowshed in this case) The far sign on the left, greets travellers to Teesdale and thanks us for having visited Weardale. It's high up here and there is only one way of getting here.
But fortunately when you have reached the top it's great going down. Some very hardy cyclists were out in both directions. Many congratulations to all of them.
We eventually stopped at Eggleston Hall Nursery to buy a new tree for the garden and park up to put the kettle on and make lunch and use their lovely toilets and explore their lovely shop.
It was quite sunny by the time we got that far down the Dales again and mild enough to saunter around outside.
Today it's back to very chilly again and a flurry of frozen precipitation hit the window as I arrived for yoga at the Redworth early this afternoon.
Maybe it will all be fine again by next weekend. Maybe...
Cheers Gillian

Thursday, 4 April 2013

"Hello" From Hester

On a recent bus journey to Newcastle I passed a bric-brac shop in Chester-le-Street. From the top deck, you can see all the shop windows and the bus goes slowly enough to have a really good look. I've been back and forth a few times and noticed Hester. I pointed her out to DJ and suggested that we give her a home. She was naked with her arms in the air and appeared to be waving to all the passers-by.
I went there this morning to see if the owner would sell her. I tried to be cool and uninterested but I'm sure he saw me coming. "£100 nothing less!" he said. "I can get more custom from letting her hang around in the window than from selling her to you for a few quid", he said. So I paid up.
We have a few bodies around the house already.

Doris the doorkeeper looks after the scarves, gloves and hats.
Percy looks after the paper towel.
Wally waits patiently.
Cocky keeps an eye on the world...
Madame and Little boy guard the sitting room sideboard and.... here is Hester, the mistress of the snug. She has been named "Hester from Chester-le-Street".  I only had to walk a short way down the street to spot this lovely hat in a charity shop. I hope she will be seen in later posts in new and wonderful head adornments.
She makes us aware of a presence when we enter the snug where she sits happily and quietly in the corner and Tinkie has got used to her already. She can't see out of the window, though, because sadly her head doesn't turn but she may well turn the heads of those who pass by outside.
Cheers Gillian