Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The 'S' Word (and a bit of E)!

There are a couple of subjects that haven't come up here lately; namely singing and exercise.  It's because there hasn't been as much of either going on as there used to be! 

Newer readers may not know that I used to belong to a church choir, 2 singing groups (one group finished soon after the other one started) and take singing lessons. Now, I only belong to the church choir!  As I said, the one group finished; the other is on Saturday mornings (and I don't have time to commit to it at the moment) and my singing teacher moved away after becoming a Baptist Minister.  I still love to sing (in the car, in the shower, while walking up/down the road, in the pub, in church, in my office (quietly!)) and hope to join another group sometime, but for now I'll have to be satisfied with the above.  I'll tell you what though, I've certainly noticed a big difference since giving up the lessons.  My range has decreased and my singing doesn't 'flow' as easily.

The garden is in full production mode - these are courgettes no's 2, 3 & 4 and I counted at least 14 more on their way.

 There's been a little exercise going on in the background but not much. I won't let it decline to nothing but we haven't belonged to a gym for a few years now and don't go jogging outside anymore (only on our treadmill).  I make an effort to schedule 2 exercise sessions a week; one aerobic and one resistance/muscle toning, and on top of that, whenever it comes to mind, I do a little 'batwing' toning or crunches to target the most needy areas :-)

I found this when I got home from church after OH had been preparing veg from the garden for dinner and the freezer!

Another subject that doesn't come up here nearly enough for my liking is stitching!!!!  Considering that's what this blog is meant to be about, it's a pretty dismal effort.  I've decided, therefore, to mention it in every post.  I will include an update of any progress since the previous one, however small.  There may be photos (or there may not, because the small amount of progress may be negligable or embarrassing) and I'm hoping this will help me 'up my game' a bit (or a lot!).
Lovely, welcome fabric scraps from Ali in return for a book I sent her
Well, there's no better time to start than now, so here's the progress since last time I mentioned the S word:

Long term UFO cardigan - Finished knitting back and pocket linings, started one front
HST quilt - Sandwiched together and pinned ready for quilting
Quilt-as-you-go quilt - one more block quilted (17 done, 8 to go).

Tonight I'm off to my friend's Sunflower Club for women (with DD) which I'm looking forward to.  This months discussion is 'your favourite book'.  I'm taking 3!!! One has my favourite sentence, one my favourite chapter and the other IS my favourite book.  I'll try not to talk for too long because I know there are new members coming and our time is limited, but get get me started on books and...well..........!! 

Bye for now
Teresa x

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Fun by the Sea!

Being with a big group of friends makes a huge difference when you're camping in the Welsh drizzle!  Altogether we were 6 couples, 3 teenage boys and 3 dogs (DD, her partner and 2 dogs joined us at the last minute).

Above are all our tents in a row (we're actually positioned around a corner but you can't really tell from this).
From the left we have DD & A with 2 dogs, OH and me, communal gazebo, M & C with 1 dog, the boys (C, D & L), H & R, M & J and finally C & J.  The biggest blue tent belongs to first-time-for-a-long-time campers and they were just showing off with their ready-attached bedroom section and remote control light.  They were last-but-one to arrive and after 'helping'  put up  their tent a group of us stood around the entrance calling to the others to come and look. You'd have thought there was a fully fitted kitchen in there!   Another 2 show-offs were in the littlest tent at the end with their blow-up sofa no less.  We were duly impressed at how they'd got all their supplies and equipment (inlcuding sofa) into that little sports car until we realised that their tent was brought in M's 4x4! 

OH and my tent is about 8-10 years old and they don't seem to make them like they did when we were kids (you know - the big, heavy canvas type over huge metal-poled frames). The morning after the first rainy, windy night we all trouped down to the beach after breakfast - OH and I leaving our tent raining inside.  Luckily the bedroom side didn't leak as much, so our beds were only slightly damp!

M led us down a footpath in a wood that proved to be steep, muddy and dark!!  Only R was unlucky enough to slip in the mud and get covered in it all down one side (he was wearing OH's jumper at the time because he only took one which got wet the previous evening!).  We'd all forgotten something it seemed, but someone usually came to the rescue.

We spent the next few hours wandering over the rocks and around pools (to the right - just out of the picture) seeing what we could find.  We turned over stones and marvelled at the little swirling holes in the sand at the bottom of pools (which we presumed were sand worms?).

Inevitably, things turned into a competition to find the biggest crab. This is the winner, up on its back legs, attacking a giant hand.

Back at the camp later there were lots of wet clothes/towels with nowhere to dry them.  As it was still drizzling on and off we tied cord up in the gazebo and it became quite an effective drying room (oops, some fell off in the wind - add clothes pegs to the Forgotten Items list).
As we walked down to the Club House after lunch to watch Wales beat England at rugby, I took this pic of the fabulous view across the bay.

Sport fever rubbed off and a game of football was organised later during which DD's partner broke his big toe!!!!  He's going to the fracture clinic today and there's a chance he may have it pinned (OUCH)!

OH, DD, her partner and I left the next morning after a game of rounders (where no-one actually ran around because they were too stiff after the previous day's exertion at football, but just stood and hit the ball until they were caught or missed 3 times).  The men forget that they're not teenagers any more and invariably act like they are when we're together!

We've tentatively (pun intended) agreed to do this together again sometime. Let the friendly rivalry continue!! 

Bye for now
Teresa x

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Bee and Garden News!

Due to the fact that one of the Tag Square Bee members seems to have left the group (cannot be contacted) Bellsjo has had to do a fair bit of rearranging to even things out.  She and a couple of other group members have stepped into the breach to make the missing blocks.  This is the block she made for me to fill in for March. I especially love the centre blackberry fabric which fits in perfectly with the Autumn vibe I'm looking for.

 Also, due to the rearranging this is the block I was meant to send out in June.  Luckily Nanabanana also wants bright colours so it's on its way to her for August.

 The produce in the garden is coming thick and fast at the moment.  Runner beans are filling the freezer and we have lots of beetroot, potoatoes, carrots, onioins, parsnips and apples ready for use. This is the first of our courgettes, which we (OH) haven't grown before but I'm sure we will again because they are so easy.  It's a perfect specimen with not a single blemish to spoil the shiny green skin.  We're also waiting eagerly for the tomatoes to ripen.

 The potatoes, however, are giving me the same problem as last year.  I don't know how long you cook yours for but would you expect them to look like this after 5 minutes?  Only once have they been just right.  I set the timer for 4 minutes, when it went off I finished peeling a couple of carrots, checked on them and this is the mess I found!
It only takes 30 seconds for them to go from just perfect to a pile of mush. I can't even give them less time because 30 seconds less and they are still hard in the middle.  It certainly is a challenge - but I'm determined to not let them get the better of me! 

OH and I are off on a jolly again this weekend.  This time we're going camping with 4 other couples, 3 teenage boys (not ours) and a dog (not ours either).  It's supposed to rain!!!

Bye for now
Teresa x

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Eavesdropping in on Dorset!

Do you like to eavesdrop?  I do!  I don't mean the glass-against-the-wall or ear-to the-keyhole type.  Just catching snippets of conversation, when you can't help it, from passing groups of people or while sitting in a restaurant.

Hooke Farm B&B
Here are a few snatches of conversation I heard while away in Dorset last weekend:

Father to young daughter who expressed a desire to have one of the fish she could see in the water 5 feet down over the harbour wall: "Well jump in and get one then". (Joking - I think!)

Mother to late-teenaged daughter passing the bench where we were sitting eating icecream: "Just so as you know, if you get a tattoo you'll have to move out!" (Serious!)

Husband to wife at next table one lunchtime: "I only asked what you're doing next Thursday and you just wittered on!"
(How rude!!)

Inevitably, writing this got me thinking about the origin of the word 'eavesdroping' (my daughter tells me I think too much) so I looked it up and according to Wikipidia - "Eavesdrop also means a small low visibility hole near the entrance to a building (generally under the eaves) which would allow the occupants to listen in on the conversation of people awaiting admission to the house. Typically this would allow the occupant to be prepared for unfriendly visitors".

Quaint side street in Beaminster
Hooke Farm B&B where we stayed for the 3 nights was what we'd call 'in the middle of nowhere'.  It was very peaceful and quiet at night, the only sounds being the creaking of the old house and at 4.30 am, one morning only thank goodness, a distant cockerel crowing.  One difference from other B&Bs we've stayed in is that the guests sit together at one long refectory-like table at breakfast.  A good idea I think as, inevitably, we soon chatted with the 2 couples we met and useful tips about places to visit and/or eat were passed on.

The Giant
 My photos look overcast but it was in fact quite warm and humid. This is the best photo I was able to get of  The Giant of Cerne Abbas (probably for the best though!!)
Jurrassic Coast
This amazing cliff was the view from the end of the harbour wall at West Bay (I think - we went to so many places) 
One of many noisy, scavanging seagulls
We watched the seagulls in action from a bench overlooking the beach.  They mostly just glided around at our level but occasionally homed in on little fishing boats returning to the jetty or benches as people moved from them (presumably to see what goodies they'd left).   
Taking in the view from a bench (one of us was snoozing!).  My legs didn't reach the wall!
It was a good break with plenty of good food and relaxing strolls.  Looking forward now to a camping weekend in August and a few days in Guernsey in September!!

Bye for now
Teresa x