Saturday, 30 April 2016


Every year I post photographs of bluebells because every year I marvel at how they transform the woodland into such a magical space. It has been a good year for them.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

recent sock knitting

One of my resolutions this year was to use up some of my odds and ends of sock yarn. I made some gloves and mitts, now I am concentrating on more socks.

My first "leftover socks" paired some left over variegated yarn with some plain green that I really wasn't sure I'd ever use. In the main body of the sock I knit two rows of colour followed by one row of green then using more green than colour for the toe, heel and cuff. The "leftover socks" are on the right next to the originals.

For the next pair I chose left over blue and pink sock yarns plus a little scrap of Jamieson and Smith 100% wool and decided to incorporate a some fair isle to keep the knitting interesting.

I am pleased with them although doing fair isle with two variegated yarns doesn't produce crisp patterns but a hint of a pattern which I quite like.

I started these socks in February and there are some hearts hiding in there.

Below, the original socks made with each of the three yarns that were combined in the fair isle socks.

On the needles at the moment - I am using up some black and small amounts of two completely different coloured yarns. There are many different colour combinations appearing as I knit.

Three pairs of socks for free and a slight reduction in the yarn stash.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

April showers

Plenty of April showers this year. Last night we had a hail storm around 3am. I stood at the window and watched it, the hail was coming down so hard and fast. This morning there were pockets of white hail stones in the gardens and on roofs. I hope any blossom hasn't suffered too much.

These photographs are from a few days ago when I took an early walk after a night of rain.

Sparkling water droplets in the sun

although some of the flowers look a bit bedraggled

the plant equivalent of a "bad hair day".

Always grateful for the showers though, so much fresh green growth, the countryside seems to change daily in April and May.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Queens birthday beacons

Our local beacon for the Queen's 90th birthday, one of hundreds lit on Thursday evening across the country.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

first cuckoo and late spring blossom

Spring is spreading across the countryside rapidly now. The hedges are white with blackthorn blossom and  oilseed rape is turning the fields bright yellow. On Monday (April 18th) I heard the first cuckoo of the year. The bird was hidden somewhere in these woods which are just beginning to come into leaf.

I have noted the date of the first cuckoo over several years and in 2014 I posted that I heard the first cuckoo on 17th April.

The British Trust for Ornithology operates a cuckoo tracking program and the migration patterns of individual cuckoos can be followed here. One cuckoo, Chris, was tracked for five years and during that time spent 38% of his time on migration, 48% in the Congo and just 18% in the UK.

Although the cuckoo arrived in the UK about the same time in 2014 and 2016, spring did not arrive at the same time.

In 2014 I noted that the first cuckoo and the first apple blossom appeared about the same time. I took a picture of the apple blossom on our crab apple tree - picture below.

Crab Apple blossom - April 17th 2014
 By way of comparison I took a photograph of this years blossom buds.

Bramley Apple - April 19th 2016
The cold weather recently has slowed down the spring growth and all the blossom is later. Despite the warm weather over the past couple of days both the Bramley and crab apple are still tightly in bud. 

Saturday, 2 April 2016

goodbye March

Here we are in April. March was a trying month and although the start of April is only a date on the calendar, I'm hoping that it is a fresh start.

With my father-in-law passing away in February and all the admin that entails, my husband being diagnosed with calcific tendonitus which is a painful shoulder condition reducing the amount of movement in the joint (no driving) and work being busy/stressful for all the family,  March didn't get off to a good start.

We decided a family holiday would benefit everybody and our sons joined us for a week in the Brecon Beacons the week before Easter.

It started well. On the second day the weather was fine and clear and we walked up in the mountains.

 Fine mild weather,

stunning views

and then on the way back down to the carpark, my husband tripped and fell breaking his leg  and ankle (four breaks in total). He is still unsure how it happened, a well maintained path, fine conditions, the correct footwear and clothing - just one of those things.

Mountain rescue were brilliant, giving him oxygen, pain relief, strapping up his leg and carrying him off the mountain on a stretcher.

He was then taken by ambulance to hospital where he had surgery and stayed for ten days. Not the holiday we planned.

I stayed in the holiday cottage with our sons, visiting the hospital in the afternoon and evening.

We made the most of the days exploring the Brecon area. Then towards the end of the week, youngest son picked up the sickness and diarrhoea bug that was rife in the hospital. He could no longer visit his father in hospital and at the end of the week I was glad when the three of us were safely home and husband was being looked after in hospital.

I planned to return and stay in a hotel near the hospital but then oldest son and I went down with the sickness bug. After the required 48 hours had passed I drove back down to Wales and checked into a hotel hoping for a few quiet days to recover. The pressure on hospital beds meant that my husband was released the next day so still feeling rather fragile myself, I drove him home.

So that is where we are at the start of April. There is a lot to sort out with transferring care to here, fracture clinic appointments, physiotherapy etc over the next few weeks but hopefully things are improving. Well I thought that until I pulled my back unlacing my walking shoes yesterday (what?, how?!) and I am now shuffling around the house rather stiffly - my body may be trying to tell me to slow down but that doesn't seem possible right now.

A quick trip to the supermarket for some healthy food and then a quiet weekend I think.

I'll sign off with this photograph taken near the canal at Brecon, good advice in the circumstances.