Sunday, 30 August 2009

Wherever I lay my hat.

I have been working on some hats over the last couple of weeks. The yarn used is any chunky yarn and they are so easy to do, you can easily make one up in an evening. Ideal for those chilly days and days when you have a ‘bad hair day’!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Walking & Knitting in the Derbyshire Dales

Last week we had a few days away in my favourite part of the country – Derbyshire. We stayed at Bolehill Farm Holiday Cottages which we first stayed at early last year. This is the third time we have stayed there now and it never disappoints. It is in a really beautiful spot high up in the hills just beyond Bakewell. They have 8 holiday cottages and they are pet friendly so we always call it Tillie’s holiday as she can come with us. We didn’t arrive until 10pm Saturday as we had a really busy turnaround day at the boatyard on Saturday, so after working all day from 7.00am and then driving for 3-4 hours, Nigel was exhausted, so once we had unloaded the car we turned in.

It was lovely to be able to wake up in the Dales on the Sunday morning. We spent the next 4 days walking in the surrounding countryside, especially high up on the edges. One day we walked high up to Stanage Edge from
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Hathersage passing North Lees Hall. It was blowing very hard high up on the edge but there were loads of people about, hiking and climbing the edges. Of course we didn’t do any climbing but it was quite challenging clambering about the rocks and particularly interesting to see all the discarded mill stones left in the heather (which was out in full bloom) from when they quarried the grit stone. The demand for these millstones declined and so the quarrying ceased. How I would have loved to have an old mill stone to take home but can only imagine how tremendously heavy it would be!!
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After our daily rambles we headed back to our holiday cottage Lathkill where we crashed out tired out after our climbing & walking. I had bought with me a big box of various items knitted by myself, my Mother and my friend Barbara which all needed sewing together and filling. All these items I sell to raise funds for local greyhound charities. I managed to complete a number of toys including 2 cats, 2 teddies (one minus ears to be knitted and sewn on at a later date as I hadn’t got the particular pattern with me), 2 clowns, 2 Jean Greenhowe dolls, a ferret, 2 donkeys and 2 rabbits. It was quite therapeutic to work my way through each project, pinning them together, sewing them up and filling and then putting the final touches on. So now I have plenty of stock to be going on with.
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Sadly our short break was soon over and we had to head back to Norfolk on Thursday ready for a busy Friday & Saturday at the boatyard. We normally use the A17 to travel back and forth but decided to try coming back another way as we always get stuck behind tractors etc on the A17 making the journey never ending. So we picked up the A1 and after only about 5-10 minutes we had a blow out on the drivers side at the back. Luckily we weren’t travelling at speed and happened to be right near an entry to a Little Chef, so we limped into the car park and Nigel changed the tyre with the emergency spare. We then travelled onto Newark in search of a new one and eventually found a tyre place that had the right size. We finally reached home after about 5 hours which should have normally taken us about 3½ hours. The weather was very nice in Derbyshire but must have been even hotter here at home as the garden was parched and the grass nearly knee high. Luckily Nigel’s Mother had watered the green house for me, which we always return the favour when they go away. I had loads of runner beans that needed picking, some of which were too ‘woody’ so these had to go in the compost bin but there were still loads to keep.


I like going on holiday but I LOVE coming back home again.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Cucumber, courgettes & Zeppelins

I have several cucumber plants in the green house and so had rather a glut of them, in all sizes and configurations. There are only so many salads you can put cucumbers in, so I have made 3 batches of Cucumber Pickle which is a recipe which my Mother always used. It is so easy and delicious in cheese sandwiches, in salads etc. The only downside is that the pickle once made, needs to be eaten quite quickly, probably within a month and once opened, refrigerate and use up within a week. I have included the recipe below.

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Cucumber Pickle
3 large cucumbers (or in my case loads of little miss-shapen ones)
3 lge tbsp salt
4 onions
1 pint distilled vinegar (the clear uncoloured vinegar)
6oz sugar
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed

Slice cucumbers and onions thinly place in a bowl with the salt. Cover and leave for a few hours. Pour the brine away and rinse the veg well in cold water and then drain.
Heat the vinegar, sugar and seeds in a saucepan and after sugars has dissolved, boil for 3 minutes.
Pack the veg in clean, sterilised jars and cover with the vinegar mixture. Seal the jars when cold. Eat straight away!

Now onto courgettes or if you turn your back for a few minutes they magically turn into what I call Zeppelins. For some unknown reason I ended up with 6 yes 6 courgettes plants! Way too many! As fast as I was cutting the small courgettes, some of the others would lurk behind some big leaves and then the next day proudly lay there, baring all their blooming green fleshyness. I have a little stall outside my garden gate where I can generally sell any surplus produce I have, but to shift lorry loads of Zeppelins is a different matter. After surfing the great web I came across this marvellous recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for using up surplus squash called Glutney. So far I have made 2 very large batches. The recipe calls for the chutney to be kept for at least 2 months to mature but Nigel couldn’t wait that long and has already polished off a jar. Luckily he likes it otherwise I would be left wondering what to do with all this Zeppelin chutney. The only problem I have now is to find some more empty glass jars for the next batch…………


Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Row, row, row your boat…..

Well, like most people I could do with losing some weight and yes like most people run screaming at the mention of exercise. I have no excuse really as I have a perfectly good exercise bike and running machine at my disposal and all they do is gather dust. So to add a little interest to exercising I decided to go for a row. Luckily we live by the river and even more luckily we have boats at our disposal, one in particular - Nigel's own build 'Shoveler' a sailing gun punt.IMGP4309-1024
He built this to precise personal specifications - it needed to be a traditional gun punt shape, able to be sailed, able to be rowed, big enough to transport, 2 humans, 1 psycho greyhound and numerous freight. Luckily it has lived up to expectations and delivers on all those counts. As it was such a lovely evening, after rowing home from work (Nigel rowing expertly), we fed the menagerie, pile ourselves and Tillie on board Shoveler and I rowed up river to Wroxham Broad, across the Broad and back home again, the equivalent of about 4 miles (next time must remember to take the GPS). We didn't see much birdlife, the usual ducks, geese, coots, cormorants and what Nigel thought was a Sandwich Tern but not sure on that. There were the last straggling dayboat hirers straggling back to base afte a days cruise in the sun. End result, one knackered female, one chilled chauffered husband, one still psyhco greyhound and two blisters! It remains to be seen whether I can walk in the morning or not!

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Last week I made and finished these mallards which I hope to sell for my fund raising. I have now been commissioned to crochet a pair of shovellers for Nigel, to of course go in his boat Shoveler - I should get the male shoveler finished, stuffed and sewn up tonight, that's if I don't fall asleep first!

Last week Tillie and I helped Annie from Action for Greyhounds do a collection outside Roys. Annie was there all week with a selection of her dogs (Gemma, Zonda, Zulu & Jani) and Tillie and I helped out a few afternoons. The collection made over £1700 which was amazing – so thank you to all those generous people that stopped to chat and give so generously to such a worthwhile cause. Maybe one day the world will come to its senses and stop the needless exploitation of greyhounds for so called sport. Reggie (the woolly hound) was there also helping spread the word and after our last stint was finished, I said to Annie that I wanted to donate Reggie to AFG. So Reggie is now going to travel around with Annie and her dogs on the campaign trail – He has since been renamed T.E.D. - short for Totally Exploited Dog.

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Sunday, 9 August 2009

Welcome to my Blog

Well I have taken the plunge and am attempting to publish my first blog. Really it is just an excuse to ramble on about things I am passionate about. I love crafting and I do this mainly to raise funds for local greyhound charities. The picture is of my lovely girl Tillie modelling a snood designed by Erssie Knits called Dizzy Lizzy - A snood for a hound. (scroll down about ¾ of the way to find the pattern). I have made several of these and have donated them to Action for Greyhounds to sell to raise funds to campaign against greyhound racing.