Tuesday, March 6, 2018

February - the final post (sorry Aunty Liz!)

Spring is nearly upon us so time for a change.......

Smiling Eddie
Suspicious cows
Droopy helebore
Rather good pancake

After five years I am hanging up my blogger's camera and keyboard to make room for the many hobbies and interests I seem to have started or revisited lately.  Such fun!

Time waits for no man and certainly not for a middle aged woman with a full time job, a natural (!) garden, rustic (OK, run down) house and bad knees.  I also know that I should ride the wave of these new interests whilst the enthusiasm is there as I have the attention span of a goldfish.

What did I do last month?  Zzzzzzzzzz......  See what I mean?

Oh yes.  We used our 'two together' railcard (how naff) to visit middle chick and go to an art exhibition by Rose Wylie, an eccentric 83 year old artist with wild grey hair.  I love her.  The weather was cold and grim and it rained all day.  Shame, as I would love to have explored Kensington Gardens.  NB: The squirrels in the park are rather sure of themselves.  One climbed up the leg of a cross looking chap as he was trying to feed the birds.  They sit there looking all cute (and very fat) but don't be fooled.

'The Arch' by Henry Moore in Kensington Gardens is 6 metres high and weighs 37 tonnes

The art exhibition was in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, an 1805 gunpowder store.

'Park Dogs and Air Raid'

'Jack Goes Swimming'

'Queen with Pansies'

We made a quick visit to the Science Museum to get out of the rain and just squeezed through the door before they shut us in.

Vintage cars in the Science Museum

Science Museum

I did more painting, screwing, drilling and sanding at the factory.

My upper body has got so muscly (proud) that I can't do anything up anymore!

A little bird came in for a bit but realised that it was warmer outside

Sarah made Challah loaf - THE most delicious bread

I re-discovered sewing.  Swatches of material make me go weak at the knees but I've never had the confidence to do anything with them.

My mum gave me some scrumptious material scraps

And look!  My first attempt with new sewing machine!

I visited my partner in crime, Hayley.....She has joined me in my 'doing something everyday for lent' thing.  I am playing the piano.  She is playing her accordion.

Mad woman with accordion

The field behind us flooded, the water butts overflowed but we still had some good sunsets on our dog walks.

Winter sun

Eddie ready for an evening in front of 'The Crown'

Could Spring be around the corner?

All hail the helebore

February is such a dreary month but luckily the Theatre Fest West was on at Salisbury Playhouse, we saw three plays in one week!  The snowdrops couldn't fail to cheer us up and we tried a new beer festival for research purposes only.  The Corn Exchange venue was lovely and the pies weren't bad either.

Matt and Sarah enjoying one of the many beers on offer at the Devizes Festival of Winter Ales

Steve was happy - he won a prize on the raffle - woo hoo!

Well, I'm off.  Maybe some day I will pop up again somewhere new.  Who knows.

But for now, I have piano tunes to learn, clothes to patch, scarves to knit, books to read and journals to fill of my adventures.

'Years ago I built a hut overlooking a pond - a small loch or 'lochan' in Highland parlance - where, like Thoreau at Walden, I go to write or just bare myself to the effervescent mysteries of nature and life.  It's called the Illicit Still, named by my children because for years I kept a bottle of whisky locked away from their prying teenage eyes.  It has a lumberjack's oil drum stove, some rough and ready bunks, an old sofa, a table and chairs - just about everything serious contemplation requires.  It has become a treasured centre of separateness, a place to muse, an escape.'

- 'The Dun Cow Rib' by John Lister-Kaye

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

January - Sangria and drilling

In January I mostly tried to run away from the cold and rain......

La Gomera with Tenerife in the distance
Poinsettia tree
Lovely Palm tree

Oh, and I did - well for a week anyway.  A week in the Canaries to top up the vitamin D levels, see blue skies (for more than 5 minutes) and feel some much needed warmth.  We stayed in Bournemouth for a night beforehand and it was so cold!  But we investigated the pubs and sampled the local ales.  Quelle surprise.....

The Brewhouse and Kitchen pub is also a microbrewery and has a beer menu - a good start!

The Goat & Tricycle pub was cosy and friendly - This is Finley

We got to know the locals quite quickly!

Here we are on Monday (5 degrees) 
- A fast, short walk on Bournemouth Beach.  

and here we are on Tuesday (22 degrees) 
- A slow, leisurely stroll on La Gomera!

Playa de Santiago - without thermals

We did the usual - strenuous walk up a mountain in the morning so that we can enjoy a fattening Barraquito for coffee then sit on the beach (moi under a brolly of course) all afternoon with our books.  I also brought glue, scissors and colouring pencils. Quick change and then out for a meal in one of the half a dozen restaurants washed down with dos Sangria or a Mojito.  

Candelabra cactus

Yellow Bird of Paradise - strange

One of our strenuous walks

Banana plantations below

Bougainvillea near the golf course 
- Sarah played 9 holes without the need for a balaclava and sheepskin boots

The bananas on La Gomera taste like - bananas!

Prickly Pear

I also brought my knitting - no wool shops here though

One day we caught the new ferry service to Valle Gran Rey for a day trip.  Valle Gran Rey is not as barren and is greener than Playa de Santiago.

Playa de Santiago from the ferry

Lovely views from the ferry as we zoomed around the coast

Barraquito on arrival - of course.  
You can have one sin licor (without alcohol) but where would be the fun in that?

Valle Gran Rey

I do love a good palm tree with a pale English person in shorts to hold it up

I think this might have been sugar cane.  Whatever it was, it was very large.  I look tiny!  
I like sugar cane.


We have done this walk up the valley towards Los Reyes before but it still took my breath away.
The rough cobbles are really hard to walk on so we deserved our chips and alioli that night!

Paddle time and not a Mr Whippy to be seen

Hibiscus - how dull


Lovely walk back along the beach as the sun goes down before getting back on to the ferry

Back in Playa San Diago we found a beautiful park called the Parque de Las Eras.
Aloe vera - I think these look like Red Hot Pokers

The very spikey Silk Floss tree (or Chorisia) from South America.  Now I've looked it up, I wish I had seen it in flower as it is a mass of amazing pink flowers.  You wouldn't want to be a squirrel though.  Ow!

Yellow Hibiscus - I've never seen one this colour before.  Apparently, it is the state flower of Hawaii

Looking down in to the harbour 
- Mount Teide on Tenerife in the background.  I noticed it had snow on it when we were flying in

Hiding from the sun are we?  A good spot to eat our banana and crisps

Everything grows so big here!

Where's my horse?  Yee Ha!

Can we squeeze another Barraquito in before we go home?  I think so.

Back to drilling aluminium in a cold and noisy factory and getting swarf in my bra.  I know how to live.


I also smell of oil a lot of the time

I drilled holes in all these aluminium cleats - proud

and then stacked them neatly - OCD or what?

Frames waiting to be put together 

Glue drying on the battens

MDF panels

Still, I have consoled myself with playing with my new sewing machine, sitting as close to the log burner as I can without getting chilblains, keeping busy and trying as many ales as I can before Esme picks us up from the Winterfest.

And even though it is minus 2 tonight, plants are starting to appear (all hail the Hellebore!), the evenings are getting lighter - we are heading in the right direction.  Yippee!

Snowdrops in the front garden

I must go and put my brightly coloured summer clothes back under the bed for now and go and put another chair leg on the fire.


Bungalow Sue

'I like the image of ruined old women, sitting in their last mink in a cafe, smoking a cigarette and drinking a small, appetite-suppressing cup of coffee.....Even if the lipstick bleeds into the cracks, at least we're seen.  In a recession you cannot allow life to turn beige'.

                                  - Linda Grant 'The Thoughtful Dresser'