Sunday, 14 December 2014


Hot soapy water...running down your back and warming chilly bones. We were only without hot water for three days and without any at all for a few hours. We had offers of showers, and kettles to boil, but  it's so much better to feel the heat from the radiators when the fire isn't lit. To turn on a tap for the warm comfort trickling through your finger tips.  

I've thought about water a lot over the last few days. Remembering holidays on our boats as kids. Filling up big plastic carriers at an old brass water tap. Standing them on the tow path and listening to the percussion as it rained in. Four little girls energetically drumming the empty container on our shins then struggling with the dead weight on our return. Thinking about people who may have to walk miles for their daily water. Reading this and planning how to help. 

Things are happening. The boiler is up and running. I was dreading installation day. There were going to be six men working in the kitchen that turned out to be seven, plus one. I imagined the decibels. But no, everyone worked quietly and efficiently like human ants. All we could do was to make their breakfast sandwiches and cups of tea. So in-between my kitchen shifts I secreted myself away. Thankful for foresight having done some early Christmas shopping including wrapping paper and cards. I settled in by the little wooden bench in front of the fire. Scissors, sticky tape, paper and gifts one side, packet of dark chocolate  Lebkuchen hearts and spiced orange tea the other. didn't matter that they needed a few more days...

Saturday we left the men behind and went to town to buy floor tiles and treated ourselves to Japanese food here . Did a bit more Christmas shopping. Then came home to a newly laid concrete floor (resisting the temptation to walk on it), hot water and one new window installed. That should keep out a few more draughts.

Sunday, decorating day...not the tree yet, we'll have to wait a bit for that, but walls and doors and skirting boards. 

That was a bit of my weekend...How was yours?

joining with karen for weekends...

Friday, 12 December 2014

This moment :: A daughter's response to another moment...

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

an email from a daughter in a beautiful response to her seeing this moment...

(...thank you made my heart swell...) 

inspired by amanda blake soule 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

knit one...purl one...

My Dolan beret is finished. Apart from threading  through the yarn ends, but that will only take a second. (You can probably see them sticking out like a little tail at the back. You can also peep at our inherited old lady wallpaper on the bedroom wall.) Now my head will be toasty and warm when the icy winds blow. Apparently there's a weather bomb on the way...

I love this pattern it's very simple but with just enough interest to not get bored. You can easily make one in an evening if you happen to have one to spare. Or like me, pick it up when you have a few minutes to quietly work a couple of rows. I like the random patchwork quality of the different blocks of pattern and the texture they introduce. So I've started another one to add to the gold and the grey ones. A true navy one in the same Blue Faced Leicester wool. I might just have to make a neutral one as well in Ecru, then I'll be completely set for winter. That should be enough. 

Ooh, but don't you think that fair isle could work with this pattern too? Imagine the colour combinations I could use...

I've been reading American Bloomsbury and flew through the pages until I reached the last few chapters then I began to dawdle a little. Partly because I didn't want it to end and partly because it's a biography and everyone started to die off. Sad but true. I loved it for the insight to the American Transcendental writers lives. For the descriptions of nature and life that echoed the European Romantics, for the true romances and infatuations and that it directed me to lots of books that I want to read, or re-read. So it's not so much of an end but a beginning. 

books that I now plan to read:
  1. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  2. Walden :: Life in the woods by Henry David Thoreau
  3. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
  4. The Maine Woods
  5. Cape Cod. Last three also all Henry David Thoreau
...and what I plan to make next:  Some cute little fair-isle Christmas tree decorations using this free pattern. Don't you think they would make perfect stocking fillers?

I'm joining ginny for yarn along...coming?

Monday, 8 December 2014

weekend :: Not quite cooking on gas

Yey...we're connected to gas. Still not cooking on it though. It's reached the house after three attempts.  Three weekends and three separate days of the road being disrupted with temporary traffic lights. Holes being dug and then filled up again when the diggers couldn't find what they were looking for. Poor horses shying at the cacophony of the pneumatic drills that almost scared them to death, and nearly burst our eardrums...But at last it's in the building. 

Wednesday the boiler's being installed, Thursday the supply connected so that the radiators can be fired up. Next week the cooker's being delivered, so fingers crossed I'll be able to cook on gas again and it looks like we'll be home for Christmas...

Meantime we spent most of the weekend trying to remove  the almost unremovable 70's woodchip wallpaper, and painting walls, adapting this recipe to cook spicy spaghetti sauce with shitaki mushrooms, cray fish tails and broccoli,  then bassa fillet with mast mosir, escaped for a quick trip to the local food festival and were kindly treated to an amazing home cooked supper by our next door neighbours that we are so lucky to have...I may share a peek of their awesome kitchen soon...

how was your weekend?

joining pumpkin sunrise for weekending...

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

December days...'s cold, below freezing. The kitchen wall is down and a huge draught blowing from the door that's gaping from the wall. The pipe to the oil tank was re-connected after accidentally being cut, but then something popped out of it that A managed to stick back in with a bit of wood. It makes a really weird noise as though it's about to blow so we ration out how much we use it. Early morning or late night for showers and cosy bed time. He found some big old grey wool blankets in the attic to hang up and block up the hole and it feels a bit like we're camping. 

Days are still busy with friendly builders and lots of banter, making cups of tea and coffee, bacon and egg sandwiches, construction and de-construction. Attempting to keep up with decorating but mostly getting distracted by phone calls to find plumbers or electricians, making plans and then changing them. 

Apart from the daily round of the builders' breakfast baguettes, cooking has been simple. Easily roasted chickens, pan fried fish or foil baked salmon with a good squeeze of lemon juice, salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil. Seasonal vegetables, fruit, local eggs and the odd sour plum crumble with yoghurt and maple syrup. (Oh and our neighbour's scrumptious chocolate bread and butter pudding with golden nuggets of marzipan secreted inside, that melt and burst like little surprise parcels of goodness. I must remember to ask for the recipe) 

They are good days...but at the moment the evenings are the part that we both love best. When everyone's gone home and A get's the kindling for the fire, puts on the logs and stokes it up and the hearth calls to us. That's when I get out the skeins of wool that arrived to knit another beanie to keep my ears warm, and I snuggle up and savour the last four chapters of this biography gifted from a good blogger friend

project: Dolan beret
yarn: Debbie Bliss, Blue Faced Leicester DK, 100% wool; gold. 
details: ravelry page

joining with ginny and nicole