Friday, 29 October 2010

The Tribulations of a Nineteen Year Old

What often brings a smile to my face are the little snippets of conversations I have with my son.

Take last night for instance .......

Son: 'Did you wonder why on earth I was in the bathroom so long after coming back from snooker?'

Me: 'Ummm ....... No' [Important Explanation here: I'd not long gone to bed and when I first go to sleep, I'm completely out for the count! The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would have a tough time rousing me.]

Son: [Said with completely straight face] 'Well ...... having a Dad with a beard is a serious handicap. You get to teach yourself how to shave!'

LOL ..... by the way, you'll be pleased to know that he didn't cut his throat or do himself any other serious injury during this learning experience :)

Friday, 22 October 2010

Stort Trek - Captain's [S]Log

OK ...... title is a little corny but there you go :)

Last Saturday, the 16th October, we started out on our next training walk a little later than we planned. We didn't start until 8.50 and, once again, we started out by walking along the same section of the Lea tow path we've done before between Cheshunt Lock and Fielde's Lock.

However, again the weather was really glorious and we could really appreciate all the wonderful autumn colours. There are so many red berries along the tow path. A veritable riot of colour!

Once we got to Fielde's Lock, we diverged onto the towpath for the river Stort. Although there is a clear signpost pointing across the lock saying 'The Stort Towpath', having crossed it, it was unclear which way to go as there was a weir that appeared to be in the way! Unfortunately, it is just past here that you need to start using another Ordnance Survey map ........ and we thought we'd be perfectly OK at this part of the walk and hadn't brought the Ordnance Survey map for this junction. A Big Mistake! We must have wasted about 10 minutes working out where to go! Ooops! never mind.

There is a very different 'feel' to the walk along the first part of the Stort - much more rural and away from it all. Despite the fact that the weather was good, we hardly saw anyone!

However, you do gradually become aware of the scourge of so many places (if not everywhere) in the UK ...... the distance hum of traffic on a major road. In this case, it's the traffic on the A414. Nevertheless, it was whilst walking along the stretch of the Stort that is really close to the A414 that we saw a fleeting glimpse of a kingfisher! It is so wonderfully uplifting to catch a glimpse of this most stunning of our birds. Yet it is so odd to think that we saw it in the least peaceful of places!

This building is Parndon Mill, restored as a rather nice looking block of flats.

It was just past Burnt Mill lock that it started to rain, quite heavily to start with but thankfully not for long. We also had to take a slight detour away from the towpath because the towpath itself was out of bounds because work was being carried out on it.

Still, we made it to Harlow Mill station by 13:35. A distance of just over 12 miles in 4 hours 40 minutes. This was a slightly slower pace than for our last walk which surprised us. We didn't find ourselves struggling towards the end of the walk as we had on the walks to both Ware and Hertford East, so not entirely sure why we took longer.

A reward once we got home! My brother bought John an apple tree for his 50th Birthday two years ago. It didn't fruit in the first year, but has this year. Here's a perfect specimen of an apple just before being picked.

So we were able to have half an apple each! It was lovely!!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Mystery of the Girl With the Umbrella Unsolved

You may recall that I posted with a mystery about a Girl With Umbrella embroidery I completed a long time ago. I'd love to find out who made the kit and whether it is one of a series.

By chance I found that The Work Box in Norwich had a picture of this embroidery on their website and I contacted them to see if they knew anything about it. I almost forgot to post that they got back to me about a week or so ago. Unfortunately, they have no record of it.

Such a shame. It is now probably considered a seriously vintage item ...... so finding out more about it will be difficult.

However, I thought it was so nice of them to go to the trouble of trying to find out for me.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Alexandra Palace Knitting & Stitching Show

Yesterday, Mum and I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in Wood Green, North London.

No photos I'm afraid! Although lots of people could be seen merrily snapping away in the Hall, am I odd in being inhibited in doing this? For one, several stalls did actively have signs saying No Photography ...... and I also felt I would need to ask permission of any other stall I might have tried to photograph. Plus, to be honest, the halls at Alexandra Palace were packed both with stalls and crowds ....... so taking photographs wasn't easy. I also preferred to spend all my time just looking.

And ..... boy oh boy ........ was there a lot to look at. So many stalls, so many beautiful fabrics, so many stunning embroidery kits! Not forgetting the displays of work by many fibre artists.

One highlight was visiting the stall run by The Golden Hinde, a company I found by chance on the Internet some time ago that produce gold work kits and also do a number of courses around the country. After a delightfully friendly demonstration of some gold work techniques from one of the owners, I suggested to my Mum that she could buy me a beginner kit for Christmas :) So Roll On Christmas :)

What else did I buy? Well ....... I never did say why I wanted to have my sewing machine repaired. You see, I have a number of cross stitch items that my Mother in Law, Rose, made and I want to turn them into bags as presents for my Sister in law and Niece. So, I bought some fabric and bags closure snaps and some iron-on interfacing. I couldn't find any fusible polyester batting (one pattern I have is for a lightly quilted bag), which I was surprised about, so that item I will have to buy via the Internet somewhere or other. I also bought some recycled felt and an array of DMC stranded cottons as I want to make a little pouch for my son to store an external hard drive he's just bought. I have found a really cute pattern for the Firefox logo that I want to embroider on the front of it. This is a bit of an 'in the know' joke between him and me! He is forever telling me that Internet Explorer sucks and that Firefox is a much better browser. So having this logo on the front will be very apt :)

What else? Um ..... a few odds and ends ...... but also a magnifier to suspend in front of me when doing close work. At long last, I think old age is catching up with me :( On several occasions when doing small cross stitch, rather than the large cross stitches on The Rug, my eyes have really felt the strain.

Mum and I had a great day. One of the really nice things about the Show is the lovely atmosphere there. Everyone is very friendly, both the stall holders and the other visitors, and everyone seems ready to share advice or just have a chat! If anyone reading this has never been but gets the chance ...... be sure to go!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Have I Been Sewing Anything?

I realise I have been very quiet about my sewing :)

In fact, The Rug is going on a pace! However, I have diverged slightly over the past two weeks as ....... at long last I found I desperately craved COLOUR!!

About three months ago, courtesy of the Tesco Clubcard voucher scheme, I took up a subscription for the Cross Stitcher magazine. This in no way helps my desire to get more into free style embroidery but, in fact, it's quite a nice magazine. Not only does it have a 'freebie' with every edition but it has some interesting designs and some novel ideas for making up cross stitch designs into all sorts of things, so these ideas are relevant for all sorts of projects.

The latest edition is all about Christmas ideas and the freebie is a small kit to make up some Christmas cards. My idea was to only do it whenever I was in a situation that I couldn't easily do The Rug, but I have got so into it that The Rug has gone on the back burner.

The kit doesn't quite have enough aida material to complete all eight designs ...... although I am squashing them onto the material to make the best possible use of it. It also needs some iron-on interfacing to iron onto the back, but I am hoping to buy some when Mum and I go to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace .... Alley Palley to us North Londoners :) ... this coming Saturday. Their instructions also call for sticking sequins onto the design with glue ...... whereas I think I will sew them on using metallic thread and tiny beads that I already have. There are also some embellishments that you can see in the bottom right hand corner that are leaves and circles made from card that don't think I will use. I think I will replace them with the same shapes but from some felt I also have.

It's actually quite a nice little fun project. Hopefully, I will finish them pretty soon, at which point I'll post some photographs of the finished cards.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Onwards to Hertford

Today we decided to walk to Hertford along the River Lea and this time, we thought we'd take a photo at every lock we passed. We started our walk at 8.30am and the first lock we got to was Cheshunt Lock. Much to our amazement, after the truely terrible weather we've had this past week, at least it was dry!

Here's John at the second lock.

Me at the third.

It was an amazingly still day and we noticed some wonderful reflections of the trees in the water. I am beginning to find this walking lark to be incredibly addictive! It helps that the Lea Valley Park is a lovely area ...... and being blessed with yet another day with good weather helps! By 10am it was positively balmy!

I just love this image of a swan in the Lea ....... with its reflection in the almost still water. I think he was hoping that we had some food.

But when we didn't, he just swam past :)

Here's John at Dobbs Weir Lock. We've walked just north of here a few times before and twice have been rewarded with a marvellous sight. "Do you think we might see a kingfisher?", I said to John. No sooner were the words out of my mouth than a flash of blue darted across the water and briefly settled on the weir ...... and then it was gone! However .... a magical moment!
Can anything really beat the vivid blue of a kingfisher?

However, a swan was more willing to stick around long enough for a photograph. Aren't swans so graceful and elegant?

Here I am at Fieldes Weir Lock. Notice that it is at this point that you can walk along the River Stort navigation ....... that will be our next jaunt I think.

Here's John at Stanstead Lock.

And me at Hardmead Lock.

Because of where the tow path goes, we weren't in the right place to take a photograph of Ware Lock as the main path goes round the weir side rather than the lock. However, a little further north from Ware Lock, the New River spurs off from the Lea. Behind John in this photograph is the beginning of the New River.

Now, the New River is an amazing engineering achievement from the 1700's. It meanders south from this point, following the 100 foot contour, into the heart of London. It was built to take drinking water into the centre of London. Off hand I can't recall for how many miles it travels, but it is a lot!
And to think that it was entirely dug by pick and shovel. They definately knew how to work hard in those days.

Here I am at Hertford Lock. Above here, the Lea is no longer navigable. Hence this lock being number 1.
A short walk on from here and we reached the station at Hertford East at 12.40pm. A total distance of 12.4 miles and we took 4 hours and 10 minutes.
The strange thing was that, whilst waiting on the platform and then on the journey home, you could see the banks of clouds closing in. After lunch, by the time it came for me to drive down to see my Dad at 2.45pm, it was starting to rain and continued to do so for the rest of the afternoon. Even as I'm typing this at 9.30pm, it is absolutely pouring down!! We were certainly lucky this morning :)

Friday, 1 October 2010

You Walked Ware?

Yes ..... that's right we walked to Ware :)

OK ..... it's a poor play on the town's name but it's the best I can do :)

We started out last Saturday at 9.20am and in the photo above, we were about one hour out at Broxbourne Mill. This is in the process of being renovated and is a lovely peaceful little spot. In February 2009, during the beginning of the renovations, they had a bit of a shock when they found a human thigh bone in the debris in the workings of the mill. The police had to be called but they discovered that the bone was over 200 years old and had probably been washed downstream from an old graveyard somewhere or other. Still ...... must have been a shock for whoever found it!

As you can see here, the weather was lovely and sunny, although a slightly chilly wind ...... hence my lurid, bright green gloves :)
I felt a lot stronger than last week and only started to ache in the last mile we walked. Unfortunately, the blisters under my heels partly came back, although I can now see that it's caused by poorly fitting insoles.
We got to Ware by 12.35pm. A total distance of 10 miles in 3 hours 15 minutes. Also, didn't feel at all tired in the afternoon or evening so that was also good.
Onwards and upwards!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...