Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Home Coming from Afghanistan Afghan Ta Dah

Hi all

The day has finally arrived and I am that excited I can't tell you.

I know I won't get to see number two for a while as they have all sorts of debriefing going on and normalization training and stuff but it will be so nice to know he's back on home ground.

He will be flying back today and arrive back in the UK late tonight or the early hours of tomorrow depending on whether there are any delays.

So the day has finally arrived when I can show you the finished Afghan that has been a WIP for the past seven months.

which started like this

Then grew to this

Then the pinning out began 

Then the joining together began in earnest

Over the Easter break I was busy sewing all the little ends in.  I did intend to count them all but there were just too many. Not to self next time sew them in as you go along makes the job a whole lot easier.

OK SO DRUM ROLL PLEASE ................................................

and at last I can reveal the finished item(s)

The trouble of living in our cottage is the light really isn't particularly good

so I ventured off into the garden with it so that hopefully you get to see the colours better. 

As you can see it just fits over a double sized bed

In total there are 164 squares in the Afghan itself and the remaining 18 make up the matching cushion.

In total 182 days one square for everyday that number two has served in Afghanistan. 

Welcome home son so glad to have you back on UK soil.

Thanks to all of you in blog land who have supported me through the last seven months you will never know what it has meant to have your support and good wishes.

Of course number two would say he was just doing his job.


Thursday, 24 April 2014


Just a very quick post that I thought I would share with you all today.

Whilst we were away in Scotland our little Blackbird chicks fledged, but just as they have in previous years that don't seem too venture too far away from the garden for a while.

You can generally here either mum and dad or the fledglings call to each other from time to time.

I did wonder whether Mabel & Earl would have a second clutch as they did last year.

There has been a lot of activity around the Honeysuckle but as it's so big now I can't actually see the nest in there anymore to know whether they are on clutch number two or whether it's clutch number one that returns back to the nest every now and then.

Still I did have to chuckle to myself last night whilst in the den.

It was very quiet apart from the occasional calling of the wood pigeons when all of a sudden there was a commotion going on.  

At first I thought it was the neighbours cat with a bird.

But no

When I looked out of the window I saw this.....

At which point I thought 'see it's not just our kids that don't want to come in at tea time' even adolescent Blackbirds can turn into a 'Kevin'.

Hope you're all having a nice week.



only 6 more sleeps to the big ta dah moment of the

'Homecoming from Afghanistan' Afghan

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Where did the weekend go???

The only trouble with having a lovely long weekend is that they just go by too darn quick.

I had a whole list of things I wanted to do over the four days but as per usual I didn't get to all of them.

I did however get to do the following. 

The weather has been mostly kind this weekend so it was a great opportunity to get out in the garden and sort out the weeds that had taken up residence in the beds.

I love the plant Bleeding Hearts they have beautiful little pink or white flowers, they may have another name but Bleeding Hearts is the only name I've ever known them by.

This year it seems to be the biggest it's ever grown in the five years we've been here, I did have a white one planted in the other side but I think the frost must have got it as it hasn't grown back this year. I only planted it last year, maybe if I plant another earlier this year it will fare better.

I also added another coating of Cuprinol to the Dragon's Den and the last garden chair.

Adapted  the old leaking bird bath into something functional. 

And now I am very excited because in just one weeks time number 2 will be leaving Afghanistan and returning back to his base in Scotland having completed his tour.  Which means for any of you who have been following the progress of the 'Home Coming from Afghanistan Afghan'  will know it must be near completion and ready for a ta dah moment. 

I spent most of Sunday sewing in all the loose ends.  I started off really good and as I finished a square I would sew in the ends but like all good things it didn't last so hence lots of little piles of strands of wool having to be sewn in on Sunday.  The Afghan element is now completed but I will have enough squares left over to make a cushion which conveniently takes me right to the day he boards the plane to come back to the UK.  Aren't the MOD kind in arranging  it just that way. 

I will keep my ta dah moment until next week when I can show off the Afghan and matching cushion in all it's glory.

I'm not sure when he will next be able to pay us a visit but just knowing he's back on UK soil and safe will be enough for me, it has been a very long seven months. 

Thanks again to everyone who has left comments asking how he is doing and how I'm doing whilst he's been out there it has been very much appreciated and just shows the friendships that can be forged through blogland. 

Over this weekend I have also managed to catch up with the DVD's  I have been wanting to see.


As you will know I had already read the books to the films.  Philiomena the book is different to the film in as much as the book tells the story of Michael Hess (AKA Anthony Lee) and his search for his mother where as the film is portrayed of Philomena Lee's search for her son, but both equally as good as the other but if you have read the book but not seen the film or seen the film but not read the book I would urge you to read or see them.   The book of the Butler my son gave me for Christmas but it was more about the making of the film than the story, so I was very eager to see the dvd when it cam out and I was not disappointed both Forest Whittaker and Oprah Winfrey were outstanding. Lastly I thought I would include my film of the month, although Harvey is not in anyway connected to Easter it does involve a 6ft three and one half inch tall invisible rabbit. 

Harvey is a 1950 film based on Mary Chase's play of the same name, directed by Henry Koster and starring James Stewart and Josephine Hull. The story is about a man whose best friend is a pooka named Harvey who just so happens to be a six foot three and one half inch tall invisible rabbit.

I have always loved this film from being a child. It is very entertaining and incredibly funny, James Stewart and Josephine Hull are wonderful and I could not suggest anything better to watch on a wet Sunday afternoon or in my case a wet Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.

So there we are having had a busy four days at home it's now back to the grind stone of work but at least it's raining so I don't feel I'm missing out so much.

Hope you all had a great Easter break whatever you got up to. 


Friday, 18 April 2014

A bit of a ta dah moment

We have been working out in the garden today as dare I say the sun came out.

As you will see to the left of this photo we have a bird bath. Unfortunately it is quite old now and the bowl has a crack in from the frosts and snow last year and now of course it doesn't contain the water for very long, but as number three picked it when our last one got broken I don't want to get rid of it.

Recently Kate over at Just Pootling has mentioned Pinterest in some of her posts. Now I know all you clever people out there in blogland already know of it's existence but you have to remember that I am a bit slow at getting round to these things.  WELL not anymore thanks to Kate I am now hooked and have been busy making up boards of lots of different things to make note of for the future.

Anyway I digress 

Whilst on Pinterest I discovered this

succulents planted in a bird bath - my bird bath fell over and the top broke off. No problem...planted the succulents in the top portion and nestled it in the ground cover next to the garden pond. Looks great with a small solar light in it. - A keeper.

and this

Creative-Bird Bath!

and best of all

Fairy House by Urban Sea Star ~ love the tiny rusted tools affixed by the door, clever idea to place in old saucer and fill with plantings, love the planting on the roof too!

Isn't it just fantastic such a simple idea but yet so great.

We decided to go out for breakfast this morning before getting started and went along to one of our favourite garden centres Four Seasons Garden Centre in Sleaford the breakfast was as always very nice by the way.

But whilst I was there and whilst D had an extra cup of coffee I, to coin Kate's phrase, had a little pootle around the plants and came home with some little alpine plants and now I have created this.


It's not quite as dramatic as the one above but it's my interpretation of it.  I was sure D wouldn't like it as he had already asked what the birds are supposed to bath in now, but I already have another little idea stored away about that, but to my surprise he thinks it looks great. I'm not sure I will get anything to grow on the roof of this little bird house but maybe I will find one slightly bigger in my travels which will but it's a start.

All these little alpines have flowers and will eventually grow to about 2 inches in height and the theory is that they should spread around the tray to look like a little garden.  I have put some bird seed in the little house to weigh it down as we get some strong winds across the fens and I was pleased to see that we had some little sparrows helping themselves this afternoon.

I am not blessed with very green fingers, something else my mother and grandmother would be appalled at as my grandmother had two or three greenhouses in which she grew all sorts of lovely plants and sold at our school fete, but  think this one might just be a goer what do you think?

Hope you are all enjoying a relaxing Easter weekend.


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Having your own personal rain cloud....


The trouble with having your own personal rain cloud that likes to accompany you every time you go away is

that you have to make sure you take plenty of other things to keep you occupied whilst waiting for it to run out of water.

Such was the case when we went up to Scotland last week it wasn't all bad I have to say we did get three really good days and a fourth passable day. 

Knowing exactly how our holidays tend to pan out I did go armed with a number of books and of course some crochet to keep me busy.

I had started Secrets of the Lighthouse by  Sante Montefiore  (number 11 off my bookshelf to be read) before we left so took it with me to finish. What I hadn't hoped for was that I would finish it and be able to start and finish  my return to school read of The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley  too.  We spent a lot of time in the car when it was raining but the scenery was still spectacular,  just would of been better had the sun decided to stay out a little more.

It always amazes me that no matter what the weather these poor devils are in the fields and up in the parkland with their lambs.

This poor little chap looked really fed up and I think I would of been too.

Even back at the farm these ladies stay out in all weathers although they do come in when they are due to calve.   Now D would tell me that's the breed and that's why they have so much hair to keep them warm but I know where I would rather be. 

Even when we did get a dry day the fields were still so wet that the horses and ponies on the farm would be sloshing about in the mud.

But of course there are those of us who love nothing better that to be wallowing about in the mud.

Meet Totty the pig who number 3 thought was just the best thing he had ever seen (latest obsession is pigs of any kind). 

But for me the best part of being on the farm was

Aren't they just the cutest things you ever saw.  

The one with 95 on his rump number 3 named Lightening McQueen as this is his number in the film 'Cars' 

We even got to have a go at feeding some of those who had been lifted from their mothers because they were the smallest of a set of triplets and sheep can only feed two lambs. 

I thought I would introduce you to Mr. P who was with us all week around the garden.  He would be shouting for his breakfast around 7am and wouldn't shut up until the sun went down.  Number 3 thought he was great and no matter where he was or what he was doing at the cottage as soon as he would hear the call of Mr. P he would say 'the Pheasants back' and run off to watch him out the window.  I must admit there are quite a few photo's of him he was quite entertaining. 

and lastly

I have to show you the kind ladies 

who provided us with 

gorgeous fresh eggs every morning.  Michael & Shirley leave you a complimentary basket of eggs for your arrival but you can wonder down to the chicken coup and collect them yourself throughout your stay.

Although there are many more photo's to share I think these are more than enough to keep you busy for now.

Have a lovely Easter one and all 


Monday, 14 April 2014

Guess whose back........................

We arrived home on Saturday from our week away in Scotland.  We stayed at Williamswood Farm Self Catering Cottages. There are four cottages to choose from and we stayed in Beckhead Cottage on the edge of the farm.  The cottage was like a home from home and could even have a real log fire if you so desired with wood provided by the farm.  Michael and Shirley Clarke who own and run the farm as well as the cottages are very welcoming and the perfect hosts, there if you need them but quite happy to let you get on and enjoy your holiday at your leisure.   

There was plenty of activity in the garden with lots of visits from our little feathered friends.

I don't know who was more excited about the Woodpecker coming for tea me or number 3.

I may have been away but I have been following what you have all been up to in my absence and I will try and get to leave comments as soon as I can.

Alas it is back to work for me now but will add more photo's of our time in Scotland later in the week.

Till then.

Happy crafting.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

A bit of a grey day

Today I woke up to grey skies and fog apparently due to a Saharan sand cloud that is currently covering many parts of the British Isles.   I felt it was too depressing to take a photograph of this and I decided now that the Rape Seed is back in bloom that I would show a photograph I took around this time last year instead.

Having had a lovely Mothers Day on Sunday, I have been busy at the office as I will be finishing tomorrow for a weeks annual leave and I cannot wait.  We will be off to Scotland on Saturday and I am looking forward to many more photo opportunities of the beautiful scenery which I will share with you on our return. 

We will be taking two of the four paws with us this trip whilst Monty and Buster are off on their own little holiday at a local kennels.   Monty is six now and has never particularly liked traveling and as it's such a long way we decided it wasn't very fare to make him come a long.  Buster on the other hand still needs some work on his manners.  We were told when we took him on last October that he was lead trained and loved to go on long walks.  Well if that was supposed to be the case I think someone forgot to mention it to Buster.  D is not a small built man by any means but on the first occasion on which he took Buster out almost ended up in a hedge as Buster pulled like a train at the excitement of being out.  He has come on a long way in the few months we've had him but on this occasion we felt it would be better if he stayed behind to keep Monty company.  The couple that run the kennels have many years experience and a large paddock for the boys to run about in.  I'm sure they will have a ball but just like it used to feel the night before any of the children when on a school residential trip I am feeling a little apprehensive today.   


So these two will be packing their little bags ready for their first holiday.  Romeo absolutely loves going in the car and watching the world go by.  The decision to take Rufus was more out of the fact that the holiday was already booked when we agreed to take him on and as he's had two new homes in as many months we didn't want him to feel he was being abandoned again.  Debbie out groomer told D that he cried the first time he left him with her he must of thought he was moving home again and wondered what on earth it was he had done that was so terrible that he was on the move again.  Still he is very much a part of our family and home now and won't be going anywhere else to live again.  He seems to be another one who likes going in the car but unlike Romeo he just tends to curl up fast a sleep.                                                 

I have books stored in readiness on my Kindle so all that remains is for me to decided which crochet or knitting project I should take with me although I will be on the lookout for wool shops whilst away probably much to D & number 3's disappointment. 

Hope you all have a good week and don'y work too hard will you.