Sunday, 31 August 2014

August Catch Up

Here at The Willows I have been desperately trying to cling on to the last days of Summer even if the mornings have been trying to tell me for the past week that Autumn is but a hares breath away.

 It has been glorious sunshine today and I have spent the majority of it in the garden tidying back some of the plants and putting a second coating of fence preserver on the fence panels before the weather turns.

It's lovely to see that the Butterflies are still visiting the garden.

So just a quick update on my challenges.

My challenge to re-read a book from school this month was 

My challenge to watch an old film this month was

I have already completed my challenge of making 50 mini hats for the BIG KNIT challenge and they are just waiting to be dropped off at our local  branch of Age Uk. They have set themselves a target of 4000 hats this year so I do hope they make it.  At least they will have 55 from me to help them on their way.

I have made 40 of my crochet Poppies and have already had people asking to buy them. I'm hoping we will beat the £85 we raised last year we have set ourselves a target of £100 to commemorate the 100 years since the start of the first world war.

and my last challenge was initially to read 13 out of the 26 books that were sitting on my bookshelf at Christmas.  I managed to read the 13 back at the end of May but have been continuing to read the remaining 13 and I can now reveal that I have just 3 more remaining.

The books I have read this month from my bookshelf have been

            Son of a Witch - Gregory Maguire - Fiction

           Love Anthony  - Lisa Genova - Fiction

                         I'll Never Give Up on You - Becky Hope - Non-Fiction

                         The Innkeeper's Daughter - Val Wood - Fiction

                        The Empty Cradle - Rosie Goodwin - Fiction

                        The Murder Stone - Louise Penny - Fiction

Have a good week one and all


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Things We Take For Granted

I suppose most of us are guilty of taking things for granted
especially our  senses and definitely our health.

I know I certainly have done, that is until I woke up and realized I couldn't see out of my left eye.

Everything was a blur.

Now the one thing that always springs to mind with working in a Children's Oncology Department is that 
whenever you get a problem with your eyesight you automatically think you have s brain tumour.

I tried to be rational about the situation and thankfully D stayed very calm about it all, at least his outward 
appearance was that he looked in a very blurred sort of way calm.

I had been working late on the computer and had been reading rather a lot but I had never experienced 
anything like it before.

I was sufficiently worried that had D not been able to get me into the Opticians I would of gone to
A & E.
Fortunately D managed to get me an appointment.

Whilst sitting waiting for my appointment it made me think about all the things I wouldn't be able to do if my eye was permanently damaged.
No more watching the sun rise or sun set (and we do get some beauties here in the Fens), no more reading or crafting and the possibility that if I could no longer drive then I wouldn't be able to continue working.  It really did make me think just how much I take my eyesight for granted, and not only my eyesight but everything from walking, talking the use of all my limbs really.

The Optician was very thorough and having asked me what I do for a living he was very good and reassured me that he could not see anything at the back of my eye that would suggest a tumour.

As you can imagine I was very relieved.  

The upshot is that I am acutely short sighted in my left eye, this must have been slowly getting worse until it hit crisis and what doesn't help is that I am very long sighted in the right eye.

The result is two pairs of glasses, one for distance and one for reading and working on the computer as well as a pair of prescription sunglasses for driving.

As the Optician had forbidden me to drive (not that I could of anyway) I had a couple of days off work whilst I waited for my glasses to be made up.

This gave my eye chance to rest and thankfully the next day my vision had all but returned to normal, as normal as it is now going to be.

It was definitely a very frightening experience and one I really don't want to repeat in a hurry.

Recently I won Kate Eastwood's Just Pootling giveaway and one of my prizes was this lovely bookmark

and I think the words say it all.

I will no longer take so much for granted that's for sure.

Hope you are all having a better week.


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Sunflowers and other things

This years Sunflower in memory of my good friend and colleague Fran

Every year since we lost Fran to Ovarian cancer her friends and colleagues have grown Sunflowers in her memory.  

This is my Sunflower for 2014

My school books revisited for August is 'The Color Purple'  by Alice Walker.
I read the book when it first came out in the 80's and the film is one of my favorites and when my daughter read it in English Lit I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read it again and therefore had to make it one of my school revisited reads and guess what I got to enjoy it all over again.  There are some subtle differences between the book and the film.

For anyone who has never read the book or seen the film the story is 
.set in the deep American south between the wars, this is the classic tale of Celie, a young poor black girl. Raped repeatedly by her father, she loses two children and then is married off to a man who treats her no better than a slave. She is separated from her sister Nettie and dreams of becoming like the glamorous Shug Avery, a singer and rebellious black. woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the support of women that enables her to leave the past behind and begin a new life. 

It is always described as one of the most haunting books people have ever read and I think this is very true but is truly a magnificent read.

My film for the month of August 'Asrenic and Old Lace' starring Cary Grant. Mortimer Brewster, who has written several books ridiculing marriage as old fashioned has finally bitten the bullet and got married to his sweetheart Elaine Harper who lives next door to his aunts who raised him. .  He is about to go on Honeymoon but before he gets a chance he discovers a secret about his two dear old aunts and his uncle Teddy when he discovers a body hidden in the window seat.  Mortimer thinks that his Uncle Teddy, who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt, has something to do with the body but on confronting his two elderly aunts he soon discovers that they have been as they put 'helping their gentleman to cross to the other side' by poisoning them with elderberry wine, arsenic, strychnine and just a pinch of cyanide.  

It is a truly funny film and if you've never watched it, it is definitely one to brighten up a wet Sunday afternoon.


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A Rare Treat -The Festival of Quilts 2014

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Festival of Quilts NEC Birmingham

This weekend I have had a rare treat.

I am no quilter but my good friend & colleague is and is always encouraging me to have a go.

So this week three of us decided to have a rare treat by travelling down to Birmingham's NEC to attend the Festival of Quilts.

There was so much to see I really don't know where to start.
I took over 100 photographs.
Obviously I can't show you all 100 so I thought I would share with you a few of my favorites.

So there we are a small snapshot of what you get to see at this wonderful show.

Of course it would of been rude of me not to purchase a few mementos to bring home wouldn't it.

Isn't this little lamb tape measure just the cutest thing you have ever seen.

So whether you are a quilter or not I would highly recommend you try and get to one of the many quilt shows being held across the UK they are well worth a visit.  We are already planning another visit to either another quilt show or one of the big knit and stitch shows.

I promise to share some more next time.

Have a good week one and all,