Remember - Its not the length of your life that's important - it's the depth.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

More Fun in the Sun

On Monday the fun continued, Lisa and I have been planning to go to Berkeley Castle (where Wolf Hall was filmed) for some time. I was taken as a child (Boring!!! was the verdict back then!) and again when DD was home from University (enjoyed it much more that time) but I had not been back since. After hearing that a 'bloody murder' (*find some 'interesting facts' at the end) had taken place there, Lisa was keen to go. We set off in warm sunshine with Lisa driving as my car decided to get a flat tyre!  (I left DH to deal with that:-))
My pictures will not do the rooms and buildings justice so pop over to the website to get lovely views but here are a couple of things that took my eye.

This splendid fellow greeted us as we entered, dressed in the riding habit of the Hunt 'Whipper In' who is in charge of the hounds during the meets and also in kennels. He wears a yellow coat and breeches with the castle depicted on his legs. Hounds and Horses are still kept at the castle stables/Kennels but since the introduction of the hunting ban they now follow 'fake trails' of aniseed. Its quite a spectacle on Boxing Day here in Thornbury as riders of all ages join with the Berkeley Hunt in their splendid Red riding Jackets and the pack of hounds and is quite a spectacle which people come from far and wide to witness.
Next we went to The Yurt Restaurant for some early refreshment as we arrived just before the castle was open to visitors, and suitably refreshed we visited the walled garden, where the colours of the flowers were amazing!

Now I'm not good with the names of plants, but I think these are Gladiola

and I don't have a clue what these are but they were so pretty!

I liked the contrast between the Lavender alongside more Gladi's. There were also lots of Fruit trees - Apples, Pears, Damsons, Greengages and Plums as well as soft fruits and some veggies.
We made a tour of the Formal gardens as I wanted to see this pool...

which had at some point in history been a swimming pool, but is now a rather lovely Lily Pool which was full of Water Boatman Beetles which I have not seen since I was a child. I especially liked the view of the castle from the little building at the far end.

We then went into the castle 'proper', and we were warned about the 'Tripping Stairs' at the main doorway - built so that the stone steps are different heights, widths and very uneven, built this way deliberately in case the walls were breached and the marauding Armies would fall as they charged up the steps into the building. 
As we made our own way around the rooms rather than take a guided tour I don't think Lisa was disappointed, though she was a little taken aback by the Dungeon some 10 metres deep with no way out and right next to it the little cell where 'The Bloody Murder' was carried out!

There were some beautiful examples of needlework, both Facsimiles but still amazing!

this is one of a pair of Embroidered Gauntlets 

and an Alms Purse as owned by Queen Elizabeth l, both hand embroidered by several Ladies Of Berkeley. 

In another room were these delicate paper slippers

The label to describe thoughts behind them is shown here...but sadly no name for the crafts-person who made them!

Completing our tour of all the rooms including Kitchens, Game Rooms (where the meat would have been hung from large hooks in the ceiling), wine cellars etc we took advantage of lunch, again in the Yurt before going into the Butterfly house where it was hot and steamy and we were surrounded by Butterflies of every colour and hue

and the biggest Moth I have ever set eyes on!

we were informed by a staff member that it is an Atlas Moth. Now I DO NOT like moths but I have to admit this was a beauty so I got very brave and went close enough to take this picture!

We explored the Herb garden of The Jenner Museum but did not go into the house itself, and wandered round the grave yard of the lovely St Mary's Church where there were many very old and interesting tomb stones, including a gentleman who had been Mayor of Berkeley 5 times in the 1700's. 
Well that's it for this post I'll be back soon for a tour around another of Britain's Stately homes which we enjoyed today, and which is probably well known to you all!

Interesting Facts taken from the website ...

The murder of King Edward II notoriously took place here in 1327.

The Barons of the West gathered at Berkeley before setting out to the momentous meeting with King John at Runnymede at which the Magna Carta was signed.

During the English Civil War, the Royalists surrendered the Castle to the Parliamentarians after a siege.

The very first American Thanksgiving was held by Berkeley men.

Yale and the University of California both benefited from the legacy of Bishop George Berkeley of Cloyne in the 18th Century.

Edward Jenner, son of the vicar of Berkeley, developed the smallpox vaccination.

The last court jester in England died here in the Castle when he tumbled from the minstrel's gallery in the Great Hall (did he fall, or was he pushed?).

The Castle has many links with the monarchs of England: most notably King John, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, Charles I, George I, the Prince Regent - to name but a few.

Francis Drake, Queen Elizabeth's most famous sea captain, was a regular visitor to Berkeley.

Berkeley Connections All Over The World

Having been such a long-living and prolific family means that there are Berkeley connections all over the world, from Berkeley Square in London, to the North of America and Australia in the South.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Another Lovely day or two!!

Yesterday's picnic party went without a hitch, everyone arrived early in bright sunshine and the paddling pool was filled much to Little H's delight. While lunch was cooking away we all enjoyed a cuppa in the garden, while H opened her gift from DS (who had to leave early due to another commitment) the game was a 'Frisbee' target game and much laughter ensued as she and her Dad played a REALLY competitive game followed by a variation where H stood in her pool while Dad threw the Frisbee's at her - shrieks of laughter followed as they hit the 'target' and she (and a few of us!) got splashed. After lunch we all retired back outside and were joined by a couple more guests and more present opening. As the weather was so nice we ate the birthday tea in the garden. While all of this was going on we spent time keeping the new pup from A) attacking Monty, B) climbing in the fish pond or Paddling Pool or C) eating things that were definitely not good for her. She is absolutely fearless for such a small pup so we were kept busy.

Now last time I promised to tell you about our recent outing with Severn Valley Quilters to New Threads Quilt Shop near Andover, the shop is part of a craft complex on a trading estate.
Setting off by coach at 9 am we arrived around 11 am and our ladies (and one brave hubby) set off in all directions to explore. Carys and I headed to the coffee shop for some refreshment, a lovely cup of tea and homemade cake (well you have to eat cake don't you?) We then discovered a lovely selection of shops and workshops to explore, there was a Woodwork business (the owner was selling his wood turned products at age 12!) and now at the age of 30 he has a thriving bespoke business. There was a lovely Fair Trade shop where we both succumbed to buying these lovely reversible Sari bags for only £7.

made from Hessian/re-cycled sari fabric and hand stitched with large Kantha style stitching, mine sits under the table by my chair and as you can see below I have been able to put all my current ongoing knitting projects inside which makes things look a lot tidier than previously.

I keep the Hessian side out as I like the contrast with the turned down top. The owner of the New Threads shop Meg had offered to give us all a talk about using Pre-cuts (New Threads is the largest stockist of Moda Pre cuts in Europe) She was very easy to listen to and gave us all full permission to make notes or take as many pictures as we liked, she showed us quilt after quilt, some looking really complex until Meg explained in great detail how they were made. Here are a few pictures of the quilts we saw. beginning with a rather 'fuzzy shot' of Meg explaining the finer points...of this one made from a patterned Charm pack, a pack of Bella Solids and some white yardage Size approx 48" x 48"

this one, a double bed topper is made from a Layer cake and a pack of Bella Solids charm squares

 Next one is made using 4 Jelly Roll strips, joined into a tube and cut at 45 degs. to form the squares.

This one is very easy, simply put 2 charm squares R/S together an sew all the way round,  mark the diagonal lines across each pair and carefully cut on the lines, open out, press and Voila! Square in a Square blocks simply joined with sashing. I was so inspired I bought all the fabric to make one.

This last one I just thought was so cute a lovely little boys quilt, sadly no details were given as she ran out of time. We had been split into 2 groups for Lunch as the Coffee shop was not huge, but Carys and I had brought a packed lunch so it was now time to eat. The rest of the day was spent looking at a few remaining business's before heading to join the queue in the quilt shop which though small was perfectly formed spread out over 3 units. we arrived home around 5 pm, whereon I had to do a quick turnaround as it was the monthly meeting at 7.30 pm. We always hold the usual meeting for those who are unable to join the outing and 11 of us spent the next 2 hours 'stitching and bitching' in the way quilters do!

Well that's it for now, I'll be back soon to tell you of another great day out.


Saturday, 8 July 2017

A Lovely Day and some Sewing!

Hello All,
It's been another lovely day weather wise, but for me too hot to sit in the garden so once the early jobs were done - preparations towards tomorrows Party, baking, visiting Mum etc, I decided some sewing might be in order!
You may remember I was experimenting with making Fabric post cards (see post on 22nd June) I was pleased with the results and after posting it, Laura sent me a picture to prove it works.

as you can see the stamp stayed in place and the postmark proves it had been through the machinery at the sorting office.

Following this I was asked if I would make some to sell, and I decided that today was the day. I had previously done some preparation, cutting fabrics to size (I like 6"x 4") deciding on designs etc and yesterday I did a bit of drawing/colouring plus a couple of experiments i.e. would Berol Pens (fine felt tip) bleed if used on fabric? - no they don't! Can I use rubber stamps (left over from my card making days) on fabric? - Yes I can! and could I set them by ironing them dry under grease-proof paper? - Yes that works too! but I think I need some new ink pads!
Today I layered up the 'Timtex' (I get mine from Empress Mills ) and calico backing, I used some Misty Fuse, which I brought back from the US trip in 2011 and was wondering when I would use it! It worked really well and did not give the 'grainy feel' of other bonding papers under the pen when I drew the Line and the text with a Pigma pen, Then it was sewing time. I stopped for a quick lunch break, but by 7pm I had completed 4 cards using the Wax Crayon technique and packed them up in clear card wallets.

The 5th one ( bottom photo - at the top) I made it at Clock Tower a few weeks ago. I'm now feeling quite smug having made them all in one day, I though it would take much longer.

There it goes again!!!, I am sitting here watching TV, (I had planned an evening of TV or watching a DVD) but my telly has other ideas. It's a fairly ancient analogue with a 'digi box' perched on top and it suits me but I guess the time has come to 'pension it off', as you can see by the little green light

the TV is on but no one is home, there is sound but no picture which these days tends to simply 'fade out' sometimes its for a few minutes but sometimes like tonight it's all evening! :-0 DS frequently tells me and I quote " Mother for goodness sake buy a new TV!" (Yes! I can hear you too Lisa!!!) who also keeps telling me off for putting up with it. 'But it's fine! (sometimes)' I say and as I'm usually knitting or talking to you lovely people, why spend the money  :-))
Well Today has been Little H's 6th Birthday, and I have had updates throughout the day of the celebrations. She got a new Bike from her other set of grandparents which was bought a few weeks ago, here she is all kitted up with her Helmet, pads for elbows and knees and NO STABILIZERS.

Tomorrow they will all descend on us for lunch and a Teddy Bears Picnic Party, I have pink Bunting to put up early in the morning and paper plates and bowls etc for the party food, so right now I better shoot off to bed to be ready for a flying start. I will be back as soon as I can with news and pictures of some quilts from a recent trip with Severn Valley Quilters
So until then from Monkey Business Central I shall just say...


Friday, 7 July 2017

What a Month!

Hello Dear Readers,
As I said at the end of my last post there has been a lot going on around here. Early on 14th of June my lovely Mum took a tumble at home. An ambulance was called by her alarm company and I was alerted by DH, after  a quick check over a mild chest infection was discovered but she was unhurt. After a chat with a GP some medication was ordered and they left her at home.. 

Then...around midnight the phone rings, alarm company to say that Mum had fallen again, this time in her kitchen at around 10 pm and had been on the floor for 2 hours! The reason for the delay was that Mum has never kept her 'panic button' around her neck but tied to the trolley she uses to walk, the trolley rolled away as she fell (this has been my biggest worry ever since we got her the alarm) and it had taken her quite a struggle to 'hook' it back using a broom which fortuitously fell near to her. 

An ambulance had already been dispatched so I flew into my clothes. I arrived to find her flat on her back behind the kitchen door which had been pushed shut in the fall. After another check by the paramedics fractured ribs were suspected and the infection had worsened. So off to A & E we went, many tests and and an x-ray later it was decided that no ribs were damaged but there was now a UTI as well. Apparently infection is the most common cause of falls in the elderly!

We were discharged the next day and given lots of advice to get Mum some help at home in the guise of care assistance. Ever since then I have attended meeting after meeting as Mum has been accessed and re-accessed to determine what should be done. 

Just as we all thought things had settled down Mum fell again, This time I was on duty at the Museum but luckily I was able to leave quickly arriving home to find DS in attendance, once again an ambulance was called but once they had got her up on a chair it seemed she was OK. As regards the UTI things seem to be a bit haywire, all the tests carried out since the original hospital visit show 'blood and other cells' present but I keep being told that 'no further treatment is required'. All of this is getting me very frustrated as I really need to find out what the hell is gong on, so that we can start to get Mum well again. Right at this very moment 'Nightmare' and 'headless chicken' seems to be very familiar phrases round here! Throughout all of this I have managed a bit of knitting but no sewing, which is driving me mad! 

I may get a chance tomorrow as I have to wait in for a delivery, but I also have to prepare for a Teddy Bears Picnic style birthday party on Sunday as requested by a Little girl who will be 6 tomorrow, (quite where that time has gone I have no idea)

On a Brighter Note..we now have a new baby in the family, she is 8 weeks old and arrived at DD's on Wednesday after a 'traumatic' journey back from Middlesborough (North Yorkshire) She is a cute Golden Doodle puppy (Golden Retriever/poodle cross) who it was discovered on the ride home suffered from violent car sickness. Here she is in DD's garden early yesterday.

Her name is Sansa (Yes! they are fans of Game of Thrones) and she is as gorgeous as she looks and of course I will be updating her progress as she grows. It will be so lovely for Little H to have a pup to grow up with, as Monty was already 5 years old and quite a serious sort of chap when H was born.