Saturday, 23 August 2014

L is for Lakeside


We've been on a couple of camping trips recently and both have been lakeside locations. Vast areas of tranquil waters are beautiful whatever the season, I just love the light and reflections, come rain or shine.

5 things I love about being lakeside

1. The early morning sun than glistens on the rippling surface.

2. The stillness of water despite the approach storm


3. Mist rising from the cool water in the warm of the rising sun.


4. The hypnotic effect of water and clouds. They even work on the dog.


5. Even seven year olds aren't too old to feed the ducks










Friday, 22 August 2014

K is for The Killing

The Killing doesn't really sound very summery, but it's more a new way of watching TV than the subject matter. Technology has changed our viewing habits greatly and stuff like Netflix is ideal for someone like me who never remembers or knows when great stuff is on.

Watching a series on Netflix works perfectly with crocheting a blanket in the summer holidays. By the time I have finally wrangled the kids into to bed after all the feeding and entertaining of small people, I'm seriously ready to sit around crafting and escape into a dark shadowy world of make believe crime and murder.

Last summer it was Breaking Bad, episode after episode, there whenever I was ready. No waiting until the following week to discover what happens next. Jesse Pinkman and Heisenberg were part of my life.

This year work on the hexablanket is accompanied by the gloomy rain drenched Seattle based drama, The Killing. There's something comforting about being so warm on a summer's evening watching the cold greyness of somewhere far away.

And why wouldn't I love a programme in which the incessantly frowning heroine wears an anorak and what looks like a hand knitted fairisle jumper?



Monday, 18 August 2014

J is for Josie

I can hear the moans already...

"How come Josie gets her own post in the a - z of summer and I don't"

Well Charlie, the first post in this series was effectively yours as it was all about your trip to London and secondly, this is a big summer for Josie because in September she's going to secondary school.


As a mum living in an area that still uses a test to select children for grammar school, you have to make the decision whether to coach your child or not. Josie is a high flyer with her English but doesn't have the time for the logical methodical thought required for maths so last summer she was tied to her study schedule. She wanted to do it, she wanted to go to the girls' grammar school and her hard work paid off. She passed the Kent Test and has this summer free to do what she pleases.

There weren't any tears from Josie at her leavers' assembly and as ever she surprised me by doing the unexpected and found herself a new best friend on the last day of term. They have been inseparable since then, it had been a Romy and Josie summer.


The girls asleep in the tent, despite the noise and hullabaloo outside.

Josie wrote a list of things she wanted to do in the holidays before they broke up. Charlie wrote one too but he isn't into writing so his list was simply five things, whereas Josie's had close to 100. We've been working our way through and some have been more successful than others.


Breakfast in a cafe got a really big tick

Although she tried sushi, it's not something she'd like to repeat



Sunday, 17 August 2014

I is for idleness

In a perfect world there should be a vast amount of idleness about in the summer. Since the children have finished school though, I feel that I have been rather busier than usual organising this and sorting out that. The garden always seems to require my attention and the feeding of the smalls involves enough activity to fill my days.

My Summer has been rammed with an active type of idleness but I dream of being busy doing nothing. It seems a while since I have sat and simply stared at the sky without having to resolve arguments, think about what I'm cooking for lunch or watch out for potential issues that might shatter the peace.


We are going camping twice more before the end of the summer and I plan to be as idle as possible. I intend to sit by the lake, stare at the trees and lie around cloud watching.




H is for hexablanket

When I started my summer project back in the middle of July I simply had a couple of bags of bargin charity shop yarn and a bit of a dream. With weeks of summer ahead and plenty of resources I thought I could easy crochet a blanket and had my eyes on the prize.


The hexagons began to pile up, Josie named the project the hexablanket and I knew I was on the right track because an eleven year old didn't like the colours because they were too granny-ish.


I timed how long it took to make one hexagon (15 mins if I did it non-stop without any interruptions from demanding children), did the maths and worked out how long it would take to do each row in relation to the time I would be able to devote to crochet. As the weather got hotter and hotter it did seem rather absurd to be making a blanket in a bikini.

And then I got distracted by embroidery (see E is for embroidery), entertaining the kiddos and life. I remembered how epic crocheting a blanket can be. Not epic in the sense of my Charlie's description of his ideal sandwich or Josie's friend's opinion of our TV but more along the lines of an exceptionally long and arduous task. It did afterall take me three summers to complete my first crochet blanket. Watch this space, for a rather long time, if you have the patience.


Friday, 15 August 2014

G is for Guinea Pigs

I've never had a guinea pig of my own or any of the smaller fluffy pets that are kept in cages, but this will be the third summer that we have had them to stay as guests. We will be looking after a couple for a friend for a week which will be just about bearable for my husband so probably the only chance my kiddies will get of the little snufflers.

Today we sadly discovered that the second of a guest piggies from last year had died and were at a little bulb planting and seed scattering event for Henry when we were asked to be pet sitters, which cheered up my children and the little girl who has now lost both of her pets. As a seven year old with his limited experience of the world, Charlie has yet to learn the sobriety of such occasions and made us laugh by asking inappropriate questions.

  • Will there be food at the funeral?
  • How about drinks, there should be at least drinks?
  • Now their guinea pigs have died can we have their cage for Sherlock (our dog)?

This is Henry enjoying a feast of grass on the sun lounger last summer.



F is for friendship bands

I'm not a massive fan of loom bans. Yes it's great that the kids are doing something creative and it makes a change for them not to be plugged into an electronic device. In my eyes though, they are a little on the ugly side, a touch too plastic and they get everywhere, even my allotment.

Josie is in my team on this one; we both prefer friendship bracelets. There are just millions of more intensely beautiful colours and textures involved.

Even Charlie has swapped his arm full of overly tight loom bands which were practically cutting his circulation off, for the more delicately knotted friendship bracelet.


And then there's the another issue to address. Those loom bands are going to be around far longer than the tiny fingers that are making them whereas the friendship bracelets can go in the compost. The Guardian even went as far as to question whether they might be the next environmental disaster.

What do you prefer?


Saturday, 9 August 2014

E is for embroidery


We are all pinners of pins but how much making actually goes on? As for finishing what I've started , thank goodness there no such thing as the unfinished projects police, they would throw the book at me. It isn't that I get bored with a project, I am simply distracting by new and exciting ideas. There's always a new plan popping into my head like embroidering my frankly quite ugly denim shorts.

The thing about my shorts though is that I seem to wear them all the time, especially for gardening and the allotment. They are perfect, my Swiss Army knife, keys, phone and poo bags (for Sherlock) fit in the pockets and they are comfortable enough to go climbing down into the river and rescuing children from trees.


One of the aspects of summer projects I love is crafting in the sunshine. These shorts now have the memories of a day at the beach stitched into the very weave of the fabric forever.

And finally to finish (although I'm not sure I have actually completely totally finished) just a spot of sunburst on the pocket.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

D is for Dahlia

Ahhh the delights of dahlias. Summer wouldn't be so gloriously colourful without them. For the third year I have grown them from seed and it's such fun anticipating what colour they will be from those tiny tightly closed buds.


This is one of the beds where they hang out and the mass of green foliage is starting to give way to a riot of multi-coloured blooms. Some plants are from this year's seedlings, other are survivors from last summer thanks to the mild winter.

I never know whether you should lift the tubers or leave them be. Somewhere in the attic is an ancient book about dahlias that I always intend to read but never get round to doing so.

I'm a bit of a novice to be honest but I'm learning and I do know that this is a stunning cream pom pom dahlia.

These are red cacti that I lifted from my old garden in Autumn 2012 and have been perfectly happy in this pot since then.


I think quite a lot of my success so far has definately been down to luck but next on my to do list is to plant some of my potted dahlia into the front garden. I am also quite keen to branch out into buying some super special ones that come as tubers. I'm looking forward to making my wish list at the Dahlia festival in September at the Secret Gardens of Sandwich.


Monday, 4 August 2014

C is for camping

Since getting a dog, we needed to find some new campsites to while away the hours cloud watching. We have a handful of requirements:

☀️ Not to far from our house (Charlie doesn't travel well unless it's flying through the air on a tyre swing)

☀️ Campfires allowed (it's just not the same if you can't  saw up enormous logs with a Swiss Army Knife, send the children off to collect wood or cook on a flame) 

☀️ Plenty of space ( I live in a terraced house in the middle of a city, I don't want tents on top of tents on top of me)

☀️ Dogs allowed (this rules out our previous favourite, Kingsdown International, although we did go there for Camp Josie without Sherlock)

So what new discoveries have we found that meet our fairly simple demands, Bedgebury Camping. It's idyllic. Five gigantic fields surrounded by trees and brooks, bush craft activities in a tipi (maybe next time) and the novelty of Eco toilets.

On Saturday night there's a fish and chip van on site for a couple of hours, but be warned, this is highly popular with fellow campers taking the easy way out so go early. The customer in front of us ordered 18 portions of fish and chips leaving us with an hour wait and despite there being 30 people or so in the queue behind us, the sold out after just a few more orders.

Best of all was the total freedom for Sherlock and the children. Although dogs are supposed to be on leads, this is quite a loose rule and he spent most of the time free to roam.

Surprisingly he choose not to run riot around the campsite stealing sausages but instead remained close to base camp, guarding his ball / frisbee in the hope that some random person would throw it for him. And most of the time he was in luck.