Friday 29 June 2012

Olfactory Heaven

I sat in the garden after work, listening to the wind, and enjoying the plants. There are wafting scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, which mix with the scent of the chamomile if it is stepped on. There are other lovely plants to sniff, if you crush them a little-lavender, fennel and bay, a mixture of delicious thymes and a santolina. We have no upstairs neighbours temporarily, so it is especially lovely to be in the garden as nobody is overlooking us. I have a day of work planned tomorrow, then, hopefully, a day of sitting in the garden on Sunday. I hope your weekend is lovely!

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Look to the Skies

Two pictures from the last week. The first is the new cable car, opening soon, or possibly already opened. You can use your oyster card to ride on it, so I am going to test it out soon! It starts from North Greenwich, but I don't know where it ends up. The only other cable car I have ever been on is in Madrid. It goes to the Casa del Campo-a large country park just outside the city. We were almost the only people there. We had a coke, watched the many sparrows, had a little walk, then got the cable car back. There was a commentary in Spanish as you went along. An amusing experience. Hope this one is as good.
This parakeet and his friends were making loads of noise the other evening. They were in the cherry tree two gardens along. The cats and I were all out in the garden when the birds flew low over our heads, making their distinctive screeching squawks. We all ducked! I have seen them flying over here a lot, but really high up, and this is the closest they have got to our garden. I had my big camera out, so could take a zoomed in shot of this one.
I meant to come home early tonight, to continue with my tracking which I have only just started. However, events conspired against me, and I ended up not leaving until about half four, so I have decided not to do any work, but to knit instead! I am so tired I think I deserve an evening off!

Monday 25 June 2012


I saw this window in the Bath Fashion Museum, and just had to have some of that knitted bunting! I am in the middle of making it at the moment. There was a bit of trial and error in making the triangle a pleasing size, neat, and tapering well. This is my pattern written in a non-knitting pattern way, should you feel the need for some knitted bunting too. I am using 4mm needles, and any yarn I have which is a colour I like-though I have mainly stuck to wool rather than cotton as I think all the same material looks better. Though from a distance it won't show.
Cast on 25 stitches, knit five or six rows-to make about a centimetre of straight section for the bias binding. Then, knit one, knit two together, knit nineteen, knit two together, knit one. Knit four rows. Repeat the above-knit one, knit two together, knit most of row, then the last two before the last stitch, then the last stitch, then knit another four rows. I preferred reducing it on the stitch not immediately at the end as it looked neater. (I tried reducing it in the middle of each row but a definite angle developed-interesting!) Once you get down to the last few rows, knit four of the row with four stitches, then two or three of the really tiny rows as it gets too skinny. And just improvise the reduction until you are down to one. Very easy! I like the way the little tails have been left at the end so I have done that too.
 I went through old copies of Country Living magazine the other day, looking for tea party inspiration. I found so much that I have temporarily covered the little piece of kitchen wall I use as my photo background. So pretty and so easy. I might do this more often.

 Here is the reason I have been thinking about tea parties-the Mad Tea Party, hosted by Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist. I love this event, and started thinking about it ages ago, but needed some extra ideas. It is on the 28th July-at the end of term I think-perfect! This is the fifth one, and I have now joined in with four. Being able to join in was one of my reasons for wanting to start a blog in the first place. I love Vanessa's magical view of the world, and always come away from a visit there feeling inspired and thoughtful.
So, inspiration has visited, and I am busy with various projects as usual. I clear the kitchen table, and no sooner than it is clear, then it is full of things again. Ah well, what else is a table for? Eating? No! (Well occasionally!)

Friday 22 June 2012

Royal Crescent

A rose I saw on the way to the Royal Crescent.
 The ivy has grown over the columns of this grand building, and looks just right there.
 These lions guard the approach to the crescent. When the clock strikes thirteen, they are said to kick the golden balls to each other.

 The rain was really quite heavy by now, and this begonia (is it a begonia?) looked jewel like.

Taken from the shelter of a tree. This is the only shot I managed to get of the whole thing. It is very imposing and had a strange feel I thought. Maybe the way that it has this huge grassy space in front of it. Luxurious really, in the overcrowded modern world. I found out that the architect, John Wood, designed the facade, then people bought a length of frontage, and had their own architects design the back. So the back is higgledy piggledy compared to the uniform front. Some houses are one house, but have two front doors, as the owner bought a longer piece of crescent. I wondered if they are still whole houses or divided into flats. I can't imagine what one would cost! (If this link is still there-this much! (£4 million more or less)
We walked across the grass, only to discover a ha-ha and some unfriendly, keep off the part of the grass above it signs. The top part is residents (and birds I observed!) only. I liked the view through the long grass on the wall bounding the top lawn.

The Pearlies insisted that they wanted a picture in front of another royal area, but look a bit disturbed by the size of the place.
So disturbed that they jumped! (I didn't notice this until looking at the photos later. Spooky!)
I was interested to read that the design of the crescent, and a nearby circular road called the Circus, represent the moon and the sun, masonic symbols, as John Wood and his father were interested in  occult and masonic symbolism. There are two more streets nearby which, along with the Circus, form a key, another masonic symbol.
Well, another week is over, I don't know where this one went! I need a weekend of doing little jobs and tidying up, how dull! Hope you have a good weekend, whatever you are up to. 

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Bath Stone

The most striking thing when you first arrive in Bath is the colour of the stone. The stone used for many of the buildings is Bath Stone, an oolitic limestone, which has a soft, yellow colour. Beautiful shopping streets, historical sites and modern buildings are all made from this stone, giving Bath an elegant and coherent appearance.
 Some parts had the feel of a film set.

 I love the shabby look of this building.
 The door on the right just looks magical!
 As does this upstairs window.
 Even the surgery door was pretty.

I have one more set of pictures to share tomorrow, of the strange and imposing Royal Crescent.
The Pearlies found it all a little overwhelming.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Bath Roman Baths

This statue man was a premonition of what was to come. I don't know if he wanted to be covered in pigeons, but that was what made him beautiful. I once had a pigeon land on my chest on a station. I was wearing grey. They must recognise their own basic colour.
 Lots of statues guard over the green water of the baths. The green is exactly like that of our kitchen table. I felt quite at home there. It is caused by algae-not by iron as I heard one know it all man informing some guests as I walked around.
 The statues were my favourite people on the top floor, where you first go in. They had a certain dignity and gravitas that the zombies with the audio guides did not. I am not in favour of audio guides personally. I find they interfere with my ability to take in the atmosphere of a place. I like to find some information out of course, but I am happy to do so after my visit, and just enjoy being in the place when I am in it. I have never been somewhere so crowded with audio guide users. A faraway look comes into their eyes, and off they go, regardless of anyone or anything else.
 Anyway, enough of the ranting. Here is a man trying his best to declaim without a face. Tricky.

 The original Roman drain where the hot water enters this bath. It is a very big place, with a series of baths, a cold pool and other places that Romans liked to do their ablutions. Quite incredible really.

 The other obvious hazard for the modern tourist-trying to get your shot around the other people trying to get theirs.
The water was pleasantly warm. It must have been amazing to use this place in its heyday. Please see the end of this post for the health and safety warning!
 All I really wanted to do was get down to the water we could see when we came in. It takes ages to get here! There is a lot going on underground and on the way down. I was so tired though, so very happy to sit here for a while waiting for Andy, and people watching. Next to me was the photo stone. Lots of people sat on it to have their picture taken. Some American ladies were taking turns. ''You know what to say'' said one, ''sex'' said the poser, then, quietly, under her breath, ''not for years''. I smiled, and she said ''You heard that didn't you?'' I nodded and she said ''I'm seventy next week, you know, after a while...'' It made us laugh.
 I liked the reflections.
 On the photo stone.
 Roman lead piping! Still perfect. I wish modern plumbers were this good.
The cold pool has become a place to make your offering to the Gods and Goddesses of the baths. The coins glint prettily in the gloom.
Just a note-I don't think you are meant to touch the water. I saw one sign saying this. I was wondering if anyone ever fell in, as the stone paving is very uneven and I saw quite a few people having little trips. Then I found some videos of people jumping in-and being told off and warned about the water.

Saturday 16 June 2012

On a Journey

We are on our way to Bath today. The Pearlies are coming too! Never been to Bath and have always wanted to so quite excited. It is Andy's birthday tomorrow and we thought we would go away for a change. Hope you have a good weekend, whatever you are up to.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Rambling long post with pretty pictures, great photos, a book recommendation and a song I love!

All the comments on my last post made me laugh and smile, and feel happy to have such lovely and kind blog friends! The bears say 'Hi'-they and I have calmed down slightly now.
The children came in yesterday, and almost as soon as they did, one of them was sick on the carpet, vinyl, sink, silly cupboard lock and taps! Poor girl-she is on the autistic spectrum, and was terrified of the new school, and it could not even be mentioned to her without causing a massive panic. She was in such a state when she first came in, crying and scared, that no wonder she was sick. She went off with her Mum for a while, to take her older sister to school, and when she came back was much better, and today pretty much fine. As with everything, it is often the thought of what is about to happen, rather than the actual event which is far more scary. I hoped it would be like this for her, that all the familiar faces and things would be far more important than the location.
The playground is huge! It is about three times bigger than our much reduced old one, and we actually went out quite a bit today. It was lovely to see the kids using so much space, and to be able to have bikes, parachute games and other things going on at once!
After yesterday with the children, it was easy to see where the problem areas of the classroom were, so I totally rearranged it last night, with the help of the lovely cleaning lady Jackie-who has been of far more practical help than anyone so far, and so kind! I only knew her slightly before-just to say hello, but she is great! Though I miss our old cleaner who was also lovely. Tarting up begins in earnest tomorrow-my favourite part! The reward for all the hard graft is always the arranging and decorating! I will show you some pictures next week!
 My personal reward to myself a couple of days ago was these paeonies. They were reduced and looked promising.
 Beautiful! They are standing on the kitchen table, but this little table is good for flower pictures against the white wall. I could not really leave them there though as it is an unstable table!
 I just thought I would show you these too. They are two photos from a selection of twelve I bought last weekend in a charity shop-all about A3 or slightly bigger, and amazing shots. Urban, industrial, buildings and some people-all black and white. The photographer is called David Lyon. I couldn't find any information about him on the internet, though as they are from so long ago there may well not be any. I would love to know about him. There were at least forty more pictures, and I had to stop myself! They were £2 and £3 each! Some are mounted on card and others are just the print. They must have come from a house or business clearance. It is sad that all this amazing work just ends up in a charity shop, though I suppose some good comes out of them, and the buyers will appreciate them. Most are from the early 80s or late 70s. Carole asked me the other day what I would do with the bones I found. A lady on Greenwich market asked me what I would do with the four or five vintage postcards of the Queen I bought the other day, and I also thought to myself about these things, and these photos, which cannot all be displayed at once. What I think, is that I don't often know what I will do with things, I just feel compelled to have them and this is mainly because they make me happy or inspire me. I am displaying a photo for a while on the little table, then will change it. The postcards will go in my postcard frame for a while and I will enjoy looking at them. The bones are on the side, and I look at them often and have drawn some.
This one is called 'Man and Concrete'. I think it must have been taken at the Southbank, near the Hayward gallery.
I am currently reading this book on the recommendation of Andy's brother and I love it! Have only read a little so far, but it is the first book I have started for ages where I can't wait to get back to it. We went to see 'Prometheus' with him, and were discussing many much better films when we came home, and he said this book was a little similar in storyline but really good. Have you seen it yet Tracy? What did you think? I didn't want to answer your query the other day in case I spoilt it for you!
And I also can't stop listening to this song-by Mary Gauthier, so brilliant but emotional too which is what I seem to need in the car on the way home at the moment! Andy has made me a whole cd of her songs to listen to tomorrow!
This version is most like the one I have on cd-I like both.

Monday 11 June 2012


Grrr rain! Grrr moving! Grrr builders not doing things when they promised to (though the builders have actually been very nice today) Grrr everything! That is my less than in reality moan about today, a bad day, one which I had bad dreams about last night, rightly as it turns out. We had to unpack and sort out everything today as the kids are in tomorrow. The classroom is just about usable, we have no storage, a door which wasn't there last time has appeared between our room and the headteacher's office next door (though it is rumoured he is only in on Tuesdays-the head of the other school, not ours) The kids will probably not be able to go out properly for at least a week. The toilets are through four sets of doors-three at the actual toilet and our classsroom door, and we need two adults to go with a child each time they need to go. We don't know yet if our lunches are arranged and the full timers are back in for dinners tomorrow. I could go on but it is very boring so I won't. Instead I will show you my creative efforts from the weekend. I could have done loads of work yesterday and Saturday evening, but instead I chose to make bears. Miniature bears! I am so pleased with them. It is a mixture of things that have combined to make we want to do this, the main one being the lovely lady that Linda Sue and I met at the market, who made all manner of creatures from all kinds of fabrics. One of the sweetest things on her stall was a little rabbit made from mohair. It was £30 and I could not justify it somehow, but it made me want to try to make my own mohair creature. Instead I bought a mohair rabbit from Ebay-it is very sweet. But that is another story. I asked the lady where she bought mohair from-Germany. I have since read that Germany produces most of this bear making fabric-Steiff bears are German aren't they? Should have realised. Then I found a woman getting rid of some of her mohair stash on Ebay-and bought three pieces in the end. I am being very careful and economical-and tiny bears don't take much fabric anyway.
 This is little prototype bear. He is a dangerous bear. Not so much for his fierceness, more that he caused me to be almost stuck on top of the desk in the back room, where I had climbed to get the bead box (once I remembered where it was!) and from which I couldn't get down. If you could see all the extra school related stuff in there at the moment you would see why-grrr!
 Little white bear is 150% bigger than little prorotype bear, and is made from the posh mohair. I used Kim Klassen's 'Aurora' texture, with other photoshop filters, to fancy up the photos a bit. I like the nostalgic look they have now. (Thanks Kim!)
 The beauty of the fur is that the stitching disappears-unlike on the felt bear.
'Frankenbear' is what Andy called him!