Friday, 18 December 2009

Knitting shawls & hats

For baby Wastell, the scheme for the shawl is based around Guernsey stitches, with pride of place in the four corners being the Humber Star. The main body is nearly complete, and I shall soon be knitting the border of points.... more pictures to follow in the new year for this project.

In the meantime, Papa to be Wastell, aka my son, has asked for some socks, and yes the yarn is now in the stash, but little heads and new babies just cannot wait.

So for Kaye's new grand-daughter, I've knitted up a couple of super little hats. The pattern 'Leaf Top Hat for Baby' comes free on the Internet, and in Baby Cashmerino by Debbie Bliss look like big bluebell flowers. The first hat was knitted on 3.25 for the main body, but at Kenilworth Knit and Knatter, we thought it would fit a new born or premature baby, so I've knitted a second hat on 3.75 needles. It is slightly bitter and with the looser tension, will stretch for a much bigger head.

The effect is just lovely, and reminds me of the flower hats worn by 'the little people' in fairy tales. I think I shall knit up a little collection for Baby W: I can just think of ones which the Primrose and Strawberry fairies might like to give her.

Christmas Spirit

Last night we spent an evening listening to some superlative music at Lord Leycester's in Warwick, where we heard Passamezzo give the 'Christmas Music in Shakespeare's England' concert. With the virtuoso of the singers and instrumentalists, the detailed costumes, replica instruments, candles and the ancient hall, it will be an evening never to forget.
Since then, the Christmas Spirit is truly upon me. I am quietly content, and counting my blessings, not anxious to attain some unattainable level of competence, sophistication, or preparedness....well not yet!

As I was washing up this morning a few snowflakes drifted down, and the garden started to look like myself and the kitchen floor, which was slightly covered in a dusting of icing sugar.
It took just 45 minutes from weighing out the ingredients to covering the cake. What Delia failed to explain was that it would also take about 15 minutes to wash up and clean the floor! The home made marzipan is so easy to make and malleable and therefore very easy to apply and smooth.

It is now 'curing' under a beautiful antique serviette until sometime next week when it will be rough iced. I like this term 'rough' ice.....

Sunday, 29 November 2009


Mr S and I have just returned from a few days in Lincoln. This is our first visit and we were delighted by what the City had on offer. At first we were disappointed that the Food and Drink festival was being held in an 'out of town' venue, and that we were a week early for their Christmas Market. By Saturday evening, as people were starting to put up the stands for Christmas Market, we realised that our view of the delightful street scape would have been spoilt.

In contrast to the current Christmas attractions, I found an ancient carving on the front of the Cathedral: doves, an emblem often found on Christmas cards:

The bells of the Cathedral sounded as we explored the City, and we were touched that the bells were silenced through the night, so as not to disturb sleepers. Our hotel was just a couple of streets away from the Cathedral, and from our window we had dramatic views of the Cathedral towers, and the walls of the Castle which were very well lit up at night. During our visit and guided tour of the Cathedral I found out about the Lincoln Imp, which Lizzie had told me about. Although it was quite late by the time we finished our tour, the light through the stained glass was wonderful. Later that evening as we rested prior to going down to diner, we heard a pair of owls calling not far from our window.

The shops down Steep Hill were very attractive, and it was interesting to go in and browse and look at the inside of ancient buildings.

We came across The Collection, which is the name of the City's Museum. It is housed in a very modern building, which has an excellent Cafe, with views up the hill to Cathedral. We spent almost half a day viewing a special exhibition called Making History: 300 years of Antiquaries in Britain. Another very different type of Museum, which we very much enjoyed was the Museum of Lincolnshire Life which is housed in some old barracks. In contrast to all the Christmas bling, this old printer's plate in the Museum caught my eye:

Then later I found a stained glass window with pretty flowers. So having missed the Christmas Market, I still found items from former times on the subject of Christmas, peace and good will to all men.

This is the original window designed by Edward Burne-Jones which came from the demolished St mark's Church in Lincoln. I think I have seen this design on Christmas Cards too.

To cap it all, a most extraordinary thing: just as we were walking down to have a coffee in an old Coffee House on High Bridge, I spied my Uncle Colin and Aunty Doreen. We had not been in touch for months, and they live quite some way and had come up on the train for an outing. It would have been so easy to miss each other in the crowds too.

Chatwsorth Outing

This is the second outing that I have organised for my branch of the WI. For several days before, I was receiving last minute bookings and queries, and I was a little nervous as I set off for the bus stop. However everyone at each pickup point arrived in time, and our trip went smoothly. In addition, although it was during the week of the most dreadful rains, this Thursday was the best day we had had for some time, with the sun even breaking through.

Chatsworth was decked up in all its glory, and there were plenty of tantalising items in their shop in the Orangery. I do like Christmas, but this was a little too early for me, and as it was not easy to peer in the gloom around the decorations, a visit in the Summer when more of the house will be open is definitely on the cards. I was able to take reasonable pictures of the Statues and the giant urn in the Orangery. Unusually for a Stately home, photography inside was allowed, but with the low lighting for the Christmas displays, my pictures do not really do the house justice.

Friday, 20 November 2009

J & J Cash and Serendipity

On the day Lizzie and I ventured out to Coventry, we were somehow funnelled into the market. Being new to Coventry I have yet to get my bearings, but was pleased to show off the exotic fruit and veg available. Before we could get to that part of the market, Lizzie was drawn to a Vintage bric a brac shop. After less than 5 minutes, we both were drawn to a picture of a Cardinal by J & J Cash. I had already shown Lizzie my Cash pictures back home and one of the purposes of our visit to Coventry was to go and see the ribbons and pictures at the Herbert Museum.

Lizzie is an excellent shopper and she soon picked out the best of the two similar Cardinal silk pictures. The amazing thing was that the last picture she had taken in Mauritius in Aunty Phyllis's garden was of a cardinal, which she called up on her camera to show me there in the market. In the Cash woven silk picture, the cardinal is shown perched on a branch of honey suckle, and we wondered whether honeysuckle exists in any of the normal Cardinal habitats, or whether the juxtaposition is a figment of some English designer's imagination.

Using her excellent talent for bartering, a reduced price of £8.00 was agreed. Lizzie was triumphant and we could not think of a better present for her to take back to Aunty Phyllis. Our mother had had some lovely very large woven Chinese silk pictures which granny Teckkam had given her many years ago, which we returned so that Aunty Phyllis's two daughters can enjoy their heritage. Maybe it is because of those beautiful Chinese silk pictures which hung on my mother's walls, that I am now drawn to these. However I think my enjoyment is based on the appreciation of the skill of the designers and craftsmen and women who made these. When in Italy I have often noted how they are so proud of their silk weavers.....its about time we do the same for the Coventry Silk Weavers.

Gallivanting with Sister

This could be Mauritius, or it could be somewhere in Australia, the clothes give it away....this was taken in the tropical house in Leamington Spa. Lizzie is wearing her new hat, and we are about to have coffee in The Restaurant in the Park.

Each day except for one when Lizzie went off to explore Kenilworth on her own, we sallied forth to Warwick, Leamington and Coventry.

We spent some time exploring the new Ardman Exhibtion at the Herbert Museum where we enjoyed " a rare behind-the-scenes insight into how Aardman and other featured animators create their characters. From storyboards and set design to cel painting, stop frame and CGI technology," you can learn top tips from the industry and then have a go at creating your own crazy animations! This is not to missed by anyone who likes animation, and if you have children this will enthrall them. There were not that many children there during the week, and they made way for us.

I was tickled by the design board showing a sweetcorn dress!

Lizzie takes pictures and looks at the details just to get us in the mood I took this Green Christmas Window in Coventry......and you can perhaps guess why!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Crazy climate

Its November the 5th, and the leaves on the trees outside my bedroom are very nearly down, but cram your head to one side, and down the road you can see a huge oak tree, still very green and full of leaf. Yesterday I swept all the leaves off the front garden, and planted 12 more heathers. This time they are winter flowering types.

I love the light of sunny autumn days, one just has to cherish these, even though they are getting markedly shorter. When I sit in the conservatory, I love to watch the clouds scuttle past, and have even gone so far as to have my book on clouds to hand, but sometimes I just like to look at the shapes.

I've started my autumn chop in the garden, but am amazed at how so much colour remains. The penstemones are still visited by late bumble bees, so I am leaving these for the last forays for nectar for the year. This late rose is scenting the room.

Apart from that I am clearing and cleaning ready for my sister Lizzie's arrival tomorrow. I'm busy knitting her some warm socks. Well when I am sat down resting that is. At least they will be ready by the time she leaves as she goes off to stay with Jenny in Spain.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Harvest Festival

I was saddened to hear from my craft group, than fresh produce and home cooked items are no longer wanted at church harvest festivals in the area. They thought this was a real pity, so I suggested that in our own way, we give thanks for the good food that we have access to, and perhaps just make something nice to share with friends.

Not one in church, but my own display, with thanks to farmers, and market holders. This is what I brought back from this Saturday's market in Warwick.

To amuse the crowd at the larger market which incorporates local producers, were a pair of buskers dressed up as scarecrows playing instruments.
In the afternoon I baked a large batch of flapjacks and following on my theme of trick biscuits last year, added finely chopped crystallised ginger, and as we had a large pumpkin in the window with flashing light, added shelled pumpkin seeds. The flapjacks were down a treat. We had cut up small pieces so that the trick or treaters, could sample, before deciding whether they wanted a whole piece. I think the message was spread around very quickly, as we had over 40 excellently dressed and suitably scary callers....even the very little ones who dressed up as evil? fairies and princesses had given their outfits a Halloween twist. There were a couple of little ones who said they did not like ginger, so maybe next year, the treats will be along the chocolate theme.

October Knitting

I think that wool socks are definitely the best - hand knitted, with no seams across the toes, in bright or subdues colours. Anyone who has them, can knit, or have had them given, would be hard pushed to disagree. I had been thinking of increasing my personal stash of them, but just as one pair leaves the needles someone who needs some springs to mind.

I was at my friend Rita's a few weeks ago, and was surprised that she had the heating on, even though she is in her eighties it was warm. When I asked if she was poorly, she said no, but her feet were cold. Marie-Claire who was with me, and is already in receipt of one pair from me, was thrilled when I said I would knit Rita some. Rita tried mine on and could not believe how wonderful they felt. I took careful measurements, as one does for 'bespoke' tailoring, and was given very clear instructions as to what colour etc she wanted.
Rita is one of those very elegant ladies, who loves to choose her clothes, jewelry and make up to look her very best. Wearing usually dark trousers, I chose some sock yarn from the wonderful array at Web of Wool.....and now Rita is so thrilled that she has even worked out that she can wash them in the evening, and have them ready to wear the following day. I think I shall have to knit her a second pair for Christmas.

Teacakes at tea time

When the clocks have changed and we suddenly have darker evenings, one of the bonuses for us, is that we sit down at the weekends and enjoy afternoon tea. Real tea, with teapot, tea cosy, strainer, cups, saucers....well the British Tea ceremony takes place, with of course something to eat.

A bit taken aback by how prices have risen recently, I put back the four teacakes for about £1, and was determined to make my own. I selected the recipe from Paul Hollywood's 100 Great Breads. We enjoyed them last weekend and had plenty to freeze too. This morning I took a couple out, and Mr S had everything ready and have had mine with damson jam, and a couple of cups of Darjeeling, am suitably refreshed and ready to continue my blog updates. They did not suffer from their short time in the freezer.
The other bread recipe which caught my fancy was his Pain de Campagne, which we have now renamed mighty white....with 400g white flour to 100g of the superb stone ground wholemeal organic rye from Waitrose, we have a loaf, which Mr S considers to meet his requirement for a 'white' loaf! I've made the same twice since, and just as successful each time, though I did not use the 1 tbsp salt thinking that was far too much, and used just 2 tsps.

On the same day, I also baked a chocolate cake using a recipe from my old Good Housekeeping, which was the best I had ever made, and which we had in the place of desert on a couple of evenings. I added some vanilla which I think gave an added depth to the chocolate.

Its November already

Unlike last year, we are having our 'Summer' very late indeed. Today Mr S and I were out in the garden and it was warm that we had to have the windows open when it was time for lunch.

The time has flown by during October. After the pre holiday busy period, trying to cope with a bumper crop of plums, the post holiday period was filled with slower activities. If it were not for downloading the contents of my camera, then I would be hard pushed to think about what I had been up to.

When I got back from Whitby, I decided it was time to harvest the pears. Our two young pear trees were heavy with fruit. I brought back a good sound box and dividers from the fruit section in Salisbury's and had harvested most of the fruit, when I read the label....One of the fruit tree labels said harvest in October. So I left the rest for a few more weeks. The fruit continued to grow, and this is just one of the late harvested fruits, which shows that there are about four pears to a Kg. Next year, if the poor tree is not having a complete rest, I shall thin the fruit well and wait until October.

When I was young and growing up in Mauritius, I think the only pear I may have eaten was in the form of small cubes in tins of mixed fruit salad. One of the tales which my mum used to repeat, was of my night forays to the fridge, and when I was pretty young I went to the fridge and eat more or less the whole contents of a big party size tin of fruit salad. I have grown out of the habit of late night eating! And faced with such a big pear, I sit on the settee with plate and knife, and share the feast with Mr S.

At the market in September, instead of the big green pineapples, which I think have been developed for the canning industry, they had some lovely glowing golden small pineapples, exactly the same size and shape as the small ones which grow in Mauritius. These smallish but deliciously sweet pineapples were two for £1, and although I would only need one, thought immediately of taking one around for my Mauritian friend Marie-Claire. But surprise surprise, she did not know how to peel them. In less than five minutes, I had demonstrated the technique, and from now on, there will be more than just tinned pineapple on their table.

When I got home, I proceeded to peel mine, and yes the taste was just the same, this pineapple had been sun ripened for sure, and as I bit into a slice, I was transported back to that island on the tropic of Capricorn.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Bribes or rather presents to myself

I have never been bribed by anyone else, well not to my knowledge and not with things or money! I would never have wanted to be, and would certainly have been offended.

What you see below is what I had decided was my 'bribe' to myself. Well since I do not want to start a long line of bribes, I've now thought this over and have decided to just call them a present to myself: an indulgence in beautiful small things. A gift or a present is welcome from anyone or even oneself at any time!
There are six small beautifully made rosewood needles in a small colourful pouch. The sock needles are very pointy, not quite as bendy as bamboo needles, and I'm told pretty strong. These days I am favouring bamboo needles, but can't find the shorter sock 12.5 cm needles in a quality bamboo. Whilst knitting amongst friends last night at Web of Wool, I felt I needed a little pick up, and an incentive to start up my blog again, so spent my pocket money on these and on two cards of beautiful ceramic buttons, hand made in England by Avril Tillman. The glaze is just so beautiful, and sadly the pictures just cannot portray the texture and colours.

I love ceramics, and enjoy spending time in Museums and Galleries gazing at ceramics both ancient and modern. Except for breakages, unlike textiles, ceramics usually remain virtually undamaged by the ravages of time.

In search of knitting in Whitby

One of things I like about having a two week holiday in England, is that there is perhaps more time to spend on one's hobbies. I took up some work in progress, a couple of skeins of yarn, spare patterns, needles and even some books. Plus Diane, knitter 'par excellance', had come up with a local knitting shop: Bobbins. I wouldn't be surprised if Diane has a map up inside the door of her yarn cupboard marked with all the Yarn shops worth visiting!

Bobbins is in an old church hall in Church Street in Whitby. The old Wesley Hall opens out in a large space, where the yarns occupy one end, and a selection of old items- vintage and antique occupy the stage end. I loved the display of ganseys from along the coast, and yet again saw the Humber Star. I'm designing a baby blanket, and have decided to incorporate a number of gansey patterns, and central will be the Humber Star.

Mr S and I went a few times to the Museum, partly for me to get a look at their collection of ganseys. The first time we went the lighting was faulty, the second time it had not yet been repaired, and third time, the display had been taken down!

Not to worry though as I was put in touch with a resident who was interested in ganseys though not a knitter herself, and at her home she showed me a jumper which had been knitted up by a Whitby chap specially for her in the Whitby design and also some lovely old vintage jumpers.

The Museum did have some interesting artifacts, the knitting sticks were works of art.

On the knitting front, I managed to finish a lovely small cardi and pictured it one morning, with my growing collection of pebbles from the beach.

Then I wound up a hank of KnitWitches Welsh Mohair and silk, and started on a laminaria scarf. After two weeks back home, it is now completed, and waiting to be washed and blocked.

I love the texture of the unblocked shawl, and although this one will need to be blocked as it is the smaller version, I think I may knit the large shawl up and leave it unblocked.

How long has it been?

Its been ages since I last updated.....I've had a bit of a rest from the computer, and have left checking of emails to about once or at the most twice a week. I've concentrated on getting up to date with housework, and spending time getting myself 'planted' again into the domestic routine.

Only today, when at last I downloaded a stash of pictures, did I realise just how busy I have been. In September we had a glorious two weeks in Whitby, the weather was probably the best two weeks on the trot we have had this year, which on the whole has been disappointingly unsummery.

I needed the rest, what with having to baby sit two chaps who came to sort out some work in the garden, who may or may not turn up etc. and hence the job spanned at least one week longer than it needed to have.

I'm one of those creatures who like their nest, preferably in a neat fashion without disruption etc. The feeling were similar to those I felt when we first moved in, when all was chaos around. Now we are comfortably settled, and Mr S is starting on his new model railway project, having got most of the DIY completed.

There was also a really large plum harvest to deal with: plum jam, plum chutney, finding people to give plums to, plum puddings etc. The poor tree had such a heavy load, it split down the middle, and I have told it that after its prune, I'm allowing it to have a good rest next year. The alternative would be to have uprooted it and plant a new tree, but I've decided to give it a chance.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Gallivanting on the Trains

On one of Mr Stasher's day off during August we had a day out doing one of the things which he likes best: visiting railways. We had a day out of the Servern Valley Railway. The weather was lovely, and with the downloaded guide 'From the Window', we had an interesting guide of all the noteworthy points along the line.

At the end of the line we spent some time in Bridgnorth, first having our picnic in the park. From our bench we had views across the valley, and were amazed by the Bridgnorth Castle leaning tower leaning at an angle greater that the Pizza Tower. It was certainly a sign of the times that so many people were picniqing in the park. There were some splendid spreads, and the atmosphere was very friendly. From what I could see from the people on the train and the park, they seemed to have opted for an old fashioned day out with the family.

After first visiting the wonderful church on the hill by Thomas Telford: St Mary Magdalene, then walking down an impressive street lined with georgian houses: East Castle Street, we visited the old part of the town.

Visitors were welcomed into the Town Hall, and the rooms were beautifully turned out, with excellent stained glass windows.

We went round the small museum, before returning to the station. Whilst we waited for the next train, we took our drinks from the Station Pub: the Railwayman's Arms and sat in the sunshine watching various engines going through their paces.

We really enjoyed our day out together.

Shows in and around Kenilworth

This is the season of local shows. I know that next year, we shall visit even more, but again this year Mr S and I decided to go over to view the efforts of Leek Wootton.

With a promise of home baked cake and tea, plus a request for help for scrumping for wild plums from hedgerows, Mr S agreed to a pleasant Sunday afternoon cycle ride to Leek Wootton. Last year Jenny was staying with us, and she was amazed by the Dahlias, Mr S suggested that we take a special picture for Jenny at the show.

Another week, I cycled over to the open afternoon at the local allotments, enjoyed tea and cake there, and chatting and helping Rita with the raffle. Rita has had an excellent stint on her plot, and for the last couple of years, has been able to keep half of it, but has decided to hang up her spade after the end of the season. Well she has said that she will still go down to see all her friends and also help them out!

I took these pictures of her Dracula Scare Crow with bottle of blood..beetroot juice, and her standing by her Mauritius flag and cut out in the grass. It was at the open day two years ago, when we had just moved, that I met Rita, I knew that I had found the plot of the Mauritian Lady, when I saw the outline of the coast, and ever since then Rita has been a truly great friend, and being from Mauritius, and similar generation to my Mum was such a real support during my very hard start in Kenilworth. We often meet, and have some very good laughs.

More baby knitting

I just seemed to sense when I picked up the ball of Rowan Fine Milk Cotton yarn in Web of Wool that there would not be sufficient to complete the project. Yes, several people checked the pattern, and yes it said one ball.....but I soon realised that there would not be enough.

So I improvised, and in the end I have created a totally unique little hat and shoes. I knitted the flower in a contrasting yarn in a delicate pale aqua cotton,and instead of double yarn on the sole, I used one strand of the white yarn and one of the contrasting yarn. I have a friend who goes to my evening knitting group Rachael, who has some fantastic shoes, one lovely pair was completely black, but with exciting red here is the idea of contrasting soles transcribed for baby bootees...a nice finish are the pretty little flower shaped buttons again from Web of Wool.

Tea cosies and jam

My friend Marie-Claire loves her cup of tea, she loves it hot and bright. When I go round to her house, we sometimes share a cup of very special Mauritian Vanilla Tea. When she had one of my brew, she was amazed by the quality even after a few minutes, so I introduced her to the secret of tea cosies.

I have a lovely tea cosy knitted by a great friend, and received by post, with amongst other things, a tea pot to fit, as a house warming present. So everyday, several times a day I think of Judith!

With superb rare breed yarn, I designed and knitted a cosy for Marie-Claire's big tall tea-pot.

Her eldest daughter has worked really hard and is now a very important person, and we are all very proud of her, and guess what, when over to visit her mum, she tasted some of my strawberry jam, and phoned up to ask to have a master class. I explained that she'll have to wait till next year. Well, at least for now, she is returning to London with a pot of my finest, which I was very pleased to give her.

How the times fly

Just ask me what I have been up to, and everything is a whirl. For a start, my nest is in a bit of a mess.....well the garden is. As I write partly from frustration, I cannot believe, that once again, I had to phone the chap doing the garden, to see where he was and was he coming today. It is not raining in Kenilworth, and the project end has now slipped by another day. We have a huge skip on the front drive.....but what I need to keep in mind, is that I shall be able to have a nice front garden, planted out with attractive plants, rather than paviers.

I have a mind to tell the contractor that I am a judge for Kenilworth in Bloom, though I am not the sort really to spread negative reports on people. I am the sort that once a job is started, I like it to progress in a steadied, planned, and orderly fashion.

Enough of that. The past few weeks I have been mainly making jam, pickles and preserves of all sorts. I am absolutely overwhelmed that Mr S has declared that he likes my plum chutney. Except for Branston Pickle, the boy has steered a very wide berth round any pickle. I placed a small pot, just the bit left over from potting up, on the table to have with some pork pie for my lunch. I did not even tell him what it was, or suggested that he taste it. He asked, he tasted, and declared, no I shan't have any mustard, this pickle is very good. I said wait three months when it has matured, and it will be even better!

Loads of jams have been made, and some of the best have been from wild plums, the best being small yellow plums.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Star Sweater Complete

What a lovely pattern, and with the softest of yarn, this will keep Baby W cosy and warm. Small babies having really large heads in proportion to their bodies. With the small star buttons in yellow, at both sides, this jumper will be so easy to put on. When my son was small I remember having to unpick a jumper, and re knit a much looser neckline because it was so difficult to fit over his head.

The small yellow shells were gathered many years ago, when Mr S and I had a week's holiday on Guernsey. I love to bring a little memento back, and when we walked all along St Ouen's Bay, these little shells were so very numerous there. I'm not sure whether the smaller darker ones came from there, but they are just the same shape, but arranged in size order, the colour changes gradually.

Butterfly Garden

This year our garden has been host to a really wide range of flying creatures, birds, insects, and the odd bat. In the insect category, from early in the year it was the bees on the snowdrops, later we had red mason bees in numbers, as well as a bumbles bees of various sizes and patterns.

Lately we have had butterflies. From the conservatory, one can spy them flying around, coming to land on wall, stones and flowers. They seem to rest in the warmth again the bricks of the house. These are real ones and they remind me of the large copies which some people attach to the walls of their houses as ornaments.

In the sunshine, several fly up together in a vortex of euphoria, completely oblivious to any predators. I have seen no predators, are there any for the butterflies? When I walk into the garden they rise and fill the air with streaks of bright colours. The peacocks even make a noise as they vibrate their wings. I stalked these and waited patiently, close up t0 them with the macro lens, and was amazed by the noise they make. Is this noise caused by the very fast vibration of their wings used to attract a mate, or warn off rivals, or is the vibration a way of dispersing pheromones? To think of a butterfly making a noise!

With my Collins guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe in my hand, I patiently watch and try to identify the butterflies: peacocks, painted ladies, commas, red admirals, and small tortoiseshells, then lots of different sizes white butterflies.

As soon as Mr S is off to work, I spend a few minutes of contemplation on the garden, often still in my dressing gown. Sometimes I spend a few minutes planning my day, or just sniffing the flowers, watching the insects and gazing at the clouds. This butterfly seemed to doze on my shoulder, without my noticing until I got back into the house. After taking the picture, it was reunited with the others.