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.