Monday, 31 August 2009

Not a bad Bank Holiday after all

Despite a very dull grey start to the day, and I did have a very early start as moggie number one woke me at 5 am to go out of the bedroom window and moggie number two was tapping to come in an hour later, the skies soon cleared and it has been a lovely day. As I was up so early I took advantage and got everything ready for a family dinner this evening, had washing on the go, fed the menagerie and myself and then sat quietly reading the Sunday papers.
We were aiming to go out just before eleven to go to Stockwood Park which is only a ten minute drive from us. They have a brand new Discovery Centre there situated in the gardens of what was once a fine country house. Stockwood House was built by John Crawley in 1740 was demolished in 1964. The gardens are beautiful and the old stable block and walled gardens are all that is left. Every August Bank Holiday they have a Flower & Produce event where all the local allotment holders bring their excess produce to raise funds for the local hospice. As you enter you are given a brown paper carrier bag and can fill it with as much as you like and all they ask is for a donation in a bucket. This years array of vegetables, flowers and fruit was fantastic and we arrived early to beat the stampede. It is a wonderful idea and you would think that raising money for such a good cause would bring out the best in people but as per usual there were the minority that just took and didn't give ..... it makes me so sad to think that some people can be so selfish and mean.
This colourful array was what we came away with ..... I might add that this was between us and my two daughters and we gladly contributed to the good cause because my husband's sister spent her last days in the hospice when she died aged 54 of leukaemia in 2005.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Bootilicious weekend

Despite a nip in the air the sun has shone at times this weekend and I've made it to my regular boot sales. They were both absolutely packed with sellers which is unusual for a BH weekend and I managed to get a great haul .... my little trolley was on overtime and I was stopped several times and complimented on it and asked where I'd got it from .... it was from Argos
I spotted some boxes of old linens under a table and got chatting to the stallholder who told me she had visited an old convent to do a part clearance and was after old bed linen. As part of a job lot she took several other boxes of napkins and in them were these beautiful vintage pieces of chintzy fabric and hand embroidered panels. She told me that everything was just stored in a cupboard and that it must have been a childrens home at one time because some pieces had names sewn on to them. The two panels above are hand embroidered in what I think is a very William Morris inspired design ... the top one in wool and the bottom in silks. Below is a handmade chair cover in cabbage rose linen. Next is a door panel which is around a yard wide and 8' in length. It is again in a lovely cabbage rose print and despite some speckling from being stored in damp conditions it is a lovely piece of fabric. The lady thought they date to the 1920s.

Next is another chair cover which I have draped over one of mine so that the design can be seen more clearly.

There are four of these seat covers in a floral chintz with birds of paradise. Again hand made with a frill around the edge. There was a fifth but it had been patched so many times there wasn't much left of it. I imagine that during the war years they had to make do and mend at that in true Sound of Music style the curtains had been used to make covers for chairs and cushions. The grand total for this lot was £3.

A few stalls further on was this lovely retro bed linen from M & S with the old St Michael label. There is one double sheet in the orange and the purple has two double sheets and four pillowcases. They are in lovely condition and very seventies.

From the same stall was a lovely embroidered table cover and two tray cloths plus a bag of lovely buttons. The whole lot was only £6!

Yesterday I found this lovely flower basked hand embroidered table cloth, John Lewis flannelette DK size fitted sheet which will be perfect now that the nights are getting a little colder. Total spent £8.

A lovely embroidered top from Monsoon for £3

Some pieces of 1990s Sanderson fabric, zips and buttons ...... £3.50
Two pashminas, a make-up bag (with the two hair slides inside), Marks & Spencer watch, Tibetan Silver bracelet .... £12
A stair basket, a box of Country Garden Rose tea lights, Rose & Co set of 3 doll sized flower salves in Rose Petal, Lavender and Violet and also a Rose & Co toiletry set in a very pretty box (price tag £15) ..... total spend £6
A Knit Kit for baby, slug traps, pocket size umbrella and Ikea rose shaped floating candle set. Total spend £3
Enid Blyton Famous Five books, Card Shop CD-rom, four DVDs (Willow, Dungeons & Dragons, Wizard of Oz and Tooth) and a Time Out Mat ..... total £6
and finally these two large hard back books which are in pristine condition for 50p each I just love bargains hunts like this especially as the booty season draws to a close ..... I will have to find somewhere else to rummage around .....

Monday, 24 August 2009

When Molly met Ruby

We have had another busy day at Lala Towers ..... this morning the newest member of our family came for a visit ..... Molly was very curious and after the customary sniffing ceremony wanted to play with her new friend. Binks the cat looked on as if to say oh no not another bloody dog!!! and spent the rest of the day sulking in Molly's bed. Ruby made herself right at home and after the introductions to all the family and the minded children and neighbours and anyone else really who passes through this madhouse, she curled up under the coffee table and went to sleep. Ellie was delighted
Jack was totally overcome

The little lady posing in the garden ... she is five weeks old on Friday and will be moving in permanently in two weeks time

Well that is the last Monday of the summer holidays done and dusted and in amongst the usual chaos the children had a treasure hunt this morning ..... I then had to spend a few hours at the hospital with husband this afternoon for him to have a scan to confirm whether or not he had a DVT ..... a big sigh of relief it was just a lot of internal bruising causing the pain and swelling so no more visits for the time being ..... the hospital at home nursing team are looking after him now and I must say do a terrific job. I've just caught up with Jam & Jerusalem on the TV as I missed it last night because my friend popped in and we ended up nattering as you do. The people who back onto our house kindly put a note through the letterbox on Saturday to say that they were having a christening party yesterday and it would go on until late and there would be a lot of people there. How thoughtful ...... or was it ..... the music was great (they are from Jamaica so lots of reggae and carnival type music which I love) but very loud and they had some idiot MC who continally talked and shouted down a mike the whole time. During the evening this was bearable and we were down the garden jigging around with the chooks but by half three this morning I'd had enough ..... having an early night tonight to catch up on the lost shut eye and hope that the noise of the children in the garden this morning put paid to their hungover lie-in .... I always say don't get mad get even ;-)

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Sunny Sunday

I had a lovely sleep last night and as my daughter was at home to look after the patient I decided to pop over to Hitchin for the car boot ..... sadly the other one I usually visit on a Sunday finished last week. It is held at Stondon and is the best organised around these parts and as a seller it is good value at £4 a pitch ..... no market traders are allowed so it is completely proper car booters. However the petty minded local authority bureaucrats have decreed that they are only allowed 14 per year because it spoils the local amenity !!!! It is held in a field in open countryside which would just sit idle otherwise and they seem to have forgotten that it offers a valuable recycling service, keeps a lot of unwanted goods out of landfill, offers cash strapped purchasers the opportunity to buy things at an affordable price and also offers a source of fresh air and exercise for us townies.
Anyhow I digress, Hitchin is a lovely market town and I spent a lot of my shopping time over there .... I hate Luton town centre ... it is concrete and has no soul with a dreary inside shopping centre. The lovely sunshine had brought lots of sellers out and my bargain find today was three bags of fabric pieces for a fiver. Sad thing that I am, I came home and sorted them out, pressed them and sorted into colours and patterns. They are all mini prints and there are also 14 little bags which are labelled doll's house fabric (with price tags of between 60p and £1 on each) so I am really pleased. There are nursery prints, Christmas fabric, ditzy florals, animal prints, spots, William Morris style mini prints, pinks, blues, browns, primaries ...... I'm off to find a little spot in my stash room for them now.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

On a cheerier note .....

I'm having a good start to the weekend thank goodness, just drifting about and doing what I want when I want. Just received a photo of the soon to be new member of our ever expanding family or menagerie whichever way you want to look at it ;-)
This is Ruby who will be joining us in a couple of weeks when she is ready to leave her mama .... she is a Cocker Spaniel and is the image of the first dog I ever had except he was a boy (obviously) called Jasper. I am sure she will settle in just fine and be a great pal for our choc lab Molly.

Friday, 21 August 2009


It has been a week and a half at Lala Towers and I am absolutely cream crackered. On Monday it was such a lovely day we thought we would take advantage and pop over to Verulanium Park in St Albans with the children to visit the Splashzone. We loaded up two Zafiras with kids, lunch, towels etc and headed off .... if anyone else was in the area I was the fruit loop with a gaggle of kids, bright pink floral trolley laden with lunch etc and one three year old boy singing Gimme Gimme a Man after Midnight at the top of his voice !!!! The Splash Zone used to be an old fashioned type paddling pool but it has been modernised into a safe enclosed soft surface area with some fantastic water jets that come on and off and the kids absolutely love it. I needed a day out as husband was still in hospital following his knee replacement operation on the 13th and I wasn't expecting home until the following day. We had only been there half an hour when the mobile went to let me know he was coming out that day but luckily not till later in the afternoon so we could continue with our fun in the park. The ambulance arrived with him at tea time and just at that moment our chook Ginger decided to make another bid for freedom and was found wandering round next door's garden.

Tuesday was another lovely weather day and our local park has had a play rangers scheme running this holiday .... they are there for a couple of hours with loads of equipment for all ages and it is free. We had lunch and walked the ten minutes it takes to get there and the kids immediately got stuck into cricket, crafting and tree climbing. I sat back with my daughter and watched the idyllic scene and opened my big mouth and said that this was what summer holidays were about ...... carefree children enjoying themselves in the sun without a care in the world ....... bad move!!! By the end of the day I had used my accident book three times, one bee sting, one grazed knee and an injured foot from jumping out of a tree (not all on the same child I am pleased to say). Poor old L was very distressed about her foot so we carefully got her home and sat her down with an ice pack .... there were no signs of trauma or swelling but it turns out she had bent it like Beckham and had damaged a metertarsal bone. So I now have two patients on crutches.

Wednesday was bad patient day .... my fifth child (the husband) took it upon himself to overdo it and was in a foul mood because of the pain. I tell you what he tried my bloody patience .... what is it with men that they can't admit defeat and do what they are flaming well told!

Thursday brought the nurse to check his wound ..... she was lovely and invited the children to take a look at it as she changed the dressing ..... they all peered over his leg which has an 8" stapled gash over the knee .... looks like a shark bite she says and they gasped in awe! Following her other checks on him she was concerned about swelling in his calf and a possible DVT. We ended up with a visit from the GP who referred him to hospital for checks ..... an hour later the ambulance arrived to take him and the children had never seen so many people in uniform in one day. My daughter went with him and I followed on once the children had gone home and what an evening we had ..... hospital politics with orthopedics and medical arguing over who was going to take responsibility for his care ..... by the time they had decided the scanning department was closed and at nine o'clock we were sent home following blood thinning injections with instructions to return this morning to the Anti Coagulant Clinic for another injection and then visit to have the leg scanned. Quite straightforward you may think.

But no Friday morning brought the ambulance transport just before nine ..... when I arrived there at ten thirty I expected to see him in scanning because it was clearly written in his notes that he should not be kept waiting ..... but jobsworth on the desk said no she couldn't do that and told him to take a walk around while he was waiting!! This to a man struggling on crutches with a leg twice the size it should be .... doh!! He waited nearly two hours for a two minute injection and then to add insult to injury was told scanning knew nothing about him and that he should go back to the ACU ward he was on last night. This is on the other side of the hospital in a different building on the second floor so I went over to see them .... an hour and a half later we finally spoke to the ward sister who went off to find out what was happening. It turns out that the scan can't be done till Monday afternoon and in the meantime the home care nurses are to administer the blood thinning drugs. At one o'clock we finally left the hospital to find it was chucking it down with rain.
So as you can see an exhausting and eventful week so TGIF ...... I haven't lifted a needle all week.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

School Summer Holiday Diary Week 3

Well here we are half way through the summer holidays already .... I had a quieter week this week with only two minded children because I had originally planned to have two weeks off but had to cut this down to one for the purely mercenary reason that we needed the money. If I don't work I don't get paid and this family needed the care so it worked out well for all of us. It has been a bit of a tense week because my husband went in for total knee replacement surgery on Thursday and he hates hospitals and wouldn't openly admit it but he was scared stiff. It's all done now so that's the worst of it over, today they are going to try and get him on his feet which is not an easy task as he is a big bloke and stands 6'2" ..... once he has mastered this and walking on crutches he can come home.
We popped over to Hitchin yesterday as it is Flea Market day ... I love having a browse around and found these little pressed glasss sundae dishes for £1 each .... they are so diddy and only stand around 2" tall ..... I am sure they are from a child's toy set and as an avid collector of vintage children's toy tea and dinner services I had to have them. I hope to do a longer post on my collection to share with everyone sometime soon.
Also managed to get this book ...... I am going to attempt to recreate Hannah's wedding bouquet from last weekend as a surprise gift for her when she returns from honeymoon. It is a gorgeous book and it is amazing just how many flowers can be made and how realistic they look. I am going to use an old Knitting Nancy to do the covering for the wire stems. Watch this space.
I always take a daily look at the offerings on my local Freecycle group and yesterday someone had this

An old brown cupboard I hear you say .... what on earth does she want with that???? But look what is inside ....................
A vintage Singer treadle sewing machine ....... it is a bit musty but apparently it is still working. I will try to find time this weekend to give it a clean and test it out and also decide whether to just polish up the wood or be more daring and give it a lick of paint. I do like old wood but can see it looking fresh and clean as a decorative object and also practical because I can use the cupboard space as storage for my sewing paraphernalia and sit the leccie machine on the top. It is so compact and like a little Tardis with a drop leaf extension to the LHS which would make a super little sewing table and free up my kitchen table which accommodates the machine when in use at the moment. What do you think .... to paint or not to paint ?????? that is the question.

Monday, 10 August 2009

A Bit of a Do

This weekend our daughter Laura was bridesmaid for her good friend Hannah. They met during their midwifery training and struck up a firm friendship which ended up with Hannah living with us for while until they finished their degree. The plans of the past couple of years came together perfectly in Newmarket on Saturday when the sun shone beautifully for the happy couple. This is the little church on the hill in her home village of Moulton .... we were unable to take photos inside but it was typical traditional English country church with lovely oak pews vaulted beamed roof supports, stone pillars and stained glass windows and decorated in her favourite colours of purple... hydrangeas and night scented stocks.

Following the service we drove the short distance into Newmarket itself to the Jockey Club Rooms for the reception ...... posh or what !!! On arrival we sat on a patio overlooking this garden sipping Pimms and noshing on canapes while the photographer organised everybody.
This is my lovely Lala

The happy couple on their way back to the car following the ceremony

Our table centrepiece made by the chief bridesmaid and Lala was very kindly permitted to bring ours home as a keepsake.

Cutting the cake

The whole day was absolutely perfect and we were privileged to be included in this family occasion.

We stayed over for the night in a hotel close to the venue and joy of joy to make my weekend I found a car boot sale just ten minutes up the road on Sunday morning!! It was at Fordham just over the Cambridgeshire border and it was huge ..... bagged a few bargains including some FQs of Christmas fabric, two vintage embroidered tablecloths and some new boxed toys for the children.

It was a nice change for us to have a weekend away although I am very much a home bird and don't like to be away for long .... missed my crafting however and now have to decide what the next project will be. Here are some more bags that I finished last week while I was childfree .... I had some thick check wool fabric that I didn't know what to do with so had a brainwave and used it for these ... I made some matching detachable flower brooches too that are pinned on the front.