Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...


May's Scavenger Link up Party

If you have joined in with my

Scavenger hunt, please link

with me on your blog :)

Please add your name to the

link up tool below,

just follow the easy instructions,

don't worry - if I can do it so can you!

Please just add your Name or Blog Name in the 'Link Title',

Now, let the Link-up Party begin!

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May photo hunt

Wow - what a beautiful May it has been - so much sunshine (and not a lot of rain) my poor vegetables have regularly needed a good drink!

I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else has posted :) remember June's Scavenger Hunt words are 'going wild' themed and have now been added to the side bar - have fun with them!

Any hoo, here goes - May's Scavenger Photo Hunt...

Not far from us is a small nature reserve with a mixture of trees. I love the mature bark of the Silver Birch. The deep fissures and cracks in the silvery bark reminds me of Runic writing. The Silver Birch is also known as the Lady of the Woods and is a 'pioneer species' as it is one of the trees to first colonise sparse areas. It is such a tactile bark. Love it!

A couple of years ago, during a particularly gorgeous early summer in June, we were on holiday and came across this little fisherman's cottage completely covered in fabric. We were stunned and just had to stop and investigate further. A number of other folk were doing the same. Standing around the corner and 'holding court' was the artist, who was dressed in the same fabric. She explained that it was an art installation to highlight the issue of both weavers and fishermen and their declining value in society with both woven cloth and fish being outsourced by a cheaper supplier. Although this installation was up in southern Scotland, the mill she'd commissioned to weave the cloth is not too far from us down here in Lancashire.

Last summer, the sky was filled with the most gargantuan storm clouds, they swirled and billowed and grew to astronomical proportions. I watched (with camera ready) to capture any electrical excitement ..... nothing. Pah.
The clouds then melted, almost like ice cream and drifted off - pathetic!! I had to put in two photos for this one, sorry - broke my own 'rules' but one picture didn't seem to give the sufficient effect of the vastness of tumultuous cloud activity.

We'd been walking in the Galloway Forest, the summer had been particularly moist (ok ok - it rained a lot!) and the trees were dripping wet but were draped in gorgeous curtains of moss, reindeer moss and swathed in lichen. Reindeer moss is also known as reindeer lichen, which is more correct as it is not a moss at all!

This silhouette of a man striding towards the setting sun on the longest day 2015, is my man.  We wild camped on the side of a hill that night, watched the sun set and the moon rise. Felt the downdraft of an owl's wing and watched the mist clear as the sun rose. My heart still aches at the beauty and the splendour of that night.

So many of this month's images are from the archives, this one is no different. In a small Scottish village was a secret garden where we sat and ate our lunch. We'd never have found it if the shopkeeper who we'd just purchased some bread from, hadn't given us directions. In the garden were a number of mosaics influenced by the area's industries and wildlife. I loved the irridescent glass used for the jumping salmon. And, when it rained (which it did a lot that holiday if I recall!) the glass shone out and sparkled beautifully.
Last summer we went feral on a sandy slip of an island - North Uist.  The evening sunsets were heartbreakingly beautiful especially when coupled with the frothy sea. Most evenings the tide had been out, however over the week the tide times changed and by our last evening there and with the assistance of a brisk onshore breeze, the waves were foamy and bubbly. The sound as the bubbles burst and frothed on the beach sounded raw and primeval and oh so delicious.I left a sizable chunk of my heart there.
My 'Margaret Dashwood' heartwarmer shawl - well, to be precise - slightly over half of the shawl. I love it. Youngest 'styled' this photo, providing the wooden stump for me to stand on, he then made me hold out my shawl as he draped it across the floor in front of me. A Lord Lichfield in the making?
On the Sunday afternoon after my folks had gone home from our birthday picnic in the garden. The sun was low enough to shine obliquely through leaves. I stood beneath them and watched the insects pootle about. There is something special at this time of year - the greens are so verdant, so vibrant, so full of promise and vigour. These are from my hanging basket strawberries and the small insect creating the silhouette is probably a 'Frit Fly' sunning itself in the last of the evening rays.

Chocolate cupcake 
Not exactly a cupcake - but oh so chocolatey! Not far from the village is a small but wonderful nature reserve. Used by dog walkers, children, hikers, families and us. Moss loves it, there are spaces to run, rivers to swim in, fields to play and paths to follow, woods to explore and for us - a rather good and simple cafe. They are dog friendly, positively encouraging walkers and allowing dogs into the cafe. 
And then, then there are cakes.... oh the cakes.
Eldest, Himself and I sat in the sun, Moss asleep on the grass beside us. We had large mugs of tea and Eldest had hot chocolate adorned with a huge froth of cream ....then there was cake.... oooh nom nom.
So, there you have it, 
my ten words for the month of May. 
I am off now to read your lovely posts :)


Stepping off at the deep end

I'm a teeny bit terrified if the truth be told,
a little bit elated,
(ok a little bit more than 'a little')
 Plans and discussions
are turning into
Scary stuff
but good too!


Edited to add....

Thanks Jill for the hint..!
Forgot to say when it is, silly me!

21-22 October
In Trawden,   Lancashire.

I'll share proper details
as they are confirmed xx


Did you see it?

The skies this evening......
Were glorious
On fire
 Did you see them?
They even made the national and local weather report news.

And while I was marvelling at the beauty,
two teenager girls walked by.
They'd not noticed me,
they were so engrossed in their own
profanity filled conversation ....
almost as colourful as the sky
but certainly not as outstanding.

Welcome to my new followers - lovely to see you here in my little corner of the world, 
glad you have come along for the ride :)

My Wildlife Campaign


Now the rain has stopped

After two days of fairly solid but oh so welcome rain, 
this evening was beautiful  
The sky was filled with swallow screaming parties - a wonderful sound. 
We escaped the confines of the house and went into the garden.
The cats were pottering around, Himself and Youngest were in the workshop 
and I stood and listened to the sounds from the garden, 
the excited screams of the swallows, 
the buzz of insects foraging
 and birds settling down in the trees.
I thought it would be a good time 
to 'hunt' the bees as they rummaged around for their final meal of the day.
The more I looked and listened,
the more I noticed the plants 
and giving up their precious nectar. 
The evening light made taking clear pictures
a little tricky
as did the cats as they came to 'help'.
They like to watch wild life too (that's what they keep telling me!)
 There was a very buzzzy garden bumblebee
inspecting each blossom of the Polygonatum (Solomon's Seal).
I tried to creep up without disturbing the bumble
and no sooner than I'd focussed with the camera,
the bee was off checking out another flower.
The rain had really brought on the garden,
flowers are opening
and the bees are feasting!

Just look at those little baskets of pollen on the bee's legs! A busy little worker :)
I think this one is a Barbut's cuckoo bumble bee, 
I hesitate because although the markings are similar,
 this variety is mostly found in the the south, 
we might be a bit to far north here in Lancashire.

Eventually the midgies desire to eat me whole
sent me indoors.
But not before I stood at the gate for a moment longer,
observing the swallows 
dashing through the sky.

They are a joy to watch.

My Wildlife Campaign


In which I discuss rain (briefly) knitting (a little more in detail), birthdays (to include baking) and #30DaysWild

Now, I am not one to get excited about the rain, but today I am happily making an exception as I watch the rain hammering down the window. After a rather dry winter and a gently warm and dry spring, the garden is a little parched. The water barrels have been completely emptied onto the potager keeping the veg seedlings alive. So to see the rain, steady wet stuff, makes me (and my garden) rather happy :)
In my last post, I shared a snippet of my current knitting and a smidgen of the book I was using .... Sorry J, should have imparted more detail! So, I shall reveal the finer points ..

The book I was gifted is called 'The Best Of Jane Austen Knits 27' (I have linked it to amazon but I have no affiliation nor am I paid in peanuts/wool or books by them). It is also on Ravelry HERE. The wool is DK 'Colour by Numbers' by John Arbon Textiles and has been in my stash for some years, I was lucky enough to find three whole hanks languishing at the bottom of a box. May be I should dive in head first more often!
It is a gentle rhythmic pattern with a ten row increase until the centre back, then the reversed gentle decrease. I am half way as I type and really want to get it done so I can start wearing it.
When we collect and drop of Eldest to uni, I have two hours each time of dedicated knitting time - they are the fastest two hours of the day.... I don't often decided to repeat a knit but I suspect I will with this one. May be the next one will have rich wintery colours or autumnal tints, oh, what a wonderful thought ... one for each season in the perfect seasonal colour. Yum.

Sunday was my mum's birthday and the sun was shining. It called for a picnic birthday tea in the garden. It was such a pleasant afternoon, sitting in the sun, drinking tea and eating various rather calarifically loaded goodies while watching the cats bounce on flies, flop over and sunbathe on the path, tramp through the potager with size 10 cat feet. We rather overdosed on chocolate cake, butter biscuits, scones and homemade fudge. I waved my waistline goodbye as it rapidly disappeared.... must go and find it again (but not just now!)
Youngest has been experimenting in the workshop and has been creating sparks (I try not worry, but I do a quick finger count each time he appears ... yes, still has 10 - phew)

It is still raining. Still steady earth soaking stuff. Good. The water table must be quite low, the rivers and reservoirs levels are down. 

Image result for 30 days wild random acts of wildA gentle reminder of this month's Scavenger Photo hunt, remember - only choose ten words and share with us your stories and pictures.

Then in June, I am part of #30DaysWild and will be posting a daily 'wild' themed story and photo. Our June Scavenger Photo hunt list will be similarly 'wild' but is only the usual ten words.  

I am not asking you to join in with the #30DaysWild, but do ask you to pop over and see what it is all about - you may even be inspired!
Related image

If you fancy seeing what sort of things 
I blogged during the previous two years
2015 - HERE
2016 - HERE


The fickleness of knitting friends

I have been rather quiet on the knitting front, mainly because painting has been taking precedence, partly because gardening has called and somewhat because what I'd been knitting just wasn't... wasn't. Wasn't happening.

I knew I was pushing it with the amount of wool I had, I knew it was way less than the pattern insisted on but I thought that it would make a lovely and natty little shawlette. With that happy little thought in my head, I knitted away, the feather and fan pattern falling off the needles in a jolly wavy motion. My plan had been this shawlette would lounge beautifully on my shoulders during cooler summer holiday evenings, it would twirl it's feathery magic around my neck - oh the shawlette and I would be firm friends and have such fun together.

Then... the ball of wool ended. Just like that. Bam. Gone. Done. And the shawlette looked shamefacedly at me, it was barely a 'kerchief never mind a shawlette. It took me all of 30 seconds of indecision, then I reached for the end and pulled it back. The horror on the faces of the other ladies at our knit and natter was worth the weeks of knitting.  Hey ho.
So, no knitting or crochet for about a week. In a strange sort of way it felt rather liberating. Gardening and painting kept my hands and my mind busy. Then .... I felt that knitting itch, that itch that quietly grows until it is beyond shushing or ignoring and the only cure is to dive into the stash, head first and open handed! So that is what I did.
The pattern choice was an easy one. The same day I'd demolished the shawlette, I'd been given two lovely books filled with shawls, scarves, haps and cowls. I was spoilt for choice. I'd looked at each one, weighing up the design and gauging my 'need'. Two shawls stepped up to the mark and this one called to me a little louder.  
 It is a gentle, rhythmic knit. A deep and simple lace border, a strong dividing line then a gradually increasing shawl.
Tuesday evening was a delicious warm and sunny one, a delightful contrast to the chilly start of the day. It seemed perfect to take my new best friend out to snap a photo or two. My new best friend who will grace my shoulders during the cooler summer holiday evenings, who will twirl it's magic around my neck - oh the shawl and I will be firm friends and have such fun together.

And yes, I have PLENTY of wool this time .... I checked.


The barefoot gardener

I grew up in Africa, where shoes were an optional extra. Mine sat in the cupboard or under the bed or (probably the majority of the time) in the middle of my bedroom floor. Kicked off as soon as got home from school, I would abandon them, change out of my uniform and escape outside.

As children we would free range, sometimes with shoes but mostly, we were happily dust red and barefooted.  Even as a teenager, shoes were added only if we were 'going out' or to school/college/shopping.

I can remember when I was about 11 or 12, hesitating just on the threshold of a thorny bushy strip between where I was standing and the dusty track behind the house where my friends were standing waiting for me.  Although a hardened barefoot 'explorer', I felt this bit of wilderness, this bit of 'bundu' was just a little too spikey, a little too thorny and I wondered if there was a bush-path or connecting track. Pricked by the comments by my less than impressed peers at my cowardice I was about to turn back and give up when an African man who'd been walking up the same path stopped and said to me ..... 'Just run, run like there is nothing there'.

Image result for african devil thornsSo I did.

And at the other side as I pulled out a number of devil thorns from my foot, it was with a feeling of elation. I'd not felt them as I'd run, nor did I feel them as I removed them from my heel, it was only later, in the evening that my foot felt bruised. However, my ego was not! (picture source)

Coming to England was more than a culture shock. It was a hard lesson in shoe wearing.

I did try and bare-foot it the first year when ever I could, but eventually the cold and hard ground, the cold beach sands, the rather disapproving looks forced me to don shoes. It felt rather repressive (and unfortunately necessary as winter approached!)

Over the years, during summer holidays and warmer weekends at home, I have resorted to being as barefoot as possible when outside. This weekend I managed to garden entirely-ish with naked feet and it felt brilliant.
The grass had been gently warmed by the sun but still damp from the morning dew and the ground beneath I could feel was still cold and asleep.  I love the feeling of grass between my toes, I love the direct contact of soil against my feet, I feel as if I am connecting with the earth.

As the day progressed, standing on the hot paving slabs was positively delicious, the cats agreed and lounged around like baking lizards.

Eldest repotted most of his house plants - he has a very 'male' taste in plants, venus fly traps, cactus, succulents, palms and ferns. His bedroom at one time had about 15 pots but now each Sunday when he returns to uni, a box of greenery leaves with him. He won't be able to move in his uni room soon!
Youngest was snowed under by coursework so disappeared to his desk and papers, we did managed to drag him out for his dose of sunshine D with the promise of lunch on the lawn and mug of tea and cake in the afternoon.

Moss on the other hand preferred the cooler slabs in the greenhouse (we've got covers on the sun-side of the greenhouse as it get extremely hot and arid in there!) She is gently settling in to the art of gardening-by-pets (sleeping in the sun/shade/grass/greenhouse) and can be often found with a happy smile on her face as long as the big scary tools are moved calmly and quietly and in the opposite direction.  Anyway a sneaky dog biscuit can often soothe any tension should hammering or sawing occur.
This weekend was quiet, slipping through our days gently. 
Nothing happened, lots happened. 
Swallows and swifts held screaming parties in the air.
Gardening, breathing, living.
Just how I like it.

And you?
Do you yearn to walk barefoot?
Did you garden over the weekend?
Was your weekend a gentle healing restful one?

I love to know what you get up to :)

Thank you for your lovely comments and welcome to my new followers - glad to see you here in my little corner of the world.