Monday, 30 July 2012

A Trip to Ripon.

I had such a lovely time in Ripon! I wasn't sure if I would be able to go at all after being ill but I was feeling much better. The weather was just right. Not boiling hot sunshine and no rain. It was just a bright and warm day! 

I spent most of the day in the cathedral this time. Last time was more of a run around the cathedral and then on to the shops! It think it depends who you group up with on this sort of trip. There were two drop off points on the trip and I got off at the cathedral as I wanted to take some photographs. Luckily the two other ladies who were dropped off there were so lovely so we ended up spending the whole day together! Plus I am planning on joining a local art group after they spoke so highly of it. 

Ripon is such a pretty place! I love the cute little buildings with their uneven windows and beams. The gardens are so well maintained too. 

This was just opposite the cathedral and beyond a public garden. It was all so picturesque! 

So many quaint little shops! It was a shame to see that the economy had hit even here where tourists gather. There were quite a few shops that were empty. It seems like such a waste! 

I loved the deep set windows and tiny doors! Such a clean place too. Just beyond the end of this road was the Thursday Market. There were so many stalls there! We only had a quick look but there were stalls selling just about everything.  

 The two ladies I spent the day with had been to the cathedral before but both loved it! We spent happy hours walking around and looking at the collection of old silver wear, antique Christian books (I wanted to read so many of them!) and the Saxon crypt. There was so much to look at! Amazing stone and wood carvings, beautiful embroidery and the most amazing stained glass windows.  

We went back to the cathedral for lunch and there were sandwiches and tea provided for a donation to the cathedral maintenance fund. Our trip was perfect timing as there was a performance by Rachel Little, a soprano, accompanied by Edmund Aldhouse on the piano. It was amazing! The combination of such a beautiful voice and talented piano playing was wonderful and the setting, under a huge stained glass window was just perfect. I even bought Rachel's CD! If you click here you can hear samples on Rachel's website. 

I saw this little mouse in the cathedral gift shop and just could not resist! This praying mouse is based on a Medieval one and is just so sweet! 



Saturday, 28 July 2012

Old Fashioned Proverbs.

Wise people in "olden times" were very clever in expressing their good thoughts in short sentences called "Proverbs," such as could be easily remembered, and were often a great help to those who have but a little time for reading. The excellent advice they contain cannot be easily forgotten, when once fixed in the memory, however busily we may be occupied. I will tell you a few likely to be useful. 

Early Rising. 

"The morning hour has Gold in its mouth."

"It is the early bird which catches the worm."


"What we Do by learning, we Learn by doing."

"Hope and strive is the way to thrive."

"Good onset bodes Good end."

"Gentle in manner, but vigorous in deed."


"Work in jest - Want in earnest."

"Say well, is good; but do well, is better."

"Hope for the best, get ready for the Worst, and then take cheerfully which God sends."


"Be always at leisure to do good."

"The cup must be bitter that a smile will not sweeten."

"One ounce of help weighs more than a pound of pity."

"Better suffer ill, than do ill."


"A bright fire, clean hearth, and a cheerful countenance, are the happy welcome."


"Nothing is fine but what is fit."

Evil Speaking. 

"Where no wood is, the fire goeth out; so where there is no tale bearer, the strife ceaseth."

"He who returns the first blow, begins the quarrel."

Remember these - 

"Truth may be blamed, but cannot be shamed!"

"Knowledge is folly, except grace guide it."

"Prayer hinders no work, but is its best half."

"Prayer should be the key of the day, and the lock of the night."

"Do all the Good you can - 
At all the Times you can;
In all the Ways you can;
To all the People you can;
For as Long as you can."

All from A Few Hints for Home Happiness and Comfort by A Lady. 



Friday, 20 July 2012

Home Happiness and Comfort.

Taken from A Few Hints for Home Happiness and Comfort by A Lady. 

My desire in thus speaking to you, my young friends, is to render you happy; and remember we cannot be completely happy ourselves, unless we are desirous to render those around us happy also. 

Men's duties carry them forth into the world, to toil either with their hands or their heads for the support of those whom they love. It is the happy privilege of women to render Home a comfort and a blessing, a rest and a refreshment, to those hearts worn and wearied with the world's hard cares, and to warm them with the sunshine of true affection. 

But "trifles make the sum of human things," and it is about some of these trifles I now wish to teach you.

"Do every thing at its proper time." Now is the time to learn; eagerly, then, seize upon it, and store up knowledge for future use "in that state of life unto which it shall please God to call you."

"Order is Heaven's first law;" it is taught us in the skies, and should be practised with exactness, if we wish for comfort. It is easier, far easier, to "keep every thing in its proper place," than to be obliged to search for it when needed. As soon, then, as any new thing, great or small, becomes your property, find the right place for it, and keep it there; use it, of course, whenever you need it, but put it back again in its own home, and do not yield to the temptation of idly setting it down any where. 

Let due order also be seen in the importance which you place upon performing duties before simple pleasures; never allow pleasures to take the place of duty in your heart, and then in your daily life no difficulty will be found in giving to duty due respect and attention. In arranging your books, let your Bible and Prayer-Book have the best and more honourable place, and next to them, any religious works you may have; and never suffer these books to lie about carelessly. Dread the slightest approach to irreverence, it is the commencement of evil; let everything relating to religion have the first place in your heart, your time, your house - and let no one induce you to lower it by word, deed, or manner. 



Thursday, 19 July 2012

Rose Tinted Past.

I love certain eras of the past. My ideas and views of those times are possibly not all that accurate. I am probably very influenced by fiction books! Not always the most reliable of resources. 

I always imagined myself as a servant or a governess. After all, I am not upper class now so I wouldn't have been some haughty lady living in a huge house and employing many staff to cater for my every whim. No, I would have been the little maid running about trying to get the fires lit at dawn. Shivering and scurrying! I imagined plain dresses and attic rooms. Trying to be inconspicuous and almost blending in with the furniture. 

I didn't dream of fancy dresses and parties but of kitchen pots to be scrubbed and clothes to be mended. A little strange I am sure as most people seem to imagine being rich and living the high life in the past. Looking into my family tree most of my ancestors were farmers or tenant farmers. There are servants and dress makers and velvet cutters but no society ladies. I wouldn't have had gleaming hair and soft white hands! 

I loved the character of Polly in An Old-Fashioned Girl even though she set such a high standard! This is a book that I read over and over. I related to Polly as I am a bit of a country mouse myself! 

It was a very humble little room, but Polly had done her best to make it pleasant, and it already had a homelike look, with the cheery fire and the household pets chirping and purring confidingly on the rug. 

"This will be a country supper, girls," said Polly, bustling about. "Here is real cream, brown bread, home-made cake, and honey from my own beehives."

"Things worry me sometimes, but I just catch up a broom and sweep, or wash hard, or walk, or go at something with all my might, and I usually find that by the time I get through the worry is gone, or I've got courage enough to bear it without grumbling," answered Polly. 

"A little bit of poverty would do you good, Fan, just enough necessity to keep you busy till you find how good work is, and when you once learn that, you won't complain of ennui any more," returned Polly, who had taken kindly the hard lesson which twenty years of cheerful poverty had taught her. 

Quotes from An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott.

I am fascinated by frontier living of the pioneers and Victorian maid servants and the farmer's wife in pretty much any era! Obviously, I have a rose tinted view of the past as I am sure that cheerful poverty would have been very hard to maintain over weeks, months and years. Knitting and growing vegetables wouldn't have been a hobby then, but would have been essential skills that were depended on. 



Sunday, 15 July 2012

Chunky Scarf Progress.

I love this wool! It is Sirdar Denim Ultra and it is in a shade called Starling or 0507. The colour doesn't say starling to me as I would expect that to be maybe a midnight blue with shimmery green and purple like the plumage of the bird. 

I really like the quality of Sirdar wool and would like to try some other types of wool that they sell. Looking around on the internet they do all sorts of exciting wool! There is some really fluffy wool and one that is printed to knit into a fair isle pattern. That sounds like magic to me and I can't really imagine how it works!  

I even managed to join two balls of wool together but I still have to sew the ends in. I will need to get another ball as the scarf isn't quite long enough yet! Plus I think it would look nice with a fringe. It seems a little plain at the moment. 

I would love to make another in the same wool, but maybe a different shade, that was thinner and longer. One that I could wrap around my neck a couple of times. This scarf is 20 stitches wide which is just a touch too wide really. 

Here is a close up of my stitches! The hardest thing for me is controlling my knitting tension. I have a tendency to knit really tight stitches. So tight that they are nearly impossible to move on the needle! I am getting better though and have found it easier with these large needles (10mm) and the chunky wool. 

The next knitting project I want to tackle is knitting a lacy scarf in the Debbie Bliss wool I bought. I would need to learn new knitting skills for that though! Plus I have never tried knitting with such fine wool. It seems like quite an intimidating project to combine the two at once!

I really love the bamboo needles too. I had only used normal metal ones previously and found them quite slippery especially with the cotton I was using. I think I will have to make another visit to the wool shop! I have 5 and 10mm needles but I think a few more sizes would be useful. It would be very easy to get carried away! 

As much as I love this scarf I think it is perhaps too plain to make as a gift. I would love to knit scarves as Christmas gifts but I think they would have to be more complicated than just basic knit! 



Friday, 13 July 2012

Been to the Wool Shop.

These are my latest purchases from the local wool shop! I have wanted to try bamboo needles for a while and they were cheaper here than anywhere else in town. Plus I could get two useful sizes for my needle collection. Bamboo needles are supposed to be less slippery for knitting which sounds good to me as I am always worried about all my stitches sliding off! 

The cream wool is deliciously chunky! I want to knit a Winter scarf to keep me warm once the weather turns. As it is warm and humid at the moment I will have a fair bit of time to get this completed. It is lovely quality and when you pick it up you can't help but squeeze! 

The grey wool has a silver metallic thread running through it. It is so pretty and reminds me of spider webs in the early morning sunlight. I can imagine it being made by fairies! This will also be a scarf but an ethereal one rather than a practical one. Definitely a more frivolous project!  

The book is exciting to me! I can knit and purl now but don't really understand how these two stitches turn into moss stitch for example. I just can't picture the effect in my mind. This book covers useful knitting terms, comparison charts for needle sizes as well as illustrated explanations of different stitches as well as how to increase and decrease. 

One thing I will have to learn is how to join two balls of wool! Up until now I haven't tried this as dishcloths don't require more than a ball of wool. 

I love wandering around the wool shop. All the different colours and textures! There are shelves and shelves of wools. Thin wool, chunky wool, fluffy wool and rainbow wool. It is just so exciting with all the different ideas and potential for new projects. I always come away feeling inspired and itching to get knitting! 



Thursday, 5 July 2012

Poor Garden!

The garden has gone from this -

to this - 

in a matter of hours! Somewhere under the water is my vegetable plot! The vegetables weren't growing that well any way but I think this might be the last straw for them! I don't think that they will survive and I am hoping that my strawberry plants, blueberry and tayberry are going to make it through.

The weather really has been odd this year. From the mild Winter to the hot spell in early Spring to the constant rain of Summer. Today there has been very heavy rain, thunder and lightening!



Sunday, 1 July 2012

Fighting a Losing Battle.

There is a plague in the garden! Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of tiny black bugs. I noticed a few on my new cherry tree and wondered how they kept coming back so fast after I washed them off. 

It turned out that the flowering almond tree in the garden is absolutely covered in them. The tree is about 25 feet high so that is a lot of bugs! I am not sure what they are. They look like black aphid young and they coat the whole underside of a leaf until it begins to curl up and go brown. 

I have no idea how to treat the big tree and, while it is infested, my tree doesn't stand a chance of staying bug free. I am just hoping that it doesn't cause any lasting damage. 

Perhaps the large number of bugs is due to the odd weather we have had here. There seemed to be hundreds of ladybirds in the garden in early Spring but they all seem to have disappeared after the cold snap. 

So sad about it as I love my trees!