Thursday, 30 June 2016

I have walked 500 miles :o)

Hello. We are at the halfway stage of the Walk 1000 miles in one Year challenge, and I'm chuffed to say, I have made the 500. My size five feet with knobbly bunions have suffered no harm at all. The trainers are comfy, even better because they were free, no muscle ache, no blisters, and I am feeling just hunkydory.  
This is how I record my miles. I have a two and a three mile set route. I write daily in the bottom corners of my calendar. On the left, how many I did that day, a cross if none, and the total on the right. I had five no walking days in June. I try not to miss too many as it's hard to catch up. I like to see the numbers rising, a bit like the watching the numbers on my bank statements. Up up up, more miles and more money saved, ha ha.

How are you all doing? I shall expect all members of the walking group to send in their mileage so I can update the walking page. Even if you are lagging behind a bit it's better to do some walking than none at all. Do not despair, do not give up, you owe it to yourself to look after your body and keep fit.

The next six months start tomorrow. It's built into my daily routine now, only 50 minutes to do the three miles. I don't count my normal daily walking, you can do if you walk a lot in your job, I set aside time for walking. and fit it in with whatever I am doing.

I'll leave you with The Proclaimers for a bit of inspiration.

Thanks for popping in. we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Don't panic, keep sewing.

Hello. It's been raining all morning, rather heavy, all the water collecting receptacles are full, ready for watering the flowers when there is no rain. 
I have been getting on with some sewing. I have decided to have several projects on the go at the same time, so that if I get bored or held up with one I always have something else to do. I need some more red mesh fruit bags so I am waiting for my friends at crafty club to collect some for me. The man with the hat is not urgent, I can pick that up any time to do a bit. Today I have made a start on another picture. It's going to be a folk art landscape, I made a rough sketch of the layout. I have used a piece of wallpaper to make templates for the pieces I need. 
Each strip has two or three sections. Sew them together then join the strips. At this stage I have used the machine for quickness, there will be hand stitching added to it.

I need to make trees and a house next. The picture will be stitched onto a double thickness piece of curtain lining for the backing. I have a frame for it which will be painted.
Well it looks like it has stopped raining so I'm going out to do three miles. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Spot the wild flowers, ha ha

Hello. Here is an update on my flower beds. As you can see this one is full and lush with shades of greenery flopping over the sides. This is where I chucked lots of seeds, it's the nearest one to the summer house so I was hoping for a good display. Well it's full alright but where are the flowers? The £1 packet of wild flower seeds have turned into wild flower weeds, ha ha. 
I think there may be a flower or two opening eventually here.

Possibly a poppy.

Ooooh look, a thistle.

Gawd know what this is, the biggest weed, usually seen along the edge of a field in the hedge bottom. Charming I think not. With some thinning out, the most obvious weeds ruthlessly dragged from their neighbours so the rest of them might have a better chance of producing flowers.

In other beds the £2 fuchsias from Aldi are doing well, the slugs are leaving them alone. 

The five plastic storage boxes have again sprouted the greenery from the £1 packet I bought last year. Little pink flowers will be showing soon, whooopeeee.

On the subject of gardening I have a confession to make. Thinking about the hours I have to spend in the garden during the summer to keep things tidy, I have spent £20 on an electric hedge trimmer. As you know I do like being outside in the garden, pottering is my hobby, but the laborious task of keeping the hedges looking respectable can be a bit draining. So I have succumbed and bought a gadget to make the job quicker and easier. It's a cheapo Aldi trimmer, so let's see how long it lasts. I had a practice with it yesterday and whizzed through the bum fluff sprouting from the Leylandi hedge in no time at all. Yes it might cost a bit in electricity, and it's blooming noisy, but I can see it's going to be a great workout for the shoulder and upper arm muscles. I haven't bothered to pick up the trimmings, the lawn mower will do that next time I mow the grass.

A mixed bag today. I've got three arty crafty projects on the go so I keep dipping into them, bit by bit they will get finished. I've another one in my head, been sorting out some fabric for that. Library van day so I'll go and say hello to Stan and get some books changed. 3 miles to do. Kids to feed, poo picking, plants to water if it doesn't rain, might trim up another hedge if I have five minutes to spare.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday, 27 June 2016

New exhibition at 20 21 Arts Centre

Hello. I took a few photo's of a new exhibition at the 20 21 Arts Centre on Saturday. Adele Howitt is a ceramics artist, and her work is influenced by the countryside and coast, and has links with nature. The amazing intricacies of her designs shows just how much detail goes into her sculptures. Here is a link to her web site if you want to read more about her. 

I got to speak with Adele who lives over on the north bank at Hull where she has a studio. Pottery is not really my thing, but these are stunning. How they were transported without damage is a miracle. Quite a few people arrived so I stepped aside as they wanted to ask her questions.

Two new members came to Crafty Club this morning, they didn't bring any work with them but they are keen to get started on patchwork. Carol is going to give them some instruction next week.

I have doubled up on the walk today, twice x 3 miles. Tonight I did a different route which was quite nice. It took me down the hill and up through the woods, along the road to the water tower, down a track, and back into the village on the road. I will do that route again. Three days left and nine miles to do to get me to the 500, easy peasy.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 26 June 2016

What a friendly day

Hello. I've had a fandabidozi day, haven't been very productive in the arts and craft department, but had a smashing time with friends. A knock on the door this afternoon and a surprise visit from Julie and Frank,  from Norfolk, I last saw them in September when I went over there for a holiday. They are here staying at the caravan park for a few days, visiting in the area. They still have friends in the village even though they left here a few years ago, they like to come back now and again. It was lovely to see them.
I was invited for tea at the 1939 house, my friend Joanna was having friends over and she sent a text asking me to come along and meet them. Here they are, also dressed in their 40's style clothes. She had made a stew for them in a big pot on the range, I had beetroot sandwiches, fruit pie and cream, and cake. It was lovely. After a discussion about the recent political events we changed the topic to a light hearted banter, and had a right good laugh. It was great fun.  
I've got some photo's of the exhibition I saw yesterday at the Arts Centre but I'll save them until tomorrow. And some photo's of one of my raised beds, I'll post them sometime this coming week.

It's raining now, I was hoping to do a second walk tonight but I don't think I'll bother. Four more days to the end of the month and I have 15 miles left to do to get to the magic 500. How are you all doing? Still soldiering on I hope. I must admit I am getting a bit bored with the same route, so I will get on the bikehike web site and work out a different route, though I am a bit limited here, living in a smallish village. Some of the roads leading to and from the village have fast moving traffic so it would be dangerous to take my chances there. I prefer a tarmac surface when I am walking fast to enable me to keep to three miles in 50 minutes.

I'm chillin with a glass of wine. I'm finding I'm having longer gaps between bottles, it just sends me to sleep, even one glass makes me feel dozy. I only buy one bottle a month now. A four pack of cider lasts me about two months, that has the same effect.

I'll wrap this up before I nod off. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Playing to the Gallery by Grayson Perry. Book review

Hello. I have been hanging on to this book for several weeks now, keep picking it up and finding more little gems of wisdom. I like Grayson Perry, his art, his humour, and his cross dressing. In this book he tells it like it is, the art world stripped bare according to the Perry ethos. 
He chose this title for a reason, it could have been entitled, 'Sucking up to the Academic Elite', but he has based it on some of his popular Reith Lectures. He answers some of the basic questions about art, but are too embarrassed to ask, such as what counts as quality art, and how do you become a contemporary artist.

A few interesting and amusing snippets. What is quality art? Validation is the key point, who is doing the validating? Quite often you can't tell if something is a piece of art apart from the fact that people are standing around looking at it. How can you tell if a photo is art? He says we live in an age when photography rains on us like sewage from above. That made me laugh.

This is Grayson Perry's personal journey through the art world, helping contemporary art in it's struggle to be understood. He asks if it has become mainstream, and says anyone is eligible to enjoy art or become an artist. He also says, very few artists make art to make money, they do it because they are driven, or they love to look at it, or to be around artists. People think it's fun to be an artist, but it takes a lot of hours to produce an artwork.

This book is a refreshing look at the art world in a direct and no claptrap pretentious waffling way. Read it if you enjoy art, but also read it if you are baffled by art and are looking for a simple way of understanding it.

Plenty of reviews on Amazon here. 

If you've got nine minutes to spare take a look at this yooootoooob video. He talks about his preparation for the Reith Lectures.

Right, I'll toddle off, things to do. A new exhibition at our 20 21 Arts Centre has started and the artist is there in person today, so I want to go and meet her.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 24 June 2016

Shopping needed, almost out of food.

Hello. Well, we wake up to major eruptions in the political world, I didn't expect that result, a surprise indeed. Listening to Burnsy on local radio there is a mixture of doom and gloom from the remain camp, and enthusiastic optimism from the leave camp who are looking forward to a new start. I shall be interested to see how all this pans out. 
If you have been reading my blog you will know that my personality dictates that I move on through the different chapters of my life. I am able to embrace change, will move on from a situation if it is not working for me, and constantly look for new ways to make my life better. I will organize my life around what income I have, I make do and mend, and I live with an attitude of gratitude. 
Burnsy is playing Carry on Regardless, and that is what we all will do. Nothing terrible is going to happen, the world won't come to a halt, we are not going to self combust or be blasted into smithereens.  
This was my meal yesterday, running low on food, scrambled eggs on a wrap from the freezer, with cheese. No eggs or cheese left. 
Shopping at Tesco last night at 7.30pm, I haven't been for a while, and managed to pick up some reductions. No 90% off any more, but 75% off is still good. Fridge now full with food.

Spinach needs eating quickly or freezing. Maybe a smoothie or two.

Large pack of prepared fruit, this will be smoothied and frozen in the next hour.

Other shopping was cat and dog food, frozen vegetables (broad beans, green beans, casserole veg), bananas, tomatoes, baby potatoes, yogurt, veggie burgers, tinned peaches and baked beans, soft cheese, broccoli, lemon curd, quiche, eggs, and a treat of a bottle of chardonnay. All stocked up for a couple of weeks.

I have received a super gift through the post, so thank you very much. I know who it is from, very kind indeed. A book on bag making, 36 projects to make bags of style. There are some good ideas in there, I have plenty of fabric to make some.

Must get on, thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Finding a use for scrap

Hello. I've made a start, but first I had to devise a way of working on a large picture, 3ft x 2ft, so I can push the needle through both ways. It needs support around the edges but I need to reach underneath it. The small office chair tucks underneath it nicely so I can reach to the middle. 
It's a good job I didn't throw this away, I knew it would come in useful. It started life as a shelving system, these pieces are the supports, the shelves are in the garage. Then it was covered in plastic and used as a cloche protecting small plants from wind. I also used it to house a baby blackbird which had been abandoned, and later took it to a wild life rescue centre. Now it is the perfect frame to support my picture.

The backing is a piece of foam, it's pinned onto a wooden frame, this will be removed when I work close to the edges. The wood was from a flimsy paste table which I took apart and dumped the saggy ply top.

A lot of work to do, but I have a few ideas.
I am running out of food and need to go shopping soon. Yes, I've got rice and pasta, but I need something to add to those. This is my last banana, with two slices of bread from the freezer. I like a banana sandwich. I've just eaten the last two eggs and the last of the cheese, so I suppose I'd better make the effort and fill up the fridge and freezer. Running out of dog food as well, a trip to town I think, but first I will vote.
Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The beginnings of a picture

Hello. I'm playing again. Colourful mesh fruit bags, there must be something I can do with them. A friend has been collecting these, she gives me anything that might be useful for artworks. 
At the moment I'm just jiggling them around on a piece of foam board which I will use for the base. They are mostly red, I will look for different colours.

I quite like this, lay them out as a backwash.

There will be a lot of stitching as the foam is strong enough to support lots of holes where the needle goes through, without falling apart.

Emails in this morning from Lithuania and Australia. Might be able to fix up a TV appearance down under, and a newspaper/magazine article in Lithuania.

I'm off for a walk right now to ponder further. I have a magazine to deliver to my friend Joanna down the hill, she is in Woman's Weekly.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon. Toodle pip

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

You have a choice, in or out.

Here we go, another referendum leaflet through the door. Headline, 'These are the facts'. Oh yeah, who says? As far as I can see all these facts are being bandied around and no one knows for sure what the outcome will be if we remain or if we leave. I'm not going to get into any argy bargy with people, not going to tell people which option to vote for. I have made my mind up, nothing to do with anyone else, I don't have to reveal anything.

Every single person in this country should be voting on Thursday, it's your democratic right and duty to vote. The publicity, the scaremongering in the media, the confusing so called facts, the spin, the lies, are all part of campaigning. Read and digest, then go with your gut feeling. You must vote.

Right, I'm off for the second walk of the day, catching up on the missed days. Six miles yesterday, six today. Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Monday, 20 June 2016

The cost of a good nights sleep

Hello. I've just been thinking about the differences between a £35 a night in a Farmhouse B & B, and £70 + in a Premier Inn. This is where I slept last Thursday night, I have no idea how much it was, I didn't pay for it, but the price for this Thursday is £71.  
Me ready to leave, dressed up for filming.

I arrived at 6.30pm, and checked in. There is no car park so I had to park five minutes walk away on the sixth floor of Sainsbury's multistory car park. At the farm in Yorkshire I parked right outside my room.

I was given a plastic card which unlocked the door to the room, and operated the lift. It failed to work twice, and I had to return to reception to get it re programmed. I had to use the stairs because I couldn't operate the lift without it. When I got in the room I tried to switch the lights on, they didn't work. Then I spotted a plastic box near the door with a slot in it. This is for the card, which then allows you to turn the lights on. At the farm B & B I was given a door key, and the lights worked fine.

Before going to bed I had a bath. No sign of any toiletries. I hadn't taken much because I thought there would be some nice smellies to use. Nope, just a soap dispenser on the wall, push for a squirt. At the farm there was a choice of several bottles of shower gel, bath foam, and shampoo. I had a long soak.

I had an evening meal at the Premier Inn, all paid for. I met a lovely couple who invited me to share their table and we all had vegetarian food, which was very tasty, even though we had to wait ages for it to be served. The restaurant was quite busy and there wasn't enough staff to cope with it.

I had to laugh, I asked at the bar for a half of cider. She said they only had bottles and they were big bottles. I said, ok, I'll have half of Guinness. She said we only have large cans of Guinness. I said oh, I only want a half pint. She said I can do you a shandy, I said ok, that's fine. She poured it and put it in front of me, then said, it's buy one get one free. I said, ok, can I have the other half later. She said no she has to pour it now, so I was about to end up with two half pint glasses. I said, you might as well put them both in a pint glass. I had to laugh. One pint of shandy for £2.

I was down for breakfast early because I knew it was going to be busy. I was right. It was lovely, cereals yogurt, toast, and a hot cooked breakfast, followed by a pancake with honey. The morning staff were very friendly and worked hard to get the tables cleared for the next lot of guests to arrive. The breakfast at the farm B & B was just as nice, freshly cooked and served by Mrs farmer.

I suppose these chain hotels have their place in city centres, and the price reflects their expensive overheads, but I love a small, friendly, owner run B & B. A clean basic room with a nice en suite bathroom, television, and drinks making facilities suits me fine. There is a need for all types of accommodation, but the times I've had to pay more for a hotel room than I would have liked, I felt ripped off.

Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.  Toodle pip.

PS. Just a quick note. People have shown an interest in buying my artwork. I said I might sell one day, but sorry to disappoint, it won't be any time soon, maybe not even for a year or two. I want to build up a collection, I don't want to let them go yet. I have a couple on the wall here, the others are wrapped up to keep them clean. They take such a long time to make and have masses of stitching in them, they are quite precious to me. Maybe one day, but not yet.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Our Village Art Exhibition

Hello. It's been nice all day, now it's raining. I have been on call this week to water the outdoor plant pots for my friend who is on holiday. I haven't needed to go at all as it has rained either in the daytime or during  the night. I am collecting rain water from the Summer House roof, to be used later when it is not raining. 
Breakfast this morning, bran flakes, chopped nuts, seeds, and sultanas, porridge oats, and strawberries. They are quite cheap at the moment, makes a nice change from bananas.  
 I've stocked up on this hazelnut milk, only £1 for three cartons from the Cash and Carry. It's bloomin delicious, it's great on cereals. Tastes like soft centred chocolates.

Twas the Art Exhibition in the Village Hall today, this is my display of artworks. We weren't able to hang pictures on the walls except if there was already a hook there, so we put chairs on top of tables and covered them with throws, sheets, and table cloths.

Nobody asked to buy my pictures, but that's ok because I'm not ready to sell yet. I want to build up a bigger collection, then I might sell something. I shall be putting some in the Open Exhibition at the Arts Centre a bit later on in the year.

I had quite a lot of interest and enjoyed explaining that you don't need to buy materials to make art, you can use any old rubbish. 
The Chat and Craft display. Some lovely stitching on here from our crafty ladies.

A large part of the hall was taken up with paintings from individual artists and groups. 
I wouldn't say we were rushed off our feet. There was a steady trickle of people, but we could have done with some more. I went into the club next door to remind people that we were open for visitors, but I could see that it was going to be a hard job to drag them away from their alcoholic beverages.

I did a quick meal tonight, aren't all my dinners quick to make, ha ha. A large spud in the microwave, yellow sticker, 60p for 4. Three mushrooms, chopped spring onions, spinach, grated cheddar cheese, soft cheese, garlic powder, veg granules, wholegrain mustard. Add a splash of water to make a sauce. Bloomin lovely, my kind of dinner.

It's still pouring with rain, so I will not be walking tonight. I fear I will not make the 500 by the end of the month, unless I double up and do one in the morning and one again later in the day. We'll see.

I can relax now, all the sheddie stuff has been done and I have no more commitments for a couple of weeks or so. The kids are all fine, my thanks to the three pet sitters I had last week when I wasn't here. It's good to have a back up plan. Rocky is becoming less mobile as his age is catching up with him. He is comfortable and much loved, by me and the cats.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon. Toodle pip.