The rain has been endless again, so much so that the journey to get the kids from the station yesterday turned into a massive trek to the west (Okehampton) before heading east towards Exeter. All in all we had to travel in excess of 60 miles, there and back, in order to find a route that was open. The trains aren’t running past Taunton and Matt’s journey was further delayed by a fire somewhere near Reading. I think next year we will have Christmas somewhere warm! Its endlessly grey outside now but at least the rain has held off today to give us a breather before the next onslaught which is expected tonight.
The Christmas tree looks lovely but so far my attempts to photograph it well have been disappointing so I’ll wait until I can get a decent picture before I post it.
Loads of things have been happening in the run up to Christmas, too numerous to go into detail and much of my time has been spent painting, but here is the run down of the other things.
Felting – we had our last session and I was quite pleased with the felt I made which was from a variety of local Jacobs Sheep, with some Merino mixed in. I did a fairly basic pattern but its quite effective. I intend making a cushion cover out of it.
We had to make one more pennant each, so I did a seaside scene!
We went to an exhibition this Thursday, at Mortonhamstead. It was a relatively new gallery which has been set up in the old school building and very smart it looked too. The exhibition was of felting and was interesting. The artist has been making coffins from felt. It sounds bizarre but they were very beautiful.
Matt and Mo came to stay the other weekend, we paid a visit to Topsham and on the Monday, after a short walk, we went into town prior to them catching their train. It was a very quick visit, despite staying for a long weekend, but it was good to see them just the same.
Went to supper with the Butts last night and tonight we have just watched the last episode of ‘The Killing’. I’m sure other things have been happening, but really I’m too tired, so I think I’ll call it a day.
My quilt for the front door is finished!
So here it is, I used Moda , Petite Odile and Fa-la etc as the basis but I also used all my scraps and some fabric I bought recently at Chagford, so it really is a memory quilt. It is lined with the remainder of the batting I bought at Alexandra Palace, exactly the right amount left over. For the backing, I used an old cotton bedspread that has done the rounds as a wall hanging and general cover all, in various student digs, but never been a bed cover. I deliberately made it a bit long so that we don’t get any draughts under the door. It will probably be a mild winter now! I made a couple of errors in that I dropped my piles of squares, so they aren’t in their original order, but I really like the jumbled up nature of it.
I have tidied away all my sewing things for a bit and set up the room for painting.
While I was looking in the airing cupboard for the bedspread I came across various other ‘treasures’.
I made this for Vee when she was 5, its so hard wearing that all 4 of my children have worn it in the great tradition on ‘hand-me-downs’. Of course, it did mean at times that they wore somewhat weird clothes! The boots are sheepskin, they too were passed on, but they never kept them on for long, preferring bare pinkies.
All this activity led to the airing cupboard being tidied, I wonder how long it will stay like it!
We have had some good weather, so in between sewing I have been out with my camera.
After a marathon sewing session last night, I finished the quilt for my bed. I think the bright autumn colours will do much to keep me cheerful in the winter days ahead. I didn't have quite enough bias binding to finish the job but luckily I remembered from my school days, some 30 years ago, how to make my own, so thats what I did. Luckily I had some cream lining fabric which was just the right colour.
It was bright and sunny this morning, in-between showers so I popped out to the garden with my camera, to photograph my quilt, hanging from the washing line.
While I was out there, Hyw called me to see the ducks, geese, guinea pigs and rabbits that he is feeding for our neighbours. The guinea pigs are particularly sweet and make a strange whistling sound. Here are some photos of the ducks and geese.
On Sunday we saw Mahler’s 8 symphony at the Great Hall of Exeter University. It is some time since I was last up there so I was pleasantly surprised to see the improvements they have made both inside and outside the hall. The concert was very well attended, I suspect partly because it was a community choir/ orchestra production. It was a valiant effort and enthusiastically played. There were several people I knew in the orchestra as well as in the audience.
Since returning from Munich I have been very busy. I went for a very pleasant walk around Exeter with Qin, the sun was shining and so we started our promenade down by the quay, dipping in and out of shops. We then cut up to the town and had a brief look at the museum before a trip to the library and a visit to the Real McCoy to see if they had any suitable suits (can you say that?) for her son. Sadly they didn’t but it was good to have someone to go round the shops with. Next time we shall go out for lunch.
On Wednesday we went for an evening meal up at Woolacombe. It was much further than we usually go but we had bought vouchers from Travelzoo and were determined to see if they were as good a deal as they seemed. The long and short of it was that it wasn’t. The place, which I shall not name, was shabby, understaffed, I don’t know if there was a cook (I won’t call him/ her a chef) but if there was, their last job must have been serving up school meals in 1954! We compared notes with two elderly dames who had the misfortune to have booked a week there and it was clear that the meals had not improved whilst they had been staying there. We ate what we could and had left the place by 8.30! The meal was half price but even that was too much in my book.
On Thursday I went to see initforthehoney. I was going to be helping her organise her workspace. It turned out to be a mammoth task but we had fun and spent 4 hours in Ikea looking and buying storage solutions. We ate out in the evenings, being far too tired to cook, and had pizza the first night, Chinese the second night and the third night we treated ourselves to standby tickets at the theatre. We saw Felicity Kendal in an Alan Ayckbourn play at the Theatre Royal, in “Relatively Speaking”. It was a light farce, and just what we needed after another busy day that had started with a trip to the Farmers Market and had ended with carrying boxes of rubbish down 3 flights of stairs, ready for loading into the car the next day. Sadly the good weather came to an end this morning with light rain but it didn’t really matter and in fact, worked to our advantage as it was much less crowded and there was no problem parking outside to load up the rubbish. I left Vee at about 12.45 and had a good journey home, via the tip.
I shall do this post over several entries as I sometimes seem to lose the information when I do a long one, so this is the first day only!
We left home at 6am for a 9am flight to Munich, via Amsterdam. It was the first time I had flown KLM so I was interested to compare them with other airlines. I was favourably impressed but we had to walk for miles at Amsterdam when changing planes and on the way home we very nearly missed our connection because of this, and the stringent security checks we had to go through.
We had left in sunshine so it was rather dispiriting to see the heavy rain in Amsterdam but by the time we got to Munich the clear blue skies were with us again and it was about 25 degrees. We found our hotel without too much trouble, dumped our bags and had a quick freshen up, and headed out to see the sights and for Hyw to buy a shirt as he had inexplicably only packed two!
In the evening we went to a local Bavarian pub, just around the corner. It was rather a long wait for our food but we spent the time happily sampling the local brew! I didn’t really know what I was ordering except it had chicken in it. It was sort of a general fry up of sautéed potatoes, chicken breasts, mushroom, bacon etc – it was very tasty and not really as I have described it.
The week started fine and sunny so I called on Qun to go for a walk in Eggesford forest. We hadn’t got 50 feet along the footpath than we saw two monstrous hounds, jaws slavering, no I exaggerate but we were faced with two large black dogs, bounding towards us. The owner was about a hundred yards off but made no attempt to call them back. They were jumping up all over us, Qun is as frightened as me, and my tee shirt was covered in paw marks. Eventually the owner came but he did not say a word except, ” keep your hands in”. I didn’t need telling. We were quite shaken up by the experience, the owner was as weird as his dogs. I shan’t be going there again in a hurry.
I have been doing quite a bit of painting this week. You will notice a development in my style. Looking back over what I have been doing recently I felt that they were too much like illustration and I wasn’t happy. You can see the paintings if you go to the art pages. Going for lunch now, I’m starving!
Just a taster in case you can’t be bothered to go to the art pages!