Wednesday, 27 June 2018

The Big Chill

It's 32 degrees and I'm totally chilled.  I sit, next to the pool, crochet abandoned for the moment,
I'm watching the boys (Will, Dale, Todd, Matt, Ben) playing tig in the pool. The quiet of the morning has given way to laughter and splashing as they chase each other round the pool.  Todd is teaching Matt to dive.  Will is driving Max round and throwing him in the air, his swim nappy bulging with pool water.
John was on throwing duty earlier. He's a weight so only the boys are able to keep him going.

Soon I am going to swim a little more, I'll wait until it goes quiet - the over-60s slot!
I'll watch the mountains through the trees and dream of staying here in this moment.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Wedding Part 2

After all the sadness it was such a joy to celebrate with John and Steph. At Casa Parador De Los Olivos in Saylonga, Spain we all gathered. Everybody pitched in as we prepared the area in front of the villa for the ceremony.  We gathered all the seats in the house and set them in front of a rose arbour created in the entrance.

Sadly I was sitting in the wrong place to get decent pictures - should have planned that earlier! The ceremony was shorter and had a typically Spanish feel with the exchanging of gold coins and the vows. 
When the photographer uploads the photos I'll publish the professional shots. 
Max stole the limelight by trying to hid underneath Steph's dress.
Max in a moment of contemplation sitting in the rose petal path,
Will and beautiful Alex
Ben and his cousin Gracie - so charming
Steph's stepbrother Matt
Having a glass of fizz - so hot!
Steph's bouquet
Her dress had millions of buttons
The path to the rose arbour was marked by jars of gypsophila which John and Chris bought on the morning of the wedding from a local market.

It was lovely - everyone pitched in to set out the chairs. Alex, Karin and I made a little 'picking buffet' for people as we weren't due to eat until five.  They just got things on the trot. 

The ceremony took place at 3pm and I'll publish more pictures of what they did afterwards - something totally unexpected which I didn't have time to take a picture of. You'll have to wait and see what that was!

The caterers arrived about 4pm and set up the tables. We had a tapas meal which lasted about six hours. Plenty to eat and drink, including cocktails, wine and beer. (Plenty of water too - the best way of avoiding a hangover)

Caeser salad, crispy fried aubergines with a honey balsamic dressing, patatas bravas, gazpacho, chicken meatballs, barbecued steak, chicken and pork fillets, and a lovely lemon mousse to round it off. I was past taking pictures by then!
We all had little wooden names  to show us where to sit.

As the sun went down some took to the pool - in various stages of dress and undress.
Then the more pickled adults decided to use the slide in the children's playground. I'll not bore you with those antics!

We did a bit of star-gazing and the light-weights (including me) were in bed for about eleven.  Some kept going into the small hours and paid for it the next day.

Most people changed from their finery before the meal. It was too hot to stay in suits.
Will, Alex, Karin and I went to the beach the next day to celebrate my birthday quietly. We came back to a quiet house and I had the surreal experience of being chased up the pool by Will, astride a pink inflatable flamingo.  He settled down to have a rest on a giant slice of mushroom pizza. It's amazing what you can find in Lidl these days.
It's Monday afternoon and the house is quiet now as everyone except John, Karin, Max and I have gone to the beach or to visit a waterfall.

I like quiet!

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The saddest of times, the happiest of times

Maybe not quite the accurate Charles Dickens quote but that is what is happening at the moment.
I got a call from my sister-in-law last Sunday (11th June) to say that my lovely brother was in hospital and not expected to live.  He was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago and had decided not to tell anyone straight away.  He had gone into hospital to start treatment but taken a turn for the worse and died early on the Monday morning. I'm glad I saw him and he knew I was there, but I was shocked to see him like that and I'm desperately trying to remember his laughing happy face from days past.   I am bereft. We were born 14 months apart and spent all our childhood and young adult life together. His friends were my friends and vice-versa.  We didn't see each other so often as our family lives and work took up so much time but that bond could never be broken.

His funeral is tomorrow, 21st June. My sister in law is so strong but so very devastated. It's going to be hard.

John, Steph, the boys and Karin left for Spain early on Tuesday morning. Other family groups are joining them over the next couple of days.  The wedding ceremony (part 2) takes place this Saturday, 23rd June and I will fly out early on Friday morning to join them.

It's a strange week, saying goodbye to a talented, warm-hearted and deeply committed family man and wishing joy to another generation of my family, Steph and John getting married; Alex and Will starting a new life together.

I don't ask why, because that would be a pointless question. I don't believe there is a why without a why not. I don't think this life is a test for another.  The good we do is for this life. Richie was a shining example of that. I can see that quality in my sons and grandsons.

That is enough for me.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Wishing doesn't make it happen

Do you have lots of wishes? I wish I had more time. I wish I were more organised. Would I have less time to do things or more time to do things if I were organised?  Sometimes I sit and dream of all the things I want to accomplish. Sometimes it overwhelms me and sometimes I get down and do it.

This morning I was wandering around my favourite blogs and came across this lovely design.
You can find it on . With the house in chaos around me I sat happily for an hour and a half working out the design and fabric requirements.  I wish I had more time to do this kind of thing.
It strikes me as being a great design for using the scraps left from various quilts. Maybe I should make a block every time I make something. Or every time I am sitting doing nothing, wishing I could think of something quick to do. It's a simple design but has lots of points which need to meet.

If I were really organised I would have a project box which I load with 12" x 8" scraps, ready to cut and piece when the mood takes me.

If I were really organised I would wake up to a clean, tidy house every day.  I wish I did.

Do fruit flavoured Jelly Beans count in your five-a-day?  No -  (dammit too late) - wish they did!

My golden hour the other morning was spent doing the pattern for the August Mini-Quilt (you can just see the original wall quilt to the left.  That was all drawn out on a piece of scrap paper, now it's digital. I can happily tweak the design or go back to the original which you can't do when you've rubbed it out. I still draw things on a piece of paper first because my brain to computer drawing skills are still in their infancy.

Tomorrow the electricity will be off for 7 hours - from 9am to 4pm to do some essential maintenance work in the village. So baking will have to be done today:
The recipe was from Delicious Magazine  It is made with Ovaltine and the recipe is actually for two 20cm round cake tins, but mine are a bit smaller than that so I decided to make individual ones. There was enough for 18 plus a little left over which I put in my lovely oval tin (bought when I made cakes for the WI market some 35 years ago).  I'll put the frosting on tomorrow because I don't need electricity to mix that of course.

Look what I found when I wasn't looking!
Two little coasters with a lovely fabric on the back which I think I bought from a shop near Milton Keynes when John was on a course (I kept him company on the drive then went fabric shopping and wandering along a lovely canal). I got lost in Milton Keynes and was late collecting him.

So now it is time to get ready for work - I wish I could spend just a bit longer with my fabrics........

Monday, 4 June 2018

A new blankie for Sandy - Wedding Part One

Looking after the boys when John and Steph got married was part pleasure and part pain.  My back flared up again last week but the pleasure of being with the boys more than made up for that.
John and his best man Chris waiting for the girls to come out. This wedding was the civil bit - only them and their witnesses.
 Steph's dress was so pretty
Just about to leave for the registry office. They have more pictures which I'll share later. Part Two of the Wedding Celebrations will take place in Spain later this month when 25 of us jet out to Sayalonga for a romantic ceremony in the mountains above the south coast of Spain. Neither ceremonies are formal - just two people in love.  Ahhhhh.

Of course I had to take something to do - my hands don't like being idle. Ben is fascinated by my crochet and asked if I could make a blankie for his little dog Sandy.  Sandy came from Ikea when Ben was a tiny little chap.  John called in on the way home from work when they had just bought the house and picked him up. He is a bit worse for wear now and all his stuffing is disintegrating. He goes everywhere with Ben. Could he have a blue blankie please?

When I got home I dug out my Stylecraft Special - collected over the past few years. I don't use blue much and most of the collection came with other colours when I made the first couple of blankets (from Attic 24)
 I worked on it during Saturday afternoon, evening and Sunday morning.
 I finished it off when I got back from shopping and delivered it to Sandy in the afternoon.
He looked snug and cosy. But sometime else borrowed it for a snooze
He had exhausted himself running around, playing on the trampoline Steph's dad bought for him
But he also like the water table Steph got him. He likes to sit in it. (And put his rabbit in the water). Here he is testing it without water.
So I didn't get much stitching done this weekend but look at this beauty which Karen has been working on at High Street Quilting
There's a lot of quilting to be done but it looks fantastic. Each little cornerstone is pieced if you look carefully and Karen's work is so neat and precise.

Last night I made some juices to take to work with me. I'd love to be able to do them first thing in the morning but it takes about an hour to prepare them. I know I should eat my fruit and vegetables but in the real world I just don't. Having juices for a week re-sets my body, making me feel and look much better.
They are all bottled up ready to go. Beetroot, Carrot and Orange for the red one and Kale, Apple, Celery and Ginger for the green one.
 The herbs are all in full flower
The chives are so pretty.  I think the fruit trees are starting to blossom - so late this year.

So now it is back to work - the rhythm of life continues.