Yesterday was crisp and sparkling, so I decided to take the Newfies up to Blackdown Rings – an Iron Age Hill fort just north of Loddiswell – about 20 minutes from home. The views from the top are stunning, you can see for miles and miles…
Though Ben and Daisy quickly lose interest – they’re eager to hurry along to their favourite part of this walk… Soon after their invasion in 1066 the Normans built a motte and bailey castle on top of the old iron age earthworks and although all traces of their building have long since vanished (it would have been a wooden structure) a whole series of pits and hollows remain …..
Which in the winter months fill with clear, fresh peaty rainwater. THIS is what the Newfies adore.
I think Daisy in particular has been watching too many nature programmes! I am sure she’s pretending to be a hippo – and of course she isn’t content with swimming around once, but has to go back and do it all over again just to make sure I’m watching her!
And yes, that is a brisk and bitter wind you can hear throughout this video – very sorry about that! It was just a bit chilly down in the shelter of our village, but very cold indeed up on Blackdown Rings with a bitter north-westerly blowing straight from Dartmoor! I was very pleased to return home, and begin work on the new blind for my kitchen window. I’m redecorating, as you know, in honour of Rosie & Dan’s wedding. My Cornishware jars look very pleased with their newly refurbished home ….
When I went into Kingsbridge to purchase header tape and blind cord for my blind, I was delighted to find 3 1/2 yards of vintage Sanderson fabric – the same that my parents had for their bedroom curtains way back in time! And for just £5! So I snapped it up – it works brilliantly with my pink gingham ….
I’m using it for a trim down the sides – and also for the lining – my blind will look just as pretty from the outside as in. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ll be sure to show you when it’s done.
This morning I awoke very early to hear (yet again) the sound of the rain beating against my bedroom window. My heart sank and I snuggled down beneath the covers for just a little longer (as I thought)! Waking again some time later I was delighted to discover that a weak and watery sun was trying to push its way from behind the clouds – and by 8.30 was shining brightly in a blue sky. So I loaded my furry friends into the back of my car and we headed off down to Beesands, just a few minutes from home. Today the sea looked so calm and gentle …
It seems impossible that just a couple of weeks ago it was so destructive and violent. I think I mentioned before that the road at Beesands had been washed away – and on this trip it was possible to see the full extent of the damage ….
Quite horrifying! Beesands is a very popular destination for many of our summer visitors and if the road isn’t repaired there will be a definite impact on local businesses. I don’t think it will be a very high priority though with so many more urgent repairs to carry out – and I’m not sure what will happen. None of this bothered the Newfies of course, who were just happy to be back on the beach ….
Yes .. that’s Daisy launching an attack leap at poor long-suffering Ben. He puts up with her very well! I was delighted with a special beachcombing find this morning – this would have been a perfect Valentine image and was a definite “keeper.”
Then home again. Daisy loves my new kitchen door and I rather like it too! I’ve yearned for a stable door for some time and as my old door was completely rotten and had to be replaced I now have a beautiful shiny version. And even nicer – it’s the perfect height for Miss Daisy to rest her furry paws upon while gazing at the world outside ….
(Excuse the untidiness behind her – I’m moving and sorting everything out prior to a bit of redecorating) Then, leaving Daisy and Ben snoring gently I headed upstairs for a little more sewing.
Phew …. it’s been a busy few days what with one thing and another! I’ve been working hard on a couple of commissioned designs as well as the March magazine, so haven’t been around much online recently. But here I am now with a new updated Humphrey pattern.
Humphrey was one of my original free patterns – based on a vintage design from my own childhood. I’ve updated that old pattern and included some a few tips on how to stop fabrics fraying when hand stitching your softies. If a softie’s quite plain I sometimes feel felt can be a bit (whisper it) boring so it’s nice to use a patterned fabric, though you do have to deal with the fraying issue. I thought Humphrey needed this patterned treatment which in his case has acted a bit like a face-lift! He now looks a lot younger than his age recreated in a lovely vibrant pink check …..
If you’d like to make your own Humphrey, please just CLICK HERE to download your updated free pattern.
I’ve had to keep Humphrey – and his friend, the famous super-model(!) Sidney well out of Daisy’s reach while taking their pictures. I think she is becoming rather jealous that they take all my attention while I’m sewing them …….
Wonder what she’s thinking!
She enjoyed her walk today though – the first time for ages that we’ve enjoyed a bright sunny morning – perfect for a longer excursion. But the bridlepath was blocked by a fallen tree – a casualty of the recent gales.
We approached the problem in various – but very typical – ways. I stood back – assessed the situation, measured by eye and decided I could clamber over the tree through a gap in the branches. Ben used his enormous strength to force a hole then shoulder his way through the lower branches, whilst Daisy – oh dear – couldn’t wait to follow her brother through the hole he’d made but twirled round and round in mad excitement, then made a flying leap, became stuck in the tangle of ivy festooning the trunk and had to be rescued. Silly puppy! Then home for a little stitching on another project for the March magazine….
A vintage illustration from “The Rosie Posie Book” by Anne Anderson. I’m really enjoying stitching this – it makes me think of summer days to come and I hope subscribers will love it too.
While I was away in Dubai having a wonderful time, Ben and Daisy went off to stay in their favourite kennels, where as usual, they ran straight inside waving their tails with pleasure, hardly even stopping to say farewell. And it’s true that I hardly gave them a thought while I was away, knowing that they were safe and happy with their “Auntie Gillian.” I went up the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), drove through the Arabian desert in a fleet of 4 x 4′s and even had a henna tattoo (strictly temporary!) I had a wonderful time ….
But the day after I returned when I went to collect my two furry friends, I was greeted by a very sober Gillian who told me Ben had been so very ill she ‘d had to call the emergency vet because she was worried she might lose him.
He wouldn’t move, not even the slightest wag of his tail, and hardly reacted to anything at all. So blood tests were taken, medication administered and much love given. She didn’t call me as there would have been absolutely nothing I could have done from so very far away. Luckily with all the care and attention he received he’s now pretty much made a full recovery. The feeling is that he must have picked up and eaten something very bad indeed – as Daisy was absolutely fine. Poor Ben – after his experience with the stones you’d think he would have learned not to eat stuff – but then although he’s much loved, and (in his opinion at least!) very strong and brave – he really isn’t the cleverest of dogs!
I’ve been keeping a very close eye on him for the last few days, whilst finishing off my final project for the January 2014 Magazine….
A crewel love heart – beautiful spring and summer blossoms encircled by a very famous quotation from one of Shakespeare’s sonnets “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Summer seems a long way off for us, but it is after all summer in the southern hemisphere – and I did have a little taste of summer in Dubai! But I won’t be heading off on holiday again and leaving Ben behind for a while – I don’t know how Daisy and I would manage without him. I know that one day he won’t be here any more …. but not for a long time yet I hope. Just DON’T EAT ANYTHING when you’re out and about Master Benjamin!!