Pride goes before a fall

by Helen on April 13, 2014

It’s true to say I was feeling very proud.  At the age of – no, some things are best not mentioned – let’s just say at a slightly more mature age than one might expect – I had become a cover girl!  That is to say, my little mice had been chosen for the cover of a new British bookazine “Handmade Gifts.”

“Look it’s us – we’re famous!”

When my copy arrived I couldn’t wait to open it.  Yes, there were my mice, beautifully photographed and the pattern looked wonderful too I thought, though I did wonder why I can’t make my template lines as neat and straight as theirs.  But then …. my eye strayed to the credit box and my heart sank through my boots ….

“That’s not our mum!”

It’s not me!  My mice have been credited to another person (who may or may not be called Helen Dickson) entirely.  Now, I am sure that whoever this lady is she’s a very lovely lady, but the fact remains – she isn’t me!  I am notoriously camera-shy as you know, but I feel I need to set the record straight – this is me….

Back and front view just to be sure!  The magazine editor apologised profusely, but of course it’s too late for any change to be made.  Still, it’s hard to be downcast for long when there are bluebells in the hedgerows and hexies in the sewing tin….

Yes, watch out for some English paper piecing and lots of little hexies in the May issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine – perfect handstitching to take out and about with you now the warmer weather’s here. (or on its way at least!) 




A walk round Blackdown Rings

by Helen on May 2, 2012

Today .. finally .. after days and days of rain .. the sun shone and it has been warm!  So I put my stippling to one side, bunnies and all(!), and called to Ben for a walk as we both badly needed some fresh air after being stuck inside all weekend.  And the best place for fresh air today (the tides were all wrong to visit the beach) was Blackdown Rings ….

Blackdown Rings

Lots and lots of fresh air – and amazing views too.  Blackdown Rings is an old Iron Age hill fort about 4 miles north-west of Kingsbridge – so about 8 miles from Coombe Leigh.  You’re not really aware that you’re climbing, the rise is so gradual, then suddenly the ground drops away and you realise that you can see for miles and miles in every direction. 

The Normans also took advantage of this in the 11th century, building a mott and bailey castle on top of the old hill fort.  There are two concentric rings of earthworks around the perimeter, with another ring and large mound at one end of the enclosure.  The wooden castle has long since vanished of course.  Ben doesn’t care about any of this – he was simply anxious to get going …. 

Blackdown Rings

Because he knows that between the earthworks, there are deep hollows – which after periods of heavy rain flood with clear, fresh peaty water and become … 

Blackdown Rings

Beautiful deep pools for swimming in!

 Blackdown Rings

Like this!!  “Come on in Mum, the water’s lovely!!”  The bluebells were coming into bloom, that wonderful shade of deep purpley blue, though not as many as last year which was an especially good year for bluebells .. 

Blackdown Rings

And we were spotted by the full-time residents – they were not at all alarmed by the sight of a very silly newfie splashing around in the water!

Blackdown Rings

You can clearly see the earthworks here … just think, these great mounds were dug out nearly 2,000 years ago!  Wonder if any of our buildings will last that long? 

Blackdown Rings

 This is looking back the way we came – the water in the pool has settled again after being well stirred up by Ben’s enormous paws. 

Blackdown Rings

The path ahead through the trees – we walk around the perimeter of the earthworks first, then up onto the mound of the old Norman Castle – I think the mound is the mott bit of mott and bailey… 

Blackdown Rings

The odd-looking structure is actually an engraved compass indicating the directions of various points of interest.  You can see about 40 miles on a clear day.  And that’s  the end of my photos.  My camera battery ran out so I had to put it away and throw extra sticks into the water for Ben to retrieve.  These pools are very short-lived though – next time we go they will probably have disappeared.  It’s so comical to watch the puzzled expression on Ben’s face when all he sees is grass where last time he was swimming!! I sometimes think he is a dog of very little brain!!