Times gone by … and yet to come

by Helen on January 21, 2014

I remember that growing up in the seventies needlework was simply not taught once I reached secondary school.  I attended an all-girls school and in an age of feminism and women’s rights, teaching domestic science was considered to be a very bad and totally unnecessary thing since, as a liberated woman, I would be too busy forging a career to worry about looking after my home.  

Whilst I’m a total supporter of equal opportunities, I think it’s a great pity that for so many years the domestic arts were completely ignored. It’s fantastic that sewing has recently seen such an amazing upsurge in popularity and I was delighted to receive an email from Amol at Terry’s Fabrics asking me to share her infographic. I think it’s great and I hope you will too …

The Resurgence of Sewing by Terrys Fabrics
The Resurgence of Sewing by Terrys Fabrics.

And I so totally agree that it feels wonderful to make something out of virtually nothing!

I had another “times gone by” moment today when I came across these winter-flowering pansies planted along the wall of our village bus shelter.  I remember my first sighting of winter pansies back in the 1970’s and my amazement at seeing what I had previously thought were summer flowers in the depths of winter. I am sure they must have been around long before then – but certainly not in a sleepy Warwickshire market town.  

Whilst winter pansies bloom all through the colder months, there hasn’t been much else in the way of  flowers around lately.  But now I’m back to walking the dogs again I’m beginning to see the very early signs of spring all around.  Too small and shy as yet to make good photographs, apart from these daffodils  I spotted in a south-facing, sheltered part of the woods.  They’re very well ahead indeed …. a herald of times yet to come!



A good day, a bad day – and a winner!

by Helen on March 20, 2012


Sorry to be a bit late posting the winner of my St Patrick’s Day draw  – I was absolutely overcome by the number of comments.  Thank you so much to everyone who entered.  I adored reading all your wonderful suggestions for names, such creative and original ideas, I only wish I had a bunny to give you all.  I could only select one winner however, and Teasel was won by comment 112 which was left by Denise.  (More than one Denise entered, but I have already emailed the Denise who won).  Thank you again to all who took the time to enter.  

But back to the post title …. Sunday was the good day.  Townie Husband and I set off to visit a National Trust property we hadn’t been to before – Killerton House, near Exeter.  (That’s it at the top of this post).  This is a lovely, friendly-feeling house, not awe-inspiring and grand, but rather more of an, admittedly very large, family home.  


Amazingly it was given to the National Trust by Sr Richard Acland when he inherited it in the 1940s (the armillary sphere above is a memorial to him).  Sir Richard was a committed socialist and did not want to own such a large private property, so gave it away, knowing that the National Trust would keep it intact, preserving the homes and livelihoods of everyone living on the estate.   

killerton interiors

Killerton also houses a beautiful collection of historic fashion.  It was hard to take photos without flash, but I hope you can see the beautiful embroidery in the dress above.  It dates from the late 18th century and was simply described as Dress:  Embroidery on linen.  Can you imagine how long this work must have taken!  The embroidery covers the whole dress, including the extremely full skirt and is so beautifully and finely worked.  

Golden Daffodils

The gardens are beautiful too, these were lovely dainty old-fashioned daffodils that really did dance in the wind – much smaller and more graceful than our modern hybrids. 


A stunning pink magnolia – this photo doesn’t really do it justice … 

The Bear House

A real Bear House.  This was built in 1808 as a surprise for the then Lady Acland on return from her honeymoon.  It was often called the Hermit’s Hut until it was used to house a pet black bear brought back from Canada in the 1860s!   After enjoying the house and gardens for a while, we then retired to the Garden Tea Rooms to enjoy tea and a rather yummy slice of Victoria sponge.  A very good day indeed.  But …..

Finally … the bad day in the title was yesterday.  I have been struggling with a cracked molar for a while, and after finally admitting to myself that it was never going to put itself back together again,  yesterday was the day scheduled for extraction.  Not a good day at all, but at least it’s over now and I’m feeling much better already!