Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday 20 December

Earlier this year I got invited to join a local knitting group. There are several active knitting groups in Bury St. Edmunds, but most of them are held on days/evenings I can't make it, or they are well established and sometimes a little hard to get into. A friend who I've known for years through Freecycle (I think we've had most of her children's school uniform, as they're a little older than my two but have gone to the same schools!) turned out to be a knitter and asked me this summer if I fancied joining their little group. And I'm so glad she did - they're such a great group of women and we all get on so well, and not just because we all like knitting. That's actually the best bit about the group, that we get on with each other for lots of reasons.

Anyway, we meet up once a month at someone's house, taking turns in hosting, and we all bring something to eat. With a mixture of nationalities (Danish, Dutch, Scottish and English) there are usually several international dishes. After invariably eating too much we then move on to knitting or crochet, although there are also lots of exclamations of ohhh and aaahh over soft yarn, pretty needles and interesting patterns. In other words, if you want to do some mileage knitting, our get-together is not the place to be!

Our last meeting for this year was last night. I'd not had a great day and didn't really feel much like socialising, but as the meeting was just down the road from me and we were exchanging Secret Santa presents, I drove down and popped in for an hour or so. Of course they (and the very gorgeous dog Lupin) managed to take my mind off things and I was glad I did go. Plus, I came home with this....

Boozy chocolate truffles, I think they even have some marzipan in them - they're gorgeous! (yes that one missing is the one that's been sampled ;-)
I'm already looking forward to our January meeting!

I'm so behind on blogging. Life's just too busy at the moment. I started teaching a course of sewing classes but after one evening, I just found it was one activity too many. I wasn't going to let the participants down so we ran the whole course and I'm very proud of what they achieved, but I'm also glad the classes have finished and I have a bit of breathing space again. As it is, I don't know how everything is going to get done before Christmas, what with working right up until Christmas Eve!

But despite being behind and not likely to catch up again, I didn't want to not post this photo.

B. went to Austria back in November and imagine my surprise when he rang one evening and said he'd bought me wool. He's always liked it when I knit with self-striping yarn and always wonders how they dye it so you end up with the pretty patterns. He found a ball of self-striping yarn in the local supermarket and bought it for me. It was Regia and a colour combination I'd probably not have chosen myself, but now that I've knitted them up, they're actually my favourite pair. The funny thing is that because it makes these pretty patterns, many people think you're really clever. To me, they're a little bit like cheating - pretending you've done FairIsle when all you've done is knit stocking stitch! But they're pretty and they're comfortable, and they're from yarn that B. bought for me - well, can't get better than that can you.

And finishing those socks prompted me to take a photo of my current collection of knitted socks. They're all mine, apart from the ones at the front, which I knitted for 14yo a while back. I'm quite pleased to have a pair for every day now :-)

We're slowly getting into the Christmas spirit. We decorated the house on Tuesday evening 

(photo by 14yo and decorations by me) and I'm madly writing Christmas cards on days when I realise I'm not going to see someone again before Christmas. The kids both finish school today, although 11yo managed to finish a day early by coming down with a rotten cold and having to stay home today. (He had several nightmares last night - I'd forgotten what it was like to have your sleep interrupted... yawn!) We have a house full on Christmas Day but I'm very much looking forward to having a bit of time off after that. Plus, possibly a quick trip to Holland :-)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday 10 November

It's been ages since parttime dog and I went for a walk. Truth be told, I like life to be busy, but it's a little too busy right now. Time to stop, take stock, consider and rearrange a few things.

Today though promised good weather and as B. has gone on his annual skiing trip to Austria, I had this whole Sunday to myself. It's funny, a few years ago I hated being alone, but over the years I have really come to cherish those days when I can do exactly as I please. I almost emailed a friend to ask if she fancied coming along for a walk, but then thought 'no, I really want to go on my own'. It's done me the world of good.

It was a very pretty walk, called Chocolate Box Cavendish, and can be found on the AA website ( I have done some of their walks in the past and they never disappoint - the right length and lots to see, plus lots of interesting background information. Would love for them to expand into bike rides too (or maybe they already do - I've never really looked into it)!
We started off in Cavendish and walked through open fields to Clare and then alongside the river Stour (and in Essex!) back to Cavendish. Fancy coming along? Better put on some sturdy walking shoes then, because we've had a lot of rain lately and it's bound to be muddy. O and don't forget a rucksack with a camera and a little snack, it promises to be quite a long walk.

 We're starting off on a public footpath alongside the cemetery. Lots of leaves.

 Looking up at the very blue sky through bare poplar trees. It is a beautiful day but there is a very cold wind. I hope you brought a hat and gloves? I'm glad I brought mine.

Where's parttime dog? Oh, lots of new smells to discover...

Lots and lots of rosehips. It's been an amazing fruit year.

This first part of the walk has lots of fields and lots of views. It's actually quite hilly too. Never mind, that will warm us up.

Another field

Round the corner and we see this lonely farmhouse across the fields.

Another field with a house in the distance. You can walk for miles without seeing anyone, yet still see signs of habitation everywhere.

 Sugarbeets! Mountains of them. You see lots of them at this time of year in Suffolk.

Out of the fields, up the little hill. Still some Autumn colour to be found, although the best is over now.

And back into the fields, across a little bridge. 

We're going through a really big field now, seeming to stretch all the way to the horizon.

 Look, pink berries! Unusual colour for this time of the year.

Now we're heading down the hill towards Clare, which is about halfway on our walk. Not tired yet I hope?

And here we are in Clare itself. You can just make out the church in the distance. Looks like we're not the only ones getting some exercise. 

Going into the country park - only for a short stretch, just along the river.

And look what we find when we turn left - two old railway bridges! I can just imagine steam trains chugging along here.

Part of the railway track is still here - maybe this is another one of Dr Beeching's victims? The only good thing you can say about that is that we have lots of nice railway walks now.

 We cross the bridge and walk up a steep hill, then turn right to cross the old railway bridge we could see in the distance earlier.

Just a bit further down and look, an old mill house. 

And here's the old mill bridge and the mill in the background. Parttime dog is looking longingly at the water. I'm sure we'll find some to splash about in before we get back to the car!

Parttime dog is not keen to get on this bridge. Far too complicated for his elderly brain.

Looking back at the mill in the foreground and the mill house in the background.

O look, he's finally made it. 

We just crossed the river Stour, which leads us into Essex.

There must have been a wedding here yesterday. I wonder if we'll find a little church if we go down this path?

Not a church, but a nice river to splash about in for a minute or so. Doesn't matter that it's a really cold day! Good, all that mud from earlier is coming off too.

O look, a swan in the distance, doesn't that look pretty, that snowy white in all the green.

'Enough with all the photos, let's go'

A really large toadstool. Wish I knew if you can eat it. 

If you look carefully, you can see the fallen trees. We had some pretty strong winds a few weeks ago, but it looks like they had it worse here than back at home where there is not much damage.

Another tree fallen down - at a very weird angle!

And another huge field with a huge sky. It really is very pretty down here.

See, we really did venture into Essex!

They have some lovely houses down here.

Another fallen down tree. Quite a big one that one. I wouldn't mind the firewood!

 And we're back in Suffolk.

Very typical Suffolk cottage. Allegedly the paint is made with pig's blood, although I've heard that it could be cow's blood too. Either way, it's a pretty colour isn't it.

We're back in Cavendish now and just walking along the river back to our starting point. Lovely little Victorian cottage.

Look, sheep! Come on parttime dog, you're a cross Golden Retriever/border collie, you like sheep. But he doesn't bat an eyelid. Too old for all that. The sheep are fascinated by us though and keep running around us.

Two photos from the same spot, but because the wind is blowing the leaves on the tree, the camera keeps focusing on different parts.

 Pretty chimneys!

 And this is one the cottages that the chimneys belong to. If you look carefully, you can see the crochet blanket on the back of the sofa. We'd better be quick though, there's someone watching telly and it's a bit odd to take a photo of someone's house when they're home!

Cavendish is full of pretty houses. I wonder what the roof will look like when it's finished?

Another mill house.

 These cottages are so pretty, don't you think? The glass in the left hand one seems to be original, it's not smooth as modern glass.

 The old Grammar School - you can't imagine a village this small having a grammar school. 

 We're back at the car now, but let's just wander to the green and the church to have a quick look.

 It could go straight into a picture book, it's that pretty. No wonder the walk is called Chocolate Box Cavendish! The village has a strong link with Sue Ryder but where has the museum gone? I was hoping we could stop there for a cup of tea or hot chocolate.

 Walking up the green towards the church

 The ceiling of the church, it seems to mimic the floor tiles. Some people don't like Victorian decorations in churches, but I don't mind - I think it tells part of the history of the church. I would enjoy spending a bit more time here, but we've had a bit of a disapproving look (or so it feels) as we came in, so let's leave it for another day.

 One last look at the church before we return to the car with muddy boots and tired paws. It was seven and a half miles in the end. A lovely walk though, don't you think? Home now for a well earned shower and cup of coffee!