Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Signs of Spring

There are signs of Spring which makes me feel so cheerful.  In a pot at the front of the house, Prunus Kojo-no-mai  is flowering beautifully.  It only had a few flowers last year so is doing much better now.
 A blue hyacinth in the back garden is flowering for the third year in a row (I think).
 Primroses are blooming...
 ...as are Tete a Tete daffodils.  The smaller daffodils seem to come back more reliably in my garden.
 Crocus 'Jeanne D'Arc with the palest lilac lines inside the petals.
 Reliable grape hyacinth...
 ...and a single anemone blanda.
 More crocuses with some beautiful veining.
 Pale blue scillas, shyly facing away from the camera.
 Narcissus Jetfire - a single but very welcome survivor from a large group I planted a few years ago.
 The stars of the garden must be the hellebores - this is a new one this year 'Harvington Single Red' which I bought mail order from here and would happily recommend as the plant was in lovely condition and has three buds on it, which I wasn't expecting.
 This is Harvington Pink Speckled, (I think) and it has made a lovely clump in the garden.  To see the markings, you do have to lift the flower up though.
 Finally, Harvington Pink Picotee (I think) which is clumping up nicely too.  Lots of colour to enjoy and more to look forward to, including tulips!  I really enjoy this time of year.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Count Arthur Strong - The Sound of Mucus

We had a great evening full of laughter when we went to see Count Arthur Strong in his show 'The Sound of Mucus' on Thursday night.  He is the creation of Steve Delaney and has had eight radio series and two BBC TV series (so far).  Count Arthur is a frustrating, irritating but strangely endearing man, full of righteous indignation and a false sense of his own talents.  He is at his best with his malapropisms.  He treated us to a discussion on the best Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch gave many opportunities for word play - 'Cucumber Cabbage Patch' was one and my favourite was 'Bedford Van Camber Sands').  In the second half, he discussed the Sound of Music and his rendition of 'Sixteen going on Seventeen' had to be seen to be believed!
Just in case you haven't made his acquaintance yet, here he is dealing (in his own inimitable way) with a cold caller selling insurance.  Enjoy!



I have been listening to the radio shows series one and two yesterday and today while I have been making jewellery and sewing - a great way to spend the weekend!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Knights' Progress

As you know, I have been eagerly following the progress of my friend Rachael's Knight, one of the statues which will be seen around Lincoln this summer as part of The Knights' Trail  .  She has been working very hard on him/her/it and is almost finished.
 Apples, cakes, hearts, lightbulbs, keys, weather symbols and patchwork all feature in the design.
The blocks of colour are now suitcases (she has been working on him/her/it since I took these photos.  I really like the cake which is part of the saddle!
Once all the painting is finished, the varnish will be applied to protect the paint. This should really make the colours pop.
 He/she/it has lovely bright green eyes.  The pink mane will have white hearts on it, like the tail and Rachael said she may add some highlights to the washing up gloves.  I think it looks amazing!
 Three other statues are also nearing completion.
I like the Lincoln landmarks on this one.
This one is all about the Cathedral and features elements taken from the carvings there.  I am really looking forward to seeing them all finished and in place. I think Chris and I will be following the trail in the Summer.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

First garden visit of the year 2017 and more of my plants

We had the first garden visit of the year and chose possibly one of the worst days we could to visit.  It was cold, drizzly, wet and windy and really not conducive to being out for any length of time, even for hardy gardeners.  However, we braved the weather and went to Brightwater Gardens, which is one of my favourite local gardens.  Some of the snowdrops can be seen in the distance in the top photo, but on that day, even they weren't very keen to be out.
 There is some lovely winter planting with various colours of dogwood stems.
 In better weather, this would have been an enticing walk.
 My hands were shaking, hence the blurry image of the sorbus berries with raindrops.
 The bust of Capability Brown gazes towards the church he is said to have designed.
 You can see the church better in this closer view.
 In winter, you can get a very clear idea of the hard landscaping in a garden and this one has some beautiful areas which add a lot of interest.
One of my favourite parts of the garden is the 'Cathedral Garden' with the pleached trees, hedges and grass.  A lovely calm space, but a bit too cold to linger here for too long on this visit.
 In my own garden, the snowdrops have finally opened to show their patterns.  A bit of warmth and sunshine will do wonders!
 These are in a pot and I will need to divide them once they have finished flowering.
 I have only noticed two double snowdrops this year and this is the one that hadn't been nibbled by something.
 Along with the snowdrops, my winter flowering honeysuckle is doing well and has a beautiful scent of lily of the valley.  Considering that some of the wall collapsed on it and it needed some remedial pruning, it has survived remarkably well.
 More snowdrops. (They have probably been a bit battered by Storm Doris by now!)
The violas I planted last autumn greet me with their cheerful faces whenever I go in or out.  They make me smile.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Send a Little Love Swap 2017

I have just taken part in Tracy (at Mad About Bags') 'Send a Little Love' swap 2017.  I have taken part in this swap for several years and always enjoy it.  This year I was partnered up with Pilar from Cenefas de Flores who is from Barcelona.  We were given some guidelines with this swap:
"The idea of this swap is to send 5 things to include :
Some sewing or yarny notions that have a love theme
Something heart shaped or themed
Something deliciously edible
Something handmade
Something red "
So, we emailed and looked at each other's blogs, as usual, to pick up some clues and then we got making and swapping.  My parcel from Spain arrived and it was the hardest thing not to peek before grand opening day, although I did manage to leave it alone until then.  As you can see from the top photo, I had been sent the most beautifully packaged gifts.  I loved the floral tissue paper with the labels.
Here's what was inside...wow!  There was ribbon, lip balm, heart shaped decorations, rose scented flower petals, violet flavoured sweets, heart shaped buttons, pompoms, red flower linen material, two beautifully made cross stitched pin cushions/decorations, a fridge magnet and two recipes.
 I was, yet again, extremely lucky.
 She had been so generous.
 Aren't these absolutely stunning? I found out that the little black cat was inspired by Scruffy.
The wooden decorations will be added to my seasonal tree stash.  Thank you Pilar (she has put her post up about the swap too) at Cenefas de Flores so much for all the lovely gifts - they are fantastic - you were an amazing swap partner. 
So here's what I sent to her.  The heart swap things are on the left, including heart bunting, heart cutters, love heart sweets, heart ribbon and washi tape, a felt heart (of course), a heart mug and a polymer clay and gemstone bookmark.  On the right are the extras, a UK cross stitch magazine, some pearl earrings and some wooden pegs.
 Here's the heart things...
...and the extras.  I did wrap them in heart wrapping paper, but forgot to take a photo before I packaged it all up.  Thanks to my lovely swap partner and also to Tracy for doing the organising. 
Scruffy enjoyed playing in the wrapping paper, but of course he moved when he saw the camera and although he does actually have his eyes open in this photo (amazingly), he is studiously ignoring looking at the camera.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Knights in progress

Back in 2015, Lincoln hosted some visitors - brightly painted Baron sculptures - to commemorate the Magna Carta.  You can see my posts about them here and here.  The figures were very popular and a boost to tourism for the city. This year, to commemorate the Charter of the Forest and the Battle of Lincoln Fair, there will be another trail, but this time, it's the Knights Trail, which you can find out all about here.  The design for the figures was based on a chess piece and a competition was held to design a Knight.  Our friend Rachael (a really talented artist - she got a First in illustration) created a design and as soon as I saw it, I had a feeling it would be picked...I was right! She is now in the process of bringing her design to life.
She made a start on the horse's nose, covering it with hearts.
 Then she really got going.
 He's going to look amazing!
 I love the cakes...but then, I would!
 He is so bright and colourful.
She is doing a fantastic job, isn't she?  Her particular knight is getting a lot of attention, and children seem to be especially drawn to it.  I also have an idea where I think he will be situated - wouldn't that be spooky if I'm right?  I can see him being extremely popular for photographs too.  
Here are a couple of other artists' designs in progress.  These are being painted in the shopping centre, so I shall be going along again at the weekend to see how they are all coming along.
I shall look forward to seeing them all around the city in the summer.