Thursday, June 15, 2017

Walking and boats

Summer has come to my part of the UK, days just right for waking and exploring.

So briefly and in pictures Tuesday took us along the London Loop, from West Drayton to Harefield. Eleven miles of walking alongside the canal and river, with insects and birds, barges in use and in repair.

Our lunchtime entertainment at the boatyard 

Another hidden gem of a place amongst the city's light industry 

Wednesday was the first of the 2017 birthday treats family and friends have arranged for me. It was a blue sky day, perfect for a boat ride to Greenwich, a tour of the Cutty Sark, lunch and a climb to the Meridian. All perfectly arranged by my dear schoolfriend Rita. I'm feeling blessed. 

The conservation of this ship is fantastic -everything about it shines
My version of a selfie

Feasting on the east of London 

Monday, June 5, 2017

all about yoga

It looks and sounds like winter outside as I write this - a windy, rainy bleakness that hopefully will clear by tomorrow morning. But enough of bad weather this post is a catchup about yoga as I'm feeling optimistic about finding a local weekly Iyengar class at last.  At least it feels local being only 30 mins away in Cranleigh.

They have a useful website, online booking and the 2 hour workshop on Saturday was very good. See details here I'm still unsure which weekday class I can get to ... I might have to do a major diary rearrange!!

It feels good to have the possibility of a live yoga class to do alongside my now regular online classes that inspire a home practice. I've signed up to Ekhart Yoga for two years now. Its flexibility and range of classes have made a big difference to what I do when I'm on my mat at home.

For example today I followed a morning class based on sun salutations with Esther Ekhart and just now took a restorative class with Irina Verwer.  There's lots of other sections all about yoga on the website including detailed descriptions of the poses. Very helpful as I try to learn the sanskrit names and the minutia of each pose. Today for me it was Utkatasana, or chair pose ... see

I can't write about yoga without saying something about the wonderful week I just spent in classes with Rachel Lovegrove at Quinta Mimosa. More details about both can be found here and I'm already booked in for another retreat in May 2018.

I'll end this blog post with pictures (thanks to Rachel for two of these) from my week at the end of May ...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Can't believe its June!!!!

A bit of a much needed catch up, mostly in pictures ...

After  many years I've found my crochet hooks. Now to decide whether to make lots of squares or to just keep on going around and around 

 Louise Tilbrook has kindly shared a really easy shawl pattern

Well, its easy now I've worked out how to do the wyf slip stitch!!!
It's a good project for train and plane journeys and a great one to have alongside some stash busting blankets for Woolly Hugs see


Baby blanket from one stitch onwards and upwards ... I love the simplicity of slipping the first stitch to give an almost lacey edge 

And with the help of blocking pins, usually used for knitting projects, I'm progressing with mounting some of the bits and pieces I've finished in the past few weeks.

I went to a very good Picture Mounting Workshop in early May at Farnham Maltings ( with Lynne Friel see
so I've no excuses now for a bit of DIY finishing off.

old thread, scrap scrim and linen ... learning how to stretch over mount board 

From the back - to be continued 

In the to be mounted queue 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Colouring in the garden

Its still sunny! Perfect weather for unwrapping and unstacking the paper I left overnight in dye and steam baths.

I found a great set of tutorials to help with eco dying, see I followed most of the instructions given, but also used the remainder of the Logwood and Persian Berry dyes as a bath for some of my stacked and wrapped papers.

The big hit was poppy heads, with bay leaves coming a close second in terms of subtle colours and interesting shapes. Most of what's shown in these photos is paper, pre-soacked in an alum bath ... next task is to try the poppy flowers - the bank behind the house is covered with them, and bay leaves from our very large tree, on some fabric.

Inside, my design wall has been moved to be flat against a solid wall so now I can audition fabrics, tea bags, whatever and they stay in place!!! 

the beginning of a quilt. 
this may become a curtain!!!!
Finally, a quick catch up ...

for my stitch a line a day project today's thread was red (left over from sewing  the binding on a quilt) and today's stitch was running stitch,

my yoga socks are finished ...

and I've been chain stitching ... the motif on the old piece of lace just seemed to call out for this stitch to be added, even though I've used it on this piece before ... some things are so good you do them more than once!!!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunshine and a very good book

Its summer in April here ... such a joy to stitch and read outside. 

I've added some feather stitches to the stitch-a-day piece ...

and finished reading Sarah Lapido Manyika's wonderful book. Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun. 

This is a short coming of old  age book, with all the issues of disappearing independence that reaching her mid-seventies and slipping from the edge of the bath brings to Morayo De Silva. She is on of the most memorable characters I've met in a novel for a very long time. The prose is beautiful, events and the other people in Moraya's life are touched on in just the right amount of detail and honesty   ... I just loved it. 

Read other reviews here 

and here

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A few days in a few pictures

Bonjour, its warm and sunny outside and some weeds need pulling, so this will be brief.

Finally, I'm set up to do some natural dyeing .... its a wonderfully slow process

Logwood, Persian berries and onion skins ... 

Solar dying with avocado skins  ... might be ready in July

I'm learning how strong the Logwood dye is even after several days 

I'm also doing more slow stitching, inspired by Hazel  from Institches Creative Textile Courses

... this is an old, rust spotted chair cover (provence unknown) and, with some hemp thread that has proved useless for anything else, I'm learning some new embroidery stitches from several great websites including

and relearning some old favourites ... only one stitch a day mind, and only one length of thread.

Finally, as I'm at home in France a photo of the new dog kennels and the lime and hemp bricks that will soon be the walls. 

Oh, and by the way last week the wonderful Reuben Woolly published one of my poems on I am not a Silent Poet.
Here's the link   ... there are lots of other great poems there, so do visit the website and just in case the above link fails here's my poem.

Westminster, March 2017

The people who won't be going home today
are people like you and people like me.
This morning they checked their emails,
read another chapter of their book,
bought a coffee to go and, wrapped against
only the March wind, chose the pavement.

The people who ran towards the blood
are people like you and people like me.
This afternoon they took off their coats
to pillow an injured man's head,
blew their breath into a dying women,
put their palms across pulsing wounds.

All these people walked from the south
or the north, they were willing to cross over
and look east and west towards the other side,
the side with plenty of places for more bridges
if people like you and I make the space. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book review: The Essex Serpent

Just finished this very good book. Here's the long review

and my short version is - beautiful prose, characters that were strangly and wonderfully out of character and a book that carried the research that shaped it lightly. Well worth the time it takes to read it.

A beautiful day for walking

... more of the London Loop. This time from Malden, through Kingston to Bushy park

Springy grass, muddy paths, pavements, local wildlife and the splendour of a reflected tree ...

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Go to Margate, to Entangled at the Turner Contemporary ...

... go as soon as you can, its the most wonderful exhibition of threads and making by an inspiring group of women from all around the world.

Here's a small taste of what's on display ...

from the studio of Marion Baruch

delicate work by Chrisiane Lohr

Work by Tatiana Trouve
The bonus is that the Gallery's cafe has great food (I recommend the vegetarian hash) and Margate has an buildings that more than hint at an interesting past, including The Royal Sea Bathing Hospital and of course, Dreamland. 

Here's the link to the Gallery so you can find directions and opening times  Go soon, entangled really is a fantastic display of what can be made with threads and associated materials.   

While you're there do stop to look at the steps down to the beach and this amazing door which is in the wall at the back of the nearby car park. I think I may have found a stitching project!!!