What was I doing on Saturday?

I met up with my eldest and family and had a couple of meals and had fun in an Escape Room. After we escaped!

Although this is not my photograph and therefore I do not own the copyright I am sure the Escape Plan guy won’t mind as this can be considered  an advert. He was keen on us passing on the word.

The Escape Room is located in SE London in Iliffe Yard.

We had great fun. We had been there previously for a Second World War prisoner themed escape and this one if anything was even more fun.

If you are interested in learning more here is a link – https://escapeplanltd.com/ Highly recommended.

I also took with me the socks I had made for my granddaughter (which I have shown you previously). socksand the hat I made for my daughter. hatMy camera really didn’t like this yarn. The colour is much more of a vibrant peacock blue. Imagine the above but brighter and a little darker. The above has been edited by me for colour but nothing I could do would get it the correct shade.

Here is another photograph of the hat standing up. hat in the roundIt is alpaca and merino wool, wonderfully soft.

The pattern for the hat came from Debbie Bliss and here is a closer look at the stitches. knitting stitchesThe hat was very popular and my daughter put it on immediately!


A week in Weymouth – part 2

On Wednesday I had planned a trip to the Hardy monument as it is not open earlier in the week. Open means a cafe and the chance to go to the top. Otherwise it stands there out in the open.

Recent experience in walking in the countryside to well known locations or popular routes led me to believe that the off-road walking route would be well signposted. I did however have an ordinance survey map (borrowed from the library – Yay!) and a Silva compass (lent by James because I had forgotten to think of bringing my own) as backup.

When we got off the bus the road route was signposted – 2 miles and there was a sign to the right as we walked through the village of Portesham pointing to a walking route. That was the last we saw of specific signs however.

Faced with a choice of two paths I was glad I had both map and compass. However life is tough if you are thirteen and Louisa informed me that she couldn’t stand still while I worked out the right direction as her legs would seize up and then plowed ahead on the lower path which had been my first choice.

Suffice it to say that it was the wrong path and from then on I muddled along, trying to follow the map while walking, jollying Louisa along as it was very hot (hotter than I had expected), reversing direction when it was obvious we had made the wrong choice, rejoicing when we caught a glimpse of the monument, so in the end the expected two miles was nearer three and the hour I estimated it would take became ninety minutes.

So the first thing we did on arrival (apart from a photograph) Hardy monumentwas an ice cream for Louisa and some coffee for me. The cafe was a sort of caravan style similar to an ice cream van with a window at the side

I wish I had taken a photograph here but I was too intent on reviving myself.

I was offered not a mug but a cafetiere of coffee, served on a tray with a cup and saucer and jug of milk. The cafetiere had a crochet cosy in bright colours that had been made by the lady serving the coffee. (We discussed the making of cosies when I gave back the tray.) There were two chairs and a table beside the ‘cafe’ and I sat there and drank my coffee.

Then Louisa and I found a picnic table and ate our lunch (again no photograph) after which we went and sat in the shade of the monument and Louisa picked up her crochet again. I got up after a while and took some views. View from belowBetter views were to be had from the top however.

The cost of climbing the one hundred and twenty steps to the top of the monument was very reasonable so Louisa and I, when we felt sufficiently revived, opted to go up.

I was pleased to find that Louisa after her earlier moaning was now very happy that we had come and enjoyed the view.

Here is a view over towards the Chesil bank which seemed to follow us wherever we went. View from aboveAnd further round the road that wound further inland. Road going inlandWe opted to be safe rather than sorry for the return trip and followed the road back towards Portesham: Road back to villagevery much a country route but no footpath so frequent recourse to climbing the verge.

I had been expecting to meet up with a blogging friend on Thursday but personal circumstance meant that that was not possible so a re-think was necessary.

The weather forecast suggested rain so a return trip to Abbotsbury to visit St Catherine’s Chapel seemed a good option. And as it turned out we were glad of the shelter the chapel offered. Inside chapelLouisa was charmed by the large number of doves and pigeons inside the chapel. You can see two either side of the window both on nests. One seemed to have chicks and the other was obviously incubating hers.

I took a photograph of the roof from inside Chapel ceilingand then later of the turrets on the roof outside. TurretsAnd some views of the surrounding coutryside from the front of the chapel.

Here is one of the road snaking up the hill. View to the leftAnd here is the village of Abbotsbury. View of villageYou can see it was a misty moisty day!

I am loving Dorset, it is all very pretty.

Friday being the last day, a gentler pace seemed appropriate and so the main events were an afternoon boat trip and a meal out in the evening.

No photographs of the meal though it was very good but the boat we travelled on is in the front of this photograph Boatand here is one taken of the other side of the harbour Harbour the side where our appartment was, just one street behind.

Here is the Nothe Fort at the end of the harbour. Nothe fortWe then travelled along the Jurassic coast. I took a few photographs, as much as one can in a rocking boat, but although they are interesting as a record not many are worth showing.

Here is one where you can see something of the jurassic layersJurassic coastand here near the half way point where the dipping jurassic gives way to the creataceous. Cretaceous coastSaturday we were picked up and I had expected a quick trip home and a collapse but my daughter had decided to come too and we were offered the chance to go wherever we wished.

Having missed out on the Cerne Giant we made for the viewing point and took some photographs.

Here is the best I could do of the giant himself. The giantI was a little disappointed that he did not stand out more clearly.

Here we are myself, daughter and grandaughter with the giant in the background. Family photo

The weather looked a bit threatening but we decided we would go and take a look at Maiden Castle. We were still dithering as to whether to get out of the car and walk round the ramparts when the heavens opened and the thunder and lightening put paid to any such idea.

So we spent the rest of the day at the Dorset County museum and very interesting it was too.

Before I end I thought I would share our crochet with you. Yes I did do some crochet though not while out as I was trying to design a scarf pattern.

I had some yarn I had won in a giveaway. 0398-yarnAnd I decided to use the little extra ball to experiment to see if it was enough for a scarf.

I was thinking pineapple bookmark, 0105-pineapplebookmarksand angel bookmark 0374-3angelbookmarksas inspiration and I even found a picture of a scarf on the internet that seemed to combine these ideas and so, with much undoing and redoing I produced this. 07-02-my-patternLouisa on the other hand worked away doggedly at her scarf. I started her off with a couple of rows and then she did the rest. 07-01-louisas-scarfAlmost two feet and I was pleased to see that her confidence has grown to the point where if she found she had the wrong number of stitches at the end of a row she would undo and redo till it was correct.

A week in Weymouth – part 1

First I have to say that I have discovered that it is so much harder to think about taking photographs when you are responsible for a granddaughter. So the following will not be my normal steady progression of photographs, more an ‘as and when’ record.

I took a couple of photographs of the apartment we stayed in but decided that the best way to share that with you was to give a link to the page on the web where you can find the details. There is even a virtual tour of the rooms if anyone is interested.

There was a bus strike going on at the time which wasn’t ideal and when we turned up to catch a bus to Abbotsbury on the Sunday we found that it was not running. I therefore decided to take the bus to Portland to see the study centre and the Chesil Bank.

We missed the best bus stop and were surprised to find the bus heading down, way past the study centre to the main part of Portland. When we got off we were maybe as much as a mile from where we wanted to be.

It was an overcast windy day and Louisa soon complained of being cold so I gave her my ‘keep you cool when it is hot and warm when it is cold shirt’. Here you can see her wearing it. Louisa in my shirtI found the wind quite strong but warm.

She moaned and moaned all the way, until we found what I took to be a more sheltered spot from the quantity of grass growing there and stopped for our picnic. PicnicPictures of her eating a tomato were unfortunately not too good!

I was sitting with a view over Portland harbour and watched the various activities on the water. View from PortlandWe had climbed to the top of the Chesil Bank, though not for long as the going was tough on the pebbles and it was much too windy for Louisa. So much for my idea of exploring and looking for fossils. (I must go back sometime and explore the Chesil Bank for myself!)

Louisa’s aversion to the thought of the Chesil Bank was quite a joke between us for the rest of the week!

Here is a photograph I took, before we finished our picnic, of other people walking along the top. Chesil BankAfter our picnic we proceeded to the study centre and indulged ourselves with a hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows (Louisa also had a toasted teacake) before looking at the exhibits.

No more photographs on my part as trying to jolly along a moaning granddaughter had rather exhausted me.

The next day we tried again for the bus to Abbotsbury and were in luck.

This is probably the day where I managed to take the most photographs.

The prime reason for going to Abbotsbury was to visit the Swannery but there was also St. Catherines chapel nearby St Catherine's Chapeland I thought we might visit it before we returned to Weymouth.

Unfortunately a thirteen year old’s body clock is different to mine and about three o’clock when I was just recovering from a post lunch slump Louisa was finally tired and wanted to go and catch the bus.

We did go back on Thursday and that will be in part two.

We had a pleasant walk to the swannery and of course I had to take my usual path photograph PathAnd a swan one Swan preeningI would have liked to take a swan with a long arched neck but it seemed to be preening time.

However we did pass a lake with quite a number of swans. SwansNot all preening.

There were enclosures where families of swans had some space to themselves. Family of cygnetsOf course all the cyngnets were at least a few months old by now. Three cygnetsThey feed the swans at 1200 and 1600 and anyone who wants can help. So of course Louisa was keen to do so. Louisa feeding swansThough not all the swans were there, there was quite a crush. Swans en masseSome clever ones had made their way to where to food had been brought in wheel barrows before being dispensed. Unfortunately I was intent on watching Louisa and didn’t take a photograph of them.

After this we had our picnic near the entrance to the maze. Another picnicCarrot and lettuce added to the tomato/cucumber and fruit today!

Then we tried the maze.

For maze afficionados there are several closed paths within the maze so neither the left-hand or right-hand rule work. (Louisa and I took one each.) However we found our way to the centre of the maze eventually, but no photographs, and then wandered further afield around what is quite a large site discovering how to trap ducks!

On our way back we passed a tent advertising “Wessex Bird of Prey Rescue” but none of my photographs of the rather subdued birds were worth sharing.

We then stopped at the cafe near the entrance and had a delicious ice cream. I had ‘lemon delight’ and Louisa ‘salted caramel’. Not sure I fancy the idea of salted caramel but it was Louisa’s flavour of choice this holiday.

Before we left I just had to take a quick photograph of a red admiral on a nearby buddleia. ButterflyI underestimated the time to get back to the bus stop so we just missed the bus and had an hour to wait. Louisa busied herself with her crochet while I just sat and relaxed.

I did see some geese however that came really close.Abbotsbury GeeseI’m sure that one is looking at us and maybe the one on the right out of the corner of it’s eye.

Just before the bus came I decided to take a view down the street as the cottages were so attractive. Abbotsbury cottages

Tuesday looked to be the hottest day of the week, though Wednesday was almost as hot, so it seemed a good day to try the beach.

Although the beach was very crowded it seemed more spacious and less oppressive than the one at Muddeford that I showed you before.

I took my camera but anxiety about getting sand in it and anxiety about Louisa away in the water meant that I took very few photographs.

Just a couple of the sea. Weymouth beachand Weymouth beachand neither is Louisa. There were a lot of people between me and the sea so it was hard to see her when I was looking after our stuff and she was in the water.

(And I did get in a couple of swims!)

There was a point when the seagulls were continually whirling overhead and I tried to get a few photographs.

This one is just to give you the idea. SeagullsThey were too far away and too fast to get a decent photograph.

The rest of our holiday, maybe next week.

Photo Challenge – Play

My eldest is very much involved with amateur dramatics, so of course that was what I first thought of when I read the word ‘play’. However the drama group she is normally involved with does not allow photographs.

Recently she took part in a play with another amateur dramatic company and played the daughter in Noel Coward’s play: Hay Fever. She had some lovely costumes to wear and given the totally different style of the venue I think photographs may have been allowed. But I didn’t take my camera, so regrettably I cannot share this with you.

I therefore had to go for a different meaning of the word ‘play’ and chose this photograph of my granddaughter playing in the paddling pool on Southampton Common that I took last summer.

Photo Challenge1626 - playI chose it especially for the T-shirt. My granddaughter does love Minecraft! (as well as paddling pools.)

August Montage

In August I shared with you some more about what Louisa and I got up to while she was here, as well as three months worth of contributions to “Monochrome Madness” and various mandalas I had created over the years.August montageI then shared with you the two crocheted cafeteire cosies I made for my daughter’s birthday. I also shared the pattern for my crochet angel bookmark/decoration and the trip my friend and I took to Hythe so I could buy a knitting pattern.

A Crafty Week – Saturday

I can see that Louisa certainly has the making of a crafter in her.

  1. She was working on at least two projects simultaneously during the week: her cord bookmark and her crochet headband. (More if you count the practice crochet and colouring).
  2. She already has plans for what she wants to make in the future.

She loves my hexagon blanketHexagon blanket and had plans for making a hexagon project of her own one day. Something small, so it doesn’t take too long.

We looked at patterns for hexagons that only used dcs (US- scs) and she like one she saw where the stitches were worked into the back of the stitch.

So I made a small sample which she said was the right size.HexagonI printed out some pages with hexagons on them and let her choose some colours using my craft sticks.Craft sticks with yarnShe chose these.Colour choiceThen she sat down and made a chart of how the colours should go.ChartsI made thisColours added to chartto give you the idea.

You can see she’s my granddaughter!

A Crafty Week – Friday

This post is the most important of the set because it is about the most gratifying part of the week.Headband

Louisa had changed her mind about making a coaster and anyway the thought of having to count twenty stitches each row just to check she had the right number did not appeal.

She had realised the importance of keeping the right number of stitches, however, and had even undone her dolly blanketCrochet doll's blanketbecause it had got narrower and narrower.

So I thought hard and suggested that she might like to make a headband using the same stripe pattern as the coaster. The headband need only have five stitches so it would be easy to check each row.

She chose her three favorite colours from the yarn left over from my sea and sand blanket.Left over yarnI was pleased that I didn’t even have to start her off. She made a chain and happily crocheted into it all by herself. All I helped her with was attaching the different colours.

During the week she picked it up from time to time and did a few rows. On Friday she came to the ‘Crafty Coffee’ craft goup with me and this really helped her to have finished it by the afternoon.

Just an aside for a moment!

For her last birthday I made my daughter some crochet bunting Buntingfrom a star pattern I found on-line. (see my post here).Stars

The stars only had three rows so I made most of them while travelling on the bus. However one time I managed to miss out the second row. I didn’t throw it away and it turned up this week. Lousia thought it would make a great ‘flower’ for her headband since the points tended to curl up. So I sewed it on for her where she said.

Friday evening I sewed elastic onto the ends of the headband. (Later I added a piece of tape to stop it stretching.)

And here it is.Headband other angleand a close up of the stitching.Stitches close upEven her mother was impressed!

A Crafty Week – Thursday

On Thursday, as I said in my last post, we had a bit of a lie in and then we went down to West Quay and had lunch in Nando’s. (We used to patronise BHS’ restaurant but it is just not the same these days!)

After lunch I offered Louisa a choice between shops and play-park and she chose ‘play-park’.“Yay!” I am much more of a play-park person myself.

At first I sat in the angled shelter that protected you from the sun (It was a very sunny day.)Looking out at playparkand looked out at all the children playing. (I had forgotten to take my camera so I used my phone which takes quite reasonable photographs to use at this size.)

Later I got up and saw Louisa: riding on the ‘horse and cart’.Riding a horse and cartBalancing the see-sawBalancing seesawand digging up ‘fossils’.Fossils in the sandagain she had managed to make some friends.

I haven’t been to the city centre play-park for a while but I thought it had become a wonderfully imaginative place with underfoot a disturbingly soft yielding surface in some areas!

When we got home she did some of her colouring.Colouring

Now the craft section

This is in the way of a taster for the post about the next day.

Now when I saw Louisa a few weeks ago she had said that when she came she wanted to make a square coaster for mummy and daddy. Now her parents probably have enough coasters since I had previously made them theseSix coastersand these for ChristmasChristmas coastersbut of course that wasn’t the point, so I settled down and created this, that I think of as my ‘beginner coaster pattern’Beginner coastersI made it first in acrylic and then in cotton.

As you will see in the next post, she made something else but the pattern used is related.

A Crafty Week – Wednesday

Having planned to go to Corfe Castle or Swanage plus a ride on a steam train, the weather forecast for Wednesday was a bit mixed with the threat of rain, so we decided to go to Corfe Castle and ride on the steam train with the possibility of going home early if it got too wet.

In the event it was a beautiful day, though we could see that the platform at Brockenhurst was wet on our way home, so some places must have had rain.

This meant that we did spend a little time on the beach in Swanage too.

The grass seemed very dry on the way up to the castle though it had been greener round the back.Corfe CastleI liked this are that looked like a place soldiers may have kept a lookout.Guard room?I had to stop and photograph this wall with it’s angled design.Textured wallThe living areas must have been quite splendid when it was a stately home.Living areaWe had our picnic lunch then wandered around and admired the view. This is towards the townView towards villageWe also saw the steam train running down below.We saw a trainI had taken a few pictures of the damage inflicted by the Parliamentarians in 1646. This one seemed to be the most dramatic.DamageFortified by lunch and with the weather keeping fair we made our way back down to catch the train. On the way Louisa tried to play hide and seek and I photographed a flower.FlowerThen as we had plenty of time, Louis stopped for a bit of crafting. (More about this at the end).CraftingWe caught the train from Corfe Castle station as you might have guessed.Corfe Castle station Here is the train coming in.Our train comes inIt is always tricky taking photographs from inside a train and there was nothing of especial interest to see but I didDo you remember this? take this photograph of the inside as it quite took me back to my childhood. Do you remember when the inside of carriages looked like this?

Swange station and time for a bit of fun on the beach.Swanage stationThere was time to make friends and have a paddle.Having fun in the seaAnd make a quick sandcastle.SandcastleWhile I sat on some stonesI sat on some pebblesand took photographs to leftView to the leftand right.View to the right

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Now the craft part of the post

Louisa had continued with her crochet on the train to Wareham but she had also taken thisCord bookmarkShe planned to use it as a bookmark when it was finished.

Almost two years before I had introduced her to ways of making cords with a piece of card as in this post – https://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/alone-again/ and https://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/round-friendship-bracelets/

Now she had bought herself one of these polystyrene ready-made templates and a sheet with instructions, as you can see in the top left of this picture.Craft booksWe both thought it was a great day out and promised ourselves a bit of a lie in the next day!

[Three more posts to come – Thursday, Friday & Saturday.]

A Crafty Week – Tuesday

On Tuesday the weather started off a bit cloudy but by mid-morning it brightened up so we packed a picnic and went to the paddling pool on Southampton Common.

Louisa had a paddleHaving fun paddlingand then she saw that for a small cost you could have a few minutes moving around on the water in a large inflatable see-through ball. So of course grandma paid for her and she had some fun.In the ballYou can see the tether. A guy walked around keeping the ball in the centre of the pool.In the ballThere was also time for swimmingSwimmingand making friends.Making friendsToday the craft part is what I was doing while Lousia was having fun.

In June 2013 I showed you, how while I was on holiday in Criccieth, I had devised an angel bookmark that I could use on Christmas cards.Crochet angel June 2013Somehow since then I have never got around to working out how I had made the angel, and making more in time for Christmas, but recently I have got down to working up a proper pattern.Three angels for bookmarksFor the final pattern I have amended the design slightly (as you can see by comparing the outer two with the middle original.) I think that this will be the final version. I am planning to make them in different colours but so far have been working in white. As bookmarks I will add a cord and tassel as with my cross bookmarks.