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Sunday Sevens #134

Late again with this week’s Sunday Sevens……

1. Not the most exciting project to get back to the sewing machine for the first time in a month for – sewing nearly ONE HUNDRED name labels into No.2 Son’s clothes and belongings for school. Luckily, I had some help and managed to delegate all the socks to Mother:)

2. Unfortunately, both little boys came down with a sickness bug for the best part of that week and spent a large portion of that time flat out on the sofa.

3. In between bouts of throwing up, there were a few times when they perked up enough to indulge in a board game. This one was picked up for a pound in a church fair and was a favourite of mine when I was their age. The Boys soon decided it was their new favourite game, too. Does anyone else remember ‘Ulcers’? 

4. We took The Boys shopping for school shoes and had our last lunch out of the Summer holidays.

5. The next day we took No.2 Son to his new school – here he is in his part of the dorm with the obligatory football team duvet set.

6. He soon made himself at home, putting up posters above his bed. We haven’t seen home in two weeks now and, as we decided not to give him a mobile ‘phone, have only spoken to him twice.

He’s LOVING it.

7. I took a good friend out for coffee to Kilver Court as she can’t drive due to an ankle injury.

8. In the shop there was this ex-display Kingsize bed for sale for the rock bottom price of £400 including the mattress. My friend snapped it up!

9. Hubby and I popped out to a pub for a Persian meal. I drank two bottles of wine on my own. 

No, I’m not an alcoholic – they were tiny bottles.

10. I made ten jars of my favourite Damson Jam.

11. Hannah Dale’s gorgeous mugs by Wrendale Designs were on offer locally, so I treated myself to four more.

12. Together with the jars of homemade jam, they look lovely on my kitchen dresser.

13. Mr H-L bought a new toy  brush cutter and went straight out to play with it.

14. Sewing classes re-started this week and one of my students made this fabulous apron, destined to be a Christmas present for her Auntie.

15. Another of our good friends turned Eighty this week, so we took her out for lunch to celebrate. Little Barwick House – just lovely.

16. We went with some friends to Frome Cheese and Agriculture Show where we bought some interesting Christmas presents. 

17. As well as all the animal shows…..

18. …..there were fun things to get involved in, like the tug-of-war…..(No.3 Son is in the pink T-shirt)

19. ….hubby was plucked out of the crowd to humiliate himself in the Strong Man tear-an-Argos-catalogue-in-half competition!

20. By far the highlight of the day though, was singing along to The Wurzels. Such a lovely bunch of blokes, one of them is now in his Eighties!

21. Just as we were leaving the showground, the skies blackened and a full, double rainbow appeared. We made it back to the car before the heavens opened.

That’s it for this week folks!


Sunday Sevens #133

Breaking the “rules” once again by posting on a Wednesday, here is this week’s Sunday Sevens. If you’re new to the concept, take a look at Nat’s blog, Threads & Bobbins, where you can find out all about it and how to join in.

1. Although I am no longer officially a Photographer, I was asked to photograph a friend’s granddaughter’s first birthday “Cake Smash”. Such a little sweetie, she doesn’t like getting her fingers dirty, which defeats the object somewhat – although she did put her whole face in it at one point!

2. At the birthday party afterwards in the local Village Hall, afternoon tea was laid on for about forty guests. Whilst plain white china was the order of the day, my friend presented hubby and I with our own ‘proper’ cups and saucers. I’m not sure what that says about us!!!

3. This was the official birthday cake – how amazing?

4. A rainy day when The Boys had friends around resulted in a good game of the perennial favourite, Monopoly.

5. Another rainy day keeping us inside gave me chance to make some Rhubarb and Ginger jam for the store cupboard.

6. We offered to snake-sit for a month whilst a friend is on holiday.

Look away now if you have Ophidiophobia…

7. A week in, and Flash shed his skin. One for ‘show and tell’ when they go back to school next week.

8. I had to crochet an extension to Fifi’s recently knitted coat. A flap at the rear to stop her licking her wound.

9. I incorporated a hole for her tail and it does the job to a point. We just have to remember to undo the flap when she goes out for a wee!

10. Off on holiday!

Of course, the downside to having less-than-sensible cars is that we need to take both of them when going camping in order to fit everything in.

It’s a compromise I’m happy to make:)

11. Home for the next four days.

12. A typical morning – Mum cooks breakfast whilst The Boys and Dad play cricket in their pyjamas.

13. Cafetière of coffee and tin replica bone china plates – who says you can’t camp in style?

14. The Dogs LOVE camping too.

15. Exmoor means lots of good walking to work up an appetite for those inevitable cream teas.

16. We forgot to take the dog carrier I made a while back but, luckily, there was a bric-a-brac stall in a nearby church that had one for sale for just £3.50.

17. Whenever Fifi started lagging behind, we could just pop her in the carrier for a while – perfect!

Trouble is, it took twice as long to walk anywhere as everyone just wanted to stop and cuddle her…

18. She also curled up on my handbag and stole a quick nap each time we stopped for a tea break.

19. Happily, our recent decision to go gluten-free didn’t impact us much when we ate out. So many more places are allergy aware in recent years that we had no problem finding something on every menu. This lemon drizzle cake was as good as a normal one.

20. And with local clotted cream on, it tasted even better!

21. We had lunch at a National Trust cottage in the middle of nowhere….

22. ….and even they offered GF bread and cakes, so no one missed out.

23. Another National Trust property which, although I’ve passed many a time, I didn’t realise was a shop as well.

24. Full to the brim with Exmoor-crafted goodies – I was in there ages chatting to the chap who leases it from the Trust.

25. Do you want to see what I bought?

This is a high-pitched dog whistle crafted from the antlers of an Exmoor Red Deer.

Fifi is almost totally deaf, but I was hoping that the pitch would be high enough for her to hear, the idea being that I could attract her attention if I needed to. She responds to basic sign language and will follow a finger to wherever it is pointed – if I can get her attention in the first place.

She can’t hear it AT ALL.

Still, it’s a nicely crafted souvenir – maybe I could train The Boys….?

26. Saw this beautiful but deadly Fungus on a woodland walk.

27. We spent our time swimming in the freezing rivers by day…

28. ….and walking on the pebbled beaches in the warm nights.

29. All in all we had a totally wonderful Bank Holiday weekend………..and not a drop of moisture fell from the virtually cloud-free sky the entire time!

Hope your Bank Holiday was as unusually dry, sunny AND warm as ours was:)


Sunday Sevens #132

Linking up with Natalie at Threads and Bobbins for this week’s Sunday Sevens – a weekly blog series in photos.

1. Progress on the ‘Scrappy’ blanket has been good.

Although I had to buy five more balls of yarn so it’s no longer strictly a scrappy blanket.

2. Managed a glass of red and a homemade pork pie at the pub whilst The Boys played in the playing field behind. We even sat in the garden as the rain held off. Still chilly enough for a jumper though. Well, this is 3pm in August!

3. Another day, another pub. Our local has been closed for a couple of months and is now under new management. The Boys took their light sabres to use as guns. As you do. Our walk takes us past this thatched cottage in the village.

4. A pint and a bag of crisps. It should be written into the Human Rights bill.

5. The blackberries are coming thick and fast – I’m picking over three pounds a day from our bush in the garden alone! Good job it’s thornless. The apples are from mum’s tree.

6. A rare Chinese takeaway – The Boy’s favourite treat.

7. I gave No.2 Son a ‘holiday haircut’.

8. I didn’t realise he had this much to lose!

9. Breakfast at Heathrow airport before heading off to France for the week. It took us an hour and a half to drive to the airport and just forty-five minutes to fly to Paris!

10. I love France’s café culture.

11. And food!

12. Pretty street corners of the district we stayed in – Croissy sur Seine.

13. We did the sights, after all, the last time I visited Paris was as a schoolgirl back in 1979!

L’Arc Du Triomphe

14. Tour Eiffel

15. Sacre Coeur

16. If you turn around 180 degrees, the view over Paris from the Sacre Coeur is breathtaking. Here are two of the Littlies taking a break – we walked eight miles that day!

17. The iconic Metro.

18. We walked the quick way up to the Montmartre district (for which read ‘steep’). Mr. H-L can be seen about half way up the steps struggling to keep up!

19. Montmartre is all about the artists – and they are everywhere.

20. It was fascinating to watch portraits come together before your very eyes.

21. Of course, we HAD to have chocolate and banana crepes while we were there!

22. Relaxing with the locals.

23. Lots of good food and drink (again) and good times spent with family (again).

24. Landing in London to – you guessed it – more rain!

25. Still, we’re grateful to have Fifi to come home to. I’ve vowed not to leave her again as she has needed an emergency trip to the Vet’s whilst we’ve been abroad the last two times. She has recurring mammary tumours and a heart murmur which flare up frequently. Whether she’ll survive this latest bout remains to be seen, but at least she is comfortable and happy – for now.

She’s lying on the bed beside me whilst I type this, snoring quite contentedly wrapped in bandages and her little rainbow coat.

Bless her.


Sunday Sevens #131

Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins, Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing seven or so photos of your life outside the blog.

1. As Mr H-L was officially working whilst we were in Spain this time, my sister came with us and we spent lots of time together doing ‘girly’ things, like shopping in Mojacar Pueblo…..

2. ….browsing the Tuesday market in Albox….

3…….drinking Pina Coladas at midday…..

4…..late afternoon……

5…..and evening!

6. We spent a lot of time in the pool trying to keep cool both by day….

7…..and night.

8. Good food……

9….good drink…..

10…..and great company.

11. Far too hot for clothes!

12. After trying sheep brains, it was back to more familiar tapas – everybody loves calamari, don’t they?

13. One minute it was there, the next minute there was a hole on my watch bezel where a diamond used to be:(

Luckily I noticed before I went back in the pool, but the condensation had already formed under the face.

14. As usual, our holiday was over too soon and we had to go home – to this!

15. I took mum out for lunch for having the dogs for me.

16. We had family to stay for a few days and they bought me this gorgeous bouquet of lilies and roses.

17. The garden at the side of the house has gone from this…….

18… this…….

19. ……to this, so far.

20. Obviously, to ten and eleven year old boys, it’s actually a WWI trench, made all the more authentic by torrential rain and mudslides.

21. One of the first things we did when we got back was to take my watch back to Rolex for a replacement bezel. A day out in Wales was a welcome result and we took a picnic with us.

It poured down.

22. Did that stop us having fun? Of course not – we’re English and rain never stops play!

23. The Boys spent their pocket money on some old cars in a vintage shop.

24. We had a pint and a bag of crisps in a canalside pub in Bradford-on-Avon on the way home.

There are loads more photos, but I’ll stop there as twenty-four is plenty!

Enjoy what’s left of your weekend!


Sunday Sevens #130

This week’s sum-up is actually two – and comes from sunny Spain again. Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins who invented the original Sunday Sevens.

1. A whole week of glorious weather meant several consecutive days of dog-walking involving both a hat AND sunglasses – a rare combination in good old Blighty!

2. If you look carefully in the shadows, you can just about make out Fifi and Tess wondering why I suddenly stopped. I thought I’d take a few photos of our usual five-mile route, beginning with open fields and country lanes which are always traffic-free apart from the odd farm vehicle or post van.

3. We passed some cattle grazing under the welcome shade of trees. They soon came trotting over when they spotted the dogs.

4. This farmhouse features regularly in my Sevens, most recently whilst wearing the most glorious covering of Wisteria which is now over.

5. The point at which we turn around and head back towards home – the church at Blackford, our destination village.

6. The Dogs were relieved to find a stream to cool down in and immediately jumped down for a drink.

Both dogs were exhausted and Fifi spent the rest of the day snoring!

7. I managed to find some see-through wellies at last and ordered a couple of pairs to be gifted together with the hand knitted socks for Christmas.

8. Work on the decking has started! It will eventually wrap around the back and side of the house.

9. “Teachers’ gifts” are a new concept to me since my last batch of children were at school, so imagine my surprise when a student presented me with this tote that she’d printed by hand for me!

10. End of term barbecue at school, accompanied by a steady stream of drizzle. Well, it wouldn’t be a barbecue without rain, would it?!

11. Places you can crochet: in the car whilst No.3 Son is at football training.

12. Progress on said blanket.

13. We popped in to a café which we had passed numerous times but had never actually been in. They were shooting some promotional photos and asked us to pose. Looks like we’re going to feature in their advertising!

14. Mr H-L erected a new chicken coop and run for the hens. We just couldn’t get rid of the mites that infested the old one and decided that the best thing to do was to burn it.

15. Here it is in its final resting place at the top of the garden. The Girls are already happily laying in the nest box again, after eschewing the coop in favour of laying in the hedge in an effort to avoid the pesky mites.

16. We were able to squeeze in lunch at our favourite place, Holbrook House.

17. Fifteen of us met in a pub for a family meal.

18. Happy 69th Birthday Mum!

19. No.2 Son’s last day at Primary School.

20. I was gifted FIVE boxes of embroidery threads, all carefully catalogued and beautifully organised! 

21. Schools broke up for the Summer holidays later than most countries, on 21st July. Three days later we flew back to my Auntie’s in Spain for ten days, joined by my sister this time.

22. Mr H-L was working the whole time – here he is taking a ‘phone call on the roof terrace above the ‘casita’, his office for the duration. Nice work if you can get it!

23. Everyone needs a lunch break, though, so popping out for tapas was a must.

24. And, of course, long, hot evenings were all enjoyed together.

25. I’ll leave you pondering over one of our more adventurous tapas.

Yes, it is EXACTLY what it appears to be!!!


Sunday Sevens #129

Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins, Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing seven or so photos of what life is like outside the blog.

1. We have our first ripened blackberry of the year!

2. To put it in context, here is our blackberry bush running from over the shed door on the left, all along the fence to the right. If you zoom in you can see we’re in for a bumper year, which is just as well as we have just finished our last jar of blackberry and apple jam. Mind you, the hens will pinch as many as they can reach as it’s a thornless bush and is, therefore, easy pickings. 

Those aren’t nettles on the bottom left, but a massive patch of hardy mint. What can I say – it’s a rustic country garden:)

3. It looks like my Uncle’s dog is sulking because Tess is curled up next to him – he’s gone as far to the opposite end of the sofa as possible to make a point!

4. I was pleased with this new poncho bought from a friend who sells the French ‘Captain Tortue’ range.

5. It has had it’s first outing already – Pad Thai with noodles and not a drop spilt. In hindsight, not the most sensible colour to wear when dining out.

6. Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake for pudding, but I couldn’t eat it all.

7. I had to do a bit of shopping for my Auntie who lives in Spain. She fell in love with the cushions in our guest room whilst staying with us, and I said I’d look for some similar ones. Yellow velvet with grey piping – these are the closest match I could find. Hers are the smaller ones in front.

8. I’m half way through a third pair of socks that are destined to be Christmas presents. Guess what? I’ve also managed to source some see-through wellies at long last! I reckon that, together, they’ll make a great gift. Or am I kidding myself – can anyone actually get excited about receiving socks as a Christmas present? 

I hope so, ‘cos they take bloomin’ weeks to knit!

9. Pie and a pint at the pub with The Boys.

10. Well, pork pie actually. And he had a pint, I had a gin.

11. I started a ‘scrappy’ blanket, unwittingly choosing the same colours as I was wearing. Hopefully, this will be another Christmas present, this one costing nothing but my time.

12. After a trip to the dentist, The Husband felt like a glass of wine to cheer himself up. We shared a pizza fresh from the in-house pizza oven.

13. By a stroke of luck, we were able to park my car right opposite the café window which meant I could run out and put the lid up if it rained. 

It didn’t.

14. Mr. H-L had to dig a new, lower trench for the oil pipes in preparation for the new decking which is being laid next week. The Girls were in the trench with him literally pecking at his spade as he was turning up all the worms.

15. The Boys went to watch Yeovil play Bristol City in Yeovil. 

I stayed at home to cook for friends that were coming for supper, definitely the better deal.

That’s all for now folks – now we’re off to No.3 Son’s first dancing medal tests. Wish him luck!


Sunday Sevens #128

Another couple of busy weeks have kept me away from the computer, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but means that there are thirty photos for this Sunday Sevens! 

Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins, who started Sunday Sevens.

1. Summer arrived for a lengthy stay of approximately two weeks, which meant plenty of pool time for The Boys, especially after a sticky day in school uniform.

2. Mr. H-L temporarily moved his ‘office’ into the garden. Not many people can work in their pants, sipping a gin and tonic with a view like that from their desk!!

3. Father’s Day was spent with friends at Yo Sushi! in Bath. This was a new concept for the two boys that came with us – and they loved it so much that we consumed 53 dishes between us!

4. The next day we flew to Amsterdam to join the husband’s company in their 25th anniversary celebrations. We had a three course meal followed by a concert, all in the Amsterdam Arena in which the company sponsor a private box.

Here we are about to skip the queues and enter via the VIP entrance – not a bad thing considering that some of the (very young) audience had been queuing in ridiculous temperatures since the early hours!

5. The private box was huge and easily accommodated the seventy-or-so of us. With prime seats and a complimentary bar, we were anticipating a great night ahead of us….

6. ….except that none of us had ever heard of The 1975 and, even if we had, the singing was drowned out by the over-loud band and we couldn’t understand a word of the lyrics, despite them being English.

The constant use of flashing strobe lighting had us covering our eyes half the time. We had to laugh though as, when we turned around, virtually everyone in our box over forty years old was doing the same! 

7. Flying back the next day, this was the heat that greeted us – virtually unheard of in England. In fact, the last time I remember feeling this hot was when I was expecting No.2 Son back in 2005 and it only reached 36 degrees back then.

8. Hood down and air-con on full blast, we pulled off the A303 early to look for somewhere nice to have lunch.

9. A small sign pointed to ‘Howard’s House Hotel’ in nearby Teffont Evias, so we headed there.

10. Yep – glad we did, as it was amazing!

Dating back to 1623, the house and its grounds were just stunning, and the food was to die for.

11. Hot Strawberry Soufflé, Strawberry Sorbet and Strawberries went down very well with an Armagnac.

12. Later that same week we went to Ascot on Ladies Day, as you will know if you read my previous post.

13. I even managed to grab a quick snap of Her Majesty as her carriage flashed by. Shame about the lady with the blue nails, although her photo will be better than mine:)

14. I bottled up four bottles of Elderflower cordial this year. If you haven’t already, you should try a ‘Posh Flora’ – Elderflower, Gin and Prosecco. Yum! 

I think Ginger rather fancied some.

15. Ginger photobombing again, this time as some rolls are proving in the sunshine.

The makeshift patio has been weeded since this photo was taken, I promise. 

16. Two days of preparation resulted in this ambitious supper menu for six friends.

17. The food went down well and we had a fabulous evening which kicked off with those ‘Posh Flora’ cocktails and ended up with everyone leaving their cars and getting taxis home!

18. Mr H-L surprised me with lunch out to a secret destination a few days later, so he drove. It was weird to be a passenger in my own car. 

Haselbury Mill was the venue, hence the 1950’s Fire Engine as part of a collection of vintage vehicles.

19. Buildings on the site date from William The Conqueror – that’s as far back as 1066 for all our American friends out there!

20. We were invited to a 21st birthday party for the daughter of some close friends, and I just had to show you this simply brilliant cake they had commissioned.

21. I had to touch the cup and saucer to check it wasn’t actually china!

22. The Auntie who we stay with in Spain came over to stay with us for a week, and we had a morning wandering around Bruton, stopping in ‘At The Chapel‘ for a light lunch. 

I never eat pizza as there are always so many other, nicer dishes on menus in general, but this one was delicious and made to order in their own pizza oven.

I drank ‘Piston Broke’ – a real ale  with a fab name!

23. No.3 Son had his tenth birthday last week.

24. 7.30am on a school day and all three ‘boys’ couldn’t wait to start playing with it.

25. A birthday barbecue was the order of the day, finishing with the birthday boy’s request of a coffee and walnut birthday cake. Homemade, of course:)

26. The celebrations continued at the football presentation evening, where he won “Manager’s Player Of The Year” for the second year running, and “Player’s Player Of The Year”.

27. We bit the bullet and bought all of No.2 Son’s school uniform for September when the uniform people brought their shop to the school for one day only.

Yes, his new school really is called Sexey’s…….

28. No.3 Son has been trying out a few dance genres and, after discounting tap (“Too boring”) and street dance (“Too gangsta”!), has settled on Ballroom and Latin.

After just four lessons totalling five hours, he was thrown in at the deep end and asked to partner a girl in a competition as her regular partner was unavailable.

Expecting to do the Waltz and Cha Cha Cha, he ended up taking part in the team event as well, as a boy fell ill half way through. A quick recap of the steps saw him doing the Jive and Quick Step in addition!

Despite the look of concentration on his face, he absolutely loved it and did brilliantly. So much so, that his teacher has signed him up to do his first medal tests next Sunday. 

As you can probably tell, I’m a proud mum right now, particularly as he has already mastered steps that they normally teach after six months and he has already competed in them!

29. No.2 Son spent the weekend at his new school, meeting new classmates and sleeping in his new dorm. We joined him on Sunday for a barbecue at the headmaster’s house before taking him home.

The boys soon got distracted by a spontaneous game of football…..

30. ….shame No.2 Son didn’t eat his burger first!

That’s it for this week folks!