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Sunday Sevens #168

Hello Strangers!

I haven’t abandoned you completely, just put my online activities on the back burner whilst sorting out Real Life, but thought it was about time to post an update to those of you who are interested.

Sooooo much has happened over the Summer that I couldn’t possibly share even ten per cent of it, so I have cherry-picked just a few photos to give you a taste of what’s been going on.

1. At the beginning of August we ventured over the bridge to spend the weekend with No.1 Son and his girlfriend in Wales. We were treated to a family barbecue where we were delighted to meet his girlfriend’s family for the first time.

2. It was also the first time we met their eight week old Dachshund puppy, Gypsy, who is completely and utterly gorgeous!

3. Whilst in Wales, we took the opportunity to spend the day at St Fagan’s National Museum of History…on the hottest day of the year. What an amazing place! If you’ve ever considered going, I couldn’t recommend it more.

4. Do you recall that No.2 Son had a commission for a crocheted cushion? Well, he finished it.

5. He even embroidered a label for the reverse for that personal touch.

6. Very neatly stitched, directly over a tracing of his own handwriting.

7. All things handmade are highly prized in our household, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when he asked if he could spend his commission money on a bespoke pen in the form of a rifle.

8. He bought it from one of the many, what I call ‘proper’, craft stalls that were under marquees in the museum grounds. Here’s a photo with the artisan woodturner, Immy from Immy’s Woodcrafts.

9. Meanwhile, No.3 Son turned his hand to a spot of pot-throwing and had his very own creation to take home with him at the end of the day.

10. We spent a few days down in St. Columb Minor, Cornwall with family, where my cousin has this lovely holiday cottage. They also rent it out here.

11. Whilst in Cornwall we took The Boys to Paulos Circus. My, how times have changed – not an animal in sight, but lots of incredible acrobatics and the obligatory (non-scary) clown. Great fun all round and The Boys seemed to love it.

12. Back down to Earth with a bump – The Boys are helping us to renovate our London flat after a bad tenant moved out.

13. Not helping, but keen to be close to the action.

14. At least we had a camping trip to Exmoor to look forward to later the same week. Such a familiar part of my life so far, yet it seems weird that we’ll be living there permanently in a few months time, instead of just visiting.

Fact: Exmoor ponies are one of the oldest equine breeds in the world and are mentioned in the Domesday book in 1086. They still roam in semi-feral herds on Exmoor today – here are some I came across whilst there.

15. My usual role as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer at the campsite.

16. It was the first, but hopefully not last, time that ALL the kids and their partners came camping with us. We went to a café for a cream tea and our granddaughter didn’t want to be in the photograph, but you can just see her hiding underneath the table!

17. There was a stall with an Honesty Box outside a farm somewhere in Doone Valley where I bought this egg. I managed to snap a pic of both the massive egg and the Rhea that laid it in the background.

18. That’s one huge fried egg! The equivalent of six hens eggs, apparently.

19. Home again, and this is the last picture of Cock that we have, eating out of our hands as he often did.

He died a couple of days later, after reaching the grand old age of six years.

20. I don’t know who misses him more, The Girls or us:(

21. So we’re now down to just two hens and Tess and won’t be adding to our brood until we’ve moved.

22. No.3 Son has rekindled his love of horse riding, which has taken a back seat in favour of football recently.

23. No.2 Son couldn’t wait to get back to boarding school after a six week Summer holiday – he really is having the time of his life and his little brother is impatient to join him.

24. When they’re both away at school, I’ll miss the little things that make me smile on a daily basis, like this sign on their bedroom door warning me about their battlefield of soldiers on the floor!

25. Still, I’ve got plenty of things to occupy me, like keeping up the stocks of the homemade jam that is now available for purchase by our B+B guests in boxes of three.

26. I’m also still teaching a couple of sewing classes each week, with students that are as keen as ever.

It’s a ‘poo emoji’ cushion, just in case you were wondering! I turned it into a skill-learning exercise by teaching her to do some appliqué and machine embroidery.

27. Socks are still ever present on my needles.

28. These, the eighth pair in my personal collection, mean that I have reached my goal of having only handmade socks in my wardrobe. A goal that I am actually rather proud of as it means a step forward in greener living.

29. Also on my (other) needles at the moment is this Holey Shawl, again, pour moi.

30. It’s not all selfish knitting though, as this jumper is to be a Christmas present.

31. Probably the biggest news of the Summer is this though…..


If you got to the end, “Well done” and I’ll try not to leave it so long next time!


Sunday Sevens #167

This week’s Sunday Sevens is the culmination of three weeks again – teaming up with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins.

1. My daughter came around for the day to enjoy the continuing hot weather as our garden is more private than hers….and she gets breakfast, lunch and dinner cooked for her.

2. The paddling pool has never seen as much use……

3……and we have actual olives on our olive trees!

4. Cock has learned how to climb the blackberry bush to get to the ripest berries and even throws them down for The Girls.

5. Then he comes in and finishes up the dog food, if he can get away with it. Tess is NOT happy about that.

6. No.2 Son finished school a week earlier than his brother, so we spent some nice time together, just the two of us.

7. The school does all his washing so I had no idea how small his trousers had got until he tried them on for me. He’s been wearing them like this for months and kept ripping the arse out of them – no wonder! His little brother is wearing the other pair and shows how they used to fit just eight months ago!

8. Growing up fast, he might be, but he’s still not too old to come down dressed up like this and scare the living daylights out of me.

9. We managed to sneak in a nice pub lunch with hubby, where my tan matched the colour of the table.

10. Another day, another venue, this time just drinks at a local café.

The pink dress is getting a lot of wear.

11. Craftwise, it’s been slow, but I did manage to complete the border on The Wedding Blanket and just have to block it now before sending it off.

12. Most of my time has been spent doing horrible things like cleaning behind the fridge and painting.

13. We finally got everything done though, and the house is officially up for sale. Here’s the link if you fancy a nose: –

14. No.3 Son is a goalkeeper for the Yeovil’s Junior Premier League and they got to play a mini tournament on the pitch at halftime during a Yeovil Town football match.

15. He was thrilled to bits to have his photograph taken with their goalkeeper afterwards.

16. We had a fun messy day making costumes and painting backdrops for my mother’s 70th birthday party, As it was Art themed, no shower was necessary and No.2 Son went covered in paint.

17. Just in case there is any doubt, that’s me on the far left, dressed up Lichtenstein -style.

18. At about midnight, The Boys collapsed on the straw bales, oblivious to all the music still blaring out around them. Oh, to be able to do that.

19. The Boys made their Gran this crocheted cushion and a knitted scarf, (which I neglected to photograph) on the back of which, No.2 Son gained a commission to make an identical one for an admiring guest.

19. We booked a table for a lovely little pub about twenty minutes away from us, followed the Sat Nav and found that it was an entirely different place to the one we thought we were going to. Such a nice way to discover a new great place to eat!

20. The National Trust said “Yes”! Next step is putting the lease to their legal team for change of use so we can run it as a B+B.

21. Reading through the terms of the I-don’t-know-how-many-pages lease deserved a pint at the end of it.

22. And then I left hubby to deal with the B+B guests while I hopped on a train “oop North”. The first leg of the journey up to Bristol was great and I managed an hour’s uninterrupted sock knitting…..

23. ……a further five hours of standing on two trains without air conditioning, and Ali (akathimberlina) had a very frazzled house guest to collect from the station. #sewdowndewsbury here we come!

Then followed a fab day in the fabric shops with loads of other lovely bloggers…..but that’s a whole different blog post:)


Sunday Sevens #166

Literally, a flying visit to post a few photos for Sunday Sevens.

Apologies to anyone who may have noticed my absence of late, both in lack of posts and  commenting on others – I have every intention of catching up when things die down a little in the real world.

  1. Hardly any rainfall for a few weeks now means the grass looks mostly like this, dry and brown.


2. We haven’t seen a Summer like this in years!


3. With everyone taking advantage of the good weather, my ‘first cousin once-removed’ held her 65th birthday party outside in her farmyard.


4. Cock staying cool in the little bit of shade in our garden.


5. A nice cooling pint in the beer garden of The White Lion Inn in nearby Bourton.


6. Mr H-L took a picture of the loo roll holder in the pub’s toilet…..


7. ….thought his daughter’s fiancé might make us something similar to go with the lamp he made us for Christmas!


8. No.3 Son sang with his school in Wells Cathedral.


9. The Husband had to go to Munich on business for a week.

Poor thing.


10. It’s just been too hot to slave over a hot stove, so I took No.3 Son out for supper one night.


11. Much too hot for a traditional English pudding, too, so our B+B guests had to make do with homemade chocolate mousse and biscotti.


12. My Eldest invited us around for supper.


13. No.3 Son loved having her pet mouse curled up on his shoulder.


14. His sister swapped shorts with her brother, No.2 Son, who is twelve and they fitted her perfectly. She’s 27.


15. My Auntie came over from Spain to stay with us and we all went out for a meal at The Stag’s Head in Yarlington.


16. The next day was No.3 Son’s 11th birthday….but we had a wedding to go to, so he had to stay at his sister’s.


17. The following day he had a birthday party to go to himself and had the time of his life go-karting.


18. Meanwhile, I utilised time alone without the Mister to go over the hall, stairs and landing with a fresh lick of paint.


19. The stairwell is tall and narrow with very little natural light so tends to be quite dark and more than a little boring compared to the rest of the house, as I was lacking inspiration as how best to add interest.


20. Then I had a lightbulb moment and added a band of colour to match the front door and hung some pictures all the way up.


21. The mother of the little girl who won the doll put these cute photos on Facebook.

22. I had to show you this photo of one of my students who is showing off the shorts she finished in class this week.


23. Finally, despite starting The Wedding Blanket back in January or February, I still didn’t finish it in time for the big day last Friday. Luckily, the newlyweds are honeymooning for a week, so I can complete the border and send it to their house for them to open on their return.


For all those asking about our planned move, negotiations are ongoing with the National Trust and the Listed Buildings officials, but are looking positive, if more than a little long-winded and stressful. It’s still not a ‘No’, so fingers crossed and watch this space!



Sunday Sevens #165

Blimey, this is the first Sunday Sevens post – or any post – that I’ve managed to do in June!

Obviously, there are a few more than seven photos so now’s the opportunity to hop off and make yourself a quick cuppa for the journey, or scroll down and move on to the next blog:)

  1. The Royal Bath & West Show is held every year over the last weekend of May/June and we’re normally in Spain staying with my Auntie as it coincides with the school half term. As No.2 Son is at Senior school now, we don’t feel that we can take him out of school for a few days either side of the holidays like we used to at Primary school, so we were at home. When my sister rang to say that she had a couple of free tickets from a friend that works there, I jumped at the chance to go for the first time in over fifteen years.


2. Well, suffice to say that we had a lovely day, just the two of us. She also had free tickets for The Boys, but I decided that they’d much rather have a Boy’s Day Out with their Father than trawl around with their Mum and Auntie all day doing girly stuff. Not that I selfishly wanted to spend the day alone with my sister at all.

Anyway, it turns out they went to watch the latest Star Wars film which was perfect ‘cos you couldn’t drag me to the pictures to watch that!!

And we got to see people on stilts wandering around dressed up in flowers.


3. There were lots of nice things to spend your money on, although I had my business head on and was concentrating on what might be useful for the future B+B.

Stag’s heads are essential for Exmoor, right?


4. As is an outside sauna, surely…..


5. ….and a hot tub.


6. On to the more serious decisions like choosing a Water Softening System…..


7. ….and selecting the perfect wines to stock.


8. Good decision not to bring The Boys.

They wouldn’t have had half as much fun as we did running around popping the smoke-filled bubbles.


9. After a fab day, it was back to reality and more B+B guests, this time from Malaysia.

They don’t look very happy in this photo, but they were the BEST group we’ve had to date – hilariously funny and ridiculously appreciative of the meals I cooked for them on both nights of their stay. They even paid over the odds for four jars of homemade jam that they wanted to take back as gifts AND left a generous tip!


10. Here’s Tess guarding all their laundry again. Why she loves curling up on it is beyond me; it doesn’t even smell of us, but strangers.


11. Still in half term, we invited a few friends around for a barbecue-and-pool day, as the weather was turning increasingly Summery.


12. Lots of time has been spent enjoying the garden.


13. Relaxing whilst The Pool Cleaner does the best he can with a tennis racquet before the proper skimmer arrives.

Note that the handmade boxer shorts are still going strong.


14. And then the haymaking in the fields behind started….triggering my hayfever.


15. Probably not the optimum time to choose for a thirteen mile walk through open countryside with two friends, one of whom hasn’t suffered for years, but look at how her eyes swelled up!


16. This was the view from our starting point in Castle Cary.


17. The grass was waist high for much of the walk and, wading through it, you could see the clouds of pollen being discharged into the air. My ribs ached after so much sneezing.


18. We made it (on the hottest day of the year) to the market place in Somerton by 7pm and headed straight to the nearest pub.

We would have been there earlier but for the fact that those two refused to walk through most of the fields with cows in, of which there were a lot. By the end, we were all so hot and tired that we walked through a field with cows AND a bull in and guess what? Yep, we were ignored. We could have saved two miles!


19. The day before half term No.2 Son had an Inset day, so we went out for lunch.


20. The following weekend he had a tummy bug and spent three days flat out on the sofa. Why do kids always look like they’re at Death’s door when they’ve been puking up?


21. I bottled up lots of Elderflower Cordial, some for the school fair and some for us.


22. Finally, the doll and wardrobe of clothes was raffled off and made £70 for the school (and yes, they did only sell the patchwork quilt that I made for a fiver!).


23. The little girl who won it had already gone home, so this is her brother collecting her prize.


I plan on doing a separate blog post on the doll later on.

24. I went to Bath for the day with my sister, as she had bought us both a session at Thermae Bath Spa for Christmas.

We started off by visiting the Kaffe Fassett exhibition, which was amazing.


25. We had coffee on the Pultenay Bridge and lunch at Thai Basil.img_5608

26. We went for our spa session in the afternoon.


27. No photos are allowed in the spa itself, so these are some promotional images I found.

This is the spa at dusk – it’s in a stunning spot tucked up in the skyline with views over the city and the cathedral.

Thermae Bath Spa

28. We went in both the rooftop spa and the inside jacuzzi pool.

Spa day

29. We had cocktails afterwards on the rooftop terrace of a nearby pub.


30. Typically, the trains back to The Middle Of Nowhere were 6pm or 9.30, so whilst my sister had her pick of trains I stayed late on my own and had a fantastic supper overlooking the weir again.



31. Father’s Day came with several cards from the kids….


32. ….and these magnificent lilies.


33. The hot spell continues and our rhubarb is clearly loving it.


34. Here’s Tess lapping up the early morning sun while it’s still cool enough to do so.


Can you just about see the pile of outgrown dressing-up clothes to the right of the picture above?

35. My sewing class did! We had five minutes before class began and the girls each chose an outfit to wear for the duration.

36. With the husband in Munich all week, it was up to me to take No.3 Son to football training. I treated us to a meal at Thai Mango afterwards. This was just the mixed starters!


37. Craftwise, my efforts have been concentrated on the wedding blanket as the big day fast approaches.


38. We have also been working like crazy to get the last few jobs around the house finished ready to put the house on the market. The boxing-in of the pipework in the downstairs loo has finally been installed and painted.


39. We made another trip to Exmoor to have a second look at our favourite properties and had the obligatory cream tea in Allerford Old Post Office.


40. Unfortunately, No.3 Son had caught the bug off his brother and was beginning to feel unwell at this point, so sat out front on the bench seat while we looked around.

Both Grade II listed Georgian properties, this one has Tudor origins at the rear.


41. The second one is our favourite and has the bonus of this separate granny flat on the ground floor, spanning the length of this photo. It has its own entrance and private garden – perfect for you and Jessie, Mother, if you’re reading this!


In an ideal world, the stars will align, the London flat will sell at the same time as our house and we can choose either one and move in by Christmas.

The reality is that it’s a long drawn out process and the National Trust, although now prepared to listen, have not even yet given permission to allow a business to be run from the yellow house.

But at least we’ve started the ball rolling and in the meantime I’ve got more important things to worry about….

42. … this streak of grey hair that has appeared since I turned fifty in March!









Sunday Sevens #164

I did actually upload these photos on Sunday, but haven’t had chance to sit down until now!!

  1. There was a blip at the start of the week when the tumble drier broke down – a minor disaster when you have a week full of B+B guests ahead of you. Luckily, Mr H-L used to be an engineer so was able to find and sort the problem.


2. Another annoyance when you need lots of eggs for guests’ breakfasts is when the hens lay in the field in a patch of metre-high stinging nettles instead of in their nice, easy-to-get-to coop.


3. The week got better, however, and we were in for a spell of hot, sunny weather.


4. The Elderflowers are nearly ready to harvest for cordial.


5. We took No.3 Son out for supper one night as he had an Inset day at school before breaking up for half term.


6. After another sunny morning, the skies turned black and we had the most amazing thunderstorms for a couple of days.


7. There are lots of baby rabbits in the field at this time of year and they spend a lot of time in our garden. Can you spot this one?


8. Our local farm shop was having an open day, so we took The Boys along. This fabulous yarn-bombed car was the first sight to greet us!


9. I had a nice chat with the equally colourful Tamsyn G who is a Master of yarn art.


10. Look closely and you will see an antique sewing machine that has been transformed into a light complete with dimmer switch in the form of a cotton reel! If it wasn’t £185 it would have gone home with me there and then. I may have to use some of our B+B takings to go back and buy it…..


11. We all had some of the hog roast that was on offer. No, it wasn’t the slightest bit cold, but apparently wearing a beanie whatever the weather is cool when you’re twelve.


12. I had a go at some simple flower arranging in the form of a flower crown.


13. No.3 Son put my efforts to shame as his was MUCH better than mine!


14. Together, they made a pretty table decoration for a few days.


15. Craftwise, this week I made some keyrings for the school fair.


16. Finished! These socks are now blocked and ready to send to New Zealand just in time for the colder weather.


See you next week!


Sunday Sevens #163

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing your week in photos as devised by Nat at Threads & Bobbins.

1. Last Sunday, No.3 Son and his partner took part in another dance competition, this time in Portsmouth.


2. They did even better this time, and achieved 3rd in Waltz and 2nd in Jive!


3. Monday was spent sewing but, as our internet has been virtually non-existent for the entire week, I haven’t been able to blog about it yet.


4. Look at the size of these scallops!


5. We only needed one each, which is just as well as they were £5 for the two.


6. While we’re on the subject of cooking, this is one cake that looks much more appetising BEFORE it’s cooked.


7. Continuing on the theme of medal success, No.3 Son’s school won the inter-school cross country event for their age group….


8. ….and No.2 Son was awarded Player’s Player Of The Year at his football presentation evening.


9. Tess had her now weekly treat of a doggy Full English Breakfast.


10. We ‘had’ to try out the menu at another local pub to see if we could recommend it to our B+B guests. It was lush, so we did.


11. Hmm, all that extra B+B bedlinen ironing has taken its toll on the ironing board cover, so we bought a new one. I hadn’t realised it was so bad!


12. After our B+B guests left in the morning, Saturday saw us dressing up in red, white and blue for the Royal Wedding celebrations in our village.


13. Unfortunately, I tripped in a pothole outside the village hall and broke my toe on the way IN – before any alcohol had passed my lips! I did the typically British thing and carried on regardless, only taking my heels off five hours later to walk home in No.2’s flip flops.


14. The village showed the wedding on a big screen in the hall, which was followed by a fabulous hog roast.


15. Three out of the six kids came with us and joined in with the patriotic colour scheme.


16. After hobbling home in the early evening, we invited some friends around for a barbecue.


17. We had blocked out the night on our B+B calendar, so some of our friends stayed the night and it was already warm enough by 10am to have breakfast outside.


18. One final photo for Pauline – progress on her socks!


That’s it for this week – see you next time!


Sunday Sevens #162

Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins for another edition of Sunday Sevens.

1. I cut No.3 Son’s hair as we were due to spend the Bank Holiday in Newhaven with one of his sisters and the forecast was hot hot hot. Now he looks like a different boy!

2. We all went to have a barbecue with another sister in Brighton in the evening sunshine.

3. Posing for the camera with his niece!

4. We spent a brilliant day at Newhaven Fort. No.2 Son walked through the shot just as I was taking a panoramic photograph:)

5. There were exhibits from WWI and WWII as well as showing how ordinary people lived through the war. The Boys were fascinated with this recreation of an Anderson shelter that many families had in their gardens and that acted as protection from bombs.

6. We actually still have an old Anderson shelter in our garden which is currently used as a wood store. I think it is now going to be restored back to its original form for The Boys to play in!

7. The Boys had SO much fun doing boy stuff, like climbing on the cannons…..

8. ….handling the rifles…..

9. …..deciphering the Morse codes….

10. ……and dressing up in camouflage gear…..

11. ….while we played silly buggers with the ‘Spy Disguises’…..

12. ….and stripping off to blend in with the Neanderthal display:)

13. On the three hour drive back, I managed to get quite a lot done on the current sock project.

14. Cock welcomed us home with an ear-splitting crow.

15. The husband had company from the hens as he made further progress on rebuilding the wall that they have systematically destroyed over the years.

16. Not bad for a city boy!

17. Meanwhile, I prepared all the food for another barbecue.

18. No.2 Son had just enough time to wolf it all down before heading back to boarding school that evening.


20. Building work has started on the barn in the field behind our house. It’s far enough away not to impact on us in any way.

21. See, scaffolding is up!

22. We took Tess out for what has become her now once-a-week treat of a doggy Full English breakfast.

23. Another day we tried a new café for the first time – Marnie’s Vintage Shop and Café in Ilminster.

24. My sister and her husband came to stay and we also had two separate lots of B+B guests this week, so LOTS of washing and cooking.

25. Craftwise, further progress was made on those socks.

26. Last week’s teaser became these cards for the school fair.

27. I was going to make a load of these for the school fair but, as they’re double-sided and take two hours each to make, decided……no.

Well done if you made it to the end – more next week!