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Sunday Sevens #154

Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for this week’s Sunday Sevens…

1. We awoke one morning to a digger scraping back the verge and making exiting our driveway a whole lot safer.

2. Tess went missing…..this is where we found her!

3. Cheeky little Chinese with No.3 Son.

4. Coffee and cake at Thyme After Time.

5. Just two hours after bringing home two new hens, one of them came into the house, hopped onto my lap and laid an egg!

6. Our second Air B’n’B room was finished, and we already have two bookings for it.

7. I finished off the Belaggio shawl and blocked it.

8. The second sock of this pair was cast on.

9. Back to Thyme After Thyme for lunch because…..

10. …..they do a Full English for dogs! With Tess having lost her appetite since losing Fifi, we thought we’d give it a go and she ate about half.

11. Thursday morning was Knit ‘n’ Natter at The Slipped Stitch in Sherborne.

12. Walking with Tess revealed that there are still pockets of snow resisting the thaw.

13. A pint at our local.

14. Friday saw the start of a girl’s weekend in Cornwall. Let’s just say it was nice weather for ducks:)

15. A log cabin in Deerpark Forest near Liskeard in Cornwall was our destination.

16. The next two photos pretty much sum up our weekend.

I’m lucky not to be nursing a hangover……


Sunday Sevens #85

So this week’s Sunday Sevens focuses on the four days we had in London for our anniversary weekend. In common with many of you probably, it featured lots of good food and drink as we both fall in the ‘live to eat’ camp.

We also walked miles, despite having bought travel cards for each day as you see so much more by foot rather than going everywhere by tube.

Visit Nat at Threads & Bobbins to learn more about Sunday Sevens – anyone can join in.

1. We travelled up in time for lunch as guests at the members-only London Capital Club on the first day. Three lovely courses with aperitifs, wine, champagne and digestifs. Lunch started at 12.30 and we thought we’d have plenty of time to spare before our evening concert at 7pm.




2. We left the club at ten to seven and ran all the way to St Martins In The Field where we were allowed to creep in quietly as the concert had already started.

The Thames Chamber Orchestra were playing Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony by candlelight which was magical.


3. We walked all the way back to Waterloo station via the Millenium Bridge, taking in a few sights by night and stopping in a bar before catching the last train back to the flat. For those outside the UK, you can just spot Big Ben at the top right.


4. Believe it or not, I’ve never actually been inside St Paul’s Cathedral before so we decided to go the whole hog and get tickets to the dome as well.


5. Over 500 steps later and we were rewarded with this panoramic view of the London skyline. Our knees weren’t quite the same for the rest of our break!


6. Our legs still wobbly from climbing all those steps, we hopped on a tube to get to Claridge’s in time for dinner.


7. The perfect evening which included Chateaubriand and more champagne. No wonder he’s got a smile on his face:)


8. This was a nice touch.


9. The following day and a trip to Liberty of London was top of my list.


10. I managed to kill two hours on the fabric floor alone whilst Mr H-L amused himself doing……..actually, I have no idea what he did for two hours.


11. Luckily, it was just a few steps to the pub next door where I sat down and stroked my purchases whilst enjoying a gin and tonic.


12. Two metres of ‘Lilac’ in the red colour way is destined to become a Summer dress, and the Art Deco print may well become a hexagonal sewing box for myself.

13. Here’s the pub shot for those of you who missed it last week, Mr H-L  propping up the bar.


14. We wandered through the backstreets and happened upon Carnaby Street which is not the hip place it was in its Sixties heyday.


15. I just ‘popped’ in to another fabric shop that we stumbled upon and, half an hour later, came out with this amazing silk viscose lightweight velvet. A Summer jacket perhaps?


16. Our last night was finished off nicely in The Archduke under the arches near Waterloo station.


17. Cocktails – the perfect end to our anniversary break.


18. On our return the next day, we found that every single one of our hens had been killed by the fox, Cock being the only survivor having a lucky break despite losing all his beautiful tail feathers in the struggle. No.1 Son had brought him in the house to recover, still unsure whether the shock would kill him, too.


19. Lost without his girls, he hobbled around in the garden calling for them – a pitiful sight to behold, poor thing.

So we went straight out and bought some more.


20. Happy as could be with his new harem, he fusses around them within the confines of the run for the time being. The fox was cheeky enough to show her face again last night until I ran out screaming and scared her off, so I’m a bit reluctant to let them free range just yet.


So, after only having lost two hens to the fox over the last four years, it’s time to get to know some new ones. Just four for now, and another four in a couple of months when we’ve made a bigger run. I’m looking forward to getting to know their personalities, although it’s sad and more than a little weird to no longer hear those familiar clucks as the old girls hopped in the back door and wandered around the kitchen.

No eggs for a few weeks either, as they’re not quite point-of-lay, although watch this space as one of them is a Chalkhill Blue and lays blue eggs!




Sunday Sevens #71

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series started by Nat from Threads & Bobbins. Why not pop over and see how you can join in?

  1. Disaster – my hand knitted socks have a hole in them! My big toe is so much longer than any of the others that all my socks get thrown away eventually because they get holes in them. There’s no way I’m throwing these away a) because I made them b) because I invested a considerable amount of time in their creation c) because they are quite simply the most comfortable socks I have ever worn.

Guess I’ll have to buy a darning mushroom:(


2. We had some late Christmas presents in the post all the way from America (thanks Robin!) – The Boys were thrilled as you can see from their expressions.

The Boys

3. This beautiful pheasant has decided it’s safer in our garden than in the fields beyond. I managed to snap it on my iPhone on full zoom, hence the poor quality.


4. I’ve started another bobble hat for a cousin who saw it on Facebook and fancied a pink one.

Bobble hat

5. Mr H-L’s father died on Friday. He waited until we popped out for lunch and we got the call whilst we were eating pudding. We toasted his memory with a glass of his favourite whisky.


6. I’ve got a bit behind with my sewing so spent all weekend up in my sewing room trying to catch up. It’s good therapy, too.

sewing room

7. No, it’s not a dress, it’s the lining to my new green velvet coat!


8. Mr H-L has been keeping me supplied with refreshments. Not sure that red wine, Pringles and sewing are a good combination…


9. The hens decided that it was far nicer to be inside than wading around in acres of mud outside. They loathe the wind and rain and, if the door is left open for a millisecond, they’ll sneak in.


10. The dogs detest aren’t that keen on sharing their food with the girls so, as soon as they see a hen in the house, they race to their bowls and down the lot as fast as they can.

Sometimes not fast enough.


Right, back to the sewing room for me – just the hem and buttonholes to do!



New Hens And A Look At Needlework

We lost a hen recently, one of my favourites, a Bovan Nera named ‘Marley’ – her sister, ‘Bob’ died a few weeks ago as well. Such a lovely, sweet nature, she was the only hen that stood by Amber while she was recovering from a broken leg and didn’t pick on her. When broody, she would hop up onto the sofa and settle down on The Boys’ laps waiting to be stroked.

I miss her calming presence and gentle ‘clucking’ as she wandered in and out of the house.


As you may have noticed, The Girls play a big part in our lives so I thought you might like to know a bit more about them.

If not, just scroll down the page to the sewing and crochet:)

There are only two hens remaining from the original flock of six, ‘Ginger’, a Columbian Blacktail, and the characterful ‘Amber’, an Amber Star, whose image has graced many a blog post and who is now fully recovered and integrated back into the flock.


We raised Cock, Buzz and Woody from eggs that our hens hatched, but we lost Buzz to the fox after she ventured into his domain. Generally we don’t have a problem with foxes because, although they are just yards away in the fields most days, they are happy to feast on the never ending supply of rabbits rather than risk getting shot by trying to steal one of The Girls!

Spot, Bluebell, Bob and Marley were all found dead in the nest box at different times with no obvious signs of injury. However, Cock is twice the size of The Girls and he has these lethal weapons.

Three inch long spurs.


Being an amorous youngster, he is not very delicate with his ladies and we suspect that it was one of these daggers that broke Amber’s leg back in the Summer. He may also have accidentally crushed the others in the nest box overnight too, which would account for the sudden nature of their demise.

Having said all that, he keeps the flock from squabbling most of the time and is a brilliant guard ‘dog’, crowing at any poor unsuspecting delivery person who dares to open the five bar gate at the end of the driveway.

Being a country girl born and bred, his thunderous “Cock-a-doodle-do!” at five am every morning is reassuring rather than annoying. I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face when Cock let out his his first strangled half-crow at six months old as he was feeding them corn, the first time we were certain he was a cockerel and not a hen. The tell-tale huge wattle and comb take up to a year to develop fully and at that point he looked just like the others.

There’s no mistaking him for a hen now though!


Here’s ‘Woody’, hatched with Cock and Buzz.


A quiet hen who loves blackberries and will jump quite high to reach the juiciest ones!


Anyway, with a reduced flock of just four we decided it was the right time to replenish the numbers. After a failed attempt to hatch three eggs under a broody hen (they kept getting broken) we returned to the farm where we purchased the original six and bought four more point-of-lay hens.

You need to introduce new girls to the flock with care and in at least pairs as they will automatically get hen-pecked by the senior birds in a bid to teach them the pecking order. And yes, that’s where those phrases come from!

Do you want to meet them?

No, we haven’t got any less obvious with our name choices!

Here’s ‘Star’, a Sussex Star, looking a little grubbier than usual.


‘Bluebell’, a, erm, Blue Belle.


‘Chestnut’, a Chalk Hill, Chestnut Ranger.


Finally, meet ‘Snow White’, a White Leghorn.


The newbies are still settling in and they haven’t quite got the hang of roosting in the coop at night yet. We usually find them on top of the run at dusk but, several times, have found Blue Belle asleep on top of the rotary washing line!  Luckily, when they’re dozy they’re really easy just to scoop up and safely relocate on the perch with the older hens.

We still find the odd egg laid randomly around the garden and under the trampoline, but most days they’re in the nest box now.

Chestnut lays dark brown eggs – don’t they look pretty with all the others in the bucket?



It’s nice to see a decent sized flock free ranging again!  Even the newbies regularly come into the house for a ‘chat’ and a few crumbs of whatever I can find to give them. We have four sets of French windows downstairs most of which are permanently open from April to September so The Girls are used to popping in and out at leisure. Now the air has chilled somewhat, the doors are closed and they don’t come in as often, but opportunist Amber will squeeze through the tiniest gap in a door left ajar and plonk herself down firmly with the dogs in front of a roaring fire!

Hens – if you haven’t got any yet, GET SOME!


Talking of a roaring fire, you may remember that a while ago I found this lovely old fire screen in a charity shop for a few pounds and it has been prettily screening the empty grate all Summer. I shall miss seeing it over the Winter, but logs crackling are a fair substitute!


An English cottage garden scene hand embroidered onto linen – isn’t it beautiful?


I used to do a lot of embroidery and cross stitch and still dabble now and again. Years ago, circa 1987-88, I spent weeks labouring over these two ladies as a Christmas gift to my mother.  She has since downsized and they were packed away for over fifteen years before she offered them back to me.


Each lady is about ten inches in height so they’re pretty sizeable. I just need to repair the back of the frames and then I think I might hang them in our bedroom. What do you think? The colours are still as vibrant as the day they were finished nearly thirty years ago – testament to being kept behind glass out of direct sunlight, I suppose.

blue lady green lady

I’m almost three quarters of the way through my Minerva Crafts project for October – good job I started back in July, but I knew I’d need three months to complete the WHOLE book!


I’ve already got my sights set on another glorious book to work through cover to cover – “Let’s Go Camping” by Kate Bruning.

Untitled 2

You have to check out the caravan – it’s even got crocheted bunk beds!


In fact, I may have to go right to Amazon now and order myself a copy because my heart is fluttering just looking at it again.

What’s on your needles right now?