Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Another little visitor!

Yesterday was an interesting day  and I couldn't decide what to call this blog entry. 'Another little visitor' was one option, or perhaps, 'Double trouble' or maybe 'It was one of those days'!  Any would have summed up yesterday morning!

How about this photo then, any ideas what this is?

 I'll give you a clue. It is woolly on the outside and fleecy in the middle.  Still guessing?  Well the next picture is easy.

Hmm, looking very cute, definitely a 'butter wouldn't melt in my mouth' one. I am talking about the cat by the way, she loves being carried around like this by eldest son.  However, we know better and are convinced that Suki, is really a baby tiger in disguise!

A mixture of stripes and spots, so perhaps a cross between a tiger and a leopard, although actually they are Bengals.

Anyway to get back to the story, Suki helped to peg out the washing as usual. Well she thinks she's helping by sitting on the garden table and watching me!  The next thing there's a streak of greased lightning and before I could barely turn around she was across the garden, over the fence and up next door's cherry tree, followed by screeching from the birds and a great flapping of wings.  The birds escaped - but only just!  Suki likes to collect feathers and brings them home. Fortunately for the birds they usually only lose the odd feather!

The birds obviously had young around as they continued to squawk very angrily and Suki would not leave them alone.  Not even the treat box could tempt her so in the end I turned the hose on!  She doesn't really mind water but does object to it being aimed directly at her!  All safe, or so I thought.

A little later younger son announced that there were a few feathers in his sister's bedroom and that both cats were staring intently.  Sure enough, having shut the cats out and after a spot of hide and seek, we knew there must be something, and we eventually found a juvenile sparrow hiding in the mystery object.  You could only just see the tail feathers.

Did you guess what this was?  You will when I show you the whole thing.

A lovely thick, soft mitten!

Now you might be thinking that with the bird contained it would be an easy job to release it.  And, yes, you would be right except that there was then two 'helpers'.  Now the cats are not supposed to go out the front of the house, so as my son carried the bird out the front door I was following and not paying full attention to what I was doing in my efforts to stop any followers.  Any guesses what happened next?  I managed to close the inside door (yale lock) shut instead of the porch door which has to have a key to shut it.  So there we were one bird rescued but now my son and I locked out!  Now we all know that teenagers are never without their phones but... he was still in pyjamas and the phone was inside the house!  You had to laugh really, and then to cap it all, although not injured, the bird was in shock so didn't fly away and who should appear having gone out the back door and over the fence? Samba, the other half of  my 'double trouble'!

Just in case you are wondering, I left my son and the cat in the porch, used a neighbour's phone to ask my friend to bring the spare key, and the neighbour took the bird into her garden.  It would be safe there as the cats stay well away from her dog and luckily the dog only chases four legged creatures!

Friday, 26 August 2011

A little visitor

We had a little visitor in the garden the other day.  Very cute, and quite small, still has some growing to do, but he was very welcome.  Hubby did put on gardening gloves to pick him up - just in case of fleas, although there didn't seem to be any sign of them.  However poor little chap did have two ticks on his side so we popped him into the now redundant guinea pig run, and then looked up what to do about them.  Apparently either oil or butter smeared over them is the answer and we decided that butter might stay in place longer.  Having been treated we tucked him under a bush with a saucer of oats, raisins and peanut butter! I know it sounds strange but I read that in the Sunday Times newspaper, so assume it is good. 

'Prickles' as he became known soon trundled away ignoring the cats who were extremely interested in him.  Once said cats were safely in for the evening, I put out a dish with some cat food on, and did so for a few days.  Dish is definitely empty in the mornings but I'm not sure who is eating it! I used the chicken dinner which is my cats least favourite, but there are other cats around.  My neighbour has been putting out food for hedgehogs for years and regularly sees some, and although we hadn't seen one for years hubby spotted a full grown one on the lawn a couple of weeks ago.  By the time he called me it had totally vanished.  I'm really hoping that 'Prickles' or some of his friends would like to stay not least as I have vast numbers of slugs still eating flowers, leaves and plants, and the current favourite delicacy seems to be...   courgettes!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

On the subject of writing...

Now we bloggers rely on a computer keypad to communicate with each other and I must admit I am so glad that I was taught to touch type way back in the olden days - that is before computers were in every home. I even learned mainly on a manual typewriter although the college did have a few electric ones but they weren't commonplace then. Who remembers the font being on daisy wheels and golf balls?  The ink was on ribbons and no typist could be without her Tippex to correct the dreaded mistakes, but no more than 3 mistakes could be made on a letter before you had to start again!  Oh the joy when carbon ribbons came in as with them there was another ribbon, a bit like sellotape, that removed the mistakes.  The time they saved was immense.  I bet the typewriters I learnt on must have seemed very modern to people using early ones like this.

I popped into the local museum this week as they have an exhibition of writing.

I was surprised to find that the work was by a local group 'Northampton Scribes'. I had never heard of them before and yet they were formed in 1996.  There were all sorts of examples on the walls including this alphabet piece that had been worked by the whole group.  I like the way the cat's head sticks out, but not sure you can see it clearly in the photo.

This envelope was beautifully addressed, unfortunately in a glass display case so the photo doesn't do it full justice. Wouldn't it be lovely to receive post like this? I do try and decorate envelopes I send a little bit but perhaps I should be working on my calligraphy skills.  Have to admit that I cheat a bit with italic felt pens!

My favourite exhibit was this one by Erica Burt.  The use of different pens and the repetition of appropriate words to make up the surfaces must have taken hours of work.  

The exhibition reminded me to show you some of the lovely shop window displays in Venice.  They make you want to go back to old fashioned writing!

Look at these wonderful ink bottles.

There were whole shops devoted to the art of writing.

How about a glass pen? I think I would almost be afraid to use it in case it got broken.
Having had a little trip down the memory lane of writing, I have to say at least with a pen in your hand you choose your style of writing, unlike the typewriters that only had one font and Blogger that seems to make decisions for me! I do get rather exasperated with it at times!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Worn out and weary but had such a lovely day!

I have walked miles, stood for hours, my legs ache and I am totally worn out, but I feel very, very happy. I have had such a lovely day, out for a jolly to the Festival of Quilts at Birmingham.  Living in the middle of England I am only an hour's drive away and even more fortunately hubby works very close to the N.E.C. so I was chaffeur driven there and back!  This year I went on my own and it's amazing how many lovely people you meet and chat to. I never fail to be surprised by how far people have travelled to come to this show, including Mandy from Inverness who set up her own shop earlier this year, and a lady from Cornwall who got on the coach at 4 o'clock this morning!  Have to admit that I am a little jealous of those lucky ladies who get to spend more than one day at the Festival it is so big that it is impossible to see everything properly in a single day.  

As well as all the many fantastic quilts on display there are lots of trade stands.  So many fabrics to tempt as well as every accessory you can think of, ribbons, buttons, books, and threads, not to mention all the sewing and quilting machines.   It has to be said that my purse is somewhat lighter than when I went but everything in my bag definitely said "buy me"!  My head is buzzing with ideas and really when I think of them all I think I was quite restrained!  

I was so annoyed with myself though for not checking the camera last night, the battery lasts so long that I didn't think about charging it and regretably I didn't get anywhere near the number of photos I would have liked. Especially annoying as I didn't even realise it had a low battery until it totally ran out!  Never mind, I do have a few pictures to show you, although I realised I don't have all the exhibition numbers so can't tell you who they were by.

So many different blocks in this one.

The way the patterns interact really attracted me to this one.

This was so eye catching.

Very sculptural!

Loved the detail in these little smocked dresses.

How about this fella?

This one was all knitted!

The detail here was wonderful but the photo doesn't really do it justice.
One of the highlights for me was the exhibition 'The Tentmakers of Cairo'. Originally they were stitched for the inside of tents, intricate applique patterns in bright colours, now these highly talented men and boys stitch mainly for the tourist market.  

Boys start learning this work at age 8 and by 18 are at their peak, sadly by 41 most have to give up due to failing eyesight caused by poor light.  Two men had come over with the exhibition to demonstrate and they were truly amazing. I have never seen anyone sew so fast! The outlines of the design were drawn on the cloth and they would pick up small random shaped pieces, then roughly turn the edges under to fit as they stitched.  I have to say that when I applique I spend ages cutting the pieces carefully with just the right seam allowance and I think most of us probably do the same. Now I am thinking perhaps it isn't quite as important.


Sunday, 7 August 2011

It's a hard life!

It's such a hard life being a cat, totally exhausting having to help with all the chores.  Well, mine seem to find it so! 

Essential to check there is no washing left in the machine.
Watching to see that the washing then gets pegged out. (Most definitely not allowed on tables or worktops in the house but garden tables seem to be regarded differently!)
On guard in the raspberry patch to stop the birds eating the fruit.

Checking that only gardening waste goes into the brown collection bin AND multi-tasking by having a wash!  

Bath time means keeping an eye on that duck and of course checking the bath water!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Recognise these?

There was lots of delicious food in Italy, and  ice-cream was an absolute necessity every day! After all, there were so many Gelateria and each one had a large selection. In fact I wouldn't be able to select a favourite, not one was a disappointment!

As the weather was very hot, ice-creams needed eating fast so I don't have any photos, but I did find some other interesting foody things to show you. How many do you recognise?

Hopefully this one isn't too difficult. I wish we had this variety of bean in our greengrocers though.  (Apologies for the font which appears just as I want in draft but magically changes itself when published!)

Aubergines - but not as we know them!
I think the shape of these is a giveaway! They are such a pretty colour and look so pretty. We had some of these for supper one evening.

Another easy one, but what an amazing shape and a giant size - I have never seen such a large pepper!
I have to say that this is the first time I have seen these for sale!  Unfortunately, we were all sorted for dinner that day.  Do you recognise them?  I have some growing in my garden but never seem to get more than a couple ready at the same time.  I keep seeing recipes for them - stuffed and then deep fried - I would so like to try them.  Shall I tell you, I bet some of you recognise them - courgette flowers!