Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Rainy Days

Happy Wednesday everyone!  We’ve had two days of constant gentle rain. Just what is needed for crops and grass and flowers. We’re enjoying being inside, cozy in our home. I finished one project and have another almost done. More on that later.

I can’t write today without acknowledging the horrible tragedy that has once again taken place in our country.  I’m heartbroken for the families of those little souls that were taken yesterday. Also for the two teachers that I’m sure tried their best to protect those children. And for the family of the young man who did this horrible thing. I can’t imagine the feelings that they have at this moment. Our prayers are with them all. May God be with with the United States as we make our way through yet another evil act of horror.

On a more pleasant note, I finished Piper’s “Wonderful Wallaby” sweater yesterday. I love how it turned out.

Here is a better photo of the hood.  She wants to take it on their trip this week to Paris and then London to see Baby J. Mandy can’t wait to get her hands on the baby just like us.
I started a sweater for Little Miss J. yesterday. I’m almost ready for the hem. I have the sleeves and button band left to do.  I want to send this along with them when they leave so I have to get cracking. There is no pattern as I made it up, but it’s just a basic infant cardigan for stitch numbers and I added in some lace.

I did get a couple of souvenirs for myself while we were in London. It’s Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee year. 70 years on the throne. I bought myself this little bear as a memory of all the beautiful decorations we saw around the UK celebrating this momentous event. She certainly seems to be a well-loved and respected Queen.

The one thing we always find when traveling are magnets. We found the nine that are shown below, on this trip. Not the ones on the right, except the knight with the banner. That one is from Mount Fitchet Castle.

Dennis and Alex spent a few days working in their back garden. Alex had just had an office built and he and Dennis built the steps. To the left they installed 24x24 inch garden tiles on the ground. There is now a garden shed sitting on the tiles and the pizza oven and grill. It all looks wonderful.
I thought you would all get a kick out of this photo.  While we were on our trip Zoey stayed with Mandy, Brad & Piper. Of course we will keep Lizzie for them for the next few few weeks. Piper and Zoey were apparently Egyptian Princesses in the picture. Zoey had a wonderful time playing there. She’s been missing them with just us old folks.

Take care everyone. Tell those you care about how you feel while you can. In these trying days, we never know do we?

Blessings and love,

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Cambridge University and Crafts

Hello Everyone!
What a day it’s been. Lots of thunderstorms and more on the way later, but I do love them, as long as they aren’t severe. There’s nothing like being cozy in a rocker with my knitting, windows all open, watching a movie while listening to thunder and seeing the lightening flashing all around. It used to scare our Chloe girl something awful, but Zoey barely notices. She’s always curled up on one of our laps under her blankets. The next two days are supposed to be in the 90’s but then another cool down so the windows will be opened once again.
I’m still not feeling up to par. Still no voice, (and I think Dennis is enjoying that), and a cough that keeps me sleeping in the recliner at night. As soon as I try to lay down, I start coughing like crazy, so it’s easier to just stay comfortably ensconced in my chair. 
Today I’m going to share our last “field trip” out of London for this trip, to the town of Cambridge and Cambridge University. Our wonderful DIL graduated from Cambridge and loves it very much. Alex is hoping to get his PhD there soon. One thing that I didn’t realize before going is that there is a town and a university. The University does dominate most of the town though. It is easily the most beautiful town I have ever been in, and that’s saying something.
Here are a few photos to share of this beautiful place.

This is the actual apple tree that Sir Isaac Newton sat under when he discovered the law of gravity when an apple fell on his head. The tree was blossoming beautifully when we were there.

This is the round church in Cambridge. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is absolutely stunning, but it was locked and we could only peak through the windows. It was founded in 1115! Isn’t that incredible? There are a LOT of churches in Cambridge.

Although this one is even more majestic, I can’t remember it’s name. It was huge and very awe inspiring. The churches of Europe always fascinate me in their beauty and artwork.

Here we are standing on a bridge overlooking the canal that runs through the university and town. You can just barely see the boats with punters, like they have in Venice behind us. My hero husband carried my purse for me all day because my back was in a so-so mood. Alex and T. presented him his coat as a retirement gift and he enjoyed wearing it on our excursions. Apparently it’s a poplular brand in the UK. It’s a Barbour jacket.

This is the entrance into the school that our DIL gradulated from. Do you see the gates at the entrance? The suffragettes chained themselves to these gates in the late 1800’s for various womans rights. I think these are some of the most beautiful building on the campus.

Can you see tiny us sitting in front of the Great Hall of the law school?

The lawn is beautiful and is the only one on campus where students are actually allowed to walk or sit without punishment.

Another view of the beautiful buildings.

Yesterday I began making a “Wonderful Wallaby” sweater for Piper. This will be her third one. She has outgrown her most recent sweater but is still wearing it with very short sleeves because she loves it. She chose gray from my stash for her next one. I added a few darker Gray stripes on the bottom ribbing and also on the wrist ribbing. At the top is the first sleeve I just began about an hour ago. I love to make these sweaters. They look difficult but are really very easy. The front pocket is knit as you go, so there are no pieces to attach. The sizes go from childrens size 2 to adult XXX.  I bought the pattern years ago at my LYS and use it often. It is a fairly quick knit.

While wandering around London at different times, I bought a couple of bags for groceries since they don’t provide bags for groceries there. You can never have too many bags can you? How appropriate is this bag for me? Queen’s Park is just a short walk from the kids house and we had a picnic there last Sunday.

This one I bought when were wandering around Portobello Road in Nottinghill. It was under 5 pounds so I went ahead and bought it for the produce we purchased while out. Now it has Piper’s Wallaby Sweater in it! We also had lunch at an amazing Lebanese restaurant in Nottinghill. Oh my! The food there was delicious.  Alex ordered about 10 small plates so we could taste lots of different things. We could never live there permanently though. That neighborhood is definitely out of our price range!
After dinner tonight the rain let up and I went outside and harvested the first batch of rhubarb for the year. I bought the plant from Spokane and I was amazed at how much rhubarb I have already. Mom has a bunch too and Dennis picked  at the same time. She doesn’t have an oven anymore so I’ll wash and freeze it tomorrow morning. My energy ran out before I could take care of it tonight. I think I’ll plan on a rhubarb crisp in the next day or so.

But for tonight we were both craving something sweet, so I made a pan of brownies while I cut up the rhubarb. We just had a warm brownie with ice cream and it was so yummy.

Another treat I got for myself was this Cath Kidston bunting that hangs in my craft area. I just love the colors.

Here is a bit closer look along with the gome that Piper made me for Valentine’s Day. She reminded me a couple of weeks ago that it was way past Valentines Day and I could take it down, but I like it. It makes me smile and it will stay up all year. :-)

I posted this on facebook today because, well, because it’s true isn’t it?  Who wouldn’t rather be playing with yarn than cleaning?

I hope all is well with you. We’re adjusting to being home and very, very thankful for FaceTime. We’ve gotten to talk to little J several times this week and she does seem to remember our voices. When we talk to her she turns toward the phone and smiles. Ah, it does a Grandma’s heart good.
Poor Mandy has a similar thing to what I do, but she also is running a fever. She’s trying to work through it all because later this month they are leaving for a trip to Paris and London. I hope she gets over it quickly. I do think I’m on the mend, but my voice is still pretty bad. I did have more energy today though and I’m taking that as a good sign.  I’ll be back soon!

Blessings and love,

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Mountfitchet Castle and Medieval Village

We had a wonderful time visiting Alex, our dear DIL and baby J. We arrived home last night around 5:00 after a very, very smooth trip from London Heathrow airport. Our flight from London left at 10:40 AM and we arrived in Chicago a little after 1:00 local time. Both of our flights left early and arrived early, and were very pleasant. We had rows of seats to ourselves both flights just like on the way over.  It was so hard to leave. We spent a lot of time not only with the baby, but also Alex and Our DIL. I have to say she’s a perfect baby. She rarely fusses and when she does you know if she needs a diaper change or is hungry.

We went on a few day trips. I’ve already shared with you the London Eye and the one I’ll share with you today is Mountfitchet Castle. There are a lot of pictures so I hope it doesn’t bore you too much.

The following is an excerpt off of their webpage. 

“ Mountfitchet Castle and Norman Village is dated from 1066. It’s an open air museum where the visitor can travel back in time over 900 years and witness life in a midieval Motte and Bailey Castle. You can hand feed the tame deer and other rescued animals that run freely throughout the 10 acre site. It’s located in Stansted, Essex in the UK, near Stansted airport.”

This is the outside of the Grand Hall. Not very grand is it? But I suppose it was at the time, well over 900 years ago!

This was the entrance to the area where the Grand Hall is located. The outside of the Castle itself had a dry moat system, which I had never heard of before.

On the left in this picture is a foot and arm stock. If this castle and attached village is any indication of the horrors that met people in life back then, I’m sure glad I wasn’t alive! They had crazy, awful ways of torturing people and this village was full of replicas of them.

They had the grand hall set up in this fashion. The Lord of the castle is in the big chair on the other people gathered around him. In the back was the armory room where several different paranormal shows have filmed and claimed to see and record ghosts. The Lord’s bedroom was upstairs above the armory room.

Dennis had put Alex in the leg stocks and he was begging for mercy!😂

Just a few of the buildings around the village. It’s hard to imagine that people actually lived the way these people lived. No wonder nine out of 10 children died before the age of six months.

There were all kinds of free ranging animals around the village. We bought a bag of feed and so I had lots of friends as I made my way around! The animals are all rescued from various shelters or farms. They are all believed to be actual breeds of animals that lived in the village back in the 1000’s. There were several male peacocks and about 10 peahens also. The males were “strutting their stuff” so to speak and had their tails on display a lot. However we were unable to catch a good picture of them.

This was called the “Hell Hole” where they put live people inside and just left them to die. Rats and other vermin crawled all over them and there was nothing they could do. The hole was about 5 feet deep and 4 feet wide and about 5 feet long. They had so many torture devices in this village that it actually got to be a bit depressing.

Here is a photo of one of the peacocks, but we weren’t able to capture the colors on his feathers very well. The rattling noise the hollow feathers make when he shakes them is quite loud.

We had a wonderful time, but the last week we were there Alex had some kind of a sinus thing going on. I managed to catch it and came home yesterday with no voice. We did have our pre-travel Covid test and it’s not Covid. I guess people do still have regular colds don’t they?

I have another day trip to share and then I’ll be back to regular programming. 💜😍

Please take care and stay well.


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The London Eye and the Southbank

We are still having the time of our lives with this sweet little grandbaby of ours and her family. On Saturday we took a ride on the London eye. It’s the big ferris wheel over the Thames River. We also walked along the South Bank of the Thames to the Tate Museum of Modern Art. We have been to the museum before and neither of us was very impressed, so we didn’t go in this time. DIL and J. stayed home while Dennis, Alex and I took the tube to the Southbank. We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant that overlooked the river. It was called Wahaca and the food was delicious. Here are a few photos of our day for you. 

The London eye up close and personal. It’s MUCH bigger than it looks.

The cars were huge. I don’t think they let as many in as they did pre-Covid but there were still about 20 people in our car which was a little nerve-racking.

I thought the picture of the boat going up and down the Thames was hilarious. I had never heard of an Uber boat before! There were a lot of people riding it too.

There are so many gorgeous buildings in the city. Well, in the entire country.

Big Ben and Parliament. Big Ben finally had its scaffolding gone. Our last two trips here we couldn’t see it very well at all.

Buckingham Palace was a little further away so it is somewhat blurry, but you can see it here in the middle of the photo surrounded by the gardens. The gold statue in the courtyard is to the right about 2/3 down.
I have no idea what this building is but isn’t it gorgeous? I would like to have an apartment right there in one of those two towers in the front middle! Ha! Ha!

We were about halfway up when I took this photo of the Southbank. Since it was a bank holiday weekend there were a lot of people around which made us quite nervous. We have tested for Covid on our own twice since we got here just to be sure. We really only have to test the day before we go home. Alex has caught some sort of sinus thing. He’s had symptoms for several days and has tested twice in the past three days, including this morning and he’s still negative. I guess people do still just have plain old colds even in these days. 🤷‍♀️

Here we are walking along the south bank. You can see Big Ben in the distance on the left side of the photo. We were having a good time, but we were looking into the sun here so we don’t look very happy. Sorry about that.😍
We found a wonderful outdoor used book area while walking. There were several book shops selling used books. I found five to buy for Christmas gifts. How fun!
Since then we have been many more places. On Sunday we spent the day in Cambridge visiting our daughter-in-law‘s alma mater and where Alex hopes to attend soon for his PhD. Yesterday we went to an old, old castle. So there will be more photos coming. Sometimes it seems Blogger wants to work for me and sometimes it doesn’t. This morning is one time where I have done this post 11 times so far and it keeps deleting it. I’m trying one more time. I hope this works. I am also able to sporadically comment on your blogs. I am reading them all and I comment when blogger lets me. I’ll be back to visit with you all again very soon. 
Meanwhile I’m hoping you’re having a blessed May and are looking for ways to celebrate and live with joy, this life you’ve been given.

Blessings and love to you all,