Quote of the week.

I have no idea if this is true but it pleases me greatly.

Gene Rodenberry was asked why he hired Patrick Stewart to play Jon Luc in Star Trek TNG. People said the dude is bald! Surely by the 24th century, there would be a cure for baldness?

And Gene Rodenberry replied, “By the 24th century, it won’t matter.”

I like that.


03-01-94 to 25-09-09
15 years and nearly 10 months.
Lovely loyal terrier who will be sadly missed.

Today was a day filled with mixed emotions, firstly because it is a very sad day, one where we as a family had to say goodbye to a very faithful terrier. Our children can’t remember a time where this lovely bundle of fluff was not in their lives. Pebbles arrived at some point in March of 1994, a tiny bundle of Wheaten Cairn Terrier, which is why she was called Pebbles, Cairns are made of rocks and pebbles. Son no.2 was only two years old and they bonded immediately I never had the least of worries that there would ever be a problem with her, she was such a cutie who adored everyone.

I could witter on for a very long time about just how adorable she was, but I’ll just leave you with a couple of snaps.

We knew time was short and were in regular contact with our vet and decided that as long as we could keep her as pain free as is possible we would try to make her last summer an enjoyable one.

And the other overriding emotion has been that we knew she has had the ‘best’ of doggie lives, has been completely cossetted, has always had other dogs for company – which is important if your a dog, and has lived in a household filled with children, dogs, cats and chickens, so never a dull moment and along with that has always had lots of affection – Pebbles did enjoy a good ear rub.

But this week, well we knew, there was nothing we could do, she was in far too much pain, it was time to say goodbye.

Pebbles enjoying an evening in the summer.

A young Pebbles having just opened her Christmas present.

And my favourite photo of her, a powder puff, coming up the rear on a family walk over the fields at the back of Kenilworth castle.

Good night Pebbles, God bless.

Neee Naaah, Neee Naah, Neee Naah, Neee Naah,

Sound of tires squealing to a halt.

Car door slams shut.

Hurried footsteps on the path and a sharp rat a tat tat on the door, ‘Sorry Mum, can’t stop’ as these Emergency Socks and the poorly pair of socks from the previous post are thrust in her general direction.

Mother was quite lit up, and Father said, “Your a Bl**dy good knitter, you are Mandy”, my reply “Good grief Dad was that a compliment” (I can’t ever remember that happening before!) And he should know as his mother was an absolute whiz with the needles and kept them in rations with her knitting for payment.

Both were quite impressed with my mending skills, which pleased me greatly. Your never sure whether your work is up to standard so when its appreciated it does put a little spring in your step.

The emergency socks (and I do believe there is such a thing as a sock emergency – a little like a chocolate emergency except with socks, you know that you really Need, not Want, Need a new soft pair to caress your tootsies with) were my training aids for the knit club and I had hoped to stash them away for Christmas presents, but they were needed very much sooner than that.

I am particularly pleased with the matching toes.

The yarn is Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett colourway 4355 knit on 2.5 mm needles with a 60 stitch cast on.

and a little knitting for me.

These are Wollmeise 100 % superwash in Johannisbeer und Brennessel which means redcurrants and stinging nettles. I love this colourway its just so beautiful.

Mum’s socks.

As I was speaking to my Mum on the telephone earlier in the week there was a comment from the rear (Dad)..

I heard in gleeful tones, “Tell her about the socks!”

“Oh Yes, My socks, they’ve got holes in” which was swiftly followed up by another comment from the rear about shoddy workmanship!


I knew immediately which pair it was, I had not been knitting for very long and I’d chosen a double knit which was not sock yarn and was wound quite loosely, comfortable and cosy they were, but not hard wearing. Still, two years is not a bad innings and Mum had been wearing them with her Crocs which are notoriously hard on hand knit socks.

I visited today and they were laying in the conservatory ready for my perusal. I tried to persuade Mum to use the method favoured by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee which goes along the lines of open the bin and say “Darn It” as you drop them from a great height into it. But Mum looked quite wounded when I suggested that and then told me how she loved this particular pair of socks and how they were always her first choice to wear in the evenings with her pyjamas.

What is a daughter to do? – there was only one answer.

I brought them home whilst desperately trying to remember how Knitted Bear had recently mended a pair of socks that had also landed up in dire straits. I couldn’t find her blog post, which was beautifully written and included many photographs. So without any guidance, just a dim memory I started to work on them.

Firstly, a very poorly sock.

I picked up stitches, knit a few rows whilst picking up stitches from the outsides knit a few rows more, then picked up stitches at the other side of the hole and kitchenered them together. Then I sewed any parts of the sides down that needed it.

The end results.

I quite like them in a make do and mend hippy kind of way.

Just because I know what we knitters are like.

A peek at the wrong side.

Not too shabby, the patch is very soft and quite even in texture, making it quite comfortable to wear.

And just a little something to ease her pain.

Weekend Wanderings. (picture heavy)

I found out very recently that Heritage have open days in September, as Saturday was mostly tied up with a previous engagement we struggled to fit in a quick trip out, but fit it in we did. Here we have Baginton Castle or Bagot’s Castle, which was a revelation to me as I did not know we have another castle so very close to Kenilworth and Warwick’s Castles.

Quick bit of history, Bagot’s Castle was probably built about 1397 by Sir William Bagot, it was built on an earlier site of a motte castle around 1100-35. As you can see it is now just a pile of stones, yet within this there are just a couple of nice points.

The curve of the tower.

Spiral stairs, barely worn.

On Sunday we found ourselves at Garden Organic at Ryton. It has been one of those places that we have been meaning to visit for a while but has always been priced quite steeply to go into, which has put us off – almost the cost of a skein of sock yarn – each!

We looked over the allotment garden, it wasn’t a patch on ours, too much bare earth for my liking, not enough in the way of crops. Considering that we are experiencing quite a glut of produce at the moment and the only regular requirements from the supermarkets involve milk, tea and cleaning products, if you had taken a meal or two from their plot you would have had very little left.

But what they did have, which was seriously impressive were fruit trees. We are looking at fruit trees at the moment, especially peach, pear and apples. We were not disappointed.

Look at these beautiful pears on a bough, so perfect.

more of the same bough.

a tree’s worth!

even at the very top of the tree you can see just how productive this tree is. I had no idea that pear trees were so Huge! – I wonder how many bottles of perry you would get off one tree!

Which is why fruit trees are grown in this way on dwarf root stocks and trained into shapes that both give the blossom/fruit air to aid both pollination and protect again molds and mildews and, most importantly aid picking.

One particular way of growing fruit tree’s caught our attention. Just to add a little bit of background, we have been looking for a way to add fruit trees to our plot but without taking up any room. I’m laughing at myself as I write this, because that is my all time master plan, always to grow as much as possible without compromising anything else.

The other aspect to consider is that there are rules on fruit tree’s at the plot, they must be grown on a dwarf root stock and they must be a certain distance, (I forget the exact measurement) away from the boundary of your plot. Otherwise the roots would interfere with another persons enjoyment of their plot. So the plan to have a row of dwarf root stock fruit trees trained against a fence is a no, go. And at that point I have been stumped for an answer, I did not want to plant fruit trees in the middle of an area that is much better served producing vegetables. Having been reading about modern orchards recently, I knew I could pack in more fruit trees than you ever thought possible into a small area, so was seriously considering turning over a quarter of one plot just to fruit trees.

When this idea struck me full force between the eyes.

An archway of Pears!

Or Apples!

If I build archways where the gates are it answers all my problems on boundaries, space, and having more than one variety all at the same time. It is Genius! I just need to find a very cheap supplier of archways, as they always seem to cost an arm and a leg.

I correctly identified a Medlar, the only way to eat them is to let them gently rot to soften them or as the Victorians used to call it ‘bletted’ first. Strangely they are out of fashion these days.

The largest pot in the world.

On Sunday afternoon we wandered over to Guys Cliffe House, a ruin that I have always been fascinated by having often looked at its hauntingly beautiful outline from the comfort of the Saxon Mill. It is rarely open to the public so to find out it was included in Heritage open days was a real pleasure.

The history is fascinating if you fancy reading up on it. These are a few photographs of our day,

the entrance,

the ruins.

A ruined tower, followed by a peek inside.

the lift, – I wonder how nervous people were on using this contraption.

I was very amused by the fireplaces in the ruins of the tower which had four floors. How the first one seemed very old and plain, hewn from the rock that Guys Cliffe stands upon.

and then becoming brick, with the fireplace missing,

to reveal the next fireplace, which looked quite magnificent, still hanging in mid air. Sadly the next fireplace up was just too high to see properly.

All hewn from the rock, most probably by slaves.

Harris’s Cave, recently rediscovered by the Masons (who own the property) a month ago. You can quite clearly see the track of incredibly dense bamboo that has been chopped to the ground so that you can walk to it.

The cave Guy of Warwick made for himself and lived in for two years before his death.

Effigy of Guy of Warwick in the restored chapel, according to legend this was an accurate depiction of his height, he must have been quite a man.

The restored chapel is lovely, but to protect the Masons privacy I shall refrain from putting up photographs, they rent it out, it would make a wonderful location for a party – 25th wedding anniversary perhaps!!!

Hatton Locks.

Having stayed up just a little too late last night, (2.30 a.m.!) drinking wine and playing Scrabble, hubby and I were not really fit for duties at the plot today. I’m calling it my swan song because as from Tuesday my drinking days will have to be seriously moderated due to starting Methotrexate for what has at long last (diagnosis has taken over two years, but then it is very rare for folk as young as I to have this) been diagnosed as Polymyalgia which according to my Rheumatologist could also be combined with two other factors.. (you know me, I’m never content with just a common cold!) Lets hope it works, because it would be nice to be pain free. I’ve been on steroids for a while and can look almost lady like when coming down the stairs first thing in the morning, rather than like a navvy with a belly full of rum, clutching the banister and walls for support.

Hubby went to pick our vegetables and came back slightly depressed. I could see he was a sad chap and asked what was wrong and he explained it was the end of the season, another year over, that he just felt sad.

Action was called for and we decided that a gentle stroll was needed with the emphasis on the gentle part of that sentence.

Although we live locally we had never been to see Hatton’s flight of locks. This flight is on the Grand Union Canal and has 21 locks in less than two miles. It was nice, it was relaxing, we had tea at the local cafe and gently strolled along the canal.

We also saw a HUGE dragonfly!!!

I’ve needed a little break from my brown cardigan. I love knitting my cardigan, it is gorgeous, but there was a part of me that just needed a little ‘something, something’ as a quick pick me up. I needed colour and the cravings for sock knitting had returned with a vengeance. There was only one choice it had to be Wollmeise – and when I opened up my Wollmeise stash this particular skein leapt out of the box and into my hands. I think its so beautiful, I would love another skein.

This is Wollmeise in colourway Johannisbeere & Brennnessel in 100% sock yarn, the translation of the name means red currant and stinging nettles. I think its divine, the colours in this skein are absolutely mesmerising.

Even just wound into a cake its a work of art.