Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Oh yes, and thankyou!

And I keep meaning to say Thankyou to those of you who take the time to stop by and read my little blog, however you should come across me. I can see there are some people who have been back several times. It means a lot and I love to see what part of the world you are in.
A while ago I added one of those live feed things that records where people "come" from when they visit my blog. I'm sure it doesn't record everyone though - perhaps it depends how you find me? Some people come via Ravelry, some from Google, a few from facebook. If anyone knows of a better program I'd love to hear about it.

Looking at the stats that blogger records, I've had views not only from the UK and USA but Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Ukraine, Israel, Greece, Philippines, Ireland, Japan, Cyprus, Turkey, Spain and New Zealand. So far...
So thankyou one and all and I hope you've liked at least a little of what you've read here.

A lunchtime walk

The weather was lovely today - far too good to stay inside at lunchtime, or just wander round the shops. I decided to take a walk down to the Hospital of St Cross again, although not as long a route as I have taken in the past. I didn't have my camera with me, so all these photos were taken with my trusty old Sony Ericcson K800i. Seven years old, bought especially for taking photos around the Cathedral and still going strong.
The River Itchen
This was the river Itchen as it flows through the park, taken last week -this was the part of the walk I had to skip today but it looked quite something with all the weed forming channels with the current flowing through it.  There were lots of spring shrubs and blooms in many of the gardens I passed by. I don't know what this climber was growing up this house. A few more days of warmth and it will be in full bloom - not the best time of day to take a photo of it though. It looks far better taken straight on but the sun was towards me... (Update - having seen Gardeners World Friday night, I think this is a type of viburnum, similar in style to a lace-cap hydrangea.)
St Catherine's Hill

St Catherine's Hill
Did I mention the house nestled at the foot of St Catherine's Hill that has a large garden turned over to a huge veg patch? Well, I managed to get a reasonable picture of it today. For the second one I stood in the shade of a tree, looking into the sun. Look at all those bean poles!! That's a LOT of runner beans!
As before, there was almost no-one else around, just peace and quiet in the middle of a busy day.
On the way back to the office, I stopped to look at this house in Kingsgate Street with its beautiful climbing rose. There were several houses in the street with well established climbing roses. The ones with low enough blooms to sniff smelt amazing - a real old fashioned rose fragrance. They put me in mind of the roses that grow in the garden of the office building we used to be in.

Oh what a glorious garden that was. Lunch breaks were like a little trip to paradise and back!
I would often nip round the garden before work (in my wellies!), cutting a rose here, a fox glove there, a bit of foliage etc and would have a vase on my desk throughout the summer months. I would often come in the next morning to find there was also a cobweb from the flowers to the desk, or the screen!
Friday was a good day to fill a vase as I would obviously then have to take my bouquet home for the weekend!
I commissioned my friends daughter Laura Haines, the artist, to paint me a picture of the building as viewed from the garden, with the summer flowers and the table and chairs I found cheap in Tesco. My desk - luckily facing away from the window! - is at the far right as you look at the picture, on the first floor. Such happy times...
If I start showing you photos from those days in the garden, we could be here all day!! So I'll leave you with a shot of Laura's lovely watercolour. A bit out of her comfort zone as she prefers to work in acrylics and oils normally. But I think she did it rather well, don't you?...

No 1 The Close by Laura Haines

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Springtime at Hilliers

No sewing today - the sun was shining and I couldn't resist a trip out to Hillier's - again!! Can you tell it's my favourite place? And I'm afraid this post is heavy on photos again!
Upon my arrival I was delighted to find that they were hosting a sort of Gurkha reunion. They have a Gurkha memorial in the garden and the local community hold a ceremony there every year. This year is the 200th anniversary of the formation of the Gurkha regiment, so they had a much bigger event. I can't remember the last time I saw so many coaches in the car park!! They must have come from far and wide.
Lots of people were dressed in their best and the women looked beautiful in their sari type dresses. They had a lot of traditional music playing throughout the afternoon, which carried on the spring breeze around the gardens. It made my visit so much more magical. Some of the music was quite modern in style but much had a more spiritual quality to it. Quite lovely.
They were gathered around the main Pavilion area and I stopped to watch for a few minutes on my way out and realised that as well as the music I could hear, there had been traditional dancing too. I made a short video which you can see below. (I really should use the movie mode on my camera more...)

I hope you watch the video and like the music as I did, and bear in mind I could hear it throughout my walk, as I took these photos...

Look at the tiny bug that photo bombed my shot!

Hillier Gardens,Art in the Garden

Such a pity that I won't get to see this beauty unfurl her wings...

Just look at the fabulous markings on the petals

This peony is called Coral Sunset. Alas, I fear I will miss it's blooms again this year.
 Finally today, I'd like to leave you with an image and a link to a blog I look at every so often. Her name is Loretta Grayson (Rett) and her blog is A Shoebox of Photographs. She's an artist who lives in Australia and they are approaching their winter - a fact which seems impossible as we approach our summer!! She's posted a photo of this beautiful collage of autumn leaves she made, along with an amazing poem about time and light, called The Word by Tony Hoagland. Follow the link above and scroll down to her post of May 6th 2015 for the poem. Enjoy...

Monday, 18 May 2015

Some sewing and LOTS of flowers!

It feels like I haven't had a weekend...I feel as tired today as I did Friday night. Ah well. It's a bank holiday again next weekend - hopefully I'll feel more rested afterwards.
I kept quite myself quite busy - I spent Saturday sewing another little dress. I decided to combine the patchwork idea, with the A-line style - I went through my fabrics and picked out some of the bigger pieces that I could use to make tiers. I'm not happy with the way I did the A-line hemline - I know it's wrong but it would take almost as long to correct as it took for the whole dress...
I also added some rick-rack trim and a pocket to the first dresses I made. One of the blogs I read on the subject had suggested putting the pocket in the side so there's no obvious front and back, allowing the dress to be worn either way, which is what I decided to do. What do you think??
Dress a Girl Around the World
 Dress a Girl Around the World

I then spent the evening in the company of a good friend at Romsey Abbey, listening to a concert of classical music followed by a bottle of good wine - a winning combination!

On Sunday I paid a brief visit to Winchester's Art Market on the High St. My friend Chris was helping her daughter Laura Haines with her stall of paintings and cards and I decided to pay a visit. Laura has been working really hard recently on a new collection of paintings of local views -I bought a couple of cards but am very tempted to ask her if she has the original paintings still for sale. I must ask her if she minds if I post pictures of them but take a look at Laura's website to see her recent works.

After leaving Winchester, I went out to Hillier Gardens to see the rhododendrons and azaleas while they are in full bloom. I timed it just right for perfect blooms again - I'm either very lucky or just visit too often!! But then it was only 2 weeks since I was there last - and everything has come on so fast! Here are just a few of the 200 plus photos I took - I hope you like them.

And after all of that, I quite fancied a good old fashioned cream tea. But they'd sold out... so I had to make do with coffee and a pecan  tart. Thanks for stopping by!