Friday 26 January 2018

Walking with John and Lucy

On Tuesday John, Lucy and I had been planning to complete the next section of the Capital Ring walk. We were a little concerned that we would have to cancel because the weather has been so appalling with strong winds and very heavy rain. We were lucky and the day was dry but cold. We had a few jobs to do first thing and once done we headed out on the tube. We had quite a long journey to our starting point at Woolwich but that meant we could all catch up with some reading on the train. We were planning to complete two sections, the first from Woolwich to Falconwood, a distance of 6.2 miles and if the weather was good we would walk on to Grove Park and additional 3.5 miles.

Woolwich has a long history with evidence of an iron age settlement near the current ferry terminal. Our plan of the day was to walk and not search out the settlement and so we set off along the riverside path from our starting point to the Woolwich foot tunnel. As we walked I watched the Woolwich ferry.

A ferry has probably existed here since the late 12th century. A toll used to be charged until 1889 when the people of Woolwich campaigned for it to be free. The charges were dropped and the ferry has been free to use since then. I must travel across on the ferry at some point in the future.

We very quickly came to the entrance to the foot tunnel.

The tunnel was opened in 1912 and is open 24 hours a day all year. The tunnel is 550 yards long and there are 126 steps down into it and 101 up on the other side. We all walked down but John took the lift up on the other side. Lucy and I walked up counting the steps as we went.

Here we are under the Thames.

In 1512 Woolwich Naval Dockyard was a major establishment in the area and as we walked we passed a lot of evidence of the dockyard. Looking away from London this was the view.

Turning to face the direction we were walking this was the view.

The tide was out and there were a lot of gulls and ducks on the foreshore. A little further along the promenade we came across this battered mosaic. It was installed in 1984 by the National Elfrieda Rathbone Society which helps people whose needs have not been met by education.

We passed a pair of disused cannon. I couldn't get them both in the photo.

We also passed another mosaic , this time a nearly complete one.

On the opposite bank we saw the Tate and Lyle sugar refinery in Silvertown.

We got quite close to the Thames barrier before we turned away from the Thames. Any area near a river is liable to flood and the Thames is at huge risk due to the large amount of extra tidal water at certain times. In 1953 300 people  were drowned in a disastrous flood. To prevent this happening again the Thames Flood Barrier was completed in 1984. The gates normally rest on the river bed and can be raised  by electro-hydraulic power into the upright position between the piers that you can see in the picture. It takes 45 minutes for full closure to be achieved.

On our left  we spotted the clockhouse of 1784. This was once the house and also the office of the Admiral-Superintendent of the Dockyard. It is now a community centre.

We left the river and headed to Maryon Park and Maryon Wilson Park. We stopped and ate our sandwiches in Maryon Wilson Park looking down towards the children's zoo where I saw this handsome duck, a visitor from europe.

Through the parks the walk was easy going and we made good time until we reached Eltham Common from where we headed up a steep path into a belt of ancient woodland with Castlewood, Jackwood and Oxleas Wood. Once at the top we came upon Sevendroog Castle. The name of the triangular building comes from a fortress in India that was captured by Commodore Sir Williams James. During the 18th century he owned this land. Following his death in 1784 his widow built the tower as a memorial. The best bit was it housed a cafe and the coffee and cake was delicious.

Refreshed we continued through gardens and woodland. At times it was very muddy.

When we reached Falconwood we decided to carry on to Grove Park. This brick structure is a Conduit Head. This building once housed sluices that controlled the flow of water from springs to Eltham Palace.

Just around the corner we came across this delightful church, Holy Trinity Church consecrated in 1869. It has a chapel, the Gallipoli Chapel which is a memorial to those who died in the World War 1 battle of Gallipoli.

From here we eventually reached the gates of Eltham Palace. I couldn't get a good photo due to the trees.

Here's the bridge to take visitors over the moat.

Eltham Palace was the principal country residence of the English monarchy for nearly 250 years from the early 14th century to the mid 16th century. Across the road from the palace was this cute timber framed building that dates from the 16th century which was the Lord Chancellor's lodging with Cardinal Wolsey and Sir Thomas More being residents at times.

Although the photo suggests it was taken earlier in the day it was actually taken as it was getting dark so for the remainder of this walk we upped the pace to make it back to the station before it was fully dark. 

It was a great day out and we completed the two sections covering 9.7 miles. With the walking we did to and from the station at both ends of the day by the time I got home I had walked 14.5 miles. A rest before cooking dinner followed by a hot bath to give the aching muscles a soak and then early to bed. We have two more sections to do and we will have completed the walk. Now we can think about what we are going to do to celebrate and which walks to tackle later in the year.


Tuesday 23 January 2018

Busy Two Weeks

It seems to me that no matter how hard you try where paid work is involved it takes over more time than you are being paid for. The year started well and I had my time planned out beautifully so I had a great balance between work (the day Job) and fun (family, quilting, knitting, walking). Then we hit the flu season and many of my colleagues got ill with it or the horrid cold that's going round. Now you can't help being ill but you can take action to reduce the risk and one action is to have the free flu jab paid for by our employer and after all we are teaching nursing, midwifery and healthcare. No, most people didn't bother with the flu jab because it will make them ill! The down side for everyone else is the less people in work, the more work for the ones who are there. As a result I've had less time, or felt too tired to get on with the fun side of life. During the second week of January I did manage to keep up with my 15 minutes of sewing time each day but last week I felt shattered and just sat and watched TV or went to bed extra early. 

Anyway less of the grumbling and lets get to what I have managed to do. Well I'm quite pleased that I have found space and the energy for some sewing activity most days, spending 15 minutes or more on it. So my tally up to the 21st January is;

17 out of 21 days.

On some of the days I had to really push myself but I'm so pleased I did as sewing is my way of relaxing and I generally sleep much better on the days I've given myself some sewing/stitching therapy.

At the beginning of January I received my treat box from The Bramble Patch. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the contents but I have been working on a pattern from the box. I do most of my sewing at our dining table and if someone else is working at the other side, usually John or Lucy, they feel the vibrations from the machine. My pin cushion, stitch unpicker and scissors also get muddled with their work. So the pattern for a sewing tidy to go under the machine was brilliant.

My box contained the charm pack Caroline by Brenda Riddle Designs plus the pink fabric for the binding. I already had fabric for the backing but had to purchase some wadding. I set the machine up to take the photo as the mat isn't fully finished. As you can see I need to stitch the binding down. The button in the middle of the pin cushion also came as part of a pack in the box. The buttons are wooden so not really usable for clothing but great for craft items such as the pin cushion. When not in use the cushion can just hang off the mat or be stuffed into one of the pockets so it wont get lost. This is so close to a finish, it should be done by Friday which will make 2 finishes for January.

My job over the weekend was to unpick the heading on Richard's curtains and to replace with new. I did the unpicking whilst watching Vera on the video and just dumped them on the floor once done. They needed a good iron before I could attach the new header. 

Today is my day off so there will be sewing time later but in a few minutes we will be heading out on the next section of the Capital Ring.


Monday 8 January 2018

Getting a very early start on Christmas?

On Sunday I made a start on my new Christmas quilt. I keep a quilt in our main room as you never know when you may need to snuggle up in one and I had planned to make a Christmas quilt for use next year but I hadn't planned on starting so early in the year. My current Christmas quilt wasn't planned, in fact it came about because I won a jelly roll of Christmas fabric.

I had to buy a little yardage to complete the quilt but it was well worth it as I love this quilt. It's on my bed at the moment and looks so pretty. It's a shame Christmas is over for another year.

So I started the new quilt because I was given several Christmas fat quarters as a present. What better way to use them up and New Year does mean it's OK to start a new quilt. I started by making the half square triangles I would need. I need 72  HST's to make the blocks for this quilt and at the moment I have 71  so I need to make 1 more. I'll do that later in the week. Today I decided to cut all the pieces I need to make the blocks. It seemed to take ages but was well worth it. 

I can't wait to start stitching it all together. In between I took some time to stew some plums. When I bought the plums they were very firm so I left them to finish ripening in the kitchen. I cut them up and put them in a saucepan with a little water and sugar. The colours were amazing.

They not only looked good but tasted really good and made a great dessert with some thick cream.

Kate from Life in Pieces has restarted her 15 minute challenge. For this challenge you have to spend at least 15 minutes each day on some form of stitching. I decided to join in as it is surprising how much you can do in just 15 minutes and it will help get some of my projects finished. She is having a link party every Sunday where we can check in and share how we are getting on.  

Results for week 1 of 2018.
7 out of 7 days of 15 minutes. 

Great result! Activities I did to achieve this included hand stitching on Earlene, sewing on badges to my camp blanket, making half square triangles and some repair sewing. I am determined to do more sewing this year and hopefully complete some of my UFO's

I got the results of my mammogram today and it was good news. Had a full check up and everything is going well. I have an appointment booked for July when the surgeon will start the system rolling for my reconstruction. So far 2018 is feeling a lot better than last year thank goodness.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I'm in work so not a lot of time for sewing but I'll try and complete my 15 minutes a day.


Sunday 7 January 2018

A walk and Half square Triangles

On Saturday I went walking with John and Lucy. We walked the next part of the Capital Ring, from Hackney Wick to Woolwich. The day was cold with a wind that went straight through you but there was sunshine. We rejoined the walk on the bank of the Lee Navigation and opposite the entrance to the Hertford Union Canal. We watched a barge turn from the navigation into the canal. There was a lot of graffiti on the industrial buildings on the opposite bank.

Several of the building had some great murals on the walls.

As we parted company with the Navigation and joined the Greenway we passed by the Olympic Stadium, now the home of West Ham Football Club. The stadium had 80,000 seats for the games but has been downsized for the football stadium.

The Greenway is a level track of bonded gravel for walkers and cyclists that has been laid on top of the Northern Outfall Sewage Embankments. We were going to follow this route for the next three miles. Along this section of the Greenway we came across View Tube, a community venue built from shipping containers.

Although we hadn't been walking that long we stopped here for coffee and a Chocolate Brownie with cherries. The venue was fun, the coffee very good and the cake amazing. When we restarted we had to take a diversion around a construction site area but we were soon back on track.

Having rejoined the Greenway we had good views of Canary Wharf and the City of London, however it was a little foggy so I didn't bother with a photograph. We crossed the Meridian line which was marked by a sundial set in the ground. A little further a long we came across Abbey Mills Pumping Station. This building is so pretty. The building was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette and was part of the sewage system of London. It opened in 1868 and became known as The Temple of Sewage.

Behind this building there is a new pumping station that was opened in 1997. This orange and yellow painted metal object was once part of the pumping station's machinery but is now a piece of industrial sculpture. 

Further a long we disturbed these two cats playing together. It looked as if they were playing rock, paper, scissors but they stopped and got ready to run as we walked by.

The walk along the Greenway didn't offer any other places of interest to take pictures of, in fact it was a little boring. However we eventually turned away from the Greenway and headed out through Beckton District Park, where we stopped to eat our lunch. We sat by the lake for lunch but didn't stay long due to the cold. The path took us to the Dockland Campus of the University of East London. When the site was opened in 1999 it was the first new university campus opened in over 50 years

These buildings are the student residencies overlooking the Royal Albert Dock. The dock is over a mile long and was opened in 1880. It was closed to commercial shipping in 1982 and is now used for water sports facilities. On the opposite bank is the runway for London City Airport.

Walking  along the dockside promenade I took this photo of Lucy in front of the Sir Steve Redgrave bridge. Steve Redgrave won gold medals for rowing in 5 successive Olympic games 

Here we made a detour away from the river and we saw lots of these berries. The birds had been gorging on them just before we arrived but flew away as we came into view.

We eventually came back to the river and at this point the Thames is huge. The houses looked very small on the opposite bank.

We now followed the river and we also crossed two enormous locks that led into the docks. I didn't like this bit at all as the locks were very deep and I won't be repeating the experience any time soon. Having safely crossed the locks we continued our walk along the river promenade into Woolwich where we left the path to catch a train at the Dockland Light Railway station. By the time we reached home we had walked over 12 miles. 

Today I took down our tree. I had rather more help than I would have liked especially as Picasso's help consisted of playing with the decorations and then going to sleep in the box.

I can't be cross with Picasso for long as he is such a lovable cat. He also loves to play like a kitten even though he was 14 last year. I love it when the decorations go as the room suddenly increases in size. Picasso and Scamp spent a little time running round the place playing chase,enjoying the increase in space they had to play.

I spent some time today cutting squares to make Half square triangles. I haven't done any for a while and had forgotten how time consuming they can be. However I dovetailed them with preparing dinner and both jobs got done successfully. I have completed 71 HST's but I still need a load more. Hopefully I'll get the rest done tomorrow and then I'll just need to trim them.

I have also spent time today doing some hand stitching. First some repairs by sewing on some buttons that had come off, then adding a couple of badges to my blanket and finally a little more work on Earlene. She is almost finished, which is exciting but unfortunately I have quite a lot of work commitments this week so I won't have much stitching time. However I've joined in with the 15 minute challenge to try and make sure I do a little sewing every day. So far I've managed at least 15 minutes every day. This week I want to work on Earlene and also my millennium sampler which I really must finish this year.

I'm linking this post with Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching. Get better soon Kathy.

Take care and stay warm.


Thursday 4 January 2018

Cakes, patterns and one monthly goal

The last few days have been very windy and driving along the M4 to Reading on Tuesday and Wednesday was scary at times so it was a pleasure to be staying home this morning. First thing this morning I had my first follow up mammogram. Once home again I set about planning a new quilt since the new year is the perfect time to plan a new project. On January 1st Kathy of  Kathy's Quilts took part in a mystery quilt in a day  called scrappy friends run by Quilt Bug. I've never made a mystery quilt before as I've always worried about how it will look and whether I'd like it when I've made it. Anyway I saved the clues and when I saw the completed top I loved it. The only bit I didn't like was the size. I wanted it to be bigger but it's really easy to increase the size so this is my next quilt. I'm going to use my Christmas fat quarters, with white as the background and green as the focus colour for the quilt. I have all the fabric I need and can't wait to get started.

Interestingly Kathy wrote about making mystery quilts in her post today. She identifies that fabric choices are difficult since you don't know how the colours will fit together. Kathy also writes that she is happy to donate any quilts that she doesn't love. With that in mind I think I may join in with a mystery quilt this year.

This morning I stood on the scales to check how disastrous Christmas had been to the waist line. It wasn't too bad but I decided I need to be more careful of what I'm eating for a few days. So why did I decide to bake some cupcakes this afternoon? The main reason was I'd checked the use by date on some sprinkle cake decorations I have and they were about to go out of date. The only answer was to make some cakes.

Then add the sprinkles

My family have already obligingly eaten all the evidence of my baking and I haven't had to eat even one. Job done, I got to do some baking, use up the sprinkles and not eat any extra calories.

I'd been trying to decide on my goal for the month. I nearly decided to set myself the task of quilting the compass quilt but I decided I hadn't got that much time. Therefore I decided to make some more blocks for the Bear Paw quilt I started.

I still have a lot of these blocks to make so my goal for the month is to make 10 blocks. I'm not pushing doing more as I have commitments every weekend through January and I'm busy at work. I'll be more than happy if I manage to make more than 10 blocks. I'm linking this post with One monthly Goal over at Elm Street Quilts.

Opps I've just seen the time. I have work in the morning so must get to bed. See you again soon.


Monday 1 January 2018

A New Year walk

Wishing you a very Happy New Year, with good health and happiness throughout 2018.

Yesterday evening we enjoyed a new years eve dinner with a friend. It was a fun evening with lots of laughter. He was fascinated with Richard's 3D printer and Richard enjoyed explaining how it worked and showing him some of the items he's printed. Tony went home at 11 as he's an early to bed and early to rise person and didn't want to stay up till midnight.
We watched the fireworks on the TV at midnight and then went to bed.

Today we had arranged to go for a walk with Kathryn. John had been given a book of the hidden rivers of London and we planned to walk the route of Earl's Sluice. The sluice is an underground river, that flows in southeast London and was named after the Earl of Gloucestershire in the time of Henry 1st. 

The Earl's sluice rises in a duck pond in Ruskin Park, Denmark Hill. We travelled to Denmark Hill by train and as we came out of the station we found the William Booth Memorial Building opposite the station. William Booth was a Methodist minister who founded the Salvation Army.

That's a statue to William Booth outside the building. I couldn't fit all the building in the picture as I had a wall behind me and the tower on the building is 61 metres tall. The building is now used as a training college for the Salvation Army. From here we walked to the pond in Ruskin Park and then followed the route of the river past Kings College Hospital and on to Burgess Park.

Burgess Park was part of Sir Leslie Abercrombie's 1943 County of London plan for post war redevelopment. The park was created between 1950 and 1980's  over a bombed out area of London surrounding the basin of the Grand Surrey Canal. The park is named after the first female mayor of Camberwell, Jessie Burgess.

The are old lime kilns in the park.

The old public baths and public wash house building still stands in the park but has been re-purposed.

On the side of this building we found this,

Within the park the lake was host to Egyptian and Canada geese plus a variety of ducks and gulls.

Once through the park we passed the home of Millwall Football club

As we walked on we went under several bridges. This one played havoc with my perceptions. The newer bricks seems to be standing out and the older bricks seemed to be going upwards for ever. The roof of the bridge just didn't seem to be real.

We only saw the Earl's Sluice once on the walk but it was no pretty river with a towpath and ducks. The river has to come out of the ground to go over the railway line and it is carried in a 60 cm pipe on its own bridge. Once over the railway line it goes back underground.

We eventually reached the Thames at Greenland and South Docks. These docks are now a marina and used for water sports. By this time it was getting dark.

Several boats had Christmas lights and trees.

At the Thames the Earl's Sluice opens into the river. Looking across the Thames the full moon was huge and I loved the reflection.

Canary wharf was looking very pretty with all the lights. Looking across London there are lots of red lights on all the cranes.

It was a very good way to start the New Year. Tomorrow is back to work time and I shall be driving to Reading. No time for stitching tonight unfortunately but there will be tomorrow evening.