Friday, 14 December 2018

Quilting update and a birthday

My goal for December is to quilt my scrappy quilt. In fact I need this before Christmas as it's a gift for someone.

I've put in a lot of hours so far and I'm about half done, possibly a little more. For now I've had to stop as I've run out of thread and I'm away for the weekend. I'm confident it will be completed before Christmas but it will go right down to the line. In the meantime I've put my knitting on hold as this takes priority.

This time of year is very busy for everyone, well everyone who celebrates Christmas. I'm visiting my younger brother Alex this weekend. I haven't seen him for two years. It's not that he lives thousands of miles away, it's just coordinating times was a problem since I spent last year having various treatments. Since I last saw him he's moved house and now lives in a marina on a canal barge. I'll post pictures next week. Since I last saw him he's had major surgery on his neck to stabilise his spine and stop it compressing his spinal cord. He had reached the point of having difficulties walking and his hands had gone numb so he couldn't play his guitars. The surgery went well and he has good hand movement and feeling but still uses crutches. I seem to remember that he told me his doctor said he needed to practice without them but that would be worrying around the water. Anyway it is going to be fabulous seeing him again

Alex is my younger brother by eleven years. I also have an older brother Ian and again we haven't seen each other for a few years. Every year we exchange birthday and Christmas cards and last week I received my birthday card. Ian had included a letter which was lovely and we are arranging to meet up in the new year. 

So last weekend I celebrated my 65th birthday. Normally my birthday celebrations last for one day but this year my family had other plans and I enjoyed a whole weekend of birthday fun. I was working on Friday but John had tickets for us to see Ralph McTell at the Queen Elizabeth hall at the South bank. We travelled by tube which meant I was able to drink. I always act as the nominated driver if we go out and one of us has to drive. If I'm driving I don't drink any alcohol. We decided to have a pizza at Pizza Express before the concert which was delicious and the gingerbread cheese cake with mascarpone was very tasty. 

I've loved Ralph McTell's music since I was a teenager so I've grown up with him. He has a fabulous voice, that has got better as he's got older and that really suits the folk music that he writes and sings. Here's a video from YouTube.

Saturday was my birthday and Kathryn came over for the day. She had some work to prepare as examples for her art students so Lucy and I helped. It was fun sitting together round the dining table working and drinking red wine. John cooked a fabulous meal and we had a great family time. Katy's partner Olly was working as was Richard but Lucy's boyfriend Dan came over and had bought me some fat quarters. The boy learns fast!

Sunday Lucy and Katy had booked for the three of us to go to the Cauldron, a magical cocktail bar where you have a magic class of mixing cocktails. When we arrived we got our cloaks and our wand. These are timed sessions and this is how the venue looked prior to the next customers entering.

The wooden box on the table was magical. It had runes on the door and you had to work out how to open it. This is where the wand came into its own

Once the door was open you got your first drink and the slate which explained the letters.

There was a menu to choose from and then the ingredients were bought to the table in a box. We had to do the mixing.

For this one you had to heat the various liquids, a mixture of alcohol and fruit in the hourglass. As the liquid heated it was pushed up into the top of the hourglass where the spices and orange peel infused it. Our burner ran out of gas so we had to use our wand to magic up our server to help us.

Once fully mixed and an 'owl pellet' added it was time to pour our cocktail. It was warm, tasty and very alcoholic.

For our next cocktail we needed to use the box so that we could mix the ingredients. You put the jar on the box and used your wand. Hey presto it spun the liquid round. You have to love electromagnets.

This one was the blood curse or something like that. I can't remember exactly as I was having too much fun with the mixing. This one kept on bubbling whilst you drank it

Our final cocktail was an amazing green and I loved it. 

We all really enjoyed ourselves. There was no nibbles available in the venue so when we left we risked life and limb crossing a major and very busy road to visit the shop opposite so we could buy crisps. We bought some creamy mushroom flavoured crisps which we had never had before. They were delicious. What a great outing, grown up cocktails whilst pretending to be young witches practising our spells. When we got home John had prepared dinner and it was almost cooked. I had a fabulous birthday weekend and didn't have to do any grocery shopping or cooking all weekend.

Now I'm working on the run up to Christmas. I still have a couple of presents to get and I need to do some shopping. I've started on my pre Christmas cleaning and will continue that after the weekend. This evening I'm going to sort out what I need for the weekend and then I'll do some knitting. We decided to drive up to Alex's in the morning and we plan on getting up at 6 so I want to go to be a little earlier than usual.

I hope you Christmas preparations are going well.



  1. Oh, what a fun birthday, all the way around. Thanks for sharing - I felt that I was right there with you. Oh, and I listened to the video and really enjoy Ralph McTell's music!

  2. Happy Birthday! What a fun place to go to, mixing up all those cocktails fuzzing and whizzing, making spells and incantations, just like a witches coven

  3. A very Happy Birthday to you....what an exciting weekend you had. It looks like a ton of fun!!!!!

  4. Oh my gosh, what a fun birthday. Wonderful seeing your brother after so much time. Happy birthday!