Monday 27 November 2023

The end of November already!

I really don't know how it got so late in the month and I've only written one post.  I have been meaning to, but time got away from me as it often does. Anyway let me tell you about our visit on the way home from our weekend away and what's been happening since.

We like to visit somewhere on the way home but our choice was a bit limited because a couple of places where closed in order to prepare for Christmas. In the end we visited Anglesey Abbey. We visited a while back in the run up to Christmas and we caught their Christmas light show in grounds. This year we were a bit earlier but the house was also closed for Christmas preparations. Not a problem as we had already been round the house. The last time we were there they had their annual gingerbread house on display. 

Here is a photo of the house itself. Some chimneys missing but not a bad likeness.

Although the house was closed we didn't  mind as the sun was shining and we spent the time strolling round the gardens. There was fungi on several old tree trunks that had come down in a storm.

Miniature cyclamen were peeping through the fallen leaves.

Some fun light arrays. I bet they look good when lit up

Flying bird sculptures amongst the trees

Metallic leaf and birds amongst the autumn leaves

A carved beaver and a metal crane enjoying themselves by the water. I love the reflection.

There were a lot of red berries and people were discussing if a lot of berries means a hard winter. Is it an old wives tale or a fact?  I'll let you know in the spring

The house has a second hand book shop and John and I spent some time examining the books. I saw a couple I have been meaning to read but I'll get them on my tablet as it is so much lighter than a fat book. What I did discover was a pattern book for needlework  miniatures. That book came home with me. 

As a result I am currently knitting a miniature blanket for the dolls house. The sad news is that I can't knit and watch TV as I drop the stitches. The knitting is done using crewel embroidery wool.

On Friday I went fabric shopping with Katy for some curtain material she wanted. We then spent time on Saturday making the curtains. They aren't quite finished so that is my job for this evening and then we can take them over to her on Wednesday. These will do much better at keeping any draughts out, than her current curtains. They are a riotous pattern but such fun. 

I haven't finished the quilting on the hexi quilt but I will work on that on Friday and hopefully have it all finished before Christmas. My Christmas shopping is nearly done, just grandson to sort out. I've got my meat, fruit and vegetables ordered to be delivered on the 23rd December and I've booked an online grocery shop for the week before. I'll just need to remember to amend it nearer the time to make sure we have everything we need. I'm a bit worried I've peaked too early and things will all go wrong but I'll worry about that if it happens. I always love Christmas but this year I seem to be getting excited a bit too early. 

Take Care


Tuesday 14 November 2023

A weekend away in Cambridgeshire

The start of November has been very busy with work, family and trying to complete some decorating around the house prior to the Christmas break. There has been some sewing going on but mostly hand stitching on the grandmother's garden hexi quilt. This last weekend John and I had a very welcome and relaxing weekend away. The perfect way to rejuvenate. 

We had rented a small historic cottage in Cambridgeshire situated next to Stretham Old Engine.

Stretham Old Engine is the last complete survivor of more than a hundred similar engines that worked the drainage network all over Cambridgeshire. Their role was to lift the flood waters from the fields via the ditches and dykes so draining it into the rivers. This meant that the farmers in the area could grow fresh food needed by the country. Steam was used to lift the waters and the boilers were similar to those on the Titanic. Now days the engine still runs but it is driven by electricity. The engine has a fascinating history and you can find out more about it HERE

We stayed in Stokers Cottage, next door to the engine house. The cottage was the home of the man (stoker) who kept the boiler provided with coal when needed. The cottage was small and only one storey high. It was neat and dwarfed by the engine house next door. 

Inside it was very comfortable and had a neat kitchen with an electric cooker, fridge and microwave. The old range was still in situ but not working.

The main room was living room and dining room in one. We didn't light the fire as the heating was sufficient. We had an unplugged weekend as there was no television and no Wi-Fi. We did still have mobile data on our phones. We talked to each other and read in the evening.

Here is the opposite side of the room. The front door opened into this room but we only used the back door as it was nearer our parking space. The room was bright during the day and cosy at night.

The bedroom was warm and the bed was very comfortable. I had three of the best nights sleep I've had in the last couple of months.

The fourth room was the bathroom and this was always warm and there was always hot water. 

We travelled on Friday and visited Welney Wetland Centre in the afternoon. There had been a lot of rain last week so only one hide was open as there was flooding. There were a lot of ducks and swans but no wading birds at all as the water was too deep. Our visit wasn't wasted as we saw all three types of egrets that we have in the UK, the Great White Egret, Little Egret and Cattle Egrets.

On Saturday we visited Wicken Fen and did a walk around the area. In this area the land is criss crossed with channels and ditches filled with water. These were quite full and the ground was soft and muddy as a result of all the rain we have had recently. Wicken Fen and the surrounding area is owned by the National Trust and we enjoyed coffee and a pastry before we set out on our walk. I visited the shop and bought a new beanie hat as my head was rather cold. We didn't go round the nature reserve at this point as we wanted to visit Wicken Mill. This is a working windmill and we were given a guided tour of it. At the end I bought some wheat and rye flour for bread making. I'll be making bread tomorrow.

On Sunday we revisited Wicken Fen to visit the nature reserve and we spent some time bird watching. We then drove a little way down the road to Kingfisher Bridge nature reserve and had a walk round to see what was there. We also got coffee and cakes. The cakes were fabulous! We kept our day relaxed and went back to the cottage to enjoy a quiet evening. We really enjoyed having our weekend away and having the cottage just for the two of us. 

Tomorrow I'll show you the photos from our visit on the way home. 

Take care