Sunday, 29 July 2012

Awards and prizes

Just a quick blog between events at the Olympics!

This weekend has been a winning one! It was the local Flower Show again, so as a dutiful committee member, I entered various categories and coerced those around me to do the same...My Dad takes it very seriously, and enters the Domestic Science with gusto! He's been practising and perfecting for weeks now, but his hard works paid off. He got first prize for his shortbread, apricot fudge, cheese scones, individual quiche and cheese straws! Not bad Dad!

The triumphant shortbread!
Mum hadn't planned on entering, but I entered a jumper she'd made in the craft section, and lo and behold, she won first prize, much to her amazement!

Mum's 'The Killing' inspired jumper
I entered some broad beans which came second and got a first prize for my hot water bottle cover. Sadly my other items didn't win, but I can't say I'm suprised having seen the other entries!

Unfortunately, the show was quite poorly attended this year, and entries in the flower and vegetable classes were down due to the dreadful weather we've been experiencing. Fingers crossed for a better show next year.

Today, Amy, Chris and I went along to a local event run by the Lions Club, a real ale festival. We weren't there to drink though, Amy was there as one of the representatives of her gym club as they were presented with a £350 cheque by the Lions club. Lots of other local groups received cheques too, which was lovely.

WAG receiving their cheque

I have to say the Olympics is amazing. We've managed to watch quite a bit so far, and are really enjoying it. The opening ceremony was fantastic, especially the lighting of the cauldron and Her Majesty the Queen entering into the spirit of it with her Bond film! The GB men's and women's gymnastic teams have performed brilliantly too, so it's looking good for the finals. We have tickets for the tennis at Wimbledon on Tuesday and are really excited about that. Fingers crossed it doesn't rain all day though, as we're on Court 1 which hasn't got a roof...

Finally, Mum finished her most 1st Woolsack cushion and I finished my 4th, and we're both onto the next ones now!

Mum's cushion on the left, mine on the right
That's it for now, will blog about our Olympic experience later in the week!
Go Team GB!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Summer has arrived!

Just last week, Amy's school sports day was cancelled due to yet more rain and things were looking bleak for the six week school holiday. Fast forward a few days and we had a beautiful weekendof sunshine, and (whispering) it's still looking good!!

We took Amy to Westonbirt Arboretum along with 5 of her friends and some other parents on Friday evening, so they could see their favourite group, 'The Wanted' in concert. I hadn't been looking forward to it as they aren't my cup of tea really, but they were better than I thought, and the girls were in seventh heaven! It really took me back to my Duran Duran days in the 1980's!!

I spent Saturday wandering around Taunton for 7 hours on my own while Amy went on a course to be a helper at her gym club which was great. Luckily I took my knitting and found a bench in a little park, so sat and knitted for several hours when I was bored with shopping. I did find myself a lovely 'knitted' owl too!

Woolsack cushion No 4

'knitted' owl
In the evening we were all invited along to the Norty Corner, as Mr & Mrs N were having a 22nd wedding anniversary BBQ! It was a lovely evening after a long day!

Yesterday, Chris managed to finish laying the patio that we optomistically though we'd get done in the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, it just needs grouting, then I'll be photographing it! I managed to tackle the bindweed in the front garden to stop it strangling the flowers- they've had it tough enough already this year! The garden looks so much better after just a few days of sunshine. I might even get some beans, cucumbers and tomatoes if it keeps up! It was also nice to see the return of butterflies and bees, it's been such a wet summer for them so far, they've been struggling.

A busy bee on my lavender
Today was another beautiful day, and I had some quality (if expensive) time with Amy as we both had our hair done then we popped into town a bought her new school blazer for September. Town was packed as there was an air display on. We didn't see  the whole thing as it was on throughout the day, but we did watch from the seafront when the Red Arrows came. I don't know why it is, but I really do love the Red Arrows. They didn't disappoint either doing another great display!

The Red Arrows - I love them!

So, finally as promised last time, my exciting news of the week was that I managed to give Woolsack Cushion No3 to local paralympic athlete,the sprinter, Ben Rushgrove, in person! He was invited along to our WI group to talk to us about his preparation for London 2012. When I found this out last month, I asked if I could give him my cushion. Woolsack gave me the green light, so last Tuesday I did just that! I did apologise that the colours weren't very masculine, but when I made it, I had no idea it would be going to him! He was absolutely great, he gave us a fantastic talk. He was the first paralympic athlete to achieve a time of under 25 seconds in the 200m.  He also won a silver medal in the 100m at the Games in Beijing in 2008 and brought along the medal, and others for us to see. It sounds corny, but listening to him was inspirational, hearing about his training, injuries and the fact that when he races in London this year, all of his training could come down to being just 1/100th of a second faster then the guy behind him to win a medal!  He certainly ended up with a few more fans by the end of the night and we'll be cheering him on when he competes in the 100m and 200m in September.
Ben with his silver medal from Beijing

Ben and me (I really don't do photos...)

Quite an action packed week all in all! This week looks to be much quieter, just moving offices at work tomorrow and Wednesday then helping out with the local Flower Show on Friday and Saturday. Fingers crossed for my entries...unbeknown to my Mum, I'm entering her into it too, with a beautiful fair isle jumper she made for Amy!

I've almost finished Woolsack cushion No4 (thanks to Saturday!) and Mum has nearly finished her first cushion and fortunately my the first half of my new yarn, donated by Woolsack, arrived this morning ready for the next two...should keep us out of trouble!!

Have a great week all!

Monday, 16 July 2012

News round-up

Well, it has to be said this is one of the strangest summers ever. Rain. Rain. doesn't seem like it will ever stop. Needless to say, the garden is struggling with an excess of water- it seems as if the plants are just about holding on although some have 'drowned' and rotted off. The plants in my mini greenhouse are more fortunate, but not doing so well because there's no warmth- I'm having leave the door shut all the time to keep the little warmth in. There are a few tiny green tomatoes now and the cucumber plants are flowering, but it's not going to be a bumper year. Almost half  of my broad bean plants have rotted away to nothing, although I was able to pick my first pod this week:
My first broad bean pod- it was delicious!
The runner beans and french beans are hanging in there and growing slowly, as are the potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli and onions. Strangley though, my raspberries are doing well, and I have harvested almost a freezer bag full so far. Is this why they grow them in Scotland?!

The patio is getting nearer to completion, and is currently under a large black tarpaulin to protect yesterday's addition from the torrential rain we have again today. To say that Chris will be glad when it's finished is the understatement of the year!

Onto more positive news...Amy competed in a her club's gym competition this weekend, did a great routine of floor elements, beam, vault and springboard and won a silver medal. Her friends also competed in different categories and got a gold and bronze:

L-R: bronze, gold and silver!
Knitting wise, it's been perfect weather, after all when it's cold and wet, what better way to spend your evening is there? I've finished cushion No3 for Woolsack now (

Cushion no3 'Fibonacci stripes' knitted in Rowan Scottish Tweed
I'm hoping to be able to present it to an athlete tomorrow...I'll have a separate post for that if it happens. I'm following Woolsack on twitter too, and it's fantastic to see the messages that are coming in from the athletes as they receive their cushions. If you want to follow to it's: @WoolsackUK . I'm now onto cushion No4 and have even roped my Mum in to make one too. I started mine on Saturday and have done half of one side so far in a mix of donated British wool that I got from Nicky Butler at Woolsack. I've also made a hot water bottle cover as an entry for the upcoming flower show that I enter. I'm really pleased with it, I learnt a new stitch (a 'cobnut' stitch) and I loved the yarn, a Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, which was gorgeous to knit with.

Hot water bottle cover knitted in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
I went to Suzie's knit club at The Wool Sanctuary on Saturday, which was lovely as usual. I have finally taken the plunge and committed to go on a knit club holiday on Novemeber with her and my fellow nkit club members. We're staying at Kirstie Allsop's house in Devon, and I'll be there for a long weekend. It sounds fab and I'm very excited!

Finally, I wanted to show you the lovely birthday present I had from my friend Mrs Norton from over at the Norty Corner. She gave the gift in a cardboard box with strict instructions to be careful when opening it, as it was very delicate:

A tin can with holes in it!
It's only when you put a tea light inside that you can see it in all it's glory!

Isn't it fab? If you can't tune your eyes in to see the picture, it's of Edward and Bella from Twilight (did I ever mention before that I really love the Twilight series??!). Thank-you Mrs N!!

Well that's about it for now, but I'll hopefully have another Woolsack update later in the week if it all goes to plan. Have a good week despite the weather!!