Friday, 24 September 2021

Five on Friday Roundup


Thanks for visiting.

It's been a busy week when it should have been a relaxing one!  We had hoped to have another short break while the weather is settled but have had to delay it for a while as, finally after many months of waiting, Mr CK has heard from the hospital and will be off for some routine surgery next week.  He's looking forward to it!  With Covid still around, he's had to have a phone interview, followed by a trip to the hospital for blood tests and an ECG, 3 days later back for a covid test and then back again in another 2 days, if he's passed, the procedure.  Fingers crossed all goes well.

In the meantime, here's my five for this week.

1.  Around the shops

Lidl's had a lovely display of cacti in a basket outside the shop

It was good to see a few new shops arriving in Bracknell after some of the large chain stores closed, not open yet but on their way!  Of course I couldn't resist a coffee and chocolate brownie at Fenwicks, it's just too close to the library to miss!

2. Farm Produce 

There's so much to choose from, even strawberries which by now have usually been fully picked.  I love the sweetcorn, so fresh and sweet, they definately have the right name.  I couldn't resist a sprout 'walking stick' this time.

3. Home Grown Potatoes

The last 2 compost bags of our home grown potatoes have been emptied, weighing 660 g and 1,120 g. Yum!

4.  Having to go to a different but linked library as ours is still closed, has opened up the possibility of a few alternative choices and I've taken the opportunity of reading a few of Louise Penny's older books.  Although they are stand alone books that you can just launch into at any stage and enjoy them, I like the characters, so it's  nice to fill in the gaps.  I'm looking forward to the latest arriving at the library. 

5.  The garden still has some colour to enjoy.

Have a great weekend.

Take care.


Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Autumnal Vibes


Thanks for popping in.

Autumnal shades are definitely taking over in the garden these days but the odd bright day has at least started ripening the few tomatoes we have managed to grow this year after such a disastrous start.  No doubt there will only be a couple of pesto toasts this year.

Out and about locally, there's still plenty to enjoy.

A few weeks ago I showed you a plant climbing up a lamp post, right up to the very top. You can imagine my delight when walking past just the other day, to see hops cascading down!  Aren't they just the most beautiful things!  I wonder how it got there as I haven't seen any others around that area.  They used to be all through the hedgerows when I was a little girl.

A runner sprints out of sight in the late afternoon sunshine.

The sky has been full of great displays, from a map of the UK  (or is it a poodle?) . . .

. . . to fascinating patterns.

Even the man in the moon shone through.

It won't be long until the leaves change colour, always a great time of year.


Monday, 20 September 2021

Woolly News


Thanks for calling in.

With the hot sun brightly shining this Saturday, I had time to photograph my two latest blankets on the lawn!  The colours look so cheerful.  I've shown you the top one before but the one below is hot off the needles!  

Having been given a great big bag of wool, it's been fun to let the colours do the talking and arrange themselves into these geometric shapes.  I've knitted long strips this time, which have been joined together and then given a jazzy border using up the different coloured scraps of yarn.  Both blankets have a grey crocheted border to round them off.

There are still several balls of wool left in the bag, probably enough to make a smaller blanket.

In other woolly news, the squares I sent off to Dumfries House have now joined thousands of others from all over the world to be turned into a display draped over Adam Bridge on the estate.  They will be turned into smaller blankets eventually but the project was devised by Prince Charles to highlight the beneficial mental health aspects of knitting, sustainability of natural yarns and the possibility of turning a craft based hobby into a viable job opportunity. 

If you'd like to read more about it and the Royal visit to see them, here's a link.


Friday, 10 September 2021

Five for Friday in September


Thanks for calling in.

To finish off yet another week, my five are a snapshot of September life, in the garden and walking in the wilds of the Thames Valley!  We've had a variety of weather, from boiling hot 30°, very grey, to cold and even drizzly but plenty of opportunity has been taken to trim back the foliage that has encroached on the garden paths, shred everything for the compost heap and just generally have a good tidy up.

Walks have been a necessity whatever the weather.  There's always something to see, some places have loads of wildflowers others look a bit overgrown and ready for a cut.

Trips to the Farm have got better and better with all the tip top quality vegetables and fruit ripening.  The huge bags of potatoes for keeping are ready now, we love the Desiree variety they grow.  I can never find them in supermarkets any more if I run out, their varieties just don't produce good roast potatoes.

Talking of potatoes, one compost bag of our home grown ones has been opened up to reveal 690 g from one farm potato.  They are a little bit scabby but tasted delicious.  Two more bags still need to be opened up.

I really loved this photo someone has shared on Facebook,  what a great idea! Artist Jean Luc Cornec's website.

Rather than mention the books I've been reading, I've recorded them on my Book List page above.  I've been very much  enjoying reading a story over the internet to my grandaughter.  It's been great fun searching the library for something suitable and easy to use with a webcam.  I'm having to travel to neighbouring villages at the moment to get to a library as ours is closed due to . . . . rats trying to get in. Eeek!

What I haven't shown you is a photo of a delicious slice of Millionaire Shortbread, which are now back in the café after a short Summer break but I'm sure you'll be able to imagine one!

Have a great weekend


Thursday, 9 September 2021

Holst Birthplace Museum


Thanks for visiting.

We did enjoy visiting the Holst Birthplace Museum in Cheltenham.   It's about to be rebranded as the Holst Victorian House but either way, it is where Composer Gustav Holst, famous for his Planet Suite, was born in 1874 and lived until his Mother died when he was 7.  It's a little gem being the only Victorian house in Cheltenham open to the public.

Gustav Holst in Cheltenham's Imperial Gardens 

In Holst's day, the house was in 4 Pittville Terrace part of the Pittville Estate, the name of the road  has changed to Clarence Road these days.  He lived there with his parents and younger brother Emil, who later in life changed his name to Earnest Cossart and became a Hollywood Actor, specialising in Butler roles.  Both their Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather were Musicians, Composers and Tutors, the family originated from Riga, Latvia, when it was part of Russia, and they used the name von Holst, mainly to impress people. Also living at the house would have been a maid and possibly a nurse maid too.

Gustav Holst suffered from poor health - asthma, poor eyesight and his neuritis made his arm weak making it difficult to play the piano.  However, he was immersed in music from an early age, his Father getting him to play the trombone with the hope that the breathing techniques would help his asthma. He was always short of money, taking on several jobs to supplement his composing.  Nonetheless, he led an interesting life, loved rambling, travelled abroad, went to the Royal College of Music, became lifelong friends with Ralph Vaughan Williams, taught himself Sanskrit, taught music at the prestigious St Paul's Girls School in Hammersmith where he composed The Planets, married Emily Isobel Harrison and had a daughter Imogen, who was also a Composer.  A quick look at his life is given here at Classic FM.  He was a modest, shy man that didn't welcome the trappings of fame.


Inside the house, the Music Room is the only room containing objects owned by the family, including the beautiful piano Holst used for his compositions, which would originally have been located at his house in Thaxted.  He bought it second hand in 1913 for £12 a couple of years before he composed The Planets, so no doubt it was used to work out a few themes.  The piano had a light touch, not playing too loudly, which he liked at home whereas his main piano at St Paul's was in a soundproof room.

There's another room for temporary exhibitions and then downstairs are the kitchen, scullery and maid's sitting room.  There's so much to see in these rooms, including the sugar cones and nippers plus the homemade colourful square rug.

Outside is the yard complete with privy.  Steps lead to the back lane where traders and the night soil man would visit.

The scullery back inside the house is full of things gone by including the dolly tub and mangle.

Up to the first floor are the family rooms.  A Victorian bedroom, where Gustav may well have been born.

The Sitting Room is set out in late Regency style.

There's also a tiny bedroom for the maid.

When Holst was a student, he met William Morris, Arts and Crafts pioneer and Socialist.  Holst was also a Socialist and became conductor of the Hammersmith Socialist Choir, where he met his wife.  Some rooms in the house have been decorated with William Morris wallpaper to reflect this connection.  

When living in Thaxted, he organised several musical events with controversial figure The 'Red Vicar' Conrad Noel.  They also organised many events involving folk traditions and Morris Dancing.

Apart from The Planets, Holst has left behind a vast collection of compositions including one we all sing at Christmas  - In the Bleak Midwinter - known as Cranham, words by Christina Rosetti.

One of the rooms displays video footage about Holst with contributions from his daughter which was fascinating, she had such a turn of phrase and a twinkle in her eye.  There's a clip of it on YouTube. 

There was so much of interest in this small Museum, I hope the rebranding doesn't spoil future visits.

With that, we'll say goodbye to the Cotswolds, I hope you've enjoyed the ride!