The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The allotment on google earth

Allotment news
I've recently taken on co-ordinating the local allotments. Uh oh. More on that sometime, but for now..
I was playing with google earth. I love it when I have something to research. Isn't it just completely amazing that it's possible to look at places from all over the world, and sometimes to even 'walk' down the streets. It possible for example, if you know where I live, to wander up and down the road past our house, look down the driveway, look into the field and the stable yard...and we live in the middle of nowhere. Someone bothered to drive down our little road and take hundreds of pictures of it and post them on the internet. WOW.
 So...anyway.....I was doing some research and found a picture of my little allotment, (which is miles from where I live by the way) several years ago of course. And there was a technological implication that I could put a link to that view on my webpage (read blog page), so I thought I'd give it a go..

try    THIS

it seems to work..
go and have a look around, it's so beautiful, even in the middle of winter when these pictures were taken.


My sewing stuff had been all tidied away since the 'big day', and I finally got it out again and had a sewing day a few days ago. I had a pile of stuff to patch including jeans, jeans pockets and vince's favourite shirt, which has definitely seen better days but he wanted it patched up for just a bit longer! Now back in the winter I made this skirt from a pattern I made up myself. It needs dying a sensible colour...

I then made another, longer one which I've worn a lot

They are technically very badly made (as mrs fairysteps pointed out to me ahem!), but they represented a huge leap in sewing confidence for me, and with this new found confidence I recently decided to alter a skirt I've had for ages.
 I was given this very lovely skirt by a friend years ago, but it had a gathered waistband which was very un-flattering. So I took it apart
cut some bits out and re-sewed it together and I just need to put a zip in it now. I'm really pleased with it.

While I was in the sewing mood I did a long overdue, tho' rather un-seasonal easy peasy job..

a cover for my hottie so I don't have to wrap it in a t shirt when it's too hot!
 And the other BIG project which I have been putting off for a while but need to get on with is this...
It's the awning for our caravan. the mesh flyscreen bits have all perished so I've bought some new flyscreen. I'm off to Buddhafield festival in two weeks to do lots of yoga, chill out and, most importantly, teach book workshops .. in this awning. Hmm, better stop doodling with my blog and get sewing..

Monday, 27 June 2011

A wonderful ordinary day

Look out..... photo overload today....

Today was just an ordinary day yet I felt so glad to be alive and so happy to be doing the things I do in this beautiful place. I planned to go to work in the morning as the forecast was for rain this afternoon, but it rained this morning so I baked and cooked..

A vat of soup with mixed beans and wild and cultivated greens

Trifle base with redcurrant jelly, raspberries and blackcurrants

Buns!, (and bread )
  Then off to work in the afternoon on my trusty bike. (I drive a lot of the time, but this job is only  about a mile away so I often cycle)

Me in a home-made summery top (it's uphill all the way there so I'm warm)

My trusty work boots

Cows watching me pass...I love cows
 The earth and the plants all smelt fantastic, still wet from the rain and warmed by the sun
The view from the office

The view IN the office

me sheltering in the barn from a brief shower of rain

The ride home

How idllic is all that? I'm such a lucky person, and to top it all I come home to a lovely man who I love more than I thought it was possible to love someone (ahhhh)

Sunday, 26 June 2011


The sun is shining and it's the weekend we lit the barbie, cooked a couple of mackerel from the freezer, played our guitars and toasted marshmallows. It made me laugh that I grow and make all this lovely wholesome food and then I find myself eating marshmallows! Ho hum, so I'm not perfect after all.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

crafty stuff and wool

I needed to buy a few pairs of cheap scissors for my upcoming workshops at Buddhafield festival, so I ambled round the craft section of the Range in Exeter...dangerous for someone like me who loves dabbling in crafty things. I nearly bought one of those punches that punches out pretty shapes, it went in the basket, but was hung back up again on the rack a few minutes later. It was £6 and I couldn't justify it! I did succumb to a pack of sticky backed foam shapes that were only £1.

I stuck some of them onto some scraps of wood from the firewood pile
dabbed some ink from a stamp pad on them and did a bit of printing.
What fab birthday cards or party invites these would make.

Further to an earlier image...... I unrolled this

and washed a bucketful of it.
My vague plan is to spin it and perhaps make a rug.
I acquired it when I spent a morning fleece rolling for a big commercial farmer a few months ago. I've no idea what it is.It was just one that 'looked nice' that I chose from the several hundred that we rolled that morning.

Allotment photos

Hooray, here it is, my allotment shed with roses round the door, well 'rose' anyway.

Unfortunately I've realised that this rose is FAR too vigorous for such a tiny shed and will completely swamp it in no time, so I shall have to replace it with a different one. Don't worry tho, it will be found a good home. By the way it was grown from a cutting. A lot of roses will grow very well from cuttings, especially the older, and often healthier varieties.
And now here are two of the beautiful poppies on my allotment. I save the seeds and use them in bread and cakes.

 And my tiny pond. You can just see the tips of my wellies to give you an idea of scale. I think this poor lilly is a bit crowded in here, perhaps I ought to treat it to a bigger pond sometime?
 And golden marjoram, possibly my favourite plant. Looks beautiful, tastes great, dries well, is super easy to grow, split and share, and is completely covered in bees and butterflies when it flowers
 and finally a quick harvest shot, (tiny bit over exposed, sorry), blackcurrants to be made into jelly for trifle base, lettuce and marigold petals for salad, spinach and sorrel just out of shot, that went into last nights risotto. And finally gooseberries probably destined for pie, crumble or jam. These are the sweetest gooseberries I've ever tasted. If left long enough they go completely red, and the birds love them then!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The process of blogging

lots of lovely fleeces (old meaning of the word) waiting to be processed.
Note that this image has nothing do do with the following text.........!
Something that fascinates me is 'process' of doing something. When I was simply reading other peoples blogs, before I had my own, I imagined them typing stuff in, adding pictures and there it was. All lovely and done.
Well, my reality is more complicated than that.
Firstly images... the easy bit...take a photo, snap, done... I then have to download them...fairly easy, plug in, drag drop. Oh yes and before that I have the filing dilemma, do they all go in 'pictures', or 'blog stuff', or 'flowers' or 'books'?
Next comes resizing. Apparently putting them onto a blog full size means the blog will be slow to load, we don't want that do we, so I dutifully resize them to a 'recommended size' as I've still not grasped  pixels/dpi's and MB's. I re-size them and decide where to file the shrunk versions as they can't go in the same file apparently... and I'm nowhere near my blog editor yet!
 SO, now I start typing... Now...being a bit of a mistruster of technological storage, having had one computer die and another get a virus I know how easy it is to lose everything. In both cases I was lucky and lost little, but it spooked me a bit. So I'm reluctant to pour my precious words onto a 'free' hosting service that could at any moment decide it's bored of all this and close down and it'd all be gone.
SO I type my first draft into notepad. I have to use the painfully slow two finger method. Oh how I wish I could type. I've watched people do it and it's like magic, words just pour out of the ends of their fingers and onto the screen and they can look at the screen and see them appearing. I was so scornful of my contemporaries at school who did typing while I learnt about science and languages and hedging and walling and wild flowers and rode my pony!
Once my words have been tap tapped out into notepad I cut and paste them into a draft on my blogger page and add aforementioned image(s). I've now got the hang of putting images where I want them but still have the what size to have each one dilemma. When that's all done I wonder if tomorrow I'll look at it and think it's all drivel, so I save it in drafts and re-read it later, just to be sure, and double check all the spelling and grammar. I then decide either that it's drivel and I delete most of it, or it's OK and I can go public with it. And I had dreamy visions of it all being so spontaneous.
Am I particularly anal about all this, and are other people much more spontaneous? Do I need to lighten up a bit?!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Why the owl and the pussy cat?

Well, it seemed like everyone else had strange titles for their blogs.......... 

So, was mainly inspired by the cake, mentioned in a very early blog, that a lovely friend made for us for our wedding 'do'.

I know you may have seen this, but it's very relevant here
And why did she make this cake?, (yes, I know a lot of you know all this, skip to next posting)
Time to own up to the BIG thing that's happening in our life while all the small stuff carries on.
The reason she chose this theme is that our plan for the last year and a half has been to buy a boat and sail off round the world...well...maybe just up and down the coast a bit to start with!
It has not happened yet.
The 'Grand plan' was
1) sell house 2) buy smaller house and boat 3) rent out house and sail off into the great blue yonder....ish
So we've done all the right things,
house on the market tick, RYA sailing courses theory and practical tick, read lots of books tick, looked at lots of boats tick,
 No one seems to want to buy our nice house in a very beautiful location.

view from our bedroom window, much like view from all windows
 So current life plan Plan B is
1) buy a smaller/older (cheaper) boat   2) sail as and when we can    OR 2b) rent out house and sail off into the great blue yonder, again.
Boat buying is a minefield. At the moment we are 'negotiating' over this one.

This is a Barbican 30 and is 30' long if that means anything to you.
 I like this boat. I've liked several of the boats we've looked at but this one has a nice name and it fit's my blog title because it's green, well bits of it are. As I've called my blog The Owl and the Pussy Cat, who as you know sailed away, I now feel we 'have' to buy a boat, preferably a green one!
Vince has other, MUCH more practical reasons for liking the boats he likes such as they will be safe in a blow, will sail well, not sink etc.

This boat saga has been going on for some time now, 18 months in fact. So if I don't write anymore about it it for a while it will be safe to assume that nothing much has changed and we didn't buy the nice green boat called 'Cloudberry'
There, I've got that off my chest now.

SO, other reasons I like The Owl and The Pussy Cat...

1) We have two cats that are sometimes in danger of becoming substitute children.
2) I was once called 'the cat that walks by herself', which I liked..
3)As a child I made up a logo of two circles and an upside down triangle that represented the face of an owl. Early this year I had owls and owl images recurring in my life over about a week. I thought it was a sign that I should resurrect the childhood logo to use in my creative work.
 4)We were given a jar of honey on our wedding day.
5) Vince plays the guitar.
6)Vince writes poetry (occasionally) and I write some stuff that's vaguely like poetry.
7)We eat quinces in the autumn picked from a tree just down the road.
8) We aren't too familiar with pigs, tho we have both reared them before...and I've put rings in their noses
9)Turkeys, hmm..I've done turkey plucking, and there was a couple at our wedding party who rear turkeys for Christmas...
are the links getting a little tenuous for you yet?
10)My wedding ring isn't from a piggy wigs nose, but it is second hand, and I got it today hooray, I can look officially married now!....

Sunday, 12 June 2011

sketch every day this week!

Look..this is the first week this year I've managed to do a sketch every day...

What do you mean did I cheat?... well only a tiny bit as I did two today, so I didn't cheat MUCH.
This week I had (predetermined several weeks ago) something specific do draw each day. I thought I was going to find it more difficult but in fact I think I found it easier. Will I keep it up all year, and if so how will I follow it next year? Any suggestions?

Today I've also been photographing more books, I'd forgotten how many I've got. They look so much nicer when I get them out again.

A month ago I was given this lovely little 'book', containing an equally lovely little poem by Roselle Angwin (find her blog here

It's just a folded piece of A4 paper really, but there's something about the way it's printed, laid out and neatly folded that makes it very special. The fact that I didn't make it helps. When I've just finished making a book all I can see are the faults. I've realised that when I've finished a piece of work, if I put it away for a while it looks so much better when I see it again. I've forgotten that, for example, the top right hand corner didn't stick down as neatly as I would have liked, or one of the endpapers isn't quite straight.

And that's how it was today, I took books out of boxes and thought 'ooh that's nice, gosh I made that', it was lovely.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

New boots and books

I have a new friend who lives almost next door in country terms, (it's probably a mile or two away). She makes the most amazing boots and bags that look so delicious I'm not sure if I'd want to wear them or eat them. A pair of boots something like these are definitely on my birthday list. I think November would be a very appropriate time to have new boots.

 I've been really inspired by her photos and have been taking more 'arty' pictures of my books with a view to selling them through etsy.

woven cloth cover, painted page edges

Go and look at my website for more scrummy photos of my books and her website for scrummy boots and bags.
Anyone got any ideas how much I should be charging for my books?!
p.s. she not only makes delicious leather stuff she also has a lovely singing voice.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

a sketch a day

This is a new 'improved photos' version of this post!
This year I decided to do make creative things really important in my life. This blog is one element, and another is that I've been attempting to do a sketch a day. I don't think I've managed seven in any one week, and some weeks I've done as few as two, tho two is my minimum so far. I'm very easy on myself and cheating is allowed. Sometimes a sketch fills more than one day, and at the end of each week I just fill any empty spaces with pattern or collage when I feel like it. Here are some images from some of the weeks. One of them was a 'collage' week.

Things to spot...General greenery/flowers/gardening boots. Strawberries from the allotment, vince asleep, a guitar and elderflower champagne bottles!

I'm sure my drawing skills are getting better. I 'spose they're bound to really.
Hopefully I've covered over most of the writing for the privacy of others .

Friday, 3 June 2011

Elderflower champagne and rabbits

Elderflowers are coming out...elderflower champagne time. Vince has been getting excited about it for about a month, so I'd better not disappoint him.
It's really just fizzy flavoured sugary water, but it tastes wonderful and it's a good substitute for wine. I'm experimenting with cutting down on the sugar content.
While I was bottling the second batch this morning someone came in and offered me a couple of freshly shot rabbits, I thought it made a pretty good 'rustic' image.

I've still got to get round to skinning and chopping them up..rabbit stew over the weekend!