Autumn carpet

We have had some welcome warm sunshine over the last few days and the garden is still looking good. We have been harvesting fresh figs, and even have few sweet peas flowering! A particular joy this month has been the carpet of cyclamen under the trees. I love their pointed petals and curly stems.  

 I have used a background of silk fibres to make a cyclamen stitched piece for September in my Weavers Flower Journal. It was a bit experimental, and the atmosphere is darker than the garden has been the last few days.  But I like the rather impressionistic qualities.

Rich rubbish

A lovely sunny Saturday morning, and we enjoyed a wander round a car boot sale at Kingston Lacy House. There was so much stuff, cleared from other people’s cupboards, attics and garages. For a few pounds I picked up some bits, including a collection of lustrous vintage threads, twisted decorative cords, and a child’s exotic jacket. The fabric is worn in places but it will cut up nicely to be used in an upcoming workshop on Indian style embroidery.

Later in the day we had a delivery of vintage rubbish of a different kind. A trailer load of black treasure, well rotted and matured cow manure. It will be well used to make deep beds in the poly tunnel, and spread on our vegetable patch.

1-IMG_3367A satisfying day of re-cycling!

No show, no flow

We have to move off our allotment by the end of the month – developers move on in the spring. It is a sad process dismantling fruit cages, shifting water butts and transplanting where we can. And harder still when we don’t yet know when we will have access to the new plots which have been promised. We’re left waiting…

In the meantime husband Steve has decided to rebuild the dismantled poly tunnel in a disused patch of our garden. A bit shaded but it will provide shelter for over wintering. Has it gone smoothly? No! Despite having the original instructions there has been much discussion and scratching of heads trying to work out how it fits together. Bolts screwed and unscrewed, pieces flipped and turned. But it is taking shape.

Now another wait, for the covering plastic, supposed to be delivered yesterday, but despite our waiting in all day it did not appear. No show, no flow, we can’t “get on”.

 I too have had several bitty days of floundering rather than flowing. Waiting for replies to emails, for posted items which haven’t arrived, trying to access an online course I am starting soon, hunting for documents to complete my tax return, unable to find pieces of carefully stored fabric to complete a sewing project – you know the feeling?  The irritating feelings of bits and pieces, jumbled and disconnected, all needing sorting and restoring to purpose. But can’t be done yet, because I’m waiting…

No planting for next year until we’re allocated our new plot.

No winter covering on the poly tunnel till the plastic arrives.

No researching until the postman delivers my ordered book.

No starting, no finishing. No movement, no progress. That’s how it seems.

But there is still one thing I can do in the meantime – write about it! Perhaps it is all part of the process after all…

August flowers

I sometimes expect August to be hot and sunny just because it is school summer holidays. But the reality is often a bit different! We have had some very grey, wet days here recently and the evenings are already getting noticeably darker earlier.  However we having been picking peaches to ripen on the windowsill, and the sweet juicy blackberries on the brambles on the allotment are being enjoyed by wasps. The colours in the garden seem to be ripening into reds and golds with crocosmia, dahlia, and pots of pelargoniums.


Although they are a bit past their best now, I decided to chose the pelargoniums (sometimes called geraniums) for my August flower. I love their multiple florets and intense colour, and the beautifully patterned leaves are a bonus. I cut motifs from a Kaffe Fassett fabric, appliquéd and embroidered them to create this journal piece


Picking the beans

1-IMG_3265This is the time of year when we are constantly picking and freezing produce from the garden. It is my husband who sows the seeds and tends the growing plants, and I am grateful for his green fingers and hard work. Today we have been picking beans – French, runners and dwarf beans.

This week has also seen a “harvest” from seeds of a different kind. Sometimes writing posts for this blog and my other family history blog “Among the Branches” feels like sowing seeds. I cast them out into the air not knowing quite where they will land, and whether there will be any return. Often they land on receptive ground and I get comments from my readers. At other times the only reaction is stony silence.

But a few days ago I was excited to receive comments on two blog posts from July and November last year. One from a distant relative on my father’s side of the family, and another from a distant relative on my mother’s side. Both connected to me through great, great, great, great grandparents – one set from Ireland, the other set from Cornwall. I am intrigued that pictures and information I posted so many months ago, about ancestors from 200 years ago,  should generate responses now, in the same week. Coincidence? Or something more? I don’t know…







For me it is an illustration of the power of the written word, shared with others by blog or other means. We never know who our stories might reach, and where they will resonate. I am grateful to so many whose books, blogs, stories and poems have inspired and encouraged me. It may not even be within our lifetime, but words can produce a longer lasting harvest than beans.

Keep sowing the seeds, keep writing, and who knows what bean stalks might grow…

Sweet pea profusion

A gentle stroll around the garden and I return with a full bunch of frilly scented sweet peas. They have been flowering for over a month now, and the more you pick the more you get. Yesterday’s heavy rain seems to have given them  fresh impetus, and I have two vases full on the window sill, wafting their scent towards me as I write this.

Sweet peas are definitely flower of the month, and here is my Weavers Flower Journal stitched piece for July. I think my  embroidered attempt is far too sparse – the reality is so much more abundant ( and fragrant!)


Threads from the past

On another day during our recent visit to the North West we braved a very narrow road onto a remote fell north of Sedbergh. There, un-signposted, watched over by a couple of old yew trees and some ancient gravestones, was a blue plaque set onto a rock. This is known as George Fox’s pulpit, where the founder of Quakerism preached outdoors in 1652 to many “seekers” drawn from the area.

I have already  described and written about previous generations of my family in Ireland who were part of the Quaker movement, so it was fascinating to discover that some of my Westmoreland ancestors, the Rouths, were also early followers of George Fox’s ideas.  I will write more on my Family History Blog “Among the Branches” in due course!

Back in Kendal we then visited the Quaker Tapestry Museum, which brought together my interest in Quaker history and my love of stitch. Copyright rules mean I won’t reproduce the images here in full, but they can be viewed on the website. Do have a look! They are a wonderful tribute to the power of the needle in creative hands, to record the past and inspire future generations.


Here are photos of some bookmarks I bought showing some small parts of the tapestry panels. The feet are those of George Fox, preaching on Firbank Fell.  The one about co-operation is a reference to Quaker activities in the Peace movement worldwide, and comes from an Aesop’s fable. I used to have a version of this on my wall when I was a teenager. The other bookmark is a reference to prominent prison reformer and Quaker, Elizabeth Fry, who organised the provision of a bag of sewing items and fabrics to every woman in convict ships bound for Australia.