Spring

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I am so glad spring is here…the light has returned.

 

 

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As well as trying to bring a breath of spring air into our home, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting lately. Another sweater finished, and a new one on the go straight away…really enjoying the pleasure of simple stitching.

Sunday

 

White

 

Copperberry

January 2017

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January. It’s all about planning…

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……….getting into new habits (keeping a journal)

Thinkning about new hobbies and skills to learn – doing more sewing and embroidery for me this year…

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But not forgetting the old faithful stand-bys that get me through the days – knitting, crochet, and lots of tea!

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Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016

I am so excited to be sharing a blog post about this with you, because this event is becoming a real highlight of my year. Some of you, may have heard of the above annual event which takes place at the Ashton Court Estate on the outskirts of Bristol. Up until a few years ago, I’d never heard of this event although I can’t think how I had missed it for so many years!

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For those of you who don’t know, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is an event held in August every year, spanning a weekend where hot air ballon-ists from around the world gather to launch mass ascents. What is a ‘mass ascent’, you may ask? At 6am and 6pm on scheduled Fiesta days, the balloonists gather together in the Fiesta launch area, inflate their balloons and head for the skies! This can mean over 100 balloons taking off together during the same hour. The mass ascents are combined with a fun-fair, various entertainments (I believe some baby-racing took place, though S and I being childless don’t go in for that sort of thing for obvious reasons) and stalls selling food and drinks throughout the weekend.

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I absolutely love this event. S and I went last year too, and vowed to return as often as we could to marvel at the spectical of these beautiful balloons in flight. We’ve just returned from this year’s event, so of course I had to share some photos with you.

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This year’s event was a little tense – there were problems with the evening mass ascents on several days- the balloons were unable to go up because of the weather conditions – high wind speeds and too much cloud cover prevented them.

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Sunday was the final day of the event and our last chance to see an evening ascent. We crossed our fingers and headed over to the site in good time arriving not long after 5pm to choose our patch of grass. The balloon pilots gather for a pre-flight briefing before each planned ascent – this is where a final decision on whether to go up is made, dependent on weather conditions. The crowd on this occassion was certaintly waiting with bated breath! Once the decision is made, the crowd are notified using a smoke signal – yup, a smoke signal! A pipe near the launching area gives off red smoke for no ascent, yellow or orange for partial and green for a clear mass ascent.

Well, we were in luck – the signal was green, the balloons could go! One balloon is sent up first to do a final test of conditions. Provided everything is satisfactory up above, a klaxon sounds and the mass ascent begins!

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I can’t really describe how amazing it is to see all the balloons take off, but as you can see, I did take a lot of pictures! It’s also quite fun to see the tethered balloons inflating on the ground, but really nothing beats seeing them glide up over the horizon, silent and serene except for the occassional blasts from the burners.

All I can say is, if you can, go – you will love it!

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Slowing down…

doliy1I really feel like I need to slow down a little. I’ve been feeling so tired. I went for a run this morning and it was absolutely exhausting – much more so than usual.

Keeping up with life is just too much sometimes – work, Ph.D, family, everything that needs sorting out with the house. We live in a Victorian property, and while it’s largely in good nick, since we moved in there have still been a few things to organise and think about – re-tiling in the bathroom, re-pointing outside, trees that are out of hand and really should be cut down.

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My eyes have been feeling really strained and tired too, which adds to the tiredness – I think it’s too much staring at the computer screen. That’ll be a trip to the opticians for me then…

When I got home form work yesterday night, I felt so exhausted I just lay on the sofa for 15 minutes until S got home. It felt so strange, I realised¬†I never just sit and do nothing. I can’t remember the last time I did. Even when I’m sitting down on the sofa I’m normally making something. Maybe I should try and work in a little ‘nothing’ time each day. Does anyone else do this? How do you fit it in?

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What I really want is to be lying on some grass somewhere, in the sunshine watching the clouds go by overhead. Maybe I’ll get to do that at the weekend…here’s hoping.

Devon

I’m just back from a week away with S in Devon. It was a good holiday. There were boat trips, meals out, cream teas, lots of photographs.

We visited some lovely places around Torbay, including Brixham, Dartmouth, Torre Abbey, Berry Head and Greenway, Agatha Christie’s holiday home.

I love being by the sea. I think I’ve always felt drawn to it, and seen myself living on the coast somewhere, one day. Since I’ve started taking photography more seriously as a hobby, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of trying to capture the way the sun sparkles on the sea, and the colour changes between sky and ocean.

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We had some wonderful views of the sea, as you can see above. We had a beautiful walk one day up to Berry Head at the most southerly end of Torbay, near Brixham. This walk up to the headland takes in a disused quarry, now a home to beautiful wildflowers, and some fascinating remains of WW2 Royal Observer Core outposts.

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I’m a big Agatha Christie fan, having read nearly all the Poirot novels, so it was great to visit Greenway on one of our days.

Greenway has the most beautiful setting, sited up the river Dart with views down over the river, and grounds including a Camelia Garden (sadly not in bloom when we were there). The boat house (left above) was the setting for parts of several of Christie’s novels, including Dead Man’s Folly.

Torre Abbey in Torquay also has some beautiful gardens, which I highly recommend. There were enormous fragrant lavender borders, which just smelt and looked divine. Also a Dahlia bed with various different coloured flowers – the pink Dahlia’s were my favourite.

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Sadly it’s back to reality now that we’re back home. Ah well, if we didn’t have real life we wouldn’t enjoy the holidays so much I guess!

Faffing and daydreaming

I seem to be doing a lot of procrastinating lately…otherwise known as sorting, tidying clearing out…basically faffing around, doing anything other than something that is actually useful – such as housework or working on my Ph.D. I put this procrastinating down to the fact that it’s summer – autumn always feels much more like the time to knuckle down to some serious work, what with the whole back to school vibe.

Whatever the reason, I am forced to admit that this is not ideal behaviour for me at the moment, especially where my Ph.D. is concerned, as I decided to set a target for a finishing date with my supervisors last month! Oh well, I still have another 2 years to go – plenty of time right? So anyway, faffing…basically involving sorting through my clothes and jewellery, trying to get better organised. I seem to have a bit of a thing for grey and metallics at the moment…

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…I’ve been day dreaming about having more time to read too (I mean non-Ph.D. reading!). I love books and have always been a bookworm, but these days I don’t get much time, just the 20 minutes or so I spend on the train on my daily commute – and sometimes another 20 minutes or so squeezed into my lunch break. Hopefully some more time can be spent over the summer though (holiday reading – yay!).

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I’m also planning some updates and hopefully improvements to my little blog here in the coming weeks…so watch this space!

 

 

Staying afloat

It feels like that’s what I’ve been trying to do in May. In my last post I did a little stock take of all my UFOs, and felt a bit pants for not having achieve much in May. I think I’ve just been trying to keep on top of other things more in the last few weeks (mainly housework and cleaning), and as a result something had to give.

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With both of us working and me also doing a Ph.D. in my spare time (hah, spare time!) to be honest S and I struggle to stay on top of the things that need doing around the house and garden. We’re both naturally fairly tidy, clean people so there isn’t a huge amount of mess around, but nevertheless, once a week someone has to find time to clean the bathroom, vacuum, wash etc. – and of course that someone is me.

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Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a tirade against S, or a complaint about the fact that in many homes most of the chores still fall to women. I actually¬†like doing cleaning and making the house nice. Possibly this is simply because I never have much time to do it – I suspect if I had all day, five days a week to clean, the bloom would soon be off the rose so to speak. I do like cleaning, I like things to be tidy, but at the end of a day/week at work and studying, I just don’t have the time or energy. S, bless him would do more if I asked him I know, but his job is pretty demanding too, so I don’t like to ask.

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My sudden surge in attempting to get on top of chores was brought on by our having a discussion about whether we should get a cleaner. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against people having cleaners and fully understand why those who can do. But in the end, we decided it wasn’t something we felt comfortable spending the money on when we could just make a little more effort ourselves. This of course resulting in the guilt button in my brain being pushed, catapulting me into housework mode for a week or so. So craftiness has suffered a little as a result. And now I still feel guilty because it’s a new week, and there are a new set of chores to do and once again, I don’t have the energy. Ah well, sometimes you can’t win!

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What I have been doing to cheer myself up is knitting! Yes, this is really going to contribute to the completion of household tasks (yeah, right!). But at least I’ll have something to show for myself at the end of it.

I’ve started knitting Cornwallis from the Rowan Summerlite DK book, and it’s so addictive. I love the colour blocking and stripes combo. It’s knitting up really fast too. If I like the finished garment enough I might tackle this again with another colourway or two!