Summer of learning
Well, that’s it. Both my daughters are back at school now and the summer is almost over. The air has got that autumny smell about it, and I’ve noticed when I’ve been out with the dog that the leaves are looking just a little less green.
It’s been a good summer for us. Aside from a lovely holiday in Cyprus (I won’t bore you with the photos but may not be able to resist sneaking one or two in!), the girls and I have been busy either learning new skills or brushing up on old ones. Here’s what we’ve learnt over the summer:
Summer of sewing – big daughter LOVES clothes. She’s got a fantastic sense of style and what suits her and looks good in most things, even hats. I’m both envious because I don’t have that same style and very proud because it’s something about her that’s just her own. (It also comes in very useful if I’m going somewhere out of the ordinary because I have my own style guru to advise on my wardrobe!) Unfortunately, big daughter’s pocket money budget doesn’t stretch to buying as many clothes as she’d like (think teenagers and revolving wardrobes and you’ll know exactly what I mean!) so we dusted off the sewing machine and set to work. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any dressmaking, but inspired by Little Blue Mouse and Bunny Mummy who introduced me to Coletterie and Tilly and the Buttons, it’s felt like the right time to give it another go. Big daughter decided she’d like a couple of skirts, so we downloaded a pattern from here and our dressmaking adventure began!
Big daughter took to it like a duck to water. She zoomed with the sewing machine, wielded the iron with aplomb and this is the result:
She’s very pleased with it, and rightly so! Then, fired up by our success, we set about making a maxi skirt without a pattern! Remember that we are, in effect, total beginners, so we had a few nerve-wracking moments when we set about the material with the scissors, but here’s skirt number two:
Then, not to be left out in the New Clothes Spree, I made myself a Sorbetto top of which I’m inordinately proud (even though I think I might have made it too big). For a first go in *mumbles* years, it’s not bad at all, even if I say so myself.
Summer of embroidery – small daughter didn’t want to be left out so she found a sewing kit that she’d been given for her birthday and much to my delight, stuck at it until she’d finished this lovely heart. She was very pleased with it. It’s her first sewing project and I’m hoping it won’t be her last. I’m never without something to do when I’m sitting down in the evening, usually knitting or crocheting, and I like using my relaxing time to create something lovely; I’m hoping that as she gets older she’ll be just the same.
Summer of studying – my Open University dissertation is almost done, thank goodness! I worked my socks off to get it ready to send to my tutor for proofing just as the girls finished school for the summer so I’ve had a good break and now I’m ready to do the final amendments before my deadline date in September.
It came as something of a surprise to me to find that my dissertation has been an archaeology-based one. That sounds a bit odd, but as I’m doing a Classical Studies degree, I expected to be looking at old texts and pictures as I have been doing in my degree work so far. When I came to choose the subject for my dissertation, it just happened that the texts I needed to look at were excavation reports and the pictures were of pottery and other finds, so I’ve had to learn an awful lot about archaeology in a very short space of time! What I have found, though, is that it’s fascinating. It’s not Time Team or Indiana Jones, but it’s a window into other lives and I love that. So of course, on holiday in Cyprus, I wasn’t going to miss out on the archaeological ruins on our doorstep. Luckily for me, my family are happy to wander around ancient sites with me as long as it’s not too hot, we don’t take too long and there’s the promise of a swim or food at the end of it!
I love the way that many archaeological sites abroad look as if the people who lived there have only just left. Some might say that they’re not being protected enough, but you can see at the top of the picture that a shelter has been built to preserve a hypocaust system for heating the baths, and other parts have been renovated, such as the door frame on the left, so that you can see what it would have been like, so it’s not as if they’ve just been left to the mercy of the elements. This is at the Sanctuary of Apollo at Kourion.
Summer of sunshine – just a few photos from our holidays – I couldn’t resist!
I love this one – the translation is very literal and you know that really it means that dogs can’t swim on this beach, but it made me laugh to think of the locals making the water foamy with dog shampoo as they lined up to pamper their pooches!
We were lucky enough to meet up with some friends who come from Cyprus and they took us to the turtle beach where the nests are. You’re allowed to go on the beach in the day time as long as you avoid the nests – the beach was littered with these cages and signs – but not at night when adult turtles may be around. There was a tank with some baby turtles to see which will be released later this month; both loggerhead and green turtles come to this beach and both types were swimming in the tank, although you probably can’t tell which is which from this photo!
Finally, we were staying very close to Aphrodite’s Rock, where it’s said that the goddess was born and walked from the sea. We’d driven past it many times but I wanted to get a closer look. Aphrodite’s Rock is the big rock on the right, but I liked the one on the left two, and some of the other rock formations in the sea close by reminded my of dragons or sea monsters … it really is a magical place and it’s easy to let your imagination run wild on a island full of Greek myths. People come here to bathe, believing that the magic of the goddess is still in the water. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I wasn’t going to leave without at least getting my feet wet …