The weather is calmer …

But today, when I’m talking to you, the world is in turmoil.  My love and thoughts are with everyone who is affected by this, and I think that probably most of us are in one way or another.  If you or your loved ones are in Ukraine, I hope you are safe, and for the rest of us, I hope that our combined wishes for peace will bring the right solution very soon.

snowdrops in a woodland setting

It almost doesn’t seem right for me to chirp on in my usual way, but writing my blog posts and chatting to you is always a very positive thing for me to do and I think the world needs all the positive energy it can get right now.

I’ve got a few things to tell you about this week, and the first is about RHS Bridgewater.  You might remember that I visited this garden a few times last year and some of the conversations in the comments about the post were about how the garden site used to be a Scout camp called Middlewood.

A vintage photo of a group of Scouts crowded around an Army truck.

Source: RHS Bridgewater

I got an email recently from RHS Bridgewater to tell me about forthcoming events and one of them is an exhibition about the Scout camp – it’s called Middlewood: 73 years of Scouting and I thought I would mention it here in case it appealed to anyone!

I was a Venture Scout (as Explorer Scouts were called then) for quite a few years but didn’t go to Middlewood (it probably felt a bit close to home and my unit liked to go further afield! 🙂 ), although I’d be interested to see the exhibition.  It’s on at RHS Bridgewater from 18 February until 20 May and you can find out more details here.

 

I’ve also been contacted by a councillor from Chester Council to ask if I know of anybody who might be interested in taking up one of the stalls in the new market that has been developed there.

I don’t know of anybody myself, but I said that I would mention it on the blog here in case you know of anybody – feel free to pass the details on if you do!

This is the information that I’ve been asked to pass on to you:

“We are now seeking tenants for the remaining vacant units in the market. Haberdashery or vintage clothing traders would certainly be of interest, and I recommend any potential trader interested in applying has a look at our website, in particular the trade page: https://newchester.market/trade/

The most direct way to follow-up for any interested traders would be to contact our letting agents Barker Proudlove, via Jessica Swain: [email protected] and discuss further.

More information on the current line-up of traders confirmed or under offer announced this week is via the news page:
https://newchester.market/first-traders-opening-in-chesters-new-market-announced/

 

Market stalls can be a fantastic way to get started if you’ve always wanted a shop of your own and this may be just the start you (or someone you know) needs!

 

I’ve not been doing much knitting this week – I’ve been faffing about with video nonsense as YouTube have emailed me to tell me that I’ve not uploaded any videos for a long time and I need to get my finger out.  Oh dear!  Videos take me such a long time to make and I really do prefer to be on the other side of the camera, but after stepping right out of my comfort zone last year to go to the Yarn Lane TV studio, I decided that I could probably be brave enough to make a new video.

Ha!  There is no such thing as “a quick video” for me!

A stool with orange books and balls of yarn arranged on it underneath a bright video light

I spent a few days procrastinating and another few days working out what I was going to do and setting everything up in my video editor.  Then I thought I’d better get on with it and got the lighting out (I bought some proper lights for my photographs last year, it makes a real difference when the light is bad!), mended the plug on the one that wasn’t working, procrastinated a bit more and two days later, I was still faffing and that was just over the bits with me in the picture!  Eventually, there will be a new video up on YouTube (not as “eventually” as I might like as YouTube have given me a deadline of next week) and I’ll be able to get back to my knitting! 🙂

There has been a little bit of knitting this week – not socks but blanket squares.  Years ago, I decided to start a sock yarn leftovers blanket and made quite a lot of squares in the Vivid pattern by Tin Can Knits, but then decided that wasn’t really what I wanted my blanket to look like.  Then I had a go mitred square blanket squares but they weren’t really floating my boat either – I think it was something to do with joining the squares as I was going along and a worry that I might decide later on that I really didn’t like a coloured square where it was but there would be nothing I could do about it.  So, here I am again, with yet another version of a blanket square, and these are squares that I can sew together later so it will be more effort, but I like the idea of being able to arrange them before I join them.

Two knitted blanket squares and four double pointed needles on a white background

It’s a pattern of my own creation and once I know that I’ve got it right and it works in the way I want it to, I’ll be able to show you but at the moment, it’s entirely likely I’ll change my mind again so I’ll just show you the edges! 🙂

Finally, for this week, something really lovely has happened in our family.

We’ve got kittens!

This was the photo on the website, and we absolutely couldn’t resist them.

A tabby and a tortie kitten in a cat bed

I know, it seems very sudden doesn’t it after last week when I said that we were thinking about it and it did all happen very quickly – we saw the kittens on the local Cats Protection website, applied for them not thinking we would get them, had our video interview on Saturday and picked them up on Sunday!

They have settled in so well, you’d think they had always lived here!

A tabby and a tortie kitten bumping noses in front of a window with a view to a garden

We’re keeping them away from the dog at the moment.  We’re lucky that we’ve got the space to be able to keep them in separate rooms, but once the kittens or the dog have moved into a different room, we’re letting the others in there so that they can have a good sniff around.  We’re hoping that eventually, they will all smell normal to each other and we’ll be able to introduce them a bit more.  So far, the dog is fine with the kittens if you hold onto them and they don’t move, but he’s not sure about these little furry things that ping about like fleas when they’re on top bouncy form so we’re not risking letting the kittens go in his presence just yet!  It will take time, but it will be fine, I’m sure.

I’m not quite sure what he would make of this, though – he doesn’t really like sharing his cosy bed next to the Aga!

A tabby and a tortie kitten lying on a dog bed in front of a blue Aga cooker

They eventually have names – we were told the kitty on the left was a boy which was fine as we had a name for him (which was very definitely a boy’s name) – but then he turned out to be SHE and whilst we’d name the tiddler on the right, our poor tabby was The Kitten with Many Names as we couldn’t agree what she should be called.  Anyway, we now have Astrid the tabby and Hattie the tortie (or perhaps more correctly, the calico cat, although she’s certainly full of Tortitude!) and we are delighted that they have come to live with us.

 

And there we have it for this week.  I’m going to love you and leave you because the sun is shining and I might just get outside into the garden for a short while – goodness knows, the garden needs to see me!  I hope you are able to have the best weekend possible, and I’ll see you next week xx

 

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62 Responses

  1. Fiona Kennedy says:

    Aw kittens.
    How adorable they look.With all the terrible news they will keep you positive busy and focused.looking forward to your video

  2. Lindsay says:

    A timely distraction Christine for me from the horrors of Ukraine, such a hideous situation and so little we can do.
    What an adorable pair of kittens! I am nota cat lover but those two are so sweet.
    I’m getting nowhere fast with knitting at the moment, jumping from one thing to another with the attention span of a gnat.
    Roll on warmer weather, I need some warmth!

    • winwickmum says:

      Sometimes, we just have periods when we can’t settle to anything and the current world situation won’t help. There are moments when the sun shines so perhaps the warmth is not as far away as it seems! 🙂 xx

  3. Geeha says:

    You’re so right that we need to have some positive normality in our lives at the moment. My late father-in-law was 9 when Hitler’s tanks invaded his homeland, Poland, and his father was killed in the forest at Katyn. I’m so glad that he’s no longer here to relive times he never talked about. Happier memories brought by your kittens. 55 years ago as young teenagers my sister and I were given kittens, one tabby and one tortoiseshell and white. The naming of pets and children has always been tricky for me. It says something about us that I looked in the small ads for ponies in the local paper and chose Minnikins for the tabby while she named hers Monique after her French penfriend….

    • winwickmum says:

      I bet those names were just perfect (purrfect!) for your kittens and I was always told that “kins” on the end of name meant that it was especially loved. My late father-in-law was a young man in the Second World War (he went over on D-Day) and I never met him, but my husband said that he would never talk about his experiences either: his view was that those who had seen what happened didn’t want to relive it. I can’t begin to imagine what damage was done to those young people that was never understood, and I hope that this current turmoil ends soon so that the same thing doesn’t happen there xx

    • Sandy Gilmore says:

      Geeha, Your post caught my eye because you mentioned the forest at Katyn. In the 1980s, my uncle, Joseph Lee Gilmore, wrote a book about this Katyn Forest massacre during WWII. It’s called “Night Never Ending.” Uncle Joe met a former Polish officer who had escaped the massacre, and fled to the US. The officer told Uncle Joe the story. The book is out of print, but might be at a local library or used bookstore. Just thought your family might be interested in reading it.

  4. Ruth says:

    Your kittens are lovely, what a marvellous distraction.
    I always love your posts, they are so positive x thank you Christine x

  5. Mary Wilson says:

    Hi Christine. Thank you for you lovely email as always so well written and enjoyable.
    It is a welcome read, as I am sure a lot of your readers will find some comfort away from the distressing situation in Ukraine. Even though I have no family or friends in Ukraine I am praying for Peace to all of Ukraine.
    Yes I managed to do a little bit of gardening yesterday, just cleaning all the loose leaves up. Lots of buds on my Forsythia tree. Sign of new beginnings. Thank you Christine and enjoy your gardening. 😊💐 xx

    • winwickmum says:

      I haven’t even been to look at my Forsythia yet and now I’m excited to think that there might be buds! It’s always a hopeful feeling when you see the new life coming in the garden, isn’t it? xx

  6. Lucy says:

    Thank you Christine for the much needed temp break from the lunacy.
    The kittens are gorgeous, sure it won’t be long before your a united family.
    I get my brother and sister Maine Coon x Russian Blue kittens on Tuesday
    and a Ragdoll x Siamese boys, 8 days later (breed rescue).
    My 17 month old GSD Assistance dog watches them on video, but like you
    I’ll let them absorb each others smells but keep separated for now.
    Good luck :-))

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh wow, you’re going to have your hands full with all of those kittens too – and there’s going to be a lot of fur brushing in your future too, I think! They will be beautiful and I hope they bring you a lot of joy. Good luck with the integration with your dog! xx

  7. Maggie says:

    Oh, how gorgeous are your kittens 😻 I absolutely adore calico cats and they certainly have attitude! You’re not going to have time to think with those two tearing around x

    • winwickmum says:

      They’re already quite a handful now they’ve found their feet and settled in properly, so I think that means we’re definitely going to be on our toes too! 🙂 xx

  8. Marysdevon says:

    I’m so glad these little furry beings have found their way into your life. It’s so hard when you lose a moggy, but you do have to tell yourself that at the right time there will be another one (or more!) out there looking for you – and so it has proved to be. Looking forward to the next set of photos …..

  9. CJ says:

    Oh kittens, how brilliant, and they’re absolutely adorable. I don’t think Bertie would be keen on sharing his warm bed either though! CJ xx

    • winwickmum says:

      No, I can’t see bed sharing but you never know! At the moment, they’re not even sharing the same room so anything beyond that seems like a long way off! 🙂 xx

  10. Ruth Howard says:

    Hello again – Christine – love the kittens 🐱 🐈‍⬛- that will help to fill the ‘kitty hole’ you have been left with – really interested in your knitted squares – something I am always thinking I will get around to doing eventually! – doesn’t photographing and filming take for ever to set up – you are forever fidgeting with your set up.
    I have just received- (yesterday)- a sock blocker hand made by a clever lady – Vicky in Ukraine via Etsy – my daughter bought me one and I have bought a matching one – made to dry socks on to shape – feel so sorry for her trying to run her business amidst war conditions & a young son – the World has become a small space and we are linked in lots of ways!! – makes you feel closer to them all.
    Good for you to keep everyone positive – enjoyed your post again as always – happy U-tubing for next week
    I have pulled something in my back this week so a good excuse to sit and knit – the Black jumper is progressing !!
    Love Ruth x

    • winwickmum says:

      My sock blockers come from Vicky in Ukraine as well; I am hoping she is OK. I am so impressed that you are sticking with the black jumper, that’s going to be a real labour of love! 🙂 xx

  11. Suzanne says:

    Your post is so very soul soothing during this time of turmoil…thank you. While knitting I find myself praying for the Ukraine and for world peace. Your new kittens are darling! I have no doubt you are a stellar kitty mommy and those babies will have a wonderful life. Lastly, thank you for the easy mosaic sock pattern. I am just about finished knitting the pair and am sharing the pattern with my knitting group. I look forward to your next post.

    • winwickmum says:

      I definitely aspire to be a stellar kitty mommy! 🙂 I hope you have enjoyed knitting the Easy Mosaic Socks – thank you very much for sharing the pattern! xx

  12. Anne says:

    The kittens made me smile they seem happy to be together. We have had cats in our lives for years and they always soothe the stresses of the day away with a purr and butt of their head as if to say everything will be okay. I have knit several pairs of socks but have yet to start the mosaic ones, been busy knitting blankets in patchwork colours from my stash, connecting the squares as I go along. The mix of colours are always interesting! Good luck with the video.

    • winwickmum says:

      Yes, there’s something about a cat’s purr, isn’t there? I think there’s definitely magic in it – and more so because apparently nobody quite knows where the purr comes from! I hope your blankets are coming along well! 🙂 xx

  13. Pamela says:

    Congratulations on the new family members. Miss Hattie has exactly the same facial markings as my Callie. She’s been with me for 20 years now and she and her brother Frankie (a Siamese mix) were my sole companions during the COVID lockdown. Couldn’t have asked for better company. I wanted a “thoughtless” knitting project for right now so am working on a cat bed. Hoping they won’t turn up their finicky noses when it is finished!
    Praying for peace and comfort for all.

    • winwickmum says:

      I am sure your cats are going to love their cat bed – anything warm and snuggly seems to go down well with the cats we’ve had and I’m sure these new kittens are going to be the same. I am glad that you had company during lockdown; those days will have seemed endless so having someone else to talk to will surely have stopped you thinking you were going insane! xx

  14. Susan Rayner says:

    I have serious kitten envy! They are beautiful and will keep you all amused for months to come until they turn into more sedate cats! I hope they get on with the sockwool they will find around the house and the needles better than our last one did!
    We need all the joy we can find in these horrible times – kittens and spring coming are a great way to start!
    Take care and thank you for a truly lovely post!

  15. Karen says:

    The world news is awful coming from Ukraine I hate to think how bad it could possibly get – people need to remember from their history lessons where this could go – I pray for the people in Europe.
    I do love your kitties and your knitting although I am not much of a knitter I do love your projects and blog

    • winwickmum says:

      It really is bad, isn’t it – although at least the immediate reaction hasn’t been for the rest of Europe to wade in with weapons. We have to hope that some lessons have been learnt xx

  16. Pamela says:

    Congratulations on the new family members. Miss Hattie has exactly the same facial markings as my Callie. She’s been with me for 10 years now and she and her brother Frankie (a Siamese mix) were my sole companions during the COVID lockdown. Couldn’t have asked for better company. I wanted a “thoughtless” knitting project for right now so am working on a cat bed. Hoping they won’t turn up their finicky noses when it is finished!
    Praying for peace and comfort for all.

  17. Ruth Howard says:

    Hello again – what a co-incidence – us both choosing Vicky In Ukraine although I know you have told us about it before and it was my daughter who found her and gifted me my first blocker!! – I was able to thank her and send a short!! Message to let her know she is being thought about – and she acknowledged it with 3 x e-moges which was nice to know – love R x

    • winwickmum says:

      Vicky’s blockers are lovely, so I’m not surprised your daughter chose her to buy them from! I’m glad you heard from her – she’s posting regularly on Instagram and seems to be OK at the moment xx

  18. Sandy Gilmore says:

    Christine, I love your blog posts! Always well-written and uplifting! Thank you for writing them. The new kittens are adorable, and will give you many hours of entertainment.

    • winwickmum says:

      Thank you! Yes, the kittens are certainly keeping us amused as they become more confident … although they’re also becoming more of a handful day by day too! 🙂 xx

  19. Alison Fletcher says:

    Lovely that to you got your kittens from cat protection – there are so many cats and kittens that need homes.

    Interested in the scout camp exhibition – like you I was a venture scout. In fact I still have my uniform I don’t have the heart to get rid of it not that I could fit in it. So many good memories and friends from scouting

    • winwickmum says:

      I might still have my necker somewhere, and my Wood Badge (which I was very proud of), but I’m not sure about the rest of it! You’re right, so many good memories and good friends too 🙂 xx

  20. Helen says:

    In this time of “unrest/sadness” in our world … your kittens are the perfect distraction and so fun to think about, see their pics. sending love to you and yours.

  21. Joanna van der Sluys says:

    Kitten how lovely.
    Your blog cheered me a little in this worrying time. Thank you x

  22. Barbara says:

    I live on one of the beautiful Gulf Islands off the east coast of Vancouver Island and are so thankful of what we have and the peaceful place it is to live. My heart goes out to the people of the Ukraine who are suffering. If the money spent on war was spent on doing good for everyone in it what a great place the world would be. It seems that there is always money for conflict. I do enjoy your blogs Christine and knit socks all the time using the magic loop method. The family came from the UK in 1980 so have lived in Canada a long time. I love the English expressions such as ‘faffing about’ !!! May peace soon come to the Ukraine and everywhere else for that matter.

    • winwickmum says:

      That does sound like a beautiful place to live and very far from the troubles around the world. “Faffing about” sums lots of things up perfectly, I think! 🙂 xx

  23. Hazel Taylor says:

    Love your new ‘babies’
    They look adorable.

  24. Chris Berry says:

    What a lovely post Christine! I’m a strong believer in positive energy, and I’ve certainly witnessed it working, so let’s hope that we can do something positive to help all the people affected by this horror. I’m not very good at standing by as an observer, so keeping them in my thoughts, I’m hoping, will help.
    The kittens are gorgeous! They certainly look settled – it really doesn’t take them long to get their paws ‘under the table’, or by the Aga! I lost my lovely boy at the beginning of December, so I certainly feel for you. My neighbour’s ‘tubby tabby’ calls by, several times a day, just to check up on me! I don’t feed him, as he’s on a special diet, but he’s always welcome, bless him! I’ve never actively looked for a puss, they’ve always found us, so when the time is right I’m sure that someone else will decide that I’m their human! I too am knitting socks, coincidentally for the TT’s ‘Mum’. She and her husband are such dear friends, and I wanted to make something special for her, so she’s getting ‘bespoke’ socks, in the brightest yarn that I could find!
    Thank you for your lovely picture of the snowdrops too – a sign that Spring, and new beginnings are on the way!

    • winwickmum says:

      I’m sorry to hear that you had to say goodbye to your cat as well. They leave such a big hole, don’t they? I am sure you are right, though, and you’ll have feline company again when the time is right – although tubby tabby may have something to say about that! I hope you’re getting on well with your socks 🙂 xx

  25. Kathy says:

    Lovely kittens, I got my kitten Betty beginning of December and she is a joy. She has given my older cat Daisy a new lease of life. I can just about knit/crochet with her around now, but it’s down to timing as yarn is so so much fun !

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh how lovely! Our kittens have discovered that chewing on needle cables is much more fun than yarn … I am going to have to learn not to leave them about! 🙂 xx

  26. Andrea Magill says:

    The kittens are beautiful and a lovely distraction. Looking forward to your video. I was also looking for a scrappy blanket and have settled on the Cartesian Blanket which is DK. Like you I was going to join the squares as I went along but was not sure they would be in the right place; so I am going for individual squares and joining at the end. Take care x

  27. Kathy Augustine says:

    Snow drops and kittens, how lovely! My heart to every one in Ukraine. I love seeing how the world is standing up for what is right!

  28. Amanda Eccles says:

    we always had two cats. The older called “cat” and the younger “other one” when Cat died Other one became Cat and we got “another one” It certainly confused the vet but the cats didn’t mind as they never came when you called anyway.

  29. Lenore says:

    The kittens look so sweet. What a perfect spot to lounge about in front of the Aga. Can I join in to please? 😁😁 Xx❤️🌺

  30. Karen Climpson says:

    Hi Christine. I have an interest in the history of Middlewood. My dad was Akela to our local cub scout group for many years. Worsley is only a couple of miles down the road, and he regularly arranged activity days for the children. Many spent therir first night away from home under canvas at Middlewood- close enough to call home if they were truly homesick!! I used to go down to help out- fond memories of dad teaching them to collect tinder and wood for the camp fire, then helping them to light the fire and cook sausages in and old frying pan over the flames. Just hearing you mention Middlewood brings back so many memories of my dad who sadly is no longer with us. Lots of happy, smiley fun memories.
    I’m going to make the effort to to go down to RHS to have a look at the exhibition.
    I hope the kittens are settled, and not causing too much havoc for the dog 🐶

    • winwickmum says:

      That sounds brilliant! Wouldn’t it be great if your Dad was on some of the photos in the exhibition? It would be worth going just to see! 🙂 xx

  31. Melinda Gallagher says:

    I loved reading this – cheered me up for a few moments. Just a quick note to say thank you and congratulations on your new kittens!

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