And it’s August!

Hello, hello, how are you doing?

Phew, July seemed to pass in a blur in our house so it’s a bit of a relief to have reached August in one piece! 🙂  I thought I’d write a quick catch-up post today and then I’m back on track to chat to you about what’s going on as it (more or less) happens.

It’s incredible how fast the time has been passing.  In the fields, the crops have turned golden …

A field of golden sun-ripened barley. The wind has created "waves" in the barley

and blue!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came over hill and saw this sight in front of me!

A field of blue flowers that stretch as far as the eye can see

Such a beautiful sight!

Blue flowers that stretch right across the field into the distance

It’s called blue flax (Linum perenne) and the flowers will be left to go to see and then harvest to make linseed or flaxseed.  I’ve never seen anything like it, it completely took my breath away!

A close up of a small blue flower

In other news, I can’t quite remember where we were up to so I’ll give you a quick recap (sorry, no option to fast forward here like you can on the TV 🙂 ) so that I can try to make sure I’ve told you everything!

Not so small daughter finished her GCSE exams, officially left school and had one of the best nights of her life at her prom with her friends.  The school really pushed the boat out for them at an event a local hotel and the whole year looked stunning in their beautiful dresses and smart suits.

We’ve been to Paris (I might have mentioned that before! 🙂 – thank you for all your comments, I’ve read them all and will try to reply very soon!) and this week, she’s away at an international Scout and Guide camp in Cheshire, known as Chamboree, which happens every 4 years.  There are around 3,500 Scouts and Guides from all over the world at the camp; she went to the last one and had a whale of a time so she was really looking forward to this one.  (I’ve got a soft spot for this particular camp as I worked as crew here for the very first one many years ago when I used to be a Venture Scout Leader and I had a whale of a time too 🙂 )

A small group of tents pitched on a grassy field. The sky above them is an ominous grey

Photo credit: Jen Lyons

It’s been pretty wet for them this week but from the reports we’ve had from the camp (hooray for WhatsApp message groups!), the whole Guide unit is still having fun and nobody has developed webbed feet yet 🙂

Not so small daughter has just discovered that she’s been selected for an international trip to Japan next year which has absolutely been the highlight of her year – I’ve written about her obsession with Japan before and now she is finally getting to go.  She’s got plenty of fundraising to do – much like when big daughter went to Peru – and I think that’s a really good thing as you appreciate far more the things that you pay for yourself.  Her Guide leader has already got her thinking about fundraising events so that will be her occupied for the next year! 🙂

Big daughter had not one but two graduations within the space of a week so we have spent a lot of time cheering for her and all the other young people who had their graduations delayed because of Covid as we watched them walk across the stage at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester at the graduation ceremonies.

Two blue tickets with Class of 2020 written on them; entrance tickets for the Manchester Metropolitan University graduation ceremony

A young woman with long curly brown hair shows off the back of her graduation gown. It is mostly blue with a red border

Undergraduate gown

A young woman with long curly brown hair shows off the back of her graduation gown. It is mostly red with a blue hood

Master’s gown

The ceremonies were at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester where both my husband and I graduated with our Open University degrees – it’s a lovely building to waft around in your cap and gown!

The stage and organ of the Bridgewater Hall

I even managed to get a bit of knitting in whilst we were waiting for the ceremony to start!  This is my Emergency Sock in vegan yarn – I talked about it in this post.

A half-knitted purple sock (which looks more pink in the light) resting on the awards booklet from the MMU graduation ceremony

Big daughter has also moved to her own place with her boyfriend about half an hour away – it’s a bit like it was with me and my parents (and later, my Dad) – close enough to visit but not so close that she’s round every five minutes raiding the fridge 🙂  It’s been a really exciting time for them and I’m enjoying watching them set up their first home together.  Not so small daughter and I waited in on the hottest day ever for their sofa and built it for them so that they would have somewhere to flop after a day at work.

Finally for today, our kittens are now officially Outdoor Cats.  It was a bit nerve-wracking at first letting them out into the big wide world, but they were so happy to finally be able to Go Outside that we were sure we had done the right thing.  If nothing else, letting them outside has stopped them trashing the house, and for that I am very thankful!

A small tabby and white cat in the grass A small tortoiseshell cat in a tree

They are both have the time of their lives catching leaves, chasing flies and returning home triumphant with captured feathers.  I have no idea where they are picking these up from but they’re from birds that are probably bigger than they are so I’m quite happy that they’ve found them on the floor rather than that they have managed to bring the birds down.  I could do with them leaving them outside, though – we’ve got enough in the house now to make our own pair of wings!

Right, I think that’s us all caught up – of course there’s been more to our month but the day-to-day slips by so quickly, doesn’t it, and I am sure that you don’t need a running commentary on the washing machine being loaded and emptied or the floors being cleaned!

Have a lovely rest of the week and I’ll see you again soon! xx


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36 Responses

  1. Lesley Wilcox says:

    Lovely to hear your news
    Take care

  2. Lin says:

    Your flax field is lovely – we used to see them occasionally in France, such a gorgeous blue. We also, but more rarely, saw a field of white poppies which was stunning. They were grown for the pharmaceutical industry. xx

  3. Helen says:

    Oh the flax and kitties. Lovely pics. I have feathers too, one is the length of a cat!

  4. Jean says:

    I love your photos. Sometimes we come across a field of flax adjacent to a field of yellow mustard which is stunning. Also, nowadays rather poignant as it reminds one of the Ukrainian flag. I loved reading of your Prius trip.

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh yes, those two colours together have a definite poignancy now, don’t they? I can imagine they look amazing when they’re both in full flower! 🙂 xx

  5. Susan Rayner says:

    Lovely to hear all the News – Congratualtions to both daughters on their achievements and future plans – a new home for one and Japan will be thrilling for the other! You must both be very proud of them!
    We have a flax field in a nearby village and it is always wonderful to see it in flower!
    I hope the rest of yoru summer will be nice and peaceful and please send some rain to Surrey!
    Love the kittens!

    • winwickmum says:

      I am super-proud of my girls, thank you! 🙂 So many people have said that they have flax growing nearby – I’d never seen it before! It does make sense that it grows somewhere, though, or we wouldn’t have any linseed! 🙂 xx

  6. Barbara says:

    Sounds like it’s been an amazing time for you all. Well done on all the ceremonies and I love the idea of you knitting while you waited for the big event. Well done kitties too. That will be us soon, I know what you mean about letting them out to let off energy. Much needed here too!

    • winwickmum says:

      It was really quite hard letting them out at first – I wanted to run round after them to make sure they were OK all the time! They didn’t go far for the first few days, though, and I only let them out for short bursts of time and gave them plenty of treats when they came back in to make sure they knew it was a good thing! I hope it goes well for you when you let yours out! 🙂 xx

  7. Nicky says:

    I din’t realise that you were an OU graduate! I have 2 undergraduate degrees from the OU plus 3 masters degrees – and last Monday I started my retirement after many years as an associate lecturer.

    Congratulations to both of your daughter – but remember that you and your husband played a very big part in their success!

    • winwickmum says:

      I am! I’ve got an undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree with the OU – and it’s pretty amazing that you’ve got 5 degrees with them – wow! My husband got his MBA with the OU and that’s been such a good degree for him to have over the years – we can’t recommend the OU highly enough! And happy retirement to you too! 🙂 xx

  8. Diane says:

    I love reading your exciting life happenings, when you have no children and hubby and I are now deep into our 70’s we watch for the mail carrier for our excitement.

  9. Ruth Howard says:

    Thanks for the updates – pleased you enjoyed your Paris trip – the flax is lovely isn’t it – beautiful colour- make the most of what’s left of the holiday – it will go so fast 💨- I still have loads of jobs I want to do – turning out cupboards!! And loads of knitting!!
    Love Ruth x

  10. Sandra Dain says:

    graduations are very special times. In 2004 I came over from New Zealand when my daughter graduated with a masters degree from the Royal Northern in Manchester. Presenting the awards was the lovely Duchess of Kent.

  11. Beverly Vinson says:

    Wow Japan that is exciting! Might I suggest putting a donate button somewhere on your blog for your daughter? Your fellow readers may want to donate to her for the trip 🙂 if you aren’t comfortable doing that I under though too.

    Love reading your blogs!

  12. Chris Vanhie says:

    Wow, what a stunning field of blue. I’ve never seen a field of flax as it is generally not grown here in Ontario. I too also took my sock knitting to my youngest graduation, it is a long wait before the proceedings take place.

    • winwickmum says:

      It can take ages for everybody to get in and settled down, can’t it? I think I only managed a few rounds (on one of the days I was explaining to the man sitting next to me what I was doing and why so that took up all the time 🙂 ) but I know that I’d have felt cross if I hadn’t taken me sock as I’d have been sure I’d have got the whole foot knitted! Congratulations to your youngest on graduating too! 🙂 xx

  13. Jennifer Marsden says:

    Loved reading the latest blog entry. Congratulations to both your daughters, you must be a very proud mum. I’ve never seen a blue flax field. I love blue in my gardens so I think it is stunning. And the lovely kittens. I love cats but I won’t have one anymore as herein Australia where I live one is not allowed to let your cat outside unless they are contained. We have neither a garden of the money to have a catio. i personally think it’s cruel to not let a cat run and climb and explore . In fact with the serialisation rules that are in effect trying to find a dog or cat is becoming harder. And expensive! I must get back to my first attempt at sock knitting. I put it down in exasperation a few weeks ago.

    • winwickmum says:

      Ah, that sounds like such a shame about the cats as they can be amazing (and important) companions and denying people the opportunity to have that seems unkind. I can understand why people don’t like them as cats don’t have the same concerns about wildlife as we do, but not every cat wants to be a house cat (I think we’d have had no house left if we’d tried to contain ours any longer!). Good luck with your sock, do let me know how you get on! 🙂 xx

  14. Anne Whitley says:

    Wish we had some of your rain! Our garden in the south east is burnt to a crisp and no sign of rain for the next fortnight. Lovely to see your pictures of the countryside looking as it should!

    • winwickmum says:

      We were really glad to see the rain and I hope that it falls over your part of the country soon. Are you in the hosepipe ban area? We hadn’t quite got to the point of saving the shower water whilst we were waiting for it to heat up but I have done that before! 🙂 xx

  15. Jennifer Oborn says:

    Have really enjoyed reading you news and seeing the photographs.Something cheerful and positive! Thank you.

  16. Christine says:

    Thanks Christine lovely pics and Degree celebrations a time to remember. They work so hard for the end result ♥️

  17. Claire Moll says:

    We were also at the Bridgewater Hall for middle daughter’s 2022 Masters graduation on the hottest day ever (19th July). She too was class of 2020 for her Bachelor degree – we didn’t attend that one (13th July) left it to her friend and boyfriend who then graduated from the University of Manchester in Medicine on Friday 15th – what a week 🙂 Congratulations all round – they succeeded in the most difficult of circumstances.

    • winwickmum says:

      They really did, didn’t they? Congratulations to your daughter, her friend and boyfriend too! I hope the air conditioning was on in the hall when you were there! 🙂 xx

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