Sunshine and showers

Well, not so much showers as torrential rain – I don’t remember it EVER raining quite as much as it has done lately!   How about you?  I hope you’ve managed to stay dry this week!

March has arrived and phew, I’m not quite sure where February went!  I managed to get one of my must-write posts out, and that was the one on the Ewe Felty Thing new shop opening, but everything else has gone out of the window a little bit this month.  I’m trying to get into the habit of looking back over the month to see what I have actually achieved (that’s my next job this afternoon after chatting to you) and whilst it still feels like a bit of a time stealer when I could be doing other things, I do see the benefit of it when the weeks have raced by and you don’t feel like you’ve done much other than eat and sleep!

The sun did shine briefly once or twice during February.  The dog and I made it out to the Nine Arches for the first time in ages, and I was surprised to see that the renovation works are finished.  They were due to finish in February this year so they were on time, I think I just hadn’t thought about how long it had been since I was last there.

A view across a bare winter landscape to the Nine Arches railway viaduct

It’s nice to see the arches without the scaffolding again!

I had a look around to see if I could see what had been done.  The graffiti along the top of the parapet has gone, that’s the most obvious thing as you walk up towards the viaduct.  I had to look hard to see what else had changed, though – and then I spotted it.

An upwards view of a stone railway viaduct showing lighter stone where the viaduct has been repaired

The lighter stone is where the repairs have taken place.  You wouldn’t necessarily know if you didn’t stop to look at it, you might think it had just been cleaned.  You can still see how badly some of the stone was damaged, though; time and the lime in the water that drips through the roof has taken its toll, and it’s good to know that it’s possible to repair it.

Here’s one of the sides of an arch …

Stone lintels damaged by lime dripping from the arched roof of a railway viaduct

And here’s a close up of the top line of stone that juts out (is it a plinth?  a lintel?) …

A close up of stone damaged by lime dripping from the arched roof of a railway viaduct

Just behind me on the other side, the stone has been repaired …

A repaired stone lintel previously damaged by lime dripping from the arched roof of a railway viaduct

You can see how well it’s been done in the close up – it’s very clever what they’ve been able to do.

A close up of a repaired stone lintel previously damaged by lime dripping from the arched roof of a railway viaduct

The renovation works also extended to clearing some of the vegetation that had grown up around the arches …

An area next to a stone railway viaduct cleared of vegetation

It all looks very bare now!

The vegetation clearing has continued further up the path towards the canal too.  This section on the left was really overgrown, full of small trees and shrubs and plenty of brambles and now …

A view across a previously overgrown area next to a footpath. Branches have been cut from a treeA view across a previously overgrown area next to a footpath.

Goodness, it always looks so strange when land has been cleared like this, but it won’t be long before everything starts to grow again.  There’s a muddy puddle in the middle of that bare section in the bottom photo that the dog likes to wallow in like a hippo.  That’s still there and of course he found it, splooshing about in the mud and giving me his best doggy grin when I told him to get out because he would make the car filthy.  He didn’t get out and the car is filthy.

It was such a lovely day to be out, though.  Cold and crisp with that late winter sunshine that just has a slight warmth to it if you turn your face to catch the rays.  Perfect!

Looking across a canal on a winter's day. The sky is blue and mostly cloudless; the trees are bare

When we got home and I’d hosed the dog down, much to his disgust, I looked up to see this vapour trail in the sky.  It looks just like a zip!

An aeroplane vapour trail in a cloudy sky. The vapour trail looks like a zip

In the garden, my new border is continuing to grow.  My Camellia shrub is just starting to flower and it is obviously so much happier now in the new border than where it used to be – previously I’d only get one or two flowers but this year, there are LOADS of buds and I can’t wait to see them all in flower!

A bud on a camellia plant surrounded by glossy green leaves. The bud is white with pink edges An open camellia flower surrounded by glossy green leaves. The flower is white with pink edges

I do need to get out into the greenhouse this weekend as I’ve got sweet peas on the windowsill in the kitchen that desperately need to be potted up, and I am going to have a go at growing these this year …

A packet of Luffa seeds on a wooden table

I’m going to grow a luffa (loofah) plant!  I got an email from Chiltern Seeds out of the blue (I’ve bought seeds from them for years but don’t get many emails), and I followed a link to a post on their website about growing luffas.  You probably know this already – they’re not sea creatures as I had always thought but are actually part of the cucumber family!  Anyway, after reading the post, I decided that I would give it a go – I’m not going to need to grow so many tomatoes this year now that I’m getting my veg box delivered (I mentioned that I was going to do this at the end of the Winter Haven KAL and I’ve set it up now – it’s fab and the veg is amazing, I’ll show you in another post!) so there should be space in the greenhouse for at least one luffa plant.

You can start them off indoors by soaking them like you would do with pea seeds, so I am going to do that and then pot them up and I thought it would be a fun thing to write about on the blog.

What else?

Oh yes, sock progress.  I’ve been ticking along with my Spring Green Treasure Socks.  The first sock is done and I’m onto the second one now …

A partly-knitted colourwork sock in cream and green-striped yarn. There is a mess of green yarn on the table

That mess of green yarn in the middle is all the leftovers that I’ve had from other socks which I will just use up as best I can with this one.  It doesn’t bother me to cut yarn in the middle of a ball if I want to get a match as I know I’ll be able to use the leftovers for something later on, and this is a good example.  It’s also a good way to use up other sock leftovers so you could make scrappy Treasure Socks!

We took a train to Leeds last weekend as not so small daughter wanted to go to an offer day put on by the university there.  She’s had an unconditional offer to study in Leeds (this means that it doesn’t matter what grades she gets in her A Levels, she’s been offered a place on the course she wants – she’s actually had two unconditional offers from two different universities which is incredible!) and she wanted to go to the offer day as it involved having another look around the university buildings and accommodation, some sample lecture workshops and the opportunity to remind herself that Leeds really is the place she wants to go.

I set up this photo for the Muud post that I still need to write, but someone was in high spirits on other other side of the train table so I won’t be using this one 🙂

A brown leather shopper-type bag on a train table. There are two aluminium bottles in the bag and a blurred view of the landscape through the window behind. The person in the seat next to the bag is holding up two fingers in a peace sign

Inside that bag, along with water bottles, was my Emergency Sock and I got so much of it done on the journey to and from Leeds …

A partly-knitted sock in rainbow colours with a yellow cuff and heel flap

and now I’ve realised that I haven’t got enough yarn to get me to the toes where I’m going to swap to the yellow yarn.  I can get about half way down the foot and I’ve stopped whilst I have a think about how I want to finish off.  I don’t want a big sudden block of yellow; I’ve tried making yellow stripes amongst the rainbow and I don’t really like it, so I’m going to see what else I can come up with to be a bit more creative.  It’s quite nice to have the challenge of thinking of what I can do!

I bought myself some new stitch markers the other day and the postie brought them this morning.  I don’t really need any more stitch markers but I saw them and they made me smile …

Three stitch markers in the shape of a thistle within a circle attached to a piece of coloured card

They’re a nod to my Scottish heritage and they also remind me about when I was little and we used to travel up to Dundee to see my Grandad.  We’d have a few stops along the way (the roads were much slower in those days; I’m not actually sure that all the motorways were even built!) and every cafe or motorway service station would have a gift shop with a stand of personalised items.  You see them these days in service stations and shops too, and you might be like me and realise that your name is very much out of fashion! 🤣  Anyway, when I was little, the only time I would ever see anything with the name “Christine” on it was when we went to Scotland and it would invariably have a picture of a thistle on it, so I have always felt an affinity with the thistle and when I saw these, I knew they had to come and live with me!

These markers came from Mary Jane Creations and Mary was able to put a ring on one of the markers for me instead of a clasp – I’m going to give the other two thistles to my girls and not so small daughter is going to use hers for her crochet, and big daughter hasn’t decided about hers yet.  She has made one pair of socks but I’ve not managed to tempt her back for a second pair yet!

Right then, I think I’ve caught up on everything for now.  This is where you’ll find me for the rest of the afternoon – right next to my tea and toast – as it’s pouring with rain yet again and I’m going to get stuck into remembering what I’ve done in February (and maybe giving myself a bit of a cheer!).  See you next time! xx

A wooden coffee table with a plant in a spotty plant pot, an orange mug of tea and two slices of toast and jam on a plate



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18 Responses

  1. Hazel says:

    Lovely to read of your adventures and I just wondered if I’m the only one seeing a face in the jam on your toast 😊

  2. Jean says:

    That top slice of toast has a face on it.
    What’s the multi coloured yarn? One of the many members of the knit and natter Facebook group might have a bit they can let you have. I had something like that, only I think I used it up in a scrap-along. I’ll have a look.

    • winwickmum says:

      I hadn’t seen that before but I can see it now! 🙂 The yarn is a hand-dyed skein from Yarn Unique so I wouldn’t expect to get a match – I’ll think of something! 🙂 xx

  3. Barbara Goodyear says:

    Lovely to see where you walk with the dog, lovely photos of the viaduct. Shall be most interested to know what you will do with all the loofahs you grow!

  4. Carolyn Beit says:

    I used to grow loofahs living in Far North Queensland.
    When you pick them small and green you can cook them like zucchini (courgettes?).
    (Just in case your growing season isn’t long enough to get them usable as sponges!)

    • winwickmum says:

      It does say that on the website post and that sounds amazing! I’m going to grow them in the greenhouse so I’m hoping to get at least one luffa 🙂 xx

  5. Helen says:

    I was surprised that loofahs were plants too last year when someone posted about growing them. I’m off to make toast now – you tempted me!

  6. Audrey says:

    always enjoy reading your blogs. Yes this rain is starting to get everyone down in the dumps .like you never known so much. Hopefully it will lead to a good hot Summer Do like the colours of your socks. they are so vibrant .I’ve still been busy making socks too men socks.

  7. It’s nice to read about others adventures. I’d love to have any kind of garden and I might attempt another one this summer. Having only 2-3 inches of good soil over shale makes that difficult. The Art of Doing Stuff blog has several posts about growing loofahs. I understand they are finicky plants.
    Would a semisolid blue yarn be an option to finish the foot before the yellow toe? Best of luck with deciding on a solution.

  8. Luiza says:

    I just love your posts, I wish one day I have the chance to meet you and get to know the lovely places you show when walking your dog. My best regards from Brasil.

  9. Leslie L Streight says:

    I, too, like to reflect on my month, sometimes just the week. Having a sense of accomplishment is important to me for maintaining my balance in life – not just cooking, eating, cleaning, and sleeping! Roman ruins close by! Impressive. Oldest thing near me is a mile out, a Spanish Mission built in 1797! Still pretty old for California!
    Hope your weather mellows. Love your posts; your voice really shines through.

    • winwickmum says:

      Thank you! The arches aren’t Roman – they were built in the 19th Century but they still look impressive, don’t they? I love walking there! Thank you for your kind words about the blog too 🙂 xx

  10. My son (24) always loved Viaducts when he was small, thanks to Thomas the Tank Engine. I’m knitting socks at the moment for a Knit & Natter Challenge. They will be for the WI monthly competition. I love seeing your makes, the green socks are nice x

    • winwickmum says:

      Ooh, that sounds exciting, I hope you win the competition! My girls were never into Thomas the Tank Engine although we did have a few books, although my brother liked them when he was little. I never thing it’s down to a girl or boy “thing”, it’s just what catches your attention, isn’t it? 🙂 xx

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