Saturday, 11 November 2017

Remembrance Sunday


By Special Collections Toronto Public Library from Toronto, Canada (In Flanders' Fields)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. 
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, 
and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe,
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae (1915)

During the early days of the second battle of Ypres, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer a young Canadian artillery officer was killed when a German shell exploded at his feet. A close friend of his was Major John McCrae, a Canadian military doctor and artillery commander who officiated at his burial. The next morning John McCrae wrote the poem which is one of the most famous war poems ever written which inspired the use of the poppy as a symbol of rememberance.

Sadly he died in January 1918 of pneumonia and meningitis in Wimeraux, France. He was 45 years old.

You can read more about John McCrae's life here. There are some wonderful photographs of him, his dog & also his horse. 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Is it really a month since I posted?

Old Key West

Well time passes so quickly especially when you're on holiday. Then you get back & can't be hassled to do anything other than sleep to get over the jetlag & eat!

Also it's absolutely freezing & pitch dark by 5pm so winter is definitely here. We had just moved into Autumn when we left but that didn't last long. 

Had a good time in Disney World, much better than I expected. Gorgeous weather, lots of sun, not too hot, no horrible humidity & hardly any rain. We had a Disney apartment in Old Key West which was very spacious & peaceful. So thank you Florida.

My main crititcisms of Disney are horrendous prices (yes they're getting even greedier) unbelievable crowds mainly in the Magic Kingdom (I've renamed it the Manic Kingdom) & earblowing music everywhere. It's in restaurants, cafes, parks, shops, hotels, buses & even on the lovely ferry rides. We had one ferry driver (not sure if that's what they call them) who said he refused to listen to it & turned it off. A great character!

Why do they feel the need to blast music out everywhere? They've totally revamped Disney Springs (used to be Downtown Disney & awful) now it's much more spacious but even on a walk along the lakeside promenade you're blasted with music from lamposts with speakers every few yards. Why? We were looking for a nice little walk along the lake away from the crowds & some peace & quiet. No chance of that anywhere in Disney. It's such a shame, no wonder people wear earphones and rabbit on into phones all the time.

Nice to get back home to utter peace & quiet! Shame I have to do housework though. It will seem an age until March when I've booked 4 days in Venice! Roll on the light nights.

Thursday, 5 October 2017


I do love Lake Garda and Sirmione in particular is a lovely old place.

Just got back from a tour staying at the pink hotel on the right edge of the photo. Well we were based there but were out touring for five of them!

Although I've been there 5 times one place I never got to see was the Grotte di Catullo. It sounds like a grotto but it's really a Roman Villa or rather the remains of one. This time I made it & it's an amazing place, it's absolutely huge.

It was difficult to visualise what it had looked like until I saw this noticeboard and then later went to the museum to watch a video about it. 
This is what it would have looked like. You can see how the villa was built on a sloping site which was no mean architectural feat. 

It was quite hazy day but you can see what fantastic views that family must have had from their home. 

The height of these arches was immense.

Remains of a brick tiled floor.  You can see the depth of those floor tiles on the side.

Well I've probably bored you enough with these photos.

A coule of days before I walked along the lake edge below the villa and these photos are of the limestone strata where people were sunbathing & going for a dip. This gives you a better idea of what those fabulously wealthy villa owners looked out every day at.

Well I have to go back there again but for a holiday!!!!

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Still Knitting!

I'm beginning to think I'm being a bit addicted to knitting. Normally I can just stop to do a bit of housework but at the moment I just can't put the knitting down.

The pair above are part of a series of sets we're knitting for a school who want knitted toys for their Story Book Bags. No it's not the Teddy Bears' Picnic, it's for Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I've made the Mam & Dad bears who are sitting in our garden on a little blanket I made for the neo natal unit.  I opted out of making a pink skirt for the Mammy bear in case I was accused of being sexist!

They are just waiting for little baby bear who a friend is knitting. She has already made Goldilocks & someone else is making the bag to hold them along with the story book.

I've also just knitted a couple of blankets, baby cardigans & hats for our priest to take to a village in Zambia which the parish support. I always thought they wouldn't need knitted clothes but apparently it can be quite cool. I enjoy knitting these as it doesn't take long. The things I don't like knitting are the brown V neck tank tops for the orphanage in India. Brown was never my favourite colour! 

The gansy is coming on nicely I usually knit this for an hour or two in the morning when I'm in as I need good light. The light is getting poor now by about 7pm so it's going to be a few months before I finish.

However I do need to be a bit more active as I've noticed my ankles are swelling with all this sitting! What a lazy cat I am! I'm off to Italy next Saturday taking a tour to Lake Garda so plenty of walking there to be done. Hopefully we'll get decent weather but I won't get any knitting done. You can't take knitting when you're working! I'm getting withdrawal symptoms at the thought of no knitting for a couple of weeks. 

Look at that grass in the photo, it's meant to be a lawn, neither of us are keen gardeners but it's too big for me to cut. Well that's my excuse!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Big Ben Goes Silent

                   Big Ben              Mistereez

At 12 midday Big Ben is going silent for 4 years whilst it undergoes repairs.

Seems a shame not to hear the most photographed building in Britain for so long but apparently it's to protect the workers hearing.

There's a bit of a battle going on about it but it will still chime for special occasions such as Remembrance Day & New Year's Eve.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

It's growing!

Well it's not going too badly.

The rib was a double one & I decided to cast on using double wool to strengthen the edge. Eric's wool jumpers always seem to wear on the cast on ribs especially the sleeve edges. It did make it a bit bulkier but I hope it will be much stronger and last the length of the journey.

Next came the Blyth Tall Ships logo which wasn't too easy to see in such dark wool. Definitely have to knit it in daylight.

Now I am on a stretch of plain knitting for 50 rows. A bit boring but at least I can watch telly whilst knitting. Feel a bit guilty knitting during the day but needs must!

The thing I really dislike about this is knitting on a circular needle, I find it a pain. The knitting keeps turning and you keep having to slide the loops over the cable join. Give me straight needles any day. I was tempted to buy a set of 4 needles but I'm not keen on that either. I did try to buy some really nice quality Knit Pro needles as I already have a cable but they don't do size 2.75! Never mind I hope I can get over it although I doubt that very much as I've used them a few times and just gave up. I don't have a choice with this jumper though, no seams allowed!

Next stage is the waves, should be fun!

Meanwhile the charity knitting goes on. 

I've knitted a couple of brown V neck tank tops as we used to call them in the 'sixties. Think they call them slip overs now. It's an awful colour to knit with dark brown, again difficult to knit in the dark. However it's for an orphanage in India & the jumpers will get dirty and dusty and won't get washed very often. So it has to be that colour for the poor little souls.

Also still knitting for the neo-natal units in the area and the Apostleship of the Sea. These crochet little tops for tiny babies are quickly made and it's a nice break from the dark colours. The hats for the sailors supported by Apostleship of the Sea are quick & easy to knit too. 

Well back to the gansey while the light is good!

Friday, 7 July 2017

A Trip Down the Grand Canal

The first day I was in Venice in May I decided to take a vaporetto trip up the Grand Canal. Well it went up along the Giudecca Canal so I had to get off & get onto another to come down the Grand Canal!

It wasn't a very nice day, in fact it was raining, it was just like being at home. But I still enjoyed it.

Some of the photos are not too clear, the vaporetto was pretty full & it was wobbling quite a bit. Not sure how much it complied with European Health & Safety regs. I never saw any way that numbers were counted but I suppose it's not that deep! So I stayed outside ready to jump off if the need arose!

I don't think the photos are in the correct order for some reason when I copied them into the computer they seemed a bit out of kilter but never mind.

Fancy paying a fortune to go on a gondola trip when it's chucking it down! The chappies selling those ponchos did a roaring trade. 

The Rialto Bridge all refurbished.  It was totally covered last year when I saw it.

A Venice wedding in the rain.

I really love the buildings like these which look like they need a bit of TLC. They look so real not plastic copies.

This is one of my favourites and I love the white arched columns. How great to have a boat outside your front door to pop out for a loaf or a pint of milk!

It's not really sinking! They'll take them down when the Biennale is over. I think!

Peggy Guggenheim's place!

There were not many gondolas out on the canals due to the rain but I think they look good parked up.

Back at St Mark's Square.  Not the usual glorious blue sky you see in the James Bond films & postcards.

Now I couldn't fancy swimming in there, the water didn't look very pleasant but apparently Lord Byron did. He regularly swam the 4 and a half miles from the palazzo where he was staying on the Grand Canal down to the Lido. He was risking a lot as the canal was little more than an open sewer in those days. Well rather him than me!

Remembrance Sunday

    By Special Collections Toronto Public Library from Toronto, Canada (In Flanders' Fields) In Flanders fields the poppies blo...