Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hip Hip Hoorah!

Hoorah number 1

The last crochet square is finished and they just need to be joined!

I just gave them a light blocking using steam and pinned them out roughly to shape

I faffed around for ages trying to choose the arrangement I liked best then dragged Mike in to see if he agreed. This is what we settled on:

Here they are next to my freeform cushion which they will sit alongside:

I'd orginally thought of using the brown as my joining colour but then I wondered about using the dark red or even a combination of one of them with cream to keep it nice and light. I might just play around with a couple of ideas to see which I like best.

This is the curtain fabric on which I based my colour choices. I'm still undecided whether to use this as the backing or to stick with the neutral cream fabric I used for the other cushion. I used to be undecided, now I'm not so sure!!!

Hoorah number 2

I've lost track of the number of hours I've spent knitting or crocheting in hospital corridors this year, suffice to say I'm glad I have had something to take away the boredom of waiting.

Mike always comes with me, sitting patiently and trying not to get anxious. It's hard being the support crew. Sometimes he wanders off to read posters which always leave him worried, bless him. Appointment times seem to be completely irrelevant. Nursing staff rarely seem to manage a smile and I've heard several people make comments about how surly some of them are. That's really sad as a simple smile and a cheery demeanour can reassure worried people and help soften the stress of waiting, the endless waiting.

On our last visit to this particular clinic we arrived far too early. We are always early for everything but this was exceptional even for us so we had time to nip into the coffee shop for a drink and something to go with it (oh my goodness that Danish pastry we shared was divine!).

We found a table by the window which looked out onto an overgrown courtyard. Did you know that hospital patients who are lucky enough to have a view of garden/trees etc recover quicker than those without a view of nature?

The pigeons were sunbathing on the roof

My eye was drawn to the shape of the vents….

…and the very 60's pattern of the tiles on the ceiling (an interesting play between light and shade)

What struck me most about the cafe was the huge array of exceedingly unhealthy fare such as pasties, sausage rolls, cakes & giant biscuits. The walls were covered in huge photos of tempting cakes and biscuits which didn't seem appropriate for the setting. But then I thought what the heck, if you're stuck in there you're probably either waiting to see a Specialist or to visit a loved one so all you really want is comfort food; I know that's exactly what we wanted!

Anyway, the upshot of that last visit means that there will be no more hospital visits for a while (well, until next year, fingers crossed). Amen to that!

Hoorah number 3

There have been so many beautiful butterflies and moths in the garden this year but I've also managed to capture some amazing caterpillars too. Here's a selection:

The striking stripey caterpillar of the Cinnabar moth on Ragwort. I am careful to remove the flowers of this plant so it doesn't spread - it's highly toxic to horses and although they wouldn't eat the plant when grazing, if it gets into their mix of hay then the smallest amount can cause liver damage.

Here's an adult Cinnabar moth I spotted earlier in the year. Stunning isn't it.

Although most moths only fly at night there are lots of day-flying moths about.

This little punk-rocker with his tufty Mohican was found on the crabapple tree when I was collecting fruit to make crabapple jelly. He's the caterpillar of the Vapourer moth.

I spotted this colourful caterpillar of the Knotgrass Moth on a Teasel leaf.

The next day he was busy spinning his protective layer

Then he was joined by a predatory wasp - they lay their eggs in the poor caterpillar which gets eaten alive, yuk! However, the next day the whole lot had dsiappeared and I assume it must have been eaten by a bird. 

Caterpillar of the Large White butterfly on my Cleome leaf (and smaller ones in the next photo).

I checked which plants the caterpillars like and took these babies to feast on some in the wilder areas rather than in my planter by the front door!

A Red Underwing Moth on my cactus in the porch. You only see his red part when he opens his wings, hence his name.

He was quite a large moth.

Now this next moth caught me quite by surprise. I was busy making bread in the kitchen early one morning when he suddenly popped out from behind the pelmet, flew onto the window and started to suck the condensation on the glass. I picked him up to put him outside but he flew straight back to the window so I guessed that he must have just emerged from his chrysalis and was hungry.

He's a Yellow Underwing moth (although it's more of an orange colour actually!)

I mixed together some honey and water which he slurped up until he was full and I took him outside to explore his new world.

See how he's using his proboscis to drink the nectar mix.

This weekend there's a Bank Holiday on the Monday after and I've got a marathon to run. It's another Cakeathon so I'll be busy baking on Sunday in preparation.

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