Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sky 11

A rather dreary day so no chance of a dramatic sky.

It was nice to see a couple of balloons heading home in the evening and one came right overhead which is unusual.

We used to see them frequently at weekends as they would land and take-off from Bodiam Castle down in the valley.

However, a few years ago the National Trust started to lock their car park gates in the evening and then didn't open them until 8am. This was to stop people parking there overnight but also had the effect of stopping the ballooners landing there as they like to fly early in the morning.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sky 10

A bright silvery glow...........

gently fades............

and bathes the candyfloss clouds with a pink afterglow

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sky 9

Look Kizzy, she's taking photos again so we'd better get in on the act!

What are you up to then?

Oh, not much really Esther.........

Just taking photos of another glorious sunset!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sky 8 & another 20 miler

It was a beautiful sky last night but I had to start taking photos even earlier; 7:45pm to be precise.

The contrails took on a pinkish glow and looked like threads of candyfloss criss-crossing the sky in their own version of abstract art.

This 2nd photo made me think of Lord of the Rings or could it be an alien space ship?

Then finally the dark clouds look like faraway landscapes with mountains coming down to meet the silvery, shimmering body of water in an inland loch.

Today I was up before the lark and out running just as the sun peeped out, spreading it's pink glow across the sky. It was rather autumnal first thing which was great for running but it did start to heat up quite quickly.

16 miles passed uneventfully and at a good pace but then I certainly felt the last 4 and slowed down considerably as I headed towards 20 miles. Probably just the result of the bug I had last week.

That was the 2nd 20 miler of my schedule. My long run next Sunday will be around 17/18 miles and then there's just one more 20 miler to do before I start to cut back my mileage for the Marathon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sky 7 & Grannies

Taken at 8:36pm.

We hadn't seen the sun all day so it was no surprise that it wasn't a spectacular sunset.

As I stood outside on the patio, a massive badger came scampering up from the orchard. I tried to catch him but it was just too dark for my camera skills.

Badgers are regular visitors and they snuffle around for windfall apples/pears and plums. There are quite a lot of them about and the downside of that is that they dig for worms in the lawn, distribute the contents of the compost heap all over the place and they establish their latrines in the most inappropriate places!

The granny squares are finished now as I have used up all my spare dk wool.

I spent ages arranging them into a pleasing colour sequence which was quite difficult given the number of different colours involved.

Now comes the task of joining them together which always seems onerous.

I'm edging them all with double crochet using some chenille type brown yarn so that the colours really pop and if I've got enough left I'll do a few rows around the edges of the finished blanket.

To join the squares together I am using a flat seam. I experimented with a raised cable seam and a chained seam but didn't like the effect in this instance.

20 miles planned for my long run tomorrow so I'm hoping the weather is kind to me!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sky 6

Thanks for the comments Linda and Phil.

We often see the International Space Station along with loads of satellites. I wonder how many satellites there are in circulation?

Yesterday's weather was mixed, alternating between warm and drizzly.

The photos are being taken earlier and earlier and it's amazing how quickly the sunset seems to move round. I started taking shots at 8pm and the last one was at 8:20pm.

You can just make out the horses in the first photo.

I love that deep purple-grey against the apricot-pink explosion as the sun hides behind the hills!

Feeling much better today and normal training will be resumed tomorrow (hopefully).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sky 5

OK, now I'm becoming obsessed.

I decided to take photos at 5 minute intervals to see how the colours developed as the light faded.

Thankfully I haven't uploaded all of them as I don't want to appear to be a cloud geek!

I love the way the pink is intensified by the darkening grey clouds.

Hopefully this obsessive phase will wear off and I'll just post one truly beautiful sky each day.

I've noticed that the horses seem to gravitate to this part of the field around sunset. I wonder why?

5 more granny squares crocheted yesterday but still no running or cross-training as I'm feeling grotty.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sky 4 & a training blip

What a gloomy day it was yesterday.

The view didn't change all day with fog sitting in the valley and a grey sky.

It poured with rain intermittently just for added interest. Still, mustn't grumble as the garden needs it and it will make digging in the front much easier.

This was taken at 7:30pm and it just about sums up the whole day!

Yesterday I felt really grotty when I got up which is most unusual for me. My head felt all swimmy and whoozy and my tummy hurt so I took a day off training. I thought at first that I might have overdone the swimming on Monday as I did push myself hard but now I wonder if I've perhaps picked up a bug. Still feeling a bit grotty today so no training again.

It will probably do me good to have a couple of days rest as my body will be well recovered for the rigours of the next few days - 10 miles at marathon pace one day then another 20 miler on Sunday.

Tinker was unimpressed with the weather and spent most of the day following me round and squaking.

He isn't particularly keen to go out at the moment though as it's the season for harvest mites, to which he has a severe allergic reaction.

This year seems to be worse than usual and he's forever scratching and biting at his toes and ears, poor love. We've tried every remedy on offer but nothing seems to help. Thankfully their season will soon be over.

On the crochet front, I've nearly finished all my granny squares and reckon I need about 20 more. Then of course there's the small matter of joining them together!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sky 3

Another beautiful sunset.

I love the way the clouds show up in the different layers, accentuated by the beautiful colours that gradually intensify.

These photos were taken between 8:10pm and 8:30pm.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sky 2

Yesterday was hot and humid but the sky had been a beautiful bright blue all day.

As the sun disappeared behind the trees I realised just how quickly Autumn is creeping in!

This first photo was taken at 8pm as the sun just dipped behind the trees.

We will watch the sunset move from the centre of the valley to the middle of our furthest field over the next few weeks.

The other 2 photos were taken over the next 40 minutes.

I love the way the colours intensify into a warm apricot glow.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Seahorse & Sky 1

Each January 1st I threaten to capture the beautiful skies we have here each day and as usual procrastination has ruled and I've done nothing about it.

So without further ado I am going to try and capture a sky a day for 12 months from now on. I will try to take each photo of the same section of sky just to see how wonderful the clouds and the colours are throughout the year. However, if there is a wonderful sunrise then I might just sneak that in too!

This was taken last night at 7:55pm.

My shell frame and seahorse have now taken up residence in the bathroom and I'm rather pleased with the result.

I have such a wonderful collection of shells it seems a shame not to use them as I doubt I'll ever decorate a grotto, which is what I dreamt of doing.

Marathon training is into the long mileage phase with an 18 miler today. It was very hot and humid but enjoyable all the same.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Playing hooky

So much to do and so little time in which to do it!

Several weeks ago I attended the first ever ARUK Volunteers' Day in London where I got to meet like-minded people whose lives have been touched by dementia and who want to raise money to help defeat it.

It was lovely to meet some of the new team at ARUK because, as they are based in Cambridge, most of our contact is either by phone or email.

Training for the Liverpool marathon is well underway now and I seem to be adapting to the speed sessions in my schedule. I still find it strange though to be doing less miles.

My cross-training, which I do 3 times a week, alternates between the static bike, rowing machine and mini trampoline plus I've got the last of 6 sessions of swimming training tomorrow. I hadn't swum for over 30 years and when I've started this course I remembered why - I'm not very good and I really don't enjoy it! Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time and perhaps I'll try harder and start using as a cardio-vascular workout. At least it will burn a few more calories which can't be bad. In truth, as the weeks went by, I have really started to feel better about it and my freestyle and backstroke are quite good.

Now for some woolly loveliness.

I'd been rummaging in my collection of wools and realised I had far too many odd balls of double knitting wool.

Not that that's always a bad thing as they are useful for stripey scarves or mittens but I have enough of those already.

So I've started crocheting some granny squares for a generously sized lap blanket. I'm probably about 1/2 way through them I would guess. They are great for hooking whilst watching TV or sitting in the garden watching the sun set whilst quaffing a glass of wine.

My main focus at the moment is to get out into the front garden and get it cleared and planted. This has been thwarted on several occasions because as soon as I was able to make a start the rain's arrived and made the clay too heavy to dig. Then the very hot phase came and it was too hot for planting! Sod's Law in action again.

As I haven't been knitting at the moment I thought I'd throw in this photo taken in Folkestone. The shop had been decorated with knitted and crocheted flowers as part of the Folkestone Triennial exhibition.

They looked amazing and I chuckled when a lady passed by as I was taking the photo as she hadn't realised they were knitted and thought they were plastic!

The patchwork was finished weeks ago.

Here it is all joined together waiting for a decision on any additional highlighting stitches.

I felt that the outer blue and cream hexagons needed to be edged so I outlined them in blue herringbone stitch.

Then I did the same around the centre of the flower but this time used green to compliment the red hexagon.

I attached some medium weight iron-on interfacing to the back as some of the fabrics I used are prone to fraying.

It's also a good trick to give things extra body.

Of course I couldn't sew it together straight away as I'd run out of piping cord!

Whilst waiting I was able to cut lots of bias strips out of dark blue fabric as a contrast against the cream hexagons around the edge.

Anyway, now it's finished I'm rather pleased with the result.

This beautiful little cactus has been flowering his socks off for weeks now.

I love cacti and admire the way that they just look plain for most of the year and then all of a sudden they explode with this vivid colour.

The other thing I love about it is that it matches the dining-room curtains beautifully!

The other plant I have to share is this lovely cane begonia.

It is grown as a foliage plant as it has wonderfully angel-wing type leaves spotted with silver.

However, every so often it produces a massive bunch of flowers and this time they look amazing.

Here they are in a close-up. Aren't they splendid?

I've always had a soft spot for foliage begonias and I have about 10 different varieties at the moment.

All of them have memories of either people or places.

Last but certainly not least is my latest shell project.

I had a tatty repro type picture frame that I'd bought in a charity shop and I decided I wanted to decorate it with shells.

It was a ghastly orangey mahogany colour with varnish over the top so the first thing I had to do was give it a couple of coats of paint to hide it.

Then I spent ages playing around with my shells. When I was happy with the arrangement I attached them to the frame, gradually adding more until it felt just right.

I added the bits of driftwood for extra interest.

I was going to do a bargello pattern as a picture and put it behind glass but then I came across this sweet little stone seahorse.

Mike suggested he could be recessed within the frame and stand out in relief so he cut me a new piece of board for the backing.

I've been playing around with different ideas for the background - one of which was to mosaic it with mirrors but I think I'm going to do a colour wash in bright blues which is the accent colour in our bathroom where it is going to live.