Friday, September 30, 2011

Sky 41 (Thursday)

Oh my it was hot on Thursday.

The weathermen are talking of records being broken over the weekend as we head into October.

We were out again in the garden again in the evening and the ducks helped us finish off the remaining pasta and sauce whilst we polished off a nice bottle of Rose wine!

As the sun began to set we adjourned to the sunloungers, complete with a crochet blanket blanket each - it's amazing how quickly the temperature drops once the sun has disappeared.

I clicked away with the camera until I got some shots that pleased me. I was very pleased to catch a small flock of rooks heading across the dusky pink sky. I looked up the collective noun for them and found a building, a clamour or a parliament of rooks! Why do we need anything other than a flock?

Then when it was too dark to read we went inside and shared out blankies with Tinker.

I had a good 'deep tissue massage' from Mary Massage Lady in the morning. She said my legs are in very good shape and I should do well. If that isn't the kiss of death on my marathon goal I don't know what is!

She's advised me not to do any knitting, crochet or heavy gardening next week so I don't aggravate my sore neck.

Sky 40 (Wednesday)

It was a wonderful, balmy evening and we ate outside before Mike headed in to watch a football match.

A flock of seagulls headed back to their coastal home after a day in the countryside following the plough.

I stayed outside and watched the day melt away and the night come in.

The amber glow turned to apricot and then finally to pink.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sky 39 and some new residents

Another glorious day yesterday.

Almost too hot at midday but I'm really not complaining!

As we watched the sun go down we decided to walk across the fields to meet our new residents.

Melissa had phoned earlier to ask if was OK to put some sheep on the fields and of course we said yes.

I'm not sure what breed they are - not the usual Romneys as they don't have the black face or stockings. I think they must be Suffolks but I must ask next time I see her.

I think Suffolks are the ones that are good in wet conditions as they don't suffer from the dreaded foot rot.
By the time we'd walked back the sky had taken on these lovely dusky hues.

Today is a non-running day so I have to do what's known as cross-training which means I'll be pedaling away on the static bike and using the rower then doing lots of stretches.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sky 38 and my penultimate intervals

Another dramatic but not colourful sky last night.

We stood awhile watching the horses munching and the bats flitting to and fro.

The nights are really drawing in quickly now and there always seems to be a sense of urgency at this time of year to get things done before the winter takes hold.

Last night I finished my crochet granny blanket and all that's left to do is block it.

It's certainly going to be warm and snuggly as the yarns are all pure new wool with alpaca in some of them.

It's a great way of using up odd balls of yarn leftover from other projects.

My intervals today were 5 x 1K with 400m recoveries inbetween. I managed them all at 7mph and felt fine afterwards so I must have been doing something right in the last few weeks. I have another session scheduled early next week which I may or may not do depending upon how I'm feeling.

It was a glorious autumn morning earlier. All misty, with water droplets on the numerous spiders' webs which shone like diamonds in the watery sunshine.

This stunning Euonymus Alatus has been growing in a pot for years now, just waiting for the moment when I can plant him out in his permanent place. His time has come!

I love this shrub in every season - in Spring it has pretty white flowers, in Summer the winged fruits develop, in Autumn the leaves put on this beautiful show and in Winter the leaves fall to reveal the most beautiful bark.

There are so many spiders webs around at the moment. Apparently the combination of a dry spring and a wet summer has created a real abundance of spiders this year. It's been estimated that there could be in excess of 2 million spiders in an acre of rough grassland in autumn.

My research hasn't stretched to counting them, but going by the number of webs that can be seen at the moment it must be a pretty good guess!

This afternoon Esther and Kizzy are helping to mow the grass in the orchard! Their efforts serve a dual purpose - they are more environmentally friendly than a strimmer and the way they graze helps to aerate the soil.

I'm trying to reduce the fertility of the grass to allow more wild flowers to grow there and it seems to be working. I could, of course, just introduce some yellow rattle which I will be doing later this year. But the ladies increase the success rate of this parasitic plant by munching the grass down.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sky 37

What a lovely day it was yesterday.

Apparently it's now officially an Indian Summer which seems odd as we've just celebrated the Autumn Equinox!

I was interested the read that the term originated in America as I had always assumed that it came from Britain's association with the Raj.

I love the way the setting sun looks like an eye.

This morning I went for a swim.

A local posh school is allowing local residents the use of its pool on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 7am and 8am for just £3 a session. As it is only 1.6 miles away I can run there, do some drills and then run home so it's an excellent way to stretch out my legs on a Monday morning after my long runs on a Sunday.

After I'd got over the fact that I was in there with 2 prepubescent boys and a young girl, and I was old enough to be their granny, I just got on with my kick-boarding drills. My breathing technique in the front crawl certainly needs more work though as I seem to have started holding my breath underwater and then exhaling and gulping in air every 3 or 5 strokes. This is not a good plan and results in me swallowing copious amounts of pool water!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sky 36

Although it was another gloriously sunny day, the sky yesterday evening was nothing to write home about.

But that's not the point of the exercise so I've posted it anyway.

I'm impressed that I've managed to keep it up for 36 days!

This morning I ran just 11.5 miles and it felt as if I had so much more time for everything.

Sometimes I forget how much this running malarky eats into my days - my 20 mile runs take me 4 hours, then I have to shower, change and have some brekkie, which is quite a chunk out of a Sunday morning no matter how early I get up and out.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sky 35

This evening saw a very moody sky!

No fireworks or brilliant displays of colour just silvery grey clouds.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sky 34 and a little visitor

I'm still crocheting the edging on my blanket but not much more to do now.

I'm halfway round the second mesh then it will be another double crochet round in brown, then one or two in pink then a final round in brown with a picot edge.

Then a jolly good blocking to sort out any wavy edges.

When I went to open the curtains in the lounge this morning I noticed something large and black along the bottom of the skirting board.

From a distance I thought it was a spider as it's that time of year when they are particularly active indoors but it looked a bit too long in the body. Closer inspection revealed it was a Devil's Coach-horse. Now what on earth was he doing in our lounge?

Anyway, I got our spider catching equipment, which consists of a large plastic glass (that sounds wrong!) and a piece of cardboard and I put him outside where he gave a threatening display for me.

I remember the first time I saw one I thought it was a scorpion and ran off to get my mum!

It was a beautiful day yesterday and the sunset was glorious too.

Today is the September Equinox, also known as Mabon or Harvest Home heralding the days during which night conquers day.

It will be interesting to see what changes, if any, there are in the colours of the sunsets.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sky 33 with Sky Tadpoles

I've tried taking photos of what Mike refers to as 'sky tadpoles', the start of Contrails, before but they haven't really shown up.

This time they had taken on a pinkish tinge so hopefully they'll show up OK.

It was a textbook sunset last night.

The giant amber globe disappeared off the horizon.

The sky lost its blue tint and headed towards greys and purples.

It ended in this beautiful glow.

I'm always impressed when an artist manages to capture this subtle shading.

This morning I did my intervals and realised I won't be doing many more sessions like that before the marathon!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sky 32

A dreary day from start to finish and with a sky to match!

Only Esther brightens the scene with her flaxen mane and tail.

Sky 31

I am so fed up of this wind!

The horses are often silly when it's windy and get spooked at every opportunity. I suppose its only natural as they are prey animals after all.

Mustn't complain though as at least it was bright and there were lots of interesting clouds throughout the day although they were blown away quite quickly.

I like the grey cloud just above the tree line as it looks as if it could be a hill.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sky 30 and time to taper

Oh boy was I lucky with the weather for my last long run on Sunday! I was out by 6:30am and it felt autumnal - fresh and bright. I was a bit chilly for the first 10 minutes until I warmed up but then it was perfect weather for running.

I plodded for around 18 miles and loved every minute of it as there was lots to see; buzzards circling overhead, a herd of red deer, a weasel, horses, cows, sheep, blackberries to pick from the hedgerows, a lane I hadn't run down before to explore. Heaven.

At one point I passed another lady runner and she stopped and asked me how far I was running and then commented upon my Alzheimer's vest. I explained that I raise money for ARUK and she thanked me. Apparently her husband suffers from a rare form of dementia and he can't speak or understand speech any more. He is only 62 and she said that life is hell for them. My heart went out to her and it made me even more determined to carry on.

The hours flew by and I was back home for some well-earned breakfast. I'd only been home for about 15 minutes when the sky went black and the heavens opened. It rained until mid afternoon so I was very lucky indeed.

Now it's time to reduce my mileage and let my body recover from all the hard training before Liverpool.

It was a very dramatic and moody sky last night.

Big black clouds swirled downwards as if to engulf the trees.

As the sun disappeared over the horizon it shot bands of gold and apricot at the oppressive clouds as if to try and hold them back.

The clouds darkened in response and continued on their mission to blur the edges of the skyline.

Sky 29

Another vile day with wind and rain until around 5pm when the sun came out so we were able to have our meal outside.

The sky was rather subdued.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sky 28

The sun went down with a wimper rather than a shout yesterday.

I do like the contrast of the dark tree line against the sky.

Mike spotted this animal skull when he went for a walk across the land yesterday morning. We're not quite sure whether it's a badger or a fox as both are frequent visitors round here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sky 27

It was a glorious sunny day yesterday so it was no surprise that the sky was beautiful.

The crochet blanket is all sewn up now so the task of finishing off the edging begins. It may take some time as it's massive!

I'm about to start some knitting projects some of which I can't share on here yet as they are secret. 2 aren't though and one is to finish that last darned sleeve on my poor neglected Oregon cardigan (I am ashamed that I posted that nearly 2 years ago!), the other is to start Botticelli from Rowan book number 44. I've had the yarn for ages but other projects have taken preference.

This weekend will be my last long run before I start to reduce my mileage for the Liverpool marathon. I've got a pain in my right piriformis (in my bum for those who don't know what a piriformis is!) so I've booked myself a massage with Mary Massage lady to get it sorted out as I don't want it to develop. I got my number and race pack yesterday so it's getting very exciting now.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sky 26 Woof, woof!

By Royal Appointment, I present to you Albert the corgi!

Why Albert? Well it is a name with Royal associations after all and also there's a link with Liverpool, namely the Albert Dock in Liverpool

He was a fiddly little blighter to stuff and sew together but he's actually rather cute.

I had the perfect strand of purple wool for his collar.

He will be off to live with Denny in Liverpool when I go up there for the marathon.

The sky was wonderful last night and it was hard to choose the photos but these 2 are my favourites.

I love the way you can see the full golden orb disappearing.

Just as I was heading back inside I heard a loud honking overhead and I nearly dropped the camera in my haste to catch this skein of geese heading home for the night!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sky 25 & stuffing a corgi!

I had a bit of a King Lear moment today as the wind kept whipping up and the sudden gusts nearly knocked me off my feet!

"Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, an germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!"

King Lear, Act 3 Scene 2

Eventually the wind blew the grey clouds away and we had a lovely watery sunset leaving behind this glorious afterglow.

Have you ever tried stuffing a tiny knitted corgi? No, me neither! What a faff trying to stuff wadding into 4 tiny legs. It does look cute though but I won't take a photo until I've embroidered his face.

I had a really good interval session yesterday and ran 10 x 400 meters at 7mph which for me is a first as I don't think I've ever held that pace for more than a nano-second. Today I'm trying out an aqua-aerobics class as an accompaniment to my new swimming regime.

If all this training doesn't translate into a pb at Liverpool then I really don't know what will!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sky 24 & knitting corgis!

Another blustery day from the tail end of hurricane katia but at least it wasn't raining all day.

Many parts of the UK, notably Scotland and the West were really battered so I think we escaped quite lightly.

I love to see those wonderful rays of light emanating from the sun. It looks just how a child would draw it.

I was bored with my crochet joining last night so just before bedtime I picked up my copy of Knit your own Royal Wedding that Denny sent me and made a start on a corgi to send to her.

Fiddly but quick and fun.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sky 23

Each night I try to catch the rooks and jackdaws as they flock and perform aerobatics before they swoop into the trees to roost.
I want to capture that special shot of when they all swoop across the setting sun, but they're just too quick for me!

I'll keep trying though.
Shades of grey again.