Scavenger Hunt

Friday, 31 August 2012

Four Girls in a Truck

Hello There!

I've had another quick hop over to France, with B and her mum and mum-in-law in B's truck.  We got lots of bemused looks from as we piled out and even more when we had to help the Mummies back in ~ it's surprisingly high.
We were camping again in our bargain tent which was cosy warm and very dry, despite downpours.

You can read what we got up to here.
We had a meal in a restaurant opposite the lovely chateau at La Clayette.
All in all a successful trip, although there was a slightly sticky moment when I was driving on the motorway and B asked "How are we for fuel?"  I looked down and we were on empty, I hadn't been taking much notice.  We turned off the air con and radio and hoped for the best.  Luckily we managed to get to the next service station with the fuel light on.  B gave me thunderous looks and tutted a lot.

I carried on with my Beach Stripe Surf Blanket when I wasn't driving.  I'm very pleased with progress so far.
I seem to have got a bit fed up with knitting at the moment, the little green cardi has been flung into the naughty corner and I only want to crochet my blanket.  I love making blankets, I like the idea of having something practical which will last a lifetime.

These blankets were made by my Great Aunt Daisy, the pinker one was mine and the darker one for my brother.  They are (ahem) roughly 35 years old and still looking good.
I grew up surrounded by knitters and crocheters.  My Mum taught me to knit and her two sisters were knitters too.  On my Dad's side my Gran taught me how to crochet Granny Squares and Auntie Daisy used let me join in with making the squares for our blankets.  She used to do the yarn over rows and I used to do the purl and knit rows.  I must have been under 10 at the time.  The yarn came from jumpers they got from jumble sales and was washed, unravelled and wound around chair backs to get the kinks out.  Auntie Daisy used to knit at amazing speeds, she once managed to produce a cricket jumper for my brother (6 foot tall even in his school days) the day before term started because he'd just remembered he need one.

My Mum gave me nuggets of wisdom which I still follow today:
Never knot your yarn, join at a row end.
Never use bent needles;  these were the days of steel needles.
Don't finish for the day in the middle of a row, you'll make a hole.

I used to make jumpers when I was around 18 in the days of batwings in the 1980's, and then things started to tail off.  When Mr Clicky and me got married and had the children I made baby jumpers and then as they got bigger things tailed off again.  No time to knit.  Now they are teenagers and I've returned with a vengeance, I seem to have come full circle making blankets again.  

I thought you might like to see the progress of my Phoenix Friendship Blanket.
Looking good I think.

Right! I must go and hang some washing out as there seems to a bit of sun today, instead of the usual rain.

See you soon............Clicky Needles.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Knitting and Crochet

Hello All.
Back to the important things in life.  
Knitting and Crochet.
I have completed some things over the last few weeks.
This crochet bunting was for The Phoenix Summer Swap. 
 The swap was to the value of £5.00, so some bunting seemed to fit the bill.  I added some smellies and chocolate to the parcel too.
The parcel I received.  The crochet doggy makes me laugh.
My Ravellenic Socks were finished in the closing ceremony.  These became a trial towards the end and it's entirely possible that one leg is shorter than the other.  I'm not sure why they became a chore, I wonder if it is because there was a deadline.  Deadlines for me, take the pleasure away.  I am totally capable of knitting a pair of socks in a couple of days ~ less if the family don't want feeding~ but these glared at me from their bag and I didn't want to do them.
Anyhoo, all finished now, in the drawer waiting for cold weather.
Talking of the weather, it's been hot and sticky, not much sun with many rainy downpours.
I've started a 'Lucy Bag' using Rowan All Seasons Cotton which my friend Romain gave me. 
 It is aran weight so crochets up quickly.  I wasn't happy about the colour joins, you can see them on the base of the bag.
For the sides of the bag I'm joining for the new colour in any place on the round rather than at the start.  This gives I think a much better finish.
Funnily enough Fiona at KnitKnotKnatUK  has just completed a wonderfully bright bag.  Pop over and have a look.  I have actually met her in real life.  She's a proper person, not just virtual.  Through her I've come across some lovely blogs which I've popped into my side bar.  The first one being Miss Magpie Makes, she lives on the South Coast ~ lucky thing ~ and she makes beautiful things, just look at the blanket on her front page.  The second being Cozy Things, anyone who yarnbombs their own back yard has respect from me.  She also has a made a lovely Beach Stripe Surf Blanket. One look and I was smitten.

I had planned to make a blanket with the colours from this Cath Kidston Tesco bag.  I started it but it wasn't doing it for me, so it's been unravelled.
I started a Beach Stripe Surf Blanket instead.  I've pulled out that acrylic that was left over from my Summer Granny Blanket,  hooked on (?) and I'm off.
Five stripes done so far.
One of the stripes is beige.  I wouldn't usually be using beige, but as it turns out it's not too bad.
I even considered white at one point but that turned out to be a mistake.
 The sharp eyed among you might notice that the blanket had been photographed on my steamer chair.  Yesterday it was actually sunny although the day started like this, muggy and hot. 
 The big orb in the sky broke through about lunch time and I took the opportunity to have some hooky time.  DD was spending the day with her BF and DS was cycling in the woods and leaping around like a lunatic on the neighbours' trampoline.  It was lovely and quiet.  Bliss.

DS arrived back with his socks looking like this "The grass next to the trampoline had been cut" and later on that evening a cold sore appeared on my lip.  For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction.  *Sigh*
If you have any tips for the socks, other than throw them away, let me know.

Righto, I'm off now.

Have fun...................Clicky Needles.

Oh I forgot!  The french house blog has started.  That was fast wasn't it?   I amaze myself sometimes.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Our Trip to France Part 2

Hello All.

If you've got to know me over the past few years you'll know when I promise 'Part 2 tomorrow' it's not going to be tomorrow.  It's Wednesday today and Part 1 was Sunday but there you go.
  Today it's pelting it down with rain and very dingy, so I've no excuse not to get on.  I've opened all the curtains wide in an effort to get a bit more light in but it's not really happening.

Here's some of the sights we saw the other week.
This magnificent chateau is at La Clayette. This picture was taken from the campsite, we had a very pleasant evening stroll around the lake.
 I think I like Burgundy so much because it is quite agricultural which takes me back to my childhood.  Tractors and combines were all over the place, hard at work harvesting.  There are lots of Charolais cattle, which are a bit too muscular for me ~ not a pretty as some English ones ~ but a nice bit of beef anyhow.
 La Clayette was having a Show Jumping Event and this horse and jockey sculpture was on a roundabout at the edge of town.
 We came across some interesting insects.
This blue butterfly was really difficult to photograph, every time I got near he flew away.
 A damsel fly on the tent guy rope.
 A lovely lizard on our front gate.  
'Our gate' still can't quite believe the house is ours!
 DS had fun playing with the grasshoppers.
And his best discovery, this amazing spider.  The spider stayed there for several days, I wouldn't mess with him, how about you?
We visited La Maire (The Mayor) of Montmelard in his office behind the war memorial, to introduce ourselves and to check if we needed planning permission the work we're wanting to do.
Thankfully B has been doing Conversational French evening classes, I could just make out what he was saying but she did marvellously well and chatted away to him.  He did look hopefully at us and ask when we would be finished.  I did my best Gallic shrug.
So a last few hours of de-spidering and sweeping and we were off.
On the return trip we stopped for a picnic lunch at an Aire, a motorway rest stop with a toilet.
There are vineyards all around.
The driving was uneventful as we were guided along by Cyril the Sheep but by the time we were in Northern France up ahead was looking a bit dark.
Oh yes.
The sun tried to put in an appearance, but only made things worse.
Although the rainbow was nice.
 Back onto the train to arrive before we left. 
 Left 10.00pm arrived 9.30pm.
Maybe Dr Who should just ride the tunnel to time travel. 
 So there we are.

I'm going to start a new blog up to chart the progress on the house who knows when that will be? 
You know what I'm like.............

Have fun.
Bye for now.........Clicky Needles.

P.S. It's now so dark I'm having to put the lights on. *sigh*

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Our Trip to France Part 1

Hello there.

If you've followed my blog for a while, you'll know that Mr Clicky and me and our friends B and S have been trying to buy a little house in Southern Burgundy, France.  
My first very excited post in 2010 about it is here.

I won't bore you with the reasons why it have taken 2 years to buy it but it has.

We got the final nod a few weeks ago and so B, me and DS set off from B's house in Hertfordshire at 4.00am to catch the 6.50am train under The Channel.
As we approached the sun was rising.
We made the train just in time.
We were on the bottom deck this time.
I know some people are a bit bothered about using the tunnel but we think it is fab. In the past we've had two horrendous 6 hour ferry crossings to France with delays both ways.  
Never again.
35 minutes later we were in France.....
........ the sunrise looked even better.
We then began our 8 hour journey along the French motorways, past fields and fields of sunflowers.
The co-drivers had a few sleeps, we swapped over several times and before we knew it, we were in Burgundy.  
Although we were not yet owners of the house we couldn't resist a peep and drove past on the way to the campsite we were staying.
Oh No!  Where had it gone?  
One of the neighbours came out to see us and amid lots of Gallic shrugs, told us what we already knew.  
Beaucoup de travail.  
 Lots of work. 

We tried not to get too down heartened and set off for the campsite in the nearest town La Clayette.
We had bought a bargain £80.00 8 man tent which is staying in the house for future use.  It was hot and sultry as we put it up and a few minutes later a thunderstorm struck.

The next day we were due to see the Nortaire (solicitor) at 4.00pm so a leisurely breakfast was followed by a trip to the Plassard (Yarn) Factory Mill 5 minutes drive away.
Well, it would have been rude not to.
Even DS was impressed by the colours.

I was very restrained and only got two balls. 

A spot of lunch back at the campsite, change into a dress (not DS, obviously)  and we soon found ourselves in the Notaire's office.  We had to sign sheets and sheets of legal documents which were previously read out to us in French.  We'd already sent the money via International Money Exchange (eek!) so 1/2 hour later we came out the proud owners of a house!

We were keen to get to the front door, so changed again into old jeans and drove the 10 minutes to Des Bonnes Amies (The Good Friends) as we're naming it.
The hamlet we're in is called Le Buisson  (The Bush) near to the village of Montmelard.  There are six houses altogether, one of those is a Gite and house owned by a lovely English couple B and D.  We popped around to borrow a scythe, D came with it and scythed us to the front door.
'The Path' looking back to the front gate.
We were in!
It has not been lived in for 15 years and is looking a bit sad.
Living room with stairs off, open door into the kitchen.
Living room window looking into the front garden.
Spiders everywhere!
The next few days were spent removing the worst of the dust and dirt.
We set DS to work in the front garden, a job which he executed with relish.
By the time he finished you could see the front.
Cracking job.
The back garden however, is a bigger job....
.......... it's twice as wide as the front but has less trees and more brambles and nettles.  The French neighbour we had already met appeared with his scythe and helped too.
More Gallic shrugs.
We found a sweet little blue bottle.
The hardboard falling down off the kitchen ceiling.  We managed to get some of it off but when I suggested to B we needed stepladders she told me in no uncertain terms 'There's no way I'm getting any closer the that.'
15 years worth of grime came down too.
We retired after the day's work back to the campsite and a dip into it's lovely pool.  It was very restorative.

Well, I have rambled on enough today Part 2 will continue tomorrow.

Bye for now .........Clicky Needles et Des Bonnes Amies 
(Mr CN, B and S.)