A fab weekend.

I had a whole weekend off – what sheer joy! And I was determined to squeeze as many goods things into it as possible.  Including…

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…a trip to Bluestocking Wool and Gifts. How I LOVE LOVE LOVE this shop! Row upon squidgy row of all different types of yarn in the most fabulous colours. I didn’t realise how bad the photo above was until after I’d left, but this is a new super chunky (and super cuddly) Stylecraft yarn that I’m thinking might be nice for a blanket for Lily.  These colours are much more muted than I’d normally use but are delicious.

While in Stroud I popped into a nearby park to grab a cache. En route we passed this gorgeous door. ..

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It made me think of fairy tales and secret passages – I’m sure this door could inspire some fabulous children’s stories!

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Later on that day we headed over to Montpellier Gardens so Patrick could take over the pennies he’d saved for the ‘mile of money’ event in aid of eradicating Polio. He met the Mayoress and hob nobbed with other dignitaries – he had a great time!

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I rounded off the evening with some relaxing hooky in my new PJs!  I really need more of these lovely type of days in my life!

Sunday started off with a walk round one of my favorite parks. Pittville Park seems to have something for everyone…

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…a boating lake (which already appears to have been shut up for the summer)..

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…miles of paths and huge open green spaces for over active kids and dogs…

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…an adventure trail for the kids,  both young and old…

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…and a café that serves amazing cappuccinos and hot chocolates. Bliss.

And then…OH SO ECXITING…I put together my very first cache to hide! I put a few little goodies in with a log book and have hidden it in one of our most frequently used dog walking field.

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It’s registered on the site and waiting for it to be verified and checked….whoop! Of course, the rest of the family think I’m very odd to be getting so excited about hiding bits if tupperware in muddy fields.  Do I care? Naaah!

I start nights again tonight but it’s all good cos we’re off to Yarndale and a weekend in North Yorkshire on Friday! I’ve been looking forward to this since I booked our accommodation in January…a weekend of woolly yarn, creative people and the Yorkshire Dales.  Bring it on!

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Finding the positives.

I always find myself getting a bit downhearted when I have a set of night shifts looming. It can make me feel a bit isolated from the family and I hate that.  And, although I get to spend a little time with them in the evening before I head off to work, it seems really hard to feel connected with them.  I’m not the one doing the school runs, cooking the dinner, reading with them,  etc.  After entering the night shift zone on a Monday I feel like things can’t really return to any semblance of normal family life until Friday evening.

So to combat my poor me’s I decided today to actively seek out reasons to be cheerful. And it seems there are quite a few, despite the night shifts!

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#1: Some new fat quarters to feed the stash!  I’m thinking of trying my hand at making some colourful,  cheerful bunting.  I love a bit of bunting!

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#2: Glorious gladioli. Aaah, these are going to be BEAUTIFUL! 

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Good old Tesco were selling them for £3 a bunch, buy one get one free.  It’d be rude not to at that price!

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I love this Cadbury purple and the ones above are pink with darker pink tinged edges.  Bring on the happy!

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#3: While walking the dogs this afternoon we noticed the most gorgeous rainbow.  In fact, there were two as there was a smaller,  fainter rainbow behind the first.   Maybe we’re due some good luck?  A pot of gold wouldn’t go amiss either for that matter!

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#4: watching the big fella teach the little fella how to play chess. And being amazed at how quickly he’s picking it up!

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#5: Watching Autumn creep ever closer.  We’ve had some wild weather over the weekend in our neck of the woods. And although I’m constantly lamenting the end of summer I really love Autumn days when the sun is out.

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#6: My lovely friend is in hospital being induced RIGHT NOW! No news yet, but hopefully it won’t be too long until there’s a new little bundle to cuddle – it’s SO ECXITING!! I really must get a shifty on with the baby blanket that’s destined for him.

So plenty to stop me feeling too sorry for myself.   Well, that’s the plan anyway!

Bedtime reading.

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Oh, my poor achey limbs! I had a WONDERFUL day yesterday at Alton Towers with my very best friend.  Just the two of us so no whingeing about queue times, regular dashes for the loo, constant feeding and watering,  etc. So we made the most of this window of kid free fun time and dashed from ride to ride like mad things.  And had a fab time.

But it seems I’m getting old. Strangely,  I don’t seem to be able to spend an adrenaline fuelled,  mad day out without feeling a little worse for wear the following day. And I’ve got a 14 hour shift to get through tomorrow! So I’ve had a lovely hot soak in the bath and am about to settle into bed with a couple of my most favorite books for a bit of visual eye candy.  Bliss.

An unexpectedly lovely afternoon.

I was really annoyed and cross with myself when I got home yesterday afternoon after a busy early shift,  to discover I had accidentally brought home keys that they’d need on the ward.  The last thing I wanted to do was turn round and go back to work.  So I talked Mark and Paddy into taking the dogs for a little stroll around Cheltenham afterwards.  What was originally intended to be a quick walk for the dogs turned into a lovely three or four hours, moseying around Cheltenham and being tourists in our local area.   We started out for a couple of geocaches…

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…and this was the first one we found. How beautiful is this fountain?  I never had any idea that it was here.   It was made in Italy but stolen by the French,  and somehow ended up in England.   There was a little plaque with all the info and history of the fountain but I’m a little ashamed to say that Paddy and I were more interested in signing the cache’s logbook!

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On to geocache number 2 – a statue of King William IV, made to commemorate his coronation.   This was in Montpellier Gardens,  one of many beautiful parks in and around Cheltenham.

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We were delighted to find an outdoor café so treated ourselves to cappuccinos for Mark and I…

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…and this chocolatey, creamy concoction for His Knibbs. Lovely.

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Cheltenham has very old and beautiful trees everywhere,  especially so in most of the parks.  Look at this – GORGEOUS!  And backed by blue skies too!

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This is another such beauty, although this has been fenced off due to a fungal infection.  Nice.

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The Queen’s Hotel.  This is an iconic building in Cheltenham.  VERY expensive and VERY exclusive.  And they do fab afternoon teas,  so I’m told.  I may have to indulge my new found passion for afternoon tea again very soon…

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Another geocache,  this time being guarded by Neptune himself!

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Another few caches dotted around the town centre then we walked past The Town Hall.  I love the Regency period buildings of Cheltenham. So elegant and pretty.

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This is Sandford Park, where I had my impromptu picnic at the start of the week.  It has a great play area but my favorite part is the rose garden…

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…Bertie and Maisy’s favourite part was the huge open spaces. ..

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…and these huge old tree trunks proved a highlight for Paddy.  I’ve got photos of him last year jumping off these with great abandon,  but this year he was reluctant to do the same!  Older and wiser, perhaps?

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There were still some impressive blooms about considering it’s now September.  I wish I’d thought to visit in July and August.  I must make a mental note to head there next year.  It’s right next door to work so there’s no excuse really.

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The smell was AMAZING.   All in all,  we had a lovely outdoor afternoon.   So much more rewarding than a Sunday afternoon spent snoozing on the sofa.  I loved walking around Cheltenham when there were so few people about.  Definitely an afternoon to repeat sometime soon.

Slow progress

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I’m enjoying these granny square although I’m not as wowed by these colours as I usually am.  This will be a baby blanket for a friend of mine who will having her baby in the next couple of weeks so I really do need to get a shifty on.  This is quite a handy little project though as I can crochet at home but just take the blanket and darning needle to work with me so I can sew a few ends in during my break (on the shifts that I actually manage to get a break!).

Next time I think I’ll do five round granny sqaures using only three colours to reduce the amounr of pesky ends that need sorting out.  Or maybe an Elmer blanket of five round squares using only 1 colour, randomly placed.

Here we go again…planning the next project before this (and another 4 or 5) project is finished. WIPs…I have a few…

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This little blanket just needs to be finished being joined together and then an edge worked.  I think this is too girly for a boy and all my friends having babies at the moment have had boys, so this one will be held in reserve for the first girl to arrive.

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I hadn’t realised that I’d made this much progress with this blanket for our bed before I got bored of it and put it to one side.  This will make a nice job for the autumn I think.

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And this baby blanket for a friend’s little girl who must now be around 6 months old – so only running a little late Heehee! Again, I’m not really feeling the love for the colours I’ve used, hence the unenthusiasm to get the job done.

I really must get more strict with myself about finishing some of these before starting something else.  No really. I must. Ahem.

The day of the dressing gown.

Overnight the temperature dropped. And I mean REALLY DROPPED!  It was sunshiney and warm yesterday and it’s now grey, wet and not sunshiney.  I had to wear my dressing gown for the first time this autumn! Hhhmmmpphhhh.  On the positive side of things though my lovely new plants are getting a good watering in.

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I’m loving my new front patch now! From right to left I’ve got my beautiful peony ( which didn’t do much this year other than three perfect-in-every-way beautifully scented flowers), my new pink lupin, a reddish something or other I bought a couple of years ago,  my new purple lupin, a twirly wirly green grass then my new azalea.  And a few winter pansies thrown in for good measure.  Call me sad but I’m extraordinarily excited by this and keep popping outside to take another look.  Hey, what can I say? I’m low maintenance – it doesn’t take much to make me a happy bunny!
:::oh dear. That wrought iron trellis is a bit disgraceful.  Been meaning to see to that for…ummm…about 6 years:::

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Right now I have a huge bowl of fruit,  yogurt and bran flakes to demolish. Even happier!

Today’s best bits.

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I had mandatory annual training today (yawn) but managed to get through the morning session by promising myself a sunny lunch break over at the park’s rose garden.  I heard on the radio this morning that ‘autumn will be arriving tomorrow’ so I wanted to make the most of every last drop of the sunshiney stuff available. I treated myself to Broccoli and Almond soup which I’ve never had before but which was delicious.  Swiftly followed by this…

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So yummy! 

Being surrounded by so many beautiful flowers got me in the mood for a mooch round the local garden centre. I came hime with a couple of lupins, an azalea japonica and some of the cutest little winter pansies.

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So sweet.  I spent a happy hour planting and rearranging them in the front garden along with some crocus bulbs I bought in town last week.   Eeek! I’m excited to see if they grow. I’ve never grown anything from bulb before and I’ve always assumed it’d be tricky. I don’t know why. We shall see!

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Crocus bulbs are very strange looking things indeed!

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I don’t want  Autumn to arrive.  I could quite happily have another couple of months of sunshine please.