Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Spain via France

Sunday 28th August
Up bright and early, managed to leave the house by 3.30am. Sunday at this time of day is certainly the best time to drive anywhere, the roads are really quiet. Two and a half hours [via a detour as the M20 was closed] we arrive at the Eurotunnel for a train at 6.50am under the Thames to France. Clocks forward one hour and we are back on the road at 8.35am.
Northern France on the autoroute is rather boring until we hit Paris, but even driving around the Periphique went okay. This was the only photo I managed to get from the car, the Eiffel Tower painted on the side of a house!
Entering Paris

Eiffel Tower mural

Picnic time and the sun is shining

A few stops for fuel and food from our trusty picnic bag we arrived at the Kyriad Hotel Clemont Ferrand 4.15pm for our first over night. 588 miles
A short walk from the Hotel and its steak for him and ribs for me at the Hollywood Diner.

lovely hearing the old rock n roll songs while eating our dinner.
Picnic bag breakfast and we are on the road again just after 7.30am heading for the famous Millau Viaduct. The road is full of twists and turns and ear popping ups and downs as we reach over 1000ft altitude. Chris choose the route as he had seen the TV programme about the building of this amazing structure. We stopped at the visitors centre to learn it took 3 years to the day to build. 

343m high, 2460m long designed by Lord Norman Foster it is an amazing sight. We paid the toll and drove over the bridge and then doubled back on ourselves to drive down into the valley to see the structure from below.
photo taken on approach road

i took a lot of photos of the road before I managed to get one of the altitude markers!

There are many tunnels cut into the hills
The speedo reached 1000 miles as we arrived at the Campanile Barcelona for our second night, a bit run down but clean and near a huge shopping complex where we had a Burger King meal. No photo you've all seen a Burger King!!

7.15am and again we have had a picnic breakfast and are on our way to San Javier for our Spanish holiday. A few spots of rain turn into 31 degree heat as the sun rises. We pass through four toll booths in Spain so I am reaching out of the window to pay as Chris is on the wrong side of the car! Before leaving home Chris had purchased a gadget from Sanef that enables you to drive straight through the French toll booths at 30kph and the charges go straight to our bank account, a huge time saver as some of the tolls booths had very long queues of vehicles waiting to pay.
we were joined by a couple from Holland while we had lunch

Arrived after three days on the road, 1378 miles 2pm and 29.5 degrees temperature

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Off to sunny Spain

Can you hear me singing this song from 1974 ?

Oh this year i'm off to Sunny Spain Y Viva Espana I'm taking the Costa Brava 'plane Y Viva Espana If you'd like to chat a matador, in some cool cabana And meet senoritas by the score, Espana por favor

Maybe not hearing me singing is a good thing, but its time to get excited as we leave in a few hours for our drive through France to Spain for our holiday.

The only thing I have ready is my hands and feet !

Friday, 26 August 2016

Three and a half days with the girls

Monday the girls arrived to spend three and a half days with us. We had lots of plans and started by going out for lunch at the local Toby Inn, always a favorite as they have a nice carvery.

Since last year all odds and end of coins have gone into a large Teddy, this is becoming something of a tradition, and today was the day we emptied it and took the coins to the bank. It is so heavy we had to get Chris to carry  it downstairs and then it was put into smaller bags.

After lunch it was fun time at the bank, first getting the machine stuck and then filling it so full we had to get it emptied. They had half of the proceeds £40+ each.
Emptying Teddy and bagging up the coins.
Tuesday we loaded the car with sewing machines and craft work and spent the day in Bedford on a Sue's workshop / sit-n-sew day. Eleanor decided she would like to make a bag and enjoyed her time on my little Singer Sewing machine, in fact enjoyed it so much she made two bags.
Great concentration for an 8 year old

Look what I made!

Abigail worked on her crochet project, managing to work a row of star stitch, not an easy task, and a number of other rows.
Working on a crochet sampler much to the amazement of the ladies on the workshop
Excellent workmanship
Wednesday An absolute 'Must Do' trip to Woburn Safari Park. We seem to have a regular routine every summer of going and the girls both like to sit in the front of my car so we take cushions for them to squash into the one seat while we drive around the safari park! It was a really hot day and many of the animals were sleeping or hiding in the shade, but we still managed to see them all. After a picnic lunch the girls spent half an hour in the play barn while I had a much needed sit down.
Feeding the birds

Once scared, now wants them all over her!

In the small animal enclosure

Whizzing down the slide together

Eleanor, always the dare devil, sliding down the largest slide.

Tigers playing in the sun
Thursday we started the day with a game and then off to Emmaus Village to see what bargains we could find. Both girls bought yet another cuddly teddy for £1 each and a ring also £1, plus Eleanor found a case for her phone for 50p. I bought a new oven glove and bag both £1 each. So not a very expensive day but great fun. We then traveled to Carlton Country Park for yet another picnic and fun on the workout machines, plus a walk around the lake eating ice creams.
Early morning games

Keep Fit at Carlton Country Park

One of the many wood carvings

Picnic lunch

The calm of the lake

As always it is such a delight having the girls come to stay and today is really quiet without them.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Fabric painting picture

SweetPea machine embroidery designs have some wonderful patterns to sew into pictures that are then coloured in using water colour pencils.

One I could not resist was a nine panel picture of balls of wool, cotton reels and pin cushions etc.. 
I have backed it with a hanging sleeve and intend taking it on holiday to while away the hours with my set of Derwent water colour pencils.

Each square measures six by six inches.

An interesting bag pattern

Yesterday I decided to make a new handbag for my holiday, with only a week to go and having the granddaughters for the week I really should have been doing something else... hey ho!

Janelle MacKay designed the Butterfly Sling Purse that I thought would be ideal for holding passport and credit cards etc.  Two days ago I ordered zip by the yard, magnetic clasps and and swivel clasps on EBay and they all arrived yesterday so I was ready to go.

Wow what a lot of pieces to make such a little bag. Outside fabric, lining fabric, fusible fleece and interlining plus clear vinyl and all the hardware.

Inside are pockets for 12 credit cards, I decided six pockets were enough for a holiday purse. I also changed the handle as I like a fixed across the body handle.

This is going to be such a handy holiday bag and even though I was sewing into the evening I managed to complete it. I love love love it.
Such a smart little purse/bag

Room for six credit cards a passport and odds and ends

Opens out to two concealed pockets, one with zip and one open plus a vinyl window for and ID card.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Monday blues

Monday blues... started with both of us visiting the hospital, actually different hospitals to make life more complicated.
I was first at the Three Shires where I had my knee x-rayed again and as suspected I now have a date for another new knee in October, as soon as we get back from our next holiday.  Chris then went to The General hospital for his six monthly check up and all is OK and he was soon home.

The news about my knee put me in a real funk all day but I did managed to complete four table mats that I had started last week.

Love the way the triangles make an 'S' swirl
On a more cheery note I received a mug rug from a swap I had taken part in. I love the pretty colours and Barb, also known as the Quilt Dragon, also included three FQs of the same fabric. I love taking part in these machine embroidery swaps. It is so exciting to get a gift from the USA and Barb lives in New Jersey.

Love it QD, thank you.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

3rd workshop of the week

Wow this has been a busy week, having attended workshops on Monday and Tuesday and then away in the Cotswolds Wednesday and Thursday, I completed the week with a workshop at Coleman's Rushden with Trish.
A friend from church came with me to Coleman's as she is eager to learn sewing and quilting. It was a really busy workshop but I managed to complete my bag. The fabric is a new range and I really love it, pity I cannot remember the name of it!
The bag, based on a Debbie Shore pattern, has open pockets inside and also a concealed pocket with a zip.
On arriving back in Northampton I had another Spanish lesson, followed by assisting my teacher to open an Ebay / Paypal account and start selling things.
By the time I got home I was very tired but Chris had organised dinner so a feet-up evening was called for.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Green Laning in the Cotswolds Part Two

Having arranged an early breakfast we dined in seats rescued from a Church, they still have the shelf at the back for your hymn book!
Waiting for our 'Full English' breakfast
We love signs like this it always means we are in for some fun.

Approaching the first Ford, as there was a walk way I got out to take photos.

Not too deep!

Well it has cleaned the wheels!

Approaching another Ford, I'm staying in the car it's too muddy to get out.

Half way across the stream I ask Chris to stop so I can take a photo of this pretty bridge,
 hope we can get going again the water is lapping around the wheels.
 It was a wonderful day and the Cotswolds were at their best, sun shining, fields with ripe wheat and barley being harvested. The hedgerows in full leaf and lots of birds and butterflies about.

Green Laning in the Cotswolds Part One

Chris had planed a day "green laning" in the Cotswolds a couple of hours away from where we lived, so I suggested finding a B&B at the start of the route to save the 2+ hour journey early in the morning. In fact the start of the route was outside the Neeld Arms and as they cater for guests we booked in for one night.

The route
The Neeld Arms Inn, Grittleton is a 17th century, stone country inn set in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the ancient and unspoiled village of Grittleton.

Close by are the picturesque places of Chippenham, Chipping Sodbury and Malmesbury.  The County of Wiltshire is situated at the gateway to the West Country, much of the County is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Few Counties in England can equal Wiltshire's ancient monuments and burial grounds, a unique feature of its mystical landscape.

The quaint Inn

We had just arrived

An evening stroll before the sun set.

Monthly workshop - Triangles

Four of us got together for our now regular monthly workshop.
I had seen a mat made with isosceles triangles and spent some time perfecting how to make one. Drawing the 60 degree angles was my starting point, but it just would not fit into a "S" bend. I then realised if you cut 1/4 inch off where the triangle on the turn meets the others BINGO a nice fit.  I made a few samples in different sizes as a trial.
Pauline concentrating on cutting a straight line

Christine working out her stripes

Penny at the cutting mat

Some of the finished "S" bend triangle mats.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Bedford Workshop

Another day was arranged by Sue for a workshop in Bedford at a  church room. These days are always most enjoyable. Six of us had signed up to make a Carpet Bag with Penny being our teacher, while the rest of the group did their own thing.
I chose a fairly thick fabric but wish I had gone for upholstery fabric as I think it would have looked better, still there is always next time.  The closure is a large metal sprung frame, what fun we had trying to put the little bolts in to secure it, strangely no-one had a pair of pliers in their sewing kit!

It was a lovely day meeting up with the regulars that always attend.
Christine going "Scotish" with her tartan bag

Heads down in concentration

View from Penny's [ teacher] table, showing her finished bag.

My finished bag, photographed when I got home outside enjoying the sunny weather.

The Rocket and the Cancer Sampler

A friend from Church sent me a message that a Lego Rocket Technic was for sale on Market Place and he thought Chris should have it. The guy ...