Saturday, 24 February 2018

Colour me happy.

The weather is due to turn really cold across Europe next week, so we're making sure we have plenty of fuel and food for us all.
I love this landscape, old, cold and magical. When I walk these woods, I can feel the land breathing through the soles of my feet. The energy rises through me and takes away any blues it energises me but at the same time grounds me. I can take these gorgeous colours and see them in my art, visualise them in my wool. While I'm walking and feeling happy, I'm still working. It's work I love, so maybe it's not work at all?
I get home to work on the shawl, ready to weave cool blues and greens into a gorgeous scarf. Bambam thinks it's a lovely day to help me  :D
It's hot in the conservatory out of the wind. Too hot maybe for Dexter so he climbed into the weaving box and offered support from there :D
The scarf is brighter in real life but I love how it's progressing. The dark stripes are my homespun wool and the main colour is a ball of Acrylic that Moomin brought back from the Uk for me. Soon my scarves and shawls will be all homespun wool. Sometimes though, people prefer acrylic or are allergic to pure wool, so it's good to have a variety of fibers to work with.
These colours are also showing in the pools that have appeared in Merlin's hollow. Have I mentioned Merlin's hollow before? There are a series of natural hollows in the woods behind our house. They're magical and remind me of places in books and movies that Merlin often had his little hut/house. Several are lined with stone and after all the heavy rainfall lately, they filled with water and haven't yet drained.
This one here is deep enough for me to swim in but it's freakin cold and I'm sure will have gone by the time it's warm enough to even dip a toe! Wally can't get enough of the water though and loves swimming in even the coldest waters!
The land here is altering my view of the world, my art and my life. It's great to be connected to this beautiful place that I love so much <3

Friday, 23 February 2018

Ups and downs ( a long post).

I really couldn't think of a better blog title. It's been a time of many emotions. Just when we get things going smoothly we get a set back. Nothing too awful, but stressful all the same. My car developed problems with the wipers in November and I tried to get it fixed when we were in England. It was frustrating to say the least. In January the wipers stopped completely and I became trapped in the house due to all the rain. I finally found an English mechanic who I should have walked away from as I just had a bad feeling. Well, the picture below shows the switch to control the wipers! If it rains, I have to stop the car, open the bonnet and turn the wipers on!
You may wonder why I accepted my car in this ridiculous condition? Well, I felt lucky to get the car back at all and the mechanic wouldn't hand over the keys until I paid! I'm not normally the most outspoken person, unless really pushed and to be honest, I felt very intimidated. I've since found out that this man makes a living from ripping people off and bullying them if they complain! I was just glad to get away!
A good thing was a beautiful bunch of flowers from T's Mum when she came to visit. They've lasted for a few weeks and are just gorgeous <3
The weather has finally started to improve and the rain has stopped for now, yay :D I don't mind the cold frosty mornings, they're invigorating :D
I think this has to be my best bread yet! It was so soft and fluffy and great for sandwiches and toast.
Look at that lovely crumb, I'm so full of myself, haha :D
We took the dogs to the lake to escape the sound of T bashing tiles off the walls and floor in the old bathroom. This is my favourite place to be, the next best thing to the beach.
The sun was still shining when we went for a road trip to visit a very lovely lady who breeds the Ouessant sheep. The little white girl came and licked my hand and I'm afraid my fate was sealed! I'm so in love with these little sheep and their placid but enquiring natures.
You can see how small they are, they are only knee high! Smaller than both of our dogs! Their wool is variable, but you know, I just don't care. I'm in love and that's it <3
I spun some wool, not my best to be honest and I tried Navajo plying which was awful. I didn't feel like knitting it, so I used some of it to warp my loom.
The wool was brought back from England for me by Moomin and the cool greens and greys together with the greeny/blue wool I spun reminded me of the colours of the lake in winter, so I'm hoping the scarf will be a perfect reflection of my favourite lake.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018


It was pretty chilly yesterday, but the sky was blue and despite a freezing wind, we got the first line of wire attached to the fences all around the paddocks! Hopefully, the days of escaping ponies will soon be at an end! We were cold and tired and crashed out early with a lovely comforting supper of cassoulet, beans, squash, bacon and sausages. It sounds like a lot, but the meat was really for flavour as the vegetables made up the greater part of the meal. Unfortunately, we were too tired to get some essential items for the cave.
We woke up this morning to this! A beautiful white landscape. Thankfully we have a fully stocked larder, but what we really needed to get was some extra wood, as our woodpile was sat under a leak in the roof!
We have reserves on pony food - just in case and plenty of hay. The snow came down thick and fast as we fed the ponies.
Then it brightened up a bit before a prolonged fall that lasted through the morning.
Our little woodland looks so sweet in this picture.
Today is T's birthday and I bought him a set of overalls to protect his clothes from the mud. It's also a good way to stay warm with extra layers :D
In time for his birthday our home cured bacon was ready. I cut a few slices for breakfast

and packed the rest up for the freezer. Bacon is expensive here, when we can get it, so this is a cheaper and in my opinion, tastier way to have it. There are often large pieces of pork on offer when the farms have a clear out and we bought a piece big enough for chops, chunks for casserole and pieces for stir fry. The belly was what we were left with and of course, that meant bacon rashers :D
The snow has stopped a little and we're going to venture out to see if we can get some dry wood and dog food as that's the main thing we're low on!
Hope you all stay warm wherever you are.x

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Slowing down.

There's been a big drive towards slowing down your life for a long time. It's funny because the message to slow down is gathering momentum, I enjoy that kind of contradiction :D

It's a hard thing to do, especially when we're so used to living at a certain pace and I noticed that since I was a child the speed at which we live now has increased at an alarming rate. Movies from my childhood seem so very slow without the non-stop, high speed chases, fight scenes, battles, you name it. Films like Ladies in Lavender and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel have snubbed the trend for fast paced movies and have gone back to a gentler more classic story and I love them dearly for that. Is it my age??? I hope not, but then maybe with age comes an understanding and a realisation that we don't have to be first in the queue, first to win the race or first or fast at anything at all! It's taken me nearly half my life to realise this, and I say half my life because I intend to make it to 100 ;)

I sweep the whole house daily. I enjoy the quiet rythm of the broom and this little pile is just today's mixture of pet hair and dirt. I like sweeping, it's a slow, peaceful time to think about the day to come, plan meals, plan the tasks that will fill the day, to slow it all down and live in the moment. I do hoover, once a week as we have rugs in the bedrooms, but I dislike the noise and how it upsets the animals and my thoughts. In the summer, I'll only sweep and the rugs will have a good shake and a beating out of the windows.
 I made soup for myself. I wanted a red Thai soup recipe, but all I could find on the internet was 'open a jar of red thai paste'!!! Eventually I found a recipe for red thai past! The soup was actually pretty good and I felt my body thanking me for the lovely vegetables and vitamins. A little piece of salmon would have been perfect, but it's a bit expensive just for soup!
 I finished the seond pair of socks and these only took four days to make! They're a present for T's birthday and I hope he enjoys them :D I went to a knitting group a few weeks back and someone mentioned that making socks is silly when you can get them cheaply in some shops! That's not the point I told her, I make them in honour of my feet. Think about it, we spend a large part of the day on our feet, they carry our weight, forced into tight shoes and then made to walk miles! I think they deserve a little pampering and handmade socks are like little fluffy clouds in your shoes <3
 Of course, Dexter had to get into the picture! He's everywhere at once, that boy <3

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Bringing in the Wild (or what is re-wilding?)

When I started this blog, it was with a view to getting back to the wildness that moves me. To finding in the wildwoods of Hampshire the power to heal myself. I walked for health. I wanted to take home pieces of the woodland that helped me to cope with my health and the daily issues of stress and anxiety. The woodlands inspired me to create art and I wanted to fill my home with the wild art of the woods that were slowly succumbing to the encroaching houses. I felt desperate to capture this feeling before it was gone.
And then I moved to France. The wildness that I desperately craved, I found all around me. Not in danger of suddenly disappearing, instead this wildness is celebrated and I found my true home. Now, at last I understand what re-wilding is all about. It's about staying connected to nature, to having in your home less plastic, more natural substances like wood or stone, wool or even glass. Give up the plastic, use paper, re-use man-made things if you have them, so long as they don't go to landfill. I've seen beautiful knitted bags made from woven carrier bags! If you have plastic, reuse it, but don't invest in any more!
It's this ethos of living naturally that is becomming more and more a part of my daily life. When we shop, we fill our trolley with goods (usally a lot of cat food tins) and at the checkout we dump our shopping back into the trolley only to empty it straight into the car! We unload it right into the cave at the other end. No bags needed at all. Sometimes a box may be used, but that's it! The cans are then squashed and put into the recycle bin, a complete cycle.
You don't have to be as extreme as we have been, but you can still think about making a difference to your life and that of the planet. Use less, reuse more and live carefully.
This ethos is becomming more of my daily life and helping me to get up in the mornings, to seek the healing that this way of life brings me. And of course, the biggest part of this journey is wool! It's all around us, waiting to be spun and then knitted or crocheted into a thing of beauty. I can always find a way to justify my wool obsession :D

A duvet day.

When the weather is bad and, lets face it, just lately it has been, there's not much you can do but cosy up on the bed with some cats, the laptop and some knitting. It took me nearly a year to make these first socks! They were ripped bak and restarted too many times to think about. Once finished though, I felt ready to tackle more.
I found an easier pattern with less stitches and these soks have taken less than a week! They would have been finished in a couple of days, but I made a fair isle pattern for the top which didn't work out, so I wasted a lot of time reworking that. In the end I opted for the most basic fair isle stitch as these socks are a present for my lovely man's birthday next week!
The wet weather has driven all the cats inside. Bambam loves to snuggle with Manchee and his blankets :D
Dexter has been making a determined effort to break in to the house by sneaking in behind the other cats. I muddle him up with up with Bambam all the time and he's managed to get half way in. During the day, that's not a good idea as Manchee still barks at him and would give chase if he could! Last night though, I let him in. It was very cold and although he has a duvet and two hot water bottles, it felt mean to shut him out.
Fae adores him, so long as he remembers his place.
So here we have all 7 cats in one room. The sofas are covered with towels and blankets in case of an accident and a quiet night was had by all. I slept very well knowing they were all snuggled together :D
For the most part, this is Dexter's bedroom. He has a very cosy bed that Finn often shares with him, away from those silly girl cats ;) I think he's very happy to have found us and I know that I'm really happy to have him. He makes me smile and laugh so much <3