Monday, April 28, 2008

Green Knowe

It was Ricardo's birthday today and after last years huge bash, I thought I'd try & compete with a mystery tour for him....
We've been re-reading the Green Knowe books and I decided we should go to Hemingford Grey, one of the oldest continuously inhabited houses in Britain, the house where Lucy Boston wrote and set her delightful books.
You have to make an appointment to visit and I was slightly nervous about snooping through someone elses house. Maybe we'd be overwhelmed by bus loads of Japanese tourists? Would it be presumptuos to have a picnic in the garden? Would the nostalgic images in my minds eye be ruined?
The house and gardens are truly magical. We were the only ones to visit on an early Spring Monday. It was much smaller and more intimate than I expected.
Dianna Boston, Lucy's daughter in law gave us a guided tour and was an absolute star. I had told her that there were three reasons for the visit. One was Richard's birthday, the second was our love of the books and the third was that as a textile artist I was interested in Lucy's pathwork quilts. She pointed out all sorts of wonderful fabrics as we meandered through the ancient house. Lucy only started making her patchworks when she was in her 60's and they are superb. Keeping to her goal of 20 stitches to the inch she continued to make them until her death in 1990 at the age of 97. There are not only fabrics to look at in the house, but sensational paintings & prints at every turn. The most enchanting part of the house is the very top room which looks out over the garden on three sides.
Today it looked over a buzzing froth of white Cherry blossom. This is where the character Tolly (short for Toseland) sleeps & meets his ancestors. There was the little Japanese mouse, the birdcage where the pet chaffinch came to visit and the splendid rocking horse.
We had a picnic in the hidden

garden with home made turkey sausage rolls and macadamia nut millionaires shortbread.
The photos of us in the garden are mine but the interior shots are from the website at
Go and visit this place if you can...... but first read the books. If you can't visit then read the books..... as quickly as you can, you're in for a treat.

Friday, April 25, 2008


When I moved to the UK from Australia, the internet was my lifeline to family and friends back home. I spent an enormous amount of time on it creating my blog and surfing other peoples' blogs. I craved and found a new community. Part of that community was my new found friend Kelly who laid her life and limb on the line by actually coming to visit us here in Norfolk, England (despite her Father thinking she would be sold into the white slave trade if she came to visit people she had met in cyberspace).
I have a ritual now of blog checking in the mornings....I must admit it starts off with mine. Usually I then check Kelly's and my sister Suez but then venture further, zigzagging across the globe. A couple of my favourites are Yarnstorm and Posy gets cosy. I love their celebrations of the domestic and particularly their recent Tulip posts. So here without further sentimental ado is my homage to them with my very own bunch of tulips picked from our own very small garden. Thanks girls for the inspiration.
How amazing to step outside my door and pick a bunch of Queen-of-the-night.

And here is the reason I came to this wet and green island.... my Darling Ricardo.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring weekend

This weekend we had a lovely time. We've subscribed to and received our first film. A French one called La Brodeuse or in English 'A common thread'. It had the most wonderful female lead with flaming red hair who always wore green. There were some beautiful scenes of her beading a fabulous garment for a couturier. There is more to it but I won't bore you with it here.
Richard spent Saturday at the boat and returned home tired & cold so I cooked up a feast for us.....Moussaka, purple sprouting broccoli and rhubarb & apple meringue tart.
On Sunday we went to visit our friends the Man's over at Manor Barns.
The fog lifted and it was time for a bath ...... well maybe not quite warm enough yet.and then a walk to the river. The sun shone, the birds sang and finally we took off our coats.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Websites & whippets

On Friday, we went to visit our lovely friends Kim & Phil in their peppermint house in Suffolk. They live in an idyllic village called Newbourne that has a great pub called the Fox. Well worth a visit.
They have a very cute whippet called saphire because she has beautiful blue eyes. Here she is with Richard.

Kim has been helping me fix up my appalling website!!! It's going to marvelous, go & have a look here and tell me what you think so far.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Heavy horses

Ricardo & I went to a nearby village called Euston to see some heavy horses in action on the weekend. My new best friend David Boggia told us it was on. He's an old Norfolk boy that lives in the village and had started coming to bellringing practice. He owns a host of old (what is the collective noun for) tractors and what's called a "living van" which he wants me to make an authentic horsehair mattress for....It was absolutely freezing but wonderful. These horses are such gentle giants. The old boys that tend to them are amazing too with huge side wiskers.It was snowing on their shiny black coats but these ones stood there patiently waiting for their next instructions.You can see in the video how elegantly they put one foot beside each other to turn a corner.
With petrol prices skyrocketing maybe it wont be long until horses are back as the preferred mode of farming. So much must have been lost when farmers no longer had a relationship with their animals.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Long Melford

Today I went on an adventure to Sudbury to see if I could find some silk for a couple of jobs I will be doing for Churches nearby. I've blogged before about the silk mills in Sudbury.
I never need much of an excuse to go. It's about an hours drive away and this time it was well worth it. I found the perfect green silk damask and a lovely cream as well. I'll blog later about what I'm making with them.
On the way home I drove off the main road to a village called Long Melford. This area is an old wool growing area and the Churches are fantastic; big and grand from all the riches that came from that Medieval trade.
I wandered around the village and then the amazing Church. It has a famous small Rondell of stained glass which has three hares on it. The altar cloth had the same beautiful & quirky design. There are three hares, each with two ears but somehow there are only three ears instead of six. Photo from this website

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Under sea adventure

Ricardo and I went to Southwold on the weekend to drop off some cushions.
They were starting a new exhibition at Craftco and wanted some sea themed cushions. Here they are for your perusal.
The Sea horse....The sea urchin....The starfish...... We had a wonderful lunch at The Crown Hotel in their sunny yellow dining room. Just what we needed after a hectic working week. Richard looks a bit glum but in reality he looked really handsome, with his new long hair & his beautiful plum coloured velvet coat that he got on ebay from Clarissa. He borrowed my scarf because it looks stunning with the coat.