when it’s hot

Our corner of France has had nothing but sun, sun, and more sun.  Gibbs is a happy dog because he can go for a dip in our little stream to cool down – something he does at every opportunity.  Water is somewhat murky though and I honestly don’t feel like following suit.  Yet, I’ve been suffering from the heat, with swollen hands & feet (due to bad circulation) and my back, which still isn’t 100% has been causing more leg pain.

My lovely husband took pity on me, and was trying to think of a solution, bearing in mind that summer temperatures are likely to continue well into September.  The solution he came up with is


Our own little private spa!  It’s basically a glorified inflatable paddling pool, but a bit more high-tech.  A Bestway “Lay-Z- Spa”, the “Paris” model.   The advertising photo shows


It has a pump with an incorporated heating system so water can be heated (or you can just leave the cover on for part of the day and let the sun heat it up) . . . and then bubbles.  Lots of lots of bubbles that massage. 

I never imagined having something like this in the back garden, but now it’s there, I have to say – yippee!!!  It’s brilliant!  Ever so refreshing to take a dip, and let the bubbles massage my back.  It’s a bit noisey when the bubbles are doing their thing, but oh!  how relaxing!

We don’t go away on holiday, so with this spa, I’ll be able to take frequent dips throughout the day, and keep fresh.  A shame it’s not practical to do needlecrafts at the same time.


harvesting vitamins

As you know, my husband loves gardening, and now he’s retired he has more time to spend in his veggie patch.  I’m not particularly interested in gardening, and much prefer to keep my hands busily clean doing needlecrafts.  But I’m more than happy to down needle and applaud, as husband brings fresh veggies into the kitchen each day, and sets about preparing dinner.


Husband only planted 2 courgette plants this year but we’re already being inundated with fresh courgettes, literally every day.  Here’s a basket of courgettes, a handful of pois gourmands (or mange-tout), a couple of beetroot and our very first cucumber.

Cucumber which rather tempted Gibbs


Who put his paws up on the table and had a chomp before I had time to tell him off.  That dog  will eat anything!

more veggie

And then only 2 days later . . . even more courgettes and some home-grown potatoes.  They made a lovely change . . . rissoled gently, until they were golden & crispy, served with green salad and Italian smoked ham.  Yum yum.

Cats are also bringing a few things home . . . and the garden path is littered, daily, with the corpses of dead mice (I apologise to the faint-hearted, but cats will be cats).  However, occasionally, one does get away. 

another one

This little one was brought, alive, into the veranda, and from there, managed to scurry into the house.  It then spent 24 hours in hiding before I was able to locate it, trap it, and set it free.  Although saying that, if it hangs around in our garden, I don’t give it long before it gets caught again. 

SAL update – Cirque des Triangles #7

More triangles have adorned my fabric for this update.

Last time it looked like this.

CdesT stage 6

Now it looks like this

CdesT stage 7

CdesT stage 7 zoom

This is “Cirque des Triangles”, a design by Tracey Horner for Ink Circles.  I’m stitching with Threadworx “Wild Poppies” on forest green 27 count Lugana evenweave, and loving every stitch.  It’s so relaxing to work a monochrome design.  No hassles with numerous symbols or threads.  Just need to thread my needle up with 2 strands of Threadworx and the colours change all by themselves.

Don’t forget to stop by and admire progress of other SAL members.  Avis, is working on the same CdesT design, but in totally different colours.  Other members are all working on a wonderful variety of projects:  Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, SusanP, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, WendyLinda, Catherine, Mary Margaret and Timothy.

And come back for the next update on 16th July.

amigurumi bunny

I’ve been hooking rather than knitting these past few days as we’re having something of a heat wave.  Tackling another pattern from the first in the “Zoomigurumi” series.

Zoomi 01

Working on this pattern.

Wasabi WIP

Pattern called “Wasabi the bunny” by Little Muggles.   Is made up of 9 parts.  I used Stylecraft Special DK yarn in Duck Egg and Sage.  And a 3mm hook for this project because I felt tension could have been tighter on my tiger.

ami lapin 02

This is the final result – bunny measures 15cm high, in this sitting position to the tips of his ears.

ami lapin01

His nose didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped  and ended up looking more like a koala nose than a bunny nose . . . not to worry.  He’s still presentable.

And, just for fun, because I wanted to see the progress I have made since beginning this amigurumi crochet lark in February . . . a group photo of some of the critters I’ve made.   These are the ones which haven’t been given away (yet).amigurumi group

I will now be flicking through the pages of my book . . . wondering which critter to make next.  It could be the monkey (of the cover photo) next.

one man and his dog

One man and his dog have been trying to keep cool in this heat

1806man and dog

This was taken of Gibbs surveying the dam building in the little stream that runs along the edge of our orchard.   By the way, we’re still waiting for Gibbs’ biopsy results.  I’ll let you all know as soon as we do.


My husband enjoys playing with water almost as much as Gibbs does.  Anyway, they were both nice and cool, in the shade . . . meanwhile in the sunshine . . .

1806bald patch

This is what the hens’ enclosure looks like, after several months of pecking, and scratching.  The only plant that has survived is

1806 flowers

I’ve no idea what it is, but it’s very pretty.  Hens meanwhile have been moved to summer camp, in the orchard.


They’ve got plenty of fresh grass to peck/scratch and they’re in the shade of two apple trees.  You can only see two gals in the photo . . . Miss Moneypenny is brooding.

Anyway, a quick tour with the camera to see how everything is growing in the heat.

1806 kiwiws

The kiwi vine is covered in tiny fruit.  That won’t be ready for harvest until December/January, but I’m keeping a close eye on them already.

1806 vine

This is one of the our grape vines (for eating grapes).  Husband cut it back last year and it has grown with new vigour this season.


In the veggie patch . . .

1806 courgettes

Courgettes are spreading and we’ve already begun harvesting & enjoying them while they’re small & tender.

1806 spuds

Same goes for potatos which husband planted under straw this year.  We’ve already enjoyed some baby new potatos (from the middle row).


We’ve got 18 tomato plants under cover and first tommies are there.

1806 tommies 02

1806 tommies 01

Other plants are looking a bit sorry for themselves, but growing nonetheless, apart from the brocoli which has completly gone to seed.

1806 veggie patch

And I have no idea what’s going on with my beans this year!


We’ve planted 3 rows so far, at fortnightly intervals, but things are either coming up patchy or not at all.  Husband suggests he turn over the soil in what was the hens’ enclosure to plant more beans there.  I think he might have to.

vitamins galore, sashing and quilting

It’s that time of year again . . . when we can go with our little basket into the veggie patch, and bring back fresh home-grown produce for dinner!

veggie & fruit

Here are some of the home-grown ingredients for dinner the other night.  Courgettes roughly chopped up and pois gourmands  which my husband stir fried with chicken in miso.  Plus some freshly chopped chives to sprinkle on top of the tofu.  Followed by a mix of strawberries and raspberries, which we enjoyed with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream.  Yummy.

I am very lucky that my husband loves cooking, and he’s an excellent chef.   Now that he’s retired, he is taking over more and more of the cooking, although I do help with preparation.  This leaves me with more time to do what I love . . . crafting.

F2F2 blocks sashed

And recent days have seen me busy upstairs in my sewing room, quilting.  All I will show you for now is this.  To say, I’ve finally finished quilting all thirty blocks of my F2F2 quilt and am ready to move on to the QAYG part.

I was umming and ahhing over whether to use white strips or more of the solid orange . . . I’m going to keep things really bright, and QAYG strips will be in orange both front and back.

And speaking of bright . . . lookee here


One of our cactus plants has flowered!  This is the first year it’s ever had flowers, and there are so many of them!  Cactus is obviously telling us that it really likes its place in the veranda.