I keep my blog as a personal record of what I'm up to, which might be seen as working towards "An elegant sufficiency, content, retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, ease and alternate labour, useful life"

I'm certainly not there yet.  There is quite some way to go!










I’m sure there were better places




I’m not sure what was in the mind of the fishmonger at Waitrose, when they chose to apply the Mothers Day reminder right by a display of open mouthed trout.


Watching, waiting, listening


I don’t think I’m the only Archers listener around here, am I?  If not, then perhaps I’m not the only one to be amused at the latest storyline and the way the BBC has taken a multimedia approach to the story.

Firstly, there was this.


Fullscreen capture 03032015 110730


Messages from Ruth appeared on Mumsnet and a whole conversation followed.


Fullscreen capture 03032015 105940


Then, last night, there were weather reports for Borsetshire on the BBC.  I even watched a weather forecast for the area.


Fullscreen capture 03032015 111459


Then, just now, I had an email with a live update and a flood warning for the Am vale area.

I love it!  So clever to embrace all the social media, round out the programme with other strands of information and background details to enrich the story.  After every programme, The Archers FB page hums with thoughts, opinions and general chatter.  Even if the current storyline is raising eyebrows and receiving a fair bit of negative feedback, you’ve got to hand it to the producers for creating a stir.

So in a couple of hours, we’ll drop in and see what’s what, learn how the flood is progressing – except, is it Tuesday lunchtime in Ambridge, or is it Monday evening?  I’m never very sure…


Fullscreen capture 02032015 225928


Meanwhile, we’re watching another website with regular updates of water levels.  This one’s measuring the current depth of the Areyarwady River (formerly known as the Irrawaddy) in Myanmar.  We’re especially interested in the stretch between Bagan and Mandalay, because in just a couple of weeks from now, we’ll get on board and look forward to spending three lovely days on the Sanctuary Ananda as part of our adventures.

But our travel agent has warned us that the Areyarwady isn’t flowing quite so fast as the Am right now and there’s a chance that we might not be able to sail the whole way and might have to reach Mandalay by alternative means. So, I’m watching weather forecasts and wondering what to pack.


Myanmar Daily Weather Report

(Issued at 7:00 pm on Monday 2nd March, 2015)

BAY INFERENCE: Weather is partly cloudy in the Andaman Sea and South Bay and generally fair elsewhere in the Bay of Bengal.

FORECAST VALID UNTIL EVENING OF THE 3rd March, 2015: Light rain or thundershowers are likely to be isolated in Taninthayi Region and Kachin State, weather will be partly cloudy in Upper Sagaing, Yangon and Ayeyarwady Regions, Kayin and Mon States and generally fair in the remaining Regions and States. Degree of certainty is (60%).

STATE OF THE SEA: Seas will be moderate in Myanmar waters.

OUTLOOK FOR SUBSEQUENT TWO DAYS: Likelihood of isolated light rain or thundershowers in the Northern Myanmar areas.

FORECAST FOR NAYPYITAW AND NEIGHBOURING AREA FOR 3rd March, 2015: Generally fair weather.


FORECAST FOR MANDALAY AND NEIGHBOURING AREA FOR 3rd March, 2015: Generally fair weather.


Friends have suggested a pair of wellies.


It took time


Fullscreen capture 18022015 214128


Remember this?  Since having a few interesting and really useful conversations with my Bernina friends, I’ve wanted to revisit the project and though I’ve tried a couple of times something has cropped up and got in the way.




Though my mouse mat tells me I’m a digital design and technology goddess, I’ve felt little of the sort as I’ve struggled not only with the Bernina software but in getting any sort of precision with my mouse.  Any attempts to get my Wacom tablet and pen to play nicely have come to nothing but both my hero and I were determined to get it going.  I’m always loathe to take the easy route and buy new when to all intents and purposes there’s nothing wrong with the old one.

Except it wouldn’t work!

This morning, as a last ditch attempt at getting somewhere, we left a message on the Wacom help forum, outlining the issues as we saw them and hoping there’d be a workaround.  It seemed as though the touchscreen controls of my new PC were getting in the way of the Wacom drivers and if only they could suggest how to override them, then all would surely be well?

Except the reply came back quickly to say that my tablet and pen were too old and no longer supported.  Huh?  I didn’t think they were that old!  But maybe, in computer terms, old has a different definition.  The only suggestion they could make was to try one of their old drivers designed for Vista and Windows ME.  They didn’t hold out much hope but if all else failed they had a bright and shiny new policy which would allow me to trade in my old Wacom for a new one.

Would the genie come free, do you think?




Whilst I got some lunch, I left my hero to download more drivers, uninstall the previous ones, reboot my PC several times over and try, try, try again.  He came upstairs with a frown, because nothing was working so far.  It looked like I was going to have to buy a new one and hope that it would work in spite of those touchscreen conflicts.

After lunch, he returned to the studio to try the one last, remaining driver and as I faffed about in the kitchen, I heard a loud cheer!  After two weeks of messing about with the thing, fiddling about with all manner of settings on the PC and almost – almost – giving up, it worked.


Fullscreen capture 02032015 162307


I lost no time in getting back to the project in hand and armed with the combined knowledge I’d gathered in from my friends over the last couple of weeks, I began to draw.




The drawing complete and saved (several times along the way, just in case), I took it over to the machine and left it to sew.




Though it’s still not perfect – will it ever be so? – it’s so much better than the first prototype.  I decided not to change colour at each stage, but to keep it simple and use the one variegated thread throughout.




Gradually, over the next thirty or forty minutes, the design took shape.  In particular, I was pleased with the way in which the small pebbles stitched out because those had posed a definite challenge first time around.  Thanks to my clever friends, however, I was able to work out a way of stitching them out far more smoothly and learned to work in a slightly different way to get the right result.




I feel quite happy with the end result once I’d cut some of those long jumps of thread and though I don’t suppose I’ll do anything with it for a while, I think I can claim “mission accomplished” on that one. 

Rosy glows of achievement all round today, then. 

We got there in the end.


The best laid plans




The plan was to continue working on this feather wreath design today.  I’ve been having such interesting and useful conversations with my Bernina friends and have so many new ideas to put into practice.  I made sure I was up to date with my work yesterday afternoon so that a whole day lay open in front of me this morning.  I looked forward to reworking those little pebbles and to refining that heavily stitched ring and opened the Bernina software ready to go.




But my Wacom tablet stared me in the face and had different ideas.

I’d been trying to resolve one or two difficulties with it recently.  I’d uninstalled and reinstalled the drivers, been quite a frequent visitor to the Wacom Support Forum and eventually left the thing in the capable hands of my Technical Support department whilst I soldiered on using my mouse.  Today, though, I was determined.




But once again, my Wacom tablet and my computer had different ideas.  Though the green light was on, no-one seemed to be home.  Tech Support persisted and tried several more strategies but still no joy.




So I decided to install the new portable hard drive we bought for our baby laptop, transfer a few photos, install some program updates and suchlike.




The view from around here is a bit like this.  Not quite what I planned or hoped for.  Whilst one computer quietly updated itself, the postman brought a prompt for the other one.




Well, 20% off a new dress and matching cardigan for my holidays meant I could get a little bag as well, didn’t it?

In the meantime, my hero went to the post office and we gave up on the Wacom .  For now.


Where did that week go?




Hard to say, really!  It’s been the kind of week when it feels as though there’s not been anything special going on and yet, actually, we’ve been enjoying ourselves quite a bit.  Clearly, we’ve been enjoying ourselves quietly.




No, that’s not my studio but the window of Anthropologie in Regent Street.  There’s always interesting things to see in there and their visual merchandising is first class.  Sorry about the reflection, but I just had to get a picture of what was described as Yves St Laurent’s studio, not least because I just heard there will be an exhibition of his work which will be going on my “want to see” list for later in the year.




We always enjoy the colourful tableware in there too, and my Hero spotted some really cheerful mugs which he rather liked the look of.  Fortunately, the handle which fell off one of them before we even got it home was easily superglued back on at the same time as I repaired the poppy.




So, shopping, lunch with friends, a bit of DIY back home…what else?




Oh yes, a wedding!  Well, not the actual vows and signing of the papers, because that was done in Guatemala a couple of weeks ago, but the fun part; the celebration with friends and family.  It was a really super occasion, with just the right degree of Guatemalan content, including a Mayan temple for a wedding cake.




Thankfully, it waited until Monday to snow.  It was here and gone in no time at all but for a short time everything in the garden glistened in the sunshine.  Since then, we’ve had sunshine, frost, showers, everything.


Flying dutchman-002


Everything except storms that is.  For that, we had to go to the cinema.  We were a bit slow in picking up the Royal Opera House’s live transmission of The Flying Dutchman and by the time we went to book, our usual Cheltenham venue was full.  We decided we’d go to Gloucester instead, which turned out to be a great choice!




It was a super performance, even if the whole affair did lack some of the pizazz which accompany the “Live from the Met” operas.  Critics reckoned that the ghostly crew weren’t quite spooky enough, that perhaps Senta’s last moments weren’t as dramatic as they might have been and perhaps she should have leapt into the sea or at least, done more than simply fall to the floor. 

Me?  I simply niggled that the women who were singing about spinning were sewing!  Artistic licence, perhaps, but nevertheless…