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..... We make
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..... We nuture

Three children *** Two dogs *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That's us!

We've been blogging since January 2010.

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Just a thought….

"A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe."



Thank you….

  • Balsam Hill UK Blogger Love { […] order to match the rustic appeal of their cottage home, Cheryl opted to decorate her Berkshire Fir in a simple scheme. The colourful hand-crafted... }
  • Craft Mother I can't imagine not having a dog around, but I do realise that they are not everyone's cup of tea. 26 Mar
  • Craft Mother I have no idea how pre-school and KS1 teachers survive the chairs. Strong knees. I think you are right. If nothing else, at least it... 26 Mar
  • Craft Mother I suspect my daughter is put off by the idea of having braces again. I can imagine that there must be a few schools that... 26 Mar
  • Craft Mother I still feel like a newbie when it comes to crocheting. I'm sure it won't take you long. Looking forward to seeing what you make. 26 Mar
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Time to smile

"God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles."

- J B S Haldane

I’ve been featured by


Surreal, but at least the chairs are bigger

As a general rule, I quite like odd. Not so much the out-there, making-a-statement odd. More the quiet, and slightly out of the ordinary. Often thought provoking. Not conforming, but not shouting it in your face either. The type that could easily be overlooked, if you happen to be looking the wrong way.  That kind of odd. I squeeze a bit of it into my crafting, because it tickles me.

(This is a long post. I’d make a cup of something before you go much further. It’s a bit of a saga. Otherwise, just whizz down, looking at the photos. There are a couple of spring flowers to enjoy. It’s OK. I understand.)

(needle felted blackbird)

My week has been odd. In little ways. Happening around and to me, rather than of my own creation. Definite surreal moments.

Let me set the scene. There is a general rhythm to my weeks and days. Ensuring everything runs tickety-boo for the family. Left to my own devices, it would probably look different, but I have others to think about.

Then there was this week.

It started on Monday. I got up early and had the house organized, before everyone was up. I am a morning person. I count it as a success if I have the surfaces clear and all the machines (washing, dryer and dishwasher) on the go, before anyone appears for breakfast. Hopefully fitting in a cup of tea and a little crocheting. I’d be ready to sit down and work as soon as I got home from the school run. A good start…..I thought.

(Easter crochet cushion cover in progress. Experimenting with a touch of purple.)

As I headed back from school, I decided to take the route through the woods home. It would be muddy admittedly, but I could let the hound off and take a quiet walk home, listening to the birds. What could be better? I might even spot the bullfinches again.

Just as we reached the narrow, slippy part before the woodland path, we encountered a loose dog, that I’d not seen before. It was huge. A giant, fluffy, black dog heading towards us. Not what I was expecting. The ususal Westie or a Spaniel maybe, but not a fully grown Newfie. Looming out of the woods. Now that was something unreal.

It’s OK. I’m used to big dogs. We have big dogs and I grew up with Pyrenean Mountain dogs, so I wasn’t spooked. The problem was that this dog was on his own. I listened for shouting. I checked the path, expecting to see an owner running down, waving a lead. Surely a dog this size couldn’t be out alone. But he was. No collar either. Odd. At least he was a friendly soul.

(Very old photo of one of our Pyreneans with me. Not the dog in the woods.)

Cut a long story, a bit shorter, over an hour later, we were able to reunite the dog with its owner. Thanks to the help of a lot of passer-bys. It appears he is new to the area and likes to take himself for a walk. Unfortunately, this includes a section of road with a bend. Something tells me, it’s not the last time we’ll encounter this one.

The same day, I arranged to meet up with a friend for lunch. To catch up. She suggested the soup lunch at our local pre-school. Neither of us have children of that age, but heck, why not? It was fabulous to chat to her. It’s always too long between meeting up with her.

There was something, however, a tad surreal about talking career and business plans with her, while sitting on chairs only a few inches off the floor. With 3 and 4 year olds rushing around and serving plastic jaffa cakes (very realistic!) on plates to us and wanting to share their party plans. There was a moment when I had to explain to a three year old why it was probably better that I won the bottle of wine in the raffle, rather than him. Judging by his bottom lip, I’m not sure he was convinced.

There was yummy (real) soup as well, I hasten to add.

(flower inspired craft inspiration)

Wednesday, was orthodontist day for the Teen. Her braces were removed over Christmas and she now has a beautiful smile. This was a check up. The car ride over is usually tense, as she really doesn’t like going. Shame as we do drive through some beautiful countryside to get there, which should be a treat, but it isn’t. Instead we go over and over what may or may not happen in the appointment.

This time we were in there for about 4 minutes, if that. Usually it takes a lot longer, with lectures about teeth cleaning. Mouth pulled around. Bits of wire. Sharp tools. The clip of the wire cutters. Not this time. Quick look. Everything fine. She’s doing a good job wearing her retainer at night. That’s it. We found ourselves back out on the pavement within minutes. Smiling. Slightly unreal.

Once the Teen was delivered back to school, I got my head down and worked through the to-do list. It wasn’t until the evening news that I first heard about the awful attack in London. The rest of the country was already watching it unfold.

These kind of events always seem surreal. Life is going along as usual and then boom, it’s not. It changes. As if you’ve suddenly been jumped into a similar looking world, but it’s not your world. Disbelief and bewilderment. People in the right place, but at a bad time. Not going home that evening. Not following their planned day. Everyone praying that no-one they know is involved. Hearts and prayers to everyone.

Maybe I should worry most when something like this no longer feels surreal.

I’m writing this earlier, as I suspect Friday is going to be a humdinger of a day.  A school event, with a politically correct name (don’t ask, ….. but we are running up to Mother’s Day in the UK), and a catch up with another friend. Judging by my week, I suspect that both will end up being slightly surreal in some way and this post is long enough.

‘Least the chairs should be taller.

My word of the week: surreal


Joining in with #wotw and #PoCoLo linkies.

The Reading Residence



Spring is in full motion in our corner of the world. I’ve woken to hear the most amazing bird songs, this week, and find myself not rushing up, but enjoying the songs. Not chirps, but full on musical movements! Like an orchestra is playing outside my window.

In the garden, bulbs are popping up overnight. Not really overnight, but I swear they weren’t there the day before. If they hadn’t been there the year before, then I’d begin to think that someone is sneaking into the garden and planting them while we sleep.

(Cyclamen with tiny bug on edge of petal)

Just buds mostly, at the moment, but full of the promise of colour and scent, ready to attract all manner of bugs to visit them. The garden will soon be full of life again.

(Lesser celandine in the woods)

On the home front, I’ve been aware of a change in the children. Especially my two daughters. If you’ve read my previous post , you’ll know that we went to see Hidden Figures over the weekend, as a family, and loved it (I’ve reviewed it, if you’re interested). Go see the film, if you haven’t already.

This week, both girls seem more confident in themselves. Just little things, mostly, but I have noticed that they seem to believe in their abilities a little bit more, especially in maths.

(pulmonaria in the garden)

Maybe I’m imagining it. Wishful thinking, but maths homework has been done without me being asked for help. They come home saying that they understand the topic they are doing in maths, more easily. They’ve helped fellow classmates. They even express the ambition to do well in the subject and how can I help them?

Has the film inspired them? I didn’t see that coming.

I took them hoping to broaden their minds to the racial issues. Giving context and a historical view, which I think it did. And more, it appears.

There is a fine line in parenting. So easy to push, when really what is needed is for eyes to be opened. It makes me wonder how else I can open their eyes to opportunities without appearing to lay out a carved-in-stone career plan. I guess that is my challenge. The fine line we all walk, bringing up children.

So not only is the garden budding up, but children as well. Reminds me why I love so much being a gardener, and a parent too.

Word of the week – budding.


The Reading Residence



There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

Copyright notice:

All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don't just take. Written permission only. Don't pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It's not nice.