November news

Well, unfortunately we're still in the throes of home improvements, waiting patiently to be able to enjoy the new wood stove. The novelty of having all the furniture stacked in the hall has worn off, also watching a few fave TV programmes on my laptop isn't exactly hitting the spot either. The time has come to nail this thing and move on!! Completion has seemed forever further and further away, but without wishing to speak too soon, at last I can see a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Something seems to be happening.

P has now got our friend Humph to help with the insulation and laying of the oak floor and thankfully things have seemed to motor along since. In fact by the end of next week I'm hoping we'll have got the electrics done and painted the room and can then consider moving the furniture back in! No doubt I'll be pleased with the finished result but at the moment it's all just taking too long.

Last bit of the floor being taken out
Insulation being cut prior to being inserted between the joists
Insulation half finished
However, life isn't without its compensations. We've had a glorious autumn and even now in the middle of November, there's enough in the garden to make me want to be out there. 
Seedheads of Japanese anemones
Abutilons seem to go on forever
Fat buds of the camellias developing for early spring blooms
Little cyclamen poking through the pebbles
Many consider this tiny calendula to be a weed, but it tries very hard and I haven't
the heart to pull them all up...and their starry blue brightens up the garden
when there's little else. 
Potted geraniums are lasting well this year...
... even the less hardy ivy-leaved white ones 
It's been so mild that the birds haven't eaten all the grapes yet
The hydrangeas are putting on a final show before going to sleep for the winter
There's even the odd Japanese anemone in bloom still
Winter jasmine starting to bloom for the holiday season
Had to throw this away last week after forgetting about it in the garden
- thought you'd like to see our Halloween witch and her cat 
So lots of interesting things still happening in the garden. The castor oil tree is flowering too and the fig tree is nurturing lots of embryonic fruits for next year's delectation.
First scarf finished
Meanwhile I've started my gift knitting for Xmas. With everything else going on I haven't been able to think straight recently, so opting for Noro yarn and garter stitch has been a bit of a lifesaver - I can knit scarves and rely on Mr Noro to deal with both the colour and texture. I love Silk Garden  and the wonderful colour combinations he comes up with make me want to always work yet another row, just to see what happens next. Some people say that there's always a colour they don't like in the mix, but I love that that very colour is there, it makes me reassess my colour preferences and frames other colours in different ways.

When Isabella and Ava saw the scarf, they loved it so much that I'm now knitting one each for them. Halfway through the first one I had a lightbulb moment. I realised that in all my years of knitting I've never worked on two identical pieces at the same time. I know some people work on two sleeves at the same time and also socks, but it had never occurred to me to try until now. So... I've got two scarves on my needles right now and enjoying it... eureka, you can teach an old dog new tricks!
Yummy handmade birthday macaroons from Annabelle
Finally, thanks again to everyone for your lovely birthday messages. I had a wonderful day, made even more special basking in the warmth of all the cards and messages from friends old and new, actual and virtual - you rock!


  1. Dear Jean and Philip! Major changes in your home! I hope I once can get the opportunity to see how your livingroom has become - and most important: meeting you again, of course. :) I can understand that you now miss your cozy TV-corner. Good luck with your good work! Best wishes from Hilde

    1. Many thanks Hilde! It will always be good to see you again anytime you're in the UK xo

  2. Hi Jean! I am always amazed at what is still blooming in Britain long after everything over here is dead and gone...and at how early the flowers pick up again in the spring. You must truly have a temperate climate, whereas we're subject to extremes in the northeastern US. On Tuesday I had windows open, and today we had our first inch of snow! Can't wait to see the new rooms once rennovations are finished! Best, Pam xx

  3. Jean, I admire your ability to hold on to sanity while your complicated home project continues. Yes, wonderful to be able to see all the beauty outdoors to soothe your soul. And also yes, Noro yarn is quite magical. I love the bit about there always being a sort of odd color in the mix...that's the one that give the special accent.

    I smiled at your Eureka moment about knitting two scarves simultaneously. I remember doing that with sweater sleeves, particularly if some sort of color design complexity was involved.

    Belated Happy Birthday wishes to you, too. xo

  4. Many thanks Frances. I don't kid myself that I maintained any level of sanity during the work, but thankfully it's now done and we're now enjoying the new space. Been doing loads of Xmas knitting recently and that helped too. Good to hear from you xo


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