Saturday, 24 May 2014

tablet trouble

This is my first attempt at blogging on a tablet. I couldn't see the word I typed as the keyboard covers the dialogue box up. When I looked at the edit page the type was full of mistakes but at least I can re-do it and see it at the same time.
I didn't intend to use it for blogs but it uploads photos incredibly quickly while the laptop takes about 10 minutes to get on the internet!

Synchronised Shelducks!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

New hobby ?

We went our walk on Friday, when there are far less cyclists about. Come to that, there's less walkers as well. In fact, it was really quiet and peaceful. We found a place to sit, a pile of old, dry reeds pushed up against the wide hawthorn hedge, out of sight from anyone apart from the old egret who has claimed this pond. He certainly seemed to be catching plenty of food.


The new reeds are turning green again. The old stems used to be harvested yearly for thatch. Some farms have their own patch of reed bed from the days when they grew their own for thatch repairs. They're called Withy Beds. I don't know if this is an Isle of Wight phrase. My landlady has a withy bed, as do our neighbours in the old cottage at the back.
The reeds in the estuary are left, now, and eventually clog up the water channels and have to be dredged out.

They do make comfy, dry places to sit, though!

My favourite duck.

A nice, relaxing walk then back home to have a go at my latest hobby. I fancied having a go at stained glass. I found some bits at the car boot sale, and got coloured glass from e-bay.
Cutting the glass was difficult. I can't do what the book advises and start with straight lines. No, I want curves and shapes!
Each piece of glass has to be washed, dried and the edges covered with sticky copper tape. Then the soldering can begin.

This is when I nearly gave up. The book says hold the solder on the iron, and it will melt and run down the tip. Then it should be carefully run along the copper joins, so it forms a smooth, raised edge.

I held the solder and nothing happened for a long time, then suddenly it melted in a blob. This happened over and over again until I had to just tidy up the blobs.

This is the result.

The solder is blobby and thick. It was slightly better on the reverse, when I did it quicker. I now have to decide whether to continue, as it's the sort of thing that takes so much practice and there are no short-cuts.
One option is to try applique, where the glass shapes are stuck to a clear panel, and the gaps are filled with black grout. It's possible to do more detailed work with this method.
Of course, I'm just learning from a book and the internet. I would also like to try enameling but I don't want to invest in a mini-kiln then find I can't do that either! 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Morning Mr Magpie!

Early each morning one of my first tasks is to throw the old cat food out on the lawn for the birds. (There's usually quite a lot, thanks to my fussy eaters!)

The blackbirds love it, but the first one to arrive is always the magpie. He eats his fill, then loads his beak with meat before flying off over the adjacent field.

He might return once, but never more than that, and we don't see him again all day.

He (or she) has been paying early morning visits for years, despite my landlady's claims to want it shot.

(let's face it, there's not much wildlife she doesn't regard as vermin and unworthy of life)

One of my favourite things.......when the apple blossom mingles with the cow parsley!

Monday, 5 May 2014


Nice, sunny Bank Holiday Monday!

This duck was so relaxed , he went into a very deep sleep in the middle of the bridge over the Estuary.

 Despite cars carefully driving round him, resulting in a sneaky peak through his eye, he refused to budge!

Back home, more high energy action!




Just when you think they could not be more relaxed, Rolly takes it to a whole new level......

There was snoring to accompany the tongue lolling!

As for Smudge, he scarpered through the hole in the hedge.

I 'caught' Smudge one year ago. The top photo shows him just as I let him out of the cat basket, a few minutes after catching him by tempting him with food. He had been left in the derelict holiday park over the road all through one of our worst ever winters. He was thin and had bald patches on his coat.
Despite his experience with people (he always flattens himself and runs through open doors at top speed) he is a lovely, sweet cat. He has a problem with nervous grooming still, but on the whole he settled in remarkably quickly.

Well, I think I will end the day with a nice glass of wine outside, listening to the birds singing. At least they have been busy!