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Christmas Magic and Madness

Is it me or does something happen in Setpember which causes the rest of the year to slip by as if on greased wheels?  Why do the last 4 months of the year zoom by?  Comparatively the first 4 months of the a new year sort of bump along as if travelling over a rutted farm track.  Oh well, I am not going to change it, so I must accept it, even as a bystander just standing almost clear of the escalator.

Lets start with carnival.  I took Mollie to Glastonbury Carnivalway way back in November.  It was a huge effort and freezing cold, but just magical!  I can’t think which I enjoyed more – her face or the huge effort and time put in to the floats.  Always a spectacle but especially seen through the eyes of a child (sorry, young adult)!

Most importantly the vest BEST event of the year.

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Then there was the show.  The slow show.  Unfortunately it was the weekend between black friday and cyber monday!  Enough said.  However I met some lovely people and traders (also people – incidentally).  Overall a bit disappointing but I would do it again as its a local show.

So it looks like loads, and maybe thats where the time went?  But it has taken me so long to recover!  I am still battling with nausea and exhaustion on a daily basis.  I have new tablets to take which have helped a bit.  Pacing myself is something I dont excel at.  In fact I hardly know how to do it!  But I am going to have to make a pact, if not friends with this new state of being if I am going to get anywhere.  Mind over matter does not apply when my body is working against my mind all the time.  My body is not making a terrible fuss, I admit, currently we are getting along, mostly, but this debilatating exhaustion and now nausea are the check point in every day.  When energy is a limited resource I need to learn to spend it wisely.  This I find upsetting.  I mean cancer would be ok if one didnt feel so dreadful some of the time.  Like childhood, wellness is becoming a dim and distant memory.

But I do count my blessings so to speak.  I am still active and I do still achieve.  Mostly this activity keeps me positive and forward looking.  An altered state of being is a strange concept to live with.  Like watching yourself and how you react without being fully present.




Busy Easter

This has been a gorgeous Easter!  Apart from Easter day when the rain fell earnestly, it has been gorgeous!  I have been very busy.  I had a long awaited clear out.  I had to clear out a lot of things which were still damp from the flooding.  I had to tidy up and sort things out.  One of my daughters helped me which is such a supportive thing to do!  Clearing out can be emotional and very tiring.  We worked all day and had an enormous bonfire which was very cleansing in an odd sort of way. 


The dogs decided that all this busyness was infectious and they decided to start improving the garden.  So they got together and decided that what the garden really needed was a pond.


So they dug one.  This has the advantage of doubling up as a useful hole or a pond when it rains!!  Result!


Then 2 of them thought they could plant something in the hole, but they could not decide which way up it should go.  This took some time and resulted in many little options!!  The ‘pond’ is now big enough to place the terrier in without being noticed.  Work in progress..


I have been dying.  LOTS!!  Now I am trying to dry!  The cottage is FULL of wet wool in various forms!  The smell is not as good as the appearance!







Looking forward to seeing everyone at Wonderwool next weekend!


Yesterday there were blue skies!!


And spring is on it’s way….



 I was infatuated with the combination of colours, so had the urge to fit in the last day to dye before UNRAVEL next weekend.


I finished the yarn I spun


Blocked a sample


And watched the dogs enjoy the sun!



And I just made you read to this point before showing you the most important progress of all!!






Autumn Activities

What a stunning start to Autumn! Unfortunately after a fabulous show at Yarndale I have been poorly. Really hit for six. Sniffling and dribbling and unable to swallow, totally miserable in fact. AND totally drained of energy or motivation.

However, today I took the dogs for a lovely stroll round the valley. We picked Sloes for gin and Blackberries for crumbles. We came back with 2 gorgeous bags full.


I then picked the Crabapples from my tree plus the Rowan berries along with some herbs I have in the garden. I collected some Quince from my neighbour and started some fruit jellies. The colours are gorgeous and are equally matched with the glorious smells coming from my kitchen. Warm Autumn comforting smells………..


I always love making jellies and make some each year. I have learnt that the hedgerow ones are the richest in colour and taste. I experiment with the brewing up stage and add all sorts of things to give the jellies a depth in taste and colour which reflects the time of year in which the fruits were collected.

Tomorrow the jellies will be drained and set and I hope for a row of fabulous coloured jars and a cottage full of Autumn smells.

Yarndale was an amazing show. Yorkshire is stunningly beautiful and the folk up there are so incredibly friendly and warm. I was inspired. Three of the dogs came too and had beautiful walks with brand new smells and LOTS of water!!

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 Of course I have also been spinning – my friend’s Wensleydale cross Kerry:


Everyone is glad to be home, some more than others!


Oh arr oh arr aay.

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I feel slightly aware of the fact that nearly every post on this blog begins with a short tale of how busy we are. I’m loathe to do it again, but I shall merely hint at the fact that we have been bee-like in our activity.

So… Glastonbury has been and gone, and what a lovely show it was.

Sadly, last year I was unable to attend due to the aforementioned bee tendencies, but this year I was up bright and early and even managed to drag my boy along with me. Surprisingly, he was keen to experience a wool show, and I thought Glastonbury was a nice one to ease him in.

A rather lovely Victorian sampler that captured our imaginations.

A rather lovely Victorian sampler that captured our imaginations.

We started out the day at the Museum of Rural Life. And when I say that, of course, I mean that we kicked off the day with a lovely cup of tea in the café. I mean, that’s what shows are all about –right?! We then pottered around the lovely museum which is free in case you were wondering. We learnt a lot about what things were like in Somerset in yesteryear, and, in a nutshell, people died in awful ways. Sad, but true. Oh, and they drank a LOT of cider. Seriously. They used to get paid in cider.

Please ring for cider I-Am-A-Cider-Drinker

Anyway, I digress.


The calibre of stallholders was marvellous, and I had great fun explaining to boy the difference between tops, roving, batts, art yarn, handspun etc. I don’t think he was listening intently, but hey, he permitted me to go and squish and sniff to my heart’s content.

It was the first time he had seen the JB stand, and needless to say, he was very impressed.  I was too, I have to admit. The colours this season are really striking, and every time we’re at a show I have to restrain myself to only one or two [or four or ten] skeins.

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It was a wonderful day out, full of the classic sights and sounds of the south west. The perfect way to spend a weekend.

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Yep... These are Somerset's FINEST strawberries. Devon, read 'em and WEEP.

Yep… These are Somerset’s FINEST strawberries. Devon, read ’em and WEEP.

Post WoolFest

Wow, wow, wow!! What a fab show that is. All those lovely creative people all in one place, and despite the torrential rain on Friday! Great customers full of inspiration and buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm. I owe a huge THANK YOU to all of them! PLUS the lovely wonderful tech editor Steph Boardman who literally saved the day. THANK YOU Steph you are amazing! Steph is so cheerful and hard-working besides being incredibly gifted in lots of textile ways. Steph helped me out and she has to be the reason I was still standing at the end! AND she helped with the pack up!! Friendship way over and above the call of anything. Oh, and one more thing……. PLUS she got me drop spindling! I have to wait till Fibre East to get the yarn off the spindle and learn to ply but look what I did!!!

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Now here lies a tale…….. On Saturday morning before the show opened I managed to pop quickly round the top hall. And I found a stand which brought me to a stand still! BEAUTIFUL turned wood pieces. I had to touch. Love at first sight…….. TOTALLY smitten. What ever it was I HAD to have it. ‘It’ turns out to be useful too!! Never in my life would I have considered a spindle. I have a wheel (or 2) and spin happily on them when I get the chance. Spindles are too slow and way too fiddly…… BUT I had to have this beautiful item. It is made of 5000 year old Bogwood Oak apparently. You can literally feel its provenance and life. It has me addicted. I am literally binge spinning now. Almost like punctuation throughout the day, a load of washing, spin, walk the dogs, spin, answer emails, spin, sort an order, spin, make some calls, spin, wash up, spin, pay a bill, spin, spin, and so on. Ok so there is not that much on there but I have never done it before and it takes a little learning, especially since Steph is not here to help (why not???).


Anyway apart from this the dogs are recovering from an exhausting show…….

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And I have almost dealt with the post-Glastonbury wash and our wet wet wet show stuff! So I am getting somewhere close to being able to face the barn where we literally threw everything in to deal with ‘later’ whenever that is!!

On ward and upward towards the next show which is later this month, FIBRE EAST!!

Can we have sun this time please?

Next week? Spin, dye, spin, dye, spin, dye…………… O and I have to knit some more samples and finish making a blanket and spin and dye and spin and dye……..and spin………..

Wonderful Wonderwool

We had a fab weekend! I am still hanging, but gathering strength slowly. The weather was perfect, a little cold but sunny with showers. 100% improvement on last year!! We met lots of lovely people who believe in our product and what we are trying to do. We met lots of lovely people willing to try our new spin and give feedback. Plus we met lots of our lovely trader friends who we always look forward to meeting at the shows. A huge vote of thanks to all.

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In the meantime the pups have grown SO much! They are in to absolutely everything absolutely all of the time! They are so much fun and I am going to miss them dreadfully. Everyday I have to discipline myself regarding keeping more than one. The one we are keeping for sure is this little girl (darkest Brindle, bottom pup in photo on right). Her name is Tweed.

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Also the hedgerows did not wait for me and my camera. There are Bluebells and Pink Campions and Stitchwort out alongside the Primroses and Violets and Cowslips. The Cowparsley is also almost there. All stunning adornment for the tracks.

When I have organized the yarns I will show some here, but I am just sorting out the paperwork and organizing another spin and so on. And, of course, trying to regain some energy.

We’re off to see the wizard…

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… The wonderful wizard of Wonderwool.

Things are all packed, puppies are suitably misbehaving, yarn is EVERYWHERE, but I think we’re very nearly ready to go.

And, joy of all joys, the SUN IS SHINING! And long may it do so.

Do come and say hello if you’re heading up to Builth Wells this lovely weekend, we’d love to meet you.

If not, we shall be back blogging next week, and our shop will reopen soon after that.


MJ x