Monday, 8 June 2009

Storms, storm-chasing, bits of knits and that.

Well, I don't know how the rest of you got on yesterday with the stormy weather... I know that about half an hour to the south of us they had a terrific hail and thunderstorm, other areas had thunder and rain, and several gardeners I know were worried about their baby crops out in the garden. This is my raised bed, and after the heavy rain and thunder I was keen to get out and see how the plantlets had fared. All were well... from the top are lettuce, salad onions, beetroot and carrot... I appreciate you can't see the salad onions and carrots all that well! They were the last to germinate, and the beetroot and lettuce are at that stage where they are nearly ready to be thinned. I am hoping for some warm weather to dry out the saturated soil today. I also have some tomato and sprouting broccoli plantlets in peat pots, in a home-made cold frame alongside the raised bed, and although they got a good drenching, they have survived the heavy rain, as have some stringless bean plants we bought at the local garden centre at the weekend... along with a chocolate cosmos, snapdragon and double white hollyhock, for the cottage beds. But it's amazing how resilient little plantlets can be isn't it? One week they have nothing but lovely warm sunshine and a kind person sprinkling them with cooling water first thing in the morning and in the evening... then WHOOSH, down comes this heavy rain. But they bounce back, thankfully.

Are any of you interested in the programmes on ITV about storms and storm chasers? My husband can't understand the fascination with storms, the sense behind the people who chase or follow them and often find themselves in quite scarey situations. But I can... storms fascinate me, not so much the hurricanes they are showing this week, but the twisters of last week I found incredible to watch. And a good lightning storm is something else isn't it?
Vanessa on her blog, had been talking about a ladies afternoon club who had been knitting buildings in their village, and it reminded me of this little terrace I knitted decades ago. Of nowhere at all, just a jumbly of little houses, knitted separately then stitched onto a piece of fabric, and mounted onto a piece of plywood. It has moved house with us about five times I think. In the same year, I must have had a thing about knitting things like this because I also knitted a wallhanging for a friend, of her back garden, as seen from above... rows of veggies, beds of flowers, a tree or two, a shed as well. And I did one of a landscape too... grey slatey wall in the foreground, then fields of different colours, hills, sky, with clouds and the odd bird embroidered on after. I haven't done anything in this 'creative' line since then though.
At the moment I seem to have a thing about knitted bags and this is the third I have made, a fourth is under construction as well as one in a chevron pattern. This is in a tweedy wool, and as you can see from the photo below, is lined as well. It's not big, measuring about ten inches across by eight, plus handles, and obviously not one of these capacious ones you can stuff all but the kitchen sink into. No, this is a more genteel size, the sort of bag I would take with me on one of our mooching about, let's go down here and see where it goes, type of days out. When we pack up the picnic basket and just go.... inside I will have a small purse, handmade in Chinese silk and given to me by an old friend, and just big enough for a bit of loose change and a credit card, a small pack of tissues and not much else. What else do I need?
It was on one of our days out we decided to investigate some of the tiny hamlets around this part of Norfolk. They consist usually of nothing more than a few houses, maybe a large farmhouse, sometimes a small shop or pub, but more often than not, not the latter! Babingley is one such place, on the Sandringham estate, and consisting of a handful of pretty old cottages and a fabulous social club, a big old log cabin of a building which always has gorgeous hanging baskets on the verandah, and sits nestled amongst pine trees. These are on the main road, and then tucked away down a side road opposite is the church of St Felix, along with a few large houses.

The church is built of corrugated iron.. I first wrote about it in 'Suffolk and Norfolk Life' back in the 1990s, when it was undergoing restoration. Up to that point, it is fair to say it was a sad and sorry sight, despite still being used as a church. The outside was peeling, thatch was green or missing altogether in places, window frames rotten. But then money was found for restoration, and the picture above is the result. Often called 'Tin Tabernacles' these little churches used to be found in many places around the country, but as you can imagine, time and weather takes its toll if the fabric of the building isn't looked after, and often it isn't, through nobody's fault really. By the mid-19th Century galvanized corrugated iron sheeting was developed, strong, long-lasting, easily moved to where it was needed and easy to use for buildings. There were even catalogues of buildings that could be bought, like flat-packed furniture... you could buy a chapel seating 150 for about £150, double the number of souls to be seated and it would set you back about £500, and by the end of the 19th Century, there were hundreds of these iron churches. This one is beautiful, it has a wonderfully rustic simplicity about it, and inside, like all churches, it has that certain something, that special feel.

Flowers... who amongst us doesn't appreciate a bunch of flowers, and a bargain. When the two come together, magic!! This is a couple of bunches of sweet williams, sold as a BOGOF at my local Tesco's, and as I love the flowers, I couldn't resist. Well, I could have, but as someone famous said, I can resist anything but temptation.... who was it? Did someone say it or have I made it up? Anyway, they are beautiful, sitting on the hearth in the sitting room, whilst the gorgeous peonies below, from the garden, along with some lime green alchemilla and white nigella, sits on the dining table in the conservatory, where I can see them from the kitchen and from my chair in the sitting room. They are just gorgeous, next year I hope to have more, of a different colour to this deep carminey pinky red, which the camera and light didn't do justice to. Much like myself really...

I hope you are able to enjoy your own gardens as much as I enjoy mine, and thanks for dropping by again.


Quilting Cat said...

Love the bag and the floweres look stunning on that blue bench. Missed the storms here so far but very black overhead now, so here's hoping. Your industry is as impressive as ever.


Love the handbag, and the wall hanging is cute. Great to see these little churches being restored. Your raised beds are looking good in spite of the inclement weather. I can see you are busy as usual.

Pondside said...

What a good-looking tweedy bag you've made - I like it a lot!
Your post about the tin church made me think of the Church of St John the Divine here in Victoria. It is an iron church, sent over from England by a philanthropist - a woman who sent out similar churches to other colonies. These aren't tiny buildings, but full sized, with spires etc.

Pipany said...

A lovely post full of lovely things. The flowers are gorgeous as is that wallhanging. Very sweet idea. This cold wet weather has certainly been 'challenging'! x

Anonymous said...

Your mention of the BOGOF reminded me of an incident a couple of years ago. She who must be obeyed will only grow tumbler tomatoes. We called in at a local plant place and the only tumbler that was available was a bedraggled specimen that was in need of some TLC.We paid fifty pence for it and stopped counting the amount of fruit we had off it as we passed a hundred. A good investment me thinks

Cait O'Connor said...

Great blog. Gorgeous bags, lovely and unusual church, beautiful Sweet Williams. I have enjoyed my visit very much. I love storms too and any extreme weather.

Mid Life Hopes said...

My goodness you are a busy bee!!
Sure hope you have had some good weather since this post. Wonderful pictures, and love the BOGOF, I would have gotten them also.!!!!!
Love your knitted wall hanging, and love your bags. We have had some lively thunderstorm activity the last few days here in the USA, but I perfer to stay under the bed!!
xx MLH : )

Calico Kate said...

Love your bags PFG. You have quite inspired me as I need a new knitting project. I also love your little houses, there are a couple of villages that look just like that on the east coast in Fife! All higgle piggle and falling in to the sea. Would have loved to see a picture of a knitted garden - what fun. Not sure that my knitting is quite up to that standard though.
Thank you for lovely blogs.

vanessa said...

Of course I know your blog!!!!!!!!!! I've just realised the link between your comments, and your blog!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, your knitted houses are just gorgeous, and very inspiring!
Love Vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

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