How To #Move Forward

I bought my second sewing machine as a teenager. It served me well. I was able to make most of my clothes and some for family and friends. My clothes were original, made to last, as I used french seams and lining, plus being economical. All my paper patterns, including that of my wedding dress, are stored in our nearly empty attic. As yet, I have to find a home for over thirty paper patterns. Some of the designs have been updated and used again, such as flared trousers but others, like my PVC raincoat with geometric shapes, I wouldn’t wish to try again!

Over the last year, I have completely sorted our possessions. Every time I climbed the ladder into the attic to locate an item, I brought down something to discard. All over our home, unused or dated items have been taken to the charity shops, given away or thrown in the bin. However, my sewing machine has only just gone.

My trusty old ewing machine

My trusty old sewing machine

It was replaced by a third lighter, more automatic model. For a while, I kept both of them. Making a bed cover for a friend using the smooth, more advanced machine, persuaded me to part with the old one. I kept the original thread and bobbin box but the machine was disposed of for me. I felt pleased that I had moved on from my comfort blanket, rather than clinging to a possession from my formative years.

My smooth, light new sewing machine

My smooth, light new sewing machine

Food From Your #Pomegranates and #Figs

Our fruit trees produce abundantly but last year the fig and pomegranates had no fruit. Once full croppers, the trees had been neglected or trimmed incorrectly. I studied pruning advice online and now, after correct treatment, these trees are neat, stark silhouettes. They should re-crop as nourishment will reach the correct parts of the trees.


Pruned fig trees nearly done

There are no crossing boughs or branches growing upward. The low boughs are half their original length. Once in leaf again, light will reach the middle of the trees. Their lower height will make it easier to pick the fruit and we might reach it before the birds or fruit bats! Of course, the fruit can be bought too.


A pruned pomegranate tree awaits completion

The trees had become ornamental rather than practical. Now the fig trees are back to their purpose of providing fruit for our home-made fig jam, fig ice cream, baked fig with rosemary and honey, a starter of fig with parma ham or chopped fig with breakfast muesli. Once the skin splits, we know our own pomegranates are ready to eat. They make our juice or we sprinkle the seeds over breakfast porridge/muesli/ natural yogurt or salads and we add them to middle eastern tagines.


#Try Comforting Celeriac

Celeriac looks unappealing. It’s knobbly and covered in earth. However, it produces a nutty, aromatic flavour. Cut it into wedges and remove the outer layer. Slice the celeriac and potatoes too.

Tortilla (a), Celeriac and Potato

Ready to discard-The top and tail of celeriac with onion skins

Cook the sliced celeriac and potatoes.

Beat together some eggs with seasoning and perhaps a dash of chilli flakes. In the large frying pan fry the chopped onions. Add the egg mixture followed by the cooked vegetables. When it’s set and cooked, the tortilla makes a simple different dish.

Tortilla (b), celeriac and potato

Prepared ingredients ready to combine




Don’t #Scream, Enjoy Nature

Incy wincy spider climbing up the spout,

Down came the rain and washed the spider out.

Up came the sun and dried up all the rain,

Incy wincy spider climbs the spout again.

Children love being tickled as they hear this rhyme. They might not like the real thing.

On our terrace, it lay quietly. Some of its legs were hidden under its body. A closer look revealed beautiful markings. I placed a thin cloth over it and removed it to the garden before our dogs or humans disturbed it.

The European garden spider, diadem or cross orb weaver spider has detailed markings. Daily, it spins an orb-like web to catch its prey. It’s found in gardens, hedgerows and exterior buildings with lighting where flying insects are attracted.


Cross orb spider


Two #Rugs Are Better Than One

We great danes, Stellar and Venus, like being snuggly. When the garden is black, we have our own crates with blankets and towelly thingys for sleep. When it’s shiny, we have our own soft round beds to see the garden. If it’s pant, pant, pant, we lie on the stone

There’s only ONE rug.

60bbbbbbb Venus on the crumpled rug

Venus crumples the old rug and lies on it.

I’m top dog. I want the rug so I step on it. Venus doesn’t go.

60c Stellar growls

Stellar tries growling to get rid of Venus.

I’m top dog. Now I try licking her.

60cccc Stellar tries licking

Venus likes it when Stellar licks or bites her cheek.

Venus is still here. I’m top dog. I’ll try playing.

60cccccc Stellar playing but showing whose boss

Stellar is playing but showing Venus she’s the boss.

Venus goes to the garden door.

60ccccccc Ah, Venus has gone.

Stellar is curious.

60d Get off Stellar.

Venus tells Stellar to move.

Venus wanders off again.

60dd The rug's  mine

Er, I’m top dog so Venus obeys me.




At this time of year, in particular, we look forward but also, we look back. The Roman god, Janus, had two heads. The profile of one head looked backwards and the other identical profile looked forwards.


We can be moved by our senses. Music can remind us of someone precious. Viewing an item, the feel of a piece of material,  a smell, a place, in fact, anything, can spark a memory and change our mood into sadness.

110z Newcastle, The Sage

Memorable music is produced at The Sage, Newcastle on Tyne, UK.

Maybe we compare ourselves to others or remind ourselves of pursuits that were unsuccessful, could have been improved or even begun. We feel regretful.


We plan lifestyle changes. We decide to take up new hobbies, a different job, travel, or we extend our interests in some way. Maybe we are determined to see more or less of certain people or just feel empathy and more kindness.


We travel locally and see one of the beaches with the priory and castle at Tynemouth, UK.


Rather than feeling defeated or inept, we can improve the situation. These unpleasant experiences have made us reflect. We have  a desire to rebuild ourselves. Using small steps, eventually, we  will be strengthened. The former person we were may have changed. It takes time and emotional strength.

Let’s try to be true to our character. Like the water flowing beneath a Tyne bridge, life goes on. Life is a privilege.

Festive Great #Danes