Sunday, May 21, 2006

Apathy Rules OK!! Well Not any More

Since getting back off hols been a bit apathetic. Combination of post hols blues, re-organisation at work (yet again!) and the weather this last week and this weekend has been apalling. Rain, rain and more rain and gales but guess we shouldn't be complaining given the potential for drought down in the south and at least we haven't had floods.

This is part of the short border that runs along the back of our back garden. Struggled with this for ages, the hedge at the back of the pic is approx 9' high therefore it's very dry and shaded for the best part of the day. However it does look at it's best this time of the year and I love the contrast of the acid yellow of the Euphorbia, purple of the Geranium, bluebells and orange of the poppies.
This was taken just over a week ago and the whole border has been awash with these but they're now looking a bit bedraggled due to the wind and rain. We lost several of our longstanding plants this winter, probably due to a combination of dryness and frost but picked up some replacement plants from a small local nursery a fortnight ago. Due to the combination of lots and lots of rain and warmth they're all doing really well and this border is looking positively lush.

It was the Welsh Smallholder and Garden Festival and Builth Wells this weekend and not normally the kind of thing we'd go to but found out that they were having a Wonderwool Wales and Greener Homes and Building section which did appeal. Given the appalling forecast for the weekend almost didn't go but decided early yesterday morning what the hell, but do feel really sorry for the exhibitors and participants who are there today - it can't be much fun at all.

The Greener Homes and Buildings was a dissappointment - not in terms of the exhibits. It was exciting, enlightening and inspiring but it's so sad that most of the ideas are only really practical if you're building a new house or extension etc. Given the fact that water is in short supply in the south, we are having to seriously consider the nuclear option for providing power and more homes need to be built, I don't understand why via the new building regs it isn't compulsory for every new building to have the full range of measure installed and substantial grants made available for every existing home to upgrade by using them. Guess since the utitility companies were privatised there's no incentive as it would mean less demand therefore profits would be produced. Enough of my views for today.

I've been buzzing since coming back as it really was inspiring and especially the Woolly Wales bit. We spent ages just pottering around looking at the animals. Yes I grew up in the country and spent huge chunks of my childhood on local farms but never realised there were so many breeds of sheep out there, how different they look and the colour and quality of the wool they produce is staggering. M spent his late teens in Scotland and they kept goats and he thoroughly enjoyed looking after them and was saddened when they had to be sold off. So seeing all the different goats was a bittersweet memory for him. This one was such a character and obviously wanted to know and be fully involved in what was going on all around.
This one was just incredibly friendly and made sure it was petted by all who passed. I was very taken by the pygmy goats to the extent that I forgot to take any pics.
These were my other favourites - the angora goats and who can resist. I've never been that keen on goats but M has always tried to persuade me otherwise and I now realise why. They do have such individual character but seem happier in flocks. Also got to see llamas and alpacas and given a chance would have come home with some alpacas. Due to their size and impressive looking teeth, llamas intimidate me but was very impressed by the alpacas. Unfortunately they were crammed into a small pavilion and the organisers had totally underestimated how popular they were so hopefully they'll have more space next year and more families will be able to see them.
The main purpose of the day was to go to Wonderwool Wales but wasn't quite sure what to expect but had such a good time, lots of spinning/weaving demos and excellent stalls. Found lots of the things on display such an inspiration and wish I could afford to give up work now so that I'd have time to spin, dye, weave as well as knit. Could have spent a fortune and was very restrained - will post up a photo or two in the next couple of days. Have decided that I'm going to do a three day course in Sept that will give me a chance to do some dyeing, spinning, weaving and felting. Also met a lovely lady who lives relatively close and has alpacas as well as weaving the most amazing scarves and intend to get along to her studio on one of my Fridays off. M was blown away by the felting and in particular we loved some landscapes, the most amazing clothing including an amazing diaphonous dress and evening type jacket, and cushions, little baby jacket etc made from felted silk that was then machine embroidered.
This is a pic of prize winning hat that I think may have been made by one of the Knitty community - if so Congrats. A minor gripe - there were some really good talks and demonstrations being held but no details posted up on the webpage beforehand and no details given as you entered the pavilion so it was pure chance that you got to find out about them.

Other highlight of the day was finding a spinner who had a Lendrum wheel - seriously considering buying a spinning wheel for the winter. Due to lack of space need something small and portable and had more or less decided on a Baynes. Then saw a pic of a new Lendrum on a blog and was struck by the quality and this is what screamed out at me when I saw one for real. It's so perfectly balanced and easy to use too. Another lady was using an Ashford Joy and whilst even more portable than the Lendrum, is a bit too small for me and anticipate that I'd get a bad back. I'll just have to start saving my pennies now. Lots of the folk I met were all incredibly enthusiastic and looking forward to Woolfest and I'm so pleased I've decided to go and already booked my camping spot. Roll on end of June.

Debating whether to bid on a loom on e-bay it's amazing and only £25 but rather large!! Other news of note is that the amazing SP gourdesses got our SP7 matches out early and it should be a very interesting round.


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