a little rest

I have been feeling a little bit deaf recently... as if my hearing range has shrunk and the low, resonant notes, the high, delicate notes, have been tuned out. All I have been hearing is the flat, tinny thumping of life's main tune. The harmonies, the ornaments, the nuances are silent for me at the moment. An experience shared by most women, mothers and grandmothers at different times of life, I am certain.

Luckily we have a week's holiday coming up in the beautiful Wye Valley where I am hoping that my ears will open up to a fuller, richer music again. A week on the side of a wooded hill, walks by the river, evenings by the fire, days spent poking in bookshops, drinking tea and soaking up the early autumn sun. A week without teenagers or babies and their attendant laundry, mess and meals. Without hospital trips, waiting rooms or work. Without the builders next door, reality tv blaring out, arguments, shouting or dreadful so-called music on the car radio.

A lovely rest. I really need it.

new round pincushions added to the shop sale

Just a few things left now if you'd like an early autumn treat...

stock clearance sale!

Mouse is having a pre-Christmas stock clearance sale! There is 70% off absolutely everything so why not pop over to the shop and get a few bargains for your Christmas pressie drawer?

I've got a few new things in the pipeline and want to clear the decks ready for the new collection, so as they say on the telly, 'everything must go'! This means lots of lovely bargains for YOU dear reader... lovely cotton shopping bags, hand-embroidered decorations, gift tags... and nearly everything is under a fiver.

Go go go!

*I know this sounds like a sofa advert, but stock is really limited, so do hurry!

a gallery of roundness

I have been very excited to discover that you can curate your own gallery on Flickr using either your own photos or your favourites...

Don't laugh, because I am always one of the last to know about things. Anyway, it's really fun and I have collated an assortment of photographs of round things, go and look!

I can't wait to do another but for now it's bedtime after a very busy day...

Thursday: I've just finished another beautiful gallery, I think I love this one even more, it's called Fragile and there are some exquisite photographs there that will make you catch your breath - such talented photographers, thank you all!


"The need to be right all the time is the biggest bar to new ideas" Edward de Bono


This weekend the garden is still. Leaves are fading to palest yellow, bees are buzzing in patches of intense, low golden light. Everything is soft, rich, slow, gentle, quiet.

We are tilting towards autumn but not yet there. Late summer bees and hoverflies, the heady smell of still-flowering phlox, bright patches of colour as faded petals are caught in shafts of sunlight. The robin chinks his alarm call and a charm of goldfinches twitter overhead.

The wind is in the south-east, soft and light but strong enough to direct the large transatlantic jets over us as they climb out of Manchester Airport - sometimes, in the harsh bright overhead light of summer, their shadows pass across the garden, but this weekend they slant away to the south through a faint haze.

Another warm, still, golden day on Sunday, driving across the sunlit Pennines to the beautiful Yorkshire Sculpture Park to meet Helen of Cocoa and Blankets and her lovely family. We walked and walked and talked and talked. The men hit it off straightaway and forged ahead with the map, while we girls took a more leisurely pace better suited to civilised conversation.*

I am loving this last final stillness, a golden flourish before autumn blows in. The nights are getting chilly now, and soon it will be time for that bluey green driftwood fire I dream of...

Lastly, I couldn't resist showing you this photo of my beautiful granddaughter asleep on my shoulder this evening. Golden moments indeed.

*You can see more photos on Helen's much more interesting post which features naked wrestling...

the rough blog guide

One of the fab things about blogging is how many ideas I get for days out and holidays. It's brilliant - like having my own personalised travel section of the Sunday paper! All I have to do is sit back and follow all my favourite blogs... which of course I've chosen because I admire their aesthetics, taste, outlook on life, sense of humour or whatever... so when I see a post about a holiday or a favourite place, I immediately sit up and take notice, knowing it's more than likely I'll love it too.

This is how we ended up at Sunderland Point on Sunday, having seen Jackie's post about collecting driftwood there a few weeks ago. I had read that driftwood fires burn with a lovely bluey green light and since it's nearly time for the first autumn fire I had a deep yearning to see if it was true. I love the sea in all its manifestations so the chance to get blown around on lovely pebbly beaches and estuary salt marshes was too good to miss.

Sunderland Point is marshy and can only be reached by a causeway when the tide is out.

It does get very windy...

It has a lovely lost and forgotten atmosphere. We found this abandoned gipsy caravan at the tide's edge.

The edges here are wild and surprising yet woven together like a tapestry.

Because it is washed by the sea twice a day lots of interesting little plants grow in the pebbles.

I even found some seaside knitting...

And a strange fossilly thing...

We had loads of fun collecting driftwood and I made mine into bundles thanks to some lost string.

Rory found a German box to put his in.

Sunderland Point has definitely gone on my list of favourite places, so thank you Jackie!

Other places I'm dreaming of visiting... the Scottish islands, thanks to Kate's beautiful introduction, Wentworth in South Yorkshire courtesy of Diane, and another trip to Northumberland after reading Lucy's lovely posts. If I keep saving my airmiles we might make it to some of the places Viv showed us in Bruges, or maybe even Helen's inspirational Venice...

Have you been inspired to travel somewhere thanks to a blog post?

party aftermath

Many thanks for all your lovely comments and good wishes for Rory's 50th birthday party. We all had a very happy afternoon eating, drinking and seeing old friends and family. All the hard work and organisation paid off, it all looked pretty and there was enough to eat and drink... times a zillion! Everyone got sent home with four-pint containers of milk, cartons of cream, tubs of rice salad, left-over scones and extra quiche.

The strawberry cream teas were hugely popular and we all scoffed loads. Pimms went down well too.

Now we're all shattered but the house still looks fab and there's a cellar full of wine and I haven't had to cook for three days!

I thought I'd share this last picture with you to make you laugh as it did me...

After days of polishing, cleaning and scrubbing the house looked a picture. Bunting up, fairy lights twinkling, food ready, drinks ready to pour, five minutes to go, and what do I suddenly see on the windowsill?

This attractive little display, left over from breakfast, tucked away and forgotten...