Sanctuary

The word ‘sanctuary’ has a long list of meanings if you look it up in a dictionary, but the overarching idea is that it means a place that is sacred, whether you mean that in a religious way or not. It is a place where you can take refuge and be safe. You can also think of it as an activity rather than a place, where you can find sanctuary in doing something that makes you feel safe and calm, away from things that are not safe and not calm.

As you’ll know if you are a regular reader, I find sanctuary in nature, in particular at Cors Caron, a nature reserve not far from where I live. As I walk around the boardwalk looking at the creatures that live there, and soaking up the view across the bogland, it is special, and it is sacred to me.

Reflections

A nature reserve, in itself, is a sanctuary for the inhabitants as well as the visitors. At Cors Caron I can see creatures I would never see in my garden or around my village. They are safe there, living in the perfect habitat for them, not competing with humans for space, and being treated with care and respect.

Momma duck and her 10 ducklings

For example, lizards. In the UK, lizards are not something you see every day. Most people would never see one unless they went to a zoo or had one for a pet. We do have a couple of different types of lizard though – the Common Lizard, and the Sand Lizard. There is also the Slowworm which is a lizard without legs, not a snake – odd, I know! At Cors Caron, if you are lucky, you can see Common Lizards. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them but when my daughter and I went for a walk there on Thursday they were out and about in abundance.

Common Lizard
Common Lizard
Common Lizard
Common Lizard

There were many more that disappeared between the slats on the boardwalk as well! It was the first time my daughter had seen them so I was extra delighted.

Other creatures who take sanctuary at Cors Caron are the many, many Dragonflies and Damselflies. There are some that I can see quite easily around the pond in the village, but some that I only see at Cors Caron. For example the Black Darters. I have never seen these anywhere else. To be honest I’m not exactly well travelled so they may well be very common elsewhere, but for me, if I want to see a Black Darter I would go to Cors Caron.

The males are the only ones that are actually black (mostly):

Black Darter (male)

The females (and immature males) are much more about yellow and orange, with a hint of black.

Black Darter (female)

I only see Emerald Damselflies at Cors Caron too.

Emerald Damselfly (male)

There are butterflies as well, that I only see at Cors Caron. If you’ve been a reader for a while you might remember the Green Hairstreak butterflies that I can find at the same spot at Cors Caron year after year. Sadly I missed them this year due to lock-down, but hopefully I’ll see them again next year.

Green Hairstreak Butterfly

Once upon a time (back in 2013) I even saw an Adder at Cors Caron, my one and only encounter with a snake in the wild!

Adder

Cors Caron is a sanctuary in many senses of the word, and I hope I have shared a little of why it is sacred to me 🙂

Inspired by the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Sanctuary.

On the Hook, 1/8/20

Not a lot of progress to report this week. Just one thing I can show you. I couldn’t resist starting something new with my lovely birthday present yarn. I’m making my own take on a pattern I found on Ravelry: Lunaria Sweater by Stephanie Erin. I liked the idea of the flower motifs going down the sleeves, but then started thinking about dragonflies instead of flowers. I then also thought that I’d like some going down the centre front as well. It’s a bit fiddly trying to rework the increases, and I’ve had to frog it back a few times. I think this version’s a keeper though. The yarn is Cygnet Watercolour in shade Blue Horizon.

Happy 18th Birthday

In 1998 I had my best Christmas present ever, my son. And then as I turned 29, I had my best Birthday present ever, and that was you, my beautiful daughter. I remember worrying about having enough love for the both of you, but when you were born, of course, all those worries evaporated. Love is infinite, huge, magnificent, and there was more than enough for you.

Who knew, back then when you toddled around dangling a ‘my little pony’ by its colourful mane, that you would come to find your special something was riding a real pony!

My baby girl is all grown up! Happy Birthday xxx

Winter isn’t coming … yet

fire and ice

fire and ice combine
as glistening frozen leaves
reflect the sunset colours
shivering in the golden glow
as winter’s grip takes hold

written by me, December 2012
Frosty Leaves
Snow & Icicles in the garden

twinkle

even in the deepest days of winter
when darkness falls early
and nights are so long
there remains a glimmer
the merest twinkle of warmer times
glistening in the hidden spaces

written by me, December 2014
Droplets on moss sporophytes
Frosty Ivy Leaves

waking

unravelling the frozen trails
unwrapping the misty shreds of cold
that weigh down our limbs
and our souls

gradually waking
from the heavy sleep of winter

we are breaking out
pushing through the darkness
into the light
knowing that days will be
brighter, warmer, fuller
and all will be well

this too shall pass

written by me, February 2015
Frosty Leaves
Frosty Twigs

Inspired by the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Winter.

On the Hook, 25/7/20

This week hasn’t seen a huge amount of crochet progress, but there has been some. I have actually started on some projects that I can’t share, so it’s going to look like I haven’t done much for a while to come now.

First off, Baby Pandemonium…

I have actually done more than you can see here, because I realised I’d gained a couple of stitches and had to frog it back. I then got distracted by secret things so I haven’t actually completed this week’s parts – I’m only part way through part 5, and I haven’t started part 6. Part 7 comes out tomorrow, so I might go back to it, depends on how much I can resist the lure of new things!

I’ve done some more work on side 2 of the Pandemonium-inspired cushion. I added some tulips, as mentioned last time, but not sure what is coming next (or when!).

I have also done some work on my daughter’s cardigan but there is still a fair old way to go. I have done more past the sleeve than before it now, so it’s coming along.

Finally for today, I’ll share one of my birthday presents (it’s my birthday today!). Some lovely lovely yarn from my mum:

So squishy and such lovely colours! I have Cygnet Prism DK in Glow, and Cygnet Watercolour DK in Blue Horizon. Excited to see what I make out of these gorgeous yarns 🙂

Autumn Memories

into the coppery halls
of beech and intricate oak
to be close to the trees
as they whisper together
let fall their leaves,
and we die for the winter 

Whim Wood from Katherine Towers’ The Remedies

Inspired by the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Autumn.

On the Hook, 18/7/20

This week has been exhausting, with work and multiple trips to the vet with my cat, with all the associated anxiety, but I still managed to get quite a lot of crochet done. Bobby (the cat) has an eye ulcer, but fortunately it’s almost all healed now. He says “hello” (with a wink)!

There have been 2 more parts of the Baby Pandemonium CAL and we’re now up to part 4, with part 5 out tomorrow.

Part 3:

I did an extra row in part 3 as it actually ended before the loops were caught up. I couldn’t resist putting in the first row of part 4 early to catch them!

Part 4:

I think the next row will be some more pink, but we’ll see what comes in the pattern tomorrow.

You may have noticed, in the 4th photo there, that the Baby Pandemonium seems to be sitting on a pandemonium-inspired cushion… it’s not really a proper cushion yet, but I finished one side and pinned it onto my Kaleidoscope CAL cushion to see how it will look. Here’s another look without the baby in the way:

Still looking a bit wonky and quirky, but I am happy with it. As you can see it has the granny clusters, waves and loops inspired by the blanket. So because I finished this side, I then started side 2. On this side I’m trying to fit in other stitches and effects that I enjoyed in the CAL.

So here’s side 2 so far:

As with side one, it has the wonky, quirky thing going on! So I’ve put in some bobbles and some of the lovely bead stitch. I’ve just done a row of v-stitch which is going to be the base for some tulips. I haven’t worked out what I’m going to do on the corners yet… if I continue the tulip colour around them it’s going to lose the flower look, so I might do different coloured corners, we’ll see.

After taking a photo of side 2 of the cushion I wanted to show it with side 1:

And then, I decided to throw everything into one photo, so here we have the original Pandemonium CAL finished blanket, the Baby Pandemonium CAL so far, and both sides of my Pandemonium-inspired cushion 😀

Love it! 😀 ❤

Trees in Springtime

I was pondering what photos to use for today’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (spring) and I was feeling a little stuck. I’ve done many, many blog posts about spring, and don’t want to repeat myself too much. But I tend to focus on the spring growth on the ground, so what about the spring growth a little higher up?

The Beech tree in my front garden is one of the easiest trees to monitor and see if any leaves have appeared. This year the first leaves on it were photographed on 12th April:

At first just a few branches have leaves, and gradually the whole tree turns a wonderful fresh green:

It has flowers too:

One of my other favourite trees in spring is the Elm. There’s one near the village pond. It has flowers before it has leaves and often on a sunny spring day you can get photos with lots of bokeh. They start off kind of pink and frilly and then as they grow they get more green.

And then later on the leaves come …

The Rowan tree in the back garden starts off with leaves and flower buds at the same time, all curled up and needing to unfurl:

Later the flowers come out, before turning into red berries in the autumn.

There are Horse Chestnut trees in the village on the way round to the pond. Most people (in the UK) will be familiar with them as ‘conker trees’, but they’re more than that! In the spring they have an abundance of frilly pink and cream flowers growing in tall spikes above their fresh new spring leaves. They make me think of many-tiered birthday cakes!

They start off looking quite small and delicate before they explode into flower:

Let’s have one final tree in spring … the mighty Oak. They have flowers too, surprisingly dangly pretty flowers!

Later in the year there will be acorns of course, which most of us are far more familiar with than these flowers.

Hope you enjoyed my little tour of local trees in springtime. Off to see what the rest of you have chosen for this theme.

On the Hook, 11/7/20

Well after last week’s grand reveal of the finished Pandemonium CAL blanket, I thought there would be nothing much to report this week. However, the lovely designers surprised us with a bonus blanket, the Baby Pandemonium! On Sunday morning when many of us were thinking “oh no it’s Sunday and no more pandemonium parts”, there it was! A new blanket!

So as the name suggests, it’s a smaller blanket designed for a baby, and it’s not the same pattern as the original blanket. It will include many of the stitches, but in a new design. So far we’ve had 2 parts, with part 3 coming tomorrow morning.

Part 1: can you guess what those bobbles are going to make?! 😉

Part 2: yes, they were hearts, and then some lovely pink beads 🙂

I’m using a bunch of nice pastel colours from my stash. This particular blue, and the lemon yellow weren’t in the big blanket, but I thought they would be a nice addition to this one. Now I just need a friend or family member to announce they’re expecting so it will have a home to go to!

Before the surprise of the new pattern, I was experimenting with an idea to try and make a cushion with the same style as the the original blanket. There was a LOT of frogging involved! I kept trying things and starting again. In the end this is what I have so far.

Some granny clusters and waves:

Starting off a set of loops:

It’s resting on the cushion I made out of the squares from the Kaleidoscope CAL. I have another cushion pad the same size so it’s useful to see how much further I need to go.

It looks a little wonky, but I’m hoping that will add to the charm, rather than looking daft! I was trying to do the maths to work out where to put the clusters etc, and it was hard! As you can see on the granny cluster rows, the corners are a bit weird. But anyway, I still like it, so will carry on and do 2 more rows of loops and then see how much space there is for another row or 2.

The question then is what do I do on the other side? Same as this side, or try and pick out some other stitches from the blanket? Perhaps I could try and incorporate some dragonflies and some tulips. Who knows?!

Photo Challenge: Summer

We’re having some seasonal themes over the next few weeks for the Lens Artists Photo Challenges. This week is summer.

So what photos express summer to me? Well, of course I could just say summer runs from June to August and pick out photos taken during those months. But I’m going to think about what says summer to me. Sights, sounds, smells, that just scream summer…

Obviously, being me, one of the first things that screams summer are damselflies and dragonflies. You do see some in the spring, but summer is the main season for them. When I visit Cors Caron on a hot summer’s day there are dragons and damsels everywhere.

Black Darter (male) at Cors Caron last July
Black Darter (female) at Cors Caron last July
Emerald Damselfly (male) at Cors Caron last July

What else says summer to me? The sound of grasshoppers chirping …

The smell of Buddleia blooms on the air, and the crowd of butterflies (and the occasional moth) visiting …

Painted Lady
Red Admiral
Peacock
Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Another thing usually associated with summer is my daughter riding out in the fields for competitions and lessons, and giving me some heart-stopping moments!

We usually visit my sister in the summer and in recent years have gone to Compton Acres every time. I take loads of photos of all the flowers, but one thing you can guarantee from year to year is the waterlilies in the pond!

2016
2017
2019

Looking forward to seeing what everyone has come up with for this theme 🙂