Thursday, 18 September 2014

Morwellham Quay, Devon.

One of us in the cottage has a birthday this week.
We normally spend the Soggibottom carpenter's special day on a day out. This year the weather forecast for the 20th of September gives rain. On a whim we decided if we were going out for the day, we may as well go when it was dry, even if the trip out was a few days early.
We didn't feel the need to drive far this year so decided on a trip to Morwellham Quay, Devon side of the river Tamar.

Morwellham Quay is a living history museum. A place we were going to take our grandson Jake on his visit to Soggibottom during the school holidays, as usual time ran away with us. A week isn't long enough to finish the "to do" list.

Morwellham lies in a secluded valley beside the river Tamar. To know more about the history I would have to spend more time and read more of the signs and displays on show. Read more books about the place. A few hours really isn't long enough to know the real history, so best I give you a link to MORWELLHAM QUAY. That way I won't get my facts wrong.

I can show you some of our own photo's.

There are mines all around Devon and Cornwall. Tin mines and copper mines. Morwellham is a copper mine. The miners at Morwellham even diversified at the end of the mines life and brought up Arseno pyrite.

After the pyrite had been through a few processes it was refined to what you and I would know as Arsenic.

The display of part of the chemistry lab.
We enjoyed poking around, okay I should have said meandering. Kids are back at school and it was a quiet day at Morwellham, we poked around, enjoyed getting into every nook and cranny.

Before you ask, no, Soggibottom does not have dust like this under the beds or a chamber pot.
I have to go back to mend the tear in that beautiful bedspread, also clean all the cottage windows, anyone want to give me a hand about the dust ?
I'm sure it's been a busy Summer this year. There have been other things to do apart from dust.
The people who lived here would have been hard at work most of the day, not worrying about dust. Everyone worked. Kids, women and never a great place to be working down a mine. The whole place was covered in dust from the work that went on here.

There are some really good displays around the museum.

In the village shop, maybe you should blow the dust off before you take a bite from the sugar mice.

Think twice about going to the bathroom.  Someone has a rat or mouse problem.

The Victorian Farm T.V programe was filmed at this very spot,  they then followed it up by an Edwardian Farm. I can't imagine what it must have been like to film and keep visitors through the doors here at the same time.


Morewellham also has lovely people who dress in costume and really know their history and enjoy passing on their knowledge.

Morwellham on a quiet day was perfect for us, and perfect for Freya as it gave her the chance to go places she should never have been.

Climbing on the displays is a no, no.
That's our beloved Cavalier, she is fearless, she even went down the copper mine and never batted an eye or in Freya's case an ear.
It has to be mentioned, she did take a great interest in the cake display at Ruth's cottage.

Fearless Freya can be found over at her blog Cat Flap Cavalier. 

She really didn't touch the display, after her five week diet from tubby dog to sleek noble lady, she probably would have gobbled up given half the chance. I can see her mouth watering.  

Freya, Norse for noble lady, or as she is sometimes known around Soggibottom cottage, Freya the red, Freya the greedy, Freya the brave, Freya the fearless. Freya the mutt, Freya our shadow, Freya our beloved dog.

We took far too many photo's for one post, so see you soon.
Unless you are already bored and have started to yawn. :-) x x x

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A dog's life when your dog is over weight.

All those that follow Freya Rose Blossom on her CAT FLAP CAVALIER blog know Freya has been on a diet over the last month. At three years old her yearly check up's are something she attends and never misses. Ears, eyes.paws, HEART, joints, jabs and weigh in.
The weighing scales at our vets groaned as she clambered onto them last month. 12 kilo's was far to heavy for a Cavalier.  It's so easy to allow your dog to put on extra pounds. The hardest thing is trying to shed them again. There was no excusing her tubby tum because she looks fluffy with her Cavalier coat.

Explaining to the vet exactly what she ate during the day, all went well until we mentioned dental health teeth cleaning chews. The vet rolled his eye's, we held our breath wondering where we had gone wrong. After a good shake of his head and a tut, tut, we both came to the same conclusion that for Freya at least they are a big no, no.

The vet reinforced his view that giving her one dental chew was like feeding our beloved dog a MARS BAR every day. 

Even when cut up into quarters it's believed they are one of the culprits of her tubby issues. The other culprit/s, non other than ourselves for over feeding her with the occasional cheese snack and lick of ice cream. Not that there is anything drastically wrong with that I agree, but when your dog is starting to look very barrel like you realize it's time to act. Kindness by over feeding can kill.

Another of Freya's downfalls is her fondness for cat food. She can be a sneak thief if left to her own devices anywhere near the sniff of the cat food dish.
Over the last month cat food has been another big no, no.  She's quick, but we have been quicker to remove an unguarded cat food dish. Okay, I admit, twice we forgot, and true to form Freya snaffled every tasty morsel. We aren't just on about tinned or pouched cat food and cat cookies, Frankie de tabby lives high off the hog as any old 19 year old cat should, with roast chicken and poached fish. A fussy 19 year old cat is hard to please so as long as he eats it, he can have what he wants. Freya had a great time and snacked all day when no was one looking.

The month of a new feeding regime has worked. NO CAT FOOD, NO SUGAR FILLED DENTAL TEETH CLEANING CHEWS. Her daily allowance of Dr Wellbeloved light kibble is always weighed. No, I don't mean to advertize, but that is what she now eats. Any titbits she has during the day now come from her daily allowance of weighed kibble. 

We haven't been that mean that she has gone without her usual SMALL bone shaped cookies at night before she goes to bed.
One month on from her vet check up, she is lean and lighter and reached her target weight of 11 kilo's. So far, so good. Now to keep up the good work.

Freya can be found over at The CAT FLAP CAVALIER.

Meya, one of Freya's village doggie friends can be found wearing her new knitted Soggibottom sweater on her walks around the local park.You can find the pattern a few posts back on Soggibottom.
See you all very soon :-) X X X

Monday, 1 September 2014

Love at first sight.

There is something about meeting a new granddaughter for the very first time.
Marley Wynn is nearly two years old, her first visit to Soggibottom Cottage where she made a bee line straight to my very own childhood panda bear.
With all the teddy bears that lay around especially for her in the cottage that day, it was either saying something about my bear making that she ignored all the other bears or maybe like me she fell in love with Tubs at first sight.

It's been a beautiful Summer with a flurry of visitors. The long awaited visit of our new granddaughter and new daughter in law arrived. 

The shame is, long awaited visits never seem to last as long as you would wish. Four days flew by so quickly before Marley Wynn, her mum and dad were off again to explore Europe before flying back to Cambodia.

 We had a day of grace before our grandson Jake arrived at the cottage.

Soon followed by our daughter Karina.

There were boat rides and beach days.

A full fun Summer of places to see and photo's to take.

Kites to fly. 

A new bear to make. Here she is sitting in our cottage garden. It's been a busy Summer, but one that's been memorable.

Many thanks to Christine Sterling and her beloved beautiful horse Baron for sending the new and updated photo's of Christine's Soggibottom Bear.

I'm pleased the bear took her hat when she left Soggibottom cottage. I'm more than pleased she arrived safely in Arizona. You can find Christine and her dogs, Monty and Harlow just HERE

Our very own Miss Mutt, Freya Rose Blossom has been making herself busy over the Summer, unlike me she has been a constant blogger over the Summer months.
You can find Freya over at  CAT FLAP CAVALIER.

We have again settled back into our own world of long beach visits, Freya Rose Blossom walks and spoiling Frankie de tabby. 

I have been severely reprimanded for not blogging during the Summer on Soggibottom. Now hopefully things are back to normal. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

How to ripen green tomato's.

Soggibottom hasn't had many red tomato plants this year, even when they are yellow tomato's they still need to ripen. Easy tip, put them with banana's. IT WORKS.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Free Soggibottom knitted dog sweater pattern

Our very own Freya Rose Blossom  THE CAT FLAP CAVALIER modelling her own sweater.

A Free pattern is well over due from Soggibottom. This time it's a dog sweater.
My own sweater pattern, you are very welcome to use for your own private use.

This also gives a great opportunity to including our beloved Amie Soto Blossom who used to have her own selection of sweaters. Her collection grew as she got older, they were especially helpful at keeping the chill off on beach walks and her walks on Dartmoor.

There are no buttons, no fiddly bits to fasten as your dog squirms. 
Roll down the collar, which goes over your dogs head, hold one paw up at a time and slip it into the sleeve, roll the sweater down over your dogs back. 

If you need any help because you don't understand the pattern, let me know.I'll try to keep things simple, it's an easy pattern you shouldn't get lost.

Sweater sizes.
Chest size.    15/34, 191/2,  231/2 inches.
                      40 (49.5) (59.5) cm
No. 8 (4mm) knitting needles,
approx 150g (200g) ( 250g) double knitting wool.
I like to use a good percentage of wool, but as long as long as it's a double knit yarn it will be fine.

Cast on 75 (87) (99) stitches using no 8 knitting needles.
1st Row, K1, p1 to end
2nd Row, P1,k1 to end.
Rib (k1,p1) for 50 rows.

Next Row
Knit increasing 1 stitch at each end of the row.
Next Row
Purl to end
Continue adding stitches on every alternate knit row until you have 89 (109) (103) stitches on your needle.

Divide for leg holes :
Next Row
Knit 14 (17) (20) stitches, cast off next 3 (4) (5) sts. Knit to last 17 (21) (25) stitches. Cast off 3 (4) (5) stitches, knit to end.
Work on last set of 14 (17) (25) stitches only for right half front.

Right half front.
Decrease 1 stitch at the end of next row and at the same edge on the 3 following rows.
10 (13) (16) stitches.
Knit ( 1 row plain, 1 row purl) for 7 (9) (11) rows. Increase 1 stitch at beginning of next row and at the same edge on 3 following rows. 14 (17) (20) stitches. Break off the yarn and leave these stitches on a holder.

With the wrong side (purl side of your work) facing rejoin yarn to center 55 (67) (81) stitches. Decrease 1 stitch at each end of the next 4 rows. 47 (59) ( 73) stitches.
Knit (knit one row, purl one row) 7 (9)  (11)  rows. Increase 1 stitch at each end of the next 4 rows. 55 (67) (81) stitches. Break off the yarn and leave these stitches on a spare needle or put them on a holder if you find it easier.

Left half front
With wrong side facing, rejoin yarn to remaining 14 (17) (20) stitches. Decrease 1 stitch at beginning of the next row and at the same edge on the following 3 rows. 10 (13) (16) stitches.
Knit (knit one row, purl one row) 7 (9) (11) rows.
Increase 1 stitch at the end of the next row and at the same edge on the 3 following rows. 14 (17) (20) stitches. Do not break off the yarn but leave these stitches on a stitch holder.

Leg sleeves

With right side of your work facing, using No 8 (4mm) needles pick up and knit 34 (37) ( 40) stitches evenly around one leg hole, then cast on 3 (4) (5) stitches. 37 (41) (45) stitches on your needle.
Rib (knit one, purl one) for 17 rows. Cast of in rib (knit one, purl one).

Join leg sleeve seam.

Casting on 3 (4) (5) stitches at the beginning of pick up row instead of at the end, work the other leg sleeve in the same way.

Joining Row
Return to the stitches on the stitch holder with the yarn attached.
With the right side facing and using no 8 (4mm) knitting needles, knit 14 (17) ( 20) stitches from the stitch holder, then pick up and knit 3 (4) (5) stitches over cast on stitches of the leg sleeve, knit 55 (67) (81) stitches from the spare needle (or your stitch holder), then pick up and knit 3 (4) (5) stitches over the cast on stitches of the other leg sleeve, finally knit 14 (17) (20) stitches from the other stitch holder 89 (109) (131) stitches.

Next Row.
Knit (1 row knit, 1 row purl) decreasing one stitch at each end of the next 9 alternate rows.

Next Row
Rib (knit one, purl one) every row still decreasing 1 stitch on every alternate row until there are 75 (87) (99) stitches on needles.

Rib for another 12 rows without decreasing.
Cast Off.
Sew seam and roll back the neck collar.

This is an easy pattern that you can alter depending on the length of your dog. 

Last Christmas,  knitting needles were clacking here in the cottage after reading a certain animal shelter desperately needed warm dog coats to keep their residents, especially the older guys warm during the cold weather. 

This pattern is for Lorraine's mum.
When she goes on holiday she wants to knit dog sweaters for an animal shelter. 

Frankie de tabby isn't a great knitter himself Lorraine, but hope this helps.
:-) xxx

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Water Relief Channel update at Soggibottom Cottage July 2014

Meandering along country lanes you never know what you might come across.
Picturesque thatched cottages are always a hit.
The Summer seems to be speeding by at an alarming rate, flying by in a glorious heat haze and blue skies.
A bit like last Summer, last Summer we were too busy watching what was happening around Soggibottom cottage to take much notice of blue skies. For us, it was the dustiest, noisiest and most stressful Summer ever spent here.

There were times we couldn't get out of our own gate.

Building a water relief channel to help with the problem of flooding certainly was a challenge.
Even more so when you were living right beside the build.

 One of the highlights definitely had to be the day we arrived home to find a dirty great crack that was getting bigger and bigger as we looked at it seven feet away from our cottage wall. The side of the newly dug water channel had started to collapse, as it collapsed the digger went gaily backwards and forwards without anyone bothering to stop work until we arrived.  Must admit that was more than a bit worrying at the time.

Our little Medieval bridge we use to get to Soggibottom even had a frogman under it. The 7 ton weight limit was increased to 40 tons so the water channel building materials could go travel over the bridge and not an easier route across a large park at the back of the cottage.
Couldn't have the grass damaged.  The cricket club would be really put out if their cricket pitch was damaged and they lost out on a whole season of playing cricket.
Instead our little bridge was damaged, it was never ever built to take 40 ton loads of heavy building materials. It used to take ponies with carts.

It wasn't an all doom and gloom Summer. There were times we had to laugh at the things that kept going wrong (let no one tell you any different, things did go wrong), most of what happened really couldn't have been made up. I haven't yet mentioned the bat men monitoring for bats.

The best day ever, when Gary Cooper (yes really) took his blasted digger over the bridge for the last time, never to return.
Wish I could report that was the end of it, the water relief channel all built, up and running and most of all working. Everything that was broken repaired.

Well, the channel kind of works. If it hadn't have been there on February 14th we believe the cottage would have been flooded yet again. Unfortunately the channel now has a build up of silt caused from on going road building around the village. The channel is filling up fast and not only with water.
The channel it's self has a few issues that still have to be put right. 

The stream that used to take all the river water has started to over grow with weeds because the water now travels along the new water relief channel. At times this week the water has hardly trickled along the old route of the stream. More issues.

The path way to the park runs beside another ongoing building project of a children's playground, the path in the middle beside the water channel is wide enough for a small car to travel along. Unfortunately the driver of this particular car went all the way before realizing there was no way out and they shouldn't have been there anyway.

Took ages to back out and poor woman was then photographed and filmed while trying to wriggle her way back bumping her car on the sides of the fence as she went.

As for the park, the Cricket Club and their cricket pitch, (the reason why heavy lorries put such a strain on our little bridge and a bigger strain on our sanity last year) well, that got a bit of a heavy battering as another building project in the park took place at the beginning of the year.
All in all it seemed a pointless exercise coming over our bridge to build the water channel to start with after they left all this mess in the park.

Most of the mess did get cleared up. The cricket club got their cricket pitch back. Some building work of a ball park is still ongoing. They started it in January, as it's now July things obviously take time.

We have a new car park and even a new veggie plot at the back of Soggibottom.

Best of all, Soggibottom is still here.

This is the best kind of traffic to sit back and enjoy watching as it passes.

Freya can be found at CAT FLAP CAVALIER as usual.

Hope everyone who has asked for a cottage water relief channel update is happy.

Most of all we hope everyone is having a fabulously glorious Summer just like us. XXX