It’s the most wonderful time of the year …..

I have decided that I really do like Spring best out of all of the seasons. I like all the others for different reasons but there is something about the start of warm sunny days after the cold of Winter that makes you very happy! I have had a very lovely weekend and I hope that you have too.

I have been very relaxed this weekend which was wonderful, I had a quiet week at work as I was only in the office for one day after getting back from China on Monday and as I have felt very tired and jet lagged I had not planned anything for this weekend beyond a bit of sorting in the house and garden.

As it has been very good weather I have spent a good few hours in the garden and we had our very first BBQ of the year this evening, in March – a  minor miracle!

As you may remember we had our very last BBQ of the year last October the 1st and it was so lovely this afternoon we thought we would seize the moment. The clocks have gone back as well so we had another hour of daylight so I pottered round the garden a bit more.

BBQ March

I have had to do some major work as well as the general post Winter tidy up as the very high winds in Jan meant we lost quite a lot of the trellis. I had taken half of it down some months ago meaning to replace those panels later but the rest has gone so I took it all down this weekend. Sadly I have lost quite a bit of the lovely clematis and ivy but the good news is that my camellias are blooming for the first time in 5 years!

I think it looks just as nice without the trellis – pity my neighbour’s cat Henry will have nowhere to climb and scare the birds now! I found a lot of pigeon feathers underneath the laurel bush so I think someone met a sticky end in his paws.

Garden March 1

Also took some pics of my lovely Virbunum plant which looks so pretty at this time of year.

Garden March 2

I have also been working on all the Chinese pics so that I can publish the page later on in the week, I took so many pics that I have spent a long time choosing which to use and resizing them.

I am set to have a nice relaxing week at work then I am teaching for a couple of days before we leave for our holiday in Italy! We are off to Lake Como the first week of April, lucky us.

Mum is arriving next weekend and Ellie arrives midweek – just in time for her 21st birthday! How did that happen, my little baby being 21? This is the first of the special birthdays this year as Jake is 18 in mid June, I am 50 at the end of June and Nana is 100 mid July.

I do hope you all have a lovely week ahead with lots of sunshine and nice things, take care and thanks as always for visiting.

Chinese textiles

As might have been expected I found some lovely things in China! I thought I would put these in a post rather than with the other pics I have been working on for a separate page so that they will appear in the tags at the side.

China is of course famous for silk and while in Guangzhou (which was formerly known as Canton) I went to the old 19th century area for a visit and found this beautiful piece of embroidery on silk in an antique shop there. There were many pieces to choose from but I bought the lion as that is a very traditional Chinese symbol. I love the bright colours and the detailed stitching. There were so many lovely things in the shop (that I could not afford) like caps and gowns and stitched shoes.

Chinese lion 1

Chinese lion 2

I also came across some lovely cross stitch kits – these were being sold by a street vendor on one of the bridges near the hotel I stayed at in Guangzhou and worked out at about £1 per kit so were a real bargain. I have just started stitching the Emperor one to remind me of the dressing up with Mo that I posted about last time.

Cross stitch 1

Cross stitch 2

Cross stitch 3

The first group of people I worked with in the city of Shantou gave me a gift to say thanks at the end of the week which was very kind of them. I was thrilled when they gave me this beautiful set of local lace.There are about 12 of  these in the set they gave me. They told me that lace making was brought to the area by missionaries in the 19th century so they thought the present was appropriate as it was a blend of West and East which was so lovely. They didn’t even realise when they chose this gift what a textile addict I am so it was perfect!

Chinese lace

I was lucky enough to be taken out on a brilliant day’s tour of cultural sites when I was in Shantou. I spent most of my time in China teaching but had 3 rest days while I was there and the school I was working at took me to a historic house nearby where they had museum displays. This is part of a wedding carriage and is appliqued embroidery on silk.

Shantou - applique

Puppet theatre has a long tradition in Chinese culture and in the same museum there was a puppet theatre display with beautiful goldwork side panels.

Goldwork 2


Goldwork 1

I am still working on the rest of the pics to choose some for my page – I took so many so am spending a lot of time editing them and hope to post that at the weekend.

Thank you for visting and see you all soon.

Welcome to Spring

I’m home after a very, very fabulous and exciting nearly 3 weeks in China. 

It is the first day of Spring today and the weather has been lovely and sunny and there is blossom on my neighbour’s tree and everything is looking very good.It is quite significant that I am home to see the blossom as I have been starting to learn Chinese while I have been there and the Chinese name for England starts with the word Ying which means blossom (the Chinese use similar sounding words for foreign names).

My name in Chinese translates as ‘a beautiful forest’  because ‘A’   ‘Li’   ‘Son’   relates to those 3 characters. I think that is a lovely name, especially as I love being outdoors so much.

Here is my first name on my name plate from the first group I taught.

My name

I am still feeling a little disorientated due to the time difference – it took 22 hours to get home yesterday and my sleep patterns are still very disrupted and I keep waking up and forgetting where I am!I am also very tired as I have been working very hard while I was there with at least 12 – 14 hour days. However it was brilliant fun. I met so many lovely people and was looked after really well. The food was wonderful and I got to see quite a bit of the country and some of the historic sites despite only having 3 days not teaching out of 20 days there.

I am sorting out the 1,000 plus pictures I took while I was there so that I can create a web page about the trip but meanwhile I have included a  pic for this post.

Apologies for the quality of this as it is a picture of a digital photo that we had taken in the Yuexie park which we visited on one of our rest days. They had a stall where you could hire costumes and have photos taken so this is me and my colleague Mo dressed as a Chinese Emperor and Empress. We chose this costume as I had been treated so well in the first week I was there I felt like royalty and my other colleague Chris had joked that it was because I was  princess. It was great fun dressing up and we certainly amused the people in the park, there was a huge crowd watching our photo shoot!

Dressing up

I will be back later in the week with more updates, in the meantime sleep is calling!

Thanks for visting.