Thoughts, quirky insights and experiences in my meandering life.

Is smaller always better?

This is the view I have been waking up to since arriving at my sister Jane’s house in Gloucestershire, or is it Hereford, she lives on the border of these two counties.  The hill seen through the mist is May Hill, a local landmark and much walked by my sister, including Christmas morning before the feasting begins.  I have knit wool grown on sheep who lived on May Hill, and this week visited Nell, the woman who owned those sheep, and who “messes about with wool” as her husband puts it.  I bought a lovely brown sheepskin for the boat, and got lots of ideas for my future, including this way of making wool rugs from uncarded fleece.

Rug or seat cushion?

Today is my last day here.  Shortly I will get out of bed, haul my suitcases and other accumulated clobber down stairs. Actually, Martin will probably do the heavy lifting, lucky me.  We are then driving to Nantwich in Cheshire to see Little Star, my narrowboat, and to hand me over to my younger sister Sally and her husband Trevor.  I am very excited to see my home from February to June next year.

My time at Jane’s has been very eventful.  Walking to the pub in pouring rain, listening to a talk about local and national suffragettes, seeing The Shape of Water in a local community hall by a group called Flicks in the Sticks, and visiting my sister as she did her volunteer shift in the village shop/post office, run by the community as the original shop was closed by the owner.  Oh, and making four dresses

Three for Jane, one for me

Jane loved the style of this dress, she has had one for twenty years and it is wearing out.  I had a pattern that was close.  First I adapted the paper pattern, then made a white cotton version to fit the pattern to Jane.  It is a princess line, tricky to fit.  When the cotton version was properly fitted then it became the pattern for the dresses.  Jane and I are pretty similar in size so fitting mine was not too hard.

Yesterday we had coffee in Newent after yoga and browsed around the town.  This caught my eye:

Is smaller better?

It appears to be a wood stove that has a burning chamber one foot square.  It certainly got my brain thinking about its effectiveness.  How much space would it heat?  Does the energy needed for cutting logs small enough to go into it count towards its effectiveness?  How frequently would you have to reload it?  Then I thought, stop thinking Canadian, maybe it is not for wood.  Maybe it is for coal.  It was very cute.

Jane and her partner Martin get the weekend Guardian, published on Saturday, and the Sunday Times.  One left wing, one right wing, so a nice balance.  They provide reading for the whole week, that they usually do in the rebuilt conservatory.  Three walls of glass and a heated floor.  Lovely.  Magazines also accumulate, and I was very heartened to see this article:

Now if we can only keep those bees alive.

Wish I had this as a kid!

Lastly, before I haul myself out of bed, I wish I had this as a kid.  A puzzle of the counties of Britain (and Ireland).  I only have the vaguest idea of where the southern counties are located, coming from the north as I do, and it being unknown lands down there.  I have colour copy to serve as a reference for this trip!



Back in the country of “close that door” and other British oddities


Sunshine in England happens more than you are led to believe.


  1. Mona Bracegirdle

    That’s all so lovely, Maggie! Gorgeous rugs and beautiful dresses. ? Wishing you much happiness….hugs to you and all?

    • Maggie

      So lovely to hear from you old friend. I just arrived at Sally’s and will pass on your message.

  2. Jodi

    Having a wonderful trip reading about yours. And your talents just go on and on. I finished my first scarf. It doesn’t quite compare to your artisan works. Looking forward to your workshops when you get home. Stay safe and have fun! Happy Adventures!

    • Maggie

      Thanks Jodi. I started with my skill very young, at my Mom’s knee, and they say you have to do something 10,000 times to be expert. You are on your way and hopefully having fun doing it. It is great to have a knitting community for support, chat and knitting help.

  3. Anne Chetwynd

    Absolutely lovely, Maggie.

  4. Brenda Rau

    Hi Maggie…Sounds like you’re having a really good time. You can get small air tight fireplaces in Canada. Doug has a lovely small one in the garage. Keep well.

    • Maggie

      Hi Carol,
      Good to hear from you, and so sorry about Dave. I still have time in March and April if that cash influx comes your way! I will be cruising to the west country and Bath, and then through London at that time.

    • Maggie Mann

      Hi Brenda,
      Lovely to hear from you. Yes, I have heard from a few people that they work well. Always learning!

  5. Carol

    Great to hear an update on your travels! I love Jane’s home, especially the conservatory. I would love to join you on your narrow boat experience and see Jane again. I’m visualizing a huge cash influx!!!

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