So what's the first thing you think of doing when the temperature hits 28 degrees C (this is Wales, remember, so that's off-the-scale sizzling)? Well, if you're me, you dust off the knitting needles and get back to work on that pure wool aran cardigan you were knitting. I love seamless knits - good to be able to try things on as you go and (hopefully) find that they fit. It gives me a bit more motivation to carry on than looking at a pile of panels that need seaming together.
This Summer hasn't just been about knitting though. I've also been on almost permanent slug-watch. I managed to grow amazing crops (considering my scant gardening experience) back when we lived in Slough, but back in Wales I seem to be constantly waging war against the slugs which decimate my budding plot each evening. Something to do with all the rain, perhaps? I will not use slug pellets, nor salt, as a neighbour suggested, but instead, each morning and evening I pick up each slug I find and, one by one, take them to the other end of the garden. Whereupon, it seems to me, they immediately start making their way back; I'm sure I'm seeing the same unrepentant slug faces night after night. The one thing that is working, however, is the copper tape. Slugs really don't seem to like it, and anything protected by a rudimentary defence made from a tube of milk carton encircled with some copper tape remains uneaten. A small victory.
In other news, there has been baking. The breadmaker (Panasonic SD-ZB250BXC, if you're interested) I got for my birthday from my family is in constant use - so much fun chucking different ingredients in and watching the machine work its magic. This week we have had rye and stout bread, red pesto and pinenut bread, and several white and wholemeal loaves in between.
There have also been various school events to bake for, so my latest effort was this ridiculously calorific chocolate traybake (at 433 calories per portion it's a cardiac arrest in the making - thank goodness they specify 'light' condensed milk!). I've really learned my lesson from my first school cake sale, where my offerings actually ended up being given away at the end. Lesson learned: children will not buy cakes with fruit in them, even if they are Bill's delicious apricot slice.
There's been a generous helping of culture as well as chocolate cake. I took the children to our local museum to catch the Petal Power exhibition on tour from The Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA), Middlesex University. Really worth catching this if you can, beautiful examples of fabric design and insights into how the women employed by the Silver Studio worked.
Another must-see for us was As You Like It in the beautiful surroundings of Chepstow Castle a few weeks ago. Both the elders (9 and 7) have studied Shakespeare at school this term, and though I worried about the complexities of the plot being lost on them, they were rapt throughout. Amazingly slick production by Illyria with lots of laughs, I would really recommend this - all over the place this Summer!
And finally, school's out for Summer! Whilst a parent from one of my children's classes had organised a collection for gift vouchers which I contributed to, the other child needed a teacher gift. Cue messing about with fabric and coming up with this:
Definitely having something along these lines as a custom order in the shop soon!
And the good news is that now that school's out, the home help (teacher husband) is officially back on shared childcare duties, which means a lovely long Summer ahead with a whole lot more messing about with fabric for me.