A long term project completed!

Some years ago, I began crocheting squares from some cotton yarn from my stash.  Squares are good to take on holiday, as they are small and you can just take a few at a time, but it also means the project progresses slowly… Anyway, I was getting near the end of the cotton, so it was time to decide what to make from the finished squares.

First, they had to be blocked, then pressed. 

I ended up with 33, just the number for a shrug pattern I found.  The photo below was taken on the bed while I was away in Cambridge – the whole project was still small enough to take in my rucksack!

The assembled shrug had to be blocked again after I had crocheted the squares together.

Here it is being worn as a shrug:

But the sleeves have buttons, so you can also wear it as a shawl…

…or a scarf!

Very adaptable!  But do I store it with the wraps, the shrugs or the scarves??

A few days in Cambridge

I am spending a few days in Cambridge with a group called “Free to Believe”, studying Tom Holland’s book “Dominion”.  This afternoon we had some free time, so I went for a stroll around Cambridge.  In true Wheeler fashion, I wandered away from the bustle to the river, which was much more pleasant.

There were dog walkers, ducks, a heron and a couple of teenage swans.  But I wasn’t expecting cows!

Lickey Hills

We went for a walk around the nearby Lickey Hills.

The car park was by a large open area at the top of the hill, with good views of Birmingham and the surrounding area.

Once Rocco had off steam, we followed a nice path through woods and a golf course to the visitor center, which was closed but a cafe was open.

Then more woodland paths – Rocco really enjoyed chasing sticks:

We then stopped at a large monument:

Then more woodland paths back to the beacon, where Rocco still had enough energy to chase a stick:

A nice walk, and no rain, which was a bonus.


We’re up in Birmingham visiting Gemma, and braved the showers on a walk to Bournville.

The first path followed the Rea Valley towards Kings Norton:

We then joined the canal network at the junction of the Birmingham and Worcester canal with the canal to Stratford.

And followed the towpath towards Bournville. Unfortunately Rocco wasn’t paying attention as a cyclist went past and ended up in the canal. Yet again… Gemma was able to pull him out, but we did have a very wet dog for the rest of the day.

Bournville station is right next to the canal, and has a very decorative entrance:

We then walked past the Cadbury chocolate factory to Bournville village:

Then stopped for a coffee and Roast Pork rolls from the baker:

Rocco made sure nothing was wasted:

Then back to the station to catch a local train to Northfield:

Notice that a lot of the station is painted Cadbury purple.

By then, the heavier rain had caught up with us, so it was a quick walk along the Rea Valley back home.

A nice day out, 6 miles of walking.

Garden Sprayer

I’ve been using a modified Hozelock garden fan sprayer to water the garden from our ‘well’ for years – this works well to deliver a large volume of fairly low pressure water.

It’s been gradually falling apart for a while, and finally broke at the connector end. I’ve since patched it up, but it’s only a matter of time before it breaks again.

Unfortunately, fan sprayers of this type do not seem to be made any more, so yet again, I fired up the 3D design software and designed a replacement. The first attempt had a number of problems, but the 2nd version works really well:

The inlet end is threaded to accept the existing connector and sealing washer. And if this one should break, it’s just a case of printing another one!


We finally managed to find a day when neither of us were busy AND the weather looked reasonable, so it was off on a train to Hastings. The train was a bit delayed due to an “incident”, so Rocco was getting a bit bored:

A lovely journey down in a quiet carriage and an excellent (and chatty) conductor. As usual, we left the train at St Leonards Warrior Square and walked down to the seafront through the gardens:

Finally, we got to a bit of dog friendly beach and Rocco could let off steam:

Then a quick trip along the pier; all surprisingly empty:

All too soon, it was time to find our pub for lunch. Rocco was (as usual) very well behaved, and I rewarded him with some trimmings from my steak. After lunch, we climbed up to West Hill (it was easy for me as I had a very enthusiastic dog helping) and Rocco could have a good run around while we enjoyed the view.

We then wandered back to the Hastings Station – and sat in our air-conditioned train until it was time to go home.

A lovely day out!

Playing with our new toy

This week we had the second attempt at proving the pizza bases in the new proving oven:

It starts off quite flat, which is handy for storage.

The lid lifts up, then off, then the inside unfolds so you get a box.

It takes less than five minutes to get to 40°, during which time I make the pizza bases.

Next, the frame which Phil designed and 3D printed is unfolded, and the pizza bases stacked in it.  We had to buy new trays because the old ones were too big!

Finally, the whole lot is lifted into the oven. I must say the contraption is much more stable than I feared.  It’ll be interesting to see what it’s like with four pizzas!