True to the rhyme, the Cuckoo came in April, he sung his song in May, and in June he has changed his tune. The cuckoo was the constant back ground noise to May, stepping outside in the glorious weather and pausing for minute was almost a guarantee that you'd hear the calling. We think we may have seen one flying up and down the valley a few times... but at a distance, and to our inexperienced eyes it's hard to work out what could be cuckoo and what could be pigeon!
The garden has enjoyed the sunshine, but the almost complete lack of rain in May has led to a lot of work trying to keep things watered, and we're starting to cast nervous glances at our water supply. A neighbour who relies on a small stream has already run dry, but thankfully our marsh and spring seem to be more reliable.
Our local walks have continued to show how much the beauty round here makes up for the inconveniences of a non-guaranteed water supply. The Bluebells are all over now, but for a brief while lit up the patches of ancient woodland that remain the steep valley bottoms.
There's been weekend crafting going on.... I'm working on a secret quilt project, so no photos of that. And, using my tried and tested method of buying/making things for summer I sewed a pair of shorts.
Well actually I sewed 2 pair of shorts. The first pair suffered from size delusion, so actually fit Mum, though this will mean checking outfits before we leave the house together.
Rubbish, non-modelled photo, but they have beautiful pockets, and an elasticated back waist, and the pattern also includes instructions for trousers. I added length to the legs, because I like more thigh coverage, which was simple enough, but you need to do it lower in the leg than shown on the pattern as the "add length" marking is to change the amount of rise. The pattern is Pietra Shorts & Pants from Closet Case Patterns.
On a side rant.... pattern designers, I get that you want to show off that your design has pockets, but please just give me one shot of the model without hands shoved in pockets. I typically don't wander round with my hands in my pockets all the time, so that means I want to see what things sit like without a hand shoved in to the pocket.
I also sewed a couple of these, and I like the end result, and it does what I want it to do, but the actual pattern is a car crash of questionable sewing choices. I made the one on the left first as a birthday present exactly as written, and then made the second one for myself with heavy modifications to the construction method. It still didn't go together perfectly, but was a much easier sew than the first one. Mine now hangs from my loom and holds my wound paper quills.
And finally at the every end of the month. A bit of brightness to distract me through the next month. Three new baby chickens, and their trusty Mum Ebony. They're few days old now, and looking really good. All 3 are currently black and fluffy, it will be a while until we know wether they're male or female, so fo now they remain nameless, until inspiration strikes, or I come up with some good gender neutral names, or inspiration strikes and that's how I ended up with a cockerel called Lilley...
The last week has felt tough. The constant feeling that your own government is actively working against the people of the country gets somewhat wearing. On top of the mess of Corona Virus, we're also less than a month away from the deadline to sign an extension to the negation for the extension period for Brexit. The Conservatives seem determined that it's all going to be just fine, and if they say it loudly enough then course it's going to happen. I have friends in the civil service, staff that were working on no-deal Brexit planning have needed to be redeployed to managed the Corona Virus response. If you think the food shortages this spring were bad then just wait until December and January. We are not ready to leave without a deal, and businesses are so busy battling to survive than any forward planning capabilities they had have been eaten up by virus response.
The website They Work for You is an excellent resource for checking up on your local MP, and providing contact details to urge them to push for an extension to the Brexit deal negotiations. The food and agriculture standards that are currently up for negotiation are horrifying, and this is just the start.
And then of course there have been the Black Lives Matter protests. If you're new here.... go read the archive. I've made my views on this known repeatedly over previous months.
If you're in the UK and looking on at the horrors in the US know that the UK is by no means a land free from racism. It's different, but people who are not white, are discriminated against on a daily basis. Here's a thread of concrete actions you can take that will have an impact in the UK. If you're in another country go away and do your research, don't be that person who posts a black square on social media and then goes back to your comfy quiet life.
On a business front it's going to be a case of making monad from lemons. I always hold a good stock of the bases I use, but many of them are custom made for me, and the mills aren't currently back to full time production. As a realist expect to see a few more unusual guest bases popping up over the coming months. I did enough advance planning at the beginning of March to ensure supplies of fibre for the Time Travellers Club up until June, and hopefully have already got plans in place for July. On 1st July the price for US postage will be rising dramatically, costs have risen to Royal Mail by 50%, and they have to pass these prices on to their customers, and I'm afraid I need to pass those prices on as well. I always charge as close to cost as possible. One thing that has changed is that the gap between standard postage and tracked postage has narrowed, so I have now turned on the option to pay extra and get international tracking (this option is now available for all international parcels, not just US ones).
Here's the new prices for the USA-
Up to 250g - £10.00 standard £13 tracked
Up to 500g - £15.00 standard £17 tracked
Up to 750g- £18.00 standard £20 tracked
Up to 1kg - £21.00 standard £23 tracked
1kg Plus- £25.00 standard £27 tracked
Club parcels, as ever, are particularly effected by postage price rises. I now need to add a £3 postage surcharge for all USA parcels. If you're a current Time Travellers Club member your subscription has already been edited, and I've emailed to let you know. If you're a Gradient Club member then I will be editing your subscriptions next week before your July payment is taken. If you're joining as a new member then there's now an extra question in the checkout process to allow me to collect this extra amount to cover postage.
We're gearing up for the Tour de Fleece in the Ravelry group. Our team fibre is now ready to be purchased, we've got a beautiful collection of colours of 14.5 micron Merino. As ever we'll be donating some money to Qhubeka from some of the proceeds from this fibre (25p per 50g between now and the end of the Tour). We've supported this charity, which aims to put people on bikes to allow them better access to education, work and healthcare, for a number of years now. Our donation in 2019 was used as part of their Learn to Earn work in Giyana High Schools.