Monday, February 23, 2009

Wedding plans

Tony and I finally have written permission from Severn Trent to have our wedding reception here:
Bratch Water Pumping Station
It is The Bratch Pumping Station, in Wombourne near Wolverhampton.
A bit of History....
Following the mid nineteenth century cholera outbreaks in Bilston (1832, 1849 and 1857), the provision of pure drinking water became a legal requirement (Public Health Act 1848). After an unsuccessful start by using water pumped from mines, Bilston allowed neighbouring Wolverhampton to supply its water, both domestically and to industry. However, following a legal dispute with Wolverhampton Corporation over the costs of water supply, the Bratch Pumping Station was built in 1895 by Bilston Urban District Council to ensure an independent supply. The best site for water extraction was recommended to be from the underlying Bunter sand beds in the Bratch area, near Wombourne, some 6 or 7 miles from Bilston.

The water pumping station was formally opened in 1897, using two steam engines, called Alexandra and Victoria.
For some 60 years, from 1897 to 1960, steam engines pumped water through brick-lined wells from the Bunter sandstone about 160 feet below ground. It was then pumped to a purpose built reservoir some 3 ¾ miles away and 345 feet higher on the Wolverhampton/Bilston border whence it was distributed by gravity to Bilston. Steam pumping ceased in 1960, as electric pumps, backed up by emergency diesel engines, were introduced to continue the work.

"Victoria" has been restored to full working condition by the "Friends of the Bratch." The engine is "steamed" twice a year by The Friends, of which Tony is a member.
Here is the top of Victoria inside the pumping station (and a very excited Groom-to-be).
Bratch Water Pumping Station

Bratch Water Pumping Station
The building on the left below will house the wedding breakfast and the dancing later, we are hoping to set up outdoor furniture on the hardstanding outside in the hope that it will sunny enough on the 11th July to spend most of the day outside!
Bratch Water Pumping Station
If anyone knows any good Indian caterers, Hog Roast people, furniture hire people, florists or wedding photographers in the West Midlands area please let me know - there is a lot of planning to do!

I'd better get on with my wedding shawl!
Here is a sneaky peak of the detailing on my dress. <

I can't decide if I want a triangular shawl, a rectangle, something that would sit better on my shoulders or possibly even a shrug. Endless hours of searching Ravelry haven't come up with anything I absolutely *must* make. I did see this picture on a fellow knitters blog and thought the shape of her shrug was perfect. In my head I wasnt something lightweight and lacy that covers just the tops of my arms and not too much of my back (as there is detailing on the back of my dress too) I am wondering if a top down raglan would work with a simple lace design - what do you think? Any thoughts/helpful hints greatfully received!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

BillyBob's Blanket

My latest crochet blanket is finished!
Joseph (the bump formerly know as BillyBob) was born on the 20th January. My trapped nerve meant I couldn't really work on this for a few weeks but it is finally complete and will be sent off along with the rest of the "pampering package" I've put together for the new parents.
BillyBob's Blanket
Started: 28th December 2008
Finished: 17th February 2009
Pattern: It is my own version of a motif from a Japanese crochet book. I used this pattern for my previous hexagon blanket. This time I made a few different variations on the original design, some have cluster stitches, some have bobbles. I would like to write up the pattern for the new motifs but am worried they are not different enough from the original. I think I may need to play around with a few more ideas first.
Yarn: RYC Cashsoft 4 ply in Sea Foam, Bluebottle, Suede, Spring, Weather and Dive. I used two balls of Bluebottle and Suede and one of all of the others.
Hook: 3.5mm
Comments: I have to thank Alice for the colour inspiration. I adored the colours she chose for her quilt and swiftly copied them!

Monday, February 09, 2009

The demolition begins

We started on the kitchen this weekend. Here is the only "before" photo I can find. 8_Woodhall 003
The photo is taken from the entrance to the kitchen. The wall on the right is clad in stained shiplap, to the left of the picture is the old boiler.
The part past the wooden shelves is an old 1980's extension which is falling away from the 1960's extension in the lounge. So, the back wall of the extension is coming down, to be replace with sliding doors across the whole of the back of the house. The kitchen will be a kitchen diner, in a L shape - what you can see in this picture, and then across the back of the house.
On the right hand wall in the above photo we want to put in a pantry, so imagine our surprise when the removal of the shiplap revealed this:
Kitchen 080209 001
Some original 1930's tiles, and a doorway - exactly where we want the pantry door. This was obviously an original pantry - it was been turned into the downstairs bathroom when the house was converted into two flats.
I got to work with my crowbar
Kitchen 080209 010
And now we have a door to our pantry!
Kitchen 080209 013
We also took out the ceiling of the kitchen extension - and found yet more wasps nests.
Kitchen 080209 018
All the kitchen units and the boiler are gone too.
Kitchen 080209
A good weekends work - I have realised that you have too keep working to keep warm, especially when there is a blizzard outside.

Friday, February 06, 2009

UK Winter Warmers Swap parcel

There is still very little knitting or crochet to show around here. However my shoulder is much better and I have started crocheting again. I've been trying to keep away from the computer in the evenings too, hence the lack of blogging! This post is quite belated as these beautiful purple presents arrived in the post last week from Vickie my UK Swap pal.
Winter Warmers parcel
In the previous round of UK swap I sent a parcel to Vickie, it must have been ok, because look at all of the wonderful things she me for my "Winter Warmers" themed parcel.
Winter Warmers parcel
I was in the "handmade item" group and Vickie made me a wonderful cowl, specifically to match my Meret, which it does, perfectly. It fits under my coat and has kept me toasty and warm in the snow this week. It's like having a polo-neck jumper that you can take off when you get indoors - why have I never worn one of these before?
I also got some knitpicks harmony DPNs, some DB Cashmerino Aran in a wonderful purple colour (I may make another cowl from this), some iced gems (the perfect Weight Watcher snack - only 1.5 points a bag) , some yummy options hot chocolate, wedding balloons (I must put these in a safe place and remember them in July) and finally a fabulous Good Housekeeping vintage knitting/stitch pattern book. Thank you Vickie for such a fabulous parcel.

In other non-knitting news, we finally got planning permission for the "new house". Tony started tearing down ceilings last weekend - apparently on a fact finding mission - he has been itching to start since the planners said yes! He found a cavity wall (not expected), some steel RSJ's )(thank goodness we were worried they might be wood) and quite a few nasty looking wasps nests. Yuck.
Lounge Extension
I forsee many weekends spent pulling down ceilings and removing plaster from walls in the near future.
P.s. I did buy the wedding dress. 5 months and 5 days to go :0)