Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sniffles, Sunshine and Sewing Machines


I am not a good patient. I am not a patient patient. I am a grumpy, self-pitying, whinging type of patient.  Luckily I have a very tolerant boyfriend - I think he survives by putting up a whinge filter and letting it all wash over him. So, ten days ago my physiotherapist tried (forcefully) to persuade my knee cap that it had been in the wrong position for over forty years. My kneecap is made of the same stubborn stuff that the rest of me is made of and it fought back, refused to move, and then sulked painfully for some days. Accordingly, Mark and I put off last week's planned trip to our holiday flat in Dorset until this weekend.

Mark took a day's leave on Friday and his parents arranged to come and stay in our house to look after our two cats. Unfortunately, I was involved in a duvet cover changing incident and from the colour and pain in my big toe, I suspect it may be broken. I bravely strapped it to the next toe over and, with very little crying and swearing, we set off for Dorset. We had a delicious lunch at the Watch House Cafe in West Bay (spicy seafood and chorizo broth), had a brief hobble along the beach and settled in to the flat to watch a dvd. I then proceeded to cough all the way through the film (appropriately "Brave", about a feisty redhead ready to face all challenges!)...and all night...and all day Saturday. Eventually, late Saturday afternoon, Mark did his best to look sympathetic and suggested we just go home. Bless his heart.


Actually though we had a really nice day on Saturday despite the coughing, sniffling, hobbling redhead. It was a perfect Winter's day - cold enough to make your face tingle, blue skies and lovely low sunlight.

West Bay pre blue skies

We headed to Lula's in Bridport for a delicious breakfast (ham, eggs and bubble-and-squeak) and then on for a hobble around the sub-tropical gardens at Abbotsbury. We have Abbotsbury season tickets (for the gardens, swannery and children's farm) and no matter when we visit, the gardens are beautiful.

ghosts of Summer's hydrangeas

leafless tree canopy

I always find myself drawn to reflections - I love the slight surreality of them.

reflections in the Jurassic pond 

reflections in the fish pond

 Of course there are times when I try to take an arty shot and my personal sherpa decides he wants to step beyond his camera bag carrying role...!

Mark gets in the photo

Not wishing to disappoint the poor chap, I let him be centre shot with the tree reflections and fish:

Mark and the fish

Of course no trip to the sub-tropical gardens is complete without a cup of tea and a piece of Dorset apple cake.


Sewing machine

Between breakfast and the gardens, we just had to do a little tour of Bridport's antique and junk shops. In one of the shops I spotted this little beauty for £20. No idea if that's a good price or not, but it was worth it to me.

vintage sewing machine
The photo does not do justice to this wonderful machine (I'll try again during the week): Frister and Rossmann Vibrating Shuttle. I looked up the age by the serial number, and it was made sometime between 1907 and 1914, and I have found a copy of the manual online. Once my head no longer feels like it is stuffed full of cotton wool, I will see if I can wind the bobbin and thread it up. I don't expect it to take over from my Janome, but I really do want to use this beautiful sewing machine. I found a great blog about vintage sewing and machines - Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing - which is most helpful; do have a look, it's a lovely blog!

Now I am going to get another lemsip and go back to bed...uggghhh.


  1. Fab machine Sue, and twenty quid was a good realistic price.

    It's a vibrating shuttle, the shuttle goes moves in an arc shape to the right of the needle, whereas on transverse shuttles it goes back and forth in a straight line behind the needle.

    To thread the top thread and load the bobbin in the shuttle you can follow the instructions on my Youtube videos showing Singer long bobbin machines. The fun will be winding the thread on the bobbin. It has the same bobbin winder as my Vickers vibrating shuttle machine. If you have any problems, give me a shout.

    Get well soon!


  2. Ah, thanks Muv - it was a spur of the moment purchase and my knowledge about it is limited to a bit of googling last night. I am so glad I found your blog.

    Thanks - it's just a cold and I'm sure it will be gone soon.

  3. Love your sewing machine - it is a beauty!! And so are all your photos. Hugs from Annika and Zoya sitting on my knee

    1. Thanks - it is lovely, isn't it? I feel she needs a name...perhaps Vera the vibrating shuttle...? Thanks for the hugs; good job they are virtual, as you would not want to be anywhere near me with this horrid cold!

  4. Oh my, that sounds really hurtful - and what's the point of being hurt if one cannot complain about it??

    The photos of the subtropical gardens almost made my heart ache with longing, I have such vivid memories of the place. That, however, was nothing compared to when I read the magical words "Dorset apple pie"... THAT also brings back wonderful memories!

    Vera looks stunning!

    1. I did think of you as I tucked in to the apple cake...!