Tag Archives: Cambridge

Exciting Times.

On Thursday our year-long crochet project culminated in an amazing display in the houses at the Cambridge University Botanical Gardens (read their take on it here). I think we are all quite amazed at how amazing they look scattered about in amongst the other plants.

We made Lichen which was put amongst the rocks.

We made Lichen which was put amongst the rocks.

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This plant is housed in a pot complete with soil, all crocheted of course!

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There are actually 2 crocheted plants in this shot. Each plant had an embroidered name card. This is so realistic it is hard to tell where the real begins and ends!

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This plant was amazing – it is all held up with wire and the detail in the flower is amazing.

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OK, so now this is not in situ – it is my groups sea onion before it has been tarted up!

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And here it is in situ. It looks so much better and I have to say that I am so relieved! I had been really worried. It has been actually buried in the soil!

What makes this project really amazing is that many of the participants were not able to crochet before the project started at the beginning of the year. It is a really tactile display and during our ‘meet and greet’ session yesterday everyone was touching them – including us!! Should you be in the Cambridge area at all this week it is on all week so do pop along and see it for yourself.

We all loved it so much that we are desperately trying to find another project to work on next year.
If you pop over to Claire’s blog from Monday you will probably find some better photographs to look at. I also know that Michaela is also putting it up on her blog – go and see their take on it.

I apologise to other Handmade Mondayers who will have read a very similar post already but I shall be linking up anyway.

A couple of other points to note:

1 – I have a giveaway that ends on Wednesday.

2. My son completed his first knitting project – a polar bear, pictures will follow (I am so proud).

3. I am about to have my very second  crochet pattern published – hopefully tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled 🙂

As I said – exciting times 🙂

The Cambridge Half Marathon 2013

Last week was so very hectic and full of exciting things that it is only now that I have the chance to write about the half marathon I ran a week and a half ago! I ran this race in its debut last year (see review here). The organisers admitted that not everything was perfect last year and promised us some changes. They did deliver on these changes and mostly I have to say that improvements were made. Before going into that however, I shall go back to the beginning…

Race Day:

This year the race happened to fall on Mother’s Day here in the UK. When I signed up for the race I had not realised this although I am not sure that it would have stopped me running it anyway. I enjoy running so it was a nice way to spend the morning (in theory) although it did mean that there were no lie ins and breakfast in bed for me. The race started at 9.30!

When I went to bed the night before I was convinced that it was snowing which didn’t bode that well  for me although my husband was very quick to play it down saying it was falling too fast for snow (is this even possible?).   Waking up the next morning – it was still snowing. There was not much on the ground – just a bit had settled on the grass and cars but that did mean that it was cold 😦

You can tell what the weather was like from the clothes everyone is wearing. Shorts and t-shirts were not very prominent.

The Warm Up

Having been before, and living fairly local we decided to ignore the bit that said we had to arrive at the park and ride by 7.30 only leaving the village around 7.45. We still arrived with plenty of time. There were, as promised, more toilets and we didn’t spend the whole time queuing as we had last year. In fact we had enough time to do the warm up. Now I am not normally one who bothers with participating in the warm ups but today , being cold we decided it would be a good idea. There were two problems with this: 1. the field was muddy and soggy – a bit like jumping up and down in a cold puddle and 2. The bin bags we were wearing to keep warm didn’t allow for any arm movements. You can imagine what we looked like (lol) but it did keep us a bit warmer than had we stood around doing nothing!

The Start

Having enough time to get to the start this year we were able to find the correct pen and had a bit of time chatting before the race started. At last years event the course narrowed down very quickly at the start which had made it very hard to get into a rhythm. This year was much better and we were saved the dodging around people dance.

The Race

As is very easy to do we set off at quite a pace – in fact the split times for the first 6 miles were all sub 9min miles. Far too fast! That combined with the weather meant that I was finding it increasingly hard to catch my breath. My blue inhaler was having quite a work out itself as I struggled to fill my lungs with air. By 8 miles I could no longer keep the pace up and I was becoming dizzy. It was very clear that I would have to stop for a bit. I urged my partner on not wanting to hold her up too much and walked for a while. By now I was at the stage where had I seen some St John’s Ambulance people I would have stopped. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there were none to be seen so I walked for a bit and then, once I had my lungs working a bit more efficiently again I set off. Unfortunately I was no longer able to sustain my efforts and did a run – walk – jog to the end.

The Organisation

Despite not being able to find any help when I could really have done with it I really think that the organisation was good this year. There were water and refueling stations regularly placed around the course. The water that they provided was not in those silly plastic cups that you cannot drink out of  without stopping but in pouches:

These clever little pouches are easy to drink from and ‘close up’ when not needed so you do not get water everywhere. They are the perfect thing for runners. I was really impressed. I was also very grateful for a gel halfway around – the first time that I have been provided with one of these in a race ever.


The race organisers had listened to the feedback from last year and had put the necessary changes in place. Brilliant. But what about me?

The positives:

1. I finished against all the odds.

2. I didn’t fall over!

The negatives:

1. I didn’t do it in under two hours like I had hoped.

2. I had an asthma attack and felt awful. (Paula Radcliff apparently has asthma and her lung capacity can be reduced by 12% which most people would not notice. At home my capacity was reduced by 40% and I was feeling a bit better then!)

A bit of bling like this always makes it worth it

A bit of bling like this always makes it worth it.

Close up of medal


Exciting Projects

I have to say that I have a bit of a problem with today’s post. The thing that I have spent all week working on is something that I would dearly love to share with you but for reasons out of my control I am unable to…yet.

This is about as much as I can show you. Pretty isn't it?

At first I didn’t think that I would be able to manage a post for Handmade Monday at all this week which saddened me greatly. Then I remembered that I would be doing something on Saturday that would mean I would have something to show that had been made by me! YAY

There is a group of very lovely ladies from the Cams City WI that are meeting up once a month to do a very exciting crochet project. The idea is that during October as part of the  Cambridge University Annual Festival of Ideas we shall be displaying some crochet at the Botanical gardens in Cambridge. Last month we met and some learnt how to crochet, some learnt how to read patterns and some practised making leaf shapes. This month was all about lichen. Yes really – we were having a go at making our own interpretations of lichen.

For anyone unsure of what lichen is, it is a plant consisting of a fungus and photosynthetic partner growing together in a symbiotic relationship. A perfect symbol of the project as we are working together to create something together.

English: Lichen Eesti: Sammaltaim, kasvab mänd...

The idea is that it will be displayed in the alpine glass house, covering the rocks that are the home for the many species of plants that are growing there. How very exciting. Although it seems to be a bit daunting. Just look at all those bare rocks!


The aim of yesterday was to get everyone comfortable with working on the patterns that Joanne Scrace had devised in the hope that we would be able to teach the Cams City WI as a whole at the next meeting (gulp!) We will certainly need all the hands we can get!Here are some examples of the patterns:


The next phase will be a bit more free-form I believe. I am really enjoying these little meetings. The group is very friendly and it is lovely to see people improving on their skills. I am very impressed with the dedication many are showing – working at home to improve their skills further. I am very proud to be part of the group.

For now however I am popping over to Handmade Harbour to see what everyone else has been up to this week. It’s one of the highlights of my week 🙂

P.S: If any of you know someone who would quite like to start blogging but are unsure where to start I have started a new series where I share all the things that I have learnt over the past year in an attempt to help. I am aiming to post these up on a Wednesday. (Sorry for the shameless self plugging but I am simply keen to help people start their journey in the wonderful land of bloggers. 🙂 )