After just a week in the shelter of Dad’s greenhouse, the competitors in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017 have sprouted. Well, most of them. Le Bowd is yet to show itself and Steclaire is only just starting to peek out. Meanwhile, substitute number 1, Bobaul, is growing well and preparing to compete in place of a non-surviving starter.
After a year off, the Bull-Knox sunflower contest is back! And this time it’s bunny proof. We hope!
Demand for a seed in the 2017 contest has been higher than places available so some people have teamed up to cheer on a seed together.
The competitors are Bull-Knox (me, Knoxie and Fozzy), Moomins (my mum and dad), Bears (Knoxie’s mum and dad), Gramps, Shmelling (Lemming and Carly), Choltman (Abi and Lauren), Em&Em (the two Emmas), Le Bowd, Gibbles, Amme, Steclaire (Steve and Claire), Ricarah (Richard and Sarah), and Pears (Kirsty, Helen, Mark and Kayleigh).
The seeds will be nurtured in Dad’s greenhouse until they are ready to take their place in the sun along the blue fence.
The aim of the game is to grow the tallest sunflower. Measuring will take place at Knoxie’s birthday barbecue in August. But the flowers have to survive first! And life won’t be easy. As well as the usual threat of snails, and stem rot, further danger awaits these sunflowers in the form of the Bull-Knox beasts.
Protective netting proved no match for the Bull-Knox resident bunnies, Pongo and Indie, in the 2015 sunflower contest. The rabbits breached the defenses, slayed the sunflowers and devoured them before they bloomed.
The competition didn’t take place in 2016 as we couldn’t think of a plan to keep the flowers safe. But genius o’clock has struck! This year the plan to safeguard the sunflowers is to keep them out of the rabbits’ reach. Instead of going in the ground, the flowers will go in pots attached several feet up the fence.
We’re hoping this new tactic works. Come on sunflowers. We’re rooting for you!
I’m fairly new to knitting and craftiness in general but considering this was one of my first attempts at ‘making’ I’m quite proud of this little Harry Potter inspired creation.
I ended up making two versions due to my dog’s liking for chewing shoe laces!
I used the following items:
For the bag:
Size 3 needles
6 inch closed zip
2 x 15 mm D rings
An old T-shirt
For the handle:
Short handle – 140 cm black round laces (pair) and 140 cm yellow round laces (pair)
Long handle – 150 cm strip of yellow felt
1. Using the yellow wool cast on 32 stitches
2. Stocking stitch 12 rows of yellow (knit row, purl row…)
3. Work in black wool and stocking stitch for two rows
4. Switch back to yellow wool and stocking stitch for two rows
5. Change to black wool and stocking stitch for two rows
6. Repeat steps two to five 6 more times
7. Finish with 12 rows of yellow so both ends are the same
8. Cast off the yellow wool and bind off leaving enough yarn to join one side
9. Cut the black wool leaving enough to join the other side
10. Join both sides together
11. Cut a piece of an old T-shirt to 6.5 inches by 14.5 inches
12. Fold in half and stitch the sides together
13. Put the liner inside the knitted bag and stitch the two together around the top
14. Sew on the zip across the top of the bag
15. Sew on the D rings to either side of the bag about an inch from the top
Make the handle (shorter version using laces):
1. Use an elastic band to keep all four laces together at one end
2. Fish tail plait the laces all the way along
3. Use an elastic band to secure the other end
4. Tie the ends of the handle to the D rings making sure the knot is tight
5. Remove elastic bands
So I made myself a longer handle out of yellow felt.
Make the handle (longer version):
1. Cut a 150 cm by 3 cm strip of yellow felt
2. Fold the first cm over along the length and pin
3. Fold the other edge over the first so it sits just over half way and pin
4. Sew all the way down the middle of the felt
5. Pass one end through one of the D rings, fold over and sew to secure
6. Pass the other end through the other D ring, fold over and sew to secure
I can’t wait to wear my new handmade Hufflepuff bag. I just hope the dog doesn’t get to it first!
Award winning novelist and international playwright Elliott Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and produced in the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to release his first novels. The Sun God’s Heir: Return, book one of the trilogy, was released this past January, and book two, Rebirth will come out on April 18th, followed in July by the third and final book of the series, Redemption. A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his wife Sally Ann.
Grab Book 1, The Sun God’s Heir: Return, Book 1 on Amazon ~ http://amzn.to/2mklqLB
The boatswain, a large man with scars on his arms and face, walked over to stand in front of René. “Chain him to the mast.”
Their gazes met.
“Don’t look at me, boy.” He backhanded René in the face. “Look down at the deck when I talk to you. You’re some over-fed nobleman’s kid thinkin’ you make the rules. Surprised you ain’t cryin’ for your mama. You got a mama, boy?” he asked and laughed. When René didn’t answer, he hit him again. “I asked you a question, boy. Don’t try my patience, ‘cause I ain’t got none.”
“My mother died when I was born.” René studied the man’s feet to see how he moved. All the while he cataloged everything in his peripheral vision.
“Well, not to worry, you will be seeing her soon.” The boatswain turned to walk away then turned back and hit René again. His bitter laugh floated across the deck. “I just had to do that.”
Though they had chained him in a way that forced him to stand, René had enough slack to turn and see most of the ship. He was aboard an English slave ship. She was an older carrack in design with the raised forecastle. She had seen better days, though. The fact that she was still on the seas suggested either a cutthroat reputation or an experienced captain. Under the wear, the ship was surprisingly clean, her ropes and sails newly repaired and in good order. Second rate though she might be, she was seaworthy. This was a veteran crew, competent in their tasks, and not likely to make mistakes that might allow him to escape. Escape. Even if he could, where would he go in the middle of the ocean?
Do not rush fate. One thing at a time. Do what you can do.
His master’s voice echoed within his head.
He had to pick a fight and hope he survived long enough to create allies. The next time the big boatswain walked by, René laughed. “What are you findin’ so funny, boy?” The man stuck his face within inches of René’s.
The boatswain’s right leg was shorter than his left and René doubted anyone brought that fact to his attention without regret.
“You walk funny.” René called out loud and clear. There was no profit to him if he got beat up and no one knew why.
All work within the sound of René’s voice stopped. Silence reigned. René had guessed right, and now he needed to survive his insight.
The boatswain froze, disbelief written on his face. The disbelief changed to rage. “What did you say?” Spittle flew from his mouth.
Even the captain had turned to watch. René counted on the fact that Gaspard’s agent had given the captain a great deal of money along with explicit instructions that did not include throwing a dead boy overboard. What he could not know was how close to dead the agent considered acceptable.
“I said you walk funny,” René said— louder this time, so there was no mistake in his words.
“Do you know what a cat is, boy?” The veins in the man’s neck pulsed. His eyes were shot red with blood.
We made garden reindeer by attending the reindeer making workshop at Wimpole Estate.
Ciaran, from the gardening team, made it look easy as he demonstrated how to do it.
Now it was our turn to create a creature. We gathered up the materials:
- A log for the body
- A smaller log for the head
- Four long sticks for legs
- A shorter stick for the neck
- Two sticks for ears
- A conkers for the nose
- A pine cone for the tail
- Twigs for the antlers
- A mallet
- A nail to attach the nose
- A staple and wire to attach the tail
Ciaran had kindly drilled the holes already so we just had to fill the holes with glue and set about assembling our masterpieces.
Transporting two reindeer in a Renault Clio was probably the trickiest part.
One reindeer went to live at the Moomins’ house and the other was released into the wilds of our garden where it was soon greeted by the other residents.
Fozzy greeted the reindeer nicely and then decided she needed to get to know it a little better by sniffing it’s bottom.
You’ve heard of the 12 days of Christmas. Well here are the 12 ways of Christmas.
12 ways to get in the Christmas spirit:
1 Watch your favourite festive movies. I can’t wait to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas! And if it’s on TV you might even get to see the annual heart-warming John Lewis advert or the Coca-Cola truck during the ad breaks too
2 Count down the days. Make an advent calendar to give yourself a special treat each day. It could be a chocolate, a biscuit or a beer.
3 Visit a Christmas market. The hustle and bustle and smell of gluhwein and bratwurst will get you feeling festive. Find Christmas markets, grottos, the Coca-Cola truck stops and other festive events here.
4 Put up the Christmas tree and decorations. The more tinsel, lights, glitter and sparkle the better!
5 Drink Christmas beverages. I’m a sucker for marketing ploys and get way too excited when Starbucks release their red Christmas cups. Warm up with a Christmas spice coffee blend or if you prefer something stronger, relax with a mulled wine, Advocaat or a warm mug of hot spiced cider.
6 Bake! Fill the house with merry smells by making mince pies, Christmas cake or the Christmas pudding.
7 Wear a Christmas jumper. Cute, classic or funny, you’ll be sure to raise a smile and help spread the Christmas cheer! Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day is on Friday 16th December 2016.
8 Go to a pantomime. Christmastime means panto season. I’m not sure why as Aladdin, Robin Hood or Dick Whittington aren’t particularly festive tales but anyway, get down to your local theatre or village hall and enjoy some audience participation. Where’s the grumpy humbug? It’s behind you.
9 Listen to Christmas songs. Put on your favourite Christmas album, turn the volume up and have a good old singalong!
10 Wrap up presents and write out cards. Those festive scenes and the thought of your loved ones opening their gifts will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
11 Take a tour of decorated houses. Some people go all out, lighting up their houses and gardens with inflatable Santas, lit up snowmen and flashing lights. Show your appreciation by leaving a donation in their charity collection box if they have one.
12 Enjoy a party. Whether it’s with your friends, family or work colleagues, wear a silly hat, pull crackers and tell bad jokes. It’s all part of the fun.
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Dr.Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
New Release by David McLain!
Title: The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum
Author Name: David McLain
Illustrator: Felix Eddy
Genre(s): Time Travel, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure, Romance, Comedy, Steampunk
Release Date: November 17, 2016
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
Follow the Tour:
About The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum:
“If you need to know men’s secrets
Or if there’s something you need to find
If you want to see the dinosaurs
Or the insides of your mind.
If you want to watch the earth begin,
Or see what the apocalypse will leave behind,
You need to thank Alice Anderson,
For Alice is the mother of time.”
That was how the rhyme went. Every time traveler knew it. Everyone that is, except of course, for Alice herself,
since she hadn’t invented time travel yet. Since returning to London, Alice’s life has been turned upside down. She’s
been accused of murder and lost her position in the scientific community. Her only ally in this journey is a strange
man who seems to think that Alice may be about to open up a strange new world of possibilities, but is probably not
telling her everything he knows.
Read an Exclusive Excerpt:
It didn’t seem like a place for a king to die. He lay there on a simple stretcher, with no more ceremony than a common soldier might have. His beard was bloody, and his arms looked disjointed, but he didn’t look like he was dying. Maybe it would be all right. It was difficult to tell. The young man knelt down beside him. The smell was overwhelming. ‘The smell of death,’he thought. ‘I have to pretend. I have to pretend I don’t smell it. Just look at him. He looks fine. Just look at him.’ The young man looked at the King’s face and tried to smile. The King opened his eyes and stared at him.
“Hwæt!” he said. He spoke with a small laugh, as if all of this were a practical joke on him. “Adam,” he said. The young man nodded. He had never been sure why it was that the King called him that. It wasn’t his name. Normally he would object, but of course things like that didn’t matter just now. With great effort, the King raised his hand to his chest. It was only then that the young man noticed the sword.
The King’s beautiful sword was still clutched in his left hand; or rather, the hilt of his sword was still in his hand. The blade had shattered, leaving only a small stub where the deadliest weapon in Britain had once been. The cold flat steel of the hilt was still perfect, but its power was gone now, gone forever. It had shattered like a chicken bone, or an old piece of wood.
“Wē wunne,” the King said.
“Wē wunne,” the young man repeated.
“Ond min deað,” the King gasped.
“No,” the young man said firmly, as if his insistence would be enough. The King laughed again.
“Nū morgen,” the King said. “Nū cyning. Ic Fæder fæþmum, ond Ic spræce mit mitig.”
And with that, he died.
They buried the King at the abbey. He was laid in the hollow of an oak tree, near the men who had died so willingly protecting his kingdom and his throne. The hilt of his sword was laid on his chest. The young man had a local blacksmith lay down the engraving on the hilt, so that the world would know him for all time. It was nothing extravagant, just a simple dedication in Latin. The plot was marked with a stone pyramid and nothing more. The funeral was attended by the men who had survived, and those who were there were convinced that he would have been honoured. He was now the past, and the future.
A new morning. A new king. I embrace the Father and I speak with might.
Those were his last words, and they haunted the young man until he became an old man, long after the old king had become a myth and a shadow. When the young man was asked about the old king, and he was asked more times than he could remember, he would usually talk about his love of the people, of all people, and the way he could make men laugh. But sometimes, just sometimes, when it was late at night, he would tell people about the last words of the King, and the engraving the blacksmith had put on the sword:
Meet the Author:
David McLain is the author of the two novels: Dragonbait, and The Life of a Thief. His stories have
been published in the anthologies Metastasis, Penny Dread II, and the Doctor Who Anthology Time
Shadows, as well as over two dozen magazines. He has been featured on NPR’s Off the Page and the History of
England podcast. He lives in New York.
Connect with David McLain:
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidMcLainDragonbait/
Publisher’s Website: www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/our-authors- 2
Meet the Illustrator:
Felix Eddy graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Alfred University. She is the author and illustrator of A
Bestiary Alphabet, and has illustrated several book covers and children’s books. You can find out more about
her at www.felixeddy.com
MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING:
time-travellers- resort-and- museum-paperback
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The St Neots Film Festival is almost here! If you haven’t got your ticket yet then what are you waiting for?
Dates: Monday 7th and Thursday 10th November at Cineworld and
Friday 11th November at Loves Farm House
Times: 6pm to 9pm
Tickets: £8 for a festival pass (both nights at Cineworld), £5 for one evening at Cineworld, £2.50 for the final evening at Loves Farm House (available on the door)
Here are seven great reasons why you should go:
To be entertained
Clearly the main highlight of a film festival is the films. Filmmakers have been submitting their short movies throughout the year and the organisers have selected the best to be showcased at the festival. Films are a maximum of 20 minutes long. This is great for people with a short attention span (like me) and means you get to see a diverse selection of films each evening.
To discover local talent
Films have been submitted from local children, teens and adults. Movies by Cambridge based film making groups Little Victories Films and Ruptured Screen will be on show as will short films made by St Neots based Channel 7 Productions.
To support the local community
The event has been organised by local people who are keen to unveil film making talent. The festival has gained support from sponsors including Lovett Sales and Lettings, Neotists, St Neots Film Club and Cineworld.
To meet great people
Grab your popcorn and settle down for a top evening of entertainment. But take a look around. You could be sitting alongside the stars, directors and producers of the films you are watching.
To see your home town on the big screen
I love seeing places I have been on films. With many films made by local people on show, there is a high chance that the settings will be the places you know and love too.
It’s great value for money
Festival passes (for both evenings at Cineworld) are £8. The final evening at Loves Farm House is just £2.50. Where else can you get three evenings’ (nine hours’) worth of entertainment for £10.50?
To be inspired
The films will definitely entertain, probably make you think, and maybe even inspire you to go out and create something awesome yourself.
See you there!
Help to spread the work by sharing this blog post and following St Neots Film Festival on social media:
If you are ever lucky enough (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) to be chosen by the Valkyries, it says a lot about your character and the warrior within you. In Book 2 of The Last Timekeepers tween and teen time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, an eccentric baron named Baron von Roth teaches Jordan and Amanda about the significance of the Valkyries, runes, and the most important and granddaddy of all Nordic gods, Odin.
Valkyries were female figures, closely associated with Odin, whose function it was to select those slain in battle for Valhall (a.k.a. Valhalla). The name Valkyries literally means ‘choosers of the slain’, and Valhall means ‘hall of the slain’. These slain warriors were gathered for Odin’s ghostly army, fed boar’s flesh (yum), and allowed to drink ale before they trained to hone their skills for the final battle at Ragnarok (the end of the old world). After the slain warriors are chosen, it was the Valkyries job to keep the warriors’ horned goblets filled to the brim with booze. In other words, besides being grim reapers, these ladies were also glorified waitresses.
Odin is in a class all by himself. His name means ‘frenzy’, and he was also known as the god of magic and wisdom. Odin was often portrayed as a grey-bearded old man with one eye, his face hidden by a hood or a broad-brimmed hat, because he had cast an eye into Mirmir’s well in return for a drink of its ‘immense wisdom’. He gained insight another way by hanging himself (sacrificing himself to himself) from a mighty wind-swept ash tree named Yggdrasil. Odin survived in this state for no less than nine days and nights. At the end of the ninth night, he at last perceived shapes in the depths: the runes! His sacrifice had been accepted and the runes (which mean both ‘letter’ and ‘secret’ or ‘mystery’) were shown to him, revealing to Odin not only their forms, but also the secrets that lie within them. Having fixed this knowledge in his formidable memory, Odin ended his ordeal with a scream of exultation. Whew, that’s a lot to endure for an ancient alphabet system!