Jane's Jottings

And then it was New Zealand!

After our visit to Sydney, we flew to New Zealand via Auckland and then travelled down North Island, cross over the Cook Straits by ferry and the explored the South Island for a further seventeen days and then flew home via Dubai. It is difficult to explain our feelings as we toured around this beautiful country – I must be honest – I think it is the only time in our lives that we considered emigration! It is so beautiful and thankfully the New Zealand government is making sure it stays that way.

The photograph above it sort of symbolic because the woodland and the ferns are majestic, marvellous and seriously difficult to photograph to any great effect. The scenery is frankly jaw dropping and then you go around a corner and there is more. I would have to write a blog a day for a year to show you all my photographs!

This is what I mean about walking around a corner and the you see something like this. Wow!

We managed this holiday with motels and carpet picnics but are currently planning a return trip to South Island possibly with a camper van in 2020 ( Heavens! My 70th year) There was no doubt that although we were away from the UK for a month we only skimmed the surface in New Zealand.

One of the most memorable moments whilst holding a bag of fish and chips! Sunset over the ocean at Hokitika. This is a town that had thrived with tourism and was terribly damaged by the last earthquake – not in itself but the main road to get to it fell in to the sea. We have friends there who almost lost their livelihood when the visitors stopped overnight.One of our days was spent driving through the mountains to check out the Fox glacier which was this time out of our reach – we did not have the correct clothing and footwear to walk up to the base of the glacier but certainly intend to do it next time. The wardens are very strict about your safety as much of the track is the river bed which can flood instantly if a glacial dam breaks………Our best view of Mount Cook taken from the end of the lake – a magnificent sight! As you can see from the pictures we were very lucky with the weather and I mean lucky – As we drove towards Christchurch for our flights home the city was on red alert as a storm was battering the coast and heading our way. Fortunately although our last night was very, very wet, our flights left on time and we were home safely albeit 30 hours later!

As I write I am working on some designs both inspired by the greenery and also by Maori Art – more of this to follow

Happy stitching till next time…………..



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Date posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2018

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First – it was Sydney………..

Probably the most famous view in the world

We have just returned from what must be the trip of a lifetime – a month in the Antipodes. Bill and I flew  to Sydney and immediately up to Cairns to join our ship for a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. I have to admit that I chickened out when it came to diving on the reefs as we were in choppy open water but we both spent hours on the glass bottomed boat with our marine biologist Dani. I actually saw Nemo in his anemone, parrot fish, octopus, reef sharks and so much more – The corals were so varied and absolutely fascinating……..

The Coral Explorer

Our lovely ship – There were only twenty of us with ten crew so you can imagine – it was just perfect – We had one quite rough night and some heavy rain but the trip was all I had hoped it would be. The crew worked so hard to make sure we saw as much as possible. Would certainly go again……

The Sydney Opera House

The five days just flew by and then we were back in Sydney for four nights. We went to the Opera House for a tour of the buildings followed by The Merry Widow in the Joan Sutherland Theatre and the next day, a glorious Mozart concert in the main auditorium. I had never imagined that I would have six oysters and a glass of champagne on the terrace at the Opera House but Bill surprised me yet again.

A koala that was almost awake

Before leaving for New Zealand, we had a trip up in to the Blue Mountains and visited a sanctuary and I saw my first koalas – they did not let me down. They do seem to sleep for hours and hours but are really so cute!


It had to be done – Yours truly at Bondi Beach

On our way now to New Zealand and there are lost more pictures to come

Happy Stitching till next time


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Date posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2018

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Playing with Felix and designing new projects!

What a start to the year! Bill and I are of to Australia and New Zealand for a month so have been very busy at Pinks Barn working on new things for you and playing with our lovely Felix William (Bill does not really preen himself every time he says his name!) The lower picture is the one we both have as our screen saver – besotted or what? We leave for the holiday next week but I have completed all my stuff this end and Jenny and Andrea are poised to take care of you all. My chum Cilla is moving in to Pinks Barn so that Monty is even more indulged and I am having some decorating done whilst I am away. I can hear you saying its alright for some…….I thought after Andrea had taken over all the hard work parts of the CSG I would have so much time but who was I kidding?


Bill and I have been working on a dozen projects here at Pinks and I will be taking stitching with me on the trip – We will let you have peeks at the new things in the spring but we may yet surprise you……


Bill working on the important part of our twin globes map

When I am not forcing the poor ole thing to the drawing board he is baking in the kitchen – he makes the best bagels and white bread and is my waistline a witness to this? This is his apple and seed bread. OMG!

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Date posted: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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Retirement? Where did 2017 go?

Hi Everyone,

This is just to prove that I am still here and now back to work properly. I know I have been rubbish about keeping in touch but I think at last, I may have caught up on the last 3o years of obsession……….As a result, I am definitely going to be in touch through My Jottings and Facebook!

To catch up…..

Andrea Thompson took over the CSG at the end of December last year and has worked miracles running the company from her new offices in Stockton Heath – I don’t think many of you saw the difference except that your new look magazine goes out on time and many tasks were done properly! I cannot pretend that for me, the first few months were easy or that I took to having more time like a duck to water…….. I found it all very difficult to begin with……

It is difficult to let go after such a long time and share something that was so special and so personal after more than 30 years – Did you know that my cross stitch business was started with £50.00 in 1984?

We were very disciplined and within three weeks of the big move, our cars were in the garage and I was beavering away at my new desk.

My lovely work space

I gradually got used to my new tiny office space (must keep it tidy so that I can open the door!) and with Jenny Dixon’s help and much support from Andrea, I am well ensconced in my new role as CSG Designer. I think Andrea has come to realise that when I said “I work when I am awake” was no exaggeration so she has given me free reign over creating the designs and charts for you for the foreseeable future. Perfect!

In the spring, Bill and I went of to Sicily and I thought you would like to see some pictures from that trip. In case you have not guessed, this is where the idea for the Paradise Garden was born – the very air was photogenic and very inspirational. We travelled with Voyage Jules Verne on the Taste of Sicily Tour and it was marvellous in spite of Mount Etna’s attempt to scuttle it!




I enjoyed this trip much more than I expected and really enjoyed sketching and taking pictures with time to plan the stitching when I arrived back in the UK.

As I write, I am sorting out pictures of my delicious grandson and will be back with some images of his first few months and more of our travels very shortly but for now here is just one picture which I know will make you smile……


All the Greenoffs hope you had a lovely Christmas and are free from coughs, colds, Flu and all the other rubbish that is about and that you have a happy and healthy New Year…………and i will be back soon

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Date posted: Saturday, December 30, 2017

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Together, We Stitch at The Hilton Hotel- Swindon

Class members concentrating hard!

As the Cross Stitch Guild, we hold various stitching events around the UK. Fifty people joined us at the Hilton Hotel and either stitched a project of their own or took on my challenging Hearts and Flowers Needle Roll. The design could be worked as a little band sampler or lined in felt and made in to a little needle roll.

Hearts and Flowers shown here as a sampler with a folded hem

The Needle Roll version

At present, this project is only a class piece but I expect that Andrea will introduce this as a kit later in the year, possibly in time for The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in October.

The weekend was a resounding success and I hope that if you are not already part of this event you will consider joining us at either Leeds or Leicester later in the year. Have a look at Classes and Events on the CSG web site

Happy stitching for now!

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Date posted: Monday, March 20, 2017

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