Category Archives: travel

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Silent Sunday

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Silent Sunday: West Dean

Skipton

When I realised that my route from Cumbria to Harrogate would go through Skipton, I just knew I had to leave enough time to stop off and visit Coopers Cafe.

This Cafe has become a bit of a Mecca for crochet addicts like me, as it is where Lucy of Attic24 used to have her studio and where she still runs crochet groups. The cafe took some finding, but luckily ‘Maps’ on my mobile phone got me there.

Skipton is much bigger than I imagined and as I was walking towards the cafe I saw lots of intriguing independent shops – just love the name of this one

Many towns in the south are looking sad and forlorn with lots of empty shops, but not Skipton, it seemed bustling and thriving.

Just before I got to the cafe, I saw the canal that often features in photos on Lucy’s blog.

And then there I was having a cup of coffee and soaking up the friendly atmosphere of the Cafe.

You know you are Up North when you see signs like this

going upstairs was a real treat

magazine cuttings were pasted all over the walls, which was very nostalgic for me. As  a teenager I covered part of a bedroom wall with magazine cuttings (my mother was furious!) when I married in 1972, we lived in a shabby farm cottage and I covered our bedroom wall with cuttings and loved the freedom of doing it in my own home.

Lucy’s studio

and there is also another room upstairs

in the loo, the collage continues

– I looked up Samantha Bryan and her delightful mixed media pieces.

Each year, in January, Lucy organises a Crochet Along, when thousands of happy hookers from all over the world make the same blanket at the same time, to her design. It creates the most wonderful feeling of communitiy and crochet camaraderie.

I have joined in since 2015 when I made the Cosy Blanket; 2017 I made the Moorland Blanket, but changed the colours to Dorset Hedgerow; 2018 I made the Woodland Blanket, oh I did have fun with this one and added squirrels; in 2019 I made the Sweet Pea blanket and started the ‘Friends of Attic24:Dorset’ group, in October 2019 we were thrilled when Lucy, on a visit to her home town, could join us at Slader’s Yard, West Bay and in 2020 I made a Sunset version of Lucy’s Dahlia Blanket.

I was not at Coopers on the right day to meet Lucy, but I left her a voucher for a coffee from her Dorset fans.

For other blankets I have made in both Lucy’s designs and those of other designers got to my THROWS Page.

Onwards to Harrogate!

Short stay in Cumbria

After visiting Cathy’s garden, the next day I drove another two and a half hours to visit a friend from school days who lives in Cumbria.

The weather had turned cloudy. On the first afternoon we walked at Leighton Moss and the next day walked along a nearby canal.

The decommissioned canal is now a haven for wildlife and a fun feature to have at the end of the garden.

Not quite sure of the purpose of this stone construction, which was at the top of the bank going up to the canal.

but obviously I enjoyed finding this little collection outside a farm gate

and I have a soft spot for old, rural post boxes (I wonder how long they will be in operation for)

and roadside plant stands

Then we walked along an estuary and up through the woods to get a view of the hills and mountains of the Lake District, which were just peeping through the November skies

A happy time reconnecting with an old friend and seeing a very different landscape.

Next day I was off to Harrogate to the Knitting and Stitching Show!

I am very excited about telling you all about it – it was FANTASTIC!

A Vase and An Adventure!

A couple of weeks ago I set off for the North.

I have not travelled any long distance for a couple of years so I was both nervous and excited – I have a tiny 14 year old car – would it carry me safely onto motorways, round scary multi-laned roundabouts and do battle with the juggernauts of the road? My friendly car mechanic gave her a check over and announced her fit to travel…. but was I?

I planned to visit a couple of friends before spending a week in Harrogate for the Knitting and Stitching Show and then popping in to see Nanacathy on the way home.

On Sunday 14th November, after a negative result from a Lateral Flow test I set off to visit Rambling in the Garden Cathy of course I could not go without picking a few things from my garden!

Some pink Hesperantha, eucalyptus, golden privet, garrya elliptica, cotoneaster, a purple salvia, and taking pride of place, right in the centre – and the rose, Hot Princess!

Hot Princess was given to me as a birthday present by Nanacathy in 2018 when I went to visit her in Yorkshire and to attend the Sawdust Heart exhibition.

Hot Princess flowers in early summer, goes very quiet and then blooms again in early October and there has always been a flower from her on my birthday, at the beginning of November. It seemed a wonderful link between three bloggers to pick the last bloom of the season for Rambling in the Gardren Cathy.

I arrived at Cathy’s in sunshine (we had both had a negative lateral flow test that morning) and what a joy it was to meet her and the Golfer!

Of course, first on the agenda was a walk round the garden. It is difficult to descibe the feeling of actually standing in the garden I have seen so many photos of. In a photo you see what is just in front of the camera – but standing in the garden and soaking up the atmosphere and having 360 degrees vision made me tingle with delight!

Atmosphere is what struck me most. Cathy’s garden has the most gorgeous friendly, sort of cosy, atmosphere. Cosy isn’t quite the right word but the garden wraps you in a sense of friendly conversation with quotes and quirky, playful details around each corner.

Cathy enjoys creating brickwork buildings and little follies, all with a purpose and use and of great charm. Never have I seen a more appropriate example of “work is love made visible”, one of my favourite Kahlil Gibran quotes.

Cathy’s creativity is evident and it was fun to see her in her natural habitat. 🙂

Of course I loved all the art and the sculptures in the garden, it is an outdoor gallery and made me think that I would really love to introduce more art into my own garden

there were also plenty of rusty beauties tweaking my rust obsession into life!lots of beautiful autumnal colourand an intriguing hellebore, which I have forgotten the name ofdon’t you just love those leaves.

We had such a wonderful time talking about all the plants and seeing every nook, cranny and coop. I felt honoured to have an exclusive tour with Cathy as my guide – what a treat!

❤ ❤ ❤ THANK YOU CATHY!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

And then in for a cuppa and slice of yummy homemade cake.

My jam jar of autumnal gleanings and the purple scented iris I took as a gift looked right at home in Cathy’s glorious kitchen.

and I left full of joy and gratitude to Cathy for sharing her enthusiasm, her garden, time and cake with me so generously.

I marvel at this wonderful blogging community – we get to know so much about each other and what we share in common, so the meeting is easy, comfortable and fun. Then, over a cuppa, we discover more and truly enjoy each other’s company.

I left with warmth in my heart and all ready for the next leg of my journey – onwards to Cumbria!

Joining Cathy as she has gone on an adventure of her own today, with her vases, for In a Vase on Monday

Silent Sunday in Cumbria

A couple of weeks ago at Leighton Moss

A few Blissful Days by the Sea.

Spending time by the ocean restores my spirits like nothing else can.

I went to Newquay with two friends – we have holidayed together before many times, so we know it works. This was a special birthday treat for one of us, spent in a very special place.

The video was taken on our balcony and the round room at the end was our sitting room with 360 degree views – it was spectacular.

We walked, we ate delicious meals, we did a mind-scrambling jigsaw together, we danced to 60s and 70s tunes, we read, we watched the surfers and the golfers below, we relaxed, we laughed and breathed in all that ozone.

lunch at Lewinnick

I hope you too can soak up some holiday vibes from the photos – put on a bit of Elvis, the Stones, the Beatles and the Proclaimers and you will be right there with us!

Would you like to live here?

look at the salt water swimming pool

On the walk home: a bench with lichen and rusty bits!

on the beach we found thousands of these magical remains of By-the-Wind-Sailors

a type of jellyfish, but so much more than that

we watched the stormsand drank coffee in the cosy Seaspray Beach Cafe

and every day a rainbow!

it was magic!

Castle Drogo

Last week I met some friends at Castle Drogo, before travelling on to Cornwall with them to stay in Newquay for a few days.

Castle Drogo is one of the most bonkers places I have ever visited. Unfortunately the house was shut but you can see some photos of the interior if you go to the # Castle Drogo Instagram page

It was built between 1911 and 1926 as a family home?!

What were they thinking!

It looked like a prison or a workhouse to us.

Trees mask the glorious views to the moors as you walk around the house.

There are two magnificent arbours. We were not sure what variety of tree they were but my best guess was a type of birch.

My favourite tree was this magnificent maple, what a colour!

with its twisty moss covered trunk.

After lunch in the cafe we drove the hour and a half to Newquay.

This is the view from the apartment we were staying in.

Oh happy days!

Silent Sunday: Newquay, Cornwall.

 

 

 

 

Marquee Mandalas

 

Do you remember I had a wish to see my crocheted mandalas as decorations at a wedding? Many of you know that my daughter is a farmer and when she was married 15 years ago, the reception was held in a marquee on the farm. Such a joyous magical day.

This summer another couple who live and work on the farm were married and they chose to put their marquee in the same spot.

The bride kindly permitted me to hang some of my mandalas from the ceiling for the occasion. I wondered how to get them up so high, but this ‘cherry picker’ ladder 

and some willing helpers, were the answer. There were 16 to go up, ranging from 20cm to 70cm diameter.

And we were pleased to see how well they went with the coloured lanterns and bunting, made from sari waste ribbons by the bride and her mother.

It was fun to see them twirling from the roof of the marquee

I think the coloured ones look best against the white of the marquee. The white ones would look good in a church and I have offered them to a local church for their next flower festival.

I estimate it would take about 50 or 60  mandalas to make a good display in a marquee, unless they were hung in just one area – perhaps over where the wedding cake was displayed or over the top table.

I am making more.

The Groom’s vintage tractor, it had belonged to his Grandfather, took pride of place at the entrance of the marquee to welcome the guests.

The weather was glorious, the setting suitably romantic

and some guests camped overnight in the bell tents provided.

They all had a wonderful time.

Congratulations H and T and thank you so much for having the mandalas as part of your fabulous day.

Edit: I forgot to mention that this lovely field is a new Pop-up Camp Site, run by my daughter and her family. You can see more photos on Instagram @_mistymeadowscamp_

on the Pitch-up website and on their own Misty Meadows website which has been created by Miss E, who is now 14!

A truly magical place to stay.

Sunday Saunter

Click on any photo to see it larger

We heard the cuckoo!

 

Saturday walk: Hilton and Bulbarrow

For the first time since last Summer, I met up with my son and his family for a glorious walk in the sunshine. There are still frosts every morning and a nip in the wind but the weather was just right for walking.

Click on any photo to see it full screen.

We met in Hilton. You can find the walk on the Dorset Life website.

Quite a gentle uphill walk to get to the ridge from where we could see for miles and miles.

It was the first time I had met their 6 month old Border Terrier, Haggis

She is standing by a trough which I had to photograph for Cathy cos I know how much she likes them.

Ahead was our picnic spot.

A shelter made in memory of Mark Batchelor who died aged 32 in 2007.

The boys were intrigued by the little bits of memorabilia left on a shelf in the shelter, and we wrote in the Visitors book.

After lunch we set off again through woodland

Little Bro collected wild garlic and was fascinated by the wood anemones.

Then out across the ridge and down into the valley

There is something so refereshing about being up high and looking out across the county – deep breaths of clear Spring air certainly recharges the batteries.

Heading back to the village – a boy and his dog ran ahead

Once back in the village we said our farewells and then I went to investigate the church

and found this rusty iron headstone – how pretty

If I were to be buried, my daughter suggests ‘Rust in Peace’ as my epitaph!

🙂

To my surprise I could enter the church by the side door

And enjoy the peaceful interior

Just as I was leaving I noticed this piece of modern stain glass hanging from the ceiling. I do love to see modern art in churches

On the drive home I passed the rather spendid Milton Abbey, which is now part of a private boarding school

I got home just in time to watch the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

I am ambivalent about the place of Monarchy in our modern society, but there was something about this pared down ceremony to honour a life, on the whole, well-lived, that I felt I wanted to watch, to mark a point in history.

I hope you are having a happy weekend whatever the weather in your corner of the globe. xx

Beach Walks

On my retreat I got up each morning eager to see the sunrise,

hoping to catch that moment when the sun just peeps above the clouds.

After some crochet, and timed according to the tides, I went for a walk to one of the two little beaches nearby.

When the sea was calm, there was a heron

 fishing

but I was looking for rusty bits and seaglass

On the whole the weather was good

with the low sun adding beauty the the hedgerows.

Looking back from the path, if you zoom in, you can see my caravan perched above the beach.

So back to my cosy nest for some more crochet

This is what two weeks of mosaic crochet looks like – in Stylecraft Special Aran and 5mm hook. The pattern is Santa Cruz by Daisy Knots.

Then out for another walk to catch the sun setting

I wonder where I will go for Christmas 2022.

If you could go anywhere in the world for two weeks on your own, where would you go?

From my nest on the cliff

7.06 am 25th December 2020, looking out from my static caravan window.

Click on any image to see it full screen.

As some of you will know, every other year I escape Christmas and find a hideaway where I can be on a blissful tinsel-free retreat.

This year, I could not go too far from home, but luckily a friend owns a caravan at Sandsfoot Castle, overlooking Portland Harbour, just 10 miles from where I live and she was kind enough to let me have it to myself.

I have not been away from my house overnight for about a year, so it felt very exciting to pack a suitcase and stuff the car full of craft supplies and head off to the sea.

8.00am  30 December

watching the sun come up each morning was the biggest thrill.

Each day a constantly evolving Rothko painting would gently, gradually, change with the light across the sea and sky

Lots of people seem to find it too odd to comprehend that I enjoy going away on my own to be in some far flung place in isolation – but I LOVE it. My very own silent retreat, away from village life and all the practical ‘to do’ lists of home and garden.

I often get asked “but what do you do?”

Most of what I do fits around Tide Timetables, the weather forecast and the time the sun rises and sets  – and that is a wonderfully calm and simple way to live for a couple or more weeks every other year.

In 2008 I went to California for six weeks,

In 2016 I stayed in a treehouse on the Pembrokeshire Coast from the 15th December to 15th January.

paddle boarders

This year, I was able to walk from my nest, along the Rodwell Trail, that follows the old railway line, from Weymouth to Portland. From there I could tramp up along the top of Chesil Beach

This photo was taken at 1pm on Christmas Day. Whilst so many were tucking into a turkey, I was walking for about a mile along the top of a nearly isolated beach in crisp clear air and glorious sunshine – it felt SO good!

I say nearly isolated as there was one family having a windy picnic lunch looking out to sea and in the carpark, looking out over the harbour, where it was a bit more sheltered, there was a couple in red and white Father Christmas hats sitting at a picnic table covered in decorations and having a lobster and champagne lunch. Fabulous! The camaraderie of doing things differently.

There are plenty of old rusty bits and pieces to enjoy along that stretch

I would love to know the story behind this abandoned boat

The Pheonix

But oh the shed!

Look at those doors – all that texture, the colours! the corrugated rust!

ART!

So, dear readers, I am sure you don’t need to ask me, “what do you do?!”

Christmas Dawn

Merry Christmas everyone from my seaside hideaway

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Silent Sunday: Castle Cove

view of Portland, Dorset

3 mile walk: Hambledon Hill

On Sunday I met my son and his family for a walk and a Pub Lunch, it felt almost normal.

We parked at The Cricketers pub at Shroton, where we had a table booked for 12:30.

The Cricketers a

and set off up on the footpath up towards Hambeldon Hill

footpath

under dramatic skies.

dorset

Hill Fort

Happily there were a couple of gates, but not really squeaky enough to be very tuneful

and some rusty wires, making line, shape and pattern

patterns

Hambledon is one of the 20 Hill Forts in Dorset. I have been to 12, not all of them are on footpaths, but I will see if I can go to a few more, there always such magnificent views from up there.

 

Hambledon Hill

dil on a hill

Dil on a Hill

Then back down the hill to the Pub garden

IMG_0662for lunchmenu

yorkshire pudding

I am glad I ordered a Child’s portion of Roast Beef – look at the size of that Yorkshire pudding – it was massive – and yummy.

My son was the only one to go for a puddingchocolate cheesecake

Toblerone Cheesecake!!!!

But Dil and I insisted on trying a spoonful – mmmmm – delicious!

Toblerone Cheesecake

 

Fields of Blue and Yellow

fields of blue and yellow

I took a dear friend to a hospital appointment today – round trip 166 miles. The furthest I have driven, prior to that, since the beginning of March, was 10 miles. It was wonderful to spend time with my friend and to get out and about, seeing the world with fresh eyes.

If you click on the photo you can see it full screen – the spire of the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral is on the left hand side. I was there in 2016 with Miss E.

Now 14 days of keeping as much to myself as possible and being on the alert for symptoms. I’m pretty sure all will be well, but we live in uncertain times.

How beautiful the countryside looked after the recent good dose of rain, and a field of linseed is always a joy to behold

Be safe, be happy, be well.

 

Thoughtful Thursday

The Great Wave

The Great Wave by Hokusai

reversed …..

the wave reversedThe Japanese read things from right to left so this is how they would ‘read’ the print of The Wave, by Hokusai.

The focus is more about the boats heading into the wave.

(this is a photo I took of the picture on my computer screen, then flipped it).

For years I looked at The Wave and hardly noticed the boats and the people in them.

Now I see the picture differently

The Great Wave

I wonder how this affects our cultural differences in many and various subtle ways.

Textile Tuesday Number One!

needelpoint experiments and designsHelloo! Happy New Year – Happy New Decade – Happy New Photo Challenge!

I am really looking forward to sharing 12 glorious months of Textile Tuesdays.

Textiles of all sorts are my first love in the land of Creativity, so I’m starting off with a bumper crop of archive makes that I have just excavated from my many and various boxes in the loft – it is like a museum of my life up there.

The archaeology was prompted by a photo by Sheila on The Great House Exmoor on Instagram  of a doll’s house she had found.

Sheila and her family have bought a fabulous Georgian house on Exmoor which they will be renovating ready for Bed and Breakfast guests. My goodness what a task, but I am SO looking forward to watching the transformation of the rooms as I know they will be fabulous.

About 25 – 30 years ago I had a crush on needlepoint – I had seen someone making a cushion cover and had to have a go – so I bought a kit

This was my first

Then this one

As you can see I liked more subtle colours in those days – it was all terracotta and soft greens – very grown up!

After a trip to Turkey, I was interested in kilim designs

but I didn’t love this one and could not find the patterns I wanted to make so I started designing my own. Following a visit to a Doll’s House Fair I started designing and making doll’s house carpets – a perfect craft for travelling. They are all to the 1:12 scale. 1 inch = 1 foot.  They were wonderful little projects to pack in a backpackIMG_7512

I made this one on a canal boat in Shropshiredolls house carpet

and this one has crossed the Equator twice –  travelling right round the world with me in 1994. I designed it as I was travelling, adding in motifs I came across.needlepoint

The bright colours soon burst forth IMG_7509IMG_7504I became fascinated by how the same colours and the same design could create such different patterns.basketweave-1

daffodil, Warhol style

A computer programme helped me design these ‘Andy Warhol’ daffodils. WdaffI made them as cushion covers but then wondered if they would be better frames as pictures needlepoint daffodiland my indecision consigned them to a box in the loft.

samples

Some need a bit of cleaning. But – what to do with them – having unearthed them from their box, I realise they should not stay there, something needs to be done with them.

These could be cushion coversneedlepoint

starsrunner

I think some could be framed, even in their unfinished state – but what do you think – are they art one would want hanging on the wall?

Food for thought.

~

That is a long post from me! Some months I will most probably post just one Textile Photo – do you have any textiles to share – one piece or many – current or archive. You are welcome to dig deep into your blog archive and revisit old posts – anything goes so long as the photos are your own.

I’m really excited to see your very own Textile Tuesday.

Just leave a link in the Comments.