Home from home

As you know I love camping and last week I had an extra special trip because I went away with my sister, Jacky, in her camper van to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. I have been looking at camper van videos on Youtube constantly for the last few years as I am hoping to buy one when I retire (after learning to drive of course!) so I was very excited to be staying in one.

Dales camper van 5

The van is a custom conversion which was made for her by the previous company she bought a van from and is based on a standard van with a fitted out interior.

Dales camper van 3

There is a small seating area, with table at the entrance and then a kitchen and storage area with fitted units and a double bed across the width of the van with lots of storage underneath.It has a working sink and also has a portaloo so it was real luxury compared to being in a tent 🙂

Jacky is an experienced van owner, this being her fourth one, but she had not done a lot of camping in it since getting it in August as she had mostly used it for festivals. This was also a test of how it would work with two people and the conversion of the living area for a single bed. It was lovely to see the cushion I made for her in situ as well.

Dales camper van 1

We stayed at a beautifully located campsite, Woodend Farm , just outside the village of Austwick in the Dales.Below are the views from our pitch, we also had electric hook up so had lights and heating! Real luxury 🙂

Dales camper van 4

Dales camper van 6

Dales camper van 2

I can heartily recommend the site as it was very well maintained with amazing views across the valley and a little stream running through it. It would be great for kids to play in the summer as there was lots of space and being a working farm there were lots of sheep. The whole of the Dales is covered in sheep in wonderful dry stone walled fields so I felt very at home.

Dales sheep 1

Dales sheep 2

It is an area I have visited before, we camped there quite a few times when the children were young but I have not been for about 15 years. The weather was brilliant, we had three days of sunshine and so were able to go for lots of walks, mainly to see waterfalls as we both love those.

Dales waterfalls 12

Dales 6

Gordale Scar was our first trip, the gorge leading up the waterfall is really beautiful with impressively large rock walls and a babbling stream which leads into a cleft in the rock where a waterfall tumbles down.

There were lots of adventurous people climbing up it, Jacky went much nearer than I did and you can see her in the middle picture. I am have not done much off road walking in the last year due to the arthritis and I didn’t want to fall.

Dales waterfalls 8

Dales waterfalls 9

Dales waterfalls 13

The views were just stunning, couldn’t believe that the weather was so good. We even stopped and had ice cream at the little refreshment van on the way out it was that lovely.

Dales waterfalls 11

Dales waterfalls 11

That afternoon we went to Malham Tarn, owned by the National Trust as Marsden Moor is, and very similar in scenery to our local reservoirs. We saw a little deer there in among the trees and lots more sheep.

Dales 13

Dales 12

The next day we went to Stainforth Force, another impressive, though lower waterfall where I did manage to slip on these rocks and fall into the shallow bit on the bank in the picture below.

Dales waterfalls 7

Dales waterfalls 6

Dales waterfalls 5

Not too injured but very wet we spent some time in a cafe at the nearby Langcliffe Park caravan site drying off and had a little wander admiring the vans and their beautiful views across the valley.

Dales 1

Dales 2

Dales 3

One of my early retirement plans before buying the house in Spain was to live in a static caravan and I just love them. I may end up buying one yet, so many lovely reminders of childhood holidays and nowadays they are very luxurious.

After going back to the van and changing (one of the advantages of having your house with you!) we climbed up the hill to Catrigg Force. The path took a bit of finding and it was a steep climb but well worth it as the waterfall is located in a wonderful glade and comes crashing down from the moor above into a deep chasm. This time I stayed safely above the rocks while Jacky went exploring!

Dales waterfalls 4

Dales waterfalls 1

Dales waterfalls 2

Dales waterfalls 3

A really brilliant break, it was lovely to spend time with my sister and we both really appreciated the time away from work. She is a primary school teacher and works very long hours in a school with lots of challenges so it was great to just unwind, go on lovely walks, sit and play cards and games in the van at night and generally enjoy life. There were some beautiful sunsets and skies and we just loved all of the gorgeous walls with their moss cladding.

Dales 5

Dales 7

Dales 4

It has been a very cold and wet week here, as for most of the country, so I have spent a large majority of the time very damp as I have started doing my placement visits. Much as I enjoy this part of my job standing at freezing bus stops is not fun so I have appreciated working from home today in the warm and dry.

I am hosting a Christmas ornament making session on Sunday for the Wool and Wine group which will allow me to finish off a couple of things. Despite my best efforts I am still going to be rushing to finish everything in time, thank goodness I made some ornaments in Jan.

I hope that you have a good weekend ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

Scotland the beautiful

The holiday to Scotland seems a while away now that we are gearing up for the new term but I am planning to go back next year as well for more exploring. I have been to Scotland a few times before but not for about 14 years and the beauty of it never fails to amaze me.

Scotland campsite 6

We stayed just above Loch Lomond for the first three nights in a lovely campsite which is right on the West Highland Way. There is our lovely green tent with wonderful views over to the hills.

Scotland campsite 3

Most of our fellow campers were walking the 90 odd miles of the way so we just saw them arrive early evening and then pack up and leave the next day. We did feel sorry for them the mornings it was raining!

Scotland campsite 1

The campsite is called Beinglas and I can highly recommend it, very lovely with a bar and restaurant and well equipped shop and a little river running through it.

Scotland campsite 2

Scotland campsite 4

Scotland campsite 5

The main access bridge to the site had been flooded but Ellen did a brilliant job with going up and down the slightly bumpy back access road.

We stopped en route at a the gorgeous Lowther Castle in Cumbria, another Victorian castle build which is now a ruin with very creative gardens within its walls and beautiful parkland which is slowly being restored.

Scotland Lowther 1

Scotland Lowther 7

There were some lovely little follies and architectural treasures all around the park.

I love these hydrangeas in the picture above, they always look like they have butterflies landing on them.

Scotland Lowther 18

Our first day was a trip to Lochgoilhead for a wander which was just gorgeous,it was a slightly cloudy day and I just loved seeing the clouds hanging over the hills.

Scotland Lochgoilhead 3

There were some beautiful plants on our walk and interesting moss and ferns on the walls and lots of mussel shells.

Scotland Lochgoilhead 14

Scotland Lochgoilhead 13

We visited the old church as well. I love the decoration on the gravestones and the rusted ironwork.

Then it was back to the campsite for the last BBQ of the year in the UK, I have however just booked my flight to Spain where I shall be spending both Christmas and New Year 🙂 so I will be having a BBQ on Christmas Day after a picnic lunch on the beach.

We went to Scotland specifically to see my friend Sue who has partly retired there, she is living in the most gorgeous cottage, not quite in the middle of nowhere but about 2 miles from the main road in the forest with amazing views.

Scotland Sue 2

Scotland Sue 1

It was lovely to spend the day and night with her, especially after a slightly damp end to our camping, the wood burner in the cottage was much appreciated!

We also managed to pack in a bit of a tour of Scotland to see some of the National Trust for Scotland properties so I will be back later in the week with some pictures of those. I hope that you have all had a nice weekend, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

The wonderful Lake District – part one

In June Ellie and I went camping to the Lake District, partly so that we could visit another few National Trust houses. The Lake District is a very important place for the National Trust, not only due to the amount of land it looks after there but also as it is a key part of its history.

Canon Rawnsley, one of the founding members lived there and worked to enhance education and employment opportunities and one of the key contributors to protecting the land was the children’s author Beatrix Potter who lived there and bought land which she donated to the Trust.

We have visited a small bit of the Lake District before on whilst on holidays to Centre Parks but never actually been to the area for any length of time which is very remiss of us as it is only 1 1/2 hours from here and is the most glorious place.

Lake District - camping 1

We stayed at Low Wray campsite which is owned by the Trust and is literally on the shores of Lake Windemere and right next to one of the properties we visited, Wray Castle. This is the view from the edge of the site. What an amazing place to stay and so cheap, 3 nights there only cost £54 which was a real bargain.It is a beautiful campsite with an outdoor pizza place and boat hire so if you are looking for a place to stay I would really recommend it.

Lake District - camping 2

Lake District - camping 3

We were camped just behind this ridge on the right of the picture above, they also have tepees and camping pods for hire if you don’t have a tent.

In total we visited four Trust properties which I will post about later and a Trust owned pub , The Sticklebarn in the amazing Langdales.

Lake district - pub 2

Lake district - pub 1

Lake district - pub 3

We also visited Grasmere and Derwentwater Lakes and the little town of Cockermouth which was also very beautiful. Just the drives were amazing in themselves, the scenery is truly breathtaking.

Lake district - Cannon's house

Lake district - Derwent 1

Lake district - Derwent 2

Lake district - Derwent 3

I definitely want to go back and spend more time there, another place for the retirement list, only another 3 years, 8 months and 17 days to go until I can do that, not that I am counting 🙂

It is a wet and windy day today which is such a pity as the Jazz Festival is on this weekend in the village. I am volunteering tonight and all day tomorrow so hopefully lots of people will wrap up warm and come and visit anyway.

I am working on some more applique from the free gift at the moment so will be able to show you some of that next week. Hope that you all have a nice week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Under a cloudy Shropshire Sky

We had a lovely time at Farmer Phil’s festival with my sister. As we were there from the Tues we went for a couple of long walks up on the hills where we could see the beautiful scenery.

Shropshire 2018 3

Shropshire 2018 4

At the top of one of the hills we came across two wind blown trees which made for great pictures against the cloud backdrop. One of them was a Rowan tree which brought back lots of childhood memories as we both went Rowanfield Primary School where our uniforms were the colours of the tree.

 

There were plenty of sheep including this cute one who had very deer like ears.

Shropshire 2018 2

We also saw a llama, there were actually three in a garden on the way back from our first walk.I think Jacky thought I had lost the plot when I suddenly shouted, ‘llama’, but she saw this cute little one just as I spotted it as well, they were so friendly.

Shropshire 2018 9

The weather was variable but luckily Jacky had bought a lovely fire pit so we had toasty nights watching the flames. The last evening was beautiful sunshine and I spent some time taking pictures of the sun peeping out from the clouds as it set.

 

I have been busy at work since I got back doing clearing which is dealing with those who have not got the A level results they expected but have managed to finish the Steampunk jacket for the Lincoln event, with four days to go! A minor miracle and I will post pictures of that later in the week.

Meanwhile take care and thanks for visiting.

If you want to get ahead …..

I had a lovely time in Spain, no photos for you except this one of wine during a meal at one of our favourite beach bars as the rest of the time was spent being very hot and so sitting in the shade or being in various pools and the sea.

Spain - August - wine

It was a lovely time with family but confirmed my already fairly certain view that I was born for colder climates. I really admire all of the people working there in that heat, I could do nothing more than sit with a cold drink mopping my brow!

A quick turnaround saw me going to my first ever proper festival, Farmer Phil’s in the gorgeous Shropshire countryside. I loved it, and will be back next year for longer so we can take advantage of the lovely area and go for walks. Look there was even blue sky.. in England!

Actually the weather was very good for August with only rain on the Sunday night which necessitated a much appreciated tow out of the muddy field.

I stayed with my sister Jacky who has recently bought a new camper van, I would dearly love to own one when I finally learn to drive so we spent some time wandering round looking at all of the lovely ones at the festival.

Farmer Phils 1 - tent

I was staying in Jacky’s pop up tent next to her van and we had a very lovely time catching up as we have not seen each other for a while, during which she has become a grandmother! Seriously we are not old enough for this sort of thing 🙂

Loved the music, lots of folk and folk/punk bands and great musicians generally and discovered some  new people to listen to. Just lovely to be in the sun, not too hot though 😉 , drinking delicious rhubarb cider and enjoying the event.

Farmer Phils 6 - stage

I think my favourites over the whole weekend were Nick Parker who is a brilliant songwriter and Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican who have some brilliant comedy rewrites of classics such as Lady in Red (Lady in Greggs – which for those of you outside the UK is a sandwich shop and bakery) and Beyonce’s Single Ladies which they have turned into a wonderful song about Dinner Ladies.

Farmer Phils 7 - sons of VD

We also had a great baked Camembert and cheese platter at the Cheezy Vinyl bar where platters are old records, that was delicious and will definitely be going back next year.

Farmer Phils 12- Cheezy

Farmer Phils 13- Cheezy

As well as the music my other favourite things were festival outfits. There were some gorgeous outfits, some brilliant fancy dress and lots of bright colours, face painting and general loveliness.I think the combination of the rainbow unicorn head dress and the jacket with spoons on below was one of my faves.

I am going to work on some more lovely stuff for me to wear next year, definitely need more of the floaty summer hippy chic that lots of people were wearing! Oh and I also need some nice boots rather than my very old walking boots, not sure which of these are my fave so far.

As the title of my post says, if you want to get ahead….. get a hat so I treated myself to two new top hats for festival wear, I love top hats and have decided to wear them lots at events and wanted some that I could further embellish.

Farmer Phils 14- Purple hat

The purple one is great for wearing with my flower crowns as here and I am planning to make some removable bands for it as well and I will add some more bling and lace to the black one.

Farmer Phils 15- Black hat

Ellie and I are off again this weekend, I know, will the fun never stop! We are going to see a fab live spectacular show, Kynren, up in the North East with a little National Trust visit en route. Then it is only one week until the combined Lincoln Steam Punk weekend and medieval show where I shall get some nice pics of my newly lace embellished jacket and boots for you.

In between all this gadding about I am also still working on things for Yarndale, have got little to show you that is finished but have been embroidering and paper piecing for the final pouches and needlebooks.

Have a good weekend ahead, whatever you are doing and see you next week. Thanks for visiting as always.

 

 

Natural beauty

Ellie and I have just come back from our long weekend camping in North Wales. Originally we were booked into a re-enactment at Conwy but our group had to cancel so we thought we would make the most of the opportunity for a visit to some of the National Trust properties in the area.We stayed at  Conwy Touring Park which was a lovely site with great views.

Since it was nice weather for most of the time we not only got to visit several properties but also go for a walk in the mountains in Snowdonia. We saw such beautiful places so I thought I would share some of them with you.

First we visited Erddig , which is a house that dates from the early 1700s and it has been beautifully restored after falling into a ruinous state in the 1960s. The formal gardens were gorgeous and I particularly loved the less formal borders with thistles, poppies and lilies.

Erddig 2

Erddig 3

Erddig 4

Erddig 1

On Saturday we drove into the Snowdonia National Park to an area known as Cwm Idwal which is also owned by the Trust.

Cwm Idwal 1

Cwm Idwal 2

It was a perfect day for walking, cloudy but not wet and the clouds added to the dramatic scenery. We had a brilliant walk round the lake and then a picnic by a waterfall, just perfect!

Cwm Idwal 3

Cwm Idwal 4

Cwm Idwal 5

In the afternoon the sun came out which made the wonderful Bodnant Gardens look fantastic. The house is still in private ownership and the gardens that surround it are just gorgeous with the most beautiful views towards Snowdonia.

Bodnant 1

Bodnant 2

Bodnant 12

Bodnant 13

We really loved the hydrangea bushes, the heads were all at different stages of flowering and it was amazing to see the colours develop on these blue ones, so beautiful!

Bodnant 10

Bodnant 9

Bodnant 11

A great weekend and I will be back later in the week with some of the lovely interiors from these and the other places we visited.

Meanwhile I am working on some more Steampunk stuff as I want to update my outfit. We have been dressing up in the evenings at events and here is a picture taken by my lovely friend Silke at Tatton.

Alison Steampunk - Tatton - small

I love my top hat and am awaiting a new skirt, gloves and choker that will be delivered this week.I am decorating a pair of boots and velvet jacket with lace to add to my collection of outfits.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Beautiful campsites

Hello everyone and hope that you are well, I have had a lovely weekend away at our last event of the season in South Wales, another beautiful place to camp and I will share some pictures of that event later in the week.

We are so very lucky as re-enactors to camp in amazing places and this was the view I had from my tent the weekend before last at Lincoln Cathedral.

Lincoln Bishops' Palace show

Lincoln 3

The cathedral looked amazing lit up at night and the sky was beautiful as well, all very atmospheric and makes you realise what a powerful impact these magnificent buildings would have had in medieval times.

Lincoln 5

Lincoln 2

Lincoln 6

Lincoln 7

Here are some more pictures that I took of the interior of the cathedral.

Lincoln 11

Lincoln 12

Lincoln 13

Lincoln 14

Lincoln 15

This is my favourite because of the light coming through the windows – just beautiful!

Lincoln 16

Bishops’ Palace where we held the event, would have been very impressive as well, now sadly ruined, partly as a result of damage during the Civil War.

There were several Great Halls for entertaining, one of which we used for our camp and the other for our tournament arena. This one below was once used to entertain King Henry 8th and Katherine Howard.

Lincoln 10

Lincoln 4

Lincoln 8

It is brilliant to be able to camp in these places and help bring them to life once more!

I am busy this week with preparation for the new term, not long to go now. This weekend is set aside for making the wedding jacket so wish me luck 😉

Have a good week ahead and thanks for visiting.