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.

 

 

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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.

What a lovely end to the season!

Well we had a brilliant weekend away at the Mortimer’s Cross event at Hampton Court Castle.

I knew it was going to be a fab weekend when after a very pleasant train journey spent sewing more flower brooches I ended up pitching my little tent in a field with this view and settling down to a cold cider and my last evening meal in the open air for this year. A lovely end to a busy week.

Hampton Court camping

Hampton Court 2-camping

The weather was perfect and so I had a wander round the gardens on Saturday in between the two battles.

Hampton Court  -gardens

Hampton Court 4 -gardens

Hampton Court 5-gardens

Hampton Court 6-gardens

Hampton Court 7-gardens

Hampton Court 8-gardens

We then had a tour of the castle before tea (contemplating how we would redecorate if we bought it as it is currently up for sale at only £9 million).

Hampton Court  - castle

Hampton Court 10-castle

This is my new friend Angela who I first met at the Caldicot event.

Hampton Court 11- castle

I would keep these fabulous light fittings, they reminded me of the William Burges designs at Cardiff Castle.

Hampton Court 12- castle

Hampton Court 13- castle

Hampton Court 14- castle

Hampton Court 15- castle

Hampton Court 16- castle

There were two bands on Saturday night including a wonderful Celidh band with an excellent fiddle player so we danced lots and stayed up far too late really 😉

Sunday was more of the same, the weather held and the two battles that day were even better, everyone making the most of the last event.

Hampton Court battle

Hampton Court battle 2

Standing on the field with the guns going off and arrows raining down I couldn’t have been happier. Such a lovely time and an excellent way to end a very good season.

You can tell how happy I am in this picture as it looks like I am dancing with these two friends in armour. Thanks to Pat for the battle photos, he did a brilliant job as always of capturing the action for us.

Hampton Court battle 3

This has to be my fave picture of the season, another one of Pat’s photos – a friend captioned this as ‘now we know that gunners have hearts!’

Hampton Court battle 4 - guns

Looking forward to our first off-season kit making weekend, the Sisters Kerry and Ellie plus friend Jamie will be here.There will be linen everywhere and hopefully completed shifts at the end of it!

Meanwhile there are more brooches and Christmas ornaments to be made, what would life be without fabric and wool?

Thanks for visiting and look out for the next post which will be a very special one as it my 400th so I will be having a little giveaway!

A wonderful view (when you get to the top!)

We are very lucky and we get to camp in some amazing places, castles and historic venues and this weekend we had an event at Peveril Castle in the Peak District. The views were amazing and well worth the very long climb (with tents and lots of kit!) to the top of the hill.

Peveril the castle 2

Peveril view

Peveril the gorge

Peveril tent and view

Due to the nature of the site we only took modern tents rather than authentic as we had to take the tents down each morning as well. The picture below shows Mark and Shane climbing up on Saturday morning with their kit, it was a long steep hill!

Peveril Castle

But this picture just sums up everything I love about re-enactment, breakfast (bacon butties of course!) in the sunshine outside the tent.

Peveril Castle

The weather was brilliant – despite my fears that this might be a very wet weekend, it was actually a little too hot on the Saturday, we girls were ok in the shade down by the entrance to the castle doing our head dress talks but the boys were sweltering at the top and did a brilliant job of running the events in that heat.

Thanks to Wendy, Kevin, Philip and Daniel for these pictures that they posted to our group Facebook site.

Peveril show

Luke had a new cotehardie to show off – he looks brilliant and I love this picture.

Peveril event

I also really love this one of the girls looking at the view.

Peveril the sisters

Peveril Me and Ellie

Here are Luke and Jamie doing a dagger display.

Peveril Luke and Jamie

This is the arena from the top of the castle.

Peveril event

And here am I with Luke’s very impressive horned helm.

Pevril me and view

Pevril Sisters

Peveril Luke and Mark

Peveril Paul and Jamie

Pevril me and king

Peveril end of show

We were all so tired that after a trip down to a pub at the bottom of the hill for a very nice meal Saturday evening we only had a little sit round the campfire before bed.

A really excellent weekend and a great way to finish the Swords of Mercia events for this year. The Sisters still have a few events left before the tents go away for winter 😦

Ellie is now here for a week’s holiday so we may do some days out later in the week, we do have a trip planned to a textile museum en route to moving Jake into a new flat in Middlesbrough.

Hope you have all had a good weekend and thanks for visiting.

Happiness is a new tent and a sunny weekend to use it!

Hello everyone

Hope that you have been enjoying the fantastic weather we have had this week in the UK, I was very glad that the high temperatures we had last week during the working part continued for the fun bit that was Tatton Medieval Festival.

I love this show, it is one of my all time faves for so many reasons, the venue is beautiful and only one hour from home and it is small enough to be friendly and be able to see everyone to say hello but large enough to have a nice market and beer tent and battle – essentials for a good re-enactment weekend 😉

I bought some new mugs from Jim the potter, am saving the rest of my spends for the big market at Tewkesbury where a new belt and pouch are on the list.

Tatton Pottery

Tatton Pottery 3

We took my latest tent for its first outing, this is a new (bargain) that I bought at the end of last season.

Tatton new tent

I seem to buy new tents in response to extreme weather, the first (new to me) tent last year was after the icy hail storm at Rufford so we had somewhere to all shelter and this one was in response to the 38 degrees at Tewkesbury so we have some shade!

It worked very well, it is a great size tent for just me and Ellie as there is plenty of space for kit and room to stand up and get dressed in. And at only £40 almost brand new it was a great find – it had to be repaired due to a broken zip after it was first bought so Outdoor World were selling it cheap.

It was a really lovely weekend and not only that thanks to Jamie and Sam I have lots of photos to show you as Jamie very kindly posed for some costume pictures and Sam took lots of the battle.

Tatton Jamie soft kit

Tatton Jamie soft kit 2

Tatton Jamie soft kit 3

Jamie is wearing his very smart tunic showing the dagging on the sleeves, dagging was extra material to show how rich you were and was often lobed like this or oak leaf-shaped. He is also wearing his black hood or chaperon over the topic of the tunic and a bicocket hat. The tunic was made by Jackie from Cloak’d and Dagger’d.

As we were taking these pictures along came another very well dressed gent in later period costume (don’t know his real name but he was playing De Massey in the battle).

Tatton Jamie and De Massey

He is wearing a more fitted doublet with puffed sleeves and the later version of the chaperon when it evolved into a hat, complete with dagging and liripipe or tail. This style of outfit is around mid 1400s whereas Jamie’s is mid 1300s.

Here are the battle pics, love the one of Ellie in the smoke and the last couple that Jamie has put some filters on.

Tatton battle 2014

Tatton battle smoke

Andy and Rhys at Tatton

Ellie at Tatton battle

We are off to Spain this weekend – yippee more sun! Have loads more photos to post from various things which I may get chance to do before I go if not will have to have a serious blog update when I get back!

Have fun and thanks for visiting.

Outlaws in the Forest

Hello again, I hope that you have all had a good week.

I have been enjoying another weekend at home and our first at home BBQ of the year, my last weekend here for two weeks as I have shows then a holiday with my friend Kerry!

Last year we took the opportunity to travel round some of the National Trust properties down South after one of our shows and are doing the same again this year going to visit some places in Somerset, Dorset and Devon.

I am so happy that the season has started again, the joys of cooking bacon butties for breakfast outside the tent and meeting lots of lovely people – it is a great way to spend a weekend. Look at this lovely tent owned by one of our friends – wouldn’t you love to camp in this?

Sherwood event -tents 2

Sherwood event -tent detail

The theme of the first show this year was crime and punishment as it was in Sherwood Forest the home of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. We had another great weekend with really lovely weather so lots of people came to see us. It was just a small event with about 8 groups but there was plenty to see in the living history camps.

Sherwood event -tents 3

Sherwood event -tents 1

It was also a very significant first because Ellie came up in Kim and we drove all the way to re-enactment in the car! She did really well as we went on the motorway and she was not at all fazed (even when there was a big lorry trying to come into the lane). I am really proud of her and it was very lovely being driven all the way there (and back as well by my brilliant friend Kerry).

Because of having all this transport we were able to take the medieval tent and some stuff for the display which was a real luxury, am very happy in any tent but to have my medieval one is very special 😉

We were camped with some friends who were doing weapons and armour talks all weekend and we did our usual headdress and embroidery talks which was a nice complement to their display.

Sherwood event -weapons

This picture shows the camp after the battle with the boys’ arming jacks and paraphernalia everywhere!

Sherwood event -kit

And we had the great excitement of a new recruit to the group at her first event. And not just a new recruit for the main group this is our new sister for our little watercarrying group. Here is Sadie all dressed up and ready to go for her first show.

Sherwood event -Sadie

Sadie works with Ellie at Hardwick and has been sword training for a while but decided she would like to join us as well and she really enjoyed herself, she will be coming to many of our future shows as well.

So here’s to many more sunny weekends to come – don’t really mind it raining during the week as long as it always dries up by Friday 😉

Thanks for visiting and see you in a couple of weeks.