Cobwebs in the chapel and other conservation tasks

Many years ago, 7 to be exact, I went to visit my lovely daughter at her first full time job with the Trust at Powis Castle in Wales. I had a great time and learnt lots about conservation and what she did to maintain the things in the castle. Here she is in that job with her daily checklist clipboard for recording light levels and other important things.

Ellie at Powis

Since then I have visited her at Hardwick House and had an access all areas in the textile store there which was amazing, climbed the chapel tower at Clumber and been a World War 1 Land Girl volunteer. Having a daughter in the heritage industry is fab because as well as all the lovely places she has worked I have had some brilliant behind the scenes fun as well.

Clumber 3 - chapel

On Sunday she was working so I went and volunteered with her again. The first job was cleaning the chapel which involved learning some new dusting skills.

Clumber 20 - chapel

There are some amazing statues in the chapel and they have to be cleaned very carefully with a soft brush as they are extremely fragile being over 130 years old.

Clumber 21 - chapel

Clumber 22 - chapel

Clumber 23 - chapel

I also dusted the gorgeous hanging lights with a very long extendable fluffy duster.This is more complicated than it sounds as the lights are very fragile and the brush needs careful control, not easy when it is eight foot in the air!

There was a lovely exhibition that Ellie had put together of some of the ecclesiastical garments that they have at the chapel. One of my projects over the winter will be some gold work to take to re-enactment. I was thinking of something like this piece on the top left on this montage as I love the simplicity and elegance of the design.

I was also really thrilled to see the candlesticks that I have recently donated to the chapel on the altar. I bought these from a local charity shop about 5 years ago but Ellie mentioned last time she was here that they were looking for some for the chapel as the originals can no longer be on display.

Clumber 16 - chapel

I was going to donate them anyway when I move to Spain so I was very happy for them to go to their new home now. They look amazing, so shiny and sparkling and I am so pleased that they fit in so well.

Clumber 18 - chapel

Clumber 17 - chapel

We also got to visit Nellie, the replica of the trench digging tank that Ellie and her team constructed as part of the WW2 events at Clumber this year.

Clumber 1 - Nellie

It is an amazing feat of construction, all made of wood and it looks so much like the original. There is also an assault course which the children have been enjoying.

Clumber 4 - Ellie

Clumber 5 - Nellie

The afternoon was spent in Ellen’s conservation room and store where I got to see some of the artefacts from the house.

Clumber 24 - chapel

As it was demolished in 1938 there is very little that has been found but anything that is goes in here and is catalogued and stored in conservation grade bags.This is a gorgeous confirmation badge.

Clumber 26 - chapel

Clumber 25 - chapel

Clumber 2 - Nellie

There was a small piece of a cross from the chapel statues that needs to be reattached along with various finds such as some small wooden shields.

Clumber 29 - chapel

I helped with some cataloguing of these and Ellie showed me some of the others including two of her favourite finds from underneath the choir stalls in the chapel.

Clumber 27 - chapel

Clumber 28 - chapel

One is some little boats made from the notes of the hymns to be sung that day and the other a crumpled bag that came from a sweet shop. Clearly some choir boys were getting bored one day! I do love these little bits of social history, they are just as exciting to me as ornate paintings or grand houses.

I am so lucky to have children doing exciting things that they love and it is brilliant that I can share in them.

I am still making felt flowers but am going to stop soon and get back to some knitting as there are Christmas presents to be finished. We are at Lincoln Steampunk this Saturday so I am really looking forward to that. I shall be taking a brolly to protect the tea party hat as we have had some dreadful downpours lately ūüė¶

Hopefully I will get chance to post some pictures before we set off for Scotland next week! Hope that you have a nice week ahead and thanks for visiting.

 

Another glorious cloister

We stayed over in Gloucester on the way back from our recent trip to Caldicot as we really wanted to go and see the cathedral. I knew that it had the most wonderful cloisters and I really love these so was excited to see them.

The docklands area where we stayed has been redeveloped with a mix of conversions of the old warehouses and new flats, shops and places to eat so we enjoyed having a quick wander round there and on through to the cathedral area where we say a little shop and exhibition devoted to Beatrix Potter’s, ‘The Tailor of Gloucester. We saw a lot of her original drawings when we visited the Lake District in the summer, which I have still to post about.

Glos cathedral 2

Glos cathedral 3

Glos cathedral 4

The cathedral itself is stunning, there are the most beautiful little chapels and stained glass windows everywhere.

My favourite was this painted one, which was done in the late 1800s and it gorgeous.

Everywhere you look there are altars and carved ceilings as well as some notable tombs including Edward 2nd who is portrayed by one of the members of our re-enactment group.

Glos cathedral 18

Glos cathedral 9

Glos cathedral 19

The best bit for me was definitely the cloisters, not only the carved fan ceilings which were stunning, but all the beautiful stained glass.

Glos cathedral 21

I took lots of pictures of designs as inspiration for the future book I intend to write of embroidery, goldwork and blackwork designs inspired by historic places that I have visited.

I especially love these little flower designs. I am not sure when they were made but they are clearly very old, you can see how bowed the window in the bottom picture is.

Glos cathedral 35

Glos cathedral 36

Glos cathedral 37

Glos cathedral 38

We were also very excited as there was a film crew setting up for work on a new TV series, ‘The Spanish Princess’, about one of my all time favourite historical people, Katherine of Aragon.

Glos cathedral 17

Look at the beautiful goldwork Tudor roses on these banners. I am really looking forward to seeing the series when it come out if I can find it as it is being made for American TV. Here is a sneak peek of the filming at Wells Abbey, the costumes look stunning.

Autumn is well and truly here and the trees look lovely. I have only today off this week as we have been continuing with induction for the new students so am just going to do a little bit of sewing this afternoon. Most evenings I have been far too tired to do anything more than about 10 stitches so am making very slow progress on my latest embroideries!

I have a quieter week ahead so will be able to spend more time on fun things. Hope you are having fun with whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

Just a little bit of bling!

The last photos I want to show you from Seville are from the cathedral. This is one of the largest in the world and it uses the tower or Giralda of the original mosque as part of its design.

Seville cathedral Giralda 1

Seville cathedral Giralda 2

The Giralda is stunning, with all of that detail made from brick and the surrounding buildings are also really beautiful, there are lovely cafes and restaurants all around the cathedral which makes it a gorgeous area.

Seville cathedral buildings 4

Seville cathedral 1

Seville cathedral buildings 2

I loved the exterior of the cathedral, the front entrance looks to have been completely replaced as it is a different colour stone and the roof decoration is stunning.

Seville cathedral 2

Seville cathedral 3

As we were queuing for a while to get in I took a few artistic shots looking up the facade, the second one is one of my favourite building photos ever, I love the contrast of building shapes and sky.

Seville cathedral 4

Seville cathedral 4 - angled

I really liked the little creatures on the facade especially this fox and the dragon, I think he looks cute and definitely tameable!

Seville cathedral 5

Seville cathedral 6

Inside the cathedral was very impressive though not as decorated as I was expecting, compared to others such as Valencia the interior was quite plain but with beautiful lighting illuminating the intricate carved ceiling.

Seville cathedral interior 1

Seville cathedral interior 2

There was the most impressive gold altar that I have ever seen, absolutely mind blowing in its scale.

Seville cathedral interior 3

There was also a beautiful display of goldwork and the precious artifacts and paintings in a side room that was gorgeous. A truly magnificent place and a fitting end to our trip.

Seville cathedral interior 4

Seville cathedral interior goldwork 1

I have had a lovely weekend, mainly watching the rain come down while I have been stitching, which has been a bit of a shock after such high temperatures here for so long. I am hoping that my friends in the re-enactment group have not had bad weather as they were doing a show on top of the hill at Peveril Castle this weekend.

Sadly I missed that as the recent infected bites have led to a flare up of arthritis so I knew I would struggle getting up the hill. I know that other friends have had to cancel events this weekend due to the extreme weather which is such a pity for everyone involved.

Our next event is in a few weeks time at Lincoln and I need to finish my Steampunk jacket for then so I am planning to work on that this coming week.

Hope that you have a lovely week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Here’s one I made earlier

Hello everyone

Hope that you have all had a nice week. I am settling in to the new role at work and am enjoying all of the new modules I am teaching. As I mentioned previously I have been doing some travelling for work and while in Liverpool recently went to the cathedral to see the Elizabeth Hoare Gallery.

The reason why I wanted to visit was that many years ago, about 10 I think but it could be longer, I did a piece of goldwork from a magazine which was taken from this collection. I was very pleased with this Tudor Rose design, my first major piece of goldwork and it sits on my mantelpiece. It took about 50 hours to stitch.

I promised myself then that I would visit the collection, well it has taken a while but is so worth it. The collection was started to preserve Victorian and Edwardian ecclesiastical goldwork and has always been housed at the cathedral.

What makes it very special is that when the cathedral was being built a group was formed to make all the things for the cathedral and those are also displayed there. So unlike other places where you don’t know who made the items it has all been documented.

There are also some lovely samples showing how the items were made and this silks case, complete with stitched colour names on each of the pockets.

The piece I made was taken from this beautiful altar frontal which you can see in its full size at the back of the case in the second photo.I think it looks absolutely stunning in the green velvet.I am very pleased with my version as well.

liverpool-10

liverpool-11

There were so many other wonderful pieces, altar frontals, copes, chalice covers, you name it all of the glory that is church stitching was there. An absolutely wonderful collection.I am very pleased that made it there at last and plan to take Ellie there one day.

I have not been doing anything much for the last few weeks but plan to get cracking this weekend on the ornaments, am thinking of doing cathedral window ones.

I have found a couple of tutorials like this one here  and this one and some fab inspiration from Pinterest such as this one using vintage linen from Jo at MyBearPaw.

cathedral-window-vintage-fabric

Look at this gorgeous idea as well. Hope I can make something as lovely as this from Quilt Maven.

cathedral-window-bright

Will report back on progress! Hope that you all have a lovely weekend.
Thanks for visiting.

Probably the best cloisters in the world..

As you may know I do love cloisters and I have seen lots of really beautiful ones in my time. However the ones at the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon were absolutely breath-taking in their splendour.

The decorations carved on the pillars were amazing and all unique, I couldn’t stop taking photos of the way that the sunlight and shadows made contrasts. Just amazing.

Lisbon - cloisters 1

Lisbon - cloisters 2

Lisbon - cloisters 3

Lisbon - cloisters 5

Lisbon - cloisters 4

Lisbon - cloisters 6

The monastery itself is wonderful, my camera was playing up at this point, previous pictures are from my tablet, so here are a couple from the miracles of the internet to show you what I mean.

Lisbon jeronimos_monastery_2

Lisbon jeronimos-monastery

There are other monasteries in Lisbon that we did not have time to visit so will have to go back as well, it is just there are so many other places that I want to go as well, just not enough time for all the loveliness there is in the world!

One of the last places we visited was the Belem Tower, built to defend Lisbon in the 1500s and just gorgeous, beautiful stone carvings and very ornately decorated for a defensive structure.

Lisbon - Torre 1

Lisbon - Torre 2

Lisbon - Torre 3

A really great holiday again and wonderful to spend time with my mum who like my lovely daughter is very happy wandering round churches and historic monuments, so glad to have travelling companions who like the same things that I do.

Have another re-enactment event coming up this weekend, we will be at Peveril CastlePeveril Castle, fingers crossed for fine weather as it is right on the top of the hill with a very long, steep climb up and down. Last year was brilliant weather on Saturday and raining all day Sunday so am praying for sun all weekend.

I am then off to Spain for a bit to see the family, not planning to do much due to the fact that it will be very hot, just lots of reading, going to the pool and spending time with my cousins and my god – daughter.

See you when I get back, thanks for visiting.

 

 

If Carlsberg did gardens……

Our last house on the tour was the beautiful Stourhead. I realised when we got there that I have seen so many pictures of the gardens and just had not realised that this was the house we were visiting, we chose it as it was so close to where the event was.

Stourhead 1

Stourhead 2

The house is a Palladian one and the gardens were created in the 1740s and are some of the most amazingly beautiful I have ever seen. Just look at this view.

Stourhead 5 gardens

Stourhead 6 gardens

I have been having trouble walking recently due to an infection a few months ago so was using my stick and didn’t think I would be able to make the walk around the lake.¬†However the National Trust have manned golf carts for people with reduced mobility so I was able to go on a tour round the lake which was brilliant. There are lots of follies such as this cottage and the temple which is now a wedding venue.

The house was full of art and wonderful treasures like this bird table centrepiece from the 1600s.

Stourhead 4 - bird

And I always love the libraries with the patterned books spines.

Stourhead 3 - books

There was also a gorgeous church next to the lake, a bat was flying around inside and we watched it for ages.The church were having a flower festival to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and it looked very lovely.There was also a beautifully decorated organ as well with art deco style flowers.

Stourhead 10 church

I was particularly interested in this effigy dating from the mid 1300s showing a nebule or goffered headdress. My very talented friend Kat has made lots of beautiful versions of this for friends in re-enactment.

Stourhead 11 headdress

We really enjoyed the day at Stourhead and it is really worth a visit if you are in the area. At the moment the interpretation tells the story of the son of the owners, Harry Hoare, who was sadly killed in the First World War, events which led to the house being given to the Trust.

Another very worthwhile use of my Trust membership and I enjoy knowing that I am helping preserve all this for future generations.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon!

It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!

 

Hello everyone

I started my week’s leave last Friday with a trip down to stay with Ellie in her new flat which is very smart and co-ordinated.

She is feeling very grown up as she has now got a full set of furniture all of her own since she moved into a totally unfurnished place and has gradually acquired everything she needs.

It was also a chance for me to see where she works, you may remember that she got a new job in November, still working for the National Trust at Clumber Park where she is Chapel and Collections Officer. Which means she is in charge of this beautiful place!

Clumber chapel 1

Clumber chapel 2

The setting is amazing, a drive in past the most gorgeous rhododendrons all in bloom, they are my very favourite plant and there were hundreds in the park.

Then into the stable block where her office is, right next to the clock tower and the courtyard with the café. Her office window is the one above the bay window in this picture.

Clumber office 1

Clumber park 1

She has a view down to the lake with the geese and swans. At the moment there are daises everywhere which makes a very pretty carpet.

Such a beautiful place to work and the chapel is stunning, especially as it was built as a private chapel in the late 1800s by the 7th Duke. It has ornate lamps and wonderful wood carvings of angels and saints.

We were there for the Requiem Mass for the Duke so got to participate in the full service with incense and candles as well!

The light coming in through the windows was beautiful.

Clumber chapel 11

Clumber chapel 12

I love all the little details as well such as this door lock.

Clumber chapel 13

There was also a bit of lovely ecclesiastical embroidery, an alter cloth and this banner as well as a couple of beautiful paintings. Apologies as the light was not very good in the side chapel for this picture.

Clumber chapel 14

The main house was demolished in the 1930s as it was too big to maintain, another one was due to be built but sadly due to the war and economic issues it never was so Ellie and her colleagues have been responsible for a new project this summer to try and recreate what the house would have looked like.

They have laid out ropes to make a floor plan and installed furniture, books, games, crockery and information signs telling people what the original rooms looked like and inviting them to come and make themselves at home.

It has been a great success, Clumber gets a lot of families visiting as there are great walks and bike rides and a camp site and it was brilliant to see everyone enjoying the installation.

We then went to Ashby de la Zouche castle for my first event of the season, it was lovely and sunny so got a little pink and had a great time catching up with everyone.

Will post some more pictures of that in another post. Meanwhile there is some work on my doctorate to do, started the research for real this weekend so am going to do some writing up!

Thanks for visiting and see you all soon.

Norwegian Loveliness

Hello everyone and a belated Happy New Year!

It seems like a very long time since I was here and while sorting out my pictures from Norway had to create a new folder, Blog pics 2016. I wonder what lovely things this folder will hold by the end of the year.

I hope that you all had a very good festive season, we did and have thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Oslo with lots of museums to see.

I am so glad that my family enjoy the same things that I do and it was great to spend so much time with Mum and the kids.

And we had snow! We got there and it was warm and sunny and all the snow had melted and then it snowed on the last day which made it all very white and pretty. I love this pic of the kids walking through the Palace park in the snow.

Norway Kids in snow

As well as the wonderful Folk Museum, which was my favourite one, we saw Viking boats that had been recovered from ship burials, the Polar explorer ship Fram that took Amundsen on his successful expedition and the Kon-Tiki and Ra rafts that Thor Heyerdal sailed in.

We did go on a boat trip as well round the little islands in the Oslo fjords one sunny morning, I would love to back to Norway in the summer one day and spend more time visiting the beaches and small islands.

Norway Boat Trip

The Folk Museum has many houses that have been brought from all over Norway and  been rebuilt there , a lot of them are open and furnished and it is just the kind of social history that we love.

I have another post lined up for you with pictures of the insides of my favourite houses, and some embroidery of course, but these are a few of the beautiful buildings.

Norway Folk Museum houses

Norway Folk Museum houses 2

This was the wonderfully painted inside of a little red guest house with a built-in bed.

Norway Folk Museum houses 3

Norway Folk Museum houses 4

Norway Folk Museum houses 5

I love the carving on these houses and storage barns, life must have been so hard for the farmers in rural Norway and it was touching to see that care that they took in decorating with painted chalk designs and ‘lace’ curtains made from newspaper as it was cheaper than fabric.

You can see why Norwegian immigrants to the USA were so successful in their settling of the mid-west being used to the harsh conditions at home. I found the wonderful picture below from this museum website of settlers at their prairie home.

Norwegian immigrants house

I was amazed to learn that one-third of Norway’s population, 800,000 people, emigrated during 1825 to 1925 mainly due to rural poverty in Norway and the chance for a better life overseas. I expect there was a lot¬†of quilting going on both sides of the Atlantic for warmth and comfort in these houses.

My favourite building was a 13th century stave church, it was an amazing construction, reminiscent of a Viking ship with the decoration on the roof.

Norway Stave church

Norway Stave church 2

Norway Stave church 3

Later in another museum we saw some wonderful carved doors and crosses from other stave churches.

Norway Stave church cross

Norway Stave church door 1

Norway Stave church door 2

You know how much I love doors and that is an amazing door by any standards!

The rest of Oslo was also full of gorgeous buildings from the early 20th century with decorative roof turrets and ironwork.

Norway City Centre

Norway City Centre

Norway City Centre 3

Our hotel also dated from this period, it was called Cochs Pensionat and as well as being in a great location at the side of the Palace park within easy walking distance to the city it was also near lots of bars, shops and supermarkets which was great as we had a little kitchenette in our room.

Norway Hotel

This is a very similar room to ours and it was great to be able to have breakfast and a couple of meals in as well as a lovely lazy Christmas day watching films and playing games.

Norway hotel room

A very good choice again, well done Expedia for such efficient booking of accommodation, what would I do without you!

Now it is back to normal, watching the rain from my sofa and crafting while watching TV, not that I am complaining it is as always, a lovely way to spend the weekend.

I must do a catch up post on things done in 2015 and goals for 2016 post. One thing is for sure that I have done far less quilt blocks than I should have but more embroidery so it is all good!

Take care and thanks for visiting, see you soon for more Norwegian loveliness!

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 ūüėČ

Have a good week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Photoshoot

Hello everyone, hope that you all had a really nice Bank Holiday.

We had a lovely time at Lincoln, usual mix of sun and rain and I was drying the medieval tent out on the line until a few hours ago when it started thundering here ūüė¶

This was our last event with the Swords of Mercia group so I need to get the canvas tent really dry before it gets put away.

The Lincoln Bishop’s Palace is unsurprisingly right next door to the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral and we spent quite a lot of time in there and the surrounding area, promoting our event.

Wendy, the partner of one of our knights, Luke, did a photoshoot in the cathedral for myself, Ellie and Luke and I thought that I would devote a post to the brilliant pictures that she took.

Ellie at Lincoln

Ellie in Lincoln Cathedral

Luke at Lincoln

Luke in Lincoln Cathedral

Alison at Lincoln

Alison at Lincoln - lighting candles

Alison at Lincoln - Luke and the Chapter House

Alison at Lincoln - praying red kneeler

Alison at Lincoln - praying

Alison at Lincoln Cathedral

Alison at Lincoln door 2

I absolutely love these photos, she has an amazing eye for what makes a good shot and the effects she has put on really emphasise the beauty of the cathedral.

It is funny as I don’t normally like pictures of myself but these are fantastic and will be printing several of me off to display at home, as well as lovely Ellie who always looks so beautiful in photos.

Will tell you more about our weekend in the next post as there was another event in Lincoln at the time that we all enjoyed.

Take care and thanks for visiting.