For the love of God

Our final coach trip recently was to the little town of Gandia, further north again so through the same wonderful mountains as the trip to Javea, and a little inland.

We went to see the Ducal Palace, which dates from the mid 1300s and is very closely linked with the Jesuit order of monks and with one of its most famous Dukes, Francis de Borja, in the mid 1500s. Francis wanted to become a monk but had instead to take up his family inheritance. After the death of his wife he joined the church.

The palace is spectacular and has some amazing tiles. Much of the artwork relates to the story of Francis Borja and his family. The family were related to the infamous Borgias, and the notorious Rodrigo Borgia who was a pope in the 1400s. There were some great inspirations for crafting patterns in the tiles and woodwork as well, that window shutter has a fantastic quilt block design on it!

There was also a little bit of textile interest from the 1500s, the family crest and a priest’s robe.

The ceramics were of many different styles and this painted panel had some wonderful detail, I assume the striped flowers are tulips which I know were very popular from the 18th century.

My favourite room was the wonderful Neo-Gothic chapel, the artwork in there was just stunning. It reminded me of the decoration of Cardiff Castle and Castle Coch, which is decorated in a very similar style. The ceiling was amazing, I do love a starry ceiling!

This was one of my favourite paintings, I do love representations of nuns and she looks so peaceful.

The altar was beautiful as well, the painting around the cross was so delicate.

Such a beautiful place, I could have stayed there for hours looking at all the detail.

The later part of the tour covered the later baroque style rooms, wonderful ornate wood and plaster work and some very impressive ceilings. The guide explained that they were actually painted canvases rather than some Sistine Chapel style mammoth ceiling artwork.

This picture was so sweet and I love the ornate frame. Something like this would be great for blackwork!

The palace went into decline as the family in Spain died out and in the late 1800s it was bought by the Jesuits and restored. It has been a national monument since 1964 and is well worth a visit.

We had time to have a very nice lunch in the old town and admire the cathedral and the town hall.

We also made a quick visit to the museum, which was based in the old nunnery and hospital. There were some beautiful pieces of medieval art there as well that had been collected by the order.

I am very tempted to try and link this order, which unfortunately I forgot to record the name of, with life in medieval England as I would love to add a flower head dress to my nun’s outfit.

Although I love the paintings themselves, it is the detail in the backgrounds that is the most interesting part for me, such gorgeous architecture and landscapes.

There were also some musical angels, I really love these depictions and have only seen them here in Spain.

These were a group of interesting and very unusual reliquary heads, there were about 10 in total.

I am very much enjoying being able to explore much more of Spain, this is such a fascinating country and I am planning to read much more of its history over the coming months. I have read quite a lot about the civil war period, but less about the 1400 – 1600s so will be concentrating on that next. The history is very interesting in comparison to that of the UK, in terms of the many separate kingdoms that existed. The relationship between Spain and its empire is also something that I would like to read more about.

It is lovely to go out and practise my Spanish as well. I am still studying every day and when we go on trips get lots of opportunity to use it. One of the things that I am finding is that I can now understand a lot more. I listen to what people are saying around me and it is starting to slowly make sense which is brilliant and makes me feel as if I am making real progress.

It has been unseasonably hot here, 33 degrees earlier this week, which is more like July weather, so I have been to the pool three times this week. Between 5 and 7 they have half price rates and it is virtually empty so I have the whole pool to myself to swim. So far this week I have done 150 lengths which I am very pleased with. I have been able to take my bike out as well and have been doing some more off road exploring.

I have also been busy with my writing, I am half way through a new writing course with the WEA which is centred on Place and Identity. I am finding the exercises that we do really helpful in stimulating different aspects of the novel writing. I start another creative writing course with them in a couple of weeks, with the same tutor I had in January.

I am so, so happy that I spend my time at the computer doing fun things now, in previous years May and June was all about marking thousands of words of dissertations and essays. I still can’t believe I never have to do that ever again 🙂

I hope you are enjoying life wherever you are, I will be back soon to share some more crafting with you, I have been doing a little bit in between all the adventuring 😉 In the meantime, have fun, take care , stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Poetry in plaster

The Alhambra, in particular the Nasrid Palace section, is such an amazing place. This was my second visit and to be able to go again, and to see the exhibition in the museum there, answered some of my questions about how the palace was decorated and what some of the designs mean.

I found this very informative post which talks about how the building was designed and what some of the inscriptions mean, many are poems or sections from the Koran.

The ‘muqarnas’ in the ceilings, which you can see in the middle picture in the bottom row, are fascinating and the museum had a display of how they are put together, an eight piece 3D jigsaw of plaster pieces. The relief plasterwork, as seen below, was so regular, we wondered if that had also been done using moulds.

The sheer scale of the carving, mosaics and woodwork is incredible and you get a real sense of the work that goes in to conserve it as there is live conservation going on everywhere, which is fascinating.

We were really lucky with the weather as well, although rain was forecast it was just dull and we were able to see the Generalife gardens, where I tried some ‘arty shots’ looking past the flowers to the palace.

An absolute must see if you come to Spain, such an important part of the history of this region.

Now for my very difficult task of choosing something to turn into a design. One of the aims I had for retirement was to create some designs based on the many architectural features I love to take photos of, and I have challenged myself to do one by the end of this visit to Spain. I have lots of ideas for possible blackwork, goldwork and quilt designs but have narrowed it down to three pictures. I think I would like to do blackwork as an homage to Catherine of Aragon, and as I have not done any blackwork for a long time.

These are some of my favourite blackwork makes from previous times. The first two are a picture I made for my aunt, not sure where I got the frame but love it. The last one is a needlework set I made for a re-enactment friend. These were all patterns from stitching magazines so I would really like to have a go at designing my own work this time.

So I am thinking of turning one of these plaster motifs into a blackwork design. For the first picture it will be the bottom motif. The second picture it would be the central one with star and fruits. The bottom picture it would be motif on the lower left (or right as they are both the same).

I can’t promise to have the whole thing stitched by the end of June, as I have costumes to make for re-enactment and Steampunk, but my aim is to at least have the pattern drafted. If you have a favourite please let me know in the comments.

We have lots of exciting textile related things coming up with my sewing group as well, the group are having some outings and social events which is lovely. I am so happy to have met another group of like minded people who are so enthusiastic about all things textile related!

It is looking as if it might be a sewing day tomorrow along with the second session of my writing course. I am working on one of my quilt WIPs as well as costume so am looking forward to a few crafting days in over the next week. I will be back soon with the coach trip to the gardens. I hope you all have something nice planned for the weekend. Whatever you are doing have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Granada, mother nature and man

I am firmly convinced that one of the reasons that Granada, and specifically the Alhambra, is so stunning, is due to the contrast between the man made splendour and the amazing beauty of the Sierra Nevada backdrop.

This is the second time I have visited the city, both in the same season with snow on the mountains and it is the most amazing sight. My first trip, around 20 years ago, was going to be my only trip to Spain as an adult but I fell in love with the beautiful houses and coastline here and the rest is history!

We stayed in a beautiful apartment, Apartamento Capitania found on Booking.com, in a fantastic location near the cathedral, with shops, tapas bars and taxi and bus stops all minutes away. It was also excellent value for money, costing us each 30 euros a night. It had a gorgeous view of a small church and a square with a few bars around.

As always the architecture was stunning, so many beautiful ‘wedding cake’ style buildings, balconies and wonderful doors!

On our first day we went to the Albaicin, in itself a World Heritage site for its steep winding roads and Moorish architecture. This trip was for Mum’s birthday so she had planned everything that she wanted to see.

The houses are, as often in Spain, amazing in the way that they have been constructed on top of each other up the hillside, with beautiful roof gardens and lots of wonderful tiles and doorways. We were aiming for one of the royal palaces but stopped off at the numerous miradors, or viewing places to get closer and closer to the views of the Alhambra with the snowy mountains behind it.

This was the view from the restaurant where we had a delicious mango and goats cheese salad and fried aubergine with honey.

The Palacio de Dar al – Horra was lovely, a very understated version of the Alhambra, with again amazing views across the Albaicin and the Alhambra.

After that we wandered down into the valley, with the assistance of Google maps, and around the mountain to the area of Sacromonte, famous for its cave houses and the flamenco venues that the gitanos or gypsies who have been here since the 1700s developed. We are now quite knowledgeable about cave life since our visit to Ben and Amanda so really enjoyed looking round the cave house museum there.

The best bits were all the textiles and the old photos of the people who lived in this complex. There was a perfect little one person cave that I would be very happy living in, complete with sewing area! In this cave there was the most fascinating rag rug, made from triangles, unlike the other strip ones I have seen and it was wonderful to be able to see all the different fabrics that had been used.

An amazing day and a perfect start to our trip. We had pre-booked tickets for the Alhambra for the following day so to see so much of it beforehand was just perfect.

I will be back with part two of the trip soon. I have made a promise to myself that I will develop a design from one of the Alhambra pictures so if you have any favourites in the next post let me know in the comments.

As always have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The delights of Worcester

Kerry came down to visit me so we had a jam packed weekend visiting the majority of what the city has to offer in the way of historical and heritage properties. There is such a wonderful mix of architecture here, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian, as well as the riverside walks and the canal heritage so it is well worth a visit.

Saturday was mainly Tudor at first with the Tudor House Museum and Greyfriars, both on the same street where there are other wonderful Tudor buildings, including some lovely places to eat. The Tudor House Museum was originally three cottages and the displays concentrated on the importance of the trades in Worcester, very much textile related with the production of broadcloth and glove making dominating.

The museum has been extensively restored as it has been a pub, and café owned by the Cadbury family in recent times, so there is a nice mix of history in the small space and some lovely reproductions of costume and artefacts as well as the historical collections.

I have previously posted some pictures of the Tudor group at Greyfriars but this visit was for a tour which told the history of the property throughout its 400 some years. This was very interesting as it ended up being used as slum dwellings, with other tenement housing built within the garden. The restoration in the later 20th century was by a brother and sister, Elsie and Matley Moore, who were passionate collectors and she was a keen needlewoman. Therefore there is an extensive collection of beautiful textiles.

This is one of my favourite pieces, above the fireplace. I love the colours used in this piece. I think this is one of Elsie’s own embroideries.

I also really loved seeing the little touches of her life, such as the worn pincushion next to the chair, and the collection of needlework tools in a display case.

The library was also beautiful, in a different way to the libraries in other Trust houses. This was full of well loved books, but still with some beautiful decorations on the spines. I wish all books looked like this today, rather than just name and title on the spine. I think that they look so exciting!

We had a quick look around the city museum as well, where they have a display devoted to Worcester Sauce, as well as some lovely military costume. We were very admiring of the braid on the tunics here.

I loved this painting of a Spanish girl, making me homesick for my adopted country as these type of outfits are still worn for fiestas.

I have been busy booking lots more coach trips with mum so will have more adventures to share with you in May and June, the Spanish do love a good costume and I will be there all over the Easter weekend which is always exciting.

Our last heritage venue was the amazing Georgian Guildhall built in 1721. This is a beautiful public building in the centre of the town which is free to enter, and is used for weddings as well as official business.

The ceilings in the Assembly Room and the Council Chamber were stunning and I can imagine there must have been some amazing events there in the Georgian era. I am of course channelling my inner Bridgerton here as we eagerly await the second series in a couple of weeks!

After a quick stop for tea and cake at the same vintage café I visited last time, we had a lovely wander around the canal basin. We then had a drink in the oldest pub in Worcester, and ended up in a very lovely restaurant called Bill’s. I must admit to choosing it partly based on the décor, (as I did in Edinburgh), but the food was delicious as well.

A very lovely day out and it was brilliant to catch up with Kerry. We will next meet at my first re-enactment event of the season in July. I do have more pictures from Sunday to show you as well, but I will leave that until next week.

I am pleased to tell you that the moses basket is done, and to confirm that I intend never to work with jersey ever again 😉 It is too stretchy and slippery so I am going to confine my future makes to my favourites of linens, denims and Liberty, as well as some nice, non slippery fabrics for Steampunk, and no velvet.

I have already mentioned that I have been spending lots of time reading cross stitch magazines through my wonderful Readly app and I have been inspired by one article to buy a gorgeous pattern to stitch for my sewing room/bedroom in Spain.

It is from a French Company called Jardin Prive and is called ABC de la Brodeuse, pictures from their web site. It is so cute and I love all the Quaker inspired motifs.

It will take a while to stitch but I have also ordered the band to stitch it on from Willow Fabrics as I needed a metre of it.

I also treated myself to this lovely Christmas design to use the individual motifs for future ornaments. I am going back with all sorts of wonderful things to add to my craft stock so will definitely have to sort out my storage as soon as I get back!

This week’s task is to make up the knitted rabbit as we are meeting with my niece at the weekend for a little do, not really a baby shower, but more a family lunch. There will be some baby related gifts though and I am making the nappy cake, out of real nappies and lots of ribbon and cellophane.

I hope that you have all had a good weekend. Have a good week ahead whatever you do and as always, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Ashmolean treasures

In the summer when we went to Oxford we visited various museums including the Ashmolean and I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful textiles there. There were various exhibition sections and one of my favourites was Mediterranean Threads, showcasing 18th and 19th century Greek embroidery.

The light was understandably not good enough to take many detailed pictures, but they have got a detailed look at the exhibits at this link here. This was one of my favourite pieces, there is so much detail here.

There was also some stunning Japanese silk embroidery, the sheer scale of the pieces and the fine work never ceases to amaze me, I was lucky enough to see an exhibition of this on one of my visits to China and it is incredible work.

I have been really enjoying reading the theses about Bess of Hardwick and the museum had some treasures from that era as well.

The sweet bags I have seen before but the most interesting was this set of wooden serving boards for sweetmeats, that had verses on the back that could then be read aloud.

This set comprised 12 boards in a storage box and dated from 1600. I can imagine that Bess may have had something similar for her table at one of her many houses.

We ate at a stunningly decorated restaurant one evening, Comptoir Libanais, that we found by just walking past. The food was as stunning as the décor and you can see more at their Instagram. I can heartily recommend a visit if there is a branch near you. I love the use of colour and tiles everywhere.

Craft wise I am still knitting, am onto another rabbit at the moment, but have plans to do some more cross stitch soon. Last summer I discovered Readly, a fantastic app that gives you access to lots of digital magazines for one small monthly fee, so I have been enjoying looking at lots of embroidery and cross stitch magazines. I used to do mainly cross stitch when the children were young but have not done much for years apart from the Christmas ornaments. I have found some gorgeous little caravan and camper patterns in one of the magazines so am planning to start that soon.

We have spent part of this weekend preparing the campervan as we are off on a little jolly to the Peak District tomorrow. I was looking back at the other post that I did about Oxford earlier and was reminded that was my very first retirement trip, although it took place before had officially finished work for good. This upcoming one will be my seventh adventure, (counting all of the camping ones last summer as one big one), not bad for just over 6 months of retirement! It makes me very, very happy to be able to do the things that I had planned and I am very grateful to be able to do this.

We have various walks planned including one to the Dragon’s Back, near Buxton. I doubt the weather will give us views like this but we are excited to be away and outdoors anyway. Picture and walk details from here.

I hope that you have all had a good week and have not been too battered by storms if you have been in the UK. It was interesting having a driving lesson in high winds yesterday but everything was fine here. Have a good week ahead, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Stepping back in time, in many respects

This post is going back to some of my travels this past summer, to tell you about all the loveliness from museums that I did not have chance to post about when I was travelling. As you may expect it involves re-enactment and historic costume 🙂

Our first trip was a very special day out to visit our friends in our re-enactment group, Swords of Mercia, most of whom we had not seen for about 2 years. We were not able to join in the full event at Nottingham Castle, due to number restrictions because of the virus, but did have a very lovely day in Nottingham.

We found a beautiful location for lunch, completely by accident, just wandering through the city centre. The Nottingham Secret Garden is one of the many venues that have adapted brilliantly to outside eating and drinking, despite the British weather and we had a delicious tapas lunch there. The interior rooms are also beautiful, though I don’t think that they are open at the moment.

The encampment at the castle was smaller than usual, due to the need to keep distancing but it all worked really well and our friends had a lovely time doing both show and tell and small fight demonstrations. There were people from lots of groups there, all representing different time periods in the castle’s history.

We have some hugely talented people in our group and both of our leatherworkers have spent the down time due to the pandemic refining their skills. Symon and David both do exceptional work making scabbards and bags. These are some of David’s beautiful sword scabbards. If you ever need anything like this, or a decorated leather bag, or a beautiful bespoke hair ornament do visit Buffy Historical Leatherwork and Lionhead Leather.

We were also excited to visit the newly refurbished museum within the castle. After a quick stop in the café for a gluten -free cream tea and a look at their fabulous button wall, we headed for the lace and costume displays.

Nottingham is famous for its lacemaking, firstly hand made lace and latterly machine lace so the displays were fascinating. There were some gorgeous garments from the last 150 years.

They also had lots of samples of lace and the jacquard machines and hole punch cards that were used to make the fabric.

One of my favourite things was this panel commemorating World War 2. A small but really well thought out exhibition with lots of information and very interesting pictures of the lace makers and their craft. Well worth a visit.

We have been invited back to Nottingham Castle to do another event this coming July, fingers crossed we can all go this time, so looking forward to it. Hopefully all of the events that are planned will be able to go ahead this year.

Jacky has been doing some work to the campervan as we go away again in a couple of weeks which is very exciting. I have had a busy week with trying to perfect reversing into parking spaces on my driving lessons, continuing with my very enjoyable creative writing course on Zoom with the WEA, and working on my novel. I have now written 11, 958 words so far and it is really starting to take shape. It takes me back to the days of writing the doctorate, thankfully over a year ago now. It so lovely to be writing things just for me and I am thoroughly enjoying the process.

I hope life is good with all of you, and that you are enjoying your weekend whatever you are doing. I will be back soon with more lovely museum textiles so until then have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Caceres – Moorish influences

One of the things that I love about Spain is the history and architecture inspired by the conquest by the Moors. I have only visited Morocco once, (so far!), but love the art and design elements that come from there, and the influences on ceramics and particularly lanterns. If I had the space my little house would be full of hanging lanterns as I love their designs so much.

We visited a small museum in Caceres called, ‘The House of the Arab’, a small building which has been owned by the same family for centuries and which displayed Arab life and culture.

Many of these things have been absorbed into Spanish culture, particularly the use of water and beautiful secluded and tiled gardens. This house was a lovely collection of rooms that demonstrated life before modernisation, including the original well and underground bathing chamber in the house. Absolutely fascinating and well worth the 2 euro entrance fee.

The house was located near to the Jewish quarter so a wander around there led to an encounter with some of the re-enactors who were at the market. We had a lovely chat with them about what they did and watched their fight demonstration later in the day.

There were also several visits to the Arab tea tents, these are always a very popular feature of any medieval market, serving sweetened mint tea, and you get to keep the little glasses they are served in. I love mint tea and have been drinking more since my visit. I use the little glasses as wine glasses as they are so pretty.

We had an excellent journey back from Caceres, I love just sitting watching the scenery and there were some brilliant mountains to look at, some of which I managed to capture in photos which were not too blurry. We also had a beautiful sunset on the way back past our local salt lakes, with my lovely mountains in the background.

I am so looking forward to more adventures on Spanish soil when I return in a couple of months. Today marks my six month anniversary of being retired and it is so much better than I ever thought it would be. One of the nicest things, aside from planning and going on all of these trips, is knowing that I don’t have to come back to lots of e-mails and piles of marking, it makes it all the more pleasurable! I am very, very lucky to be able to have this lovely life.

I am still doing a bit of crafting in between everything else, I have made some Barbie dresses for my great niece and am still working on knitted foxes. My new machine is very lovely, I have not had chance to do much with it yet as I don’t have much fabric here but am looking forward to doing a lot more with it in the coming months.

I hope that you have had a nice week and have an enjoyable week ahead. We shall be carrying on with a little bit of swimming and increasingly more social events as the weather gets warmer.

Whatever you are doing have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Caceres – traditional costume and incredible embroidery

As I have mentioned there were many palaces in Caceres that have been turned into museums. One of the first that we visited was the Fundacion MCCB, set up by two local residents Mercedes Calles and Carlos Ballestero. As well as some great photography and paintings by local artists about fiestas within the city, there were also some gorgeous artefacts and paintings.

The one that I loved the most was a painting of a young girl, wearing the most amazing traditional costume, she looked so happy that I was thrilled when I managed to buy a small mirror with the image on in the gift shop.

There was also some information and personal items from the couple, Mercedes was born in 1915 and clearly had a very interesting life. I would love to find out more about her, and as I am planning to write a book set in Spain one day, may research more about the area in the future.

One of the other palaces held a brilliant collection of traditional costume from the surrounding area. What was especially lovely was that there were photos of people wearing the costume next to each item.

This was particularly interesting when looking at how they sat wearing the very full skirts. This is where ethnographic sources like this are so vital.

This wonderful hat was used for everyday wear to shade workers from the sun, rather than just being for fiestas.

This photo shows the local people at the opening of the museum in the early 1920s. Even though the picture is blurry it is wonderful to see them all in their best clothes for the occasion.

There were so many lovely embroidered costumes from the surrounding villages, each one slightly different but all with an emphasis on colour. It was really interesting to see this, as previously I have only seen the sorts of costume that are worn at the large fiestas, which are more based around what looks like more formal hooped dresses.

The following day we were lucky enough to see the local folk group who still wear versions of these costumes, complete with matching masks at the moment!

The linen work was incredible, I could have been there for hours just looking at these pieces. They were so finely done and it was very interesting to see the same motifs come up as I have seen in many other countries, and reinterpreted in a lot of Quaker inspired cross stitch designs.

As well as other displays of weaving, spinning and embroidery, there was the ubiquitous Singer sewing machine.

I love seeing these in museums, it always makes my little heart so happy to see them and to think about the women who may have used them. I have more pictures from another Caceres museum to show you but will save those for a later post.

Life here with my sister has settled into a nice routine. I have finished two creative writing courses and have started two more. One is a group class with the WEA using Zoom and I am really enjoying it. I never wanted to have a Zoom meeting ever again, after last year’s teaching. However, it is much more fun when you are a student, rather than the teacher worrying about losing people in the ether. There are lots more courses that I like the look of so will do more in the future. It is lovely to study informally with no deadlines or pressure, and I am finding that it is really helping with the progress with the first book.

It has been very cold here, though sunny, so apart from trips to the gym I have been cuddling up with cat, writing, knitting and sewing and generally enjoying the peace and quiet. Jacky and I have just booked an amazing trip to Scotland for August, we are going to Loch Lomond, Skye, Harris and Lewis, and North and South Uist, following in the footsteps on many of my favourite travel vloggers. We also have camping in the Peak District booked for February half term. So we have lots of exciting adventures to look forward to!

I hope you are managing to stay warm, or cool, depending on which season you are in. Have a good rest of the weekend, and a great week ahead. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Bright lights, big city!

Happy New Year to you all, let’s hope 2022 is a year when we can do the simple things like meeting up with family and friends more often without worrying, and plan things without the risk of them being cancelled.

I have been lucky enough to meet up with lots of people over Christmas, seeing all of my ex work colleagues and friends in Marsden before a lovely time in Edinburgh over Christmas with Ellen. I am now staying with my sister in Worcester for a few months and start driving lessons again in a couple of days so wish me luck!

I will post later about Edinburgh but wanted to show you the lovely things in Manchester first. This was a last minute decision as I was going to stay with my brother, but due to the fact that he had to isolate when coming back from Spain decided to go there for a little tour of some of the places I had never visited.

I stayed at the Salford Quays development in a very cute little room in an Ibis Budget hotel. This was only a short tram ride from central Manchester and I got to admire all of the amazing tower blocks on the way in to the city.

The area was created out of the old dockland area from the era when ships used to sail as far as America via the Manchester Shipping Canal, as Manchester is a long way from the sea. It was one of the first urban regenerations in the early 1980s.

Within the modern shopping malls there were some lovely photos of the old docks and the workers are commemorated along the walkways with art and poetry. I spent a lovely couple of hours wandering around the new areas admiring the Christmas lights and the sheer scale of the buildings there.

My first visit was to the Manchester Art Gallery. Their fashion collection is still being developed but they had some beautiful art depicting costume, which I always love looking at.

There were also some very interesting other exhibitions looking at the role of ‘unskilled workers’, particularly during the pandemic.

That afternoon was a visit to the Manchester Jewish Museum, which is housed in the old Spanish/Portuguese Synagogue which was so beautiful. I have never visited a synagogue before so it was very interesting and very well interpreted with oral history recordings from the people that used to worship there.

There was also a separate museum with the history of the many people who had come to Manchester to settle, which was again full of the personal stories and belongings. I love museums like this that tell the history of ordinary people, it is so important that their stories are not lost.

I was also lucky enough to come across The Portico Library, a beautiful little subscription library that was founded in 1806 and had a quick look around. They had a lovely exhibition on ‘polite literature’ and they also have some resources on fiction writing that I am going to follow up on You Tube.

The final visit was to The People’s History Museum, which is a museum about the history of democracy and has many really interesting sections on the struggle for votes and worker’s rights. Some of these I remember well as they happened during my teens and early twenties. They also had a really interesting collection of banners, from the simple home-made ones of the 1970s and 80s to the very elaborate ones of the Victorian and Arts and craft era.

It was a lovely couple of days and it was nice to visit some of the smaller, less well-known museums in the city. After a busy few weeks I am looking forward to a nice quiet time here. I have bought a new sewing machine with lots of decorative stitches and am looking forward to trying that out this coming week so you never know there may be more evidence of crafting on the blog very soon!

I hope that you all have a nice week ahead, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.