Let’s start as we mean to go on…

Well the first week of retirement, or permanent holiday, as I have decided to call it went very well. We were not able to join the others for the full weekend of the event at Nottingham Castle, due to restrictions on numbers who could camp. However, we did have a very nice day out, complete with lunch in a fabulous outdoor garden at a restaurant and bar in a Georgian House in the middle of Nottingham. One of the very good side effects of the restrictions is that people have created wonderful outside spaces and I am very happy that we can sit and eat and drink in such pretty places. The outdoor lifestyle is what I love most about Spain and it is lovely that we can now do more of that as well.

It was brilliant to see our friends, we have not met for 2 years so we did have some hugs and a lot of catching up to do. The event featured lots of different groups and was a nice gentle easing back into re-enactment. I will hopefully be doing an event in August if all goes well.

We really enjoyed the trip to Oxford, very busy and we we packed so much into the two days, lots of walking around finding filming locations from the Discovery of Witches series as well as visits to the Ashmolean and the Natural History Museum/Pitt Rivers Museum.

The colleges were all closed due to Covid but we did see All Souls and the Bodleian as well as the Bridge of Sighs.

We especially loved the Pre-Raphaelite rooms at the Ashmolean, the detail on the painting was incredible and there were many of our favourite artists there.

The Natural History Museum was just as fascinating for its architecture as well as the contents, with an amazing glass ceiling and pillars carved from different rocks representing various flora and fauna. And who can resist a dinosaur skeleton! Jake used to love these when he was younger and both children were big fans of the ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ series.

At the Pitt Rivers I loved the textile elements of the collection, especially this sewing box and these amazing beaded costumes from North America. Also absolutely fascinating were garments made from seal intestines, especially the designs of what we would now recognise as as waterproof jacket that dated from over 100 years ago.

There was also a boat trip along the Thames, where we learnt a lot about the buildings along the river and the importance of rowing to the colleges. There was a very old ‘party barge’ moored on one of the banks which had been restored. I would love to go back and do some of the towpath walk one day. The blue boats are a steamer company whose boats were involved in the Dunkirk ships evacuation.

We also had some lovely lunches and dinners, including a surprise visit to the gorgeous Comptoir Libanais where the food was as good as the decor.

We stayed in a cute little log cabin Air b n b, which was located at the end of a garden not far from the city centre. We are trying out all sorts of different types of places to stay and could have happily lived in this one as well. It was a lot bigger than the last cabin by the sea, with an attic as well as two separate rooms and the living space.

Our final day was a trip to Blenheim Palace, which was just as spectacular as I had imagined. It was a lovely day for a wander round the gardens and a picnic by the fountains.

We also met a falcon, who was there for pest control rather than as a display of hunting skill. Her presence scares off the pigeons!

We went on a tour of the state rooms where there were some wonderful patterns on the walls and ceilings. I loved the library with the statue of Queen Anne.

There were also some beautiful portraits, particularly the ones of Consuelo Vanderbilt. I would like to read more of her story and have added some books about her to my wishlist. Lots of Steampunk inspiration there.

I also volunteered at Ellen’s new workplace, the Bassetlaw food Bank, which was a really interesting and enjoyable day, meeting her colleagues and getting to see what actually happens. I will not be able to commit to much volunteering in the future, but would like to help out as much as I can with fundraising, or anything that I can do remotely.

I have had two lovely leaving dos as well, I was very lucky to be able to meet up with some of my work colleagues in person at a local bar and it was lovely to share memories with people I have in some cases worked with for nearly 20 years. I was given some very generous gifts, including money which I am going to use for an interrail ticket, when we are able to travel again.

I also met up with the Wool and Wine group for a celebration and they very kindly gave me a gift voucher which I have used to buy some new camping supplies. I have spent time sorting my new camping bag, as well as decluttering and have lots of lovely new kit for all of my adventures.

I hope that you have all been having a nice time and have a good week ahead. Take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The wonder of water

It has been a glorious day today so I have been up to my favourite Butterley reservoir, watching the Canada Geese’s goslings swimming with their parents and admiring the sun sparkling on the streams and spillways. I love water and feel happiest when near it, it calms me and I love the sounds it makes and the way it moves, when both natural and man made.

Our recent trip to Alnwick Gardens had lots of amazing water, the entrance water display was stunning, I did not manage to catch it when all the jets were working at once but I could have watched it for hours. It was wonderful, just sitting having a up of tea in the sun, so grateful to be out enjoying ourselves.

Ellen has taken up gardening since the first lockdown and she is doing lovely things to her little garden again this year, she will get all my pots and my chairs when I leave here so that will add to the joy. We had a brilliant morning admiring all the other water features there and the gorgeous planting of clematis and tulips.

The final joy was finding a blossom orchard with adult sized swing chairs which was just brilliant, so we had our picnic there.

We had a quick stop at Barter Books in Alnwick before going on to Durham. It was amazing, we were in awe of how many books they had, not to mention the cute little trains running round over the till area. It used to be railway station so this was an homage to its former life. Needless to say we left with a very large pile of books. I love reading, since I was a small child it has been a constant source of comfort and joy to me and I am packing up many boxes of books to ship to Spain.

Durham was very impressive, we managed to visit the cathedral twice, once for evensong, sadly no inside pictures allowed due to the restrictions, and had a good wander round. It would be great to go back when all of the museums and the castle are open.

We finished our trip with a detour for a picnic and a brilliant sunny walk at Fountains Abbey and Studely Royal Water Park, a beautiful location for this massive abbey complex and the adjoining Georgian water gardens. As always I love looking at the shapes that the stonework makes against the sky. I sometimes think the buildings look even more lovely as ruins, because of the contrast of stone and blue sky.

It was another excellent trip away and I am on the final countdown to many more. There are only 26 days left of me being employed and then it is freedom to travel (at least in the UK hopefully). I am busy sorting out some new camping supplies, don’t tell Ellen, but I am buying a new tent 😉 as if all goes well some of the summer will be me off on some little adventures. Jacky and I have also booked some camping in Devon with her van.

I have the final two weeks of marking to finish and then it is all nearly over. Then I will get back to far more crafting, so many things to make, including finishing the new outfit for Steampunk. We had a great time at Kelham so will share those pictures with you all soon, I bought some lovely lace for the new outfit and Ellen and I both got new hats!

I hope you are having a lovely time whatever you are doing. Take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Northumbrian joys

We had a very lovely, if a little damp at the start, break in Northumberland. Beamish was once again beautiful, even in the rain and with all of the inside areas still closed, we really enjoyed the visit. We especially enjoyed seeing the steam train operating from the colliery and visiting the sweet shop where they were still making the boiled sweets by hand. These sweet moulds were fascinating to see. We will look forward to going back next year when the 1950s are is complete and the houses are open.

Our cabin on the coast was a 15 minute walk from where we parked in Alnmouth and by the time we got there it was lashing down with the most stinging, freezing rain, so we were soaked to the skin by the time we had walked along the cliff path.

The lovely host brought all our bags for us in his off road truck so we didn’t have to carry them, and we quickly had a roaring fire going in the log burner, so we soon dried off. We then had a lovely evening watching the weather from the cabin.

It had mostly cleared up by the evening so we were able to admire the view. I could very happily live there, even with it being so far from the road and loved watching the clouds, sun and sea change all the time.

Sadly our boat trip to see the seals had to be cancelled as there were very high winds on the following day but we spent a lovely morning in Alnwick. There were lots of fabulous charity shops, and a wool shop, and chocolate shop, so we had a very good time putting some money into the local economy. I will share what we got in a later post but we did very well and it was great to be able to shop again, I have really missed my charity shop visits.

We did have an unexpected visit to Warkworth Castle, which was very impressive, and then on to Amble for a blowy walk along the harbour to get a closer view of the island we had seen from our hut, which is a nature reserve for birds.

By the time we got back to Alnmouth the weather was beautiful and we were able to enjoy the walk back to the huts and onto the beach below.

One of the books in the hut was all about pebbles, with some gorgeous illustrations and it was very interesting reading. We saw some great examples of all of the different types of pebbles on the shore, as well as the rock pools and formations of Marden Rocks, which are just below the huts.

Again, a brilliant time in Northumberland, and cabin was just gorgeous. I have long wanted to go and stay in one of the Canopy and Stars‘ properties and was not disappointed. It was so beautiful and I was very reluctant to leave.

We did have a further day visiting Alnwick Gardens, Durham, and the stunning Fountains Abbey, so will post about that later. I feel very lucky to be able to have another holiday, and it was a very good way to celebrate all of the nice things that have happened to the family recently.

The weekend has been quiet and I have been enjoying my Luna and Little Cotton Rabbits crafting again. I will have some finishes to show you next time, as well as the new purchases.

Until then hope you are having fun. Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Up hill and down Dales

We were very lucky with the weather on our trip this week. Despite a cold forecast there were blue skies every day and it was beautifully sunny. I think I have even come back with a sunburnt nose 😉 We did a very commendable 18 km of walking over the three days, and most of it was very much up hill so we we were very impressed with ourselves. Jacky had a major operation just before Christmas and three months ago she could hardly walk outside, and I have been very immobile this winter, so we were really pleased to be able to tackle such walks.

We stayed at the very lovely Dalesbridge campsite near Settle, which was beautifully laid out with great facilities. Due to the restrictions there were only camper vans there the first few days but as the toilet blocks were able to open there were some tents at the end of the week. It was great to see people out enjoying themselves and we had the first BBQ and campfire of the year.

On the first day we just did a short 3 km walk in the afternoon through the Ingleborough nature trail, past the lake and the gorgeous houses of the village of Clapham. It was a beautiful day we saw lots of birds and wildflowers.

On day two we went on the Ingelton Waterfalls Walk, Jacky is a big fan of waterfalls and this trail with 6 in total did not disappoint. There were also amazing views at the top when we crossed open land with a view of Ingleborough, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

The last day was our longest trip, 8 km starting at the Ingleborough lake and going up through Trow Gill, all the way to Gaping Gill, a large pothole which has a stream running into it. This was our most impressive walk, the scenery was amazing and we had some steep climbs out of Trow Gill. We stopped mid – way for a little paddle in the stream near the cave as well. The stone formations are wonderful and of course there were lots of very friendly Dales sheep.

This may not look very steep from this angle, but it was, not so bad going up but a challenge coming down with my dodgy knees!

A really brilliant adventure, this is our third trip to the Dales in the campervan, and although there are so many other places we want to visit, we will definitely be back at some point. It is wonderful to have people that you can do lovely things with. Jacky and I really love walking and being outdoors and I am so lucky to be able to spend time with her doing all this.

I am having a quiet weekend after all that adventure, just finishing off some last bits in the house before I ring the estate agent and it goes on the market. Exciting times! I also had my first driving lesson on Monday, I didn’t bump into anything and really enjoyed it, so am looking forward to the next one. Fingers crossed my plans are all coming together.

I hope that you have a nice weekend, whatever you are doing. The sun is still shining here and it is all very lovely.Take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

My daughter, the creative genius

Ellen has been here a lot recently, helping me decorate. Not only is that wonderful of her, but it is also brilliant to have actual human company so often! We bought some plants and various things for the bathroom refurbishment last week, and as it was very sunny this week I have emptied all the old pots and done some re-planting so everything is starting to look lovely and Spring like. Along with the latest announcements about easing of restrictions things are starting to look a lot more positive.

Ellen usually brings some sewing with her and recently brought up the project she has been working on for the last few months. I posted about quiet books a long time ago, and have still not made one yet but she has made this amazing book for her friend’s little boy. He is just two and so she has made him some pages that he can play with now, and is intending to add to the book as he grows.

She is so talented, she did not use a pattern for any of this and has made the cutest bears and crayons as well as this adorable lion with a ribbon mane. The farmyard animals are all finger puppets so he can play with them.

I love it and so did the recipient. She has made so many wonderful things over the years, the Worth dress out of curtains, the flower fairy costume as well as many wonderful Steampunk outfits and everyday clothes. I am so proud of her and so glad that she enjoys crafting, not just because we can share fabric and help each other with fittings!

Due to all the decorating I have not done much creative work myself. I have finished all of the knitted trainers so when they are made up will take some pictures for you. The pattern was very easy to follow as always and I am excited to finish the animals. I did have a little bit of leave last week so had a small amount of craft room time, making this dress for Barbie. This is a combination of patterns, one from the tutorial here and the skirt pattern I drafted myself.

My oldest great-niece, Ava, had Barbies for her fourth birthday so I am making some outfits for them. She had two of the new, more diverse range with larger bodies and one has a prosthetic leg so I have been checking sizing carefully as I discovered over summer that even the standard Barbies vary in waist size quite a bit. I have still kept one of my diversity Barbies, Alexa in the picture below, for fitting purposes (and because she is gorgeous and I love her hair) so still have four from my original collection of ten.

I have some more clothes cut out from the silk and satin scraps from the Steampunk jacket I made last year and some pink cotton from an old shirt so hopefully will spend some time tomorrow sewing those up. We are decorating again next weekend so I am makig most of this one.

I am going out for a walk this afternoon with an old friend from my Polytechnic days, 37 years ago. We made contact again a few years ago and have been meaning to meet up for so long but with current restrictions we have not been able to arrange anything yet so thought at least a walk would be lovely. It is a sunny day so I am really lookin forward to that.

My sister has been spending time refurbishing her camper van, she has been off work after a major operation and has spent the time adding to the storage and moving furniture. It looks fantastic now (these photos are from her Facebook) and I can’t wait to see it. Hopefully we are going to be able to go away for a few nights after Easter to the Dales.

So lots of lovely things to look foward to and I am feeling very positive at the moment. Fingers crossed we can do some nice things later in the summer and I only have another four weeks of teaching to go! I will be at work until the end of June as I have tutorials and marking to do until then but only another 124 days until freedom 🙂

I hope that you are having a nice weekend, have fun, take care and stay safe. Thanks for visiting.

A very welcome break

I have just finished work for the week, my very last bit of Saturday teaching, being involved in an online open day. From here on (hopefully) my weekends are free to do what I want, starting with this weekend where I must get some serious knitting done.

I also have next week off. I know that term only started four weeks ago but there have been very many long days and I am really looking forward to not having to be on the computer so much. I am having some problems with my eyes, and have new glasses to pick up in while, so it will be lovely to do other things that will give my eyes a bit of a rest.

I have been doing puzzles in the evenings again, rather than anything else, as I have not wanted to strain my eyes further and have just completed this gorgeous one.

I would love to just climb into the picture and be there now. Jackie (my sister) and I would love to go away in her camper van as soon as we can. Meanwhile I am keeping myself amused watching travel vlogs filmed pre-pandemic. I have found a new favourite You Tube channel, Flora and the Novice Explorers.

Not only have they had some fabulous trips through Europe they also have a very useful website with lots of good info and recipes. I first came across them as they were driving down the coast near where my house in Spain is. Just look at the view here, this is one of their wild camping spots just up the coast from me, how beautiful is this! Picture from their blog.

I have just started this one of a quilt shop. I plan to make lots of full-size quilts after retirement and love all the colourful ones in this picture. Again I would just love to climb in and be in that shop, maybe taking a class. If we are allowed I will try and attend some over the summer, the quilt shop Sharon and I visited in September often holds them so that would be a nice birthday treat.

Meanwhile there are some more quilt alongs happening. I did one at the start of the first lockdown and made lots of lovely Liberty blocks. That was from Riley Blake and they have a new one happening now. You can find the schedule here and all of the patterns on the Riley Blake website here. I won’t have time to start the blocks now, they look a little more complex than the ones I did last year, but am saving them all for future use. Photo of instructions from link above.

The first one is the Pinwheel Star Block, made by Jedi Craft Girl. I have used her pouch tutorials in the past. Picture from her website. This one doesn’t look too difficult, although with my inaccurate piecing I doubt the corner squares would be as neat!

The second is the Shining Star Block, from Bev at Flamingo Toes. Again I have used her tutorials for the lovely camper van embroidery hangings I have done. I love the outline stitching around the centre star here. Picture from her website and photo of instructions from Riley Blake site as before.

The rest of this weekend’s task is to try and finish the removable trainers for some knitted animals, I am nearly finished with the second one, after having to undo a lot of knitting. They look so cute when finished though, so hopefully mine will look as good. Picture is from the pattern, my first pair are in turquoise shades.

These are from the amazingly talented Julie from Little Cotton Rabbits, who keeps coming up with ever more gorgeous things for us to knit. I can’t wait to have a go at the little shoes with eyelets as well. I have been inspired once again by the people on the Little Cotton Rabbits Facebook group who are all far more productive than I am at the moment!

The sun is shining today, so hopefully it will melt the snow and ice, I did venture out on Wednesday for a walk but had a bad fall on the ice so am a bit bruised. I am therefore not risking it again until all the paths are clear. I was rescued by a very lovely older gentleman who was concerned that I might have broken my hip and came out in his crampons to get me! I do live in a very lovely place.

Take care, have a nice week ahead, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A Christmas Miracle

Well dear reader, you may have realised from the lack of recent posts that I made it to Spain! It was indeed a Christmas miracle as I landed, with my lovely negative test certificate, the day before Spain stopped letting people from the UK in, and came back just before the UK started asking for the same tests on return. Phew! I am now safely ensconced in a snowy Marsden, self-isolating for the next two weeks.

As we are now online only at work and likely to be so for the foreseeable future I may not leave the house again for many months! Although I am determined to try and get out and do some exercise once the weather improves (and the pavements are less slippery) as I have had a very lovely time in Spain walking and even doing some cycling 🙂

I have not used my bike in Spain for about 4 years, since I started having more joint and back problems. My fitness has declined so badly during last year due to lockdown and working from home that I really wanted to do something to try and improve things. I started doing an online fitness programme a few weeks before I left, based on Salsa dancing, and really enjoyed it. So I got Rosie Raleigh out of my Mum’s basement and we had some fun adventures together.

I was determined to do as much walking as I could while I was in Spain as it is one of my favourite things to do. I started off with just an hour an evening to go and watch the amazing sunsets. I was later able to take the bike out a few times, culminating in cycling all the way to the beach, about 6km in total, there and back.

I was so pleased. Not only was it really lovely to be out in the sunshine and have the freedom to roam around some of my favourite cycle paths but it also gives me the independence that I need for when I move there full time. My relatives are very helpful with driving me places but I want to be able to travel myself as well and my plans for passing my driving test have been on hold since May and are no nearer completion.

I had great fun exploring some of the areas of the urbanisation that I have not visited before, including some of the smaller squares of older properties. They have lovely little green areas in the middle with palms and bougainvillea decorating the houses. There are also quite a few more refurbishments, and makeovers of the older properties into the newer white modern style are in evidence all over the area.

On one of my rides I went out towards the mountains. There are a number of paths alongside the irrigation canals that have been designated as cycle paths and the views were beautiful as always, especially with the sun shining through the rushes that grow at the sides of the water.

I also spent a lot of time on my terrace. Mum gave me some more money for plants for Christmas so I redid all the pots which gave me something pretty to look at while I was admiring the blue sky and the lovely sunrises. I also added a couple of beautiful ceramics to the wall. I am looking forward to having more tiling done when I am there full-time as I love Spanish tiles.

I also spent quite a few evenings sitting on the terrace reading as well, wrapped up in a fleecy blanket with all of my candles lit and solar lights. It was so peaceful and relaxing.

My Mum had her little candle tree up with all of the ornaments I have made over the years, all but the green tree at the top and the cross stitch to the left of that are ones that I have made for her. This is also useful for checking what I have already made for her for planning future creations.

The flight back was lovely though I was very sad to be leaving. It was raining when we left Spain but we flew over the Pyrenees in sunshine so I was able to get some shots of the mountains in the snow, I do love mountains!

So it is back to life in lockdown for the next few weeks, however I have plenty to keep me occupied. I am not working many weekends this term (hurrah) so am planning some more Barbie couture as my younger relatives loved their Christmas gifts and still have bunny knitting to finish. I have also been watching the wonderful Bridgerton and am taking inspiration from the amazing costumes there for more Steampunk plans for the future.

I hope that life is ok for you all at the moment, it does seem like a long time until brighter days, as it often does in January, but hopefully things will get better very soon and we can have some return to that wonderful weather we had last Spring. I have been so lucky to be able to enjoy the sun in Spain and will stay warm and await it’s return here. At least Marsden looks very pretty in the snow.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Autumnal glory

Jacky and I did manage to get away for a couple of nights in the gorgeous Peak District. All of this loveliness is only an hour from my house, in fact I live 10 minutes from the start of the area, and the drives there and back were beautiful as well.

It was quite damp but that did not deter us from visiting several reservoirs for a walk in the woods at Langsett and a walk around part of Ladybower.

The trees were amazing and there were such lovely variations in colour at Ladybower.

We saw the spectacular feat of engineering that is the sinkhole, and actually saw one in operation on one of the local reservoirs on the way back.

We also found some little waterfalls which was good as Jacky loves these. We visited some very large ones on our trip to Aysgarth but these were just little ones by the side of the track.

We were only able to stay for a couple of nights due to my self-isolation up until Thursday but it was brilliant to be able to get away and catch up and relax. We stayed at Hardhurst Farm, where we have camped for previous re-enactment events at Peveril Castle. It is a lovely site, right in the centre of the Hope Valley and we really recommend it.

It is a gorgeous area with so much to see and do. Our last visit was to Mam Tor and when we go back again we want to do this walk stretching out onto to the other hills. The views were amazing even in the mist and cloud.

Now it is back to just one more day of leave before teaching starts again and who knows what the new half term will hold. I think there will be much being in the house but at least I am lucky enough to be stocked up with wine, lovely food and lots of wool. I have also just treated myself to two new patterns from Little Cotton Rabbits so will not be bored.

I will be back soon with an update on the knitting. Hope everything is ok with you all, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Sea, sky and spectacular textiles

We had an amazing time at Bambrugh, the weather was fantastic and the location wonderful with so many stunning views.

My friend Jo, who I have known since Polytechnic in the 1980s, is lucky enough to actually live here. Her partner is a member of the castle staff and they live in the gatehouse. Her photos of the beach during lockdown where she took daily walks were one of the reasons I wanted to revisit the area.

We also met one of the people we know from re-enactment, Dave the moneyer, he has been there all summer with his Viking set up. It was lovely to see him, chat about events and know that at least he has had a good season.

After visiting the castle we had a picnic on the beach and a walk (and paddle) along to the end where there was a wonderful maze like path back through the overgrowth to the other side of the castle.

When we return next year we shall visit some of the beaches further down which give the opportunity for more of these stunning views. Since we returned I have had many photo prompts from the castle Facebook page and these are just some of the amazing photos taken in the area. The final photo is by Jamie Dobson, I don’t have any information on the others.

Inside the Great Hall of the castle was a patchwork hanging that was really fascinating. It consisted of applique as well as a large area of patchwork made of diamonds. The hanging itself was around ten feet high and looked like an immensely time consuming piece of work. Although there was no label with the piece that I could see further research came up with the fact that it was made by Russian prisoners during the Crimean War. I should have guessed that it was a military uniform piece as I have seen similar in quilt exhibitions before.

I would love to know more about the piece, how many people were involved, how long did it take? Who designed the piece and where did they get the inspiration from? I would assume that this was a pattern and techniques they were familiar with from home. That is both the joy and the frustration of seeing such pieces in historic locations. I always want to know more about the people behind the work and little is recorded.

While I was doing the searching for more information I came across this amazing piece of embroidery from a textile artist called Rachel Wright. Photo from Pinterest. 

This was a commissioned piece and you can see more of her work on her Instagram page. She also has some items for sale on her Redbubble site and I particularly love this bag, might just have to treat myself!

We ended the day with another campfire, a game or two of cards, and another amazing sunset. Such simple pleasures but we were so grateful to be able to be there after all the restrictions this year.

We are lucky to live in such a beautiful country. I always travel in the UK a lot but the one advantage (there are so few!) of the current situation is that other people may have had the chance to appreciate our countryside more this year. 

I am hoping that in a couple of weeks I may be able to do some local travel as I have some time off coming up. I have a very large amount of holiday this academic year due to working nearly every Saturday and so having a day off in lieu each week that I need to use. I still have leave carried over from earlier in the summer that I could not use. We have an excellent bus service here so may do some more local exploring. 

Meanwhile there are knitted animals to finish, the mouse is almost done and is looking very cute so far, my first pair of stripey stockings and I love them!

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Living our best Downton life

Ellen has been re – watching Downton Abbey during lockdown and I watched a few episodes when I was staying with her so we were really pleased to find out that some of the series had been filmed at both Beamish and Alnwick Castle. It was nice to wander round pretending that we were dressed the part and we both thought it would make a fabulous Steampunk event location.

The 1900s town at Beamish was amazing, it just looks so much like a real street, although it is made of elements from lots of different places. There are so many buildings such as the bakers, chemist, bank, garage Masononic hall, sweetshop and a lovely little town park as well as a row of houses. With the bus coming through and a little train station you can see why it is the perfect filming location for period dramas.

I think my favourite was the Co-op, one side was all groceries and the other the haberdashery. A whole shop full of vintage textiles – absolute heaven 🙂 I would love to have the time to be a volunteer there and work behind the counter, just look at all this wonderful stuff!

You can just see the quilt wadding and many lovely textiles for dressmaking as well as so many sewing notions. I really loved it.

After a stop in the town park for a rest we got on the bus and went to the mining village which was equally wonderful. I can’t wait to go back and hopefully we will be able to go inside the houses, there were so many amazing textiles, such as this beautiful crazy quilt and a really unusual embroidered waistcoat.

Our visit to Alnwick was on a very grey day so my pictures do not do justice to the beautiful setting.

We were lucky enough to be able to get tickets for the State Rooms and although no photos were allowed I found these on Google. The ceilings were amazing and this red and gold room was my favourite.

There was also a really good film about the shooting of the Downton Abbey Christmas special there and it was fabulous to see the actual rooms after watching that. I found some lovely pictures of the cast at the castle as well on Google.

Things are very busy at work, so there has been little crafting done. I am still putting together knitted animals and have finished another camper van embroidery so will share that with you soon. I am still teaching on campus so we are all keeping our fingers crossed for that to continue. It still seems very strange and everything is a bit tense as we are constantly expecting things to change. Thank goodness for the comfort of wool and thread to keep me sane 🙂

I hope that you are all ok and not too stressed, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.