Caceres, the cathedral and church

Unusually for us on a trip to any European city we only visited one church and the cathedral. There were so many other things to see in our three days there so I can share only a little bit of Catholic bling and goldwork with you 😉

The cathedral was in the main square where the market was and was beautiful inside, the light on the stonework was amazing. In contrast to most Spanish churches the main altarpiece was not gold, but a stunning wooden one with a painted ceiling above it.

There was a side chapel with a gold altar and some gorgeous icons, including one with lights which is something I have not seen before.

The museum had some excellent examples of gold work on the priests’ robes and icons. There were also some unusual painted robes, which were done on white satin, and the under robes had beautiful lace edging.

We climbed up a very narrow, twisting route to the bell tower where there were great views over the city. We did happen to be up there as the bells struck, but luckily it was only 1pm, it was very noisy but I love seeing bells in towers like this.

The other church we visited had an extensive collection of belen, nativities, from around the world and was in the process of building their belen, in the middle of the church. Although this was just a small church there were again some beautiful examples of lace and painted ceilings.

I will post about the museums and all the fabulous costume at a later date. I am going to be doing some volunteering this coming week at the food bank with Ellen and then hopefully on Thursday going to visit various friends in Yorkshire. It will be lovely to be travelling again, I have had a whole week in the house as I have been isolating until my Covid test result came through, which is very unusual for me nowadays. I am really looking forward to getting out and about again, though I have enjoyed doing lots of cross stitch for my ornaments this year.

I hope that you have all had a good week, and are looking forward to the festive season if you are celebrating. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

November sun

I am still getting used to the fact that it is so bright and sunny here, even with the clocks going back we still have daylight until about 6.30pm and the temperatures have been back in the high 20s this week. Ellen has been here and we have had a lovely week, we have been for a walk around the salt lakes to see the birds, including lots of flamingos, had a swim in the sea, been on a couple of coach trips and to the spa.

The sunshine makes me feel so good, although I don’t like it really hot as I burn easily, waking up to blue skies is wonderful. We have had a couple of very impressive thunderstorms with really good lightening, so it does rain sometimes here, but mostly at night.

It was a beautiful day for both our coach trips. We went to the medieval market in a little town in the mountains and to the old town in Altea, which is a beautiful little coastal town with a famous church. The sky was so blue all day and we had wonderful views across to the rock at Calpe.

We went to the church after a delicious tapas lunch at this restaurant in one of the old town houses. We just came across it on our walk up to the church, and it had the most beautiful decor and really delicious food, these are one of our favourite tapas dishes, croquetas.

The church is stunning, both outside and in, the tiles on the roof are very traditional on churches in this area and there were a beautiful selection of statues in the alcoves.

We loved wandering around the streets up to and beyond the church and there were some beautiful little houses . The views of the mountains and the sea were brilliant.

There are some really lovely shops with quirky displays, the umbrellas on this one are gorgeous!

As always there were some stunning doors, I think that this first picture is my all time favourite door, so far.

Ellen left today so I have been busy with some gardening, all of the cacti at the front of my house have been removed and instead I now have beautiful pots with geraniums in. I need to get on with some more decorating as I only have five weeks now before I return to the UK.

I plan to go on a longer bike ride tomorrow as it is going to be about 19 degrees so am looking forward to that. I have also almost finished putting together my latest knitted elephant. Ellen has attempted to teach me to crochet as well, while she has been here so I am going to fit in a bit of practise with that each day as well.

I hope that you have had a good week and are having a nice relaxing weekend. I will be back later in the week with some more of my UK tour pictures. Have fun whatever you are doing, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Glorious goldwork of Guadix

It never ceases to amaze me what you find in the very small village and town churches in Spain, the altars, the icons and the sheer scale of things just leave me in awe, but even I was not expecting to find such exquisite and detailed goldwork in the Guadix pueblo.

The cave house area, although now a very popular tourist destination and with houses selling for well above average prices for Spain, was originally the area where the very poorest lived. Those who could not afford building material literally dug their own houses out of the hills. There is a short article here on more of the history of the area if you would like to read more, we visited Jose’s cave while we were there and it is a fascinating look at how people live. He just asks for a donation for your visit and has a very welcome fridge full of cold drinks for sale and also sells local honey.

Around the area there were various references to a priest, San Pedro Poveda, and I looked him up. He worked in the area providing education and set up teacher training to combat illiteracy in the area. His organisation was named after St Teresa of Avila, who is related to the order that I portray as a re-enactment character. Sadly he was executed for his beliefs at the start of the civil war in Spain. It is lovely to see his name and work remembered here.

We visited the church before the cave houses, I really loved the simple iron cross outside and the shadows that it made against the while walls.

Inside it was amazing, many of the icons that are used in the religious festivals were on display, and as always the costumes were stunning.

Further into the church there is a cave area and a cave house linked to that. They also had a little display of belen, nativities, from around the world. I loved their belen which is all set around cave houses.

Just around the corner from the cave house, in a little hidden room we came across the most amazing piece of goldwork that I have ever seen, even accounting for the marvellous work in Lorca.

I think what made it most amazing was its location. Not only was it so unexpected, whereas Lorca has many organisations creating the beautiful costumes for their Easter parades, but I have no idea why such a piece had been created for this small church. It looked to be very recent, and too large to be worn, though there was what looked like a priest’s cope and mantle beside it in the case.

The amount of work that has gone into this piece is amazing, many of the motifs are lilies, the symbol of the Virgin Mary, and have silverwork and shading, as well as goldwork.

I could not find any further information on its origin, only a small sign that I couldn’t translate so have no idea if it was made locally. A truly stunning piece of work and a testament to the skills of the makers.

I was sorting out my patterns yesterday and I have about 5 other goldwork pieces that I am intending make during retirement. I have only done a few, some as gifts, but one has come with me to Spain, my Tudor Rose.

This was made many years ago, in 2009 according to the blog post, and was based on one in the Elizabeth Hoare collection at Liverpool Cathedral that I blogged about here. This took me about 50 hours so I have no idea how long the goldwork in the church would have taken.

I mean to make a companion piece based on a pomegranate, which was the symbol of Catherine of Aragon, as well as being the symbol of Granada. Happy times with lots of lovely craft things planned! Today is a public holiday here so I am having a quiet day in, going to do my usual Spanish language practice, some knitting and then a bike ride later.

I hope that you are enjoying whatever you are doing this week, I will be back later on with more pictures from the Galera trip. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Walking back to happiness

I have had the loveliest time on my first solo camping trip in the Peak District. All worked out very well, I was able to manage the train with all of my luggage fine, though was in awe of the true backpackers with their minimal kit, mine was a very large bag and rucksack but I am on the road for 5 weeks and have all my cooking stuff with me and home comforts like chairs and a little table.

The campsite was excellent, in the centre of Edale, just behind the Park Visitor Centre, Fieldhead campsite is a very small site next to the stream, which was lovely to listen to, with an excellent view of the hills just before Mam Tor. It was perfect for my little new blue tent, which survived a very heavy downpour on the first night. The rest of the time the weather was very good, and I am glad that the tent has been tested in rain before I continue my adventures.

I went on two walks of about 4 km each, I was pacing myself as have not been walking consistently and need to get back into it and get my fitness back. It was just bliss though, just wandering and looking at the hills and just being able to stop and stare at all of the beauty. My little heart was very, very happy and so grateful to finally be doing the things I love.

Edale is gorgeous, with lots of cute cottages, typically English with roses at the door and beautiful gardens with drystone walls.

My first day was the walk along the valley underneath Kinder Scout, which is famous for being the site of the mass trespass in 1932 that led the way to public access rights to land. I am so grateful that we have all this to enjoy and for the people that have built and maintain the fantastic paths and bridges. I especially love all the purple heather.

The second day was a little bit of the Pennine Way, which starts in Edale and goes near my old house in Marsden. I never get tired of the views here, over to Mam Tor and am looking forward to returning there next year with Jacky and walking more of that route.

I finished the walk with the biggest pot of tea I have seen in ages and lovely cake and then a quick visit to the parish church where there were lots of very detailed needlepoint kneelers and some lovely old grave stones.

I am temporarily back at Ellen’s as we are off to a WW2 re-enactment event this weekend, just as visitors this time. More camping and am really looking forward to the displays, this is one of the biggest in the UK. Hopefully I will get chance to post about Evesham when we return and this event later in the month but blogging may be a bit sporadic when I am fully on the road for a month.

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

The heavens aligned, and thankfully did not open!

Well I have had a very exciting and eventful week. I did not want to say too much on the last post, in case all did not go according to plan but it did! I have now sold my house, moved out of Marsden and and am off on my adventures.

All of this happened on Tues this week, by the previous Thursday I was living in a house with no furniture at all and having a last weekend with friends in the village. On Tuesday I handed over the keys to the new owners and set off with Kerry, who had very kindly come to collection me and my last possessions.

The first stop has been to Ellen’s, I have done some more volunteering at the food bank she works at, which has been really interesting again.

We then went to our first re-enactment event in 2 years at Evesham. It was absolutely brilliant, the weather was very kind, a few showers on the Friday night and Saturday afternoon, but we had a dry end to the weekend which made everyone very happy as no wet tents to sort. Here is my lovely little tent in the sun on Friday.

It was amazing to be back in a field, in the beer tent and round the campfire with my friends, we have kept in touch on Facebook but nothing beats being able to see them and there were lots of hugs.

I don’t have many pictures yet, I could not take any being in kit all weekend but there will be lots from our friends who come along to the events just to do all the photography so I will post again with those later this week.

There was a parade through the town, three battles, with horses which looked fantastic, and a we were at very nice event site between the abbey and the river. We did a photo shoot with one of our friends in the church, which was beautiful, and the vicar very kindly lit the candles for us to give it more atmosphere.

I am off tomorrow for three nights camping in my new little tent in Edale in the Peak District. I am planning a little walking but mainly a quiet and peaceful time reading, doing some knitting and recovering from all of the very busy sorting of the house and moving out.

I can’t quite believe that this has actually happened, it has been planned for so long but I am finally fully retired and free to go off and have all sorts of lovely adventures. I am so lucky and so thankful to everyone who has helped me in the last few months.

I hope that you have had a good weekend, take care, have fun, stay safe and I will see you soon. 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.

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 😦

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.