Following your dreams

I have been very lucky in my new life so far. I have been able to pass my driving test and buy my longed for camper van, travel and spend lots of time crafting, meeting so many lovely people on the way. There is another aspect to my life that I am also really loving, and that is my new role as a writer.

I have always enjoyed writing, along with reading which I loved from a very early age, and like many people I started writing novels when I was younger. However, I didn’t really have the time to devote to it before, but it has now become a big part of my life here now.

I am about half way through my first novel, at this rate the first one will take me about 3 years but there is no rush, I am very much enjoying the process as well as what I am producing. You may not be surprised to know that it is based around historical textiles, and the women associated with them. In fact I have the outline for 5 novels, all based on pieces of textiles that I have have either owned or seen in museums. As you know I am always interested in the provenance of anything I find, who made it, how did it end up here?

My first novel is based around Hardwick Hall, and the needlework of Bess of Hardwick so has involved lots of really interesting research. I have previously read a lot about Bess, but have been doing a lot more reading, of other people’s dissertations and academic papers, which has meant I have put my previous academic skills to good use.

I have also been doing a few courses to help me along the way. Last year, and earlier this year I did some on creative writing. Firstly they were with an organisation called Future Learn, who offer free courses on a large variety of subjects. The Start Writing Fiction and the How to Read a Novel were really helpful for thinking about how to structure the work and about character development.

Earlier this year I took two Creative Writing courses with the Workers’ Educational Association, the WEA. I worked for them about 30 years ago, when I was teaching in the Adult and Community sector and loved the role so it was nice to come full circle and be a student with them. They are a wonderful organisation, as the name suggest they have a long history of community education and offer affordable courses on a variety of topics. I have actually just finished another short course with them on The History of Canals, that is some research for a future book.

I have also done a little field trip to help me with the setting of the novel. One of the really useful things about doing the courses is they prompt you think about how your characters are going to come across and so I have had to build a story of their lives. I thought that the easiest way to do that was to actually visit the place that I have chosen for them to live, which is a little village not too far from Hardwick Hall, called Shireoaks.

It is somewhere I always pass on the train to and from my daughter’s house and it looked like a nice place to live, with a canal as well! There is a beautiful church there, built by the Duke of Newcastle who built the chapel at Clumber that my daughter looked after in her last job for the National Trust.

On my last trip in England I visited and was able to talk to some of the local residents and see the street that I have chosen for my character to live in. They were very helpful, telling me about other sources for my research and I was delighted to find that an old photo showing the street as it was when first built.

These outhouses still exist, though the communal yards have been fenced off to make gardens.

I have also just finished another course with Future Learn about Mary Queen of Scots, as the embroidered piece I have chosen is one done while Bess was with Mary when she was under the guardianship of Bess’s husband. My current course with them is called Learning from the Past. It is a fascinating exploration of how to use historical sources for your research, so very, very useful for me.

I do so love studying, I always did really enjoy that part of my job and spent many years doing courses alongside my teaching and it is so amazing to have the time to do all this now. There are so many brilliant resources out there for free as well, I have only scratched the surface of all that there is available. I am very, very lucky to be able to do everything I have ever wanted to do, I am still pinching myself that this is my life!

It is getting a little cooler here, down the about 15 degrees during the day now, so it is nice to have more indoor things to do as well. It still seems strange to see sunny skies instead of autumn colours but it is lovely. I have cycled a total of 140 km in the last month so am very pleased with that and the cooler weather makes cycling really pleasant. As well as that there are weekly walks on the beach with brilliant views of the mountains.

I hope that you have all had a good week and are enjoying your weekend. Mum and I are off on a trip on Monday to the town of Caravaca for a medieval market. I visited in May for the wine horses fiesta but am very much looking forward to going back and seeing the castle and the cathedral so expect some bling in the next post! Until that have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Thinking about heritage

If you are a regular reader you will know how much I love visiting museums, especially where there are textiles involved. My recent trip to Lancashire included a visit to a museum owned by the local council, Towneley Hall, and it was very interesting not just for its collections but also its history.

Burnley has a long textile heritage, much of Lancashire was involved in the wool and cotton trades and there are many mill buildings still to be seen.

This building was a rather grand house however, owned by the same family for many centuries. It had a fascinating mix of architecture, from Tudor long galleries and panelled rooms to a Regency style suite which is now used for weddings and events.

The family who owned the house decided it was too big for them and sold it to the local council in 1901, who decided to turn it into a museum. However they had nothing to put in it so they started taking donations from a number of varied sources.

This has led to a very eclectic collection, some with links to Burnley life and others random. They were no doubt very interesting to the local population when the museum was first opened, who probably marvelled at the mummy case and contents found by an Egyptologist who was a friend of the last owner.

It raises many questions about what are the purposes of museums and what functions they have. There are many debates in heritage circles about what is in our museums, and where it came from, indeed should some things be returned to their original countries?

There were a small selection of textiles from Kashmir which were very beautiful.

How things are interpreted is also interesting, this was very much a ‘things in glass cases’ type of museum, which reflects its heritage. I have been lucky enough to visit many museums of all different types and having a daughter who worked in the heritage industry find all of these questions very interesting.

There were quite a few local exhibits as well including embroidered postcards and banners from the World Wars.

It was a very nice visit and the staff were very knowledgeable and friendly, not only about the collection but also about the history of the hall so well worth a visit if you are in the area.

After Lancashire I met up with my oldest friend, Sue, celebrating 40 years since we first met at Polytechnic. We had a brilliant time catching up, we haven’t really changed a bit!

I have had a quick trip back to Ellen’s to do some car sorting. I got Katy stuck on a gate a few weeks ago but am pleased to say that my car bodywork skills are good enough that I was able to mend the damage, and some more flower stickers covered up the slight difference in paint! Also met up with a few of the medieval group for a day’s event at Nottingham.

I am now at my final campsite of this summer, back in the Peak District for my last week in Katy. I have finally got the cushion inners and have bought a new privacy curtain for when I am sitting in the back reading. I am also trying out Jacky’s awning tent to see how it works compared to my little tent.

I have been having some great walks with stunning views, the drive here was wonderful and I am surrounded by lovely hills again.

I have more museum visits to share with you so the next post will be that or Peak District views. Until next time, have fun, take care stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Lakeland Heritage

The Lake District is an amazing place and although now it is probably best known for tourism, which was popularised by poets, writers and artists such as Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, it has its roots in farming.

One of the National Trust properties that we didn’t visit last time we came is Townend, a farmhouse dating from the 1600s. The property is near Waterhead, at the top of Lake Windermere.

The Browne family who owned it didn’t change it, and didn’t throw anything away. The house stayed in the family until the early 1900s so you have an incredible collection of Lakeland heritage, including maps from when the area was known as Westmoreland.

One of the most remarkable is the collection of books, over 1,500 on all topics. It is particularly significant as these were collected by an ordinary family over many centuries, rather than being a stately home or museum collection. Thus there are many books on farm practices and cheap short story publications from the 1800s. Few pictures available as they need storing away from light but a great little display about the collection.

There was a wide variety of textile heritage though, most relating to the household furnishings and the obligatory samplers produced by young girls as part of their sewing skill development. There was also a fascinating little weaving loom, possibly belonging to a child?

The house is set in a wildflower garden in the stunning Troutbeck valley so is well worth a visit for its location alone, up more narrow winding roads!

I also visited St Martin’s Church in Windermere, which also dates from the 1600s and which has been restored to show the wall paintings that were covered up after Henry 8th broke away from the Catholic Church.

There was a very interesting curtain which was made of stencilled fabric. The information also referred to this as being taught to WW1 veterans as part of their rehabilitation and furnishings were made using this technique to provide employment for them.

It was a really unusual piece of textile heritage, for its history as well as its design.

I have some more textile heritage visits planned in a couple of weeks when I return to Derbyshire.

I hope that you have enjoyed this little glimpse of Lakeland life. It is such a gorgeous area and well worth visiting. Until next time have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Another island at the edge

Anglesey, where I spent last week, is also an island at the edge of the UK. We have visited the most northerly town and village in Wales, and been staying very near to one of the ferry ports over to Ireland. That is a trip I wish to make one day very soon.

We have had a wonderful week staying near Holyhead in a gorgeous barn conversion. It is huge, 5 double bedrooms large kitchen and cosy sofas in the sizeable lounge. It has been so different to my previous 8 weeks of campervans and very luxurious.

I am here with 3 of my old colleagues from the University, there should have been 5 of us but sadly a broken ankle stopped play for my lovely friend Nicola so she had to stay at home.

It has been a very restful week and we have done lots of catching up, sightseeing, eating gorgeous food and relaxing in the hot tub. Apart from the first day when we had a little rain the weather has been glorious. We had a visit to South Stack Lighthouse where there were dramatic views.

It is a hard life and made even better by the fact that 2 of us are retired now and never have to return to work and the other two are retiring soon. We have tried our best to be beacons of good practice in terms of the joys of retirement and I think we have managed that 😉

We have driven the length and breadth of the islands visiting lighthouses, beaches and cute villages.

We also had two heritage days out to Plas Newydd, a National Trust house that I have visited twice before, and Beaumaris to see the castle.

The gardens at Plas Newydd were beautiful, that is what you appreciate more as you get older I think, a lovely garden display.

I also got to see what is probably my favourite painting in the world, the Rex Whistler mural there. Just stunning.

Beaumaris Castle looked a lot better than last time I visited in the rain about 24 years ago. The views across the bay to mainland Wales are also stunning.

On my return to Yorkshire I picked up Katy and had a brilliant drive through the Yorkshire Dales to the Lake District. I am very happily back in my favourite reading corner watching rabbits play on the grass and looking at the wonderful fells.

I am have visited Windermere and Ullswater this week and done lots of reading and some finishing of the Christmas ornaments. Hope you all have a great weekend ahead see you all again soon. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

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.

Prayers and plots

On the Sunday of Kerry’s weekend visit to Worcester we visited the cathedral for the morning sung Eucharist service which was beautiful. The choir sounded so amazing and it made a lovely start to the day. The cathedral is where Ellen graduated all those years ago so I have visited several times before. There is a lot of restoration work being done so opportunities for pictures of the nave and painted ceiling were limited but it looked stunning.

In the afternoon we went to Coughton Court, a Trust property that was involved in the Gunpowder Plot. I have visited before and was stunned to find that they have what is allegedly the nightshift that Mary Queen of Scots wore when she was executed. The house and the family that own it have a long history of involvement in the disputes between Catholics and the state that started in the Tudor era. The property was beautiful in the afternoon sun.

There was a very interesting talk about the plot in the small Catholic church on the property, built in the late 1800s when the Catholics were allowed to build churches once again. It is easy to forget that we have had religious persecution in the UK at many points in our history and that there are lots of things that people have forgotten about the whole story behind the Gunpowder Plot and why it happened.

The church had some gorgeous chairs with central needlepoint panels, there were about 40 of these so definitely a labour of love!

It has an extensive collection of family portraits, which I wrote about in my last post, which are such good illustrations of costume of the era, and some lovely little displays. I loved this little beauty case with the scissors and the little souvenir book.

There were also some of my favourite things to find, like this needlework case and the lace making tools.

There were clearly some dedicated needlewomen in the family as there were some very large projects, most of these were in one bedroom. I have been doing a lot of research for my first novel so have been thinking a lot about the role of needlework in women’s lives. There are very few modern crafters who would take on projects of this size and the amount of hours that must have gone into these pieces is incredible.

Just looking at the thousands of tiny stitches in this seat cover above I can’t help but wonder about how made it, did they ever feel like giving up and how long did it take them? I did some needlepoint many years ago but have not returned to it due to how long it takes, so really admire the dedication of these needlewomen.

I have had a fairly quiet week, most of the crafting has been finished so I will be posting about that next. I have been spending the last few weeks before I return to Spain stocking up on things for the rest of the year that I can’t easily get there. I have more Liberty fabric arriving this week from a new supplier that I have found byLaurenRuth and have bought some more stitching threads. Next week will be mainly sorting and packing up ready to go to Ellen’s the following week, then back to Spain with my new machine and all of my goodies!

I hope that you have a good weekend and a nice week ahead, the weather forecast for the UK is very good so we will all be enjoying a glimpse of sun. What ever you are doing 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.

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 – a step back in time

I organised the trip to Caceres myself, rather than it being a coach trip, which meant a journey across Spain via Madrid on two of their marvellous and very comfortable trains. I love Spanish trains as they look often like birds which I think is deliberate given the name of the train company.

I found our apartment on Booking.com and it is called Apartmentos Turisticos Caceres if you ever fancy a visit there yourselves.

I have visited many old cities but none with the very unique character that Caceres has. As it was built as a walled city it has not been altered within the walls and so you get a very unique sense of what life would have been like. The centre of the city is crammed with churches, palaces and other historic buildings. There are 98 listed on the tourist map, though not all of them are open to visit, some being used as offices for the city. There are 1300 pieces of heraldry on these buildings, like the one below, which is partly why it is a World Heritage site.

We were staying inside this walled city so every step outside our apartment was like being back in the 1500s when the city was being built. The apartment was not decorated in a medieval style, which I would have loved, but was very impressive anyway, with huge thick walls and views across the city. These photos show the view from the apartment and the narrow streets that surround it.

It is also the perfect setting for a medieval market and I will post some pictures of that next time. We love these markets, and have been to many in Spain and this one was huge with lots of stalls and entertainment.

As well as wandering the streets, just soaking in the atmosphere, we also visited some of the palaces which have been turned into museums. I have some gorgeous textiles to show you as well in a later post, from the cathedral and the city museum which had a brilliant section devoted to traditional dress.

One of the palaces had a beautiful garden to visit, with this amazing old tree. I think it might be a fig tree.

We also spent time in the main city square, the Plaza Mayor, which is just outside the walled city. You go through an archway from the walled city and down the steps, past one of the many defensive towers which you can visit to walk round part of the walls.

As with many Spanish cities, the plaza was so lively with bars and restaurants, as well as entertainers who were with the market. We found a lovely tapas bar just off the square, which we visited twice to sample everything on their menu as it was so good.

It was all so beautiful and more than lived up to my expectations for the trip. You know how much I love medieval art and architecture. Although much of the ironwork was quite utilitarian, being defensive, I did find this beautiful door at the first tapas place we ate at, in the palace round the corner from our apartment.

I am now back in the UK, slightly earlier than expected due to a change in travel regulations, so am making the most of my time here at Ellen’s stitching the last of my Christmas ornaments and having a quiet week. Fingers crossed, (if the Day 2 PCR test comes back negative!), I will be off back to Huddersfield at the end of next week for a catch up with friends.

Meanwhile I will be making the most of time here, Ellen is going to try and teach me to crochet a snowflake, which is something I have wanted to do for ages, so watch this space! I will also be back with more of wonderful Caceres soon.

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

Cave house inspiration

So where do you go when you are trying to decide how to refurbish your own cave house? The local IKEA, while great for other furniture, may look a little out of place in something that dates back so many years, so Ben and Amanda have spent many happy hours in the cave house museums and open houses in Purellana and Guadix, about an hour from where they have their house.

I have briefly visited the cave house museum in Purellana, as we stopped there on the way to Seville when we did our coach trip. The picture above shows the view from one of the upper terraces of the museum. It is so stunning, you would never get bored of all the changes in the way the light hits the mountains.

It was lovely to go back for a more detailed look, especially as Amanda and the guide were able to discuss specifics, which was really interesting. They are trying to make their house as authentic as they can and so we spent a lot of time looking at the decor.

Although the ground floor of the museum is the house that the family live in, (you enter the museum though their kitchen!), the upper floors are a fascinating museum of artefacts from the 6 generations that have lived in the house. I loved the vintage sewing machine as a roof decoration!

We also enjoyed a visit to the two ceramicas in Purellana, we bought Ben and Amanda some beautiful reproduction storage jars, a little like these below, for their kitchen as a housewarming gift.

I came back with a suitcase full of garden pots and storage jars as I mentioned in the last post. I will show you those later in a separate post once the pots have been planted up. I have been doing a little refurbishment of my own house so will take some pictures once that is finished.

After a delicious lunch in the nearby town of Guadix we went up to the cave house area for a quick look round. This was the free tapas we had and my starter portion of tuna salad, you definitely will never go hungry here in Spain.

There was an open house to tour as well as the most beautiful church with some very unexpected goldwork, that will have a post of of its own as well later.

The views from the mirador, or viewing point, were amazing. As well as all the houses we could see the corral where they would have kept the horses and the wonderful rock formations that give this area such as distinctive look.

A truly wonderful day out, Guadix is definitely on my list to go back to for longer as the cathedral looked amazing, and it is accessible by train so I can go there by myself one day.

I have joined the gym and spa this week, they have the most wonderful array of jacuzzi pools and jets so we are off there again this afternoon, picture below is from their website.

I now have a monthly membership so will be going twice a week. I also got to take my bike out last night as it has cooled down a bit, it is only 22 degrees today which is lovely.

So I am finding lots of things to keep me busy, I don’t think I will at all bored for a very long time! Hope you are going to have a nice weekend and week ahead, I will be back early next week with more Guadix pictures. Until then have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.