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 πŸ˜‰ 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.

The value of reflection

As a teacher, and a teacher trainer for 15 years, I use and teach about reflection and its value, and have always enjoyed learning from my experiences. Like many other people, I have been thinking a lot about the last year as we come up to the first anniversary of the UK lockdown.

One of the reasons why I love having a blog is that it allows me to look back on my past makes, trips and life in general. One of the practical advantages is that I can always find where I sourced things from, but also it serves as a reminder of all of happy times. Unlike a diary, this blog is not about everything that happens, but the public facing positive things in my life

I have been reminded of the value of reflecting this week twice, once by my very good friend Sarah, whose blog I read this morning. She has written about her year here, and many of the things that she says I can very much relate to. She writes about her appreciation of living here in Marsden, with the beautiful countryside on our doorstep, and the advantages of not having to commute to work.

I am eagerly awaiting lambing time so I can go and see the little cuties like this one last year. Hopefully the weather will be beautiful again so we can go for lots more walks as well.

Like me Sarah’s life has changed a lot. She works at a university, in addition to being a GP, so she too has been working from home a lot. We have shared the frustrations of not being able to talk to colleagues easily, and missing the things we took for granted a year ago, like going to conferences and just spending time with people.

She has also completed far less projects than she thought she would this past year, and I can share that feeling as well, where did all that extra time go? I think for me, a lot of it went into thinking, and into connecting with others. I have certainly spent for more time talking to relatives and friends this year, on the phone and video calls, just reassuring each other that it would be ok in the end.

Early on in the lockdown I started taking part in a research project, I can’t actually remember how I found about this, maybe through an Instagram or blog post? It was run by Naomi Clarke, someone who I previously had come across as a crafter as she is an avid paper piecer. The project was called Crafting During Coronavirus and the involvement was to keep a diary for a number of weeks, recording what I was doing and how I was feeling. This is part of her PhD work on why people sew.

I really enjoyed being involved in this, I have kept diaries many times before, and being a diary, and only for Naomi to read it was good to be able to write about some of my frustrations of that time. I re-read them recently and we were all trying to get to grips with online teaching over the summer and feeling totally out of our depths. I have become quite adept at it all now, not that I want it to continue but feel very proud that I managed to get my head round all that complex stuff that was introduced last summer.

Naomi contacted me again this week, with another part of the project, which is to create a postcard to my past self. It is to be a crafted postcard so I think I should definitely make it using Liberty. One of my little lockdown treats has been spending what would have been travel to work money on more beautiful fabric like these from Duck Egg Threads.

I think it will have to be hexagons as well as you know how I love them. Not that I have done much paper piecing this year at all, that is one of the things that has not been achieved, overtaken by Barbie couture and Little Cotton Rabbits knitting! These are some of my favourite hexagon creations, made some years ago for Yarndale, so I think the postcard will have to be linen and Liberty.

She has asked us to think about what we would say to our past selves, from our current selves, knowing what we know now. Being a huge fan of any time travel time type stories I have been thinking a lot about what to write. Almost a year ago on the 21st March I wrote a blog post about the start of lockdown. I titled it ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’

I think that what I wrote then still is very true today, but even more so. I consider myself so lucky to have all of my wonderful friends and family, who have been so supportive over the past year. There have been some lovely times, like going to Whitby and Northumberland with Ellen, and Aysgarth with her and Jacky. I will put that in the postcard, along with the power of positive thought and prayer.

My focus in that post, then as now, was on crafting. The immense comfort that I have had from knitting, sewing and embroidering over the past year cannot be underestimated. I know others feel the same, judging by the amount of knitted animals that have been created in the last year on the Little Cotton Rabbits Facebook page. This Egbert, who I finished last July, wearing the first set of striped jumper and dungarees. I am now on my third jumper so have really got to grips with top down knitting.

My stressful meetings, complex concerns about the job and the students, and worrying about my family, don’t completely go away when I craft but it makes it all so much easier to bear. The blog also serves as a useful reminder that I have failed so far to use any of the fabric that I bought on that trip that I posted about last March for Barbie dresses. I have made lots, as you know, including these two made at the very start of lockdown, but just not with that fabric. Oh well, at least it doesn’t go off, does it!

My plans for this weekend are to finish another striped jumper for a little animal and to create the fabric postcard. I also have lots of little DIY tasks to do, Ellen will be up again next week the last weekend of decorating, then it will only be a couple of weeks of finishing touches before the house goes on the market. Exciting times πŸ™‚ What is even more exciting is the Easter holidays, I am not promising much in the way of crafting, due to the house prep, but you never know.

I hope that you are having a nice weekend and that things continue to be positive in the weeks ahead as well. It is strange to think that we may be on the way to a more normal life. I was sat in a friend’s garden this week, in the sun, having a cup of tea. Over a year ago that would be commonplace but I was so grateful just to be able to be there and have a chat with her. It is, as always, the little things that make a difference.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A wintery walk and the makings of a new hat!

Last Sunday I went to the reservoirs, inspired by the snow on the hills. I had a lovely icy walk, lots of beautiful scenery as always, but also some amazing ice formations that had formed, some from the drips on the cliffs and others around the grasses and brambles.

I amused myself taking some arty shots of the frost on the moss and the reflections in the water. It was so lovely and strange to think that in a few shorts weeks we will be back to having lambs on the hills and then all of the rhododendrons in bloom. It doesn’t seem that long since all the walks last year and here we are at the end of January.

In some ways it has been a long year but in others it seems to have flown by. As of tomorrow I only have 150 days left at work. I bought myself some little countdown chalkboards at the start of term last year. In August the first day was with 305 to go, and I am now over half way through! Exciting times indeed. Now I just have to sell the house, pack everything up, learn to drive and try and leave the country, negotiating Brexit on the way πŸ™‚

Ellen came up again this weekend and did the first fitting on the jacket, it is not too bad size wise so the next task is tacking it up fully and another fitting in a few weeks. I am so glad she is able to help with this. Having the mannequin is great but she is not the same shape as me and does not move, so is not good for proper fittings.

We also made a start on the hat to go with the outfit. I have been trawling Pinterest again and had added these two lovely examples to my Steampunk board.

I wanted to make a miniature version and after many trials decided on a 4″ high with a 4″ diameter hat that will be attached to a headband. We made a little mock-up with cardboard and making tape.

I had ordered some embellishments for the hat this week, I was so pleased with the cameo, which I found on Ebay. It goes brilliantly with the blue material.

The gold lace was from my stash, no idea where that came from but may have been a present from Mum from Spain.

The ostrich feathers are so soft and fluffy and look brilliant. I do need to source some more trim for the top and brim edges of the hat. The real thing will be buckram covered in felt. The trim will be useful to hide the joins as buckram can be quite difficult to sew with. I found this very useful tutorial so am using that as a guide to making the top hat, but am just intending to do a flat brim.

I have just found a perfect pair of shoes as well, second hand, which just need a bit of lace adding to them as well. I will also make a handbag, possibly with a clasp and chain but we will see how that goes!

I hope that you have all had a good week and are doing something nice this weekend. Next week I have what will hopefully be my last Saturday teaching session ever so will be very excited to have all my weekends free from then on.

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.

Wonderful waterfalls

My second holiday was a trip away with my sister in her fabulous camper van Eva, named after my Nana who lived to be 100 and loved travel.She and my grandad went abroad twice aΒ  year, every year from the 1970s which was very unusual for families like ours at that time.Last October we went to the Dales near Settle and had a fab time.We were going to go to Wales but there were still a lot of restrictions on sites there so we ended up back in the Dales again.

My sister loves waterfalls so I found a great site at one of the most famous waterfalls in the Dales, at Asysgarth. The site is at the back of the Aysgarth Falls Hotel in a stunning location with beautiful views and a very nice beer garden to enjoy them in. It is a very small site with only 10 van pitches but beautifully kept with great facilities.

Dales waterfalls 46

Dales waterfalls 45

The shower and toilet block is these little green garden sheds and there are two sinks for washing up.

Dales waterfalls 44

Ellen joined us for one night’s camping and she was in the very well – kept tent field which was just below ours.

Dales waterfalls 47

We met some friendly campers as well who came and admired the van. It is so convenient, I will always love camping but it is so nice to drive up and everything is there for you, and no wet tents to dry off when you get home!

We went cross country on the drive there which was fun, large camper van on small country lanes πŸ™‚ Luckily my sister is a very experienced driver. She wanted to stop at some waterfalls she had found on the map so we had a picnic at a cute spot in the middle of Wharfedale on the way.

Dales waterfalls 5

We started on the second day with a visit to Hardraw Force, which is the largest single drop waterfall in England. It was a beautiful setting and after seeing the waterfall from the bottom of the gorge we climbed up to the top to look down on it which was amazing.

Dales waterfalls 22

Dales waterfalls 23

The power of the water as it thundered into the pool was amazing and I could have stayed watching it for hours. At the top there were these huge rocks in the river leading to the waterfall and beautiful views across the valley.

Dales waterfalls 26

We stopped at Hawes on the way back for a look round and to purchase some Wensleydale cheese as we were staying in Wensleydale. There were some beautiful little waterfalls in the middle of the village as well and very cute cottages.

Dales waterfalls 29

Our second day was spent at the Aysgarth Falls and also going on a 2 mile walk (there and back) to another waterfall, Cauldron Falls, which we spotted on the map in the little village of West Burton.

We have been to Aysgarth many years ago and it is still an amazing place, the sheer power of the water is stunning.My sister got a lot nearer than I did as last year I fell over near the waterfall we were visiting and badly bruised my hip so stayed safe this time.

Dales waterfalls 36

Dales waterfalls 34

It was a very hot day and after an ice cream and a little sit down the walk to West Burton seemed a very long way. It was a very pretty village though and thankfully the village pub was open so we were able to have a cold pint of cider to keep us going for the way back to the pub at the campsite.

Dales waterfalls 38

Dales waterfalls 37

The Cauldron Falls were amazing, we had expected only a little waterfall but instead we got this.It was a really nice walk along the river as well.

Dales waterfalls 41

We also had a bbq, only the second of the year and had lots of time to just sit and chill and catch up with my sister. It was a fantastic relaxing and fun filled 4 days and I can’t wait to buy my own camper van next year. I loved taking pictures of all of the different textures of trees, water and rocks.

The journey back was in a very warm 32 degrees, just in time to get me acclimatised before I flew to Spain the following day. I didn’t take any pictures while in Spain as it was a very low key time. I did go swimming almost every day, and had some trips to the beach and a couple of meals out. Most of the time was spent sitting reading, knitting and generally chilling (albeit in 34 degrees!).

I have been so lucky to be able to get away and feel very, very happy to have been able to see my Mum and my aunt. There was a time in April when I thought I was never going to be able to visit Spain again and it was so brilliant to be able to be there with them.

The new Steampunk outfit is going well and I have completed the hat. I will be able to give you some updates in the next post and fingers crossed by Monday I will have most of it completed.

Although I still love the colour, the satin fabric has been quite tricky to work with. Aside from my ever present fitting issues (why do I always cut out things so large?), it is a very slippery fabric to work with and shows every pin mark. Hopefully the overall impression will be so stunning people won’t notice the tiny holes in some of the pieces, note to self, next time don’t ever use a pin in the centre of the fabric πŸ˜‰

I hope that you have all had a nice week, work has been fine as luckily we are not too badly affected by all the A level trauma in the department I work in. I feel so sorry for all of the students, their teachers, and the university staff who have had to try and deal with this. My heart goes out to all of the young people in what has been such an awful year for them without all this.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting, liking and commenting, it is lovely to get such nice feedback from you all.

A week of lovely things

I have had a very exciting week, as I mentioned last week I went to stay with Ellen. ThisΒ  involved a walk in the beautiful Whitwell Woods near her house, a visit to Brodsworth Hall, lots of decorating and gardening (including trips to the garden centre and B and Q), and a trip to Aldi on the way back. I have not had this much adventure in weeks πŸ™‚

Ellen has been going to these woods regularly and they are beautiful, it was a really hot day so we were very glad of the shade. We saw lots of squirrels running around in the paths. They are so cute, Ellen has squirrels at work and sees them every day but I get so excited when I see one.

The social distancing at Brodsworth meant that we were only able to visit the house but it all worked very well. You have to book timed tickets and there were plenty available. We had a lovely picnic in the grounds of the house by the statues.

Brodsworth 4

Brodsworth 5

The formal gardens are very beautiful, especially the different shrubs and hedges.

Brodsworth 13

I also really liked the fern grotto, I have a lot of ferns in my rockery and love the way they grow back each year from tiny tendrils.

There were also lots of beautiful flowers, some we had seen before, and others, like this purple monkey orchid in the top right, which were new to us.

Brodsworth Alison

Ellen thought my choice of blouse was very appropriate for the rose arbour!

There were tea facilities and the shop was open so I was able to support English Heritage by buying some of my favourite curds.We took some gluten free scones, jam and cream with us and had a lovely little afternoon tea in the courtyard.

Brodsworth 28

I have been really wanting to get back to visiting places as I know how much they rely on visitor revenue. I know it may not be the top of everyone’s list of things to save but I really value our heritage so want to try and do as much as I can to help both English Heritage and the National Trust over the coming months. So many things are at risk because of the situation and it is very worrying for all who work in both these places and the retail and hospitality industries. I am very lucky to have a job that has not been affected too much.

As well as the adventuring I got to help Ellen with some painting and a bit of a garden makeover. This bed was full of stones and very hard but we managed to dig it out. We made a trip to B and Q to get some petunias, bizzie lizzies and lobelias which will be very pretty when they flower.

Ellie's garden

I also got to spend time with her very cute cat, Wynn, who I have not met before. He enjoyed his time with us in the garden while we drank gin and tonic and admired our handiwork. He is a rescue cat and cannot go outside on his own due to being poorly so he was on a harness with us.

Ellie's cat

Ellen has also been decorating stones to brighten up her garden. She has made lots of ladybird ones and also some beautiful mandala style ones, so she and I spent a lovely afternoon painting some more of them. Hers are the two larger ones here. They look so pretty dotted around the garden and hopefully we can get some more stones to add to these.

Painted stones

It was such a lovely week, I really appreciated being able to spend lots of time with Ellen as well as get some practical things done. It feels as if things are really starting to feel more normal here, fingers crossed that will continue.

I have some leave coming up this week as well, Ellen will be up again and we are going to go on a little day out for my birthday, just to one of the neighbouring villages. We will also be seeing my brother and sister in law for a visit in their garden. I also plan to work on more knitted animals and I have almost finished the vintage style embroidery. I am looking forward to a few quiet weeks after all the busyness of work.

I hope that you have a lovely week ahead as well. Take care,stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Making elephants

When I was trying to decide on the title of this post I was looking at all the little parts of the latest knitted toy from Little Cotton Rabbits before me. I thought about how you make an elephant, one bit at a time, then you sew them all together and ta da you get something like Bonnie below, posing in the bougainvillia in Spain.

Elephant knitting 2

knitted-bonnie-elephant-spain1

I was reminded of that saying about how to eat an elephant, which is one bit at a time and thought that was a very good basis for this post. Yesterday I submitted the re-written doctorate, which was 88, 997 words long. That seems an impossible thing to do, but I have done it. One day at a time, spending hours and hours on what seemed like a never ending task. But it is done πŸ™‚

In the same way we are just coming to the end of week 13 of lockdown. For all those days I have been here in my house, trying to do what seem like lots of impossible things. But they have got done, one day at a time. Now all of the very busiest period at work, and hopefully the most stressful part of the lockdown, is over.

I have taken up animal knitting again as after very long hours of typing my hands have been very painful in the evening. Not that I have done much this week at all. All of these body parts above I found in my WIP drawer, along with the body parts of two mice and at least one rabbit. I have just started sewing the elephant up and I am part way through a jumper for him as well. This is for a friend at work and she is going to give it to her grandson.

I have been inspired as well by the newly formed Little Cotton Rabbits Facebook group. There is such an amazing variety of beautiful toys here and the adaptations and colours that people have used are amazing.

I have shared some of the wonderful things that people have made below, these are by – clockwise from top left – Elizabeth Powis Fulkes, Gem Allaway, Jo Harrop, Sarah Fellner, Sarah Bellis and Hilary Trunnell Adams. Well done for all your fantastic creativity and thank you for all the inspiration. I just adore the bags, hats, rompers and the gorgeous colours you have all used. I love the idea of using sew on eyes as well.

My treat shopping this month is going to include some more of Julie’s patterns as I don’t have all of them yet. I have been sorting out which I need and making sure they are all stored safely. The cute little top and skirt are going to be on my list as I love that.

I have had a lovely week, apart from working hard on the doctorate I have been doing a puzzle, this is one that I absolutely loved doing. It is by a designer called Aimee Stewart and I have other works by her on my wish list. The title of the piece is very apt, A Stitch in Time, and she has used vintage paintings of stitchers to create this masterpiece of colour and detail. I would love to be any one of these women.

Stitch in time puzzle - full

Stitch in time puzzle 1

Stitch in time puzzle 2

Stitch in time puzzle 3

Stitch in time puzzle 4

I also had a fantastic surprise on Sunday. I knew that Ellen was coming up for a walk but just before she was due there was a knock on the door and it was my sister, Jacky. She had driven all the way from Worcester, a 2 1/2 hour drive, in her camper van to come and see me. She and Ellen had arranged it and it was so lovely to see her. Here she is, appropriately socially distanced of course!

Jacky Walk 2

We all went for a very lovely walk, up a footpath over the hills behind the house. I have not been there before and really enjoyed exploring, we found some streams, and sheep of course. And there were the wonderful views from the other side of the village.

We also did get to have our first BBQ of the year as it was beautiful weather, so we christened the new table and chairs.

Jacky Walk 11

I am going to have a really exciting weekend and week ahead. We are now allowed to visit other single households in ‘social bubbles’, so Ellen is coming to get me and I am going to stay at her house. Partly it is to help her decorate, but we have also booked to go to an English Heritage house on Monday. Just the gardens are open but I am so excited to be actually going somewhere.I may even go in a supermarket as well. The weather looks pretty damp here but I don’t care, I will have a lovely time.

So very good times ahead. Most of the work is done for the year so I can have some time off. There will be lots and lots of time for crafting and I only have to write a very small amount of words for the rest of the summer πŸ™‚ Some days I may not even write at all! I am so very happy to be at this stage.

I hope that you are all happy too and are going to have a lovely weekend. I hope that you are all feeling positive and looking forward to nice happenings in your own lives.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Off to the beach…. Marsden style

Don’t worry, we have not annoyed the residents of any seaside county by actually going to the beach, we are all still being very sensible here and I am still not leaving the village. Today marks 11 weeks since I left Marsden, on our little pre-lockdown trip to the fabric shop. Little did we know then that we were going to be in our homes for so long!

Ellen came up on Tuesday rather than at the weekend as the weather forecast was not good and we went for a very long, and quite hot, walk, right over to the other side of the village and onto the moors. I thought I would share some of the photos with you as it was a very beautiful day.

Marsden Beach walk 1

We started off in the middle of the village near the church where there is a lovely pack horse bridge and a weir. This cottage had the most enormous poppies in the garden that you can just see in the above picture.

Marsden Beach walk 6

This river comes out from one of the other mill sites, the only one to have been demolished and there are now houses there, some right next to the weir.

A walk though the woods next to the canal led to this example of a sheep fold, which was built as a demonstration of dry walling. There are a couple of sheep sculptures inside and it shows how they would contain the sheep while they sheared them, getting them in through the high gap and blocking off the little exit until each sheep had been done.

Marsden Beach walk 9

Marsden Beach walk 10

There are still lots of gorgeous rhododendrons in bloom and we also came across another example of the lovely tree that we found on our last walk. Ellen now has a plant finder app on her phone so we were able to establish that it is a hawthorn and the little rose buds had now fully bloomed and were looking beautiful.

Marsden Beach walk 7

Marsden Beach walk 8

Marsden Beach walk 12

The cottages above are at the end of the canal near the canal heritage centre and they were probably built for the workers that used to mend the boats when the centre was operational.

We were headed for a little bit of the river known locally as Marsden beach where we had a picnic and a paddle. There were quite a few families there and it was lovely to see the children playing in the water.

Marsden Beach walk 13

Marsden Beach walk 14

The ‘beach’ part of the walk has some lovely areas leading from it up into the moors so we followed the path along the river, passing another bridge until we came to part of the moor known as Eastergate.

Marsden Beach walk 17

Marsden Beach walk 18

This is National Trust land, as is all of the land around here that is not part of the Peak District National Park and as at other points there is a sculpture linking the landscape with the industrial heritage.

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Marsden Beach walk 22

Marsden Beach walk 23

Marsden Beach walk 24

This was part of the trail where the wool would be brought over the moors and is now a brilliant area for picnics and paddling on a hot day. We were lucky enough to find ice cream on sale in the village when we got back as some of the cafes are doing take away so finished our walk with an ice cream by the river.

A really lovely, lovely day, doing such normal but very special things now and finished off by the delivery of my new table and chairs which had arrived while we were out. My lovely neighbours had taken them in and so I finished the day replanting my hanging baskets and sitting outside with a glass of wine in the evening sun.

New chairs 1

The sheep have very kindly not eaten any of my plants, unlike my poor neighbours who have spent a lot of lockdown planting what the sheep have been treating as a salad bar. Luckily they don’t seem to like geraniums πŸ™‚

New chairs 2

Of course being Yorkshire we are now having a cold spell to celebrate the start of June but hopefully things will brighten up next week as we are planning our first Wool and Wine live meet up. There will be six of us, in the same space, with wine and nibbles, how exciting is that!

I have done very little on the crafting front as I have been working on my jigsaw on the nice sunny evenings, it is lovely to sit with the back door open and listen to the birds. I have just started a new embroidery from my vintage stitching book and will hopefully have some time this weekend to get back to the Liberty quilt blocks as I have sadly neglected them in the last few weeks. Never mind there will be plenty of time after the doctorate is finished.

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

The flower fairy in the wild

I had a very special day yesterday when I saw my lovely daughter for the first time since Feb. Now that we are allowed to travel for exercise she came up for the day and we went on a very long walk to the end of the second reservoir near me. Of course she did not wear the flower fairy dress but something a bit more suited to walking but it would have looked fabulous against all the lovely flowers.

Walk with Ellen 1

We even had a picnic beside the stream. It turned out to be very good weather, despite a very windy start and we sat for a long time in the sun, chatting about all the things that have happened in the past few months.

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Walk with Ellen 3

Walk with Ellen 9

Walk with Ellen 7

Walk with Ellen 6

Of course we have been keeping in touch by phone and video chat but nothing compares to seeing people live, with legs and everything, rather than just heads πŸ™‚ She is keeping busy with lots more sewing projects planned while she is still on furlough and some DIY to do on her house. Hopefully I may be able to go and help her with when restrictions are lifted further.

The rhododendrons were starting to bloom all up the valley, this is one of my favourite walks but have not been for a while to this spot.

Walk with Ellen 5

Walk with Ellen 4

Walk with Ellen 2

Walk with Ellen 14

I love the old stone work around the reservoirs. There are long steps either side of the largest one and lots of little ones leading off to other places around the area.

Walk with Ellen 10

Walk with Ellen 13

We had fun trying to work out the names of other plants as well. Ellen has been learning a lot from the garden staff at Clumber but neither of us knew what this was so Ellen has christened it tree rose, pink variety. It may be hawthorn but it has the most gorgeous tiny rose like flowers.

Walk with Ellen 11

Walk with Ellen 12

Today is very cold and windy and wet so after the weekly trip for fresh bread I have been staying in sorting photos and am planning to do some embroidery later on.

I need to work on the next block in the challenge tomorrow. I have not yet had time to do another Sawtooth Star in Liberty so that one will have to wait a while. This week’s block is a Bearpaw one and looking at the instructions it may be very tricky to make a 6 inch one with four ‘paws’ as the pieces would be very tiny so it may be a good idea to make a much bigger block.

I was searching for inspiration and found this beautiful scappy Bearpaw quilt from Wendy’s Quilts. Picture from her blog. This is absolutely gorgeous, I love all of the bright colours. There are more detailed pictures of each block on her blog as well.

Scrappy bear paw quilt

I am thinking that a scrappy Liberty block in a larger size may be a good idea. I can then maybe use it as the centre of my quilt or keep it for something else. Although I am getting better at the fiddly bits of these blocks, after last week’s struggles I think I want to go for an easier option than trying to make each paw only 2 1/2 inches finished size. After all this is meant to be a relaxing hobby πŸ˜‰

I hope that you have a nice rest of this Bank Holiday weekend if you are in the UK. The weather forecast for Monday is supposed to be very good. As I had my day off yesterday instead I will be working on my doctorate all day but hopefully can go for an early evening wander to the water.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.