Tuesday, June 30


Woolfest was the excuse but we managed to escape for a few days to the Lake District, towing the trusty ol' caravan (which I have named Bessie). We arrived at the Ritz of caravan sites, Skelwith Fold, just west of Ambleside. Situated on a wooded hillside, completely invisible from all roads and with lots of landscaping within the site, it was quite an eye opener. At the site shop you can order croissants and petit pains au chocolat to collect at breakfast time the following morning - now that is seriously posh.We had the oldest caravan by decades, no hook-up, no fancy schmancy satellite dishes, barbeques, remote control parking gadgets - no siree. But we did indulge in quite a bit of people- and 'van- watching on the site. Hmmm, I bet they said a few things about us too!The weather was fantastically hot (too hot for us softies) and so on Day One we indulged in a cruise down Windermere to the Aquarium of the Lakes. This involved four different vessels and was pretty fine relaxation. We visited the aquarium ten years ago and one of the attractions we wanted to watch again was the sight of ducks diving underwater. You are situated at the bottom of the 'lake' and can watch through the glass the ducks propelling themselves down to search around for food among the carp and other fishes. Other tanks hold scarier stuff and a slightly curious collection of 'non native' critters like scorpions, and tarantulas and fantastic 'bumble bee poison arrow frogs' which were my favourites. Another day found us beside Coniston where we resisted the temptation to take one of the delightful old steam gondolas across the water to Brantwood - one time home of Ruskin. We had been to Grizedale to walk the sculpture trail - but I'll show you some images from that next time...and I may just mention my Woolfest purchases.

Saturday, June 20

Woolfest beckons...

A week today I shall be surrounded by happy smiling people and lots and lots of wool; on the hoof, in the fleece, dirty, scoured, bagged, combed, carded, dyed, felted, spun, knitted, on the cone, in skeins, balls, oh and on and on - textile heaven - and all this in a Cumbrian auction mart.

Woolfest Rocks! For those of us who cannot justify a major trip south, the fact that the Woolclip took the plunge a few years ago and launched into the relative unknown by holding a wool festival in the north west of England is a decision we are heartily thankful for. And it has grown and grown in popularity. We love it! You get to see old friends and make new ones, to learn fascinating skills from Europe, the US and beyond, to take classes, and see and feel and smell and discuss the merits of every item on show or sale with enthusiastic and knowledgeable folk who are happy to share their experience.

Last year I bought delicious fibres to spin with and this time I am going back for more. I'll probably also succumb to beautiful buttons, some interesting yarns to dye up, useful tools and bits and pieces, a few presents and maybe some luscious sheeps' milk ice cream. Hugh may join me- he's not averse to a bit of colour (or ice cream) or he may explore the delights of the area before gathering me and my haul of goodies up and heading back to our wee caravan. Yup, we're making a mini-holiday of it and soaking up some Lake District sights for a few days.

Ash and Midge will be well catered for - their very own high class dog-sitter is coming to stay!

Once I am back I already have another list of things to do. First up - what can I sell at the Curly Kale and Cream Cakes day? The first Sunday of July, August and September, we're holding produce days at the village hall - if you make it, bake it, sew it or grow it you can come along and sell it at the hall (no charge for stalls) and enjoy a cream tea too - or just buy the products of others' hard work! First date is from 2.00pm on Sunday 5th July.

I'll also be turning my mind to the Crossing Borders Art Trail - I'll be running mini-workshops but I'll tell you more about them another day.

Sunday, June 14

Taking Time

This little corner of the world is bathed in sunshine again today - the dogs are happy, Hugh is off-road driving over in Lanarkshire and he's happy. I am in the middle of a few domestic chores to be followed by a period of reading a book and drinking a cup of tea, so I will shortly be happy too!
In this household we are forever trying to reach a destination instead of enjoying the journey - you know, endless lists of stuff to be done, either written down or in your head, items scored off, but more always being added.
Today I am just in apprecation mode - of all the wild birds making their homes in the garden, of the impressive number of courgette and tomato plants growing well in the polytunnel, of the wonderfully spoiled life of Ash and Midge, of the hens scratching away in the grass. As I type this I see I have an audience of no fewer than seven sparrows lined up on the edge of the guttering, peering in.
Here's something else for me to appreciate! These stunning socks, knitted for me by the Jess, my sock star! I dyed the main yarn and Jess used scraps I gathered from Janice to do the toes and heels and tops. The cabling is fantastic - she tells me the sock pattern is called Paraphernalia. The colour scheme is quite 'old school tie' I think, though the wearer is anything but.

And finally my kantha work birdie cushion is finished. The bright and cheerful one behind it is the real thing, which I treated myself to a few years ago.