Saturday, July 18

Poison arrows

Now, I know you have all been desperate to see what a bumble bee poison arrow froggie looks like so here's a lovely shot which I borrowed from iPhotograph's flickr page. Isn't it a beauty? Sadly quite deadly and not at all cute in real life, but stunning design! This sort of bee is rather more common round here, fortunately.
I've been reading TLC's blog and marvelling at the range and quality of fruit she has growing in her Washington garden - puts my strawbs and few rasps to shame. I have high hopes for my first attempt at blueberries, though. Here they are looking refreshed after a day and half of torrential rain. It is still drizzling now but at least we can venture out in it without fear of being washed away...
And now a tasteful shot of my Lakeland purchases. Star of the show is my Herdy sheep bank, produced by these stylish folk who introduced Herdy mugs at last year's Woolfest. I coveted a sheepy bank this time but due to a regulatory hitch they could not sell them to us then and there. So I took advantage of the money-off voucher I was given to buy one on-line. I chose original Herdy grey but they are available in wilder shades too. The website is full of lovely images and all purchases help to conserve the Lake District - it's not just for tourists. after all. The delicious handthrown bowl, bought in Hawkshead, is made by Mary Chappelhow. It's a very neat shape and allows for my morning meusli/granola to have milk added without drowning any fresh strawberries sitting on top. I shall endeavour to take care of it, but sadly my 'enthusiastic but clumsy' attitude to dishwashing does lead to frequent chips and cracks.
Underneath is my new buff - also sheepy. Buffs are great in this part of the world - they stop rain dripping down my neck and cover the gap between jacket and fleecy hat in cold weather. Handknit cowls are lovely but need rather more care than I generally treat my clothes to.

Wednesday, July 8

A walk in the Woods

Our walk around the Sculpture Trail in Grizedale was done in steaming hot weather - quite uncomfortable for us northern types! Fortunately it was too hot for midges to be out, otherwise we would have just travelled direct from car park to cafe... Lots had changed since our last visit a century ago and several of the older creations are damaged or gone but this wonderful flock grazing by a stream were waiting to be stumbled upon. There were giant metal spiders too but I thought you might appreciate them less. There's a huge new visitor complex nearing completion so the air was rent by Stihl saws and the like. However, inside this very posh cafe was another treat (not just the cakes). An exhibition of work by Edward Acland (environmentalist and small holder who lives in the Lake District) who has used old double glazing units and, well, rubbish, as his medium. The windows are framed in wood, as you can just see, and he jam-packs the gap between the panes with layers of all sorts of discarded items. There are layers of, for example, sawdust, sheep's wool, soot, baler twine, toast (!), swarf (the tiny corkscrew metal shavings off lathes), dust and other sweepings. They make abstract shapes and are inspiring in concept and appearance, in my humble opinion.

I have not photographed my haul of dyed wool tops from Woolfest but I may yet do so, or better still, gather together my other few treats from our holiday to show you. Time has been in short supply the last few weeks. I have been very busy behind the scenes with Crossing Borders as we have been applying for grants, and inviting companies to tender for the further development of the website. And we have new permanent display and selling space for members' work at Paxton House near Berwick which we all take turns to look after for a day. I was there on Tuesday this week and as it was a quiet day for visitors I got lots of spinning done!