Free As A Bird

Hello All

As a much appreciated long weekend – thank you Sir John Lubbock and your Bank Holidays Act of 1871 – stretches before me it is lovely to feel free as a bird … for the next three days at least. I have earmarked this time to get on with some crafting. But first the delightful task of getting in some supplies.

Sadly the last dedicated wool shop in Kendal has closed so I was up early yesterday morning for a trip to Ulverston on the Furness Peninsula.

Ulverston could never be dull when you are greeted by these fellows.

And who is this little chap chewing on Oliver Hardy’s trouser-leg?

Ulverston has thrived not only because of it’s connection to Stan Laurel and its wonderful people but also because of its plethora (thanks V for reminding about that word) of Indies. It is home to a cornucopia of small ‘one off’ shops. All picturesquely jolly and in keeping with this quirky festival town. They have fab names like Tantrum – a baby and toddler shop – and Squirrel, an emporium of many delights situated in an old pub. As you can see the Ulverstonians invest in making things fun and welcoming.

And who can resist this logo:

I certainly didn’t manage to!

But before I could concentrate on shopping for supplies I needed a pit stop for breakfast. Ulverston has many fabulous eateries and is a vegetarians’ haven. I made straight for one of my favourite spots, Gillam’s.

Tofu BLT …. magic. Energised by calories and tea I am off to one of Ulverston’s lovely wool shops. I embarked on my journey … all the way across the road to Loopy… exhausting.

Having regained my breath from my huge exertions I had a very happy time browsing. Back and forth around the displays of wonderful yarns I went (good grief this is sounding positively aerobic!) until I found the perfect yarn and even more importantly the right number of balls. Joy unbounded. But that is a big project for a later reveal. This weekend is about making samples for a local co-operative. So time to smell the roses and get my bus home.

OK not roses exactly – rather worryingly poppies! – but you get my drift.

Now it’s Sunday and I have sorted out what I need let’s have a look in the craft house …

Time to get cracking. First let’s finish off an easy job (or two). A wee bit of ribbon and hey presto!

One sample pair and one pair a gift for a new mother. Smiley face.

Now for those colourful tops of Merino wool. Needle felting calls.

Fingers protected by pastry cutters I can choose the colours I want and obtain a degree of uniformity to create a mini- Roundel of blooms.

That is two samples ready to present to the cooperative’s committee. Next to the yarns …. sorry teatime calls and I have some food to rustle up so those next makings will have to wait…. I will keep you (literally) posted. After all I still have day left of my long weekend!

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Bags are packed

Hello All

All packed and ready to go

I have been on one of my regular jaunts to Yorkshire to see No 1 Daughter and little granddaughter Peanut.

I have configured what for me is the perfect route. Now this is not for those that want to get anywhere fast. In fact it is definitely one for the proponents of slow living and those that enjoy the journey more than the destination. All aboard.

As with most of my journeys this one starts with a bus. On this occasion the 555 traveling towards Lancaster easily caught from the end of the road. Apologies if you get travel sickness but here is a snippet of what I can see atop the double decker as it bumps its way between Milnethorpe and Holme crossing the River Bela. GCW grab your paper bag.

I show you this particular section of my trip because in a way this is where all my journeys start. See those low buildings just before we cross the river? They are on the site of a World War Two prisoner of war camp. This is were my father spent his first weeks in Britain.

And while we are traveling memory lane, anyone a fan of ‘Brief Encounter’? Here is it’s iconic location and the next stage in my travels, Carnforth Station.

Which comes complete – thanks to the magic of movies – with its own heritage centre.

It certainly feels like going back to a time when travel was a more leisurely affair. While there are high speed trains that pass through the station they do so at such speed that they almost whip your eyebrows off. Our transport is a two carriage rickety sort of affair which hopefully will get me to Leeds in time to meet No 1 for lunch.

Fast(ish) forward a couple of hours. Hey not so presto and here we are in Leeds basking in the city sunshine and enjoying an al fresco lunch at Bill’s.

Complete with complimentary Pimms.

Well while I am out of my normal comfort zone I might as well go all the way. Thanks to a gift from a friend – GCW got your head out of that bucket yet? – No 1 and I were off to enjoy a hand and arm massage at the freshly fragranced Jo Malone emporium of scented delights. All kinds of ungents were laid before us.

What to choose? Hanging on just about to my old hippy credentials I went for something earthy ‘Oud and Bergamot ‘. Oud ? I hear you ask. Or at least I hope you do because I did. Oud – I was reliably informed by the helpful assistant – is a resin that forms in trees. On further research (wonderful thing this interweb) I discovered that this type of resin is particular to the tropical agar tree. Well you learn something new ….

Funny how you often meet woolly people isn’t it? Turned out the young lady expertly lathering our arms with all kinds of wonderfulness

is about to become a fashion student in London and she creates artwork using yarn. Hopefully she is reading this and will be soon letting us know all about her Etsy shop. Good luck with your studies and your modern twist on wool craft. Can’t wait to see it.

Gloriously perfumed we made a quick dash to Leeds station and boarded the 5 o’clock commuter train to No1’s village. No 1 frequently averted her eyes/exclaimed/pretended she wasn’t with me as I swung my new backbag over my shoulders with such gusto that I should really travel with a Government Health Warning. But we couldn’t be late.

This little bundle of impish joy was waiting to see us.

Doesn’t she just wear the look that says “Get me. I have just graduated from the Baby Room. I am officially a toddler. Watch out world”?

It’s great being a Grandma (Omi) and even better when despite a few weeks apart your granddaughter immediately recognises you with cries of “Ommmmmeeeeee “, hugs, kisses and an introduction to all the toys in nursery.

Back home No 1 gets little one safely strapped into her carrier and we are off for an early evening walk to the river with their two hounds G (the Chihuahua) and B (a rescued Pooley cross). Now that’s what I call getting a wiggle on.

Oh the wonders of modern technology. Anyone else remember the delights of the Box Brownie?

Turns out this was quite a doggy weekend. No 1 was off first thing to help set up the village dog show while Peanut and I enjoyed a gentle start to the day watching the Jungle Book … amazing how you remember all the songs. If I say so myself I do a mean impression of Balloo the bear … I was never destined to be cool nor glamorous… you guessed? however did you do that?

After a lie down to recover from an over energetic rendition of “I want to be like you” we took the newest of No1’s doggy additions with us to spend the afternoon at the Dog Show. So many marvellous dogs so many waggy tails and what dog show would be complete without terrier racing?! The idea is that the terriers race to the end of the course and through the hole in the centre of the hay bales. Some of them had other ideas and the chaos at the end. Hilarious.

B was an absolute star. Despite a rough start in life he was as good as gold enjoying meeting new friends and even having a go at sausage bobbing. Well done to the new pup on the block.

Too soon the time came to return home. Armed with a new book to read – very promising – thanks to No1’s partner RP I was again packed and ready to leave.

One quick look at the roundel I made for Peanut’s door as bright and jolly as ever.

Then back home for work and next weekend’s crafting to build up a range of samples…more on that then.

And that was where I was going to end today’s post but life is full of little surprises. I had just said my goodbyes to No 1 Daughter and Peanut and walked to my platform at Skipton. I was thinking that there were a lot of folk awaiting the Morecombe train when this reminder of another era chugged into the station.

And revealed itself to be the world famous.

Who’d have thunk?!

Now unless anything else happens ….

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Folks

Hi All

What a super busy sociable Saturday and all to do with folks at nearby Staveley village.

After the difficult times following Storm Desmond in 2015 it is great to see how this small rural community has bounced back. Always a hub for walkers and cyclists – Wheelbase a Mecca for our bicycling friends is the most enormous cycle shop and if you are wondering does rentals too – Staveley's Mill Yard is also a home to the wonderfulness that is More? Bakery, Hawkshead Brewery and the well known Wilf's Cafe along with other small artisan producers and services.

But that is not all. Does this village have more to give? Yes it does! Staveley hosts fun festivals and productions throughout the year and BEST OF ALL you don't need a car to get there! You can travel by train, bus (the amazing 555 route) or walk.

This weekend it was Staveley Folk Festival and a few of us gathered to listen to the bands and enjoy hearty grub. We were there to see JC and the Moonshine Band. A friend's husband (the tall chap with the guitar) plays with them. They are brilliant musicians and foot-stompingly good. It was great to meet up with friends to enjoy their music and sing, stamp and clap along. One of those rare happy glow moments.

Now let's see if my upgrade is money well spent ….

It was quite tricky ensuring I didn't inappropriately capture anyone's image. That's my excuse for the clumsy editing… Enjoy a brief snippet of the band in full flow.

Outside the sun had come out to play – truthfully us Cumbrians were not sure what that yellow shiney orb in the sky was – and the Morris dancers were in fine fettle. A spritely jingley happy end to a fabulous afternoon.

Thanks to KS and AB for asking me. It was a thoroughly fab time. Back again next year?

As to craft making think my mojo is slowly but surely reasserting itself. Those booties were finished,

And gifted to the beautiful baby they were made for. He's gorgeous and mum and dad are quite rightly glowing with pride. And look!

I am on a roll. Whoopppeeee. There will be no stopping me now.

What are you up to? Any craft projects underway? Visiting any festivals?
It would be lovely to hear.

Until next we meet,
Moke xxx

A penny for them

Hello All

I often wonder at stream of consciousness. When I was studying for my A Levels … or was it O Levels?…. well some sort of exam that stole the best of the summer with revision .. I remember reading A Portrait of The Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce. Joyce we were told wrote using stream of consciousness technique ( yawn, give me back the sunshine). Nowadays I realise Stephen Daedalus is not alone with his wayward thinking.

Random thoughts seem to pop into my head especially when I AM TRYING REALLY HARD TO CONCENTRATE. A bit like Homer Simpson I am listening or reading as best I can then whoops! I have a 'Squirrel in a Tree' moment. Distracted once more by cerebral flotsam. And what was it today? What colour are your rhododendrons?

Excuse my impertinence. Mine are pink.

I understood that soil type dictated the colour of rhododendrons but when I am out and about locally I have noticed that they appear in a variety of colours even within a small area. That was today's little unnecessary conundrum. Why am I so distracted?

What I AM TRYING REALLY HARD TO CONCENTRATE on is doing more crafting and deciding what small items I can make by needle felting, crochet, or tablet weaving – suggestions on a postcard please – to sell through a small local cooperative. But I think I have crafters' block. I seem to have come to a making halt and even simple projects elude me.

Hopefully rescue may be at hand. Two friends are coming over tomorrow for a kitchen table crafts session. I am sure they will inspire me and help me finish at least one little project.

I mean those ends?! Not sewn in….

Until next we meet, Moke xxx