Home turf

Hello All

Hands up those of you who have heard of Margaret Llewelyn Davies (1861 – 1944) or the Women’s Co-operative Guild (WCG). Anyone? I am sure that there are some of you who know all about this lady and the WCG. But I knew nothing about either (neither?). It is amazing what you learn in churchyards.

As you can see I have returned from my travels with a continued yen to visit churches! In this case St Mary’s Church was a wee bit of serendipity as I needed to pop over to Kirby Lonsdale to buy a friend’s birthday present. You know that niggle you get when you have something particular in mind.

The niggle was very useful as I had never travelled to Kirby L by bus and before I continue here is how I got there:

My local 46 bus took me to Kendal Bus Station then I boarded the Stagecoach 567 at 10.20am from Stand E. And off we roared …. pootled.

Back to the quaint loveliness that is Kirby Lonsdale a small market town in Cumbria within spitting distance of the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. I arrived along with the usual Cumbrian mizzle and having made a bee line for the birthday gift emporium (pressie not opened yet so I can say no more) I was ready for a warming drink and a bite to eat. I have often passed the Lunesdale Bakery and scooted past lest I be tempted by all the delicious goodies inside, I had not realised that behind the fabulous bakery shop is an equally fabulous cafe complete with an open fire, beamed ceilings and mullioned windows.

All this cosiness together with hearty local fayre. I enjoyed a pot of tea and devoured scrambled eggs on toasted croissants. Buttery yummy-ness.

With a wait between buses I then went for a wander. I have been to Kirby Lonsdale many times and love its small indie shops and beautiful buildings. Infact I always wonder why I never see a film crew there making a Austin-esque Sunday night drama or three. Perhaps the good burghers of Kirby have more sense than to let them in. But in my wandering I have never noticed the …erm … notice about Margaret Davies. Who knew that Kirby Lonsdale was such a hot-bed of socialist zeal.

Having seen more than my fair share of Europe’s magnificent Cathedrals in the last few weeks St Mary’s Church was refreshing for its beautiful simplicity and obvious importance to the local community. Surrounded by a higgledy piggledy grave yard where the ‘old’ font has been used as a cheery reminder of the children baptised by it before it was replaced in the church by an older font!

St Mary’s setting is traditional yet welcoming.

I love the modern ever-present health and safety reminder. Without slipping – I am actually a walking trip hazard as my friends know so we are lucky I am not writing this post from Accident and Emergency – I made my way into the ‘time-machine’ of St Mary’s.

St Mary’s is the product of centuries of building and renovation. It’s construction spans in age from the early 12th century to the 19th century but it is obviously very much a living church well used by both congregation and community. On my visit there were beautiful floral displays made ready – sadly – for a funeral. As I walked past these displays I wondered at the skill of the flower arranger. Certainly a lot of love, thought and care had gone into these wonderful creations.

Churches often house the most amazing and painstakingly made crafts. The kneelers are always fascinating to me.

Meticulous canvas work of great design made for daily use. Wonderful.

Harbingers of an even older time are also hidden there. Like this Green Man

A 12th century (so 1100 and something) reminder of earlier beliefs sitting atop one of the older pillars. He doesn’t look very happy about it does he? But I was pleased to see him as I enjoy the hints of our pagan past that are so often intertwined with ‘modern’ religious symbolism.

One thing I had never heard of before was a ‘Piscina’. No! Not what it sounds like but rather a sort of sink once used for the washing of the vessels used in Communion.

Perambulating certainly increases your learning. And that includes knowledge of bus timetables. Time to go. Ruskin’s View and the other delights of Kirby Lonsdale will have to await another visit.

I am sure it will not be long until I return, perhaps with family and dogs. So this offer may prove useful.

Last thing lest we forget Remembrance Sunday is coming up (12 November) so a little time has been spent on making up a few poppies and digging out patterns.

Thanks to Kendal Wool Gathering all such donations were collected to become part of a ‘Curtain of Poppies 2018’ with all proceeds going to the Royal British Legion.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Going out with a bang

Hello All

How are you? Well I hope. I am now home again in snuggly little Kendal all safe and sound. Back to being a country mouse.

But yowzerrs did I save the best to last! Cologne was fabulous and being able to enjoy it with my cousin R’i and her family made it extra super.

One of the downsides of travelling solo is evening meals so it has been lovely when visiting both Prenzlau and Cologne to have cousins who have gone out with me and taken me to places for dinner. Vielen Danke!

On Friday night in Cologne R’i and W’g took me to a beautiful riverside restaurant for an al fresco supper. Just the sort of place I love where you can people watch and chat. Afterwards full with a hearty German meal – needless to say I have loved the food here – and a glass of Kolsch we tootled off for a floodlit walk of Cologne. Amazingly beautiful.

But then … I was diverted into another world….a Jazz Cafe! Flippin’ Heck it was hilarious and brilliant and I don’t think I stopped laughing all the time we were in there.

Into the tiniest space was crammed a good proportion of Cologne (or so it seemed), wedged on balconies, squidging around the bar, packed up to the minuscule stage. Atmosphere in heaps and then to crown it all was a live band playing traditional Orleans jazz and blues. All this and another glass of Kolsch. What more could a girl (erm mature lady) want? Absolutely nothing.

Photos cannot fully convey the sweaty loud joyfulness of it all. These are the best I could do.

That’s what I call a Friday night. A good time definitely had by all.

Jump change!

Saturday saw me polishing up my halo and re-asserting my blue-stocking credentials. Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) and Romisch-Germanisches Museum here I come.

Cologne Cathedral has such significance to residents and visitors alike. As the trains coming into Cologne station pass right beneath its towering spires travellers crowd the windows to get that first glimpse of her and when they do they know they are home. It is difficult to find suitable adjectives but Cologne Cathedral surpasses anything I have seen. It is also certainly a triumph of Long Now thinking as it was begun in the mid 1200s, worked on until the late 1400s and then completed to the original design in the 1800s.

And amidst the grandeur are the small details created with love and pride.

It was magnificent and I needed to have frequent little sit-downs just to absorb as much of it as possible. And before you ask I did not go up the 533 steps into one of the spires! I did that in my twenties so no need to do it again…that’s my excuse I am sticking to it.

From Gothic to Roman in a couple of steps (if you have extremely long legs) as the Roman Museum is right next door to the Cathedral. The museum is built on the site of a Roman villa and was designed around it’s famous centre-piece the Dionysus Mosaic. In addition to the mosaic it has fabulous displays of Roman glassware:

And these superbly exhibited ‘Guardians of the Tombs’

I was in my Roman seventh heaven.

A happy but sad to go family afternoon and evening completed my fabulous stay in Cologne. Time for bed and the final train journey from Cologne to Amsterdam to catch the ferry home.

After bobbing about on the choppy waters of the North Sea I arrived safely in Blighty. I have had the most marvellous few weeks in Germany. It has fulfilled and exceeded expectations.

I hope you have enjoyed travelling along with me.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Advantages of being older

Hello All

One of the most famous things about this city is the Grimm’s fairy tale of the Bremen Musicians: a donkey, a dog, a cat and a cockerel.

Don’t you love that the donkey’s nose has been rubbed shiney? I digress, back to the fairytale the gist of which is that these fellows were in danger of being starved, shot, put out on the streets or put in a soup because they were old!!!! Brutal. But by joining forces and using their combined wisdom in their quest to become Bremen musicians they had the last laugh. Not only did they become a crime fighting quadruple (?) but they also found their forever home. Aaaah I love a happy ending. I am sure there is a lesson in there. Ideas in comments please.

I think there is another story waiting to be told about the lions guarding one of the entrances to Bremen’s cathedral.

Doesn’t it look like they are having a chat? Perhaps they have just eaten the last occupants of the two empty chairs.

‘What you having for pudding Leo?’

‘Same old same old, Lowis. Sugar dusted cardinal. You?’

‘Not quite sure but you know me I’ll eat anything dipped in mead.’

Inside St. Peter’s still boasts wonderfully painted stonework and vaulted ceilings.

For the first time I was in one of these amazing devotional buildings when there was a short service. I belong to no denomination but I was pleased to see the cathedral used for it’s primary purpose and it was something special to be part of. Amazing how the Lord’s Prayer never quite leaves you. I recognised it even in German.

Bremen has to be the most beautiful city I have visited on my interrail tour of Germany. If you ever come here be sure to visit the Schnoor area. I will let the sign do the talking:

The oldest part of Bremen and the cutest! It was like walking around a film set:

Infact that is doing Schnoor an injustice. It is Lilliputian medieval heaven. Of course I stayed for lunch.

The food – like all the meals I have had in Germany – was anything but small. It was also delicious.

But not everything I find bonny hails from the Middle Ages. Böttcherstraße was designed in the 1920’s.

Ok, ok that is not stupendously new and it was designed using the original foundations but for me this is progress. In any event it is very distinguished.

Now my friends I am going to have to love you and leave you. Tomorrow I travel to Cologne and hope to meet my cousin R’i. After that I am on the ferry where as you may recall getting a signal was nigh impossible.

Normal service will be resumed when I get home.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

P.S. Mr T will have to be torn away from the mini-bar …. again!

P.P.S. I leave you with something suitably woolly, the Schnoor sheep.


Let’s Talk Wool

Hello All

A quick update on progress of the shawl-scarf-thingy. I thought I might hit a problem in Prenzlau and the Thingy end at Berlin Senf. But I need not have worried K-D came to the rescue with an armful of gifted wools. Which to pick?

Just to be awkward I decided to pull back the part knitted jumper and go with the black and white combo. However it remains to be crocheted in as I was too busy galavanting and then chatting to people on the trains. Never fear Thingy WILL be finished and I have continued to buy a ball of wool in each place I stop.

After the Prenzlau black and white came Lubeck orange.

Today in Bremen I found this crafty emporium Idee.

All sorts of craft goodies filled this basement store. Paper crafts, fabrics and of course wool. I loved the knitting wall paper and the sample squares. Dotted around were tables to sit and knit or crochet which was very handy for me to gather all my goodies together.

So what is the Bremen wool? Bremen the purple-mix is yours.

As to the Thingy…let’s just say it has a way to go.

But that ferry journey is V-E-R-Y long. That’s the woolly roundup.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Evening stroll or should that be another evening stroll …

Hello All

Having arrived in the pretty town of Bremen an evening stroll seemed in order. I left the hotel turned right and whoa! walked straight into a medieval market.

A magical surprise. Gluhwein, wurst, gingerbread, stall holders in medieval costume. Everything you dream of in a German market. All that and a fun fair. Not bad for a Wednesday night!

It was very picturesque and I happily strolled about the stalls selling food and nik-naks. So many gorgeous things. Sadly limited by a rucksack I had to stick to ‘window shopping’. Sorry folks back home.

I took myself off to one of the many Cafes with street seating for a bustle free supper. Satisfying food and a peaceful evening ready for a busy day of sightseeing tomorrow.

A quiet spot but with enough passers-by to engage in that favourite hobby, people watching.

Early night ready for much walking tomorrow.

Gute Nacht.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

What can follow that?

Hello All

Double dose tonight. It is impossible to follow the wonderfulness that was visiting Prenzlau and my father’s village. So apologies to Lubeck – where I now sit – as I arrived yesterday in a huff. I was hungry (long train journey), tired (long train journey) and really wished I was still in Prenzlau (long train journey away). But some food and a good sleep put me right and today I was determined to use public transport and get a bus into the old town.

Glad to say mission accomplished. I even helped out a young German couple with the bus timetable. Together we all found ourselves in the medieval heart of Lubeck. I think it is … you know …. a World Heritage Site…. and deservedly so it is a hub of architectural eye-candy. Get those peepers ready, here goes:

Even getting in is superbly marked by several humongous ‘gates’ this is the Burgtor.

I really wish I had brought my digital pencil. Please excuse my finger-scrawl but you get the gist. However I was distracted by (Hark! Choirs of angels):

A celebration of the humble spud. Stuff of dreams.

Of course someone let it go to his head! Enough of this frivolity there are important buildings to admire.

This jolly duo to listen to.

And a lion named Heinrich.

Well that is what this numpty thought. Turns out Heinrich the Lion was a twelfth Century Prince who founded both Munich and Lubeck, married the daughter of our very own Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine and ruled a whole chunk of Germany. In a spare moment he also laid the foundation stone of Lubeck Cathedral in 1173.

Oh look there is Heinrich again,

A truly beautiful city but a fleeting visit. However I do not leave empty handed, Lubeck orange is ready to join in the creation of the Thingy.


More about the Prenzlau wool later ….

Time to say Auf Wiedersehen Lubeck thank you for putting up with huffy me.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx


Hello All

Back in the room after a fabulous few days getting acquainted with a family I had never before met. I would like to whole-heartedly thank all my German cousins (1st and 2nd!) for their help in making my stay in my father’s homeland truly special. BIG thanks to cousin K-D who made it possible to find key places in my father’s life which I would never have found alone, for making me feel at home and also for the mercy dash to pick up my connecting train when the first was delayed. Phew! And none of this would have happened without the Cologne and Bavarian cousins doing a lot of emailing and phoning. Well done C and R. You are all stars.

I still need to digest my emotions but to give you a flavour of what I found here are some highlights.

The building in Prenzlau where my father was born was once a Dominican Monastery and is now a museum. I found this very satisfying as not only do I love museums (you may have noticed) but it also means that should No1 Son and No1 Daughter ever follow in my footsteps it will still be here. What a lovely museum, we spent a little while pootling around (think I may have brought the English concept of a pootle with me) looking at the history of Prenzlau. Especially pleasing was the model of Prenzlau in 1935, this would have been just how my father would have known it.

Prenzlau is in a beautiful location on the shores of the Uckersee. Coming from the English Lake District this felt like familiar territory.

After a lunch in the Autumn sunshine enjoying this wonderful view we travelled the few miles to the village where my father learnt his trade as a blacksmith and his family lived.

Sadly the forge is derelict now, like so many old buildings in what was the DDR left empty to fall in to disrepair.

But there are beautiful houses and lovely homes in the village and K-D had arranged for me to meet some family from my Oma’s side who still live in Klein Sperrenwalde along with their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Sharing coffee and cake with them was very special (oh to have proper cheesecake…delicious). Despite having no common language – Russian was the second language taught in schools until re-unification – we had a good laugh.

An early evening stroll round the village was magical. The stories about the buildings and people being thankfully translated by RW K-Ds son who had joined us. A gem!

What a thoroughly lovely bunch. I have a lot of tales and photos to share with my children when I get to my Heimat.

I will take away with me two powerful things: the kindness and thoughtfulness of my father’s family; and the staggering beauty of this landscape. I couldn’t capture the breadth of the horizons. This is a poor attempt.

It is a huge land where trees abound, herds if deer graze the fringes of that woodland and flocks of cranes fly from the fields as trains pass. It’s people and it’s countryside are amazing. Leaving was difficult.

Now before I come over all emotional I will leave you with this crazy character from the cloisters at the monastery to make you smile.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx