Exeter – Bear Break Out

Hello All

When No 1 Daughter suggested I come to help her ‘stock-take’ in Exeter I thought oooh beautiful ancient Exeter. Gothic cathedral Exeter; Norman castle Exeter; Roman wall Exeter; River Exe Exeter… right up my street Exeter. Oh no!

Lockup Exeter! Hey ho, never mind I was volunteering for a good cause. Does helping out children at same time give me bonus points???

It was certainly very satisfying making order out of chaos.

Okay okay it may not look much improved but believe me it is … really. I was also in my element taking photos to catalogue what was in there. Love a bit of advanced listing.

Now if you are worrying about the cages …. No 1 Daughter works for a wonderful charity Animals Asia and the cages have been used in the past to illustrate the awful conditions in which bears are kept for their entire lives (sometimes as long as 30 years) in order that bile can be removed from their gall bladder.

With all that in mind we couldn’t help ‘liberating’ these two guys.

They will be going out to assist Animals Asia supporters spread the word and help their living cousins enjoy happier lives.

We rewarded ourselves with a trip to the nearby Cosy Club for supper …. look even a vegan menu (available on request) ….

And a speech from

Lenin! Strange. Great restaurant with menus to suit everyone and situated in an old hospital with quirky decor. No 1 Daughter and I loved it.

Back at home I have a work in progress.

This is the first time that I have used an Avid Seamstress pattern and what a quality act! It comes complete with hard wearing, heavy duty pattern, useful information and terms cards and a booklet that guides the sewer (dearie me that reads like something to do with drains!) through making the garment.

For numpties like me who dive in and non-numpties that wisely like checking out all the information available there is also support on the Avid Seamstress website.

I will update you on progress. So…

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

PS Big thanks to DC for helping with the lockup. Without your help we may well have still been there! Great to see you, GF and GC. Mx

Yorkshire Days

Hello All

Grandchild-sitting called with its joyous, exuberant and sometimes exhausting song. Bags packed I set off to help out for a few days in Yorkshire. Sitting at my usual bus stop I took in the view of the field opposite. Over many years I have watched this field change through the seasons. Sadly it is soon to be built on. I am savouring it while I can.

A bit of excitement followed while I awaited my Skipton bound train at Carnforth… famous acting couple Timothy West and Prunella Scales were filming! I really hope it was for another of their wonderful canal journey documentaries. These have been a huge hit here in the UK. We shall have to wait and see. Fingers crossed.

With baby-care handed over to me I found that I had a free day before picking Peanut up. Ilkley (of On Ilkley Moor bar t’at fame) was the day’s Elderado.

I had a short shopping list of sewing goodies to get and started with a visit to the lovely little Eme, in Brook Street.

This tiny shop has a wonderful selection of fabrics and is filled with inspirational patterns and projects. I couldn’t resist a couple of fat quarters for my patchwork stash. Keeping to a blue colour range I especially loved these.

And good old Boyes satisfied my interfacing needs. Fusible don’t you know! Useful for ‘holding’ patchwork before adding wadding and backing fabric ready for quilting.

Do any of you have Boyes shops? I think they are an ‘up North’ British thing. Boyes stores are an absolute hotch potch of goods – fishing tackle is next to card making and crafts; bird food near to toiletries – yet they have a fabulous haberdashery section and if I can’t find something anywhere else Boyes usually have it. To my mind Boyes may be slightly bonkers but it is always worth a look see.

Sewing needs met there was enough time to try out a local eatery

Daniel’s Cafe and Bistro had a great website (honestly read the bit about why is is called ‘Daniel’s’ it’s heartwarming) and more to the point there were plenty of vegan suitable goodies. The waiter was super-helpful and offered to adapt where possible anything on the menu. As it was there was no need as I went with the scrumptious home made veggie burger.

It was lovely to nibble my way through a leisurely tasty lunch with my latest read (thanks MB for the loan) and be ready for Peanut on my return.

Post-nursery swings and slides were demanded by my diminutive charge…oh how it took me back and oh how wonderful it was to have charged up my ‘batteries’ for a whole heap of pushing, lifting and spinning. Those playgrounds are brutal when a two-year old is in charge!

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Happy Fortnight

Hello All

Apologies for last week’s lapse. Things are all good here at Casa Moke just a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. I warn you this is a l-o-n-g post. You will be rewarded with a cuppa if you make it to the end.

What have I been up to?

Cooking.

Delicious Beetroot, Mushroom and Dulse Seaweed Burgers. Grating beetroot always makes the kitchen look like a crime scene but the consequent mopping up was worth it for these tasty burgers packed with yummy goodness.

I love seaweed however often forget how scrumptious and beneficial it is. Thanks to Kate Humble’s BBC series ‘Back to the Land with Kate Humble’ I was reminded and have found some fabulous producers. For this recipe and the Seaweed Cookbook I turned to The Cornish Seaweed Company. The book is a wonderful resource: along with plentiful recipes for everyone (vegans, veggies, omnivores and more) it profiles a huge variety of seaweeds and gives a guide to foraging.

Crafting.

Simple patchwork and a teeny-weeny amount of quilting are helping me gain more and more confidence on my sewing machine (sorry Snail of Happiness I have still not tried stretchy fabrics!). I am also rather pleased with the results if I do say so myself. No 1 Daughter has put in an order for cushions to coordinate with her soon to be decorated living room. Praise indeed.

Hot off the press…

Another cushion made almost entirely from scraps from earlier makes including at least two outfits for my granddaughter. I am smiling looking at it.

Some of you may remember my HUGE over purchase of wool for the simple Fair Isle jumper for Peanut.

Well I have found the perfect project to use the surplus. A Guernsey Wrap.

The pattern by Jared Flood is on Ravelry here. Versions of it can also be seen on one of my favourite blogs ‘Foxs Lane‘ … but I can’t remember where! It is a fabulous blog well worth a visit and you may even stumble on the wrap along your way.

Walking.

Walking buddies JG and JF set off clutching maps (OS Explorer OL7 – The English Lakes, South Eastern area) and compasses – they are part way through learning about navigation – with me their hill-loathing chum (how am I Cumbrian?!) in tow to complete the Kentmere walk we attempted last year when snow and ice made us/me decide to turn back. With the weather much improved – a DRY yet windy day – we set off in high hopes of sitting by a beautiful reservoir to eat our lunches.

Our day started with a charming easy stroll based on No. 3 in Norman Buckley’s book “Lakeland Walking: on the Level”. However as the hills of The Kentmere Horseshoe loomed in front of us it did look as if we were walking into Mordor. But hey! We had that attractive ‘lake’ to look forward to.

With a very flat valley floor and glacial moraines it was easy to see how the Ice Age sculpted this landscape. Ice now a thing of the past…things warmed up around end of April this year…lunch was calling and thoughts of dipping my tootsies in the lapping waters of the man-made tarn were becoming increasingly pleasing.

But what’s this?!

Or should that be what is it not?!!! Where has our reservoir gone? A couple of fellow walkers seeing our dropped jaws told us, it’s the result of a leak! In the past I have had small garden ponds and yes they have suffered the odd pond lining incident but a whole vanished reservoir? That is something.

Abandoning our visions of picnicking on a beautiful shoreline we crossed the spillway. Having watched much too much Nordic Noir I confess I was looking out at the wasteland for a skeleton or two at least. Happily I have nothing untoward to report but it was a very eerie setting…movie location hunters take note.

So being a bit agile (it says so in Buckley’s book) we followed a rough and narrow path back along the opposite bank of the River Kent until the going became easy again and we could stop out of the wind for sandwiches (hummus, peppers and celery if you were wondering) and have a short rest.

The walk back was idyllic. We couldn’t help but laugh at the adventurous and frolicking lambs (I thanked their mums for the wool) some of whom had perched themselves all over this glacial ‘dustbin’.

We admired the bridges.

And held our breath waiting for the bluebells to bloom.

All this and we barely got wet. A rare occasion in them thar hills.

Marching … Women of Cumbria

JG and I managed another tick on our ‘Women of Cumbria’ spreadsheet. We boarded the 505 Stagecoach bus to Coniston and had a wonderful time at the Ruskin Museum looking at all the displays and the exhibition dedicated to Annie Garnett a nineteenth century community entrepreneur who founded a textile industry in Lakeland.

Annie was one of six siblings and while her brothers went to school she was lucky enough to learn autonomously at home and particularly through her love of gardening. Taking her vision from Ruskin’s linen ‘industry’ Garnett founded The Spinnery in Windermere which gave women homebased work spinning yarns which were then woven at the spinnery. Many of the designs were created around plant forms.

Annie Garnett’s knowledge of weaving and textile history enabled her to create new fabrics and dye swatches that reflect her love of Lakeland’s colours.

Beautiful.

Garnett was not only a knowledgeable, inspired artisan she was also an astute businesswoman. By 1899 over 90 women worked as home spinners and embroiders. These workers were given training and also loaned their equipment for free. Annie clearly saw The Spinnery as a business and not a charity and she worked hard to promote it. Her management style was most certainly hands-on!

Lastly we could not leave Coniston without a ratch around a graveyard. We were looking for two gravestones.

Ruskin’s.

And W.G. Collingwood’s. Mission completed.

Are you ready for that drink? You’ve done really well to get here.

Tea drinking.

With a lack of dairy I have missed a delicious cuppa so I went to the Mecca of tea and coffee drinking which we are lucky enough to have here in Kendal, Farrer’s. I went experimental and by serendipity discovered a delicious brew.

And here I sit supping. Time you got the kettle on too. You have certainly earned it.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

PS I receive no freebies (I can dream) nor payment (does that happen?) for anything recommended in my blog. Mx

Bremen here we come … again

Hello All

Sunday 22 April 2018

Another day of train travel. Five trains to get us from gorgeous Copenhagen to lovely Bremen… and get us there they did. Only one observation: German train stations are REALLY busy on Sunday. When I inter-railed last autumn I avoided travelling on Sundays ‘cos I thought everything would be quiet and closed…how wrong can you be?!

But with connections easily made and trains on time – we even managed to make time as our train from Fredericia to Flensburg was in early so we caught an earlier connection to Neumunster – we were in Bremen while the sun still shone and there was time for an evening stroll.

I loved that we walked to an area new to me, outside the old town in Ostertor. It was buzzing with cafes and bars and cool (how hip am I? … not at all?! Mon Deiu!) graffiti.

Close to the hotel we had a fabulous supper of tapas style sides and salad.

No 1 Daughter like me thoroughly enjoyed it. By the by those little pepper things (Pimientos de padro) were a real treat.

After a long day it was then time for bed.

Night night Bremen.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Finding Soul

Hello All

Saturday 21 April 2018

Our last full day in Copenhagen. There was a brief respite for my toes – No 1 Daughter is training for the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge and is a spirited walker is all I will say – when we boarded one of those wonderful (well my feet thought so) double-decker tour buses. We (my toes and I) sailed happily around some of the places we may have missed on our perambulations.

Of course the Little Mermaid is a must.

Everyone else seemed to agree! When I visited the same site [whispers] over 40 years ago we almost walked past our fishy tailed friend as there was no tell-tale crowd of onlookers to highlight her presence.

But the bus-ie balm for my tootsies was short-lived as we had set our sights on a much vaunted vegan eatery that was “off the map!”. So carefully checking out the best stop (confess that was just me) we sallied forth to go off piste and find ‘Souls’.

A little aside about hard-copy maps versus location finder apps. I love a proper paper map and while I have one clutched in my hot sweaty (it was still warm) hand I feel geographically safe and able to find most places I want to be. On the other hand I discovered a distinct downside to apps while on this little walk…they take you via diversions that they think you will be interested in (ie shopping opportunities) rather than straight from A to B – the Romans would surely be horrified.

The good thing about this ‘finder’ thing is, I suppose (did I mention my feet hurt?!), that it gave us more opportunities to enjoy the charming Copenhagen streets and be truly ready for lunch.

N.b. These pictures were not necessarily taken on this walk but No 1 Daughter loves a bicycle photo opportunity and I rather like them too.

After a block sized detour in a side street we found ‘Souls‘.

It was well worth the walk.

Here’s my Viking Salad … had to be…. with plant-based balls and salads to die for including delicious pickled onions…got to stop … my mouth is watering …..

Anyhoo fired up with all that super-food goodness I was ready to stroll back to our hotel picking up a beautiful frock for little Peanut, the one thing that was cheaper in Copenhagen than back home, and have a quiet beer in the sunshine before weeping inwardly at the thought of leaving this lovely city in the morning.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Eat Copenhagen – Walk Copenhagen

Hello All

Friday 20 April 2018

Letting No 1 Daughter have a lie in I caught up with my journal and checked out the map for our planned trip to Norrebro. Lucky for us it was sunny and mind-blowingly I even discarded my coat…and May not even out yet! Shocking.

Copenhagen is a city of water, wide uncongested roads and greenery and now for us tasty eateries. To find them we ventured further afield and felt we were given an opportunity to explore the city.

We had a beautiful walk, ambling through parks, crossing over ‘lakes’ in the brilliant sunshine.

I couldn’t help but smile at the statute of the Nile on the south side of Dronning Louises Bro the bridge which crosses between the lakes Sortedams So and Peblinge So. Why all the little ‘Cupids’ are wearing red woolly hats I don’t know. But it was adorable.

It may be a ‘tradition’ as I have seen a photograph of them wearing teeny Santa hats too. If it is a custom long may it continue.

We timed our arrival in the Norrebro area to the north of the city perfectly for lunch. We had identified two vegan friendly cafes, Blue Taco and Cafe N, in the same street Blagardsgade. But which to choose?

Blue Taco won out with it’s scrumptious menu of Mexican street food and plentiful outdoor seating. Using blue corn the tacos which were indeed blue and filled with three different yummy fillings,

The deliciousness was washed down by a cool ‘Jamaica’ drink which had a refreshing ginger kick and a sprinkling of hibiscus.

Enjoying the combined warmth of the food and the sunshine we walked on to Assistens Kirkegard Copenhagen’s famous cemetery. It’s a lovely space for introspection and calm. It is also the final resting place for several well know Copenhagen-ites.

Touchingly ‘pilgrims’ have left pens and pencils at the foot of Hans Christian Anderson’s gravestone.

The lovingly kept graves of unborn children and young children were poignant yet appropriately captured the mourned for children. The cemetery is still in use and I understand that an area for the poor and homeless has recently been set-aside.

Rather wonderfully the living sat happily amongst the graves enjoying the Spring and the peace.

Sigh.

Unbelievably it was actually getting rather too hot. A good time for an ice-cream…oh dear perhaps not for us vegans..maybe a sloppy sorbet is the best we can do…but no! Nice Cream on Elmegade came to the rescue.

My vegan strawberry and lemon double scoop ice-cream was soooooo good and gave me the lift I needed for more walking before a grateful sit-down in the grass overlooking the Rosenberg Slot a beautiful 17th century castle complete with moat and gardens.

It is years since I just lay down in a park, soaked up the sun and read a book. Perhaps this is due to the fact that some unsavoury character normally breaks your reverie with all sorts of weirdness/criminality/lewdness and often all three. Admittedly I was with No 1 Daughter but I don’t think I have ever felt as safe sitting in a British city park. Here groups of students played drinking games – the rules of which we couldn’t fathom – enjoying themselves without f-ing and blinding, screeching and getting blind drunk. It was very convivial.

This little respite set us up perfectly for an evening in another kind of park. Copenhagen’s world-famous Tivoli Gardens.

We had held off visiting until Friday night so we could enjoy the added atmosphere of a free concert – turned out to be hip-hop! – and a busy vibe. Large numbers of teens thronged in front of the stage it all felt huge fun and despite gaudy lights, cafes, souvenir shops and old style fairground shies not at all tacky. I can see why Copenhagen is proud of Tivoli one of the world’s oldest amusement parks. In multi-generational Denmark this is a must for all the family.

We loved it and wended happily around the now still (no roller coaster for me …. what a shame!) but illuminated rides before toddling back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before our last day in Copenhagen. Sob.

Until next we meet

Moke xxx

Roskilde

Hello All

Thursday 19 April 2018

Before I go on to extol the wonders of the very very delightful Roskilde just bear with me for that promised word about food…

After thirty or more years as a vegetarian bumbling my way along I decided to join No1 Daughter and take the plunge and become … vegan. I know just too hip and trendy for one such as me and good grief what a struggle to make a decent cup of tea without dairy milk! (If you are interested hemp milk has proved the most successful alternative).

Being shallow I turned vegan mostly for my own health and weight control but much as I love a salad sometimes – 12 hours on a train definitely qualifies as one of those ‘sometimes’ – I just want a calorific stodge-fest. On arrival in Copenhagen we had to resort to U.S chain Hard Rock Cafe. It was fantastic (fajitas if you are asking) but we really wanted to eat local and following a lunch at another chain Wok and Go the next day we were determined to make a better fist of things. Hurray for the Happy Cow app!

After a couple of foodie disappointments on Day 1 in Copenhagen we eventually got our act together in Roskilde so you will notice a spike in the ‘this is what we had for lunch’ pictures. Feel free to whizz past if they are not your cup of tea … no pun ….

Now to my happy place Roskilde. Only 20 minutes by train from Copenhagen Roskilde lies at the head of a fjord and is home to the (I have died and gone to heaven) Viking Ship Museum (brace yourselves for LOTS of ship photos) and the stunning Roskilde Cathedral.

But we start with our quest for good grub. Tucked away just off the main street on Rosenhavestraede we found the cosy little Satchmo Cafe. Lots of goodies were on show, our mouths were watering …. and bless her the wonderful owner and her colleague made us up a vegan platter each. Heaven. (Food photo alert)

She also threw in some energy balls and heaps of useful tips about where to go and eat in Copenhagen. As we sat chomping happily in the cafe’s sun trap terrace we were in no hurry to leave.

And yet the long ships were calling. After a quick visit to the local Tourist Information office where we were again given lots of information and two maps – one for following and one for inspiration – we set off through a sun-drenched park for the museum, those long ships have quite a loud call.

Pipe down boats … I am showing you off to the readers now.

To quote No 1 Daughter this is where I ‘got my geek on’ …. well really!

OK there may be some truth in that … here comes that photo fest of the 5 scuttled Viking ships used as barriers to Roskilde Fjord way back when (1060 to 1070AD). The ships are both trading vessels and long ships and the museum goes into depth about how they were resurrected and rebuilt. They are things of craft and beauty.

And with all this seafaring wonderfulness on view what’s a woman to do but have a go:

Erm may have been looking in the wrong direction … watch out for that iceberg…

As you can probably guess I had a fantastic time enjoying the displays about experimental and maritime archaeology together with the ships themselves and even a small hemp weaving display.

No 1 Daughter did very well. No doubt soothed by the wonderful location of the museum she humoured her old mum’s weakness for things antiquarian.

But the day was too glorious to stay inside for long. A stroll along the fjord was called for.

A walk back along the water and through the park brought us again to the centre of Roskilde and to it’s wonderful Cathedral.

Inside one can stop and think a while

And contemplate the intricate iron work and trolls!

The troll motif adorns the wrought iron grating to the Trolle family burial vault – definitely have a sense of humour these folks – where the Trolle tombs have been housed since 1600.

You can also view the tombs of most of Denmark’s royal family. Even the present queen, Queen Margrethe II, plans to be interred here. Ermmmm. Time to get back out and enjoy the evening sunlight with an al fresco supper and a short train trip back to Copenhagen.

I have wanted to visit Roskilde for many years it did not disappoint. Roskilde is now top of my must re-visit list.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx