Village Life

Hello All

Feeling a wee bit blurry as I adapt to early starts once more. Strange how getting up at 4.30am makes finding the sleep you desperately need so elusive! But nothing like toddler sitting to keep a Grandma moving despite her natural inclination to sit in a cosy chair and snooze … oops … read. Don’t fret no toddlers were actually sat on during the construction of this post.

It is always a delight to see wee Peanut. She has a never ending supply of energy and curiosity. Yesterday she was brim full with excitement. Her village is in the midst of it’s annual festival and best of all

It was Dog Show day! No1 Daughter set off early to help with an Animals Asia stand. Meanwhile Peanut and I took our time toddling around the village investigating the scarecrows dotted along our route.

Scarecrow Festivals have become very popular over the last twenty years or so. Peanut’s village has joined in this fine tradition, a tradition that is only a blink of an eye in the history of scarecrows.

Scarecrows have been around as long as people have grown crops and birds have been hungry. Did you know that the earliest recorded reference to scarecrows is ancient Egyptian? a scarecrow is even to be found in Japan’s oldest surviving book “Kojiki” which dates to the 8th century. In medieval Britain young boys were used as ‘Bird Scarers’ but after the Great Plague of 1348 and the consequent devastation of the population young lads were in short supply so farmers started creating human-like forms from stuffed sacks and turnip heads to put in their fields.

Today they are not only agricultural aids they are also small works of art created by families and villagers to bring fun and laughter to their communities. Peanut’s village did not disappoint. We spotted scarecrows at the pub:

(Peter Rabbit! Yorkshire you are treading on Cumbrian territory here….)

At the church:

(Mr Men, pourquoi?)

And of course at the nursery where this poor family ain’t half having a struggle to pull out this recalcitrant turnip:

Even with the help of their dog, cat and … mouse!

I have discovered that the story of the giant (or enormous) turnip is a Russian folktale written by Tolstoy. The joke in the tale is that it is only with the help of the smallest creature, the mouse, that the huge root is pulled from the ground. The moral of course is that anything can be accomplished if we work together.

While we were looking at the nursery another happy little tale unfolded. I was admiring the nursery’s kitchen garden with Peanut when one of the staff arrived carrying a cabbage. I found out that she has been carefully plucking caterpillars from their vegetables, gently putting them in a small netted area and keeping them fed. She had brought along the cabbage as their weekend rations. Her kindness for the caterpillars (and the vegetable plot) will provide a wonderful experience for the children who will watch these wriggly creepy crawlies transform into butterflies … or … cabbage moths….

Do you know that it is only as I am typing this that I have realised there was a theme to the scarecrow tableaux, children’s stories! Now Peter Rabbit and the Mr Men make sense.

Skimming over this evidence of my dimwittedness back to yesterday. With many a wall to walk along (Peanut not me…although those low walls are very tempting) and scarecrows to spot our peramble to the field took some time. But Peanut soon picked up the pace when she saw her mummy happily wo-manning the Animals Asia stall:

Super supporter F had made a magnificent job of decorating the stall with goodies and information. She even sourced the small toys for the raffle. Doesn’t it look great? Her hard work was rewarded by raising funds and awareness amongst the locals who are now getting together to start a village supporters group. Result!

Peanut had her own rewards too. Not only did she ‘win’ a bear in the ‘everyone wins a prize raffle’ she also gained a second bear when a villager passed her prize on to Peanut too! Lucky little girl.

This is village life. What a wonderful happy day we had. Icing on the cake, Peanut’s daddy was home from work in time to help pack up the stand while I looked for that cosy chair… zzzzzzz.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Yarndale here we come ….. a promise kept.

Hello All

And yes… I made it … correction …Lorry and me made it to (drumroll please) YARNDALE whoo-hoo.

All good things start with a journey and Lorry knows the most civilized way to travel, Earl Grey and ginger biscuits, what else?

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Then settle down on the train from Lancaster to Skipton with a good read.

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In order to arrive refreshed in the lovely market town of Skipton.

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Of course I couldn’t take the short yarnbombed route. Oh no it was the Sedbergh walk back from Farfield all over again i.e. round the houses. But these detours are always worth it. With little reminders of happy days past,

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pretty lanes,

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and small space living.

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Mmmm now there’s an idea. Delightful though my perambulations were I was pleased when I saw…

and I joined the queue (mental note: next year remember to buy ticket online in advance). With happy ladies around to chat to the queue moved quickly and in no time I was stamped

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Good grief I must moisturize!  and clutching in my hot sweaty crinkly hand a Yarndale programme.

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With Lorry safely tucked in the back pack we were IN.

I had said to myself that I wouldn’t take photos of things that you could see better on the Yarndale blog or on Attic 24  but I couldn’t resist an iconic bunting shot

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all that hard work to create a cheery welcome could not be ignored. Fabulous. Again this year’s mandala project meant I couldn’t resist a snap

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or two

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Aren’t they gorgeous? There was inspiration all around.

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Another small living idea perhaps? But Lorry was getting restless.

This time last year good friend Linda Frickel was in hospital and on my last visit I promised her that we would be coming to Yarndale in 2014. Sadly Linda could not be with me nonetheless I felt I must visit Yarndale to hold to that promise. Having won the marvelous Lorry in the Frickel Pig raffle he was destined to come too. Lorry reminded me of the fun, colour and enthusiasm Linda embodied. All I needed was a photo that encapsulated all that Linda loved about woolly stuff…..I can’t believe what I did next (Linda I hope you are having a celestial chuckle!). There was only one place that I could take Lorry’s picture,

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in the arms of the lovely Lucy of Attic 24 fame!

Lucy was as super in person as she is on her blog and I want to thank her very much for taking time to listen to Linda’s story and have her picture taken with Lorry. Linda absolutely loved Lucy’s blog at Attic 24 it appealed to her love of craft and more especially colour. She worked on the blog’s projects and introduced all at Wool’n’Stuff to it. I am now an addict. I hope this happy little moment for me and Lorry reaches Linda in the heavens …. and she also notices I got in the famously yarn bombed lamp stand in the background!

Yarndale was a wonderful event. Well done to all the organisers but special thanks to Lucy for making my day and helping me feel in some small way I had kept my promise to Linda.

Until next we meet, Moke x

Sheepfest …. spot Lorry.

Please note there may be one or two sheep in this blog.

Hello All

With 103 sheep dotted through the small Dales town of Sedbergh for its first ever Sheepfest taking photos of sheep became addictive. Somewhere among them there may be a small Frickel pig called Lorry. Can you spot him?

There were magnificent sheep in shop windows.

Sheep lest we forget.

Cheeky sheep.

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Shop sheep.

Literary sheep.

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The Baaaaaa-rd of Sedbergh (AW’s own work….isn’t he great?).

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Jolly sheep.

Realistic sheep.

Local historian sheep.

Estate Agent sheep.

(N)ew(e) – born sheep (the lady in this shop is expecting a baby any day, this was a lovely touch).

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Shopping sheep.

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Poorly sheep (in chemist’s window…where else?!)

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Farming sheep.

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Stone-wall sheep.

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Twin-town Slovenian sheep.

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Crafty sheep.

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Farfield Mill sheep.

Bell ringing sheep.

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Musical sheep.

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…the vicar even looked a bit woolly …

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I know this is impossible but incase you are a little sheep-ed out. Pride of place at the top of the aisle was this beautiful coat of many colours.

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Made of small woven strips

created by local school children with the help of community artist Donna Campbell the coat is a work of art. It was lovely eavesdropping on children proudly showing-off their strips to parents and grand-parents.

I am sorry that I couldn’t capture a picture of every sheep – some were let down by my inadequacies as a photographer – but I think even this little selection will give some idea of how hard the people of Sedbergh had worked to make Sheepfest such great fun. It was a real tribute to their town and them.

A super day out!

Until next we meet, Moke x

PS Did you spot him?

Batty Bats

Phew what a week. It saw me and the Children’s Librarian visiting four South Lakes’ small branch libraries to provide drop-in craft activities for local children. Here’s Red all loaded and ready to roll, perhaps our little stowaway gives a clue as to what we are going to make…. DSCN0392

Cheeky, now he’s leading the way DSCN0394

to our first port of call DSCN0395

Sedbergh was historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. This bustling little market town (it was market day when we arrived so I can vouch for both the market and the bustling) retains its Yorkshire heritage by sitting just within the Yorkshire Dales National Park at the foot of the Howgill Fells on the north bank of the River Rawthey. As you can imagine this makes it a beautiful part of the world and me a lucky so and so for living and working around here.

Sedbergh is called a Book Town because of the number and range of second-hand book shops dotted about its narrow streets. But you can’t get much more bookish than the library and Sedbergh has a wonderful little library now run by my very good friend AW. As you can see she made us really welcome. It was a great start to our Batty Bat Hat trail and as we travelled on to Arnside, Milnthorpe and Kirkby Lonsdale libraries we left a shimmer of  sequins and a cloud of bats in our wake.

Aren’t they great.

The next couple of weeks will see us at the bigger libraries adding to the ever growing colony of South Lakeland Batty Bats.  If you want to know more about what’s on at libraries all over Cumbria this link to Cumbria Libraries Facebook may prove handy. It’s going to be hectic and we may well be ‘batty’ at the end of it but it is most certainly the best part of our job.

P.S. I haven’t forgotten about the needle felting…although it may not be a Dodo! Night night.