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So as I was saying, my Dearest and I had come to the conclusion that if we were to get any fun out of the coming weekend we had to put fun first. It was going to be sunny on Saturday and Sunday , but then pour with rain all day Monday, (typical Whitsuntide Bank Holiday then!), and probably Tuesday as well since I’d booked a day’s leave to take my Dad to a hospital appointment.
Saturday was to be fun day. I called my sister and planned to take her with us but she had better things to do, which is OK. Getting My Dearest out of bed, dressed, medicated and ablutions performed before lunchtime is always a challenge at the weekend, so we set off for the Lake District by 12.00, picnic packed and fuel tank filled. We took my little precious, my Mazda MX5, top down, hats firmly attached to heads and, in my case at least, sun block applied.
There is an easy walk I’m very fond of from Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge, it’s not more than 2 and a half miles and flat most of the way and yet it passes from Lakeland village to babbling brook and marshy ground, from ancient Beech wood, to open meadows full of wild flowers and sheep, a Lake with distant views of the Langdales, and then more Beech wood with cascading waterfalls, and finally to a very nice café with retail therapy opportunity for the very long of pocket.
I poked round in the shop, admiring the pretty things I had neither wherewithal nor intention to buy, while my Dearest considered whether there was anything on the menu he might eat, there rarely is in these expensive and rarefied places, he won’t eat anything he can’t pronounce.
Then we wandered down to the bridge itself, sat on a slate bench under a majestic mature Beech tree whose leaves were all newly opened and as perfect as they could be, and unpacked our picnic.
Then walked back the way we had come, there are other walks which can be taken from Skelwith Bridge, and perhaps next time we’ll trek back another way but I wanted more time in that Bluebell wood, and to enjoy the wild flowers en route.
We called in at Ambleside on our way home for coffee, I scored two more 100% cotton checked shirts in the Oxfam charity shop, £2 each, bargain. We returned home tired and someone a little sun burned, but having had a Day Out.
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This winter I have been feeling dissatisfied with life. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why but it had something to do with feeling the dullness of all work and no play. Working full time as I do weekends are precious but the pressure to squeeze some “me time” out of the weekend has caused me to be fraught with competing pressures of laundry and shopping, cleaning and visiting family and friends; all winter I have been dashing about filling every weekend with “things that must be done” rather than doing what I wanted to do, even quilting had become a “must do”, working to an exhibition deadline.
So last weekend as Sunday evening darkened and I was driving home from another journey made for someone else’s benefit, I determined that I needed to develop a cunning plan which would allow me time to do something I had been yearning to do; walk in a wood carpeted with native Bluebells (Hyacinthoides nonscripta) while they are still flowering, admittedly rather late this year. As I have been driving about for work I have passed many a little glade by the roadside and seen a blue mist above the undergrowth and caught a faint whiff of that wonderful scent, which indicated Bluebells were flowering there; I wanted to stand ankle deep in bluebells in a sun dappled wood. Saturday is usually my shopping day, but not this weekend, the forecast indicated that the sun would shine on Saturday and I planned to be in a Bluebell wood.
This is one of the quilts I photographed last summer in my rainy garden, such a simple design which would work well with jelly rolls or scraps. I can’t remember the dimensions but it looks as if the Bricks are 2 ½ “ by 4 ½ “; it would work larger or smaller so long as the width was half the length in the finished brick. The white and coloured bricks are then put together round a central square of white.
I’m pretty sure this is one my mother made although I can see it was made of a pooled collection of scraps because some of them are from my stash. The block pattern was a block of the month challenge which I think I might have set for our quilting group. As I recognise all the fabrics in the quilt as a collection of “yours and mine” this must have been a joint effort for mum and me rather than of the group as a whole.
Much as I like this collection of earthy, spicy colours, they are not my colours and would not sit well in my home, which is why I guess it languishes at my mother’s house, unloved, unused. And yet I have just realised a use for it, My Dad may have to get used to being transported in a wheelchair at least over longer distances, as a retired Builder, what better than a “Brick” quilt to throw over his knees on colder days when out and about in his wheelchair.
I’m booked to take him to a hospital appointment next week, he’ll have to accept wheelchair transportation for the first time, now dare I introduce the quilt at the same time? Or should I let him get used to accepting the wheelchair first? One brick at a time I think.
What a beautiful day we had today the sun shone, but better than that the air was warm, no arctic breeze blowing in from Scandinavia to spoil the fun. The morning began with a quick mission to the nearest shop, the 13 year old is cooking at school tomorrow and generally asks me to come up with the ingredients the night before about two hours after the local shops have shut. Today even though it is a bank holiday I’m ahead of him so Fajitas will be made tomorrow…. they may not get eaten but at least I’ve done my bit.
Then my beloved and I set off to Wray to see the scarecrows, we hit a queue of traffic 3 miles from Wray all going our way but for once we didn’t mind, it was too nice a day and we were happy just to be out in my precious, with the top down, and the smell of spring in the air.
The hedgerows are bursting out everywhere bright green hawthorn leaves, frothy cream blackthorn flowers on bare black stems, and field maple leaves which begin a pinky red before turning green as they mature.
Ahead of us in the queue was a brand new Bentley continental GT, sleek black , cream interior, I’m not often envious of what other people have but …sometimes… I think it would be nice to have beautiful things… but then they are only things.
We parked in a farmer’s field , £1.50 for all day, bargain! The smell of grass crushed by tyres and many feet, so redolent of spring. As we walked up the field towards the fair my mobile phone rang, Mum calling to say Dad was home from hospital, and relieved to be home, and I was able to stop worrying about how we would get him in the car to bring him home if he was still on hip precautions.
May Day Bank Holiday Monday is not the best day to choose to visit the Scarecrow Festival, It’s Fair day so there were thousands of families many with small children wandering about this tiny village. The one thing My Dearest cannot abide is jostling crowds with whining children underfoot. As the scarecrow from the wizard of OZ would say, if I only had a brain I would have had more sense than take him there, from the moment we arrived I knew he needed to leave..
The Scarecrow Festival is celebrated every year over the week before and culminating with a Fair on the May day Bank Holiday, a theme is chosen, and individual households in the village make their own s are crows and display them in their gardens or at their doors where they can be seen by passers by. Prizes are awarded
There be giants too, and dragonslayers. Great constructions made to be carried about the streets by someone who stands inside the construction to make it appear a living thing, walking amongst us,
each made to represent a mythic person, St George, the Green Man, or the Sun perhaps?
Yesterday I planned to go to The Scarecrow Festival at Wray, an annual event with a fair which takes place in a little village in the Lune Valley a few miles North of us. The sun was forecast to shine late afternoon so on our way there we stopped by to see my Mum and Dad.
Dad had a hip replacement 20 years ago and sometimes it pops out, he generally manages to pop it back in but not this time… so his afternoon included a painful and worrying time while we considered what to do, a 999 call, a visit from two lovely young female paramedics carrying a bottle of Entanox and a stretcher, a ride in an ambulance, a lengthy wait in A&E, an X-ray, a general anaesthetic, his hip relocated where it should be and a weekend break he hadn’t planned in the local hospital. My poor old Dad.
My Beloved and I then went for a walk in the sunshine, but only in the local park, Williamson Park; built and given to the citizens of Lancaster by a local Philanthropic Mill owner, it was laid out in the 1860’s to make work for the mill workers laid off due to the cotton famine during the American Civil War, an early form of poor relief.
It stands high above the city and can be seen for miles, particularly the Williamson Memorial; a folly built by James Williamson, son of the philanthropist, in memory of his second wife Jessie, I believe the third wife spent her entire married life trying to get him to tear it down. Thank goodness she didn’t succeed.
It’s been an eventful week, I celebrated my birthday on Monday, I only admit to 43, and it’s getting harder to be convincing, but I take the view the years between 40 and 60 are the best 10 years of a woman’s life. I celebrated by starting a new job, part time and temporary but slightly better paid, so I’ll be able to buy more fabric. Yay!
I took the afternoon off to take the 16 year old to Kendal for a college interview, 2hrs in a stuffy hall while she took her interview and tests, but she got an offer of a place. And Kendal’s only 20 miles away. Yay!
Got to do some interesting and useful things at work this week, all very positive, and came home on time and feeling good about my day.
Wednesday was 1st of May, I got the convertible out of Dad’s garage and taxed it, my precious is back on the road, Thursday morning I drove to work with the top down and the wind in my hair, here comes summer.
Thursday lunchtime I got to exercise my Civic duty, to vote in the local election, I could get a postal vote but actually I enjoy the process of turning up at my local polling station, getting my ballot paper and putting my X in the box. Not only am I grateful to live in a democracy, but I never forget the Suffragettes who risked all to achieve Universal Suffrage. To me, not bothering to vote would be a betrayal of all they suffered. Being an Unrepentant Feminist and for many years a single professional woman, I value very highly the contribution they made to the Equality of Rights in society. Thank the Lord I live in the 21st century.
On the walk back from the polling station, I visited my local charity shop and bought a man’s shirt to add to my collection of 100% cotton plaids, that I am collecting for a project of which more later. It cost me £1.50 and is in perfect condition, doesn’t look as if it has ever been worn, I already have several, none of which cost me more than £1.50, for some I only paid a £1.
The previous week I was standing in my local supermarket considering the price of cheese when I became aware of a couple to my right chatting to a friend, who was talking about a charity shop where he volunteered, he was telling them that they moved all the stock which hadn’t sold into an upstairs room and sold it off at £1 a garment. Now I’m not in the habit of earwigging at stranger’s conversations in the supermarket, but I admit to hanging about long enough to discover the whereabouts of this charity shop, and I admit also that had this information not being forthcoming I would have had the brass neck to interrupt him to ask. I visited that Charity shop forthwith, 3 shirts a £1 each.
I once overheard a woman telling her friend about a factory shop that sold Laura Ashley roll ends and seconds, I wasn’t brave enough to stop her and ask the whereabouts of this shop, and the regret haunts me to this day!