Tag: Lake District
Last summer my Dearest decided that our youngest at 16 was old enough to be left at home overnight, while we went off for a single night away in a hotel, (Hallelujia, freedom at last.) We booked a night in a lovely Hotel in the Lake District, The Inn on the Lake, Glenridding, at a bargain price. But then the problems began, fancy hotel… what to wear? What to pack? No suitable PJ’s , no decent luggage,I don’t want to arrive looking like the poor relations. Since I plan to make weekends away a regular occurrence in my life I decided a weekend bag was a definite need for me, and my dearest, thought a suit carrier was also required, this night away was looking less of a bargain.
Ebay supplied me with a beautifully supple red leather weekend bag, less than half the price of a new one, I was so pleased with it. I decided what would make it even better would be some matching shoe bags to keep my shoes separate from my clothes, and a pair of slippers too. And I was going to make them with as little money spent as possible.
A quick look through my stash yielded a number of suitable red fabrics for my shoe bags and slippers, deciding which one to use was easy I just draped them over the lovely leather weekend bag in the garden. The Liberty Tana lawn in the middle? Yes.
I rooted out those fancy evening shoes, the only decent heels I’ve got and cut the fabric to make two bags big enough to fit those shoes, my usual flats will fit if they do. Two simple bags, the tops turned down to make a tube for the drawstring , and ribbons for drawstrings.
And so to the slippers, I printed out the pattern, and put my foot on it, to check the size, it looked a bit big but better that than too small. I could always trim it back once I started putting the slippers together.
Cut 4 soles, 2 left two right, and 4 tops, which are the same shape left and right.
The wadding is a piece of curtain lining with a needle punch wadding on one side, to line winter curtains. To stiffen the slipper sole I used iron on Pelmet Vilene, it comes in a handy width, just a tad less than the width of my slippers.The only thing I bought was the red bias binding. The pieces were put together and quilted with random lines of stitching, I was up against it time wise, needed to finish them before I began to pack , so I wasn’t too picky about the quilting, it just needed to hold the layers together. I just needed slippers to go in the bag.
I managed to stitch one slipper together before I had bound the raw edges of the slipper top…Doh! Un-pick and start again Alison. My only struggle with the slippers was with the bias binding, it wasn’t quite wide enough to stitch on the top and then ease over onto the back and catch down with topstitching, I had to top stitch 2 or 3 times to ensure I caught it all the way round. I think I should have trimmed the sole back more accurately before easing the binding over the raw edge.
Here you see my slippers, made for pennies, finished on time, bags packed and ready to go on holiday.
The Damson Gin I made for Christmas last year was such a success that I just had to make some more. My Dearest wants two bottles for us and the rest for gifts. I have three 2 Ltr Kilner jars at the moment each of them containing nearly a kilo of fruit and a bottle of gin. I can assure you that we won’t be drinking 2 out of the three of this particular brew, but I’ll break it to him gently, once the other bottles are gift wrapped and given away. He thinks My Damson Gin is delightful, so do I but not two bottles- that’s just greedy, and besides, there are people I know who now know there will be more Damson Gin this year, how could I not share?
last Saturday, the sun shone unexpectedly and so we took my little sports car for a spin. We drove to our favourite place for buying Damsons in the Lyth Valley and bought 4 kilos. Most of them went in the gin, there were some which were too ripe, they got eaten just as they were. The rest were cooked with a little sugar, and put in the fridge to be eaten with yogurt for breakfast, they tasted wonderful.
So this year I have put 900 grams of Damsons pierced all over with the tip of a sharp knife, in each Kilner clip top Jar with a 75cl bottle Gin, and covered with a 400g of caster sugar, and sealed the jars. I have given them a good shake every day till the sugar dissolved.
This Damson Gin will sit in a cool dark place for 3 months and then the contents will be strained and the gin bottled, ideally I’m told we should allow it to mature for another 6 months, but I doubt it will Survive Christmas.
We have lately enjoyed a little Holiday in The Lake District; myself, my Dearest and the 13 year old took a self catering break at Fallbarrow on the bank of Lake Windermere at Bowness.
After the recent heat wave I was trepidatious, the last 4 summers we have holidayed in the Lake District in August and the last 4 summers it has rained… and rained… and rained. Naturally I had very low expectations of this Holiday, so when the forecast was for rain, was I surprised? Not at all! Thankfully, it rained mostly through the night, we enjoyed our holiday in sunshine and warmth. Except for Wednesday; that day it rained … and rained… We made the mistake of walking into Bowness during a short lull in the weather, by the time we returned we were soaked to the undergarments, rain ran through my hair off my head and down my neck, my new showerproof jacket proved showerproof does not cut it. In the Lakes you need serious wet weather gear, even in August.
One thing I did manage to do was a little retail therapy, you wouldn’t expect bargains in the Lake District, it can be a very expensive tourist trap if you don’t know where to shop, thankfully I do.
You do get a better class of Charity shop in the Lakes, clothing is often a good buy, many good labels not seen in your average charity shop, but being rather chubby at the moment, well a lot chubby actually, I’m trying to avoid admitting what size I am by not buying clothes. The new jacket was a “girl can’t help it “ moment. You should see the lining! A watermelon pink jacket with royal blue and watermelon satin lining, I just had to. (and it was in the sale)
So Thanks to the British Heart Foundation in Bowness I bought two lovely wine glasses, not very old, not crystal but only £2.50 for a pair, bargain. I like to have nice things, but I have a problem with Glassware, My Dearest is the dishwasher in our household, and is pathologically incapable of being careful with glassware, consequently glasses don’t last long in our house. I don’t think I have any without chips in the rims. I could just buy cheap and cheerful and not worry about it, but life’s too short to put up with cheap and ugly when you don’t have to. I’m always on the lookout for nice glasses and don’t mind buying odd ones, after all a set of 6 can very easily become a solitary one with my Beloved at the sink.
In Keswick the following Day Oxfam rendered two unused, hand embroidered pillowcases, with raised Stumpwork, too good to be used for sleeping on; I think I may cut them up to make something else out of, not sure what yet, but they are fine quality cotton, £2 each, you can’t buy polycotton supermarket basics for that price. I also bought two lovely handkerchiefs, yuk you may be thinking, but these are not for blowing one’s nose on, these are for ladies to delicately dab moist eyes with, one is of fine cotton with hand made Tatting applied to the edge, it is fairly basic tatted lace edging but pretty and cost me a £1. The other is even finer Victorian linen, with Whitework embroidery. It wasn’t priced, I happily paid 49p.
Next I bought two fat quarters of blue quilting fabric with snowflakes and sparkly bits for a £1 each, two cotton reels for 50p each and a beautiful Victorian doily with the most exquisite fine crochet lace for £2, It needs starch and a good press but it is really pretty. All were found at a Vintage fair we stumbled upon in Coniston, and then round the corner in the Post Office I found a bag of cotton reels being sold at 40p each; mostly Orange. As we have already established I don’t DO orange I bought the only green, and one orange still in it’s wrapper, and then regretted not buying them all, I’d run out of cash and the ATM was out too.
And finally from Age UK in Windermere, a plate, I’m not sure what kind of plate it is, probably from a mid Victorian fruit set; it is about 9” wide and hand painted, the little sprigs of flowers are transfer printed, but then hand coloured, the cobalt blue and the gilding is hand painted, there’s no maker’s mark. She’s rather rubbed and past her prime but I think she’s lovely in a faded kind of way and well worth £3 for such a venerable old lady. She will look lovely on the table piled with summer fruits.
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.