Saturday, 28 September 2013

Four happy things...


My front garden is looking great.
I have super-bright pink crocks.
Three types of flax are waiting to be planted into a newly cleared area in the back garden.
The Smalls are with Granny and Grandad and we are not. What is more, we are going to Yarndale tomorrow...

Maybe see you there.


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Two lovely places make for a great day out

I have blogged about Alnwick and all its loveliness before but it is one of our favourite haunts and one of the first places we headed to once we were safely back in Englandshire.

Alnwick Gardens is pricey for a single visit but we hope to go a few times so an annual ticket was worth it for us.

There are tractors - always a winner.

Dancing fountains.

Did I mention the tractors?

Fabby imaginative planting.

Completely gorgeous flowers for every season.

Pergolas, rills, waterfalls...


Did I mention the fountains?

What's not to like? Actually, what's not to like is the café which is cafeteria-style, noisy, expensive and serves UHT milk out of stupid plastic cartons that spill on your hand instead of nice pasteurised milk out of a jug.

Happily there is a more than satisfactory alternative a short stroll away.

The old station is the most wonderful second hand book shop. Actually warehouse would be more accurate - it is massive!

AND there are trains running around the top of the shelves  - you can imagine what the Smalls made of those...

The waiting room has be turned into the most wonderful cosy café with comfy chairs, pretty cushions,

a roaring fire,

and great tea and cake at sensible prices.

A perfect end to a great day out.


Monday, 23 September 2013

The Great Tapestry of Scotland

Hello Hello!
I have been busy doing and so have not had much time for blogging but I thought you might enjoy the wonderful exhibition I went to on Saturday. This is a very photo-heavy post for which I make no apologies. I could have taken twice as many!

It was The Great Tapestry of Scotland which was being exhibited at the Scottish Parliament.

"The brainchild of bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith, historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy, the Great Tapestry of Scotland is an outstanding celebration of 420 million years of Scottish history and achievement. Involving a thousand stitchers from all over the country who worked on 165 separate panels, the tapestry is one of the biggest community arts projects ever to have taken place in Scotland." From the guidebook The Making of a Masterpiece by Susan Mansfield and Andrew Moffat.

I went on the last day so I can't urge you all to go, but it is returning to the parliament next summer so keep your eyes peeled if you are near by. It is also going on tour around Scotland. The dates haven't been announced yet but the website is here.

Unfortunately the lighting was awful and flash was not allowed. It was also hugely busy so some sections were hard to see. I have done my best to give you an idea in pictures but you can see a slideshow of lots of the panels on their website.

Each panel is about a metre high with amazing detail and wonderful colours. My favourites were the ones with less people and more landscape and where the areas of colour had not just been coloured in with stitches, but a lot of thought had been put into texture and pattern. Some of the stitching was amazingly intricate and quite wonderful.


The Great Tapestry of Scotland

The Ceaseless Sea and the Land Formation of Scotland

James Watt and the Steam Engine

Scots in India - I think this one was my favourite.
Border detail

Paisley Peacock

Paisley Lady

Herring Girls

Fair Isle- Loved this!

The First Edinburgh Festival

The Growth of Glasgow

Glenlivet Distillery

You can almost smell the 'angel's share' from the distillery.

Fingal's Cave

New Lanark - a real woollen mill and generally lovely place

Herring Girls

James Hutton, father of Geology - notice his stone hat

Detail from James Hutton's hat.


Wonderful textured stitching!

Pop Music Booms

I love all these little houses

Gorgeous frock!

The borders of the panels are filled with gorgeous detail

Glasgow, European City of Culture

The Scottish Parliament - my other favourite,
you can see more detail in the next two pics.

Just look at the texture of the checks on the leaf
 - almost tartan, and the flowers are completely wonderful.

The checks on the thistle are all different stitch patterns.

Map of Scotland Today

North-wind blows/Geese/Ceaseless Sea

Corner detail

The panels were all signed with little images