Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Walking and Whortleberries


I think I may have overdone the amount of photos from my recent foray on Exmoor, but here goes anyway. . .



Above is a picture of Dulverton, a small town on the edge of Exmoor. It's a friendly place where people say 'Good morning' to you and the shopkeepers are helpful and don't seem to mind man and his best friend, dripping in the doorway.



I feel really fortunate to be able to take these little trips away and I wonder sometimes if anyone reading my ramblings, might think that my life is one big holiday. It isn't of course, I work hard too, but I don't think anyone would want to read about that.
Having said that, yesterday afternoon was fun at work. We had a storytime and craft session for the village children.

I read 'Room on the Broom' and we made paper plate Halloween masks. I know how to have fun.....


Back to Exmoor.


Wonderful walking on the wooded slopes above Dulverton.








In the early evening the sun was bright and low in the sky. Up on the moor it cast an amber glow over the landscape.



I love the strange, contorted shapes of the trees.


Then all at once the sun was gone. It was eerie. As the light went, the stags started to make the mournful sounds of the rut.


Next day and I promised a walk and a meal in the pub afterwards. . . .

So we start the walk at Porlock Weir, having checked out the pub to make sure we could take Rowan in with us. The Ship Inn, right next to the beach.

We're going to follow the coast path to Culbone, it's only about 5 miles there and back, so don't panic.



Mind you, it's very 'up and down'.



You can wait in the pub if you like.


It's a well walked, woodland path , you can't see the sea but you can hear the waves crashing on the pebbles.


Venus de Culbone?


I don't think we can get lost but Rowan isn't too sure.


You should have guessed , I have an ulterior motive for this trek, besides the pleasure of your company of course, it is the tiny Norman church of St. Bueno at Culbone.

It's the smallest church in the country and is only 35 feet long and 12 feet wide.


There's definitely magic here, it's all around.

The church is in a deep combe, next to a stream which gurgles and rushes 400 feet, down to the sea.

No roads, only the coastal path and a track to a farm.


Inside there were fresh flowers, the gas lights were, well, different and there was a lovely welcoming atmosphere.

I think services are held pretty regularly, but I have no idea where the congregation comes from!





Outside, I found these windows , all completely different.



This one has two window lights, made from one block of sandstone. The magician who fashioned it also made an animal face for our delectation.



Interesting ironwork on the door.
I was going to suggest we sit in the churchyard to drink our flask of tea, but it's a bit chilly so let's go inside, I'm sure no-one will mind.


I don't want to move but, come on , back up the hill.

On the way back we can catch glimpses of the sea, the cloud has lifted a little.

Now, I don't know how to break this news to you. . .

The pub has stopped serving food, we must have lingered too long in paradise.

However I happen to know that just along the road, in Porlock there are the Whortleberry Tea Rooms. Follow me. . . .They have a nice sheltered patio with bonios and water for the dogs.



Here's what we're having, one of these between two, ok?


I feel a bit embarrassed , but after all we've earned it.


  • Cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches (No crusts here!)

  • Ham and Whortleberry ( local name for bilberries) chutney sandwiches

  • Plain scone and Fruit scone with clotted cream and Whortleberry jam

  • Refrigerator cake

  • Lemon drizzle cake

  • Stem ginger cake

  • Rich fruit cake

  • Huge pot of tea

Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Time to head home now, our last stop was to peep at the view from above Porlock.


Then a glimpse of part of the Doone Valley.
What do you think, shall we try that walk next time?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Rococo Autumn and a new book.

Have you seen this new book by Angie Hughes?

Angie is a Textile Artist from Ledbury in Herefordshire, where she has her studio Ledbury Artplace.

There are so many 'Art, Craft, Embroidery etc.' books on the market, sadly not all of them are worth the money, so I was really pleased that I bought this book.
It's beautifully produced, colourful and the step by step instructions are very good.

Angie's writing is full of her enthusiasm and humour . I can't wait to try the mixed media projects and have a thoroughly good play.


Now for something completely different. . .

Last weekend we visited the Rococo Gardens at Painswick . I've been waiting for the chance to go for ages as it's one of the few gardens where dogs are welcome, so Rowan was very excited.


On the way in we were greeted by Pan.
Just around the corner there was a display of some of the fruit from the garden .


These beauties are Black Worcester Pears. (They're big, about the size of three average sized Conference pears.)
I went to school in Worcester and the city's coat of arms has three black pears on it. Something I hadn't given much thought to, but I had heard that the city council have fenced off the last two remaining Black Pear trees as the fruit is so heavy they thought a member of the public might get injured if some fruit fell on someones' head. . . .. . hmmm.

We saw some old types of apple. There was one called Coeur de Beouf, which the volunteer gardener lovingly polished for me to photograph. This type of apple has been around since the 13th. century (not these particular ones!) , how do they know I wonder?


The 17th century gardens have been restored in recent years . Very romantic.

I'm sure that there has to be inspiration for embroidery , somewhere in the next picture . I loved the reflection in the pond. 5 seconds later Rowan fell in and came out very smelly.

There are lots of Beech woods around this area , so we explored this one before heading home.






I love the rare, sunny autumn days and I hope the dry weather will last beacause we're going to spend a few days on Exmoor.
The moors are beautiful at this time of year and I'm looking forward to a long walk, followed by a meal in the village pub. What more could a girl want. . .

Friday, 17 October 2008

Graduate Showcase - Sara Meadows

When I visited the Knitting and Stitching show last week, I had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Sara Meadows.
Her Textile pieces were for me, the highlight of the Graduate Showcase.
Her work has an ethereal quality that is quite enchanting; such delicate touches, the palest, dreamlike colours. . . Sara kindly sent me these pictures and gave me permission to use them here.
I wouldn't mind betting that we'll see more of Sara's work in the future and I'd like to take this chance to wish her Good Luck!
Sara can be contacted at sara meadows@hotmail.co.uk

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Brown paper wrap


brown paper, oil pastel rubbings, 2 coats of wax, machine stitch, paint .

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Fairy Shoes Workshop


There is going to be an extra special Fairy Shoes Workshop, just in time for Christmas. Tuesday 9th. December 2008 at Blue Ginger.

If you would like to come, please contact Sue@blue-ginger.com

Lytes Cary Manor, Grim Ugliness and Autumn splendour



Oh! This is exciting, I've learnt a new trick, thanks to Lynne who gave me a good nudge in the right direction.
I've been playing with some pictures I took in the summer; using Photoshop (which I find incredibly hard to understand) and some ttv. (through the viewfinder) frames.

Lytes Cary, above, is a National Trust property we visited in July. I love the fat green shapes with their conical hats.

Below are some examples of what Arthur Mee, author of the Kings England series, calls 'Grim Ugliness'.
I found them in Somerset, climbing up and down the church at Evercreech.


This grinning monkey's really quite cute, as long as he stays where he is!



Lastly, my Autumn splendour. Hope you like them!













Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Days borrowed from Summer




This weekend has been sunny and warm, days borrowed from the summer that we didn't have.
Sunday was a perfect Autumn day, it began like this.

Phoebe wanted to go on a 'Rowan walk', so after lunch we went to one of my favourite places. The fields on the edge of the Cotswold hills, looking down over the vale of Evesham.
That's Bredon Hill in the distance and the village of Broadway, where I work, in the vale.

The sun was really strong and warm, Rowan and Phoebe ran up and down the fields and the colours were amazing.


Golden days, I never want days like these to end but someone was suddenly very tired.



Here's how the day ended.