Thursday, 14 July 2016

Poldark Country

While we were staying in beautiful Cornwall we took the chance to do a tour with Chris and Carolyn Barnard aka Magic of Poldark on Facebook.  Chris and Carolyn picked us up at our holiday flat on a less than wonderful morning weather wise and we were soon on our way to our first destination, St Agnes Head.

I don't think Chris will thank me for this very wet photo of them but it just shows you can have fun regardless of the weather

Above, looking north towards Perranporth through the rain.  Below, looking south towards St Ives, just beyond the shot.

By the time we got to Charlestown the rain and eased off a little.

This quay has been used in various dramas as its quayside sheds and warehouses can still provide a realistic backdrop.  The ship in the harbour has actually been used in the filming of Poldark.  

My artist's eye was attracted by this bollard on the pier and its frayed rope.

From Charlestown we moved onto Dollar Cove at Gunwalloe where the wind was whipping the sea up and the rain was still being a nuisance but not enough to spoil things.

This beautiful wall took my eye in the carpark.  Click on for a closer view. 

There is a beautiful little church of St Wynwaloe at Gunwalloe which dates from 13th century.  It is unusual in that it has 3 aisles which were built as designed and not as a result of additions made later. The church sits pretty much right on the beach.   It is a simple little building and has a great sense of history. 

By the time we had had lunch the weather started to brighten up and became positively balmy.  Next stop was Porthgwarra and Gwennap Head.

Porthgwarra Cove provided the swimming scene for Ross Poldark in the 2015 version of the story and is a beautiful spot.  The slipway to the beach is extremely steep and not for the fainthearted or wobbly footers but there is an alternative route down. (We didn't bother). Our route took us up and over the headland, except for my Dh who unfortunately lost his footing and had to take a rest.  I manfully walked on with Chris to get some photos from the top but sadly by this time my own foot problem was making my life difficult too.  The climb was worth it for the view of the Scillonian III coming back from the Isles of Scilly.

The sun was beginning to get a bit lower in the sky by now so it was difficult to get a shot of the amazing foxgloves on the headland.

Happily we had arrived at Porthgwarra in time for a cakey tea, a trademark of Poldark tours.

Rounding off a long but totally enjoyable day we were taken to Botallack, the reason I booked the trip, and arrived as the sun was going down, sadly not quite low enough to get a sunset.

Stewart and I were both feeling our ages by the time we got to Botallack and Stewart's leg was causing him some bother but I am so glad we made the effort.  The Crowns engine houses are so iconic and I am delighted to have seen them and the amazing light on the water.

Finally back to our retreat and relaxing with the resident kitties who took to DH straightaway.

Meet Jake and Elwood.  

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

A Very Special Day

Back in March my dear hubby and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary.  When we were thinking about it coming up Stewart suggested that we mark the occasion by renewing our wedding vows in St Ives which has a special place in our hearts.  We had found out during the Arts Festival last year that the little chapel on the island is available for hire for wedding blessings so where better to have our ceremony? 

The so-called 'island' dominates the lovely town of St Ives,

and Porthmeor beach sweeps away below it,

Fittingly, the tenth wedding anniversary is 'tin' and Cornwall is the home of tin and tin-mining and as my family roots are in tin-mining in Cornwall everything seemed to fall into place.  We were introduced to two wonderful ladies who make up Cornish Celebrants and they stepped us through the construction of the ceremony.  We were able to meet up with them the week before the ceremony at the Royal Cornwall Show where they had a stand.


Meet Nicola and Denise, two warm and supportive ladies.  They took all the potential worry out of the day and conducted the ceremony with sincerity but also joy and warmth.  We had about 20 friends and family to share the occasion and we had so much fun, along with a few lumps in the throat and a tear or two. 

A few mementoes to remember those who couldn't share the day with us.

Notice the chairs that the Council very kindly supplied for us poor pensioners to sit on; we both had poorly legs and thought we might find it uncomfortable to stand for half an hour.

I had read about hand fasting online and wanted to include this ancient symbol of binding us together as a couple and made a woven sash inspired by the beautiful colours of the sea and shore.

Stewart was dancing with joy by the end of the ceremony (to Dance the Night Away' by the Mavericks), despite having a torn muscle in his leg.

I'm not sure what he had said to Nicola but she obviously enjoyed it :-)  All too soon it was time to go back out into the glorious sunshine.

All our lovely friends and family who had either made the trip to Cornwall or live there already (lucky devils!).  Not least my lovely stepson Jamie who made a holiday for himself round our event.

Keeping with the informal tone we adjourned to the pub, The Lifeboat Inn to be exact, and I was completely overwhelmed to find that they had set up an area of the bar especially for our party.  We had asked them if they could cope with us bringing 20ish people for lunch as we knew they didn't take bookings but we were prepared to wait if they could just accommodate us.  It was just wonderful to find they had gone to so much trouble for us.

We had a lovely relaxed late lunch and everyone got on really well, considering most hadn't met before.  

The photographs here were mostly taken by a St Ives resident, Steve Lynton, who we've met through a Facebook group and who has become a very dear and warm friend.  

Thank you Steve.  I know there are many more photos to come from other friends so I'll share a few of those when they arrive.  We felt like we were being 'Papped' with all the cameras going off.  That's what happens when your friends are keen photographers :-)

Our special friends Carolyn and Margaret gave us a little tin mine made from the last of the Cornish tin to remember the day by,

Thank you Stewart for 10 busy, happy, wonderful years, for all your love and support.  You're one very special man xxx

This one's for you Mum xxx

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Colour Spinning

Today I've been along to a monthly meeting of South Lincolnshire Spinners and Weavers and am for once happy with what I've managed to achieve.  One of the members put a lot of work into giving us an introduction to colour mixing and blending of fibres.  

We started by choosing an image to work with and then selected 5 main colours from the image that summed the scene up for us.  The task was then to make colour patches with water media that would guide us towards blending our fibres.  We were advised to choose a light, medium and dark tone from the image and make sure we had these in our final choices.  M had made worksheets to enable us to work in a controlled way and to keep a good record of how we had arrived at our blends.  

I chose a postcard of a work by artist Peter Graham.  I haven't got on well using hand carders before but M, the tutor, loaned me a set and with her help I got some good mixes.  I have struggled previously with using carders as they've hurt my hands but M's method was much less stressful.   I've done a lot of colour theory work when I was painting so the colour mixing wasn't too difficult, although using wool does make it a little harder.   I didn't card a lot of each colour and chose to spin them as one long length rather than separate the colours out.  Hopefully you can see the colours I achieved.  As usual it's a bit over-spun and corkscrewy but I'm hoping that will even out when I wash it to finish it.

These are a few of the other efforts from the group.

We all started with identical sets of the primary colours plus black and white.  M had no confidence in her colour mixing ability but perfectly reflected the colours from her image.

Isn't this blend based on irises beautiful?

Wendy echoed the beautiful colours in her sunset and you can see the original colours we all started with on her worksheet.

We had quite a table full of colour and inspiration by the end of the afternoon.

Best of all were the exuberant blends made by two young children who had come along with their Mum's.  They were both less than 10 years of age and were so busy we didn't even know they were there.

Aren't they wonderful?  Artists in the making.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Wonderwool Wales

It's been a while!  I'll catch up later but for now I'll tell you about our latest adventure.  Do you remember Three Go Wild in Yorkshire?  Well, this weekend one of the three and I went on an adventure to Wales.  As you know recently I have been drawn more and more into the world of wool and all things fibre so the chance to spend a weekend in beautiful countryside with lots of wool and sheep was too tempting.  My dear friend and 'taxi driver' collected me on Friday morning and we had a good journey down to Builth Wells, or thereabouts. 

As we only decided to go at the last minute our not-quite 5 star accommodation was a pleasant caravan on a very beautiful site just north of BW.  Unfortunately its heating system was archaic.

We're not joking!  This was us on Friday evening all dressed up to relax in the sitting room.  We went to bed in our respective rooms with almost as much on!  I can't remember ever having to sleep in a fleece with the hood up before.  Saturday morning saw us in the neighbouring town buying electric heaters so at least we were warm for the rest of the stay.  Yes, we should have complained but we both thought we could use heaters for our studios at home anyway.

Despite the quick shopping trip we were soon queueing up with everyone else to get into the Wonderwool Show.  The venue is excellent and the show was really well organised, plenty of places to sit and have a cuppa and lots of volunteers running the bag creche, which was well used, especially on the Saturday.

Once through the doors friend and I made a bee-line for the stand of P&M Woolcraft and scooped a beautiful portable spinning wheel each.

This is a Louet Victoria spinning wheel and they are very dinky.  The wheel is only 14" across and they fold up for transport so I can take it to groups and maybe even on holiday :-)

I didn't take many photos of the Show, I was too busy getting over-excited and shopping.  But here's a couple I did take

That's a surprise!  They're both of the Saori weaving stand.  If you check out the Wonderwool website you can have a look at the galleries of photos of previous years' events.  I'm sure this year's photos will be up soon.  

I think our success in buying the Louets and the general atmosphere sent us both a bit fluff crazy and before long we had made 3 trips to the bag creche with bags of beautiful fibre and yarns.  If you have a look here     you can read what we got up to.  I have to say I was a complete innocent in the bag burping episode but we did have absolute hysterics.  You had to be there, and the German lady who sat with us drinking her cuppa  said she was glad she had been and that she wouldn't forget her visit!  I have never laughed so much for years!  

What with racing to buy the Louets and falling about in hysterics we ran out of steam by mid afternoon so left a little early but we were back bright and early on Sunday for another full day of enjoying beautiful hand made goodies and a few more restrained purchases.  

This is some of the fibre and yarn that is going to keep me busy for the rest of the year and probably the next 5!  The long white box is a swift for skeining yarn once I've spun it. 

Sunday was a much quieter day and I think a few people may have been disappointed if they visited John Arbon's stand.  We bought some beautiful blends of fibre from them on Saturday and by Sunday the infamous burping bags of fleece had all disappeared along with a lot of the loose fibres on this stand.  The prices were very reasonable and I'm sure their website is still full of lots of lovliness.

We both had a spin on our new wheels back at the caravan and they run very sweetly.  I can't wait to take mine out and about.  This morning we woke up early, disturbed by passing traffic, and since the electricity went off just as I was about to have some breakfast we decided to beat a hasty retreat back to Lincolnshire before the icy temperatures descended again.  We had a surprisingly easy journey home and my husband is still breathing after seeing the new wheel and the number of bags I brought home.  Bless!

Now then, where are all those cottages for next year's accommodation?