Monday, 15 August 2011

A Little Bit of........................a Holiday

Saturday August 6th

Our ride took us along the canal for some of the route and we came across a family of swans, who, it appeared, were being given an exercise class, by their mother. It takes a lot of effort for a swan to take off from the water and these youngsters were being told to flap their wings as hard as they could and skate their way along the surface of the canal. Scaring as many of the ducks as they could along the way, they gathered quite a crowd of people who were all giggling at their antics. Sorry, I did have pictures, but I lost them.                                                                                                                                                    We rode on a short way and had lunch at Olio and Farina’s.
The meal was wonderful, the first folded pizza I have tasted. Steve and I both had the same, Mozzarella, green pesto and olives.

 We left home at about 9am and rode to Lower Maunsel, where there is a good tea stop, where we often stop for a snack on a Sunday afternoon. From there, we journeyed on to Taunton

After our break for lunch, we carried on to Wellington, trying not to hit any more main roads than we had to. At one point, we touched a roundabout on an A road, we pushed the bikes round the busiest part and were very surprised to see sweet-peas growing on the verge! But even more surprising were the blue butterflies! You can see more of these here:
After a little shopping, we made our way to The Blue Mantle Guest House in Wellington. Wellington was once famous for making cloth and shoes. There is still a cloth business here, thanks firstly to The Fox Brothers, but more recently, to Deborah Meaden of the TV series Dragons Den and also to the expertise of cloth expert, Douglas Cordeaux. We saw many things of note on the way here, but unfortunately, I managed to delete them off my camera. 

We arrived at our destination, The Blue Mantle Guest House at 3pm. There was plenty of space to leave our bikes inside.
This meant that we were able to use the bus, or even go for a walk and know that they were safe.

We spent the evening in the park. The park was given by Mr Fox. It became rather derelict a few years ago, but is now a thriving community project. The locals have made it look really beautiful! Just take a look.................

Sunday August 7th
Today was the reason Steve had booked the guest house, rather than the original idea of the camp site! I was a bit concerned as we were right on the main road, very close to town. I thought there might be some noise issues. Here at home we have double glazing and although we are on a very busy road, now we are used to it, it hardly bothers us, unless something really heavy passes by. But apart from a few young people who were rather the worse for drink, little disturbed us. The traffic was much lighter than at home.

Anyway, back to the reason for the guest house. Steve had heard the weather forecast. They had given rain for Sunday. We caught the bus to Taunton, just to be on the safe side. We were later to be VERY glad that we had! We had done some shopping, called at Olivio's again for lunch, this time Steve had lasagne and I had Mozzerella and sundried tomato salad, yum! But then were about to go for a walk when.....................DOWN CAME THE RAIN!!! It wasn't just gentle rain, no, it was heavy, bouncing rain, with a bit of thunder mixed in for good measure! I knew then, that although we hadn't chatted about it at the time he booked, that he had made the right choice! We walked round to the bus station and discovered that we had an hour to wait for a bus. We had noticed a Miles Tea Room when walking to the bus stop, so we went back there and had a cuppa.

Monday August 8th
The weather was better today. We set off just after breakfast for a place well known to any readers who are knitters and familiar with the South West of England, Coldharbour Mill, in Uffcombe. I have mentioned the mill before on this blog. We have been known just to call in for Sunday lunch. Today we rode the bikes there, which was a first, the other first was a visit to their knitting group. Steve was quite insistent that we should go, when we discovered a sign outside the shop saying that the meetings were on a Monday. We both really enjoyed the company of the ladies, although we were sorry to have missed our friend Shani (Dyeverse).

Whoever does the gardening at the mill, does a great job!

Tues 9th
Once again, the weather looked unpredictable. I had wanted to visit the yarn shop in Honiton. I had been told by the gentleman at The Natural Dye Studio, that the shop was worth a visit. So we caught the bus there. The yarn shop was indeed very well stocked and the lady was very helpful.

We then found a lovely place to eat, by this time it was raining quite hard.

 The Cafe, also a deli, was called Champers.
 We tried their salad with homemade fishcakes, they were delicious!  We were told by some locals that this is the best place to eat in Honiton! They also have a fine selection of local cheeses, Tom's Pies and other goodies. We shall be back!

  We spent over an hour in Honiton's Museum. I was interested to know more about the special lace that used to be made there. We were privileged to meet Pat Perryman. You will have seen her if you watched the BBC series, Edwardian Farm, she was showing Ruth Goodwin how to make Honiton Lace.

 Honiton lace is special, worked by hand from the back the motifs are appliquéd to the background, usually net, and, historically, also worked by hand. Pat has been making lace for over 40 years! She said it is a skill that has taken her all over the world. She showed us the cuffs and jabot (collar and frill), that she made for The Speaker of The House of Commons. She said that she was very disappointed when the present speaker refused to wear them! Click below to see the Speaker's lace:

Also amongst the present lace collection, is a neglegee, once belonging to Mrs Wallace Simpson. The lace on it was made in Honiton and is much older than the nightdress. Here is a link where you should be able to see a picture:

Wednesday August 10th
We set off on the bikes to find a nature reserve that Steve had found on the map at a place called Holywell Lake. When we got there, it looked as though someone had bought the land and it was no longer available to the public. Feeling a little frustrated, we went back to Wellington, where we had lunch at Café Licious.

We were aiming to have tea in The Strand Stores, as we noticed when we were on the bus, a sign saying ‘Heavenly Cream Teas’. The opening hours told us that they closed at 7pm, so being rather early for a meal, we went for a walk along the river. We found the site of the old railway line that ran through the villages we had ridden through, from Wellington.

We suddenly realised that there was a bull in amongst this herd of Devon Reds, However, he was fine with people walking through his field, as the footpath ran through his patch, I guess he was used to human company.

Then back to the local pub, The Culm Valley, once the Railway Hotel (who were happy to serve us a drink, but said they were about to close), so we took our drink out into the hot sun and relaxed and I knitted, while we drank our ice-cold beverages.
After relaxing in the very warm sun for a while, we went back to The Strand and had some cake and tea. I had carrot cake which was lush! Steve had bakewell tart with fruit in the base rather than jam, he said it was excellant!

Here is a link to the shop: ( as soon as they have a site, I will add the link here!)

They not only do meals, but sell mostly local fruit and vegetables, items you would not necessarily find in your local deli as well as canned and packaged goods. They were very accommodating to us, as they had a table booked for a party of 6, and space is at a premium, but they managed to find an extra chair or two and squeeze us in.

Thurs 11th
The weather once again, was a bit not looking settled, so we chose the bus again. We went to Seaton this time, not really for the destination, just for the ride. We saw some beautiful countryside to get there and went through some lovely little villages before arriving in Seaton. The weather was pretty bad by the time we arrived and so we spent the time in the Terrace Arts Cafe. Here is a link:

There is a basement which is under construction, where they hold poetry reading and art classes. I think there is also to be a beauty therapist as well. The walls are covered in art. The old tram rides there, were being used even though it was raining. People were so keen to ride, they were even sitting in the open topped trams! Here is a link to the trams:

All in all, this was a great holiday. Some have laughed when we told them how close to home we were staying, probably not more than 14 miles from our front door. However, we didn’t spend hours waiting for a flight, stuck in an airport, our accommodation was first class, we didn’t get stuck in traffic, or stressed over the length of time we took getting from a to b. Our holiday began as soon as we left home and didn’t finish until we put the bikes in the garage. Great memories of a great time! Thanks Steve!

Once the bus was in, we travelled back to Honiton for lunch, once again in Champers. Once again we had the fishcakes. After lunch we chose some cheese to take with us, to eat in the evening, with some oatcakes. The staff was very helpful, offering us a taste before we bought. I think all the cheeses were local. There were also some locally made pies, Tom’s Pies, which we had earlier heard a couple of locals discussing, so we assume they are pretty good too!

Fri 12th
Today we took a bike ride over to Hemyock Castle. We had seen it from the bus and thought it looked as if it warranted a visit. We had seen signs for the Castle, the Car Park, but unfortunately had missed the bit at the bottom of the notice that said ‘telephone for a viewing’. I tried the phone number, but only got an answering machine. So we took a couple of pictures from the outside.

The church stands right opposite the castle, we sat between the two while I tried to get an answer on the phone so that we could do a tour. Never mind, we don’t live far away, we will have to see if e can book a visit another time.
Then, just before we were into home territory, we came across these small animals.........


Friday, 5 August 2011

For Vintage British Bike Enthusiasts!

During a car journey last Sunday, look who was filling up at the same garage.....................

Beautiful eh?
Of course, as Steve says," That's the trouble with British stuff, it just doesn't last!", (lol!) erm, yeah right!

A little bit of ..........all sorts!

Cindy and the Red Barnies, this is especially for you! Last Saturday, was Craft Club Day! We met a week earlier than usual, because I would be away on holiday on the first Saturday of August. We had perhaps the youngest member ever in our meeting, but also perhaps, the oldest gentleman, my Dad who wishes his exact age to be kept from the world. Let's just say that he won't see 75 again!
Sorry, no movie clips as I almost forgot to take any! But here they are.......................

So here's our youngest member! This is second visit. Because his Mum's holding him up, he looks so much older, but he's just 3 months old. Little H, isn't he wonderul? Oh and Mum is a great crocheter! She creates her own patterns and sells her hand made goods at our LYS.

And here's my Dad! Handsome? He's great, he joins in with everything when he comes to stay. He doesn't knit, although he probably knows how.

Nita is a spinning whiz! She is working on some socks for her Dad made with a fleece we brought back for her from Shetland, while we were at Knit Camp, last year. She has spent many evenings here with Steve, helping him with his spinning. 
Trisha is a crocheter and her work is beautiful! She makes and sells babywear from vintage patterns.

Penny is a lovely lady, but hasn't been too well lately, so she isn't working on a project here. She just loves Little H and was chatting to him while I snapped this. He was giggling back by the way

                                                                                    Here is Anne, this is her first visit for a while because she is a fantastic singer and has been involved in a couple of shows in the community where she lives. She is a beautiful knitter. She enjoys making toys but is trying her hand at larger projects
Here is a closer look at the lovely spinning Nita did. Those are going to be warm socks!
Our best wishes to all you who meet in that Little Red Barn at Jacob's Reward Farm! We love reading about you all and hearing all your news.

During Dad's stay, the weather was wonderful and we travelled, mostly by bus, allover the place!
We went over to the coast to meet up with daughter #3 several times, for lunch. After seeing her, we would then go for a walk. There is a walk that Dad enjoys, as there are plenty of rest stops.
I know this is a poor shot, but we were surprised to see this Great Crested Grebe in the park. They are usually veryshy birds, yet there were plenty of people around, some were fishing. He did his own bit of fishing, diving to the bottom for such a long time, we thought we'd lost him! Take a look at the link, as well as some better pictures,
there is a great little clip showing the courtship 'dance' these pretty little birds do, once they have chosen their mate.
They are just the most delightful little birds and you can find out quite a bit about them on the same site.

As a trikcyclist, this was of great interest to me. I have a friend who lives close to where I work who has a similar machine. They are known as tadpoles. This gentleman, was eager for me to take a photograph. He said he can often be seen at steam fairs as he not only has this three wheeler, but a collection of trade bikes.

Those who are members of Ravelry (the online community of fibre crafters), will know that every year, during the summer, many people, especially spiners take part in an event called The Tour de Fleece. This takes place while the Tou de France is happening. Unlike the cyclists who ride over mountains finishing up on the Champs Elysées in Paris, France. I do not spin, as regular readers will know, I leave that to Steve! So I set myself the challenge to make as many shawls during the 3 weeks as I could. Here's what I managed to make...............

This is a Swallowtail Shawl from the pattern by Evlyn Clark.
This is
Celaeno, from Rosemary Hill's ebook, 7 Small Shawls to Knit.

Here's another swallowtail. I think I prefer the stripes.