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Fibre-East Festival, 27th July 2014.


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These delightful black piggies were part of my day last Sunday, when Larry and I went to the Fibre-East Festival at Redborne Upper School in Ampthill. There is a farm on the school where the pupils can learn animal husbandry. The animals were extremely well kept and happy and the pig-house even had piped music installed to keep the pigs entertained.

 

There was a farm shop, where I bought some fresh eggs and some honey and in the freezer there were all sorts of home produced meats.

Here are some pictures of the fibre festival itself. Larry and I had a wonderful time looking around and it has inspired him to take up weaving!

There was have-a-go spinning for beginners:

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There were weaving looms galore.

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Lots and lots of yarn. Here I am checking out some wonderful, purple art yarn.

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Bales of roving in all natural colours and livid ones too.

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Hand-made drum carders:

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I was interested in those but they were very expensive.

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Just look at these gorgeous colours:

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and of course there were sheep!

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and a sheep shearing demonstration:

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and the fleece was for sale too. I didn’t buy one. I am still working on the one I’ve got!

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Have a great weekend, whatever you do!

Oma

 

The American Museum in Bath, England.


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On our recent visit to Bristol, to visit with my eldest son and his partner, we took a day to go to the American Museum in Bath.’ The museum takes you on a journey through the history of America, from its early settlers to the 20th century and illustrates the complexity of American culture through its remarkable collections of folk and decorative arts.  Its furniture, paintings, maps, quilts, silver and glass are presented in a series of period rooms within a historic manor house near Bath in the beautiful Avon Valley in the West of England.

The museum grounds encompass 125 acres of parkland, gardens, and an arboretum and throughout the year, children’s activities, living history, workshops, lectures and seasonal celebrations are all part of the life of the Museum.

The only museum of Americana outside the United States, The American Museum in Britain was founded to bring American history and cultures to the people of Britain and Europe.’

The  museum was founded in 1961 by two men who had a great love for the decorative arts of America and who wanted to share this passion with the people of Britain.  They were Dallas Pratt, an American psychiatrist who served in World War II and his partner John Judkyn, a British antiques dealer.  In the 1950’s they were struck with the popularity of newly established historic site museums such as Winterthur, Williamsburg, Sturbridge Village and Historic Deerfield.  So why not found a museum to demonstrate that America was more complex than in the Hollywood movies people were familiar with?

Acquiring a 19th century manor housse near Bath to display their collections, the founders planned a series of period rooms for their decorative arts collections and the interpretation of American life.’ from the ‘Aspects of America’ guidebook.

Here are some of the pictures Larry and I took when we visited:

The house itself is beautiful and the view from the front is spectacular.

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This is the view from the front:

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‘This room is the ‘keeping room’ .17th century ‘keeping’ was a term used by colonists to describe where they lived.  The Keeping Room includes a pedestal table that may have belonged to Peregrine White, who was born aboard the Mayflower’:

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What follows is the ‘Stencilled Bedroom’ ca. 1830. ‘Stencilling was done by itinerant painters who travelled across the country decorating walls with paint, as a substitute for more expensive wallpaper.  The popularity for stenciling travelled back across the Atlantic to Britain, where it also was used in the 19th century.’

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We had such a good time here and looked and looked until we were too tired to look anymore! We had lunch in the beautiful refectory where all American food was served, which was nice for Larry because although he wouldn’t admit it, he must feel homesick sometimes.

After the house we visited the exhibition hall in the grounds where a Kaffe Fassett exhibition was being held. I wrote about it here if you missed it the first time round.

 

 

The Kaffe Fassett Knitwear and Quilt Exhibition – Bath, England.


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I’ve just been enjoying a trip to Bath. On one of the days we visited the Kaffe Fassett exhibition, which was, to me, spectacular. This post is heavy on pics but I simply could not choose what to leave out so please enjoy the feast…

This is the entrance hall, which was very pink like everything else in the exhibition – a riot of colour.

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With pictures like these, who needs words? If these pictures have wetted your appetite for more, click here and you can read some more about this interesting designer.

Oma

 

A few days away in Ely, Cambridgeshire.


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Larry and I have just had a few wonderful days away in Ely, Cambridgeshire – enjoying the Spring weather and visiting the gorgeous cathedral there.

‘The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Ely is the principal church of the diocese of Ely and is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Ely.  Highly visible from every direction across the surrounding flat fenland, it has been called ‘Ship of the Fens’ for centuries, although there was a time in the 17th Century during the English Civil War that it was also dubbed ‘Cromwell’s Castle’.

Construction of the Cathedral began in 1081 when the monks of Ely finally submitted to the Norman Conquest after five years of resistance led by Hereward the Wake.  Though dedicated to God, it was a symbol of Norman authority and remains today a remarkable example of Norman architecture, from the original Romanesque features to early English pointed windows and emerging Gothic style.’

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‘The Church achieved Cathedral status at the beginning of the 12th Century and there have been additions, changes and restorations throughout the centuries since then, in the 13th Century, the Galilee porch of limestone and Purbeck marble was added to the west front entrance and the Cathedral’s east end was extended using the same type of materials.’

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Ely has always been a special place to me because when I was 27 years old, I came to live here for two years. It was a very happy time in my life and felt like being on holiday. At the time I was living in Ely, we had two little boys already – one of four and the other of 7 months and apart from my immediate family, I knew no-one else. I used to visit the Cathedral regularly; in the summertime to keep cool and in the winter-time to get warmed up because the weather in Ely can be very extreme.

The surrounding countryside is very flat, which gives rise to some vicious winds not least of which is the Fen Blow, which whips up the black alluvial soil into dark clouds which scud across the landscape looking like a witch’s cape.

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‘Disaster struck n the 14th Century when the original central Norman tower collapsed.  It was replaced with the Octagon that we see today, see picture no. 2 above, a structure unique in European cathedral architecture.  Made of stone, it is topped with a wooden lantern rising from its centre.’

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The next picture shows a view of Ely from the south aspect, from the park leading down to the river. It’s very picturesque in all its stately splendour isn’t it?

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Now that the weather is getting better, Larry and I are looking forward to spending some more days away and of course I will come back on here and share them with you.

Enjoy your Sunday 🙂

Oma

‘…’ from The Ely Map

My English Garden in February – something’s moving!


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The weather here in England has been appalling just lately with high winds and flooding across much of the country. However here in the south-east, north of London – just! we’re ok, thank goodness.  The cottage garden is not flooded although a bit water logged. Today is lovely and sunny so I went out and took some photos. The bulbs are peeking through in the tubs and the polyanthus are bravely flowering.

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I’ve been in the cottage a lot over the last few weeks and I don’t mind that because I love to read, knit and sew, but today going out was a joy – just for a little while. The first time out gardening always causes stiff muscles – yuck! but a tidy up is in order. Not today though. I’ll wait till it’s a little bit warmer.

Meanwhile I’ll enjoy these gorgeous roses that Larry bought for me for Valentine’s Day. Wasn’t I lucky!

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My memoirs – J and I, our first home.


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I’ve been ill with the flu all week – horrid. It was a week when I discovered Larry didn’t know how to peel potatoes and Jim didn’t know how to load the washing machine! Oh well, perhaps I’ll feel better next week.

While I was lying in bed feeling awful, I got to thinking about my next post on here. What should I write about? It seemed some time since I wrote a post for my memoirs, mainly because I’ve been caught up in Larry’s posts about his finding on life over here in the U.K. I

I am writing these memoirs for my boys. Perhaps they will like reading them one day. This one is particularly significant and I hardly known where to start. It is about young love and discovery. It also touches on ‘becoming invisible as we get older’ because I am 62 year’s old now; but I wasn’t always old. I wasn’t always an Oma. I was a young lady – that’s me in the picture with my first husband J. We weren’t married yet. When you look at this picture, see me as the young lady I was, not the old lady I’ve become. I’m still here. I just look different and I think differently about life, based on my experiences. I digress…

It is May 1970. I am 18 years old and J is 21. We  are preparing for our wedding in August. We have know each other for four years already and we are planning to get married to the day that we met, i.e. August 15th. For me it is a happy day, a very special day. J and I met on August 15th, 1966 and we married four years later. The marriage was to last for 36 years and we are still great friends to this day.

We saved to get a deposit for the flat (apartment) you see in the picture. It cost apx  £3,200 and our deposit was £1,000. Neither of us earned very much money because we were so young and J was still studying for his degree as a research chemist. He wouldn’t complete the course until three years later, although he already had an H.N.C (Higher National Certificate) in Chemistry. So in those early days I was earning more than he was,just!, as a Sales Administrator at Electrolux. In those days it was only the husband’s salary which counted for the mortgage and then only 2 1/2 times, nothing like it is nowadays. We were lucky to get a mortgage at all. Despite saving diligently in the Halifax Building Society for 3 years, we were still turned down. They said they didn’t lend money on flats and we couldn’t afford a house. Then J’s father took matters into his own hands. He went down to the Building Society and ‘threatened’ to take his own savings out and put them somewhere else if they didn’t give his son a mortgage! Nowadays that probably wouldn’t cut any ice, but then it did. He had significant savings and they listened. Our mortgage was granted (thanks dad) and we got on the first rung of the ladder.

The flat was new, brand new and I can’t tell you how excited I was to get it. My mum promised to buy us some curtains so that they were all the same. They were bright orange and one of the walls was purple. All very 70’s and high fashion at the time. Later on one of my hamsters would chew a big hole in one of those expensive curtains, but I’ll keep that story for another time.

Our flat was on the ground floor, at the front of the building. There was a bus-stop right outside, which was very convenient. I could walk to work and J could get the bus. Bit by bit we bought carpet and furniture and made a cosy home.

In the picture I am wearing a mini-skirt dress. It was made of crimplene, a very fashionable material at the time. I think it was a pale green colour.

Here are some interesting facts about May 1970 in the U.K.

So, we had chosen our home, booked the church for our wedding and the venue for the wedding reception. My dress was chosen as were the dresses for the two bridesmaids. We were almost there…

What were you doing in May 1970?

Dylan update – Dylan has a new house!


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This is my little grandson, Dylan. He has some big news. A week before Christmas he moved into a new house! Here at the cottage, it was very exciting news because the move had been on/off, on/off, on/off, all through December. There was a small snag concerning the Land Registry and that held everything up. (Isn’t there always a small snag!!!). Anyway, in the end all was well and they moved in on a fairly nice day without too much wind and cold.

It took till lunchtime to get the van loaded at the old house and then til tea-time to get into the new one. By then everyone was tired. Dylan came to the cottage for the day while everything was going on and Larry was ‘on loan’ to help with the move. My son and his wife coped admirably and even seemed to enjoy it.

The next day the priority became putting up the Christmas decorations. The other grandparents did a lot of that, so that by the end of day 1, the house looked like Christmas had arrived and the family were very happily ensconced in their new abode. I don’t have pictures yet, but suffice to say it is bigger than the last house and Dylan has a very nice, new bedroom to put all his new toys in.

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Christmas is now over, in the main; although because I love it so much, I refuse to stop celebrating in my own quiet way. This afternoon I intend to sit down and watch ‘Holiday Inn’ because I really enjoy that film. I have a new, digitally coloured version, which is excellent.

When I woke up this morning, there was a hard frost all over the ground. Larry had never seen such a thick frost before. It looked like snow to him. No doubt he will mention it in his next missive, which I must encourage him to write.

So now I must get back to the kitchen. We have roast lamb for dinner today. It is already smelling wonderful…