Thursday, 30 June 2011

Acrorn Bank Garden and Waternill

Arch into courtyard at Acorn Bank
For the second part of our holiday we headed south, not too far, but into the Lake District.  The morning was wet, so we stopped at the Rheghed Centre just outside Penrith for our lunch and a look around the shops.  By the time we had lunched it had cleared up and I had collected a pile of tourist leaflets. 
Clock Tower at Acorn Bank
In one of the leaflets I found Acorn Bank Garden and Watermill just outside Temple Sowerby between Penrith and Appleby, as we were heading to Appleby it couldn't have been better placed.
Walled orchard garden           

Waterlily in pond


We started our visit in the walled garden which is full of fruit trees and also has a lovely pond covered in water lilies and hiding two differnet types of newts, they took some finding but once you could see one you seemed to 'get your eye in' and could see more hiding in the weeds.

Medical Herbal Garden
The garden is best known for it's collection of medicinal and culinary herbs.  There were some lovely specimens, they even grew nettles - deliberately!
Damson Tree

Winter Sorrel


After our tour of the garden we changed into our walking boots and headed down the river walk to the restored Water Mill.  It wasn't far and there were a few features on the way, like this quiet backwater.
Pond on walk to Water Mill

Queen Janice on her throne!
There were two of these hand woven wicker chairs looking out over the river.
Rooster and Chickens at Watermill
The water mill itself wasn't much to look at, the one at New Abbey, close to home is much better, so I didn't take any photographs, but they did have this rather handsome cockerel and his 'ladies'.  It was a very pleasant way to pass the afternoon before we headed to our hotel - more of that soon.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Totally Gorjuss Challenge 86

So finally I have a card for the Totally Gorjuss Challenge.  The theme is ribbons and lace and you can find out more HERE.  My ribbons are paper ribbons but that is real vintage lace, from my bag of 'granny's lace'!

Crate Paper - Restoration Collection. Stamp from staped image swap coloured with Inktense watercolour pencils.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Verdant Works - The story of Jute

When we were on holiday visiting my family, we took a trip to the Verdant Works in Dundee.  I have close family connections with Dundee and those are also linked to the Jute industry.  My great grandfather was killed by a bale of jute which fell on him and broke his back,  my great grandmother had to go and work in the mill to keep the family fed.  She became very active in organising and supporting other women working there, there were many jute mills in Dundee and I'm not sure which one she worked at.  My grandmother worked as a spinner and my great aunt was a weaver.  So you can see why I wanted to visit this museum.

We started off in the Works Office, this was delightful, because when you press a button you can hear the staff talking to each other in lovely broad Dundonian accents, I enjoyed hearing the characters say 'eh' instead of 'I', you had to be there ;p
My mum was with us and she worked in an insurance office in Dundee in the early 1950s, her recollection was that this sort of office was still in operation with the high desks.

The thoughts of the typist were interesting, no downtrodden woman here, she was off to a suffragette meeting.

We learned all about how jute was grown but I particularly loved this scene which similated looking up at the masts of the clipper from the hold of the ship.

There was plenty of information about the processing of the jute as well as the machines used for the various processes.

Sack sewing was the very lowest of the skills associated with the jute trade and much of it was done in the home.

The exhibits then went on to tell about the products that used jute and the canvas and hessian was exported all over the world, products such as covered wagons, carpet backing, tents, bags, webbing, rope and string.

We then moved on to the exhibits which tell about the life in Dundee.  One of the most interesting things about that was that there was very much a matriarchial society because when the boys reached maturity they were paid off because men were too expensive, so it was the women to earned the money and the men stayed at home as 'kettle bilers' (boilers) looking after the children and making the meals.  They got seasonal work picking fruit and took the children with them to the berry fields but otherwise morale was pretty low.  They were some of the first to volunteer to sign up at the start of WW1.

These depictions of the Dundee tenement flats brought back lots of memories, as I can vividly remember visiting my great-grandmother in her 'room and kitchen' flat.  Her bed was in the kitchen and she let out the 'bedroom' to a relative.  There was a shared toilet on 'the stair', even at 4 or 5 it horrified me that she had to share a toilet with her neighbours.

If you are going to Dundee, I can thoroughly recommend this musuem/attraction,  it was full of information presented in varied and interesting ways.  Some of the film footage you can see there is very evocative and entertaining as well as educating.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


Part Two of my holiday photos.
Pittenweem Harbour
Pittenweem Harbour was full of working fishing boats, as it was Sunday there wasn't much activity, but the blue sky was reflecting on the water in the harbour and it all looked very pretty.
View between the houses at Pittenweem

I liked this view between these two houses,  I think was probably a slipway when each house would have it's own boat.
Houses close to the sea wall
We walked right along to the end of the village where these little cottages cluster close to the sea wall,  they must get battered in the winter with the storms, but on a sunny day they created a little sun trap.  Lots of these houses are holiday homes for rent.

Brian walking along the sea wall
After Pittenweem we headed to the next village to have our lunch, the harbour at Anstruther is for leisure craft and very busy, but not nearly as attractive as the other village harbours.  My dad used to do a lot of sailing around this coast and often moored at Anstruther where it is customary to have fish and chips!

It would have been rude not to take advantage of such a well-known chippie with a clutch of awards to its name.  We sat in and had to stand in line for about 15 minutes to get a table. It's pretty much like that every day, especially in the summer.

Mum and I ordered the Haddock & Chips,  I did look at the sustainable option of Hake, but it came from the south west of Africa, so I thought I would sustain our local fishermen instead!  

Brian ordered Herring in Oatmeal with his chips, the waitress misheard and brought him haddock, so that had to go back and it took rather a long time for the herring to arrive, when this was pointed out they immediately volunteered to waive the cost of that meal.  The food was very good, but the service was a little hurried due to the high turnover. 
We decided not to go to Crail, the last of the villages, but to go on to St Andrews and have an ice-cream at Janettas, an ice-cream parlour which has been in St Andrews since 1908 and I remember as a child it was the only shop that was open in St Andrews on a Sunday!  It's very different now and they have 52 flavours of ice-cream and a long queue out the door.   I didn't take any photos of the ice-creams, but I had Chocamocca in a chocolate waffle cone.  The perfect way to end a perfect day!

In the next post I will tell you about my visit to The Verdant Works, Jute Mill Museum in Dundee.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Home for the Holidays

We are having a 'Staycation' this year. We spent the first week at home getting on with some things around the farm and having some treats, like a facial and massage and a few lunches out.

On Saturday we headed off to the East coast of Scotland to visit my mum.  It was very wet and cold on Saturday, but Sunday turned out to be a lovely sunny day with blue skies, so we decided to go to the villages of the East Neuk of Fife which have pretty harbours and lots of photo opportunities!

We started out at Elie, which is famous for it's golden sands.

Elie Beach

Elie Beach
If you look closely you will see that there are people in swim suits and someone actually swimming!  It really wasn't that warm!  We went for coffee at the Pavillion which belongs to the golf course and sat outside in the shelter of the canopy.

We then moved on to St Monans, which is where my mum was born, although she moved from there as a baby and doesn't remember much about it.

St Monans looking towards the old Kirk
St Monans looking towards the windmill
St Monans Harbour
Windmill at St Monans
This recently restored the Windmill was used for pumping the seawater to the saltpans. From this the water was extracted leaving only the salt. It would take approximately 32 tons of sea water to produce 1 ton of salt.  The trade died when laws were changed which allowed cheaper imports to Scotland.

Salt production in the Forth Basin

How the Saltpans worked

You can still see the remains of the salt pans.

Looking back at St Monans from the Windmill

That was the first part of our day,  tomorrow I'll tell you about Pittenween and Anstruther.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A little light crafting

It's surprising how much crafting you can do when you don't have to go to work!  I've managed some time at my craft desk every day and although I don't have a huge amount to show for it, I have enjoyed what I've been able to do.

First I'll show you the card I made with the sketch from Kathy's Waffle Sketch File.  You won't find this paper in any craft shop, I punched it out of a magazine.  I love the retro style and bold colours.

As a mentioned in a previous post, I am taking part in a free online journalling class called 'In the Sun' you can find out more about it HERE .  It's a great class for anyone starting out as the prompts are short and don't make huge demands in terms of materials, you can pretty much do what you want with them.

For my journal I'm using an old poetry book that I bought a long time ago when I was a student working in Cornwall for the summer. 

Here is my introduction page, I am using a photograph of our field that I took earlier this week as a main theme.  Here is the photograph unadulterated,  I had to lie down in the grass to get the shot!  The summer meadow sums up summer for me.

Wings - Itkipulti; body, arms and legs - Maya de Groot, Hoity Toity; paper - Crate Paper Restoration Collection.
The second prompt is about creating a self-portrait.  I used the photograph in a slightly different way and journalled between the strips.  I had fun creating myself as a butterfly, I did that digitally, then printed and cut it out.

Paper - Coppercurls Designs, Denim Days; Frame- Coppercurls Designs, Funky Brights; Button - Julie Marie, Bailey; Fonts - Scrap Round, Showcard Gothic
I've been out with my camera quite a lot and have made some digital layouts for the Digital Design Den Virtual Photo Shoot.  The theme for the top one is 'Leading Lines'.  I couldn't believe that I got these pictures of the swans taking off, it was just amazing.

Paper - Coppercurls Designs, Funky Brights; Ribbon - Ellie Lash, Homemade Christmas; Leaf - DSD by Athena, Late Harvest; Font- SNF Sketch Black
I went out today to try to get some photos for the other themes and found this little pool at the edge of the stream with a great reflection of the leaves from the overhanging trees, ideal for the Reflections theme.