Showing posts with label Days Out. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Days Out. Show all posts

Friday 16 November 2018

Royal School of Needlework, Hampton Court Palace, London

On Tuesday I spent a fun day at Hampton Court Palace. Now I have to confess that it takes very little enticement to get me to spend a day in such a wonderful place. However, on Tuesday, I had a very special reason for being there: I was taking part in one of the Royal School of Needlework's sampler days, which involved a tour of the Royal School's workrooms and then a workshop in their studio.

Friday 23 February 2018

Kew Gardens Orchid Festival

The other day I toddled along to Kew Gardens with Jenny, one of my besties, to see the Kew Gardens Thai Orchid Festival. It was all her idea. Having grown up in Columbia she really knows her orchids, which is more than can be said for me. I'm more of an Ikea, bargain basement orchid grower - someone who should never be trusted with anything too precious or too delicate.

Thursday 15 February 2018

Drifts of 'drops

Last weekend we went to visit our besties, P, A, S & A, down in lovely Dorset. Whilst the welcome was warm, the weather was cold. Really, really cold. But we didn't let that knock us off our stride. Bravely coated and firmly booted against the elements we went out on Snowdrop Patrol

Now I know that there are lots of superstition about snowdrops, and how it's unlucky to pick them and bring them indoors, but for me they're irresistible at this time of the year. Frankly I'm grateful for anything that's prepared to bloom outside, and turn muddy borders into drifts of elegant white. And that's exactly what they do down Dorset-way. As you drive along there are banks of wild snowdrops blossoming all over the shop. 

I have a sense that we're culturally prejudiced against them by dent of still being a bit too close to those soppy Victorians. They had a penchant for planting snowdrops on the graves of their loved ones, creating an association between the shroud-like blossoms and the grim reaper. I know we're in the 21st century, and all that, but we're not that many generations removed from those tender souls who now lie in the churchyards that they once tended. Think about it: lots of grandmas and grandpas alive today can boast of having had a grandma and/ or a grandpa who was a Victorian. And, as a result of that generational proximity, there's probably still a residue of Snowdrop prejudice in our contemporary folklore. I mean, how many people do you know, who will not, under any circumstances, bring snowdrops indoors as cut flowers?

Tuesday 2 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Gosh it's hard to believe that Christmas and New Year's Eve have been and gone. It all sped by so quickly.

We're just back from a lovely New Year's Eve celebration with our dear friends P & A down in Poole. We had a really chilled time with good food and best friends. I can think of no better way to welcome in a new year.

Friday 28 July 2017

Fibre East Tomorrow ... see you there!

We're off to Fibre East tomorrow. You can find us in the Leicester Marquee. We've got our fingers crossed for nice weather.

Emi's made a Lego sewing machine to bring me luck and celebrate all the sewing I've been doing recently.

Hope to see you there!

Bonny x

Sunday 23 July 2017

Who needs Carcasonne when you've got Caernarfon?

Now I have to 'fess up to having driven past this place dozens of times, dashing back and forth from the Dublin ferry, without ever stopping to have a proper look. I've gasped and sighed over other medieval citadels here and there and further afield, but I've never given Caernarfon a second thought. I'm a numpty! And that's official.

Just stop and take a look at what I've been missing. Isn't it magnificent?

Caernarfon Castle, Caernarfon, Wales
Caernarfon Castle, Caernarfon, Wales 

Saturday 11 March 2017

Beaumaris Castle ... 8 centuries and still not finished ...

Work on Beaumaris Castle, the castle on the fair marsh, started on 18th April 1295 … and they still haven’t got the place finished.

It was to be the last of Edward I’s mighty castles guarding the north Wales seaboard. As I've mentioned before, I'm very grateful to dear old Ted the First for building all these wonderful castles within easy striking distance of the Dublin ferry. They make perfect places to stop-off and kick back for a few hours when you show up too early for your crossing.  See for example my thank you note for the wonder that is Conway Castle.

Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey, Wales
Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey, Wales

Sunday 24 July 2016

The Mid Devon Show 2016

One of our favourite days out in Devon in July is the annual Mid Devon Show. I'm a big fan of country shows that celebrate all the wonderful aspects of country life from the livestock on the farms to the wildlife in the fields to the country sports and the fabulous things that grow in our country gardens. They're a great day out for all the family, with something there for everyone. And you can bring your dog along. In fact I'm not sure they'll let you in to the Mid Devon if you don't have a pooch on your arm ...

Sunday 17 July 2016

Emma Bridgewater's motorway stopover

On Friday we had an unexpectedly enjoyable lunch break whilst we were bombing up the M6toll on our way to the ferry. We took a 10 minute detour from the motorway to shoot into Emma Bridgewater's lovely factory in Stoke-on-Trent.  And it was a wonderful sight for road-weary eyes.

The Bridgewater factory is a joyful little spot of homestyle served up in a post-industrial setting. It's all about rejuvenation and turning things around so that, to coin own her strap-line, it feels like home. For hungry folk like ourselves, who'd had more than enough of the M6 traffic, it felt like an oasis in the desert.

Saturday 9 July 2016

Fibre East

We're going to Fibre East!

Come and join us! I'd love to see you there. You can find us in the Romney Marquee. 

Held at the Redborne School and Community College, Ampthill, Bedfordshire, MK45 2NU on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July 2016, Fibre East will cover everything woolly from the sheep to the wool to the finished articles all knit-up, crocheted and felted to yarny perfection. It promises to be a great day out for all the family. You can check out the website here: Fibre East

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Conwy - a perfect stopover

On Friday morning Emi, the WonderDog and I blew town super early (in the wagon and rolling by 4:15 a.m.) on our way to Ireland. I’m not sure when super late morphs into super early, but I'd wager that a number of the folk we met in the early stages of our journey were on their way home after a fun night out. 

My cunning plan - that involved getting up at such a demented hour - was to try and get past Birmingham and the M6 before the traffic got ugly. I’ve been scarred by the traffic in that neck of the woods before, which is saying something for a Londoner. But I’m happy to report that, this time, my cunning plan worked brilliantly. So well in fact that we were on schedule to arrive 4 hours early for our sailing, which is just a smidgeon too early, even for a control-freak like me.

So I started casting around for other things to do, and hit upon the idea of a short detour into Conwy. My travel buddies were more than up for a little unscripted adventure that took us off our normal route.

Conwy Castle, Wales
Conwy Castle, Wales 

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Happy Elizabeth Day!

Happy Elizabeth Day!

On this day, 17th November, 1558 Elizabeth I, the great Virgin Queen of England, ascended the throne on the death of her half sister, Mary. Good queen Bess was totally my sort of girl: a gritty, witty survivor.

Elizabeths' old palace at Hatfield on a sunny day in May

Tuesday 3 November 2015

A foggy day in London town ...

We've been having the most amazing autumn pea souper fogs. Travelling back from Belfast to London on Sunday night was a little bit hairy. Our flight was delayed by over an hour and a half, and we were lucky to make it out at all. I remember looking at the departures board and seeing that all the Gatwick flights had been cancelled. I thanked the travel gods that I'd opted for Luton: I'd got to get Emi back to London in time for school on Monday morning.

We were shepherded onto the plane as usual, but then they kept us sitting on the tarmac until they were able to get a clear landing slot at Luton. I'm a fairly compact person, vertically challenged some might say, and Emi's small for his age. But we had a giant of a man sitting beside us who was wedged uncomfortably into his space with knees and elbows protruding awkwardly into ours.

Favour Royal Forest Park, County Tyrone ... after the fog had lifted

Thursday 29 October 2015

The Gothic Temple at Stowe ...

As it's almost Halloween, and, as I'm getting into a really spooktastic vibe, I thought I'd share some photos of one of my favourite Gothic buildings, the Gothic Temple at Stowe. Isn't it a gem?

Gothic architecture and Halloween go together like Fred and Ginger or crackers and cheese in my book. And this little beauty from the 18th century looks like it was created as the backdrop to some blood-chilling tale.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

The haunting of Corfe Castle ...

Have you ever visited a place, and come away with the view that it really ought to be haunted? Well, for me, Corfe Castle down in Dorset is just such a place. The splendid ruins of a once grand royal castle look like the perfect habitat for a legion of spooks from the other side of mortality. Now I'm not saying that I totally believe all of this stuff, but I do enjoy a good ghost story for entertainment's sake if nothing else.

Just feast your eyes on the romantic ruin, and I think you'll agree that it takes very little imagination to conjure up a host of ghostly goings on that might take place here.

Saturday 24 October 2015

Forde Abbey, Dorset ...

Forde Abbey, Dorset

This is undoubtedly one of the prettiest houses in England. It's grand, but not in a draughty, haughty, pretentious way. No, on the contrary, this is a place with a cosy congeniality that invites you to linger longer. And the gardens ... well, don't get me started on the gardens unless you've got a good long time to listen whilst I tell you how much I liked them ... .

I often find with historic houses that there's one strand, one story-line from their past that speaks more loudly and more eloquently than the others. Now in the case of Forde Abbey there are many to choose from. This is, after all, a property that's got 8 centuries of history to boast about. But for me, the defining tale is that of Edmund Prideaux, who lived here once upon a time in the 17th century.

Friday 23 October 2015

Dahlias ... the stars of the autumn garden ...

I've fallen seriously in love with the dahlia. Sadly I don't have any growing in my own garden, but I'm beginning to feel very envious of all the other folk who do.

The other day, down at Forde Abbey in Dorset, I was very taken with all the colour and cheer that they brought to the perennial borders in the drizzle of a grey afternoon. It was a dreary day that had little to recommend it (other than the splendid company of the good friends with whom we were passing the time) but through all that dismal weather the dahlia stole the show and shone its colour through the gloom.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Beech hut ... Dorset style ...

And, nope, I haven't forgotten how to spell beach!

This beech hut is so named, not because of any close proximity to a beach, but because it's made of beech saplings, cleverly pleached and grown together to make the funkiest garden house I've ever seen. Apparently it was planted back in the 1930's.

Sunday 18 October 2015

Somerset's Bookbarn

School's out for the half-term hols and we've blown town for a week in the country. En route we visited some friends in Bath, and on our way back to the M5 stopped off at the Bookbarn International, one of England's largest second-hand bookshops.

Friday 14 August 2015

Space City, Toulouse, France

Sometimes Mr B comes up with a good idea for somewhere interesting to visit. And Space City, or le Cité de l'Espace, was one such choice. Sitting in an unassuming suburb of Toulouse it's exactly what you wouldn't expect to find in such an old and historic city.

The first thing that catches your eye is the 53 metre high mock-up of an Ariane 5 rocket that's parked outside. In a low-build skyline you'd be really hard pressed to miss it.