Saturday, 28 February 2015

Make It Knit & Stitch 2015

'You will forgive me if I say that you are to me as an open book, my dear Watson, and that with every movement, you turn another page.' With that we arrive at North Camp station ready for another day on the Loving Hands stand at the Knit &Stitch Exhibition.

Sherlock is tucked into my bag next to my marmalade toast and wool as I walk up the road over the flyover past the Wild Wild Western Wear shop, the Motorbike Shop, the Art-of-Craft, the hairdressers etc. to the top of the hill, round the corner by the Holiday Inn, over the road and through security and into the giant tent that holds the Exhibition. You wouldn't realise it was a tent until the wind gets up and the ropes begin to clank against the metal struts and the building starts to sway.  Every year after the exhibition season, it's taken down, stored and then when Planning Permission is granted for the following year, up it goes again in January, taking a month to get it securely in place again.

Inside, there are lots of colourful wares on display at the moment.

Loving Hands received even more donations today from people that had found the Stand last year. They had spent the year knitting and crocheting and had turned up this year loaded with woolly items for us to send on to those in need.

 Thank you so much.

Back on the train after a long day's crocheting, Sherlock Holmes, in the guise of Benedict Cumberbatch yet with the words of Anthony Horowitz, who's having a day off from Foyle's War, is taking everything in his stride.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Make It 2015

Today was the first day of the Knit & Stitch exhibition, part of Make It 2015.  An enormous exhibition area is taken over by numerous stalls selling items for card making, wool, material, haberdashery, beads - here's the exhibitor's list.

There are workshops too so you can have a go yourself.  Various Guilds display their handiwork - all sorts of embroidery and lacework, beekeepers, cookies, sweets, cafe . . .

. . . and then there is Loving Hands showing all the charities we support, items we have made plus we've even got a table full of woolly squares where people can rest their weary legs and join a few together to make a blanket - squares that is, not legs!

Items for Africa - shorts made from the sleeve of an old shirt and dresses from the front and back of it.

 Many visitors bring donations of wool or knitted items for us to send off to those that are in need of some woolly warmth. Others have a few problems with their stitches and need a helping hand.  All in all it's great fun.

We meet so many kind and helpful people, it's great to know there are so many out there who want to help others in a voluntary way.

Thursday, 26 February 2015


We are off to Shrewsbury today, the county town of Shropshire near the Welsh Borders. 

The River Severn circles the town almost making an island of it, offering beautiful views and walks.

The English Bridge with the United Reformed Church

Shrewsbury Abbey, where the fictional Cadfael stories are set

The centre is packed with black and white timber framed buildings as well as a Castle and an Abbey and retains its medieval street pattern with many narrow streets and passages. Many of the street names are unusual and have remained unchanged for centuries - Butcher Row, Longden Coleham, Dogpole, Mardol, Frankwell, Roushill, Grope Lane, Gullet Passage, Murivance, The Dana, Portobello, Bear Steps, Shoplatch and Bellstone.

Small 'shuts' or streets and passages

Black and white timber framed buildings in the main street

The Public Library used to be Shrewsbury School which Darwin attended.

Statue of Darwin outside the library

 There are a great many bridges and churches in Shrewsbury, all of different styles, offering a spire round every corner.

St Mary's Church, now redundant, with one of the tallest spires in England.

In 1739 Robert Cadman a showman and performer attempted to slide head first from the spire using a rope and a grooved breastplate to a meadow across the Severn.  He performed tricks on the way up, however on his way down the rope broke and he fell to his death, there is a memorial plaque in the church.

Shrewbury Castle, now a regimental museum.

View of the Abbey from the Castle.

Outside the Castle gates

Market Place

Cafe in the Museum and Art Gallery

St Chads Church where Darwin was baptised.  A gravestone for Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge remains in the Churchyard, left over from filming of the 1984 Christmas Carol film.

The Quarry in the town has been turned into a beautiful park.
Quarry Park

The Dingle, in the Quarry park, created by BBC Gardener Percy Thrower when he worked as the Parks Superintendent.

I like the name of this antique shop - Junk 'n Disorderly

By the river

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Cookham Stanley Spencer and Cliveden

 Cookham on the Thames is a beautiful village and yet again easily visited by train.  There are many walks once you head from the station to the centre of the town.  I usually make a bee line for the Stanley Spencer Gallery, more information here.  In fact on their website, you can find various walks through Cookham bringing Spencer's paintings to life.

Stanley Spencer Gallery

Southwold, Suffolk
Scarecrow, Cookham
Cookham Rise

 I love the intricacy of Spencer's landscape paintings.  Apparently he would start on a tiny flower or detail and build the painting up from there.


From the Gallery you can head off left on the main road A4094, carry on over the bridge and take a footpath through the field on the right, emerging on the Bourne End Road towards the National Trust property - Cliveden.  A fabulous property, famous for its association with the Astor family and connection with the Profumo affair, I would recommend a tour of the house, only open on certain occasions as it is a luxury hotel nowadays, which really brings the history of the house to life.  Here's the website for more information.

Along the path on the way to Cliveden.  When reaching the road after the field, you turn right and will be walking up a steep hill until you come to the Entrance of the Estate, fortunately there is a footpath a little to the right of the road which keeps you away from the cars.
Cliveden from the back


A good cafe providing a welcome break from the trekking.


Plenty of walks in the grounds along the Thames.

Now you'll have to retrace your steps to the station and you will definitely be glad to get back home and put that kettle on!