Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mountain Scenery

Meanwhile, seven and a half hour's drive to the north, winter still has a firm hold.  Scanning the forecasts before we went, we could imagine lots of cups of hot chocolate, huddled in the Dunes Coffee Shop.


However, we were pleased to find that walks were possible, with snow just frosting the peaks above us for maximum photographic appeal.  We began by climbing Dodd, just under Skiddaw.  Distances were hazy here, and there was a biting wind on the summit.  We met a family, Mum with small boy, Dad with even smaller girl.  Girl threw her head back and whined "Why do we have to do this?"  You have to say that she has a point there.

On the way down, the same family, transfixed before a tree, in which there was a flock of birds.  Chaffinches?  "No," my husband said. "Crossbills" - a bird he has never seen before.  They were feasting on pine-cones, using their crossed bill to scissors out the seeds.

So then we walked over Sale Fell, and round by the old, ruined Wythop chapel and the forestry road.  Very few birds to be seen anywhere.

On a day of brilliant sunshine and biting cold, we decided on the Newlands Valley, and we were not alone.  Families were herding their offspring up Cat Bells.  This was the day for views, with all the tops clear and snow etching the contours.

Finally, another day saw us on the well-trodden High Nook Tarn walk above Loweswater, one of our favourites.

Quite a bit of knitting went on during this trip, with its long journeys and quiet evenings in.

That's three little red cardigans, three children's hats in Sanquhar patterns and two pairs of baby mittens.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Signs of spring?

After a mild, wet winter some bitterly cold, bright days.  Up at the Marks Hall arboretum, things are stirring, perhaps prematurely.


Great drifts of snowdrops.

Early primroses.


Blossom in the walled garden.

Meanwhile, this spectacular variety of willow makes a good show.

On the knitting front, a batch of hats in the Sanquhar knitting tradition.  These may look similar, but each  has its own name and history: The Duke, Glendyne, Cornet and Drum, and Rose, named after Princess Margaret Rose in the Thirties.  Very satisfying to knit.

Friday, February 05, 2016

In Wonderland

To London, to meet my younger sister for lunch.  We had both noticed the exhibition of children's books at the Foundling Museum and so this is where we went.

The statue of Thomas Coram, founder of the museum.  The theme of the exhibition was "Orphans", of course, and focused on the illustrations.  An eclectic mix of pieces nonetheless.

We were very moved by some of the modern art work produced by artists and students, on the same theme.  A row of little white shirts on cloakroom pegs, the name labels replaced by things people said to the children.  A sheet of densely packed pins, with the bottom row somehow outlining letters.

From there, following Jean's example, we moved to The British Library, for the Alice exhibition, and tea.
Some more little jackets and hats.  I seem to have speeded up my rate of production.  I think that this is down to the stranded patterns which just seem to go faster, or motivate me to continue, or something.

Jolly hat and cardigan

Rosy hat and cardigan

Princess hat and cardigan