Friday, August 28, 2015

Tuesday's Travels

We left Wye with a plan. We would visit Cantebury, check out the Cathedral and then head down to walk the White Cliffs of Dover. 

Canterbury Cathderal is well worth a visit. It one if those buildings that looks good from every angle. The stone work is being restored and stained glass widows too. 
The old stone steps inside have been worn down over the years. 
More stained glass windows than you could imagine. All of them beautiful. They have a team of nine people working on window restoration all the time. 

Walking through the grounds I spotted this young tree with paper garlands being buffeted by the wind. 
Closer examination explained what the garlands were about.
Then a bigger gust of wind blew some of the garlands right off. 
I dashed over to have a closer look, the garlands were made of paper cranes. All carefully folded. I liberated one as a momento. 
After the cathedral visit we headed for Dover. Sadly the weather decided to turn wet. We have been lucky with the weather. We have only had three seriously rainy days since we have been in England. It seems the White Cliffs were not for our eyes. We drove up to the point where you can start walking along the Cliff tops hoping to catch a glimpse but it was not to be. 

More of our adventures soon...


On the road again..

Monday afternoon we left our house sit in Dartford and headed for Wye to spend the night at this charming old pub.

Our accomodation was actually in these converted stables. 
Very comfortable, with a large walk in shower - somewhat of a novelty in England. 
The gardens contain a replica of "The Beefeaters Cottage" which was a gold medal winner at the Chelsea Garden show a few years ago. The cottage is very cute bad sadly the garden has been neglected. 

As we were leaving Wye and Gertie ( our Sat Nav) took us up the wrong lane we spotted this fabulous example of tapestry brick work. 
In this area lots of the houses have such tiny doors, had to capture a picture of that too. 
As we ask Gertie take us on secondary roads we have been able to soak up the charms of the English Countryside. We have been through so many picturesque villages. 

Talk more soon


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

One man's meat......

Is another man's poison. 
So many times as we travel around England we are amazed at the blackberry plants. In New Zealand we see them as the enemy - to be destroyed! At our first house sit they were growing smack against the kitchen window. At Tonbridge we were surprised to see them grown as a a drop to a border. 
Look carefully, can you see the berries? A Blackberry and Apple pie would be nice right now. 

More from England soon


Monday, August 24, 2015

A little bit of gardening.......

My nephew Aaron and his family have recently moved into a 100 year old plus house in Epsom, London. The garden was left in a total mess by the previous owners. Before we arrived he had lots of excess growth removed. He asked me if I would help to spruce it up and get some gardening going. 
When we arrived it looked like this:
In a moment of madness I said I could paint the fence. Me, who hasn't painted anything for about twelve years. The green cuttings are from a huge fig tree. A funny tree to grow in a small suburban garden. Needless to say it got a good pruning. So painting started:
A bit of a mission to cover all the colours and different surfaces. In spite of all that it looked pretty good when finished 

No, I didn't paint the shed! That would have been a few days work. As well as painting I helped remove about 6 inches of pebbles from the garden bed. Then Aaron forked it all over and we added a thick layer of compost. 
Saturday we got to the exciting bit - planting out. We purchased plants at the local market. Over a hundred plants. Hydrangeas, Japanese anemones, Lavenders, Verbenas, Zinnias, Gazanias, Marigolds,and finally Lobellia to cascade down the brick border. 

A real English cottage garden.  I'm looking forward to seeing how it all grows. 

Now on with the holiday.....


Shabby chic in Seven Oaks....

For my patch working friends a bit of shabby chic furniture. Julie, I thought of you when I spotted these.
I noted that the price is not too shabby.
I enjoy looking at old combined with new in England. Upstairs stone work that tells us how old the building is, below a modern hairdressers shop.

.....and for my coffee loving friends...

Bye for now


Friday, August 21, 2015

Prices in England

The question I get asked most often is how do prices in England compare with New Zealand.  It's hard to judge. Most of the time I just think in Pounds, I'd probably have a heart attack if I didn't. Some stand out differences are:

Petrol is about twice the price. To fill the car up here is about £55 at home I could fill my car (similar capacity) for NZ $60.

Fruit and vegetables are abundant and very nice. The tomatoes we get are soooo sweet. Flatto peaches just divine. Today we saw two cabbages for £1.50 - NZ $3.55. 

Coffee is about £2.40 - NZ £5.60. Gosh wish I hadn't checked that one! See what I mean about talking in pounds instead of dollars.

Today we bought these delightful patio roses four for £5 - a NZ$11.80. Now that's a bargain isn't it?

We are in our second house sit now. Our new fur person is Louie.
As you can see he's very stressed about having us here. 

Talk soon


Game of quilts

At The Birmingham Quilt Festival two teams of ladies were making a quilt from scratch during the open hours of the show. 

Teams of sewers (maximum 4) took up the challenge each day.

At the end of the show the team judged to have made the best quilt received a prize. 
All the finished quilts were donated to Birmingham Children's Hospital. 

Deep concentration.

You can view the finished quilts here:

Perhaps an idea for Taupo Quiltmakers next exhibition?

Thanks for popping by


Thursday, August 13, 2015

A pleasant break in our journey...

.......south to Epsom yesterday. At Stratford upon Avon we spotted signs for Anne Hathaway's cottage. In our usual "we may never be this way again" style we decided to stop. 

The house has been lovingly restored, the gardens delightful. 

Just to keep it real there are vegetable growing in this cottage garden too 

I was fasinated by this huge decorative thistle flower. The bees were very busy here.

 I had Peggy take a second photo with my hand to give an idea of scale.

The Brits sure know how to make these places attractive and interesting. Isn't this framing seat made of rush just perfect? 

Getting prepared to go on our first house sitting assignment today. Feels like the first day at a new job! I'm looking forward to having a cat to pet. Seems like a very long time since I have heard the magical sound of a purr!

Talk soon


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I forgot..... mention the Birmingham Festival of Quilts. 

Last Friday we took the train down to Birmingham to attend the Festival. 1000 quilts on display and 300 merchants. Apart from the Sisters Quilt show which is quite different because it is staged out doors this was the best quilt exhibition I have ever seen. The venue was superb. Lots of space and light. The winning quilts were all displayed in one area. 

This quilt by Janette Chilver was awarded best in show. I liked the patchwork, colour and quilting style. The quilting is very much in a Jady Marsden style. Free motion and ruler work.

We were excited to see a NZ quilt are by Donna Cumming and Carol Fearson on display. Hand stitched Cathedral Windows. 
This quilt by Kumiko Frydi won the miniature section. It is about 12 inches square. Called "tempest" it is foundation pieced,reverse appliqu├ęd, free motion quilted, and machine embroidered on binding. 

So many people it was hard to take a picture without people. This quilt took out the Best Pictorial Quilt award. A seascape scene. Brilliant colours and about a zillion crystal. 


So much to see and do. We went to visit Susan Clare AKA Gourmet Quilter( we were surprised to find a quilter from Taupo visiting her booth too! 
Another highlight was meeting up with Linda of

A great day out 


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Endon Village

Yesterday we drove to Endon to visit family. As always we were enchanted by the country scenery and lovely well kept gardens. I console my self by saying that most of the gardens are much smaller than ours. This one (not so small) has trimmed, clipped and shaped to perfection. 

This one full of brilliant colour. 

Endon has a well which is "dressed" every may. Right now it looks like this:

When it is dressed it looks like this:

You can read more about well dressing here: 

Another happy day spent in dear old Blighty. 

More soon


It's the little things that are so interesting......

When were staying in London earlier, I spotted these lockers in the foyer. 

Closer inspection revealed that they are for popping your clothes in to be laundered. You pop your clothes in the closet and send a text message to the laundry fairy. Your washing/cleaning is picked up and returned back to the locker. 
I wondered if this idea could catch on in New Zealand. Then I read the price list, perhaps not,I think.

Thanks for popping by


Saturday, August 08, 2015

A little bit of Italy

My most favourite part of our quick trip into Italy was a visit to Burano. 

A textile lovers dream location. We watched needle lace being made and admired the beautiful items available.

This place was super tempting. 

The house here are different as they are painted in bright colours. They look very smart. These ones seemed to glow. 

Burano matched my mind's eye picture of Italy perfectly. 


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