Friday, July 27, 2012

PotFest in the Park 2012

Rob and I went to PotFest in the Park, held in the grounds of Hutton-in-the-Forest today.

The ceramics show hosts hundreds of makers from the UK, Europe and beyond. There is so much variety to see and we look forward to adding to our collection of usable pottery pieces.

We made a bee line for the tea room and had a cup of coffee before enjoying a walk around the walled garden, wildflower meadow and grounds before heading for the exhibition tents.

The competition for the exhibitors this year was "Journeys and Pilgrimages" and all of the pieces were laid out on the lawns for visitors to vote on. Rob chose the ship with the cat and owl as his #1 favourite; I went for the beautiful green, bud-like piece that was based on an ash leaf unfurling.

Here are some more pieces that caught my eye:-

We went on to the Upfront Gallery nearby, for lunch.

Rob had the vegetable curry, rice, and nan bread with mango chutney, a slice of banana and chocolate chip bread with a pot of tea; I ate cheese ploughman's with gluten free bread, a piece of 'sticky jack' (date, sultana, chocolate and rice crispy tray bake) and an apple juice. The ladies who served us were very nice and helpful and the food was great. I think the bill was just over £20. Full marks for the numerous vegetarian and gluten free options available! Highly recommended.

Back at home we admired the four dinner plates we bought: two each from Armin Skirde; and Charlotte and Siegerd Bohmer. Coincidentally, both sellers were from the same town (Hohr-Grenzhausen) in Germany, which we had no idea about until we got home and looked at their leaflets.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Eskdalemuir & Samye Ling

Today Rob and I went for a walk to Bessie's Hill Fort and surrounds in Eskdalemuir, followed by lunch at Samye Ling.

We saw lots of butterflies, moths, beetles and other insects. Rob made up this collage showing a small sample. Since the forestry commission cut down a lot of the pine trees in the area, lots of wild flowers have flourished in their place. (Click on the collage to see a larger version.)

Here are a few of the sights at Samye Ling, a monastery and Tibetan centre. The site seems to be ever expanding, but in a way that allows nature to survive, with large areas of wild flowers, plants, ponds and trees.

The restaurant serves soup, pannini, pasties, cakes, tray bakes etc. Rob had two small pasties: one with cheese and onion, one with spinach and feta. I had a bowl of soup with toast. It was a large bowl of spicy, thick, lentil and vegetable soup with two slices of toast - very tasty! We both had cappuccinos, which came with a small biscuit each. Good value for money at £9.40.

It is nice to wander around the grounds afterwards to see the prayer wheels and memorials for people and animals; the vegetable gardens, ponds and monuments. There is a shop where you can buy Buddist texts and music, dvds, art and craft work, incense, toiletries etc.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Recent Handmade Purchases: Pants and Earrings

Morning all!

I thought that I would share the latest two purchases of handmade items that I've made.

First are these beautiful millefiori glass star earrings from Lucy at LuniqueUK. This talented designer makes jewellery; night lights using recycled stamps; decoupaged chests of drawers; and cushions.

My second purchase was from Down To Earth Recycling. Elizabeth loves to recycle every scrap that she can lay her hands on and makes everything from quilts to gift baskets, cushions to dolls, knitted items and more. I can't think of a more eco-friendly place to shop. I bought some pants made from recycled t-shirts. It is a lucky dip as to colour and design, which makes it even more exciting to open your parcel. I received a pair of blue ones and a cream pair with a bright trio of parrots on the bottom! The pants are available in a two pair pack at just £2.50. They are available in sizes 8 - 10; 10 - 12; 14 - 16; and 18 - 20.

I always try to shop from independent sellers on sites like Folksy and Etsy. You get an unbelievable choice of items, many unique designs, made with care and attention to detail.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Moffat Well Walk

Rob and I went on a walk from Moffat up into the hills and across to the well, then back down into the town.

A similar walk can be found here. It is about 5.3 Km in distance. The going is uphill in places and sometimes muddy, but not too strenuous.

The well was discovered in 1633 and has a pungent, sulphurous smell. We didn't drink or bathe in it, but people used to; as a cure for various ailments and skin complaints.

On the way back into town, we passed a field of sheep and alpaca, relaxing in the warmth. The black, sleeping alpaca looked especially strange: like a Dr Seuss drawing. Click on the photo collage below to see a larger version. The photos on the left side show the well.

We finished up with lunch in the Ariette Cafe in the centre of town. It is a nice, old fashioned cafe serving great food and drinks. The staff are friendly and efficient. We had baked potatoes and salad, but have previously enjoyed salads, veggie breakfasts and more. The cakes also looked tempting, but we were too full up after our lunch.

Moffat itself is an attractive town with a variety of restaurants, hotels, cafes, a park and river walk, plenty of free parking, garden centre, antique & bric a brac shop, deli, bookshop, toffee shop, charity shops and many others etc  Well worth a visit!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Abbey Walk, To Waterloo Monument

Rob and I went on a walk starting from New Abbey in Dumfries and Galloway this week. We had an early lunch in the Abbey Cottage. They serve award-winning tea and coffee with freshly-made food, sourced from local suppliers. We ate baked potatoes with salad, Rob had vegetarian haggis and I had cheese and coleslaw. They were perfectly cooked: the fresh salad flavoured with a wholegrain mustard vinaigrette dressing and served with coleslaw. With a pot of tea and an apple juice, the bill came in at under £15. Highly recommended! There is a small craft shop adjoining the tea room, and Sweetheart Abbey to explore, nearby.

The walk we did is about 4 miles long and directions for a similar walk can be found here.

We were heading for the Waterloo Monument, which can just be seen at the top of the hill in the photo below.

At the start of the walk you get stunning views of Criffel (another walk for another day!).


It is a steep climb up the hill, with rough, high steps to negotiate. From the top is a charming view over the Nith Estuary and across the Solway to the Lake District. The Waterloo Memorial, built in 1810, commemorates the British, Belgian and Prussian soldiers who, under Wellington and Blucher won the battle of Waterloo.

You can climb the tower if you are feeling brave. There is no lighting, but you can scrabble up the spiral stone staircase in the dark and come out at the narrow summit with a very low surrounding wall (knee height!). The view is spectacular with New Abbey and Sweetheart Abbey (below).


You can head back down the hillside by the way you came up, but we decided to go through the 'forest', which actually has been cut down now, concealing the original track. We scrambled over extremely rugged terrain, with fallen branches and boggy ground before ending up in some dense woodland at the bottom of the hill.  After half an hour of struggling through the undergrowth and thick, muddy patches, we emerged scratched and dishevelled onto the road which leads back to New Abbey. Quite an adventure, and, as Rob put it, definitely 'the road less travelled'.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Caldbeck, Cumbria

Rob and I had a run out to Caldbeck in Cumbria today, after our friend, Neil, had recommended the Watermill Cafe to us.

It is a very picturesque village, with a variety of small shops, selling all sorts of things, such as crafts, plants, jewellery, woollen items (rugs, jumpers, hats, craft materials), art work, whole foods, etc. There is a church, village pond with loose sheep and lots of ducks, Post Office and lots of nice lanes to wander in, admiring the cottage gardens and small streams. There are a number of longer walks you can do, in the area, but with the threatening clouds, we decided to leave that for another day.

There are several cafes and pubs to choose from. We went to the Watermill Cafe and had morning cappuccinos (large), and Rob had a date slice. (Price around £7.50).

Later we went back for lunch (served from 11.30 am) and I had a jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw, served with a side salad of mixed beans, more coleslaw, lettuce and grated carrot. Rob chose the 'pasty of the day', which was a vegetarian one, also served with side salad. Both meals were very good - homemade salads and a proper oven-baked potato. Rob thought the excellent pasty was probably from the Moody Baker in Alston. With a cold drink each, the bill came to under £18.

Here is a collage of photos we took. Click on the photos for a larger image.


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