Thursday, 31 July 2014

Lest We Forget

Last Sunday, in glorious sunshine I was lucky to be able to participate in the Wyle Valley 1914 project. The commemoration was very thoughtfully put together. There was enough to do if the visit was a couple of hours but it was a lovely laid back event. They managed to get a lot of information out in an engaging manner.

The Great War Society were amazing, Sunday was much cooler than Saturday and had a lovely breeze, they must have been much more comfortable in their woollen uniforms.

Tommy looked very smart.


The camp was established, clean and dry.


And the heavy artillery was efficient and loud.


The Yeomanry had great outfits and the dappled grey is named Stilton!


A large number of women at the front were involved in field hospitals and drove a lot of hospital carts and ambulances such as this lovely Model T Ford (see they aren’t always black).


However, I believe women never got as far as the trenches.


Trench communication posts were fairly comfortable - well better than the latrines.


Not to use the latrines was illegal and punishable. Of course, if you were military then it was a court marshal-able offence and the punishment was pretty severe and inhumane.

Hard tack and basic rations came down the line with shift changes, as did the rum ration which was marked "SRD" (Service Rations Depot) but known by soldiers variously as "Seldom Reaches Destination" or "Soon Runs Dry". It was concentrated and had to be diluted. It was sometimes placed under the care of members of the temperance movement. Drank un- or in-sufficiently diluted the rum ration could lead to temporary blindness and even death.

On the home front women rolled up their sleeves and helped the war effort in several ways. Of course they had to take over all farming duties, they filled munitions, worked in factories and continued the fight for voting rights.


In the UK Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild geared up to provide comforts for the troops, this was also encouraged by the Red Cross. We are members of the Wiltshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers representing Queen Mary’s Guild.


We had music from a brass band and were serenaded by the Warminster Army Wives Choir.


There was also a drumhead service of remembrance.

As a matter of morbid interest the field dressing every Tommy carried in their right pocket had two pads, one for the entry wound and one for the exit wound. Each pad was designed to soak up a pint of blood, if both pads were soaked it meant the casualty had lost two or more pints of blood. This meant that the hospital could concentrate on other casualties who showed a higher chance of surviving. During the first war great leaps in medicine including the knowledge of blood types, the identification of types and storing of blood for transfusion without a live donor being present were made. Interesting, gruesome and awesome.


The village hall had interesting displays showing the extensive network of camps established in the Wyle Valley, together with interesting dioramas, displays of original artifacts and school projects.

The Great War had an impact on society which we still benefit from today. However, modern warfare had entered the theatre and 1914 saw the arrival of something new, horrific and international involving troops from Europe, America, Russia, Australasia.



Saturday, 19 April 2014

Tulip Mania

Those who know me might be aware that the tulip is one of my favourite flowers.

As an Easter treat my husband took me to a tulip field.

In the field it felt like the tulips went on forever.

There a masses of varieties.

We picked quite a few.

They make me smile.


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Minty fresh!

Today I baked, playing with some sugar paste, pretty food colouring gels and making a couple of icing bags.

I am hugely pleased with the results.

They have the look of spring and are minty fresh.

I love mint choc chip.


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Not much of a rush

It was my birthday last month and, as a present I received a lovely art quilt kit from Deborah O'Hare of QuiltRoutes who sells on Folksy, Etsy and blogs here. I first came across her kits on Etsy and fell truely madly and deeply in love with her Moon Gazing Hare, which I will purchase one day.

Last year, Iain took me on a magical steam train journey to Weymouth where we spent a wonderful anniversary paddling in the sea, walking the promenade and visiting the lovely RSPB wetland of Radipole Lake where I stroked my first bullrush!

With such lovely memories, it seemed fitting to add Deborah's kit called Bull Rushes to my present list.

The kit comes in this lovely and sturdy manila card envelope with full colour image on the front. It just speaks quality to me.

Inside is everything you need except the threads to make the quilt. Beautiful hand painted fabrics, backing fabric in the most perfect mouse (I am slightly ashamed to say that the colour of mouse is as beautiful as the hand-painted loveliness on top of it), fusible batting and double sided sticky stuff. (Please forgive the lack of terminology, but this is my first art and fused quilt.) There are also the pattern pieces and layout diagram for those who wish to follow it and excellent instructions which also provides to link to Deborah's website, theseare provided on high quality paper.
What isn't included is thread and fabric to bind the edges of the mini quilt. As it is designed as a picture it can be finished in many ways and, after some thinking and research, you can see which method I chose at the end of the post.
My but the fabrics are just delicious.
I went shopping and chose 3 lovely threads that I thought went well. Guttermann is easy to purchase here in my two local quilting/sewing shops and I do like their threads (not that I've sewn with too many others to be honest).

It was time for a bit of ironing followed by some free motion quilting (FMQ), I've only really done one other piece before so I am still pretty uneven in stitch length etc but I don't really care that much.

Wow, that sky is blue. At the time of sewing there hadn't been much blue sky for the whole winter.
Then it was time to trace the pattern pieces onto the sticky stuff.
And fuse it to the wrong side of the fabric. Yep, you heard me - wrong side. So why did I decide to stick the leaves to the RIGHT side? I could have cried especially as this was such a lovely piece of fabric with a beautiful gold shimmer. Luckily for me this fabric is hand painted and so the back of the fabric had a good depth of colour, not like printed quilting fabrics. So after a bit of talking down by Iain, I was able to continue.

With all the pieces placed and ironed on, it was time for the fun to begin.

Man, this type of work creates lots of ends if not thought through.

With a bit of sewing it really started to come to life but I also realised that the leaves (now paler than intended) needed a bit more definition than I originally planned.

The purchase of some shiny green thread really worked. I also decided to zigzag the edges of my quilt, after I had carefully trimmed it square.

And voila! the finished quilt. I think it is lovely and, if I hadn't mentioned the leaves I don't think you would not be any the wiser. That blue is not so obvious now.

I love my little quilt and the memories i have attached to it as I sewed it. I would recommend one of Deborah's kits if you want to try making an art quilt.


Sunday, 23 February 2014

A walk to Bath

A few weeks ago I had to go into Bath and, as it was such a lovely day, I decided to document my route. I am very lucky to live just outside this World Heritage City and I still feel exceptionally lucky to be able to call this home.

The first glimpse of the suburbs of Bath, a parade of Georgian houses in the distance

After a walk I enter Sydney Gardens which has one of my favourite houses in Bath. I covet that lounge with its wonderful bay and flat roof terrace. It is possible to enter the gardens through a door in the Ionic Columned porch. A wonderful space to sit and soak up the sunshine.

The pathway continues to mature trees and a pedestrian bridge.

Looking to the right, the towpath travels along the Kennet and Avon canal through Bathampton, Dundas, Avoncliffe and beyond.

To the left, it flows through the Gardens and through Bath, onto Bristol. It is possible to moor in this basin providing excellent access to the theatre and other attractions.

Continuing through the gardens (they seem really big but they aren't although they are fairly spacious) there is this lovely replica of the temple to Minerva. The pediment is based on the freeze found at the Roman Baths.

Nearing the road there is this lovely example of Edwardian(?) toilets. When I first arrived they were abandoned to the plants. It is great to be able to see the structure and I really hope these can be restored.


As can be seen, the state of preservation is pretty good and I personally think they are interesting and pretty and I would love to be able to use them as intended.

In keeping with several city gardens the majority of houses surrounding it were provided with direct access. This means it is possible to pass from Sydney Gardens directly into the gardens of the Holburne Museum, with its new attractive glass extension.

I think the change from modern to Georgian is well handled.

The walk then takes me past this little summer house, which I think is adorable.

Once I pass this, I can take in the view of the famous Great Pulteney Street.

Looking back where I have come from, the beauty of Holburne museum can be enjoyed.

Walking along the wide expanse that is Great Pulteney Street it is easy to imagine how impressive this would have been when it was established. There are several side streets, one leads down to another garden but on the left hand side is the Recreation Ground. The park side of the grounds are entered by these wonderful 1930s turnstiles.

The right hand side of the grounds forms the infamous Rec, home of Bath Rugby.

Continuing down Great Pulteney Street, there are some lovely sights. The Windsor Hotel, where I spent my wedding night.

And a lovely balcony.

At the end of the street is Laura's Place and I take a quick detour to the end of the close. This is the Rec, on match day this is a popular spot for a free glimpse of the action.

Then I turn back to Laura's Place and cross over Pulteney Bridge.


Continuing straight on, past the traffic lights I then turn left to be greeted by Bath Abbey. Time for me to do a bit of shopping.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my route into the city.