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Journal

Posts in hedgerow
Goodbye August...
 
 
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Ah well, there goes August...

Ah well, there goes August…

Are you a fan of August? I certainly used to be, it was usually the month when we went away to the far north west of Scotland. August for me should involve sitting on rocks looking out to sea trying to spot seals bobbing up in the waves, or walking along deserted beaches (often wearing full waterproofs), or up quirky mountains, or being eaten alive by midges. Happy days!


We didn’t go away last month - somehow our hearts weren’t in it and what with A levels and other stuff, a holiday never got off the ground.


Of course I began August with a head full of all things workshop. Some progress was made, but very much true to character, I began to get bogged down. Trying to plan a physical workshop and simultaneously plan an online version sounds like a good idea right? In practice, I’ve found myself getting quite muddled. It’s more complicated than I’d imagined. Anyway, it’s certainly teaching me some new skills, even though I seem to need a week to get my head around every new aspect that crops up.


By the way, many thanks to my army of naggers - you are much appreciated. I hope you’ll stick around even though my progress is slow.


One thing that I did have to divert to, was the structure of this website. Although I’d loved the previous theme, it turned out to be quite restrictive in what I could do with it, and that was only going to get worse as I went on, so a chunk of August was spent changing themes. There are still a few things I need to tidy up on that front, but I’m mindful that sometimes it’s better to just get on with things rather than aim for perfection. I hope that if you’ve noticed anything, it hasn’t been too unpleasant, I’ve tried to keep things as similar as possible.


So I feel a bit like the swan gliding serenely across the water, while paddling like mad below the surface at the moment.


Thank goodness for our morning walks! And thank goodness it’s cooled down a bit and we’ve had some rain. The field has quickly turned green again (although the nettles and thistles that normally grow so thick in the field have barely begun to recover). The bracken in the lane has lept up in the last week or so, and the hogweed seedheads continue to give me so much pleasure with all their wonderful shape and textures.

 
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In other news.

  • In the absence of the ‘Fortunately’ podcast (they’re on holiday), I’ve discovered a couple of alternatives that makes me laugh - Jules Von Hep and Sarah Powell’s ‘Jules and Sarah the podcast’ and ‘Wobble’.

  • I joined SEW - the society for embroidered work. Although I’m really fortunate to show my work in a gallery that promotes textile and stitched art, I’m well aware that in some circles it isn’t given the attention it deserves. I’m hoping that we can all play our part in changing that.

  • And on that note, I currently have two pieces in The Workhouse, Dunstable - Maiden Castle and Enclosure (although it was a tight thing, as the framing elves decided to ‘have a life’ and go off enjoying themselves instead of getting on with my frames…).

  • Oh, and I found Francis Pryor’s Britain BC in a charity shop last week, so that’s pretty much stopped me doing anything else while I immerse myself in Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age archaeology. (By the way, every charity shop I went in last weekend had it’s Christmas cards in store! For pity’s sake, it was mid August, can they really expect us to endure five months of Christmas?)…arrrgh!

 Maiden Castle - inspired by the wonderful earthworks and ditches at this iconic heritage site.

Maiden Castle - inspired by the wonderful earthworks and ditches at this iconic heritage site.

 Enclosure - thinking about the symbolism of the circle and it's occurrence in archaeological sites.

Enclosure - thinking about the symbolism of the circle and it's occurrence in archaeological sites.


And finally

 I seem to have visited a lot of country churches in August. The photograph at the top of this post was taken at St. John The Baptist, Aldbury. Who wouldn't want a wildman to rest their feet on for eternity?

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Anny x
 


 
 
Officially Spring...phew!
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officially spring

...phew!

So here we are - spring has officially arrived in the northern hemisphere! Not a moment too soon for me!. What a thoroughly drab winter that was and to go out on a snowy blizzard - what an exit…(and it better had be the end, that’s all I’m saying…).

On Tuesday I scoured the lane for any signs of spring and was rewarded with one brave little celandine. Oh, it made me incredibly happy. I looked back at the photos I took on the same date last year and discovered that the banks of the lane were yellow and green with celandines in full bloom. Proof indeed that we’re well behind this year.

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But then we were treated to a couple of days of sunshine (although not a lot of warmth) and at last, the magic of spring has begun to reach us.

On Thursday, as we were leaving the wood, a heron flew overhead making it’s wonderfully primaeval call. There’s a heronry close to where we park our car and people travel for miles to come and watch them on their nests, but I’ve found that the herons regularly fly over us on their way I suppose to the canal, so we are treated to a private view.

On one memorable morning last year, we were overflown by a group of five herons, I’d heard the noise and initially assumed they were gulls, only to look again and realise they were in fact herons. It’s moments like that which really take my breath away, even now as I think about it I feel a little awe-inspired.  I’m so fortunate to have the time to spend outdoors every day. You can’t buy an experience like that.

On days when I’m struggling to find colour in the lane, I’ve discovered that it helps to look closer, to get down amongst the leaves or peer deeper into the hedge. And this week it was the mini-gardens of moss growing on a decaying tree-stump that amazed me. Such fascinating plants, tiny but with wonderful shapes, colours and textures. I don’t know the names of any of these little beauties and I feel a touch guilty about that.

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Then, finally, on Friday we found the first leaves beginning to unfurl on the elder trees. Elder, the tree of regeneration and wisdom according to Glennie Kindred. It certainly inspires me with joy when I see the first hints of green returning to the hedgerow trees.


In other news

  • Thank you so much to everyone who’s been in touch with ideas, thoughts and suggestions about a Contemplative Stitch workshop - you’ve helped me enormously. I think I’ve got some ideas now and I’m going to spend a while developing my thoughts. If there’s something you’d like to add to the melting pot, please get in touch. All input is very welcome.
  • On Monday we hung the new spring exhibition at The Workhouse, Dunstable. Lovely to meet such talented artists bringing their work to show and to sell. It’s an open exhibition this time, no actual theme, but many people seem to have brought along very springlike artwork, which is giving the gallery a fresh boost. Do call in if you’re in the area.
  • I’ve started a new piece of stitching. (No pictures yet - not deliberate, just a lack of time and light!)
  • I’ve just added a page to the Spellbook for Stokesay Castle, Shropshire. (Click here if you want to see it). As I mentioned once before, I’m not really a sketchbook keeper and I intend to use the Spellbook as a place where I can stash words and images that inspire me, that was really one of my reasons for creating this space. I’m still working on how I’m going to do that. Sometimes there are more words than pictures, other times it’s all about the images. Often I’m not really sure what I want to show or say - it’s a feeling of scribbling in the margins, but I want to capture a feeling or an atmosphere. Anyway, my intention is to gradually add to those pages. They’re currently grouped under hedgerow and places in the menu for ease of finding.
     
  • Stokesay Castle is a perfect example of a fortified manor house, built during the reign of Edward I and largely unaltered since. Which makes the history-junkie in me deliriously happy.
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  • And last week, I read on impulse a book by Gretchen Rubin (the author of ‘The Happiness Project’) called ‘Better than Before’. It popped up on my Kindle suggestions and something made me buy it. I’m really pleased that I did because it was one of those ‘light-bulb’ reads. It’s all about the power of habits and how to adopt them. I particularly appreciated the way she characterises people according to certain traits - this made so much sense to me and it was a relief in some ways to feel understood. Anyway, I have a theory that sometimes we find the right book at the right moment. It may not be of any interest to you right now, but it certainly was for me.

Until next time…

Happy stitching!

Anny x

Hello Spring?
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Hello Spring?

Greetings from a very snowy Beds/Bucks border, on what some people are calling the first day of spring...

Spring or not, you'd have to say it's doing a very good impression of winter - and I promise I will never use the adjective Siberian again to describe anything just a bit chilly, turns out the winds from Siberia are piercingly sharp, brutal in every way.

So, enough of the weather. What else has been going on?

Honestly? It's all been typically February here. It's our month when everything seems to happen within the space of a couple of weeks (which repeats in June for some reason) - do you have times like this? We have a succession of family birthdays, school holidays and reunion get-togethers, to which this year have been added university visits and catching up with various friends dotted about the country.

Almost all of it absolutely lovely, but at the same time both exhausting and totally disruptive.

When I get home I'm always disappointed to discover that the laundy-elves failed to come in and put the washing machine on or clear the ironing pile. And their colleagues, the house-elves are no better, how hard would it be for them to whip the hoover round, I ask you?

So yes, it's quite likely that I'm turning into some sort of grumpy-drawers. I've never been much good at creating a routine, much less sticking to it, but then as soon as what passes for a routine around here gets disrupted, I end up all over the place.

Still, it's now March and therefore things will naturally improve enormously...


There has been stitchiness in February - Excalibur made it to The Workhouse (by the skin of it's teeth - don't ask) - although I cut things so fine I failed to take any good photos of the framed item - you'll have to imagine it...or if I'm super-organized I'll remember to take photos next time I'm at the gallery.

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Excalibur.

It's really not as wonky as it looks here!

If you're anywhere near Dunstable, Bedfordshire, it's at The Workhouse Gallery until March 17th - or until someone decides to give it a new home.

And I've started another piece, as yet untitled. I've been putting a few 'work-in-progress' photos on Instagram and Twitter when the light is good enough (ahem). And this week I also signed up for an account on Vero (I'm Anny - Dreaming In Stitches if you want to find me there).

I'd really like to see Vero work, it would do Instagram good to have some serious competition, but so far it's extremely glitchy and I can understand many people giving it up quite quickly. We'll see how that fares, but if it worked, it would be a lovely way to share quick updates.


Out in the lane - when it isn't under inches of snow - there's very little sign of spring to report. A few green leaves pushing up, catkins on the hazels, birds being noisy and busy, but other than that, zilch. I wonder if, once the snow thaws there'll be a transformation? Daft though it may sound, once spring does arrive the first sign is more a feeling of energy than a particular flower or bud. I've walked the lane in previous years and simply become aware of a new sense of potential and I couldn't begin to say where that comes from, it just does.

What are you looking forward to when spring returns? What does spring mean to you? I'd love to know. It's never really been my favourite season, but perhaps after this winter I'm going to appreciate it much more. What about you?

I'll leave you for now with a few more 'spring' photos...enjoy! (And happy stitching) x

On the value of persistence...
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on the value of persistence...

Here's a question...would you describe yourself as naturally persistent or if you're honest, do you tend to give up? Are you a terrier, motivated by a challenge, or do you waiver, do you bend or retreat?

I suppose most of us would say 'it depends'. 

I've been thinking about persistence lately. Not in any kind of grand project way, but quite simply the persistence to get through the winter without going down the spiral of depression. 

It's the sort of thing that I tend to end up chewing over while I'm walking the dog in the mornings.

For me, that time outdoors is my lifeline. Of course there are the known benefits of getting outside - fresh air, exercise, boosting the serotonin levels, but this isn't really what motivates me.

What helps me is actively looking for things that are pretty or beautiful as they appear each day - and then taking photos. (Which of course if where Instagram comes in). Throughout the seasons there's not normally any shortage of things to see; the sunrise through trees, frost on seedheads, raindrops on beech leaves, hedgerows filled with fruit, flowers up to your elbows, mist on the field.

But then we have a grey winter like the one we're in now. 

And it gets harder. Yes the trees look wonderful in their dark silhouettes, branches outstretched like arms with long boney fingers pointing across the lane. But low light is a real challenge. There's no contrast, no depth, just a flat, dull grey.

I look anxiously for signs of new growth. Precious few as yet.

I hope for rain or frost or fog, anything other than the constant mundane greyness.

And now it's February and I know that spring isn't far away, but it still feels like winter here and I've photographed the same trees now so many times I feel intimately acquainted. And what else can I do except persevere, persist. Because it may not have been a pretty winter here, but I have faithfully recorded it.

And perhaps when I trawl back through some of the photos I can see something in them that I couldn't claim to have recognized at the time - perhaps a melancholy beauty?

And although the dullness presents challenges, the good news is that I've managed to stave off the descent into gloom. So yes, on balance I'd say in this one respect I haven't given up. I persist.

In Other News

  • I'm so pleased to tell you that my piece 'Sulis' has already been sold. I'm delighted that it has found a new home and hope it gives the new owners much pleasure.
  • Also, I know that some people who followed my previous blog at Dreaming In Stitches have lost touch since my move here and we're all finding staying abreast of blogging changes a bit tricky so if you'd like to know when there's a new post here, please consider subscribing by email - the little sign-up box is over on the right - that way you'll have new posts delivered straight to your email inbox.

Happy stitching.

Anny x

 

 

 

 

 

Oh January, do get a grip...
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Oh January,

do get a grip...

How are things with you? Around here we've had the luxury of three days of sunshine (yippee!), followed by torrential rain, then gales, then a return to dull warm greyness, then sleet, then snow (didn't last), then more torrential rain. Right now it's a little bit sunny - in that January kind of way which means we could be having any other weather five minutes from now.

A January week in the lane...

Walking the dog down the lane each morning really does bring home the changeable nature of the weather and the huge variation in the light from one day to the next. Some days when I get home and look at the photographs I've taken you'd think it was early evening rather than first thing in the morning. Then, when the sun comes out it's so bright and so low I can barely see anything, I'm blinded by the light (sings...).

The birds are definitely prepping for spring. There's a lot of activity going on and if the flora is still a tad disappointing, the birds certainly aren't. This week alone in the lane I've seen robins, jays, crows, pheasants, tits, kites and a plethora of small brown birds (you can just tell I'm only a beginner on the bird-watching front can't you).

On the whole I'm managing to stay pretty buoyant this winter, I hope you are too, but I'm so ready to be warm again. By the way, there's a splendid article by Emma Mitchell in the Guardian about tackling SAD - here's the link if you're interested. You can follow Emma on Twitter, she's @silverpebble


In other news...

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Considerable progress is being made on the current stitchy piece. I'm doing most of the work under artificial light which is really quite challenging in a way because the organza behaves so differently under natural light. I'm working away at night and then getting up in the morning to find out what it actually looks like in daylight. 

There will be a new exhibition opening at The Workhouse in Dunstable on the 30th January and my intention is to have the two pieces I showed you last time framed for that show. I don't think this one will be ready in time, but it feels part of the sequence.

I'll keep you posted.

Happy stitching...

Anny x

The Week The Snow Came...
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the week the snow came...

and experiments in black and white...

Well, we've had snow, properly, not just a cursory sprinkling but a full-on blanket job. It's been a while since our last encounter with the white stuff and inevitably it's caused a few problems, like not being able to make the get together with my big brother. But the good thing about serious snow is that you can't really do much about it, you're forced to slow down whether you like it or not, and who wouldn't welcome an impromptu stitching day (alright it's true that most days are stitching days here, but an unexpected one is special).

I'm a little bit scared to admit it, but I think I may actually be enjoying the run up to Christmas this year. I can still feel a mild panic hiding away in a corner of my mind, but on the whole it's not coming out to ruin things. Instead I've been to two Christmas parties and thoroughly enjoyed myself (unheard of), and in a total departure from previous years, we've already bought a tree and decorated the house a whole two weeks earlier than normal.

Which I'm sure made the whole snow-day thing much more relaxing. The word hygge almost entered my vocabulary yesterday (by the way, the autocorrect wants to call hygge higgle - which I prefer, do you think the Danes would mind if we renamed it?).

Before the snow came, I'd just embarked on the Seven Day Black and White Challenge on Instagram. I'd noticed other people doing it and was beginning to wonder about having a go when I was tagged - something that I wouldn't normally bother with - but this challenge interested me.

I've occasionally played about with black and white, I like it more and more for the website where it seems to be able to tell a story in a way that is perhaps harder in colour, but I wondered whether it was something I could deliberately use in day to day photography. I don't know any of the technicalities for black and white so it seemed like an opportunity to try something different for a few days.

If you haven't seen them on Instagram, here's a selection of the pictures I've been experimenting with...

A Miscellany in Black and White

What have I learned in the process? Well for me it seems to work when there's good contrast, it helps to emphasise shapes and structures, it creates a moody effect, subtle, perhaps a little nostalgic, a touch of melancholy. I've had a lot of fun trying out all the various editing options in Snapseed (well some of them at any rate). I'll definitely continue to experiment with monochrome, I feel as if I'm just beginning to scratch the surface of what it might reveal, but I'm really looking forward to getting back into colour. 

The lane in black and white isn't the same place that I experience every day. Without colour it's as if you're missing a dimension, a texture and a vital part of the story. 

In other news...

  • The extra time at home this week has been put to use on the current work in progress. It's getting closer to being finished, I suppose it all depends how much time I can find for it this week. I'd really like to have it completed before Christmas.
  • I'm still enjoying reading about Henry IV curtesy of Ian Mortimer.
  • The house is filling up with fairy lights. I might not be able to cook like Nigella but I can definitely give her a run for her money on the twinkling lights...
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So there you have it - what do you think? Nicely higgle?

Stay warm. Happy stitching!

Anny x

Coming up for air...

Hooray! I made it into my hidey-hole at last. I'd begun to think it was going to be the New Year before I found a few minutes to write, and then just as I began to despair, a slice of morning opened up and here I am....

So chaps, what's been happening? I wish I could actually settle into something resembling a routine (do I honestly mean that? I've never been one for routines, it's just that for so long now I seem to have ricocheted from one thing to another, I'm beginning to wonder if a monastic routine wouldn't get more accomplished). Are you a creature of habit? Does it work for you? 

I'm not sure that I could adopt a true routine, I inherited too many of my dad's 'get out and about' genes to be properly settled, but nevertheless there are times when I feel as if I'm walking through treacle and it would be lovely to think that a plan might actually have a cat in hell's chance of coming off as scheduled. Is it the creative spirit that's to blame, or is that just a feeble excuse for not being better organised?

Anyway, in amongst all the other stuff this is what I've been doing...

Stitching...

There's been good progress with the piece I showed you in the previous post - partly because I came down with a head cold at the weekend and stayed in the warm. I was lucky, it was one of those mild affairs that gives you a good excuse not to go out spreading germs to everyone, but allows you to actually get on with a few things at home (in between the occasional medicinal hot-toddy)

Out and Abouting...

Bath

I squeezed in my annual visit to the Bath Christmas Market last week. If you've known me for a while you'll remember that I'm not at my best around Christmas time, it generally brings out a sense of panic, exasperation and utter failure which can make me tricky to live with. Then a couple of years ago, we went on a day out to Bath - my favourite city in the country - at about this time and suddenly things felt a lot better. There's something about walking around in such beautiful surroundings that takes away the stress for me and calms my nerves. Last week was every bit as brilliant and I'm feeling a whole load better already. (I've even put up some fairy lights in the sitting-room - and it's not even a whole week into December - must have done the trick). I know it must make life difficult for the inhabitants of Bath, but I for one am extremely grateful.

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Bath Christmas Market...

coincidentally, my favourite tree in Bath is currently blue and red.

The Workhouse

We've been busy at The Workhouse getting ready for the new exhibition - Christmas at The Workhouse - which is now in full swing. I'm delighted to say it's getting a fantastic reception, with loads of people coming in to buy their Christmas gifts and cards. I'm still finding it such an amazing experience listening to people talk about their reaction to the art and crafts there. It's clearly so important for everyone to have access to quality art in their lives, whether they make it, buy it or simply want to enjoy looking at it. Art is a necessity, not a luxury, I'd really love a few hard nose politicians to come and spend some time with me there, maybe it would make a difference.

Wherever you live, I hope you'll find time to pop into your local galleries this Christmas and soak up some creative goodwill.

In the lane...

The last few weeks have moved us from the last golden days of autumn into the beginning of a very grey (so far) winter. I've finally succumbed to a new hat, one that I can pull down over my ears and I've managed to find some of those fingerless gloves with a mitten bit that you can pull over the top - I'm experimenting with them, as you can imagine the fun, holding the Delinquent Dog in full bark, attempting to use the fingerprint log in on the phone and taking pictures in sub-zero temperature, but so far, so good.

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I was thoroughly downhearted this week when I realised that the lane had had it's biannual pruning. Of course it did need cutting back, it was getting dangerous in places and it is a road after all, but really, the butchering of the hedges makes me want to cry. It will recover I know, I've seen it happen before and at least now I can really see my oak properly again from behind the whitebeam hedge, but it still hurts to see the sheer brutality of the attack.

 'My' oak, now almost entirely bare of leaves, but looking wonderful to me at least.

'My' oak, now almost entirely bare of leaves, but looking wonderful to me at least.

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But the Delinquent Dog is quite happy at the moment because thanks to these chaps having just arrived back in the field, he's currently getting the longer walk (the one that avoids having to walk through the sheep). I briefly googled quotes about sheep and was disappointed to see that they mostly talk about people being like sheep or wolves in sheep's clothing. Personally I find some of them quite menacing, they stare at you in a certain manner...I suspect they're plotting world domination with the squirrels.

In other news...

  • Not having had a Christmas Party for years, this week I'm going to two! Whoops with vegetarian delight.
  • I found a book about Henry IV in a charity shop and I'm realising how little I knew about him. I'm not seeing Jeremy Irons in my mind's eye (Hollow Crown fans will understand).
  • Another sign that I've succumbed to the Christmas Spirit - a bottle of cheap whisky and Crabbies Ginger Wine have appeared in the kitchen...

And with that I wish you all a happy and productive run up to Christmas. I hope to be back in my hidey-hole again before the festivities begin, but you know me and plans...

Very best wishes...

Happy Stitching!

Anny x

This week...

We're having a very green early autumn this year and I'm wondering if it will turn golden later or not - there have certainly been other autumns I can remember when the whole orange and red tapestry failed to materialise - or am I just being impatient?

The colours are the only thing missing, apart from that there's no doubt which season we're in. As I walk along the lane each morning I can smell the crab apples crushed in the road, it's a faintly boozey scent, that ancient aroma you used to have in the barns and sheds where the apples were stored.

Our path through the wood is slightly more fraught as we try to dodge the spider's webs strung between bracken fronds and hogweed skeletons. But I'm not so scared of these outdoor spiders, their weavings are exquisite especially with a string of dew diamonds twinkling in the early light. It's their indoor cousins that send me screaming across the room.

There's been a wonderful amount of hedgerow fruit this autumn, I have sloe gin slowly turning a ruby red in a cupboard and I've breakfasted on blackberries several times. The hips and haws pepper the hedgerow with their splatter of crimson and scarlet. In one sunny spot in the hedge a bramble has decided to flower again, blossom in October...

These mornings are still warm enough to stand at the Thinking Gate and pause. Everyone should have their place for a moment of calm, somewhere to just be.

My stitchiness has been of the meditative kind this week. I've been playing with colours, thinking about texture. Taking the recycled sari silks and wondering about what to do with them. Part of me I think is hankering after doing another needlepoint so I begin stitching one evening and the familiar repetition feels natural, but I don't know where it wants to go and I abandon it to the side of the sofa. Mind and fingers are not entirely in harmony just at the moment.

In the way that somethings work, I ended up driving to Worcestershire twice last week. This is the county of my birth and the earth that made me. I visited the country churchyard where generations of my family are resting for eternity. It's a lovely place, tucked into the folds of a hillside and visiting although a little melancholy is also strangely soothing. I have a chat with the old lot and it feels perfectly natural. I put chrysanthemums on the graves because that's what my mum did, a tradition I suppose.

This is not a very old churchyard, only just over 100 years since the church was built and I get the distinct feeling that it won't be so long before it returns to nature. I find this doesn't worry me, in fact it feels right in some way. There are other ways of remembering.

And later in the week we made a trip to Worcester with our youngest daughter who's thinking of studying there. She hadn't realised that this is the city I know best, hadn't realised its significance to me, she just liked the feel of the place. Inside the cathedral an orchestra and choir were rehearsing a performance of Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man and it was simply sublime, the acoustics were just marvellous, it was almost too moving.

I sloped off to say hello to King John before we left, another tradition but this one is just mine.

On our way back we passed my second-favourite building in Worcester - The Guildhall. A perfect counterfoil to the gothic splendour and elegance of the cathedral. The Guildhall is all gold and shiny and a bit over the top - I wonder if that's part of it's appeal, and if subliminally it feeds my metallic habit?


This week I'm off to The Workhouse, Dunstable for it's opening exhibition where I'm showing some work. We set up mid-week and welcome people in at the weekend. I may surprise everyone and wear a dress...

Have a wonderful week whatever you're doing. Anyone in the Bedfordshire area do come along to Dunstable and find us, we'll be so pleased to see you and there's the possibility of cake.

Happy stitching

Anny x


footnotes

  • Just to say in case you didn't know, I post daily on Instagram mostly with photos from the lane, occasionally old places I've visited and sometimes little snippets of stitchiness in progress. Do follow me there if it's your thing.
  • Occasionally I put together some extra snippets and send out a copy of 'Loose Threads' to anyone who'd like to receive it - the subscription box is over on the right or in the menu.
  • I've been so tired my bedtime reading hasn't gone far this week, but I'm really enjoying Max Adams' - The King In The North (all about Oswald of Northumbria).