‘Where art thou Rosie?’ I hear you ask.

This retirement lark is so busy. I thought that once retirement came I’d have ‘time’. Time for what I hear you ask.

Well, I wanted time for sewing and crafts and I certainly do that, but maybe not as much as I’d like.

I wanted time with my grandchildren and children. I get that but perhaps not as often as I’d like. The one on the right is an honorary grandchild-in-law (that’s probably not a word!)

I wanted to give something back to the community and I do that by volunteering at the community library and the church, but maybe that takes up a bit more time than I’d like.

It’s been a difficult couple of years with family illness and funerals (13 in all). So I’ve made myself some promises and hoping for more Rosie time in the future.

All I want to do is sit by Rosie, our campervan, reading a good book and watch the sun setting over the ocean. That would be heaven.

So to get me started we travelled to Yorkshire parking up on the North Yorkshire Moors at Egton. The site was the Lady Cross Plantation Camping and Caravanning site. It was a quiet, pretty site set amongst a tree plantation and was ideally placed above Grosmont where we were to meet our friend Barbara. Hi Rosie 🤗

Barbara is someone we met in Florida and is a friend of my best friend Pauline who lives out there. Anyways Barbara was over visiting family and friends and then she was doing the coast to coast walk from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. A total of 192 miles.

What you need to know about Barbara is that she just goes for stuff, real adventure stuff, nothing by halves; sometimes with a friend, but sometimes on her own. She’s a bit of a dare devil in my book and I admire that she can just go off and do this stuff even if she’s just a little mad crazy (and sometimes gets lost) – and I mean that in a sincere heartfelt way. And best of all she makes me smile.

Anyways we met her and her friend Anne when they reached Grosmont with one last stretch to go.

We shared dinner with them at the Geall Gallery where a new cafe has opened and where they were staying. The plan was we’d be their Sherpa van to Robin Hood’s Bay and we would be there to clap them in. As you can see from the map the last few miles were on The Cleveland Way so we walked along there to meet them.

The views were stunning over the bay, and the wild flowers were abundant as was the sunshine.

We were having a glorious walk.

The other thing that was important to Barbara and Anne was that it was the 4 July, so we had a little plan.

They were so excited, firstly to see the sea, then to see us and lastly to hear the Star Spangled Banner playing.

And some of the friends they made along the way also arrived so we took this picture. Happy, proud of themselves and exhausted. And actually we weren’t yet at the end! We all walked on and showed them their B&B where we had left Rosie.

We waited in the van whilst they showered and then we spotted one of Billypops’ heroes, Martin Carthy, helping someone park a car. I said to him go and say hello, but he wouldn’t. So I did. A very nice man, happy to chat and Billypops finally got out of Rosie and said hello in a starstruck (or was that dumbstruck?) sort of way.

After a while we walked with the girls for a well-earned pint at the pub in the bay which has the official sign marking the end of the coast to coast, where you can dip your toe in the water if you wish.

Very pleased girls that we contributed and celebrated your achievement.

And also gave us a taste of what we had missed all these months – Rosie.

A Year in the life of a tree quilt – the end

Back in January 2016 my partner in sewing crime and I each started a tree quilt. Essentially the course delivered by the lovely Marion at Love Heart Home was delivered once a month for a year and we would hope to have the lovely very quilt completed in the New Year. As you can see from previous posts it was taking a little longer than planned.

Well two years and a bit longer actually. But hey, it’s finally done and I’m quite pleased with the end result.

If you can’t see the detail, it’s a family tree in the middle, the seasons in each corner and different blocks of patchwork in between. Thanks to Marion’s guidance I used a paler fabric for the sashing and used the darker colour to back and edge.

I added some patchwork interest to the back (partly because I had limited backing fabric) and was pleased with how that worked.

What do you think?

Happy 2019

Happy New Year. Been thinking I should do a few mini blogs, so here goes.

I had lots of lovely books for Christmas. They are going to keep me reading happy for a while. First up

Who knew there was a Scottish way to be happy? Well I did actually. How can you not be happy when you have wonderful jewels like the Outer Hebrides. But then it’s so much more.

Following on from my reading about Hygge last year, this follows the same sort of thing but is focused on all things Scottish. Being a half Scot I really appreciate the concept of Coorie and all the traditions that go with it. According to this book ‘Coorie’ is the Scottish art of deriving, comfort, wellbeing and energy from wild landscapes and convivial interiors.

It covers Coorie in words, traditions, in the city and in the wild amongst other things and, wait a minute …. Camping. I do Camping! I have a new beaker to prove it.

Anyway you can be Coorie at the pub, in the garden, when you’re eating and drinking, with textiles (I knew a kilt was a sign of happiness), when you’re being thrifty and even at Christmas.

So I’m off to plan my Coorie for 2019.

Haud Hogmanay!

A Year in the life of a tree quilt – falling in and out of love with projects

How many craft projects do you have on the go? Isn’t it funny if you’re into sewing and knitting and generally into your crafts we always end up with several unfinished projects.

I’m an avid reader and wouldn’t dream of not finishing a book. So why is it when I come to craft projects I’m always on ‘a break’ with something.

Take the tree quilt. I was doing well, even got ahead of myself doing a quilt square per month, but somewhere along the way I fell out of love with it. I didn’t want to see it. We weren’t going to meet up by the sewing machine. I’d really closed the door on it.

It’s life you see. It can get in the way.

Grandchildren to play with – won’t give them up, love them too much.

Friends to meet for a coffee – would miss that as particularly with my friends we generally chat about the projects we haven’t finished!

Volunteering at the library and church – well I like keeping busy and I have cut down. Did I tell you we won the Best Community Library at the Rural Community Council Awards recently?

Also we’ve been away in Rosie with the big trip across Scandinavia to Finland, a few days here and there and a music festival.

Bunkfest

And then I have the weekly craft and chat group, always something crafty to do whilst we eat cake. We are crocheting and knitting poppies at the moment to poppy bomb the library.

Finished my first ever crochet blanket from Attic 24 – but still have two more to make, and nearly all of us have one on the go.

We have lots of great ideas but they create more projects – rag wreaths.

Then there’s the odd course we do – which creates more projects – collage boxes.

I’m being creative with our children’s activities in church too – harvest.

And then we have had a busy year of commemorations in the village culminating in me organising a community quilt.

And then there were the treasures of my Dad’s loft to sort. Some interesting finds there and more yet to go through.

And then I have quarterly kits coming from Craftpod and I’m just getting round to doing some crafts from them.

And then there’s the unfinished hat made of Hebridean wool and the crocheted sock made from Leicestershire Blue Face – wowza, so busy.

So booked myself into my favourite sewing shop, Love, Heart, Home and got back to my tree quilt. And the funny thing is I’ve fallen in love with it again. So maybe a break-up is a good thing when you then get back to it.

Rosie’s Rural Retreat

An opportunity arose to pack and go for a night with two of the grandchildren so we headed off to South Leicestershire and found a small but perfectly formed campsite near Medbourne.

Rural Relaxing is a hidden gem, off the road that runs through to the village and neighbours a field of sheep. When you arrive you have to master a number of gates – there is some over-zealous notices reminding you. Must have had a lot of bother previously.

Anyway it has small, eco-friendly facilities – ladies is the left bunny and gents to the right bunny. There is a welcome cabin where there are lots of things for you to borrow plus barbecue, fire pits and sun chairs and tables. Washing up facilities could be better – just the cold tap – but we were the only campers so we nipped in the loo for hot water.

Yes we had the whole campsite to ourselves – well not quite – some young people stayed in the cabin but we hardly knew they were there. The campsite also has glamping facilities with two safari tents and six bell tents. It was very peaceful.

Camping with kids is fun if you get them involved. We had ‘tent peg boy’

And interiors were arranged by ‘interiors girl’ who was happy putting food away, laying carpet and setting table for dinner.

After a fantastic burger made by the kids and cooked by Dubber we toasted marshmallows and ate them as s’mores getting very sticky in the process. There was an amazing sunset then it got dark and chilly quickly.

Inside our heated awning I introduced the kids, now in their onesies, to the card game of Old Maid which they found funny. After a game of Uno (I won, I won) the kids settled themselves to bed, one in the hammock and one in the pop-up. Dubber and I settled down for what became a really frustrating game of Skipbo.

Morning came after interrupted sleep – there were three in the bed and the little one said I want more bed than anyone else!! Cereal and bacon butties satisfied the appetite that comes from being outside then we packed up ready for our son and daughter-in-law to reclaim them.

We all travelled about 20 minutes away to Foxton Locks Inn for Sunday roast which was excellent from the carvery.

Then we wandered by the canal helping open and close the gates on the Locks as boats went through.

Foxton Locks is a great place to take kids. There’s the watching and helping of boats through the 10 Locks plus a really interesting museum, (here’s tent peg boy as a canal boatman)

plenty of footpaths, ducks to feed and the canal shop to explore.

We had a really good trip and the fresh air is always good for wearing kids out.

If you take kids out in the van:

-have plenty of jobs they can do or help with

– take plenty of snacks

– take plenty of games – some of the old ones like snakes and ladders and Old Maid are the best fun

– prepare for bed sharing particularly if the night is cold

– if they are your grandkids get lots of hugs and kisses in – love ’em 💕

Rosie’s Scanditour Postscript: Memories

Our trip to Scandinavia despite its ending was a wonderful experience with lots of beautiful places visited and people met. Here’s a few pictures to share with you.

Wild flowers

(More) Trees

Lakes

Doors

Buildings

Food

Drink

Statues

Friends

Wood

Museum

Textiles

Forests

Rucksack

And we made the local press …. look for the Leicester shirts!

And finally our Hosts, Ros and Sir O. Thank you for looking after us and giving us such great memories.

Rosie’s Scanditour Part 6: The Arctic Incident

July 13: FRIDAY!!!!

Not having the sun disappear day or night is amazing on one level but brings with it a few problems; not sleeping interestingly is not one of them. The first is you forget what time it is and end up staying up until 2 and 3 in the morning with Dubber and Sir O Morris dancing ( yes a few drinks had been had) or playing Skipbo.

The second is you take so many photos of trees because the light is so beautiful. It’s like having a continual sunset for hours.

Anyway Dubber wasn’t feeling too good this morning, all that late night Morris dancing or so we thought. Took some ibuprofen and seemed ok. We took a trip to Kemijaarvi to buy provisions and then came back to chill, because in such a beautiful setting and when it’s so hot (32 degrees, in the Arctic Circle remember) that’s all you feel like doing. Well no you take a sauna don’t you.

Now the Finns love their sauna and so Sir O was frantic for us to participate. I wasn’t too sure in this heat but the men went off for theirs.

The Finnish sauna is an important part of their culture being healthy and sociable. Usually involving little or no clothing it is a great way to relax – even in 32 degree heat. The boys were very brave and went in the lake a couple of times between saunas.

Followed by a beer…

Meanwhile us girls chill inside where there are no mosquitoes with our own beer.

Dinner followed, Sir O style, but during dinner Dubber wasn’t feeling well. Feeling unwell became struggling for breath and whilst trying to keep him calm, Sir O had already phoned for an ambulance. Twenty minutes later, bearing in mind we are in the middle of nowhere in the Arctic Circle in 32 degree heat, the paramedics arrived and very calmly dealt with Dubber. He had had an irritable cough for a few days, could he have cracked ribs.

Dubber ended up having a night in the local cottage hospital 25kms away with the very nice paramedic being on call through the night. It felt very strange leaving him there, particularly as very few staff had any English and were definitely of Russian descent, Russia being 30kms away.

July 14-16: new monia as opposed to old

The following morning we get to the hospital to be told he has pneumonia. Antibiotics administered we take him back to the cottage for rest and recuperation before we travel back to Oulu. It was worrying times.

I have to say Aviva, our travel insurers were very helpful from the word go. There was always someone on the end of the phone giving advice. The initial advice from doctors back in Oulu was that Dubber couldn’t travel and needed to rest and see how the antibiotics worked.

In the end we had an extra week with Ros and Oskari (see next post); Dubber made three visits to a clinic in town to get more antibiotics and blood tests or certificates for the insurers. Several phone calls and emails each day with the insurers and eventually we flew back on the day we planned to arrive home. Our car insurers brought Rosie back home, but only after Sir O moved her around on the drive. Oh he looks so pleased with himself. He finally got to drive Rosie.

Unfortunately we missed out on the return trip in Rosie. She did us proud doing 1500 miles and we would have enjoyed the car train to Helsinki and the Baltic Cruise but they will have to be done another day. We were duly recompensed by Aviva, who I would highly recommend and Rosie came back with Rick to be met by our visitors to England – you’ve guessed it, Ros and Sir Oskari (we were sunning it in Dorset).

And Dubber – he’s getting over the pneumonia and we’ve enjoyed a weekend away in Rosie since getting back. And we are already thinking of next year’s epic trip.