Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category

England beckons yet again: more in York

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

York was filled with inspiration wherever we went. Sunday was no exception:  fine needlework, illuminated artwork, inspiring architecture, Thomas the Tank, Harry Potter and best of all a day spent Anna W, a internet friend from a small group.  The day began with a visit to the York Minster, which is good because there was a good wind blowing–felt like early autumn not late summer.   Even though some parts of the Minster were off limits due to an issue with the security cameras not working we still had ample inspiration.

What a day, and it all began here, at the York Minster.  While in England, I learned that a "city" is a place with a cathedral, everything else is a town.  Makes total sense to me!

What a day, and it all began here, at the York Minster. While in England, I learned that a “city” is a place with a cathedral, everything else is a town. Makes total sense to me!

Since there are so many photos in this post, I think I’ll just comment below each photo:

On the way to the minster, we passed yet another pub with glorious flowerboxes and a wonderful sign.

On the way to the minster, we passed yet another pub with glorious flowerboxes and a wonderful sign.

Guy Fawkes day is a big celebration day in Britain,

Guy Fawkes day is a big celebration day in Britain, celebrated (according to Wikipedia) on November 5, where “his effigy is traditionally burned in a bonfire. ” You might also wonder where you’ve heard that name (if your not English that is):  That was the name of Dumbledore’s phoenix in the Harry Potter books.  Get it, the phoenix is reborn by going up in flames?

The inside of the big doors on the West face of the Minster and Eli, not so happy that I'm taking yet another  photo of him.  That's what moms do, kiddo!

The inside of the big doors on the West face of the Minster and Eli, not so happy that I’m taking yet another photo of him. That’s what moms do, kiddo!  Plus, those strap hinges are great inspiration for quilting designs.

Illuminated map and lettering--Val Webb, thought of you!

Illuminated map and lettering–Val Webb, thought of you and your fabulous Watercolor Lettering class.  This looks like gouache and gold leaf.

A close up

A close up–just STUNNING!  Love the artwork.  Notice on the left where it shows the chapel dedicated to the women of Britain who served during the wars.

Part of the stitchery on the altar cloth.  England has an incredible tradition of embroidery.

Part of the stitchery on the altar cloth. England has an incredible tradition of embroidery. Yes, that’s stitching, not paint!

And I "do" dragons, and loved this one.

And I “do” dragons, and loved this one. More design inspiration.

Just tilt your head sideways....

Just tilt your head sideways….an angel for Marie.  Have no idea why this flipped sideways!

Tapestry

Needlepoint kneeler and seat cushions in a chapel

Madonna and child

Madonna and child in cloth.  Art quilts eveywhere!

Up under the soaring roof are the ribs, the supports for the ceiling.  When part of one nave of the church was restored some years back, they had to make new bosses, the designs at the intersections.  Children were asked to enter designs in a competition, and this one of man walking on the moon was included.  Totally awesome way to restore yet include contemporary life, which is totally in keeping with how the churches were built and how they keep in touch with contemporary life.

Up under the soaring roof are the ribs, the supports for the ceiling. Glad my camera has a superzoom! When part of one nave of the church was restored some years back, they had to make new bosses, the designs at the intersections. Children were asked to enter designs in a competition, and this one of man walking on the moon was included. Totally awesome way to restore yet include contemporary life, which is totally in keeping with how the churches were built and how they keep in touch with contemporary life.

Antique storage chest for the Bishop's vestments, and more design inspiration in the hinges.   The capes/cloaks (don't know what they are called officially) fold into triangular wedges, then are stored in here.

Antique storage chest for the Bishop’s vestments, and more design inspiration in the hinges. The capes/cloaks (don’t know what they are called officially) fold into triangular wedges, then are stored in here.

Design inspiration in  a floor grate even!

Design inspiration in a floor grate even!

And I "do" bats as well.  Anything that eats mosquitoes is a friend of mine (yes, spiders also).  Loved this boss!  More design inspiration!

And I “do” bats as well. Anything that eats mosquitoes is a friend of mine (yes, spiders also). Loved this boss! More design inspiration!

asdf

The massive stained glass window that faces east is being restored.  Bit by bit as the work is done, the actual panels are being displayed at floor level.

And another angel for Marie Z. from said window.

And another angel for Marie Z. from said window.

And if you wonder why they call it a great window, this explains it.  The window is the size of a **tennis court**!!!!

And if you wonder why they call it a great window, this explains it. The window is the size of a **tennis court**!!!!

By then we were pretty much churched out, and decided to walk a portion of the medieval walls of the old city of York.  Anna led the way.  I was petrified.  I am not afraid of heights as much as I am of falling (and wait until you see my brave pics from the top of St. Paul's in London at the end of the trip).  This may have required more nerve, tho, as there were no railings on the left.  In the US there would have been cement barricades defacing the walk (to keep the litigious and the lawyers at bay).

By then we were pretty much churched out, and decided to walk a portion of the medieval walls of the old city of York. Anna led the way. I was petrified. I am not afraid of heights as much as I am of falling (and wait until you see my brave pics from the top of St. Paul’s in London at the end of the trip). This may have required more nerve, tho, as there were no railings on the left. In the US there would have been cement barricades defacing the walk (to keep the litigious and the lawyers at bay).  We didn’t do the whole thing due to time and, frankly, my nerves!

And lovely rooftops on the walk--would make a great quilt!

And lovely rooftops on the walk–would make a great quilt!

We had a lovely lunch and tea, and Eli kindly took this photo of me with Anna.   The sweater she is wearing is one she made and is FAB.  As you can see, though, the wind had abated and it started to warm up a little.

We had a lovely lunch and tea, and Eli kindly took this photo of me with Anna. The sweater she is wearing is one she made and is FAB. As you can see, though, the wind had abated and it started to warm up a little.

We walked Anna back to the train station (she lives about an hour away from York and came all the way to meet us!)

We walked Anna back to the train station (she lives about an hour away from York and came all the way to meet us!).  Next to the station is the Railway Museum, so had to take a selfie with Thomas the Tank since Joshua and I read those books and watched the videos.   Saving the books for some future decade and grandkids!

We were lucky--the "Hogwarts Express" engine was on the sidings at the museum--it is still a working engine so sometimes is out working!

We were lucky–the “Hogwarts Express” engine was on the sidings at the museum–it is still a working engine so sometimes is out working!

The actual Platform 9 3/4 sign from the Harry Potter museums is here, not at King's Cross Station, so I'm pretending to push my cart.  Thanks again to Eli for being my photographer!

The actual Platform 9 3/4 sign from the Harry Potter museums is here, not at King’s Cross Station, so I’m pretending to push my cart. Thanks again to Eli for being my photographer!

This was too cool not to photograph, also in the Railway Museum.

This was too cool not to photograph, also in the Railway Museum.  I think it came fro a station somewhere, but can’t read my photo of the signage.

And some of the engines.  That green one with the bump looks JUST like Percy, my favorite engine from the Thomas the Tank books.  Percy is such a sweet personality, always trying hard even if the task seems beyond his abilities--he always tries, and does so cheerfully.   Methinks I need another visit to York to include more time as this was just about a half hour quick visit!

And some of the engines. That green one with the bump looks JUST like Percy, my favorite engine from the Thomas the Tank books. Percy is such a sweet personality, always trying hard even if the task seems beyond his abilities–he always tries, and does so cheerfully. Methinks I need another visit to York to include more time as this was just about a half hour quick visit!

So that’s Sunday in York.  Monday will take us to–DREAM–the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.   Think Thomas the Tank steam engines, Hogsmeade (Harry Potter), and the moors from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.   Stay tuned!

How time flies….and Houston Quilt Market

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

So my road to the hot place is clearly better paved today than it was when I last wrote that I was going to get to this post before Thanksgiving.  Sigh.  I’ll just say I cooked instead and the pie and gravy (not eaten together) were REALLY good.  But at long last here’s my post about International Quilt Market, a trade show open to quilt industry professionals.

Eli, Cross Country 2013 in the Dinner@8 exhibit Reflections

Eli, Cross Country 2013 in the Dinner@8 exhibit Reflections

I only had about 90 minutes on Sunday afternoon and the same on Monday during the lunch break from the class I was teaching to visit International Quilt Market.   It is aimed primarily at shops who come to see what’s new and order inventory for their stores for the coming season from the various independent designers, fabric companies, notions manufacturers and wholesalers.  But other industry professionals (teachers, longarmers, authors, press) are allowed to attend, also.  There are many booths at Market that do not stay for Festival, so it’s a great time to network if you work in the industry as I do.

On the way in, I dashed through the exhibits (fewer people, easier to get from here to there quickly) and spotted my quilt of Eli running around the corner in the Reflections exhibit.   Jamie re-hung the exhibit so the quilts were in a better color-flow order for Festival (more pics in a future post), but I got this picture.   The theme was Reflections, and I vowed for once I would NOT be literal!  Instead, I chose to make this portrait of Eli, four years (and the same age) after I did the portrait of Joshua playing guitar.   I see reflected in him my father’s and brothers’ shoulders, brother Charlie’s forehead, Paul’s (hubby) athletic ability, my eyes and sense of color and taste.   Can you tell I’m proud of all my guys?

And I also spotted this…Two of Us , in the Inspired by the Beatles exhibit!

Two of Us, my quilt, is on the right.  For the exhibit we were to make a square quilt (I think it was 24 inches?) with the title of a Beatles song but, due to copyright issues, no lyrics on it.  I chose to make an anniversary quilt for Paul (then promptly told him he had to give it back to be in several exhibits, the life of a quilter's husband!

Two of Us, my quilt, is on the right. For the exhibit we were to make a square quilt (I think it was 24 inches?) with the title of a Beatles song but, due to copyright issues, no lyrics on it. I chose to make an anniversary quilt for Paul (then promptly told him he had to give it back to be in several exhibits, the life of a quilter’s husband!) with hand-drawn and collaged images in the center and a scrapbook style frame pf photos from the time I met him in west Africa, through our wedding and life overseas, the birth of our children, life in Maine,  to mother’s day in 2013. 

Then I made it to the floor of Quilt Market.   On the way to meet someone, I passed this booth and had to stop.  I fell in LOVE with these fabrics and quilts from the RiverWoods collection by Troy.  Hope they will be available locally or online!

Now isn't THIS an eye-grabbing display featuring fabulous fabrics?

Now isn’t THIS an eye-grabbing display featuring fabulous fabrics?

And

The fabric samples.  Yes, I'll take a yard of each!

The fabric samples. Yes, I’ll take a yard of each!  Actually, I’d take a BOLT of that mango and pink!

A close up of one of those quilts:

That glorious color!

That glorious color!

They also had this lovely sample in quieter colors…I’d love a bed quilt like that!

Blues beautiful sea blues

Blues beautiful sea blues

I’m taking a bit of a teaching sabbatical from Aug 2015 to late June 2016 to be home for every day of Eli’s senior year.  Maybe I can make some new bed quilts!

Booths

Booths to enjoy

One thing about digital cameras, you can take pics as you whiz by.  This booth was, I believe, part of the Westminster fabrics area (they print the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics)…love the carpet, the kimono, the riot of color!

Then

Then you see things I for one wouldn’t think to do…like black and white (by Jennifer Sampou) but that are fab!  That storm at sea is one of my favorite traditional patterns, and love this contemporary take on it.

But color wins out….I managed to pass by Jamie Fingal’s booth promoting her new line of fabric just after the closing bell rang…Jamie had already made it out, but I snapped a pic anyway!

Jamie Fingal's latest line of fabric

Jamie Fingal’s latest line of fabric features pinks, greens, oranges….. LOVE IT!  I’ll tae a yard of most of these, too.

Tula

Tula Pink had a colorful booth.   Check out the fantastic Union Flag quilt on the left, the stylized alphabet quilt on the wall in the corner (above the pinked up Bernina on the table), and that arched doorway quilt on the right wall.   Maybe I need to make a Union Flag pillow for my living room chair to commemorate Eli’s and my trip this past summer!

And last booth pic,

asfd

What a profusion of pattern and texture.  I am pretty sure these are  Parson Gray and Amy Butler.  I just want to sit in room with those ottomans and funky old wood bits!

And no trip to Houston would be complete without at least a couple dinners at Ninfa’s on Navigation!  We can get lots of good ethnic foods in Maine, but alas Mexican is not among them, so I indulge in Houston:

My favorite dinner of taco, tamale, and enchilada with refritos and rice.  And when the teaching is done, add a margarita or mojito!

My favorite dinner of taco, tamale, and enchilada with refritos and rice. And when the teaching is done, add a margarita or mojito! I started eating then remember the photo, so the tamale is already eaten!

Back soon (I hope) with more good stuff from Houston and England.

 

England 2014: York! Saturday, August 16

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014
Banners in the Quilt Museum, York, England.  Other than these banners, photography was not allowed.

Banners in the Quilt Museum, York, England. Other than these banners, photography was not allowed.  Glad I could snap there–they are lovely!

Saturday was our day to meet Hanneke W., an internet friend who lives near York.  Eli needed a sleep-in day, so I arranged to meet Hanneke at the Quilt Museum in York and then Eli would join us about lunch time.  As you might gather by our jackets, the weather turned a tad nippy and blustery that Saturday.

With online friend, and now in person friend, Hanneke!

With online friend, and now in person friend, Hanneke!

We had a wonderful visit at the Quilt Museum, where we saw costumes from Downton Abbey including garments worn by the wonderful Maggie Smith as The Dowager Countess Grantham, aka Aunt Violet.   I want her wit, but being in the presence of her costume, alas, did not impart that skill!

The hostel was about a mile and a half from the old medieval walls of York, so Eli and I walked in each day

Our walk from the hostel to the old part of the city went down this road.

Our walk from the hostel to the old part of the city went down this road.  You can see the Minster (Cathedral) in the distance.

and then “home” in the evening.

Approaching one of the gates to the old city of York.

Approaching one of the gates to the old city of York.

Entering the old city, which was founded in AD 71 by the Romans (or more likely, by them on top of a village already there).

Entering the old city at Petersgate, which was founded in AD 71 by the Romans (or more likely, by them on top of a village already there).

Recently learned a fun saying:  The difference between an American and a Brit?  The Brit thinks 100 miles is a long way to travel.  The American thinks 100 years is a long time.  TOO true!

Just a short way down the street into town I found a stitchery shop with a quilt in the window commemorating the recent "stage" of the Tour de France that had come through in July.

Just a short way down the street into town I found a stitchery shop with a quilt in the window commemorating the recent “stage” of the Tour de France that had come through in July.

One of the blocks from the Tour de France stitchery quilt.

One of the blocks from the Tour de France stitchery quilt.

Another of the blocks from the Tour de France stitchery quilt.

Another of the blocks from the Tour de France stitchery quilt.

It was so much fun to meet Hanneke!  We have known each other for years through the QuiltArt list and more recently Facebook.  We met her daughter and husband for lunch, where they urged Eli and me to have dessert, so we decided to try Sticky Toffee Pudding.  In England, a pudding isn’t the same as the US custard-ish dessert.  Instead, it is a dessert, a sort of moist cake.  OH MY.  I recently ordered the dates and Black Treacle (sort of like molasses but without the bitter edge to it) needed for the cake and made it.  EVERYONE loved it!  YUM!  Good thing, as the recipe makes 7-8 servings, each (literally) about 800 calories.  This way if everyone eats it, I won’t eat all of it and weigh 800 pounds.  THANK YOU Hanneke and family for coming down to York for lunch!

Wandering about the pedestrian zone of old York.  This city is absolutely stunning, picturesque, loaded with history, and not a hustle-bustle kind of frenetic place but one where you can walk, savor, enjoy.

Wandering about the pedestrian zone of old York. This city is absolutely stunning, picturesque, loaded with history, and not a hustle-bustle kind of frenetic place but one where you can walk, savor, enjoy.

Eli got up late morning and made his way into town.  On the way, he passed the York Museum.  Outside was a stand with wild birds:  hawks and owls.  So I promised after lunch we could go see them.  The owls ended up being one of the highlights of the trip for Eli.

If you paid a modest sum to help support the wildlife and rehab group, you could hold the owls.  This one is an Asian Wood Owl.

If you paid a modest sum to help support the wildlife and rehab group, you could hold the owls. This one is an Asian Wood Owl.  Did you see that, a HAPPY teen.  Yes, methinks working with animals is a good future for him!

The owl is getting acquainted with Eli (wearing a gauntlet), his handler helping.

The owl is getting acquainted with Eli (wearing a gauntlet), his handler helping.

Petting the owl.  SO soft!

Petting the owl. SO soft!

There were many hawks and owls, about 8 total.  I must’ve taken 100+ photos–resource imagery.

A little owl.

A little owl.

Barn owl.

Barn owl.

LOOK at those stunning feathers on the barn owl!

LOOK at those stunning feathers on the barn owl!

Great horned owl.

Great horned owl. I realized later that I can spot myself reflected in his eye…I’m just to the left of the sky, holding up the camera!

That Asian owl.  Glorious!

That Asian owl. Glorious!

Then we went to the York Museum.  There is a place called Jorvik that is described by some guide books as a bucket list place for Brits to visit, by others as “Disney version of Viking  York.”  It looks to be a great interactive, history-based place for families.  We opted for the greater range of real artifacts at the Museum.

This funerary urn is of an African woman buried in York around 300 AD, part of the Roman compound.   WOW!

This  urn is of an African Style said to have been introduced by Emperor Septimius Severus circa 300 AD; this may resemble his wife. WOW!

Not the best photo, but actual leather shoes from Vikings, circa 1000 AD.

Not the best photo, but actual leather shoes from Vikings, circa 1000 AD.

Embroidered woman's cap, early medieval era.

Embroidered woman’s cap, 16th century.

And LOOKIT these massive antlers!

And LOOKIT these massive antlers!  Horns of a Gian Red Deer, which went extinct about 7000 years ago.

Standing underneath the horns, looking up.

Standing underneath the horns, looking up.  They are probably 10 feet wide?

Nose piece from the York Helmet, an Anglian warriors helmet circa 1000 AD.

Nose piece from the York Helmet, an Anglian warriors helmet circa 1000 AD.  I love the design work.  Probably an inch wide.

The Middenham Jewel.

The Middleham Jewel. Described as “the finest piece of medieval fold-working ever found in England” discovered near Middleham Castle, dates to 1450-1500 AD.

What a day! My only frustration is that I didn’t take the time to sketch then (can you imagine a teen waiting an hour for mom to sketch?  I couldn’t either.)  And I haven’t made time since I got back, either…..I MUST SKETCH!  So much esign inspiration!

We trekked back to the Hostel, had a remarkably good dinner there and I had another Pimm’s.    The next day, Anna!  Another internet friend, another day in the old city.

England 2014, Friday Aug. 15: Sutton Hoo!!!!!

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
From a staff, at Sutton Hoo Burial Ground, near Woodbridge, Sussex, England

From a staff, at Sutton Hoo Burial Ground, near Woodbridge, Sussex, England

Back in 1978, I saw the Sutton Hoo artifacts at the British Museum for the first time.  And I NEVER forgot them.  The incredible artistry in the gold and silver works was stunning, especially because they were made in circa 625 a.d.   Seeing them again so many years later, they are still astounding.   As I mentioned in this post, which has lots of photos, you can see them at the museum and go to the burial grounds now (the lands were not public back in 1978).

This post is about our visit to Sutton Hoo Burial grounds.

Eli and I arrived before the facililty opened, but after the grounds opened.  Owned by the National Trust, families may come and visit, picnic, hike the grounds.  So we did!  This photo is shortly after we began our walk looking at Woodbridge in the distance, just across the river.  Think of rivers as the interstate highways of the days of yore--if you wanted to get some place in a hurry, going by water rather than overland was the way to do it.  It's only a few miles up hill from the river to this place.

Eli and I arrived before the facililty opened, but after the grounds opened. Owned by the National Trust, families may come and visit, picnic, hike the grounds. So we did! This photo is shortly after we began our walk looking at Woodbridge in the distance, just across the river. Think of rivers as the interstate highways of the days of yore–if you wanted to get some place in a hurry, going by water rather than overland was the way to do it. It’s only a few miles up hill from the river to this place.

On the way to the path in the photo above, we passed a playground for families with squirrelly kids who need to burn off some energy.  This includes 16 year olds .  As we found ourselves saying across England, isn't this a great playground, gosh this would never exist in the US because somebody would sue somebody else if a kid got a skinned knee.  Imagine, a zipline (low down obviously) in a playground!

On the way to the path in the photo above, we passed a playground for families with squirrelly kids who need to burn off some energy. This includes 16 year olds . As we found ourselves saying across England, isn’t this a great playground, gosh this would never exist in the US because somebody would sue somebody else if a kid got a skinned knee. Imagine, a zipline (low down obviously) in a playground!

There were blackberries and these in abundance.  Eli and I snarfed quite a few blackberries, reminiscing about San Juan Island.   I think these are currants, but wasn't sure so we didn't test taste any.  Great art inspiration though.

There were blackberries and these berries in abundance. Eli and I snarfed quite a few blackberries, reminiscing about San Juan Island. I think these are currants, but wasn’t sure so we didn’t test taste any. Great art inspiration though.

Trees.  England does trees.  BIG trees.  Majestic trees.  Trees made for climbing.  Eli is a climber.  By 6 months of age he could clamber out of his high chair, climb into his high chair, in and out of his crib by 18 months (hence the early switch to a bed with guard rail).

Trees. England does trees. BIG trees. Majestic trees. Trees made for climbing. Eli is a climber. By 6 months of age he could clamber out of his high chair, climb into his high chair, in and out of his crib by 18 months (hence the early switch to a bed with guard rail).   Keep in mind it would take multiple adults to hold hands and hug this tree, that’s how big it is.

Now look UP.  Waaaaaay Up.  Yep, that's my boy!

Now look UP. Waaaaaay Up. Yep, that’s my boy!  He is 5’9″ tall, so he’s WAY UP.  I did not pass out from holding my breath.  Barely.  I have this irrational fear of falling which extends to my kids, too.  But Eli LOVED it!

On the walk, we passed a farm and these awesome four-horned sheep, which someone on Facebook (where I posted some of the pics during the trip) told me these are Jacob's sheep.  Cool!  More inspiration.

On the walk, we passed a farm and these awesome four-horned sheep, which someone on Facebook (where I posted some of the pics during the trip) told me these are Jacob’s sheep. Cool! More inspiration.

At last, time to go in to the facilities, then go on our walk of the grounds.

At last, time to go in to the Sutton Hoo facilities, then go on our walk of the grounds.

And wouldn't you know it...opposite the register/till where you pay your entry fees, a quilt!  WOOT!

And wouldn’t you know it…opposite the register/till where you pay your entry fees, a quilt! WOOT!  Wish I knew who made this.  If anyone knows, please tell me and I’ll add the information!

I bought a book about the site which has this photo that shows some of the area that was excavated.  Burial mounds were subject to frequent raiding over the centuries and many of the magnificent artifacts were looted.

I bought a book about the site which has this photo that shows some of the area that was excavated. Burial mounds were subject to frequent raiding over the centuries and many of the magnificent artifacts were looted.

A burial ship being excavated.  The burial mound that was source of the most stunning Sutton Hoo artifacts, however, had partially collapsed, so the grave robbers missed the center point (where the good stuff is usually buried with the deceased).  That meant it was STILL THERE, and now lives in the British Museum.

A burial ship being excavated back in the 30s. The burial mound that was source of the most stunning Sutton Hoo artifacts, however, had partially collapsed, so the grave robbers missed the center point (where the good stuff is usually buried with the deceased). That meant it was STILL THERE, and now lives in the British Museum.

I took about a thousand (well, maybe a hundred) photos in the exhibit area, and as many as I could manage while we had our tour of the mounds. This was the only day it rained, and it POURED.  The heavens opened.  We got rather wet despite having good rain gear.  But it was still cool!

Here are some of the artifacts of a horse bridle at the Sutton Hoo facility.   Other items at the facility are reproductions, as the British Museum has a huge building and massive security for the gold works.

Here are some of the artifacts of a horse bridle at the Sutton Hoo facility. Other items at the facility are reproductions, as the British Museum has a huge building and massive security for the gold works.

A closer iew of the goldwork.  Aren't those designs amazing?

A closer view of the goldwork. Aren’t those designs amazing?

Our guide and some of the mounds in the burial grounds.

Our guide and some of the mounds in the burial grounds.  In this photo we are standing atop the mound where the most stunning artifacts were found.

And Eli on the left, daypack under the jacket, walking back to the exhibits area.

And Eli on the left, daypack under the jacket, walking back to the exhibits area.  A dream of 15 years to visit here, since I heard the public could finally get access.  Contended sigh.

And that photo up at the top, here's the staff/sceptre.   Incredible!

And that photo up at the top, here’s the staff/sceptre. Incredible!

Here's the Woodbridge train station that afternoon, where we began our 4 hour journey (three trains) to York.

Here’s the Woodbridge train station that afternoon, where we began our 4 hour journey (three trains) to York.

More design inspiration in the supports at the train stations.

More design inspiration in the supports at the train stations.  A thermofax screen perhaps?

At the YHA (Youth Hostel Assn.) York Hostel, my first ever Pimm's.   It will NOT be my last:  cucumber, strawberries, 7 Up, Pimm's, citrus over ice.   Summer perfection.

At the YHA (Youth Hostel Assn.) York Hostel, my first ever Pimm’s. It will NOT be my last: cucumber, strawberries, 7 Up, Pimm’s, citrus over ice. Summer perfection.

Next up on the England trip, York!   But quilty goodies in between, too.   Stay tuned!

England 2014: Thursday the 14th

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Thursday was a travel day for us, with the morning spent in London at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, and wending our way to East Anglia for our week on the road with our BritRail passes.   The trains are lacking in quaintness now (no more compartments with sliding / slamming doors and wrought iron overhead luggage racks), but they are modern, clean and fast, and go nearly EVERYwhere!

The view of the alley behind our hotel in the Gloucester Road/South Kensington  part of London.  Notice the silver car on the left.

The view of the alley behind our hotel in the Gloucester Road/South Kensington part of London. Notice the silver car on the left. The cool funky one.

So we went down to see what it was.  It’s a Morgan, a make I’d never heard of before.   I now know why:  I could save every penny I earn for the next two decades and I’d still not be able to afford one.  It is a new car made to look old–really cool, roadster old.

The Morgan.  Oh my.  Beautiful REAL wood dashboard, leather everywhere, oh my.  I remember the ferries to San Juan Island...so low-slung it probably couldn't get on/off the ferry!

The Morgan. Oh my. Beautiful REAL wood dashboard, leather everywhere, oh my. I remember the ferries to San Juan Island…so low-slung it probably couldn’t get on/off the ferry!  Made by hand.  I’m not sure Tom Cruise could even afford one of these!  According to Wikipedia there is a six month waiting list to buy one, but has been measured in years at some points!  We chatted a bit with the guy in the photo who worked there…if I recall, they start around 200,000 pounds sterling.   Start at that price.   As I shall never be a Saudi prince, I don’t think I can afford one.

Next we went on to the National Gallery.  Eli was enchanted with the street artists.  This shot is from the entrance to the gallery which overlooks Trafalgar Square.  Though it doesn't look too crowded, it was.   An English friend had been the day before and said the crowds in London were as thick as she had seen in some 70 years!

Next we went on to the National Gallery. Eli was enchanted with the street artists. This shot is from the entrance to the gallery which overlooks Trafalgar Square. Though it doesn’t look too crowded, it was. An English friend had been the day before and said the crowds in London were as thick as she had seen in some 70 years! I love England, I love London, but I think if/when I return it will be in early February to avoid the hordes of tourists.

It's not the best photo, but I have always been captured by this painting of the Execution of Lady Jane Gray.   The silk of her gown glows.

It’s not the best photo, but I have always been captured by this painting of the Execution of Lady Jane Gray. The silk of her gown glows.

Just look at the mastery in the painting!

Just look at the mastery in the painting!

And a close up of the velvet gown of Lady Gray's lady in waiting.

And a close up of the velvet gown of Lady Gray’s lady in waiting.  It was fascinating to see what bits were in exquisite detail, and which were less finely detailed, like the straw (see first photo), causing your eye to focus on the sharply defined items.   The luster of the pearls, too, in the rosary she holds here.

An Odilon Redon...look at that seductive color.

An Odilon Redon…look at that seductive color.  The face in the lower right, the soft and crisp edges.

Eli, of course, wasn’t as enchanted with the art, but humored me.  He is a good traveling companion.  He grasps the concept of Mom needs to see some stuff, Eli gets to see some stuff.  We allow for the other person’s interests.  What a concept!

As I was whizzing through one of the galleries when Eli had temporarily disappeared (it turns out to find a men’s room, which of course is located in the distant basement reached by stairs at the end of the building so it takes forever to get there and back), I snapped these two photos while searching for my disappeared son:

I think this was one of the Cranachs, the Elder?

I think this was one of the Cranachs, yep, Cranach the Elder.

Look at the detail on the textiles!

Look at the detail on the textiles!  Think quilt designs!

Back in the Impressionist rooms were a couple Van Gogh paintings.  Love this humble village.

Back in the Impressionist rooms were a couple Van Gogh paintings. Love this humble village.

Does this Van Gogh look vaguely familiar?  Add a night sky with sworls of gold and you've got Starry Night....

Does this Van Gogh look vaguely familiar? Add a night sky with sworls of gold and you’ve got Starry Night….I LOVE being able to go up close and see the brush strokes.   I may need to try to do a sky like that in a landscape quilt.

And of course I had to take a picture of St. George slaying the dragon, though I prefer my dragons friendly and alive, thank you veddy much.

And of course I had to take a picture of St. George slaying the dragon, though I prefer my dragons friendly and alive, thank you veddy much.  By Gustave Moreau.

And how can you not LOVE a nation that has a sense of humor.  There were some wonderful mosaic floors in the National Gallery (so many people forget to look UP and then look DOWN):

A pub sign that says Rest and be thankful in the mosaic floor.

A pub sign that says Rest and be thankful in the mosaic floor.

And my very favorite of the mosaics:  MUD PIES!

Mud Pies mosaic floor, UK National Gallery, London, England

Mud Pies mosaic floor, UK National Gallery, London, England.  And I’m sorry this is sideways–Photoshop Elements and whatever are NOT cooperating with letting me turn it right side up.  Anyway, ya gotta love a nation that will made a mudpie mosaic!

In the afternoon, we took the train to east of London to Woodbridge, because the next day we were going to the site of the Sutton Hoo burial ships.  I shared photos of some of the phenomenal artifacts that are housed in the British Museum earlier, here.

We stayed in a small B&B at the Station House, and our room was literally on top of the train station in Woodbridge, in East Anglia / Sussex.

We stayed in a small B&B at the Station House, and our room was literally on top of the train station in Woodbridge, in East Anglia / Sussex.

Our view looked over the train tracks to the river.  Apart from a group of 30 or so inebriated 20 somethings heading to the last train at about 10 pm, it was lovely!

The view from our room to the river, across the tracks.

The view from our room to the river, across the tracks.

There is beauty everywhere:

Flowers popping up by the picnic table

Flowers popping up by the picnic table

We wandered about the small town, which Eli and I decided was about the same size as Belfast, Maine, just north of us.  Eli found a shirt and pullover jacket for school!  And I spotted this pillow in the window of a shop–so want to pull out my paints and play and sketch!

Don't you just love hedgehogs?  If you do, you'll like what we did a week later.  Stay tuned!

Don’t you just love hedgehogs? If you do, you’ll like what we did a week later. Stay tuned!

And we had the most scrumptious dinner–one of the best I’ve ever had.  I think it was called the Table restaurant.

Dinner--Eli had salmon, I had massuman (?) curry.  SLURP.  I was well behaved and did NOT lick the plate.

Dinner–Eli had salmon, I had massuman (?) curry. SLURP. I was well behaved and did NOT lick the plate.

And since dinner was so good, we had dessert.

Chocolate mocha pot de creme with fresh mint (homemade) ice cream, with crushed chocolate cookie bits

Chocolate mocha creme anglaise with fresh mint (homemade) ice cream, with crushed chocolate cookie bits.  At least I thought to snap a picture after just the first bite.  Because it went as slowly as I could manage, which wasn’t too slow at all.  SLURP.

As you can see, I continued to exercise Herculean restraing in not licking the plate, but managed quite well with my spoon.

As you can see, I continued to exercise Herculean restraint in not licking the plate, but managed quite well with my spoon.

Next trip when I get to London, I shall schedule some alone time so I can dawdle to my heart’s content in the art galleries, but it was a wonderful day.  I got to see the painting I most wanted to see again (Jane Gray) as well as more.  And finish with a top notch supper in a very pleasant small town.