Friday, 17 June 2011

Holiday Round-Up

A few days ago I said I wanted to do this lot:

  • Boot Fair today (not going to happen because it is pouring  - really pouring - with rain)
  • Longleat when it is raining less
  • Visit Bath as I never have and there is a quilt museumamongst other things. 
  • Knit knit knit
  • Read read read
I have rented a car so I will also be doing lots of tootling around looking at the surrounding countryside, collecting clouds.

Sure enough the rain did knock the boot fair on the head. Longleat was the subject of my last post and was awesome. Bath is another 2 hour drive each way so I decided against it after yesterday's venture was planned. And I have knit, knit, knitted and read, read, readed. I've also driven more than 550 miles since picking the car up on saturday! A big lump was the trip yesterday to Greenways, which was the holiday home of Agatha Christie. I am a big fan and have read all the books and (as far as I'm aware) seen all the TV adaptations too. I was only really expecting the house so the grounds came as a pleasant surprise. 
Sadly though the rain did put a stop to too much exploring. The house itself was lovely and was a real home - not a museum. So there were her own books mixed in with family photos and collections they all added to over the years and so on. All rather lovely. I also went with my mum and my dad, who had taken the day off especially, so it was a rare but lovely family outing too. 

So Greenway replaced Bath, but how about those clouds? Well...
Olive Grove Cafe
I know it's not much but it has been 100% cloud cover most of the time which is not very exciting. I will add to my collection over time. 

Tomorrow sees me heading back to London and I am having one of those internal arguments with myself over whether to go to IKEA or not. The only thing I need is a baking tray and I can get that anywhere. But... NO! I'll only spend money I don't have on things I don't need. No. Not going. Final. Bah. Being married was so much cheaper than being single. Not that I regret my decision, but I have been reminded of Pooch a lot this week. He really liked coming down here and we had planned to go to Longleat together. But then we had planned a lot of things, and then lots of things happened which I certainly hadn't planned, and so I have had to make new plans.
As I'll still have the car on sunday Humphrey and I have discussed a little jaunt off somewhere. Leeds Castle has been suggested. I haven't been since I was a nipper so I'm up for it - just depends on the weather. It is saying 'sunny intervals' at the moment but it has been so changeable all week I am not sure how reliable it is. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Longleat Love

I had the most AMAZING day yesterday. I have wanted to go to Longleat since I first saw the lovely Ben Fogle looking scared of the tigers on the BBC back in 2000. Even though my Mum's house is much closer to it than london it was still a 2 hour drive each way, punctuated by me stopping to take pictures of fields and sky, such as this one.
longleat 007
I have been thinking of doing a fairisle in landscape colours since a discussion with Nickerjac on a drive back from SkipNorth. I have been collecting bad photos of the landscape since then. Then a query on twitter led me to a colour palette generating tool
I chose this one because it gives you 5 colours and a choice of dull or vibrant whereas a lot of the others - google, there are loads - give you 10-20 colours which is too many for fairisle. Or too many for what I had in mind. I am yet to find my perfect landscape but it will occur at some point and then I'll be on to Jamiesons for the wool. 

Back to Longleat - it is the seat of the Marquess of Bath and consists of an enoooormous house, an animal centre with things like guinea pigs and bats and then a mahoosive safari park which has all the wild animals you can think of. Prepare yourself for many, many photos. I am not going to go into it all blow by blow as that would take about 3 pages of text so these are the highlights. 

1. Boat Ride around gorilla island where we saw the silverback gorilla who gets grumpy when it is "too hot, too cold, too wet or too windy" so was obviously grumpy. Hippos and sealions also in the lake. Real, big hippos. 
longleat 010
2. Feeding the Rainbow Lorikeets. I had one on each shoulder, two on each wrist and then one landed on my head. 
longleat 027
3. Holding a python called Sir Hiss. (No photo of this - the downside of doing these things alone is no one to hold a camera.)
4. Seeing an escapee American Chipmunk in a beautiful rose garden.
longleat 020
5. Watching a rhino take a mud bath and wriggle to squidge about in it.
longleat 071
6. Having a tiger walk nonchalantly right by the car - about 2 metres away. 
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7. Watching a tiger try to catch a squirrel. There's actually a very poor quality video of that here. This is it pretending it's cool afterwards. (It is cool.)
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8. Seeing the lions lying on their backs, legs akimbo, enjoying the sunshine.
longleat 104
9. Zebra bottoms
longleat 048

My top thing for the whole day has to be the Lorikeets. The word 'hard-boiled' kept coming into my head and I realised they made me think of wool which has been felted and has gone quite robust and tough. They did look a bit like normal sized parrots which had shrunk in a hot wash and their expressions were so grumpy - as if they had just felted their best jumpers by accident. But then when I occasionally tried to shoo one of the zillion hanging off me away it would just look at my hand with this world weary expression and give my finger a little nip. Not in a violent way - just to indicate that they had been shoo'd away by better people then me and so I might as well give up. 
longleat 026
I do like animals with attitude. Awesome creatures. 

If you were so inclined you can see all my Longleat photos here. I would 100% recommend visiting and that's without actually having made it into the house. My Mum was a bit worried about the animals being cramped but look at this:
longleat 064
That is just a bit of where the giraffe, rhinos, zebras, camels and a few others hang out. They are free to wonder all over the place and they are all in excellent condition. 

Today looks like being the best weather I'll get down here so I'm up for a quick run into Minehead to look in all the charity shops and a trip to the best fudge shop in the world. Then back here to lounge in my sun lounger and do a bit of knitting in the sun. Knit knit knit. 

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Il Pleut

I am on holiday and at such times, even though I am only in Somerset, I feel the urge to break into French. A minor problem is that my french got as far as GCSE and then went down hill in the intervening 16 years. So it's a bit franglais only without the talent true franglais requires.

Imaginer mon surprise quand je saw le pub sign ici.
The Smoking Dog in Malmesbury
How I ended up in Malmesbury is again one of those things that can only be understood when you consider my quite obscene lack of any sense of direction. And this is even with a satnav. Ah yes, dear Liam, who has done so much for Nickerjac and I on our trips to SkipNorth, again saved the day in getting me from A to B and I wouldn't have ended up in Malmesbury had I not got it into my head to pop to Cirencester using road signs alone and then got lost. 

Liam did rejoin me to do the right thing in getting me to Lacock where my sister lives and where such tour de forces as Pride and Pejudice, Cranford and Harry Potter have been filmed. Not having seen any of these (although I have admired the mitts) this means nothing to me but she says anyone who has watched those should recognise this. 
Cranford House in Lacpock
It is an amazingly picturesque place without being quaint and 'ye olde' about it. I would recommend a visit if you're in the area.

What will I be doing with my week in the deep south? The plan so far is...
  • Boot Fair today (not going to happen because it is pouring  - really pouring - with rain)
  • Longleat when it is raining less
  • Visit Bath as I never have and there is a quilt museum amongst other things. 
  • Knit knit knit
  • Read read read
I have rented a car so I will also be doing lots of tootling around looking at the surrounding countryside, collecting clouds. I believe I have mentioned this book before:

And the accompanying one:
And I saw many fine examples while driving yesterday. But being a safe driver I didn't try to photograph them while driving. You need traffic jams for that, a la Crazy Aunt Purl. So if the rain stops and some non-blanket clouds appear expect regular cloud updates on twitter and on here. 
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