Rosie’s trip with the dragon

We really needed this weekend away in Rosie.  We’ve been so busy and struggling with life lately that we needed to slow down and take it easy.  That’s what having a camper van means to us; that’s what makes the difference.  So we packed up and set off on what was quite a lengthy drive through sunshine and rain to Pembrokeshire.

Our campsite Celtic Camping is near Abereiddy in the parish of St David’s.  It’s set above the cliffs by the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, is on National Trust land and has extensive facilities including a bunkhouse, several fields for camping and a very laid back feel.  We opt for the hook up field and pick our spot facing the sea. The views are fantastic, so tried to photograph a panoramic picture.


It’s an opportunity to properly use our new awning and light.  Now the old awning had Dubber in a frenzy every time we put it up. It wasnt complicated but add a breeze and a twisted guy rope and you can get your knickers in a twist very quickly.  Usually meant it was my time to put the kettle on and make a cuppa.


But with our new Kampa ‘inflatable’ (ooh!) awning it’s so much easier.  There’s a blue pump thing that Dubber uses to inflate two beams and the cross beam and then it’s up essentially. It’s lovely and light and stays quite cosy even when the evenings get cool.  It’s become our sitting room for when we’re camping but also has an inner tent providing another bedroom if others come to stay (see my next blog).

And then there’s always a place for a bit of decoration.


So we are settled quite quickly and have time to lazily watch the view, cook ourselves dinner and have a glass of wine or two ..and a gin.

There was overnight rain but we stayed nice and dry and after breakfast headed out to walk the Pembrokeshire Coastal Walk.  The scenery is stunning, with rocky cliffs and sandy bays, waterfalls and a blue lagoon where crazy people go coasteering.  Yes it was new to me too.  Young people wearing wet suits and helmets jump off cliffs and then climb back up them for pleasure.  Crazy.


Anyway we have a lovely walk to Abereiddy, a small village where the coasteerers set off from.  There doesn’t appear to be much there other than a well equipped food van on the car park. We will come back to that.  We continue on to the next village Porthgain where we know there is a pub. After a couple of sharp showers the sun is out and we take off waterproofs and bare our arms on what turns out to be a beautiful day.  This time of year is great for walking because there is so much wildflower around the edges of the path.  I’m sure that we are doing so much more to preserve our countryside and flowers are returning that we haven’t seen in a number of years.  This is National Trust land and they do a great job at preserving land so that we can enjoy it.


We arrive in time for lunch at Porthgain, a small village but obviously well visited by tourists with gift shops and a gallery, a restaurant and a pub, The Sloop Inn. There is a lovely little harbour and the tide is out. A man and his dog are digging for something in the muddy sand.  There is a strange building clinging to the cliffs that is almost fortress like and on researching it, it is a relic of slate quarrying days.  The slate used to come via a tramway, to be worked on here before being shipped out.  For a time when the slate mines closed it became a brick factory and later for crushing road stone.  Along with the large brick hoppers it is now an important national monument.


Dubber’s choice of a national monument would be this:


We make short work of walking back.  Dubber is perturbed that I’m on my second wind as I’m racing ahead, but to be honest I need the loo! It’s the beer my dear.

We unhitched Rosie from the awning and headed out to St Davids.  It’s the closest town or is that city as it has a cathedral. It has an impressive cathedral and remains of the Bishops Palace.  There are quaint shops and a supermarket; we have a list of things we forgot to bring.  Need to have a list permanently in the food box to check before we come.


We people watch as we had lunch but this visitor caused a distraction because it was feeling a bit peckish!


We sampled the local beer too.

Back at the van we make dinner and sit out in the evening sun to wait for the sunset.  Unfortunately the clouds moved in so it wasn’t as spectacular as we thought, but we are happy just to admire the view before the Skipbo challenge starts.

Another day and a trip out in the van today.  We are heading to Tenby.  It’s one of those places everyone except me has been to.  Even Dubber tells me he came here as a child.  First impressions are very good.  It’s an upmarket holiday destination.  No kiss me quick hats, more fancy gift shops, wine and coffee bars.  Inside the town walls there is a lovely feel to the town. We wander the shops and have a spot of lunch whilst people watching before we have a shower of rain.  We walk to look over the beach and make a visit to the Lifeboat, and next door was the old lifeboat station that became a home on Grand Designs.  A bit public!


We sat and enjoyed the sunshine a while longer then headed back to our campsite for dinner, this time experiencing a fantastic sunset.  How beautiful this world is.


After another killing at Skipbo, Dubber really does get fed up with me winning, we bunker down for the night and the next day we pack up quite swiftly – another asset of the new awning, it deflates really easily.

We say goodbye to the sea and make our way back towards Cardiff. We are stopping off near Cowbridge with friends Bev and Dick and enjoy a beautiful lunch in their garden.  There’s nothing better than relaxing in someone’s beautiful garden and enjoying lunch with lovely people.

So the awning was a real success.  I have another good win at Skipbo under my belt and at last I’ve visited Pembrokeshire, which was on my bucket list of places to visit in Rosie.  Another week and we are taking her out again.  Can’t wait.

A Year in the Life of a Tree Quilt – May and June

Time is moving on and we are having a couple more months of making patchwork sections of our quilt.  

In May we worked on our Dresden Plate.  A very effective design using all our fabrics, I incorporated more heart buttons to keep the theme going.

I found the history of this design on patternsfromhistory.com

“THE 20TH CENTURY DRESDEN PLATE QUILT

The Dresden Plate quilt pattern was one of the most popular quilts made during the 1920s and 30s. It was first published in the 20s but not always under the name Dresden Plate. Grandmother’s Sunburst, Friendship Ring, Aster, Dahlia and Sunflower are all names I’ve seen for this pattern.

The 1930s version is usually easy to date because of the typical floral prints of the period. Some were made with prettily patterned feedsacks while a few were done with solid prints.
This quilt is made of blocks with fabric appliquéd in a series of radiating “petals” with flat sides. Usually they radiate from a central circle which is more representative of a flower than a plate thus the flower names seen for this pattern.
A few Dresden Plate quilt blocks are made with a smooth outer circle as seen to the right. More often the ends of the “petals” are be rounded or pointed like the illustration below. Occasionally the pointed and curved forms are combined. You will see an example of that in the pattern I’ve designed.
THE DRESDEN CONNECTION WITH THE QUILT NAME
The popular name for this quilt, Dresden Plate, reflects the romance of the Victorian Era with its love of elaborate decoration on household items and décor. Dresden, Germany was a center of 19th century romanticism movement in art, one that included the fine decoration of porcelain. The plates were embellished with elaborate design using flowers, fruits and foliage. The beautiful plates would surely have been admired by women of the early 20th century.”

Here’s my version:


Then in June we worked with triangles and made this design:

Gorging ourselves on Cheddar

It’s good to be back on the road in Rosie.  Now you wouldn’t have heard me say that three years ago, but hey a girl can change her mind.  So we set off for an April Bank Holiday weekend in Somerset – love that accent.  Dubber has to make the transition from car to van so we race along the M42, changing up and down gears like there’s no tomorrow, until after about an hour he settles into her rhythm, and the drive becomes smooth again.

We are heading for Priddy in Somerset.  We’ve taken another giant step in our investment in Rosie and joined the Caravan and Camping Club, which essentially gives us better access to camping sites around the country.  We are staying at the Cheddar Mendip Heights campsite near Priddy.


We arrive at the campsite and immediately there’s a sense of this being a friendly and welcoming place.  The setting is lovely amongst the Mendip hills but also where we decide to camp is secluded and quiet…so much so that when our friends Sean and Claire arrive they can’t find us!

This is our first outing with our new awning, a Kampa Travelpod Action…Dubber is full of technical knowledge… It’s an inflatable awning to you and me.  It’s so much better than our previous awning because it goes up in 15 minutes rather than the frustrating hour accompanied by miscellaneous bad language from Dubber. He has no patience.  Anyway the awning is lovely and brings in a lot more light.


It’s not the only thing new on Rosie. She has her very own T25 Rosie sticker front and back.


We have just set up and our friends arrive.  We put the kettle on and share ( yes I said ‘share’) the Hobnobs.   I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but a staple to our Rosie trips is Hobnobs. Chocolate ones of course.  What I have observed is that for every one that Dubber has I have about three.  What?!

So we have had our cuppa then we head off to the pub, the Queen Vic in Priddy for dinner.  A really nice traditional pub with excellent food. My goodness if you saw Sean’s pie – it was a wedge of meat.

Having said goodbye to our friends, who also have a camper called Verne but he’s off the road at the moment, (Look out for a Rosie and Verne adventure in the future) we settle ourselves in for the night.  Have missed the cosiness of sleeping in the van.  


After a great night’s sleep we decide to get out early for a walk through Cheddar Gorge.  The forecast is rain.  We park up in the Gorge and head to the Tourist Information Office for guidance on the walk.  After some simple instructions which included “There’s a bit of an incline as you begin” we crossed the road went through a gate and OMG that’s a cliff not an incline!

I’m not kidding it was practically straight up.  If we’d come prepared we would have had crampons!  Anyway we made our way straight up with a huff and a puff half way and after about 15 minutes having been overtaken by a dog, we got up onto the top and the plateau that is the top of one side of the gorge.  The views were fabulous and the weather was beautiful.


Now the good thing about going up is that you can go down, so after about 5 minutes we were back down on the road.  The walk we were following however covered both sides the gorge, so yes you’ve guessed it we had to climb again.  This time though the environment was more interesting and the view at the top was worth waiting for.  Walking back down we earned the double chocolate torte and hot chocolate overdose in a cafe, along with the cheddar cheese of course.


The rain came down as we head to the cathedral city of Wells.  It’s a beautiful cathedral and it was so calming to sit there in the peace.  A quaint town and worth the window shopping.  We spent the rest of the day back at the site and yes it did start to rain quite heavy, so Skipbo came out and I beat Dubber again, and again and again.

The next day we packed up and drove to the coast. Always good to see a bit of sea, our choice of place was Burnham-on-sea. Obviously we were slightly on the young side for most of the people we saw there but they had a good Clarks Outlet store.
Our aim was to get to Bleadon by lunchtime to hear our friend Unc aka Chief Engineer on the barge trip, playing with Chris Stinchcombe  at a village fete.  It was in full swing in blazing and I mean blazing sunshine.  A bit of tan initiation for everyone that day.  It seemed like a nice community and as we arrived the band had just finished playing and the Morris dancers were performing.  We got ourselves a local beer but there was no food left – it was only 1pm.  Constant throughout the fete was a Lady Commentator, obviously been trained by the WI with her pearls and twinset at some point.  She got very excited at introducing everything to everyone and saying how wonderful everything was especially the food – what food?


After the Morris dancers there were more dancers.  They called themselves Medieval but were dressed in Tudor clothes which I have to say in that heat must have been exhausting.  What followed was a bit of madrigal dancing and then everyone was asked to get involved in what can only be described as country dancing.  Not a medieval joust move in site.  Anyway after the Medieval, sorry Tudor, sorry mock Victorian dancers died from heat stroke in the corner at the bar which was by now running out of beer, our boys got up and played again before they were interrupted by the Lady Commentator mid-song to call out the winner on the raffle for the bike.


Joking aside, small village communities do a great job at entertaining themselves and visitors.  My own village of Hathern has a core group of people and organisations which do a fantastic job at putting on events.  Looking forward to taking Rosie down to the Wicked Hathern Festival again this year.  Come and join us August 11/12.

So the Rosie season has begun.  Have missed going away with you, Rosie.

A Year in the Life of a Tree Quilt – April

So a bit late in the month posting but those Easter bunnies have kept me busy.

Over the past month I’ve been working on the tree for summer. It’s not yet finished but well on its way.  Basing my trees on a silver birch I needed something fine to represent the leaves. The hunt for green voile in small amounts was quite challenging but managed to find a company that did samples, along with Mrs Mac who did the same. It works a treat.


This month we were back onto patchwork. Some careful work to create the triangles and some consideration about which fabrics, (and which way to cut them!), here’s the result.  Loving the detail in this fabric.

A year in the life of a tree quilt – March

Sewing is a true therapy and even more so when you’re in the company of other people who enjoy it too.  

There are five of us doing the tree quilt, meeting once a month to create the next stage.  We are all coming from different backgrounds and different circumstances and yet we have this common bond.  And it shows when you have forgotten a tool or need a little bit of fabric to applique a leaf or two. Someone always helps out.  It’s great.
This month I have finished my spring square.  I had some other ideas but that’s the way it goes; it’s a living piece of creativity which changes as you work with it.

Spring Tree

New season adventures

We definitely have seasons for Rosie’s adventures. From November through to February we are busy doing other things and Rosie has a bit of work done on her to keep the old lady moving. A bit of respite care.

But the snowdrops are out, it’s half term and so it’s time for adventure!


Two munchkins love their days out in Rosie. Their excitement is catching.  We packed up lunch and headed for Sudbury Hall and the Museum of Childhood.

After much whooping on the way there we arrive on a chilly but sunny day. These two are eager to get started.


The Museum of Childhood is fascinating particularly if you are a sixties child.  Lots of stuff from my childhood!  There’s really good areas about Victorian childhoods and the hands on experiences keep our two busy and interested. Scrub harder you two!


A bit of ironing


And washing


They didn’t like the idea of climbing chimneys.

After a couple of hours play we were back in Rosie for lunch – the best bit – they love picnicking in the van.


Back at the hall which is celebrating 50 years of being part of the National Trust, half term activities include Womble based activities (Wombles are 50 this year too). For those too young to know Wombles were little creatures who lived on Wimbledon Common in a TV series and picked up everyone else’s litter- the first recyclers on TV!

So we took our map and went in search for stuff that people left behind in amongst the landscaped gardens of the hall. 

There was all sorts of stuff hanging in trees. There was even a statue with sunglasses on!  It also gave us time for adventures in trees.

The expressions on their faces tell you what a great trip it was. Back in Rosie we travel home planning what we are going to do in her next. 

A year in the life of a tree quilt – February

The trees are planned and will reflect the seasons and important dates for my family- not quite sure how I’m going to work this in yet but that’s part of the joy of developing a quilt in this way.  There are decisions to be made all along the way.

The key message however from Marion, our wonderful teacher, is the importance of accuracy.  To make the patchwork elements of each block work when it all comes together accuracy in cutting and sewing are going to be paramount.  So doing our first block, although fairly simple become a shoulder clenched when you know you have to be accurate.  A few templates, a rotary cutter, sticky tape marking the quarter inch seam and a bit of unpicking, we succeeded in creating our first patchwork block.  Here’s Annette and I with our finished products.


Nearly finished my first tree block too so will post again soon.