AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURE!

bird drying its wings

You might have noticed that this blog went quiet over the summer months. This was partly because there was so much coming and going with 2 sons on uni vacations, but also because we were planning a trip to Darwin, Australia. Anselm, my eldest son, has been living there for the last 18 months, and we hadn’t seen him for 2 years so decided that it was about time to catch up with him. So we had a memorable 2 and a half weeks there at the beginning of September. It was by far the furthest I have ever travelled and was an amazing adventure. We went on Malaysian Airlines who were the cheapest (I wonder why?!! – we noticed that by the return flight we had been given Frequent Flyer status!).

We spent the first week in Darwin itself and for the second we hired a four wheel drive vehicle to take us to various local national parks – Kakadu, Katherine Gorge and Litchfield. Of course, in Australia local means driving the same milage as the length of Belgium! Unfortunately my camera spent too long on the beach one sunset and got sand in its lens – the zoom stopped working so I had to take most of my photos on my phone; nevertheless, here are a few of the memorable ones.

palm trees silhouetted against the sky
Palm trees silhouetted against the sky

 

palm leaves
Can you tell I love them?

 

palm tree
Yet another palm!

 

ball thing in Charles Darwin botanic gardens
Not sure what this is, but it was hanging from a tree in the Charles Darwin Botanic Gardens

 

panorama in kakadu
Amazing panorama of escarpment and savannah taken from one of the aboriginal art Canadian Pharmacy, no prescription needed pharmacy lasix water pill http://www.cpad.org/index.php/lasix-without-rx/ Discount Pharmacies, lasix water pills buy Canadian Healthcare Pharmacy sites

 

I didn’t get any good photos of the actual art but if you google Ubirr or Nourlangie rock art you’ll see plenty.

We went for an amazing dawn cruise on the Yellow Water Billabong, and saw lots of wildlife including crocodiles and pelicans.

sunset on Yellow Water Billabong
Sunset on the Yellow Water Billabong

 

bird drying its wings
Not sure what this bird was but it was very picturesque silhouetted against the water with its wings outstretched to dry as the morning mist burned off.

 

fish on wall
I liked this fish made of found art which was on the wall of a Darwin coffee shop (the coffee was pretty good too!)

 

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Sunset on Casuarina Beach on the last night

 

If you’d like to see more photos, my son Anselm has an amazing collection on his Instagram.

Incidentally, the ancient vehicle that the hire firm palmed off on us met with an unfortunate end highlighted here in the local NT News

A trip to London

A week or so ago, I had a day out in London.  It was a bit of an accidental trip, because I was booking tickets to go to the Who Do You Think You Are show in Olympia in February, and by mistake ordered tickets for 27th March instead!   Anyway, it was a great day so I’m glad I went twice. 

I arrived at Paddington and took the tube to Oxford Circus.  Then I walked to Berwick Street in Soho, to go to Cass Art to buy supplies.  And it was a good move, because lots of things were half price! 

I then walked to Clerkenwell to go to the Society of Genealogist’s library as they had an open day and it was free to visit rather than the £18 it would otherwise have cost.  

Here is Bloomsbury Square, where I was standing when I took the photo of the London Bus that I made a gocco print of:

Bloomsbury Square

On to Centrepoint:

Centrepoint

Then, in stark contrast, there was this lovely old shop just up the road:

old shop in London

Some gorgeous facades if you look up:

interesting to look upwards

And these funny things on the lamp posts:

starburst lamposts

Past Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which was all locked up; I suppose because it was Saturday.

Lincoln's Inn Fields

Some tall blocks of flats; I liked the blue in the stairwell, though it isn’t so clear in this photo as in real life.

flats

Nearly there:

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A mixture of old and new…

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Week at Urchfont Manor

I meant to blog about the week I had at Urchfont ages ago but the summer is slipping away and I don’t know where it’s gone!    I went with a group of textiley internet pals.

Urchfont is a manor house in Wiltshire owned by Wiltshire County Council and is very grand:

Urchfont manor

While I was there, Sara taught me to spin:

drop spindle and fibre

Here she is teaching Gill:

a lesson in spinning!

I’ve had my drop spindle for a few years now, so I was glad to use it at last! 

I also had a go on the embellisher.  I decided it wasn’t for me, but I was glad to have a play.  This was the first thing I made.  It is roughly the size of an ACEO.

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And the next:

embellisher play

Paulene also brought her pasta maker so that we could have a go at printing with it.  I printed a leaf – you roll printing ink on to an acrylic sheet, lay the leaf on to it with some paper on

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top, and run the whole thing through the machine.  So you get three prints – the first is the one on the right.  The next time you run it through, you take the leaf off and print the impression left by the leaf – that is the middle one.  Then you put the original leaf ink side up on to the acrylic sheet, put another sheet of paper on top and print that and the ink transferred on to the leaf from the first print then transfers on to the paper.  I hope I’ve remembered it correctly!  Now I want to get a pasta maker to try it again!

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This is the second attempt using a ginkgo leaf that I found in the gardens.  I think I used too much ink but I like the abstract result!

printing with pasta machine using ginkgo leaf 

More pics to come!

Black Country Museum

Golly, where does the time go?  I can’t believe it’s 2 weeks since my visit to the West Midlands, where the Black Country Museum is based.    It’s called the Black Country in that area because of all the mines and industry which abounded in the 19th century. 

This is the house which my great great great grandparents, Benjamin and Elizabeth Meredith, lived in in the latter half of the 1800s.  It is called the Tilted Cottage because of the effects of the subsidence caused by mining in the area!   Apparently the Museum took great care to rebuild it that way when they moved it brick by brick to its new home.

Tilted cottage, Black Country Museum

Benjamin was a bricklayer but I don’t know if he built this house.  Most of my other ancestors were coal miners, potters and farmers, though the butt filers listed on several of the census returns amused the kids!  Typical male teenage humour…

The main part of the museum consisted of a reconstructed village – here are the ‘back to back’ terraced houses typical of a lot of Victorian workers’ buildings.    They are two houses put together only one room wide.  I used to live in a terraced house till I was 11 and it felt strangely familiar, although it wasn’t a ‘back to back’ type.  Click on the link if you are unclear what I mean – I was a bit vague about it and looked it up on Wikipedia!

back to back houses

I liked it because you could wander around all the back gardens and yards and see exactly what was there, the washrooms and coal houses and chicken coops…

The museum also links up with the canal system and going down there I saw these geese with their goslings:

geese and gloslings

It reminded me of the train journey up there, where the train driver stopped for some geese and their young family who were crossing the railway track!

This was the view from my cafe table when I was eating my lunch:

Black Country Museum

You could also go down a mine but I passed on that as I’ve been down several already and preferred to stay in the warm sunny outdoors!