Avon Valley Country Park

A few weeks ago I went with the kids on a church outing to Avon Valley Country Park. They had great fun down these scary slides:

red scary slide

while I sat in the cafe and chatted and drank tea.

There are a lot of animals there, including Jacob and Soay sheep and angora goats. After a hairy boat ride where DS1 and DS2 rowed me around (an adult was required otherwise I would have foregone the pleasure), I went and regained my calm by having a walk around to look at the animals. The kids meanwhile hared off to the go-karts…

Jacob sheep:

black/brown and white Jacob sheep

Soay sheep (had to crop this photo because they wouldn’t come any closer!):

soay sheep

Angora goats – this little one was very obliging…

angora goat standing under tree trunk

There was a tiny little kid there as well:

angora kid

Caerleon Sculpture Festival

I’m afraid blogging is going to be sporadic for the next couple of months… the summer holidays are nearly upon us.  I have been busy going to end of year school concerts and meetings and assemblies… DS3 is going to high school in September so he has all sorts of farewell-to-old and welcome-to-new school events.  DS1 is sunning himself in Sorrento on a geography field trip – Vesuvius, Pompeii, Amalfi… in text messages, ‘awesome’ and ‘wicked’ crop up a lot!  Here in the UK it must be the wettest July for at least a couple of years and I am ready for a bit of sun and relaxation.  Some hope with the kids at home!  Anyway, DS3 went to a party yesterday and DH to an airshow so DS2 and I went to Caerleon for lunch and to visit the annual Sculpture Festival.

Caerleon high street

Caerleon is a village just outside Newport which used to house a substantial Roman legionary force. 

mural of Roman street

This is a mural painted in a little arts centre called The Fwrrwm.  There are lots of little arty shops and a nice cafe there where we had lunch.  There are also lots of quirky and diverse sculptures in the grounds.

sculpture of knights fighing

wooden sculpture of creature's head

I love this one carved from a tree trunk:

sculpture in tree trunk

And there is a gorgeous tree hanging over it all:

old, knarled tree and sculptures

The field of the sculpture festival was very muddy – not surprising since it had poured down nonstop the day before…. 

sculpture festival field

 and they had somehow got a crane in to lift one of the sculptures…

crane holding sculpture up

I didn’t note down the names of the sculptors but they were from all over the world – Bulgaria, Turkey, the Czech Republic, the USA – and all the way from England too!

I loved these chairs…

high backed, sculptural chairs

And this strange hand caught my eye…

hand sticking up out of lump of wood

At the end of the day we got the bus home and reorganised DS2’s bedroom so he could actually get into it!  A day well spent…  and I finished reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.

Wonderwool Wales

I had a nice day out on Saturday.  DS1 and 3 were camping so I went to the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells for Wonderwool Wales.

I went by train on the Heart of Wales line, which is probably the most picturesque rail journey in Wales, winding its way through from Shropshire to Swansea.  At the railway station I got on, you had to hail the driver for him to stop the train, like getting on a bus! 

The show was fun – it was part of the Smallholders’ show but I mostly stayed in the Wonderwool area.  There were lots of yummy fibres and yarns, and lots of local producers and processors of the fibres.  And craftspeople from all over the UK. 

There were also animals there!  Here are a couple of alpacas which I fell in love with!

two alpacas

And lots of different sorts of British sheep, which I found fascinating because up to now I thought sheep were sheep and didn’t realise they were so different and individual.

ryeland sheep

These are Ryeland sheep.  They have such sweet faces.   A lady there told me that apparently their wool doesn’t felt, which makes it useful if you don’t want it to!

wensleydale longwool

This is the Wensleydale longwool – its wool was very soft!

jacobs sheep

This is the Jacobs sheep.  There were lots of other coloured sheep there with different variations of colours between black, grey, browns as well as whites.  I wished at this point that I wasn’t travelling on the train because it precluded me buying lots of fibre but I did buy a drop spinning kit from Hedgehog Equipment who are based near Abergavenny which isn’t that far from Newport.  I picked up lots of leaflets with links to websites so I can find them again readily if I take to it!

There were also angora goats in another of the sheds.  At least, I hope they are angora goats – I get very confused with the non-wool fibres…

angora goat

A nice cup of tea

Sorry about the silence over the last few days.  I have had a nasty bout of IBS and haven’t been feeling too well.  At least, that was what the doctor said it was….

Myfanwy of Winifred Cottage cheered me up when she called in for a cup of tea after her dyeing workshop at a local quilt shop. 

two people drinking tea

My son Barnabas took this photo; we got fed up of posing for the photo while he was in the taking them and soon started chatting again!

two chatting people!

I had met Myfanwy briefly at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Birmingham but only really knew her online, so it was lovely to have a chat.    As well as running Winifred Cottage, she is very knowledgeable about the embellisher machines and has a blog called Nuvo Felt and written a book about using the embellisher which you can read about there.