Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Friday, July 5, 2013

A day in Glasgow and Paisley, Scotland


This morning started off with a traditional breakfast at our hotel in downtown Glasgow:  bangers, eggs, fresh breads, croissants, butter, marmalade, hot tomatoes and mushrooms, juices, fruits, cheeses and cold salami and very strong coffee. 


After that light little breakfast, we waddled off to our coach to spend a day visiting Sma' Shot Cottages in nearby Paisley.  The cottages were built in the 1700's.  Our guides explained the harsh conditions the weavers who lived in this area (and in the actual homes the 25 in our group were led through).  Docents in this historical site explained the lives of these workers.  Not only did the weavers made the cloth, but they also dyed their yarns from the garden plants grown by their community efforts.  It was usual that the weavers worked 18 hours a day, six days of the week.  They made so little money from their work that they could not afford clothes worthy to be worn at church.

These families often had 12 or more children, and lived in a two room shot gun house with other generational family members.  No electricity, a fire in the major room where they cooked food in their fireplace, ate only inches away from the fire, and also slept here, perhaps ten or twelve in this common room.  No bathrooms, and chamber pots that were emptied outside the front window onto the pedestrian pathway.

A weaver foreman might have a four room cottage for his family.  I doubt these workers had any sort of finery, but these hand made christening gowns were hung on a wall to display christening dresses from that era, but again, were available and used only by the wealthy.

Back to the garden.  This is a picture of foxglove which was used for dyeing.  It is growing in the heirloom garden which was in existence all the way back three centuries ago.


We had a lunch provided by the volunteers and then moved on to the Paisley Museum, opened in 1871.  That museum has about 1,400 paisley shawls in its archives.

See another blog post from Mary at www.ladybugspinning.blogspot.com.  Mary has a lot more pictures and writes well about our shared common experience viewing and learning about the original looms.

Tomorrow is a coach ride through the windswept Scottish highlands. Heather and gorse grown there and perhaps we can get some good pictures of these areas.

This is my first time to use Mobile Blogger, and it seems to be a fairly user friendly app.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

July In Scotland

Last September I started looking into fiber related tours to the UK.  Fiber as in wool for knitting, not fiber as in lentils or grains for digestive purposes.

Three years ago I went on a CraftLit tour to London, Bath and Wales with Heather Ordover and 24 other fiber/literature enthusiasts and had a wonderful time.  See my video of that tour here.   Being a fiber, yarn and wool hog, I wanted another tour to explore even more of the UK and learn about the origins of some of the fibers I so love.

Doing some internet research last year, I found Joyce James and her tour into Scotland and the Shetland islands (the outer islands north of the mainland).  The Tour I decided on was James' 16th annual one into these fascinating ancient places and is called "Scottish Skeins and Skerries"; you can read all about it here.  The group is small (20 people) and was booked up by last December, so I am very happy my reservation was booked last Thanksgiving.

A few facts about the tour:
  • Daylight hours will be close to 19 hours a day
  • The outermost northern island visited is only about 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle
  • Glasgow is the origination point in the tour, 8 hr. ahead of MST
  • the time frame of the tour is from July 3-22, 2013
  • average temperature for July will be from 50-62 degrees F with lots of rain!
 
In addition to visiting Glasgow and Kilbarchan with its historical Weaver's Cottage restored by the National Trust and nearby Paisley (a textile historical area with shawls, of course), a few places we will visit to the north of the mainland of Scotland will be:
  • Lerwick (a featured town in Ann Cleeves' mystery crime series of books) and Jamieson & Smith
  • Scalloway with a museum dedicated to the participants of the Shetland Bus operation during WWII.  That operation and a quick history of those fishing boats can be found here.
  • visiting a working croft (The Burland Croft)
  • the Shetland Guild, including meeting with curator Dr. Carol Christiansen, and the Shetland Museum
  • tours of the islands of Unst and Yell, the most northerly islands in the U.K. (we will see the Muckle Flugga Lighthouse
  • Orkney Island, where I especially want to see the St. Magnus Cathedral founded in 1137
  • the Outer Hebrides, including Lewis and Harris islands.  The Hebridean Celtic music Festival will be playing.  Look here for more information about that Celtic music festival.
  • weaving sheds, crofts, textile dyers, historical experts, (lions and tigers and bears, OH MY! with apologies to the Wizard)
Joyce James has sent an extensive reading list in order for the tour group to be somewhat versed in the Scottish culture.  So far I have read or will read prior to July 3:
  • The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee (excellent!)
  • The Shetland Bus (David Howarth) (good history)
  • perused A Traveller's History of Scotland (Andrew Fisher)
  • Sea Room, An Island Life in the Hebrides (Adam Nicolson) (not finished yet)
  • Between Weathers (an excellent suggestion by Annie of the Knitsofacto blog) by McMillen (excellent, also)
  • all of Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street Series of books (very Edinburgh)
  • The House with Green Shutters (George D. Brown) (did not like so much)
  • Ann Cleeves series, of which I have read two: Black Raven and White Nights (am now a fan girl of Cleeves)
So that is it in a nutshell.  Woot!

Oh, and we get to see puffins up close and personal on the tour.  Here is a cute picture of a puffin, courtesy of Bing.


I am finishing up a wool sweater I want to take to Scotland and it should be finished today.  Pictures of the knitted cardigan tomorrow (if that last cuff gets knit) on Finished Objects Friday.

Monday, October 22, 2012

An Away-Weekend with My BFF

A weekend away with my friend Kathy up in the mountains, what a delight!

Great food, good weather in Basalt and a time to catch up.


Looking at art in galleries in Aspen...


Enjoying children having fun in the leaves on the mall...


(The little guy above stayed immersed in leaves and only his shoes wiggled when I took his picture.)

And then, some new shoes!  Kathy always encourages me to update my frumpy somewhat elderly image.  So we found these fabulous shabooties by Pikolino.  And I needed them. Really.  I did.


How was your weekend, friends?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Meeker Sheepdog Trials

Nine of us joined the Museum of Western Colorado van for another adventure in the Colorado outdoors yesterday;  we drove up to the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials, a three day event.  The volunteers working the event said it was the biggest and best ever.  And who would disagree?  I was certainly impressed.


First off, we learned a bit about what sheepdogs must learn in order to actually herd.  And by herding, we were told that these dogs will herd anything...ducks, geese, sheep, little kids...you name it, they will herd it.  Whistles were explained, calls were named and good information abounded.  Sorry I did not get too many pictures, but this one of a professional and her dogs was the first I caught:


We settled down in our lawn chairs, hats on and sunscreen applied, and watched several hours of the sheepdog trials.

(on the course, border collie keeping the five sheep on track)

(herding directing his dog from far away by whistle)

Mick, the border collie owned by the Enzeroths, is shown with Ron and his wife in the photo below.


It was only after reading the program and reviewing the names of the 42 dogs participating in trials yesterday that I saw that the Enzeroths had listed "Dublin, Texas" as their home. Now that is a small world because I lived in Stephenville, Texas for three years. (Stephenville is about 12 miles from Dublin.)  Too bad we did not mention that little factoid when we were talking!  And if you two are reading this, I lived with my grandparents then, the L.B. Howards.  Contact me if you want to talk about Dublin and our high school football rivalry since I was an old SHS cheerleader.  Or maybe it should be "former" cheerleader since none of us wants to be considered "old".

Mick was friendly and liked his ears scratched. He and three other border collies allow the Enzeroths to live with them and take care of their high energy needs. The Mrs. said they sleep downstairs in their private kennel quarters and enjoy walks and training.  Their youngest dog is 10 weeks old, and the older is 12 years old. Mick is 2 and it was his first trial run.

You should have seen the look on Mick's face when he looked at Mr. Enzeroth. Adoring. It reminded me of when Nancy Reagan used to look up at Ronald Reagan like he was the only man in the world (for her).  Really, Mick's expression of love was just heartwarming.

Bringing in over 700 sheep from the area around Meeker is no small task, and most of the budget for the event consists of getting the sheep down for the trials and then back to their grazing areas.  Real, live, cowboys were there for getting the sheep off the eastern side of the course.  Again, sorry, no photos.

Those caring for the sheep?  What about them?  That is another whole story, but I can show you a picture of a current day sheepwagon seen off road outside Meeker, Colorado below.

The first sheepwagon was built in 1884; the standard design is 11 feet long and 6.5 feet wide, enclosed by a canvas top, with a stove for heating and cooking. The interior is designed for storage and the compact beds are tucked away.  Tables fold down when not in use....In the early years in the American west, a lone sheepherder and his dogs could tend 2,000 sheep - with the sheepwagon as his mobile home as he followed the sheep.  A camptender delivered supplies every ten days or so.  In the Meeker area, you may see sheepwagons and herders with their dogs and horses, however, they may have solar panels for power to modern conveniences. (Lee Raine...source)
This has to be cut off soon, so I will show you my acquisitions from the dog trials adventure.  Too bad I ate that delicious lamb fajita with yogurt topping without taking a picture.  But I did buy some 100% Shetland Mule Wool from the Sheepcamp people in Molina, Colorado who own a family business there and create their yarns that go from sheep to skein.  And I helped out the Western Border Collie Rescue by purchasing one of their monogrammed shirts.  After Libby Sweetpea retires from her day job as a registered Therapy dog,( link  link link link link link) maybe an older collie would make a good therapy dog.

Western Border Collie Rescue ... Because Every Dog Should Have Its Day!

This is the 2012 winner of the Meeker Sheepdog Trial Art Contest:


A fun day.  Good luck to all those wonderful dogs in the contest this year, and to the people they own.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Good Bye Summer

good bye to our flowers...


goodbye to summer excursions and a trip to see family...

and hello to fall decorations, golden foliage, hot stews, two new tv dramas, ratatouille, apples and autumn fidget pie!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back after The Long Ride

Hi, friends.  After a road trip consisting of about 2,500 miles, I will be back on line and blogging mid July.

I'll be catching up on reading, knitting, watercolors and family.  Hope your plans over the next two weeks are fun and full of adventure.  Whatever you do, make the best of it!

On vacations: We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings.
Erma Bombeck

Monday, June 4, 2012

Queen of the Italian Pigs, the Cinta Sensa

The breed of Cinta Sensa, a Tuscan pig, was most notably used for racing in prior times, but now the source of gourmet, pricey meat.

Toscana and Chianti News says:
you can find examples of these animals in very old paintings, in the fresco “Good Government” by Ambrogio Lorenzetti for example, on display at the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, there is a farmer walking with his Senese pig held by a leash. This special kind of pig is also visible in paintings by Bartoli di Fredi ... also in a more recent painting by Giovanni Fattori. 
The Cinta Senese is the forefather of all the Tuscan pigs. It is almost savage and very resistant to bad weather, for these reasons it represented a secure food reserve for the farmers and their families. This type of swine grows very slowly (the slaughtering age is never less than 12 months) and this is one of the reasons to why farmers, in the past, abandoned this race in favour of races which grow much faster. The pigs are raised half wild feeding in the woods and on pasture hills and fields. 
They are immediately recognisable thanks to its large white “belt” around the neck on the black body, they have a short and thin bristle, a pointed nose, sloping ears and a slanting, robust back. The fragrant pork is optimal for cooking but it’s mainly used for the production of various kinds of tasty cold cuts. Classical are the “prosciutto alla spalla” (shoulder ham) and the “salami al lardo e il capocollo” (salami of lard and top neck); typical Tuscan products of the highest quality that you just can’t resist.
"Good Government” by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, 1338

Giovanni Fattori, "Two Pigs on Pasture"

My daughter and I were lucky enough to visit the Tuscan area together in 1997, and shopped at a specialty meat shop in San Gimignana (Town of Towers).  If you look closely, the Cinta Sensa boar heads are at the top of the picture on either side of the entry into the shop.  (Daughter Heidy is posed next to a wild hare.)

1997
We tasted some of the Tuscan boar, along with other specialty items.  I just remember the meat was spicy, and the day was cold, rainy and very dark; not surprising that the camera was not well focused.

I'll be posting some watercolors of these pigs later this week.  Here is my start to a sketch of "Queens Of Italian Pigs" that will be painted with watercolors: 


Monday, November 7, 2011

Urban Sketcher

Photo taken on Halloween in Dublin at Madigan's Pub:


A group of us waited here for our hotel to accept our reservations on October 31.  It was a lively crowd, and grew larger by the half hour.  We sat, and I caught this picture on a camera.  While sitting at a booth, I sketched this scene quickly.  Here is my rendition of this fun time:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Of Castles, Views, Pubs and Blarney

Back from southern Ireland with pictures to boot.

Castles and Cathedrals:

(Adare Abbey)

(Cashel Castle)

(Dublin Castle)
Trinity College:





MUSIC and PUBS:

at Hapenny Bar

(Madigan's Pub)

(Saints & Scholars Pub)


(Irish Stew)


(Tea and Scones, of course)

QUAINT VIEWS:

(Rugged Western Coast of Ireland near Blasket Islands)





(Cliffs of Moehr)

RUINS:

(Farmhouse on Adare Manor)



It was a great time in hospitable Ireland.