Saturday, 9 April 2016

Look what arrived in the post

What a lovely surprise to recieve in the post this morning. I couldn't think who would be sending me flowers, hubby assured me it wasn't him and the cheeky blighter asked why anyone would want to send me flowers! Just as well were out for tea tonight or he would be cooking lol. The flowers were from my lovely wee sister so thank you Cate x they were a wonderful surprise and have made a great start to the day.

I have finished the little house kits that I bought from Glasgow. The stitching was pretty much straight forward with these kits. 

Those little windows are so cute.
My favourite is the little apple tree with the little red bead apples or at least I think they are meant to be apples.
but I am having terrible problems with one of the beads on the red house as you've probably spotted.
This is the third time it's fallen off, it's a real pain in the bahooky to stitch on now the roof is on.
Would welcome any suggestions for reattaching apart from glueing which will be my last resort. All other beads are attached nice and firmly.
Love the snow on the roofs and the silver thread adds a little bling which I hope the Xmas tree lights will pick up as I do like a little sparkle! 
I love the little hinges stitched onto this door.
I always underestimate how long these projects are going to take and yep majorly underestimated these. Sheesh! they looked so small and straight forward too. Oh well live and learn! They were incredibly footery to stitch together and I majorly messed up on the felt bottoms the red felt bottom was originally stitched onto the plastic wall of the green house, did wonder why it was so tight stitching it in ....arghhhh! Didn't notice till I came to putting the green house together *sigh* oh well it's all sorted now....apart from that dratted bead!

The cat card is coming along slowly I seem to do a lot of stitching with not much showing but it's nearly there now.
Marmaduke (yes I've named him) looks so much better with his back stitching done.
However I think his whiskers look kinda like spiders legs eeek!
Look at those pretty flowers.
Dad popped round for a cuppa and a natter as he's been away. Pippa (dads dog) enjoyed finding all the sun spots in the lounge.
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Over the Irish Sea...part 3

last instalment of my trip to Ireland.

Continuing from yesterday's post we are still on Sunday afternoon and doing our whirlwind tour. After leaving the Argory we headed of to a place I really wanted to see. While researching places to visit I had found a linen mill museum which I really really wanted to visit but sadly it was shut on the Sunday so instead we set off for Cookstown to see Wellbrook Beetling Mill. It is the last working water powered mill used in the manufacture of linen in Northern Ireland. Beetling is a process that involves linen being dampened and wound round a large roller. The roller is turned and the heavy wooden blocks drop onto the linen as it is turned. This produces a flat surface with a bit of a sheen to the fabric and makes the holes in the linen less apparent. Thankfully nothing to do with little beetles as in the insects!
The mill appealed to me because of my love of cross stitching and I prefer to stitch on linen so found the tour rather interesting finding out how flax is grown and processed to get the product we know today as linen. However I think hubby was getting a teensy weeny bit bored hence being silly in the photos and twirling his arms about honestly he doesn't have three arms lol!
Took this from the car park the mill is nestled into the countryside and looked quite dramatic against the dark skies.

Thankfully not a busy road as the mill entrance is right on the edge of the road.

The building is a NT property and is a working mill, it was amazing to see the beetling process in action. The trust are only allowed to run a couple of the rollers at a time due to noise levels and honestly the noise from just the two running was loud enough! The workers originally working in these mills must have been deaf by the end of their working lives.
The wheel that drives the beetling engines inside.

It could get a bit wet standing here when the wheel got going. 
The noise from the water was very loud but I found it rather therapeutic and stood here for quite a while listening to the thundering roar of the water running down. It doesn't look as steep a drop in the pictures as it was in reality.
Up at the back of the mill there is a lovely riverside walk with the river flowing on one side and the diverted water for running the mill on the other side. 

One of many small lock gates to help control the water. 

Back down at the mill you can see where the water is diverted to run up to the mill and flow down to turn the wheel. 

Wow what a racket! The wheel is turned on and off during tours as I think everyone would be deaf if it ran all day lol. The linen had to be carefully rolled onto the rollers to ensure absolutely no creases as any creases would be made permanent and would cost the mill dearly. We were standing in the loft space where the linen is hung to dry out to watch this a fabulous birds eye view.
We were the last tour of the day and it was sad to think that this mill is the last of what used to be hundreds dotted all round the landscape here. Time to head off.

Monday morning and our last day in Ireland. We only really had the morning as we had to be back at the airport early afternoon so it was an early rise and off we headed to our last stop of the trip. The Giants Causeway, ever since I was a geography student this has been on my bucket list and I finally made it yeah!

One of the bay's we passed on the walk down.
Irish folklore has it that the Ginats Causeway was formed by the giant Finn MacCool who had an ongoing feud with the Scottish giant Finn Gall from across the channel. On one occasion Finn MacCool was so annoyed with the taunting from Finn Gall he tore bits of rock from the cliff and hurled them into the sea to make a land bridge over to Scotland. However on sneaking up on Finn Gall he realised the giant was far bigger than him so he retreated and his wife hid him in a crib. The Scottish giant enraged came across to Ireland but upon seeing the giant baby in the crib thought if that was the size of the baby then how big is his dad? He made a hasty retreat! 

However as much as I love the Irish legend the geographer in me knows the causeway was the result of volcanic activity and water. The causeway is made up from several lava flows that cooled in between flows. These rocks in the pic above were caused by the lava rapidly cooling due to gas escaping quickly they are aerated and crumbly looking easily broken up over time. The lava beneath this cooled much more slowly forming the basalt columns.

The cliff that Finn MacCool tore chunks from to make his land bridge.

As the lava cooled slowly it contracted causing cracks to appear on the surface and as it cooled and contracted further it caused the cracks to run vertically. This massive basalt cliff was amazing to look at. 

We were told to avoid walking on the dark coloured rocks as they were lethally slippy!

It was extremely windy when we were there and the waves were huge! 

That's me huddled up against the cold it was freezing!

Well that's the end of my trip to Ireland and what a high for me to end it on. The NT manage the causeway and have a fascinating exhibition centre full of information and they also do a brilliant coffee and coconut cake which was very much needed and welcomed when we came back up from the causeway. The hubster and I certainly got our money's worth out of our NT membership on this trip lol. 
Normal services will shortly resume as I do have some stitchy stuff to share with you! 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Over the Irish Sea ..part 2

Continuing my Irish adventures...
Still in Belfast on the Sunday morning and we decided to visit Crumlin Road Gaol also known as the Crum. The design of the building was based on Pentonville prison and was to be a house of correction. Prisoners were to be housed 1 person per cell and it's rather ironic I think that in later years especially during the troubles that often there were up to 3 prisoners per cell. Building work was started in 1843 and the first lot of prisoners entered in 1846 and the gaol was closed in 1996.
Arrived nice and early so found a parking space no problem lol.

Opted to go on one of the guided tours this was the front of the prison, tried to persuade hubby to pose for a photo in the stocks but he wasn't very keen ...can't think why lol.

These are the changing rooms where you leave civilian life and become a prison number. Our tour guide informed us how nice you were to your prison guard here could influence whether you had a warm bath or if you were particularly troublesome you could end up having a very shallow and very cold bath in the next room! Ok note to self to be on my best behaviour!

This is the tunnel that runs under the road between the prison and the court house which was opposite the prison. These are the original Victorian stone walls weird to think of the number of people who have walked along here.

This is the same tunnel further on with the walls covered in reinforced concrete done during the troubles as the authorities felt there was a risk of the tunnel collapsing from car bombs on the road above really made me think. 

This is the governors house where originally he and his family lived and was connected to the main prison by a simple door, ok it was reinforced but rather scary to think how close you would have been to the inmates. This was converted to staff quarters in 1953.

This photo is of one of the governors of the prison and all the staff and is hanging in the governors office. This photo makes me smile as the governors children were not allowed to be in the photo but as with most children they couldn't resist seeing what's going on and can be seen peering out of one of the windows on the right of the picture. An early form of photo bombing! 

When you walk out of the governors wing this is the view that greets you, the entrances to each of the 4 wings. 

Very imposing.

This is A wing and housed all the suffragettes and other female prisoners. This prison originally was mixed with not only male and female prisoners but also children. 

One of the punishments at this prison was oakum picking the laborious process of unpicking rope this must not only have been boring but sore on the fingers too. The thought did cross my mind that the poor woman would not be able to do any needlework or knitting how daft!

The exercise yard.

Prisoners were only allowed out in small groups at a time. I can't help but look at all those prison cell windows and wonder at the lives that have passed through them. Well after that rather sobering tour we enjoyed a much needed cuppa before heading off out of Belfast for the next part of our journey.

In the afternoon we arrived at another NT property the Argory in Dungannon. By now the weather had turned again and it was grey, wet and cold brrr. The picture below is actually the back of the house I just liked seeing the daffodils there were lots of daffodils round this property. 

The house was very interesting as there is no electricity apart from what the NT put in for health and safety, the family who owned the house never felt the need for it and survived with just candle light then gas light. When wandering round this property it was quite gloomy but I guess great for protecting needlework from light damage - got to look for the positives! The guide showed us a weighing chair which was situated at the end of the gloomy hallway and told us that everyone that visited and stayed at the house was weighed on arrival and on leaving by the cook and their weights were recorded in a book. If the guest had gained weight during their stay it was seen as a good sign and meant the food and hospitality were good but if they lost weight it was considered an insult to the hosts eek! Apparently there was only a few entries where the guest had not gained weight. I do wonder if guests ever cheated and erred on the side of caution and ensured heavy pockets? 

This was the view from the front of the property and on the other side of the river was another county. I love the idea of being able to view from your windows two different counties.

View of the front of the house with a lot of the windows covered to reduce light entering the rooms. The Argory houses a wonderful collection of textiles as the family never threw anything out over the generations when we were there they had a fabulous collection of hats out on display and they were in perfect as new condition. 
This is the courtyard which housed the stables but now houses the coffee shop and second hand bookstore. We stopped here for another cuppa before heading off again.. to be continued...