Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Shakespeare, a Maze and Some Yarn

Well, Hey Nonny Nonny, it's the time of year when we go en famille to Stratford Upon Avon for our annual Shakespeare fix. Being creatures of habit, our trip usually follows roughly the same format: arrive late morning, lunch from the Baguette Barge on the river, hire a rowing boat, potter round the shops and town, an early dinner and then the main event - the play. Usually, we go late July or early August and we have ALWAYS been lucky with the weather. This year, owing to various exams, holidays etc. we went in September ........ and it rained on and off all day! Being English, however, we're used to the odd drop of the wet stuff and had come prepared. Cagoules were donned and, apart from eating lunch inside, the day followed its usual pattern.

 The play we had come to see was this:

Very good it was too. There was the odd adaptation - I always thought Cymbeline was the 'King' of Britain!- but we thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless.

Also on our summer manifesto was a trip to Blenheim Palace, principle residence of the Dukes of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. This time, it was a sunny day and L, E and I packed a picnic and set off.

 If you haven't been, it's a fantastic place for a day trip with children. You can omit the palace itself if you wish and just buy a ticket for the park and gardens. Your ticket can also be upgraded free to allow free entry for the  following year, which is what we did. There is a lakeside walk, a maze. a butterfly house, an adventure play area and a narrow gauge railway.

 The butterflies were very friendly. Here's one on L's shorts:

 .... and one on my shirt. You have to check yourself before leaving, just to make sure that you don't have any hangers on! 

It was a really wonderful day out and we will be returning in November near L's birthday to do some of the bits we didn't get around to this time.

Other happies this week:

I finally got around to visiting 'Yarnfest'. A yarn shop on the edge of a local village that I have passed numerous times before, but never gone in. It's situated in an old telephone exchange building and is a little gem of a place. The lady running it was really friendly and chatty, but I went at about 2pm and she admitted that I was her first visitor of the day. At that rate, I'm not sure how they keep going. 
Being her only customer, it would have been rude not to make a purchase! I chose a ball of sock yarn and also treated myself to a new set of dpns. I usually use the set of bamboo ones that I bought in Oxford when I planned my first pair of socks, but some of the ends now have little splits in them that catch the yarn. These are metal Knitpro Zings and I really like them. It did seem a bit of a betrayal of my faithful old bamboo needles though - yes, I am a bit sad like that.
Enjoying a cup of Vanilla Honey tea. The project bag in the background is my travel one from Knitrundig - it holds my current sock project and is small enough to stuff into my bag when I'm out and about.
I have been bitten by the mini skein bug. These are Harry Potter inspired ones from Norah George. From top to bottom: Pumpkin Juice, Snape (yes, I was a little confused by that one, but I do love the colours) and Ravenclaw.
I'm hoping to advance my sock knitting a little. I'm only on my 4th pair and am still learning, so they have, until now, all been  very plain socks. I'm hoping to master the 'fish lips kiss' heel next though and would love to insert a different colour for that and maybe the toes or cuff. Hence the mini skeins. I'm also a big HP fan - but not of the new book 'The Cursed Child'; I found it such a disappointment and a bit of a swizz putting J K Rowling's name in big letters like that.

Finally, this week's library books. I would recommend the Sue Perkins autobiography for anyone who enjoys a good laugh out loud until you cry book. I'm also a big fan of the GBBO and am thrilled that it's back on our screens - I'm rooting for Andrew Smyth.
Well, that's all for this week. 'Parting is such sweet sorrow' as Shakespeare would say, but that bedding won't change itself!

Toodle Pip for now. x


  1. Sounds like your traditional visit to Stratford is a wonderful occasion. Like the sound of the boating on the river. Lovely sock wool. I'm well into my sock knitting now but I'm still only using Winwick Mum's sock along pattern. Which one do you use? Love Blenheim. Such a beautiful palace. Have a good week. B x

    1. Hello! The sock pattern I use is a mixture of a free one that came with my first ball of yarn, a beginner's sock knitting book and videos off YouTube for when I get stuck! I only discovered yesterday that I've been doing the SSK stitch wrong when decreasing for the gusset - it's still a very steep learning curve for me! xx

    2. You should try Winwick Mum's tutorial, she makes it so clear. I had never made socks and my first pair were perfect thanks to her pattern .

  2. I want to join you on one of your day trips! This one sounds like a really special one. I visited Blenheim Palace as a child but it is time to go back!

  3. Seeing Shakespeare at Stratford is on my bucket list. I'll have to go alone though; none of my family or friends care for it. What do you think about gbbo moving to channel 4? It won't be the same without Mel and Sue. I read Sue's autobiography earlier this year. She seems so down to earth. I really enjoyed it.
    Leanne xx

    1. Channel 4?! It's a complete travesty - can you imagine it with advert breaks? Not at all the relaxing hour we know and love. I hope Mary B and Paul H refuse to follow it too - then basically, channel 4 will have bought a marquee and a load of Kitchen Aids! I think we should all boycott it. xx

    2. It's a bit like 'Top Gear' that went belly up when they changed presenters...never works. Can't wait to get back to BBC land to catch up!

  4. Stratford is one of my favourite places. I'd love to see a play there. What a wonderful family tradition. Loved all the butterflies and your work bag looks great, will check out the pattern. Very impressed with your sock making and I'm cross about gbbo moving and losing Mel and sue too :-( xx

  5. Another post full of things I would like to do, I have never been to Stratford or Blenheim will have to put them on my list. I did have my Shakespeare fix earlier this year with King Lear. The butterfly house looks really interesting to be able to see them up close.

  6. I love Stratford. We are going again in November and have running (Mr JK), sewing (me) and Shakespeare (both) on the agenda. Glad you enjoyed yourselves! Have a good week. xx

  7. These sound like very worthwhile trips. I have never seen Shakespeare at Stratford, but I have been to Blenheim, somemyears ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is so stunningly beautiful x