York is one of my favourite cities. In a previous job I went on several week-long building conservation training courses at King's Manor, below. Although it's a university building the public can use the cafeteria so I was able to bring Little R in to explore the courtyards. When I was on the courses (one per year: stone, timber and lead) we were given access to some truly amazing parts of medieval York, such as closed parts of the Minster, its stoneyards where the modern masons work and parts of Barley Hall that were being uncovered for the first time in hundreds of years. Now Barley Hall is a tourist attraction with lots of interactive stuff but when I was there it was a darkened time capsule, full of the dust and filth of the newly revealed ancient lath and plaster. I did realise though that I might have been overdoing the building talk with Little R when she casually ran her hand over an ashlar wall and commented, "Dressed stone." She's 5. I told my sister in law about this and she asked Little R what dressed stone meant. I was such a proud mummy when she gave a comprehensive explanation!
Before we left for Hull my good friend Anne gave me a really special present:
What a beautiful little book. She knows I love robins. It was published in 1953. So special to think that it has lasted all this time. I am really looking forward to reading it and using the handmade bookmark.
And have you noticed the background? Yes, it's the Attic 24 granny stripe blanket, finished at long last. I will try to get a photo of it spread out properly on a sunny day. It's 240 stitches wide and 110 rows long. Each row took me about 20 minutes to crochet (they were trebles) so that blooming blanket represents a sizeable chunk of my time. It is probably not a good idea to total it up. I do love it though and life's not all about efficiency after all.
I bought these red patent boots (Fly London) using birthday money from kind Granny Mouse. I have been wearing them all day and they are as soft as slippers plus they give me a much needed bit of extra height. I had bought a pair of browny/purpley patent ones in John Lewis and when I got home I checked Amazon and found the exact same ones in red for exactly half the price so needless to say I'll be returning the brown ones.
I also bought just one or two tiny things in the Cath Kidston shop in York. I was very restrained considering the level of happiness these purchases brought me. I bought a gadget case for my new camera and a magnetic memo board to display (certainly never actually use) on my fridge. I also bought a Cath Kidston bag for Little R. She carries it and I have the enjoyment of looking at her wearing it.
At last I have got round to posting a photo of the bloggy giveaway I won a few weeks ago from Andamento. I had taken photos of it at the time but had used my old camera which then got broken with the photos inside it. The giveaway was a notebook, pen, cute birdie post-its which I have already used all of, and a pencil tin. The pencil tin was packed full of the most delicious home made tablet - soft and fudgy, mmmm. I received another parcel recently from a fellow blogger, this time from Vintage Squirrel (below). I had used some more birthday money to buy one of her beautiful brooches.
Katie felts the wool by hand and she sent me some samples of wool colours and ribbons so I could choose exactly what I wanted. I'm really delighted with it. I won't be missed wearing this and my red patent boots. I've run out of birthday money now so it's back to frugality. I noticed a postcard in a book shop in Edinburgh last week which I was too cheap to buy. It was a 1940s style photo of an elegant woman's face smiling benignly with the caption, "Frugal is such an ugly word."