Friday 15 October 2010

a country mouse goes to York

We're just back from enjoying the hospitality of my brother and his family in Hull for the October week. Little R and I went off on a day trip to York to celebrate my 41st birthday. We had to visit Betty's, of course. Little R had hot chocolate and a butter bear biscuit and I had a fat rascal (a Betty's speciality) and a big silver pot of coffee. We know how to look after ourselves when we travel.
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.
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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."


  1. You took me right back 20 years then, to having Medieval literature tutorials in Kings Manor.

  2. Hello Lou
    Thanks for popping by, and your kind words. I'm sorry to hear of your bereavement too. Difficult times, but as you say, remembering the good times is what helps us all long term.
    I've only been to York once, a long time ago, but I'd love to visit again - such a lovely town. Your birthday treats and purchases are wonderful.
    Denise x

  3. A lovely long chatty post. Glad you liked the tablet. Looking forward to getting a better look at your blanket, well done for completing it so quickly.

  4. Hello Lou - so glad you had a lovely trip, you were right in my neck of the woods - I used to cycle past Kings Manor every day when I was teacher training! and Hull too, hopeyou got to see the Marina, its all getting pretty smart nowadays!
    ps - I love/covet/ adore your red boots!!!!

  5. hello Lou
    Thanks for your comment. I'll send some of the sunshine your way and hopefully you'll see some blue skies this week :-)
    Denise x

  6. It's me again!
    Thank you for your comment! It looks like we'll both be searching and hoping for a match at the same time, so we must keep each other posted on progress! What fun! Bring on 2011 !!!!!
    Happy days,
    Denise x

  7. I love that blanket! And your afternoon tea looks just like something I would order, gorgeous :)

  8. Me again, regarding your comment - I was actually looking for the TENNENTS SPECIAL TENNENTS SPECIAL "song" (I expect you know the one I mean), but found the Caledonia one instead, I rather enjoyed it I have to say, none of my brothers are as fun as yours sounds though.

  9. Hello, I gather I missed you at Kinrossie last weekend! Entirely because of me and my 4 year old's inability to get organised. Sorry to miss fellow bloggers.

    Your work in York sounded fascinating - I used to visit the city to do research on medieval manuscripts at the Borthwick Institute and remember having lovely soups and teas in the medieval tea room beside the Minster, which I think must be the same one you went to? One of my favourite cities.

    Your blog background of old books is delicious, btw!

  10. I was reminded by a recent visit how wonderful York is and you seem to have got to all the best places. Happy belated birthday.

  11. Happy Christmas Country Mouse!

  12. Hello Country Mouse aka Louise.

    Christmas has passed and so has New Year. I do sincerely hope that you and your family are all well. 'Thinking of you and looking forward to your return.

  13. Spring is here.

    I hope your well.

  14. Hi Louise,
    Its Shaheen, you may remember me as mangocheeks.
    Summer is here and I was thinking of your and your encouraging words on my blog last year. Hope your well.

  15. Pretty blog, love all your pics!! Feel like I've been away on an eating holiday!! LOL

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  17. Wishing you a Happy New Year Louise.
    Hope your well.
    Warmest of Wishes

  18. I have settled in the valleys in Wales now as you know, got a job, a house and a garden - taking time, but its beginning to feel a lot like home. Hope your well.

  19. Wishing you a Happy New Year 2018 x

  20. Hope you and your family are well.