Tuesday, 20 February 2018

An hour to spare in Kent

Recently we were staying overnight with our son and daughter-in-law on our way to France, and found ourselves with some time to spare whilst waiting for our son to come home from work.

He and his wife moved to a new house a few months ago so are now living in a part of the world that we have not yet explored, and this was the perfect opportunity to remedy that. A quick scan of the map and we headed off to explore Gravesend in Kent.

It made sense to start our explorations on the banks of the River Thames as it has played such an important part in the development of the town. The excavations above trace the extent of the Tudor Blockhouse which was constructed to defend against the threat of an invasion by the Spanish Armada, but there have been defences in the area since the Iron Age.

The Three Daws pub nearby also has an impressively long history, there having been a public house/inn on the site from as early as the 15th Century. The pub and a neighbouring building, now demolished, were reputed to have several staircases and underground tunnels between them to facilitate the speedy exit of patrons when the press gang or Customs men came to call :)

For centuries ships sailing up the Thames to London had to be searched at Gravesend where the duty to be paid on their cargo would be assessed. The first appointment to the role of "Searcher" in Gravesend was made in 1356 by Edward III, so those tunnels would have seen lots of usage over the years!

A more modern Maritime history was evident in the Light Ship LV21, which was moored not far from the Three Daws. This Light Ship, which is now an exhibition and concert venue was commissioned in 1963 and plied her trade off the Kent coast until she was decommissioned in 2008. Sadly the venue was closed when we were there as the ship features in the book Stitch Stories, personal places, spaces and traces in textile art by Cas Holmes, who created a piece for the ship reflecting its transformation from working Light Ship to Arts Venue. Still, it gives me an excuse to visit Gravesend again.



Our whistlestop tour of Gravesend ended at the St Andrews Mission House where General Gordon, of the Siege of Khartoum, taught for a while. Charles George Gordon is most definitely one of Gravesend's most famous sons, but there are many others of note related to the area. Charles Dickens, for example, has many connections to the town and perhaps, more surprisingly, Pocahontas is buried in the graveyard of St George's Church in Gravesend!

Definitely more to explore next time we have an hour to spare in Kent :)


Thursday, 1 February 2018

A Force of Nature

Last year I read that Janine at Rainbow Hare and Catherine at Knotted Cotton were setting up a new Art Quilt Group, the Endeavourers, and inviting their fellow bloggers to join them. Needless to say I couldn't resist the opportunity, so duly signed up and then worried about what I had let myself in for!

In November we were given the first theme for the group, Nature, with a deadline of February 1st. Well the deadline is well and truly here so I can reveal my "Force of Nature" quilt for the first time.



I live right on the seafront on the West Coast of Scotland, so I regularly witness the power and majesty of nature in its watery and windy pomp. On a trip to the Lake District last Easter, however, I was really taken with the capacity for Nature to overcome man made obstacles that are put in its way, such as the moss covered dry stone wall in the photo below.

I decided to focus on representing the power of Nature and its ability to reclaim spaces that Mankind has abandoned in my quilt for the group.

To find out more about the process and thinking behind my quilt head on over to the Endeavourers Blog, and check out how the rest of the group chose to represent the theme. It is fascinating to see the many different ways in which the same theme has been interpreted. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Black, white and grey

My quest to try new things and encourage you to do the same continues, so welcome to another New to Me link party.

As it is a new year we have a new button too :)

Celtic Thistle Stitches New to Me

This month I have tried my hand at making a Fascinator for the first time.

With, I am pleased to report, a more than adequate outcome!

The next competition at the Camera Club is for monochrome photos which, I have to admit, I have never attempted before. Reading the notes I was given on the first meeting of the club I discovered that my camera has a built-in setting for black and white photography. Isn't it amazing what you can learn when you read the manual????

So, of course I had to try it out.

A walk along the prom on a lovely, sunny Sunday recently gave me the opportunity.

Birds feeding on the shoreline

Rocky shore

I was pleasantly surprised by the results, but I think I might need some more practise before I am ready to submit any photos into that competition :)

So, have you tried anything New to You this month? Share your triumphs (and disasters!) here and your fellow bloggers can celebrate (or commiserate!) with you.

As ever the Link Party will remain open until the end of the month, so if you need a nudge to try that new technique or to give that new pattern a go, consider this a virtual nudge from me :)




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