Thursday, 30 October 2014

A day out in the country

We had a brilliant day yesterday. After 2 days of rain it was great to see the sun again even if that meant some ground frost in the morning. But who is complaining? It’s the end of October and up to now the weather has been great – very mild and the last two days of rain were an exception rather that the rule this year for our yearly visit to Scotland.

A friend had given me the address of a mill fabric shop just outside Carlisle (http://www.steadmcalpin.co.uk/news/1/16/Welcome-to-our-new-website.html) and we had decided a few days previous to go and have a look. Okay, it was a 1.5 hour drive one way but we decided to make a day outing of it and Sheila offered to make some mayonnaise egg rolls for lunch and we took coffee and tea with us (and there was much more than just mayonnaise egg rolls).

The shop was fantastic – I felt I was in heaven. I did not know where to start – so many beautiful different fabrics! Normally I try to get remnants. In the first place that way I do not have to decide how much I want of a particular fabric and secondly, I do not want meters of the same fabric because I do not want to make a production line of my bags – I want one offs!

We spent quite some time at the shop and I found some fantastic fabrics – some remnants and one of the roll.


The only negative point about the shop was the staff. I did not find them particularly friendly or helpful! As I am always looking for scraps of fabrics, I found some and took the bits I was interested in to the counter and put them with the other fabrics I had chosen already.  One of the sales staff came around, looked at the bits of fabric and when I explained where I had found them and wanted to know the price, she looked at me down her nose and told me they were not for sale – they do not sell less than 50 cm pieces, these were used as samples and if I wanted some of those particular fabrics I could buy them from the roll! Which really put me off because there was no sign that these bits were not for sale! The same thing happened with the cushions Sheila was interested in. They had horses printed on them and assuming that they were made of fabric sold in the shop I told her that I could make those if she bought the fabric. Not being able to find the fabric she decided to ask one of the sales staff where she could find it, only to be told that ‘we do not sell that’. It was not the point that they did not sell the fabric but the way it was said!

Despite all that I was very pleased with the fabrics I bought and will certainly go there again.

On the way back home we visited a hardware store in Longtown, which Sheila knew from way back and was very enthused about, having told us that you can buy all sorts of things there that the Do it Yourself shops do no longer sell. She had some problems opening the door and somebody shouted from inside ‘it’s open’. After pushing a bit harder we managed to get in, to be greeted by a young man sitting in front of a gas fire. The shop was a mess! Stuff all over the place, including the floor! Alan bought a plunger, which we desperately needed and after having a quick look around, trying to avoid stepping on things, left the shop very quickly again.

We stopped at a parking place to have our lunch and Tuppy, dressed as Santa Baby, was very interested in what was all in the lunch basket:



This time of the year the hills in the Scottish borders are particularly beautiful. Having lived in Switzerland of my life, where the hills are all forested, I had to get used to ‘naked’ hills when I first got to know County Kerry in Ireland. In the meantime I am used to it but yesterday was the first time when I saw the real beauty of them. In the brilliant sunshine the hills looked like they were clad in gold, copper and brass, made by dead bracken and grasses, and occasional splashes of green, dotted with the black and white spots of black cattle and white sheep. It was absolutely beautiful and I could hardly get enough of it! So much so, that I even forgot to take pictures.



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