Monday, August 07, 2006

Flooding, holidays, and fibre...

If you can't tell from the heading, this is going to be a photo-heavy, long and slightly disconnected entry. Never mind - who needs coherent and non-rambling posts that load quickly anyway!? ;-)

First of all, I had said I was going to post a picture or two of the flooding that turned our poor house into a slightly leaking Noah's arc. Well, here they are:

Clockwise from upper left: 1) the water level just before the cottage started flooding. 2-4) The rising water level in the yard.

But enough of that! ;-)

Much more fun to think about our holiday. Oh, how lovely it was. As I have probably mentioned, the first two days it was raining quite a bit, but it didn't matter - the lovely room, the yummy food, the beautiful landscape, the complete lack of DIY, ... it was great!

Our hotel was the Newby Bridge Hotel. You can have a look at it HERE. We arrived on Monday afternoon, so that first day we didn't do much apart from enjoy the lovely food in the evening. We had been lucky enough to get a special deal for our stay, which meant that we had room, breakfast, and dinner included for a price that was lower than just room and breakfast. I was so glad it worked out that way, because not only did it save us venturing out in the evening (we were always exhausted from all the driving around during the day), but the food turned out to be a fantastic 3-course meal!

Anyway, on the Tuesday we went on a steamboat cruise around Lake Windermere. A very tourist-y thing to do, but that's what we were after all - tourists! ;-)

I loved the landscape around the lake, but of course I hadn't seen anything of the 'real' lake district yet. That changed the next day, when we decided to drive up to Stainton / Penrith to visit the Alpaca Centre there (can't go on a holiday without some kind of fibre content!). This is the scenery we drove through:

It was breathtaking, even with the rather miserable and cold weather. Even the Alpaca's looked a bit soaked, although, as befitting for members of the camel family, they seemed supremely disinterested in their surroundings. What is it about this type of animal and the staring fixedly at some spot on the horizon?!

But the most exciting thing about the Alpaca Centre was not the Alpacas (although I liked them), but their fleece! We splashed out on 1200g of lovely off-white yearling fleece which had just come in. The yearling, Mistral, whose fleece it was, had just been shorn the day before! No picture yet, but I can't wait to spin this stuff up - the owner assured me that it should be enough for two jumpers / cardigans. Maybe if I try some Navajo plying? It would be a new technique for me and I've been meaning to try it for some time now...

D also had fun. He quite likes the whole process of spinning, but he was most excited to see that there was a wood-turning workshop on the premises. We spent a good 40 minutes hearing all about lathes and wood-turning. Quite interesting, and if D continues being interested in it I wouldn't mind giving it a go at some point.

From there we went on to Keswick for a leisurely lunch and afternoon tea (the whole holiday was VERY food-focussed. I have become quite obsessed with food recently...), and that was day two!

Day three was the probably most fun day of the holiday, not least because we awoke to a beautiful blue sky. We decided to spend the day exploring the lake district hills a bit more, so we headed off into the heart of the lake district, always following the tiniest roads that were marked on the map. The scenery was absolutely amazing, and we took it slowly, enjoying the sunshine, and stopping frequently.

We stopped by a quirky little pub we discovered, which had porch with wicker chairs and overlooked a valley. We basked in the warm sun and enjoyed a simple lunch. This is how the food arrived at our table - isn't that cute?

That's a simple cheese and ham sandwich and a Ploughman's Lunch (in the towel).

After that, we went exploring and ended up driving through a few beautiful valleys and through a mountain pass - the roads were tiny, barely wide enough for one car, and it was high enough to make your ears pop:

It was so beautiful! We arrived back home that day completely exhausted but happy. I'm so glad we had that day, because the next day was already the last and we didn't have time to do much else but pack our bags and set off home.

I shall leave you with one last set of images - what I have been spinning before we went on holiday:

This is the fibre that Sherrill at BaaBonnyBelle sent me a while back as part of the Knitty board Holiday SP Exchange. Not quite sure what it is, but it was wonderful to spin. For quite some time I wasn't sure how to spin it, because I wanted to make it enough for a little knitting project. Eventually I plied it with some grey Romney roving that I still had - it had been part of the first ever batch of fibre I bought, back on honeymoon in New England last year, and there was not that much left. I was glad to have found a way to use both. The end result is a soft and slightly shimmering yarn with muted colours. Initially I was a bit regretful that I would loose the vibrant colours of the dyed fibre, but now I am very happy with the end result. And there might even be enough for a hat or some fingerless gloves!


  1. Iris...lovely pics of the holiday. As for the handspun, how about a pair of Fetching over that My apologies for not having been able to label the fiber, but I do believe it had some silk in the mix of fibers. Ding dong me forgot to write down the contents when I purchased it. :) It turned out great! Beans sweater went into the fair yesterday as one of three enteries. Nothing spectacular and a stash buster...but it will be a great sweater for those cool days. Take care and keep those feet up.

  2. Lovely holiday pics!
    That's so unfair though, I was at the Alpaca Centre the first week of June, which was before they were shorn (and very very woolly they looked too!) so there were no fleeces for sale then! :-(

  3. Anonymous11:32 pm

    Nice photos Iris - your handspun is , sigh, beautiful. Lovely countryside shots and the lunch looks fantastic.

  4. Ouch on the flooding, but what lovely vacation pics! Your spinning, as always, looks amazing.

  5. Anonymous4:43 am

    great photos
    sorry 'bout the flood.
    your spinning looks so grand ! -
    your Yarn aboard secret pal

  6. Yay Alpaca! Love the yarn you've spun. Incidentally - you are fabulous.

  7. Just discovered your blog somehow but have really enjoyed looking at the lovely photos and reading about your travels.

    So sorry to read about your flooding, hope there isn't too much damage.

  8. Anonymous12:05 pm

    The colours of your plyed handspun are just right and have given me an idea. I seem to have either really vibrant rovings or neutral/ natural shades. Your holiday photos are lovely too. I was in the Lakes for the first time in Easter and went to the Alpaca centre but there was no fleece for sale. Can't wait to see what you do with yours!

  9. Hi. I'm just passing though while surfing The Spinning Wheel and stopped to enjoy your photographs. Lovely!