Until recently, I knew very little about Rendlesham Forest and the UFO sightings which occurred there in 1980. This summer though, on our holiday to Suffolk, we were able to visit Rendlesham Forest for the first time. It gave us the chance to have a great family day out, and find out a little bit more about the funny goings on in the woods…
Nowadays Rendlesham Forest comes under the stewardship of the Forestry Commission. On arrival, there were a couple of wardens on hand to point us in the right direction to the facilities and we were able to pick up a leaflet detailing the UFO walk. There’s a camp site at the forest and many walking and cycling trails through the trees. On a dry, sunny August day, there were plenty of people about keen to enjoy the delights the forest had to offer.
For the Postcard family, it was the UFO trail which held the most appeal…
The wide path beckoned us through the trees with three young UFO hunters eager to solve the mystery of whether aliens did indeed visit this part of Suffolk in the long and distant past (well before they were born…)
Rendlesham Forest is a really beautiful spot, the trees are farmed and the whole area is really well maintained. There is also a good mix of trees to be enjoyed, different sections of the woodland are dedicated to different trees; pine, silver birch and other deciduous varieties.
As the trail wound deeper into the forest, a loud droning noise seemed to be echoing off the trunks of the trees around us. We just couldn’t figure out what was making the racket until we spotted glimpses of the nearby air base through the trees in the distance. A very large plane was obviously was manoeuvring in preparation for take-off.
We were soon greeted by a sign explaining the significance of the air base in the UFO sighting story.
We were at the East Gate, where the first lights were spotted in the sky on that December night back in 1980, and where the whole Rendlesham UFO story began.
The trail led us along the now disused road which follows the perimeter of the air base and on through the trees towards our next destination. In the meantime, the loud plane noises had ceased as it had taken off and all that could be heard was the wind blowing through the branches of the pine trees.
As we reached a cross roads, we were taken by surprise as the plane had circled and came back in to land. A crowd of passers-by had gathered to see what was going on. A local resident commented that it was the first time in months that he had seen any air traffic at the base and was pleased to see the RAF back in residence.
We crossed the road and continued the trail deeper into the forest. A small group of airmen had followed the lights into the forest thinking that an aircraft had crashed. We were following in their footsteps.
All along the route, the path is clearly marked with signs pointing you in the right direction. On the rear of these posts is a secret code specially put there for children. At the Forestry Commission office in the carpark at the start of the trail, special UFO kits are available to buy (for about £1.50 I think) which helped to keep the younger members of the party engaged on the walk.
The kits contain a code cracker and on completion of the walk, you can decipher a special message (left by aliens) using the translation table.
It was a great idea and really helped us divert attention from the tired little legs which had had enough part of the way around the walk! The boys really enjoyed seeking out the next secret symbol and we were able to crack the code once we’d got home. I cannot tell you what the answer is though, it’s classified as top secret😉
As we wandered through the trees, seeing more signs and following the timeline of events which happened back in 1980 (from the leaflet) we could hear the plane circling overhead again. It took off and landed several times while we were walking through the forest, I have to admit that the droning of the engine did add to the spooky atmosphere in some parts of the forest.
It really is a stunningly beautiful place.
After a while we were directed to a clearing in the forest which was home to this:
It is a 3D representation of what one of the US Airforce man drew after his experience in the forest. The UFO is believed to have landed near this spot and looked like this model.
We were at the mid-point of the trail, our next stop was at the edge of the forest near some farmland where the mysterious lights were spotted.
The last ‘site’ we visited is where a UFO was reported to have landed. In the intervening 36 years the area has been replanted with trees several times but they all failed to thrive and now it is left as a clearing.
Once our UFO trail was complete, the ‘Out of this World’ play area was beckoning. It was a fab place for little people to run wild. With lots of branches left lying around, previous visitors had used the timber to create great dens.
There was also a great adventure play area too. Believe it or not, it was crowded with families – it took quite a while to get this photo without any children in it! I think they were all off balancing on a timber assault course at this moment!
Our trip to Rendlesham Forest was such a hit, we went back again for a second visit. The second time we took reinforcements – we brought Grandparents, an Aunt and an Uncle too. I’m pretty sure that they enjoyed it as much as we did.
If you should find yourself in this part of Suffolk, I would really recommend a visit. There is a small charge for parking and the leaflets detailing the walk were free. There’s a very large picnic area and space to barbecue. Plus, you’ll be able to say you completed the Rendlesham UFO Trail!
Postcard from Gibraltar’s Sunday Sevens is officially one year old today!
This week’s Sunday sevens has a distinct lack of crochet and sewing, there has been a little going on behind the scenes but nothing of note. It’s been a funny old week really, the first one of the school term without any big events or visitors and I’ve felt oddly at a loose end. I’d been quite looking forward to getting back to ‘normal’ but I’m not entirely sure I enjoyed it.
I normally embrace free time and fill it with crafty things but this time I began to feel slightly guilty at having time on my hands and began a big autumnal ‘spring’ clean (for those of you who don’t know me – that’s NOT normal behavior)😉 Next week we have plenty going on, so there’s no fear of the newly found domesticity continuing …. phew!
A spot of Sunday afternoon painting
You know when you just get the urge to do something? I had the overwhelming urge on Sunday afternoon to crack out my paints and have a go at painting the Europa Point lighthouse. I’ve tried to paint it a couple of times before and it’s just not worked out right. This time, I think it did.
The painting bug continued into Monday. The laundry was washed and I went to the supermarket but the bathroom didn’t get cleaned and neither did the floors – whoops! When the creative urge strikes, it’s a shame not to take advantage don’t you think?😉
I tinkered with my lighthouse picture from the day before and had a bash at Catalan Bay (using a photo I took one evening as the sun was setting). This one is still a work-in-progress… I was also supposed to be doing a bit of sewing while the kids were at school – hence the sewing machine on the kitchen table. It made a good proper-upper for my pictures though!
Boats in the bay
This huge boat was anchored in the Bay and was lit up like a Christmas tree on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I love watching the boats in the bay out of the window and from our balcony. As a family we like to look up the most interesting looking ones on Marine Traffic to find out where they’ve come from. We have visitors from all the corners of the world mooring in front of our home!
This was a drill ship registered in the Marshall Islands and it had travelled to Gibraltar from Amsterdam.
The autumn weather arrived in Gibraltar this week, the temperature dropped a bit and the rains came. There was a mad scramble on Thursday morning to dig out wellies and waterproofs ready for the school run. Normally I’d be better organised but the lovely Indian summer we’ve been enjoying had lulled me into a false sense of security!
Exploring new territory
On Friday morning I got up raring to climb the Med Steps, but alas the weather scuppered my plans. I didn’t fancy slipping off the steep side of the Rock, so opted for a coastal walk instead.
Last week, fellow Gibraltar blogger Brit on the Rock posted a photo on Instagram of a view at Europa Point which I didn’t recognise. I asked her where she’d taken it from and here is where it was. It’s a place called the Europa foreshore and it’s part of the Gibraltar Nature Reserve.
I stood looking out to sea and watched the next rain shower swiftly coming across the Straits towards me. It was fascinating to watch the clouds scudding across the sky and I was lost in the moment for a while before I suddenly realised that I needed to get a move on and head home before getting well and truly drenched!
An afternoon in Spain
Yesterday, the weather was much better and we headed across the border to Duquesa where some special people were waiting for us. My brother, his fiancée and her family had arrived for a short holiday the night before. We had a lovely long afternoon in the garden of the villa they’d rented for their stay.
The Little Postcards played in the pool and we enjoyed a barbecue and lots of catching up. This was the magnificent view from the garden out towards the Mediterranean- just lovely.
We got this lovely view of the Rock on our way back home.
One more thing…
If you’re reading this in Gibraltar, and you have yet to purchase your Christmas cards, please consider supporting this very worthy cause. Babystepps is a very important charity supporting parents through early parenthood and pregnancy here in Gibraltar. Thank you🙂
Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog. Pop over to her blog to find out how to join in.
Back in August, when we were in the north of England visiting my family, we took a day trip to the Lancashire coast and visited Formby Point National Trust site. It’s a place I’d visited many years ago as a child, but couldn’t remember very much about. It is also home to on of Middle Postcard’s favourite animals – squirrels!!
Formby Point is a really interesting site. It’s right on the coast and includes beautiful dunes and a long stretch of beach but also encompasses a large pine forest which has winding paths through it and plenty of spots for a quiet picnic and adventures for little people. It’s home to a colony of red squirrels and if you are very lucky, you may be able to see one or two bouncing about on the branches overhead.
Our trip began with a rendezvous with my brother and ‘Funcle’ to the Little Postcards. He lives not too far away in Lancashire and was keen to join us on our squirrel hunt. He’s a very keen and talented photographer so relished the opportunity to take some snaps while we were on our walk. We met up with him the carpark just behind the dunes and climbed over them to see the beach.
As we reached the summit, the wind hit us. It was so gusty, you could feel the sand stinging the back of your legs through your trousers!!! We took a quick look along the beach but I was so scared of getting the flying sand into my camera that I just took a couple of quick snaps on my phone before heading to the shelter of the pine forest.
There were a few brave souls out on the beach, some even in short sleeves and shorts (we all had our hoods up and were zipped right up as far as it would go to reduce the pain of the stinging sand!!! We hung about long enough to be able to just make out The BIG One and Blackpool Tower in the distance before running for cover.
It’s hard to believe that these photos were taken on the same day – just moments apart. Once under the cover of the trees, the sun broke through the clouds above and we walked along the bouncy pine needle strewn path through gentle dappled shade. It’s such a tranquil place, the only sound being the wind blowing through the branches above and the dulcet sounds of Little Postcards bickering in the background.😉
Being a National Trust venue, there were plenty of volunteer guides on site to help with any questions and dish out maps of the area. With just one aim in mind for the day (apart from having fun and enjoying a picnic lunch) we set off on our quest to find some red squirrels – it can’t be that hard can it?
Formby isn’t just famous for it’s red furry residents, it is also home to the local delicacy of Formby Asparagus. It can be enjoyed during a very short season from early May until the 21st June – sadly we had missed it. For generations, local farmers levelled the local dunes to create perfect growing conditions for the crop. In it’s heyday more 200 acres were cultivated but these days just 10 acres of Formby Asparagus are grown here. This stunning tree carving was created to celebrate the local speciality.
After much wandering through the beautiful pine forest and green fields, our search for red squirels was proving fruitless. Little Postcards and the grown ups were becoming hungry and a picnic spot needed to be found.
At the entrance to a large grassy area – perfect for a picnic, we found this lovely sculpture carved from a tree trunk.
After the sandwiches had been scoffed and the flask of coffee drunk, the grown ups settled down for a doze in the sunshine while the Little Postcards wandered into the woods close by. It was so nice for them to have a bit of freedom to wander knowing that they couldn’t go far. We could hear them – but couldn’t see them. They enjoyed the independence that gave them and for Littlest, it was a great adventure to climb trees and have a woodland adventure with his big brothers.
While on their adventure, they were constantly on the look out for the squirrels – although the noise they were making as they wandered the meandering woodland paths probably sent the squirrels scarpering! A few very jazzy striped caterpillars were satisfactory discoveries though.
After an hour or so at our lovely picnic spot, we decided to head back to the cars so that we could get back home without hitting the rush hour traffic on the motorways back to Manchester. Our walk back through the pine forest was bound to yield a squirrel sighting wasn’t it?
As we got deeper into the forest, we spied a group of people eagerly pointing up into the tree canopy and craning to see movement with their binoculars. Squirrels were in the area! Well they were until just before we arrived. An elderly couple had been sitting on a bench patiently waiting to see some squirrels for quite some time.
Just as a couple of the illusive residents had put in an appearance, a family with young children had come along at just the right moment to see them too. All this had happened just seconds before we arrived, but sadly by then, Squirrel Nutkin and his mate were nowhere to be seen!
So did we achieve success in our quest to see some of the famous Formby Point red squirrels? We only saw this one…
…..he came home with us.
…..Oh and there was this one too on the side of an ice cream van!
Despite the fact we are well into October now, it’s been very warm again here in Gibraltar. As I sit at the dining table writing this, I have steam coming out of my collar!!
This week has been a rather busy one for me, there’s been nothing in particular, just lots of different stuff going on, so there was no midweek post from me this week. I hope you’ve had a good week, whatever you’ve been up to. Without further ado, here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens:
Across the Strait
This photo kind of sums up the weather we’ve been having for about half of this last week. I took the photo on Sunday afternoon when we took the Little Postcards to Europa Point park to let off a bit of steam on their scooters. You know when they are bouncing off the walls that you need to get out and exercise them like dogs!! The sky was crystal clear overhead but in the distance across at Morrocco there was a hazy mist which looked like someone had taken an eraser to the bit where the mountains touch the sea!
So for most of this week, in the afternoons it has been clear, bright and hot (especially when standing outside the school gates waiting for the bell to go!) but the mornings have been misty and town was sitting under a heavy Levanter cloud with gusty winds whipping up the dust.
Sewing continued on the sample top I’m working on in my dressmaking class. The photo doesn’t show it to advantage as the back is still unfinished and open. Part of the exercise for this sample is to make up the front, then remodel the arm holes and neckline. This is before the remodelling takes place.
In addition to working on my sample top, I have also been making a skirt for my Mum who has been over visiting at the moment. A straight skirt with a small slit at the back and in a colour to compliment her new winter coat is underway. After several fittings and alterations, I am now about to machine stitch the side seams and hand sew the hem. Hopefully it will be ready for her when she returns before Christmas.
After two weeks of pencil sketches, I finally got around to mixing some paint colours and worked my current project at my watercolour class this week. I just love the brightly coloured beach huts at Southwold, and wanted to work on a painting to reflect that. I’m working from a photograph taken by Mr Postcard of a stretch of predominantly blue and white ones, but have used a little artistic licence and injected more colour based on photos I took on our visit in the summer. I’m really enjoying painting this one.🙂
We had everything crossed on Friday evening. After dropping my parents off at the airport to fly home, we returned to find our home had been engulfed by a real pea-souper of a sea mist. Just as their plane was due to land it got thicker and thicker.
Miraculously the plane landed. The two photos above were taken 30 minutes apart. The first one is of a tree about 100 metres from our apartment – there was no point taking one of the sea, it would have just been grey!
I’m very pleased to say that Mum and Dad made it back home safely and we look forward to seeing them again just before Christmas.
It’s October, and of course that means autumn. I do love autumn in the UK in a kind of bitter sweet way. It’s such a beautiful season with the colours of the leaves on woodland walks but it also spells the end of summer and all the fun which that season promises. Back when we lived in England, I kind of dreaded winter with the grey damp urgh kind of weather it could spell for weeks between the odd beautiful crispy frosty day.
One benefit of living here in Gibraltar is that although we do have seasons, they aren’t quite as noticeable as in England. Summer is undboubtedly hot and sunny and winter is often damp and grey but not quite as cold and depressing as I remember English winter days to be. That does mean though that spring and autumn aren’t quite as obvious as what’s experienced in the UK.
I remember feeling a bit homesick that first autumn after we moved to Gibraltar and I just couldn’t put my finger on what the problem was. Suddenly it hit me, the vast majority of the trees here on the Rock are evergreen and that meant there are very few leaves to crunch through and collect with little people. Autumn always used to mean Sunday afternoons spent at one of our nearest National Trust sites or parks collecting sticks, conkers and brown, red and golden leaves of all shapes and sizes to bring home. That just isn’t an option here.
In recent years though, a few new trees have been planted here and some of the ones in Commonwealth Park (which was built a couple of years ago) are deciduous. It was so nice to sit under the browning leaves on a bench for a while yesterday as the Little Postcards played football. We were all in T-shirts and shorts so it’s not really like autumn, but it was nice to pretend.
A new crochet project
After finishing my sixty million trebles blanket last week, I was free to crack open some of the lovely new yarn I bought at Yarndale a fortnight ago with a clear conscience. The gorgeous mohair and bamboo Louisa Harding Yarn I bought from Esgair Fibres had been calling me from my stash and really needed to be worked on as soon as possible! I’m using it to make a shawl/scarf for when the weather here turns a little bit fresher. It’s so lovely to use, the constantly changing colours which change even within just one treble stitch are gorgeous and it feels so nice between my fingers as I hook up another row.
PS : just one more thing…
A couple of people asked to see the finished picture that I posted two weeks ago from my watercolour class, here it is, mounted and ready to go to its new home in England.
Three weeks into our dressmaking course and we have finished with the pattern drawing and cutting and we are now in the process of constructing a sample top. Because it’s a sample, we are just using curtain lining material to make it, hence the rather boring photo. I’m eager to get this finished and move onto the next ‘real’ project.
Bunny Postcard had a trip to the vets this week. We had been meaning to take him for months so that he could have some vaccinations to allow him to play out in our back patio. Now the weather is beginning to cool a little bit, we thought he might like to have a hop about outside. The first thing the vet said when she saw Bunny was ‘Oh what a lovely girl’. I thought nothing of it, thinking clearly she’s made a mistake…
Once the full medical was done, including checking his heart, ears, eyes and teeth, the vet cottoned onto the fact that we had never actually officially been told Bunny’s gender. Well the big news this week is that Bunny is officially a girl! It’s taken a bit of time for that news to sink in in certain quarters, but I’m thrilled to know that at last I am no longer the only female in the Postcard household!
When I flew back from Yarndale last weekend, not only did I bring with me a suitcase full of yarn and wonderful memories, I also brought my Mum and Dad with me too. They hadn’t been to see the Windsor suspension bridge yet so one afternoon this week, while the Little Postcards were still at school, we took a walk up the Rock and along the bridge. I have to say, since my last visit, a discernible creak has developed as you walk from one side of the gorge to the other which did put me slightly on edge. The view is still as stunning as ever from there though.
Not much painting going on…
Inspired by our summer holiday in Southwold back in August, I decided that my next paining project should include some of the beautiful beach huts you see along the seafront. Last week I spent the entire lesson trying to sketch out the huts freehand, and not using a ruler. Unfortunately due to the composition of the photo I’m using and it’s perspective, even when just one line was out of place, it made the whole thing look wonky and a bit rubbish.
This week after a quick refresher lesson on perspective, horizons and eyelines, my teacher very kindly gave me some tracing paper to get the skeleton of the picture down onto the paper so that at least next week I can start painting. Shhh, don’t tell anyone I cheated😉
I went exploring over the border in La Linea on Friday morning looking for yarn shops (not that I need to buy any more after Yarndale last weekend mind you). I had heard there were some and that they sold nice stuff. Thinking ahead to Christmas presents and such like I thought it was worth following it up.
Almost next door to a really lovely yarn shop, this most unusual keyhole caught my eye on the front door of an old building. There’s some really lovely architecture amongst all the late twentieth century and more modern apartments and shop fronts if you keep your eyes open. Next time, I need to take my camera with me….
Yesterday, if you were in Gibraltar town centre there’s a good chance you were ‘encouraged’ to part with your cash for raffle tickets and cakes for the Scouts. As two of the Little Postcards are in Scouts, there was a bit of baking going on this week for the annual cake stall fundraiser. My fairy cakes aren’t in this picture, they were hidden down at the other end of the stall… I photographed the pretty cakes instead😉
Rainbow hope blanket completed
Begun on the last day of August (the very last day of the school summer holidays) and completed on the last day of September – it’s taken me a month to complete my contribution to the Sixty Million Trebles project. The blanket I made will join hundreds of others and be joined to make the worlds biggest ever blanket. It will be used to yarn bomb a site in London before being unpicked to make ‘normal-sized’ blankets which will go to charities in the UK and Syria.
The project is being run to raise awareness about the plight of the sixty million refugees who are displaced from their homes around the world at the moment. It will also raise funds for the cause too. It’s hoped that sixty million treble stitches will be crocheted to represent all the people who have been driven from their homes. Where ever my Rainbow Hope Blanket ends up, I hope it brings some hope to whoever receives it. This 36″ square blanket adds 10,656 trebles to the current count of almost five million.
Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Nat at Threads & Bobbins. For more information about it, and if you would like to join in, why not pop over to her blog.
My Yarndale adventure began late on Friday night as I boarded my plane to Manchester. I’d left the rest of the Postcard family at home and it felt very strange to be heading off on an adventure without them this time. I was lucky that I was able to stay at my parent’s house in Manchester on the Friday night (well Saturday morning) because I didn’t get to bed until 2am Gibraltar time.
Despite the late night, we were up bright and early on Saturday morning and set off on the train to Skipton. I had the company of my lovely Mum for the whole day, that’s something which very rarely happens these days. In fact I can’t remember the last time we spent so long together on our own. We had a really good chat all the way across the Pennines.
Of course, I couldn’t go to Yarndale without taking Llanita with me. Well when I say Llanita, I actually mean Llanita II. If you have read my post The adventures of Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep, you’ll know all about Llanita I and Lanita II. Llanita I was already at Yarndale having made the trip by post (sorry about that my little sheepy friend). Llanita II was able to enjoy the passing Yorkshire countryside from the train window!
It was pretty obvious which of the other passengers on the train were travelling to Yarndale. There were rather a lot of knitting needles clicking away on nearby seats and much yarny talk. Before we knew it, we’d arrived in Skipton.
There was a special double-decker bus decorated with lovely crochet bunting and mandalas ferrying festival-goers between the station and the Auction Mart where all the fun was happening. We opted to walk though, so we could see all the yarnbombing we’d heard about en-route.
Our first port of call, after such an early start was the legendary Coopers cafe, venue for much crochet activity and of course the home of Lucy from Attic24’s studio.
We were very lucky as we seemed to be ahead of the lunchtime rush. We ordered sandwiches and coffee and considered our plan of attack for the day.
Even Llanita got in on the Coopers coffee action!
Readers of Attic24 will know that upstairs above the cafe is a very special place. The scene of much colourful inspiration, Lucy’s Studio, was open for all visitors to the cafe to see for themselves. There was even wool and knitting needles on the stair on the way up to the studio.
Crochet bunting greeted us at the top of the stairs too.
And there it was, that room which has featured in so many blog posts and some of the beautiful creations made by Lucy over the years. It felt slightly odd to be in there, as if I was trespassing on someone’s private space even though it was open for anyone to call in.
It felt as though I’d been sucked through the screen on my computer into the virtual world on the other side!!
It was wonderful to be able to see examples of Lucy’s work for real rather than on a screen. It was so tidy – unlike my crafty corner. I feel inspired to have a tidy up and sort out!
Even Lucy’s bowl of yarn pegs was out on the window ledge.
It felt like such a privilege to be there. Even the beautiful fabric appliqué and embroidered logo for the Attic 24 blog was lying out on the dresser for all to admire.
The time had come for Mum and I to head off to Yarndale. (Thank you to the lovely lady at Coopers who came out from behind the counter to point us in the right direction, we would have been going completely the wrong way if it had been down to me!)
Our walk up to the Auction Mart took us along the canal tow path where even a narrow boat was decorated with knitted bunting and pompoms in honour of Yarndale.
Soon we caught sight of the lovely handmade signs pointing us in the right direction towards the Yarn Walk and our goal.
The bridge across the canal brought us to the entrance of Aireville Park where every lamp post was yarn bombed. This is just a small selection of the many which lined the path that cuts through the park and up the hill towards Yarndale.
There was no fear that we’d get lost on the way – it was so well signposted!
The yarnbombs grew in the their complexity as we neared the Auction Mart. Mum and I spent ages outside the building just admiring the amazing creations adorning the bollards! Made by the Thirsk Yarnbombers, the level of detail that had gone into making these was just incredible. I have since realised that we missed a few but here’s a selection of what we admired.
So much exquisite creativity and we hadn’t even crossed the threshold of the auction mart venue!
Lucy’s huge mandalas blew about suspended from the branches of a tree.
Even this converted ice cream van selling finger puppets was completely yarnbombed as well!
The 200th anniversary of the Leeds to Liverpool canal was celebrated by this watery yarn walk across the lawn.
Enough of outside, let’s go in. Tickets were inspected, wristbands attached and we were in…
The first sight which met us was the beautiful bunting made for the first Yarndale back in 2013. I looked hard to spot my Gibraltar bunting triangle but couldn’t see it. There were literally thousands of bunting triangles festooned around the venue, but this section was a real show stopper!
It was so busy inside when we first arrived that it was hard to see what everyone was looking at. After a moment of trying to peer over people’s shoulders I spotted a huge flock of Yarndale sheep perched on bales of straw. I couldn’t get close enough to spot whether Llanita I was there so resolved to pop back later when the crowds had thinned out.
As we set foot into the main area where all the stalls were, it was an assault on the senses. The noise of the chattering crowds and the riot of colour was quite overwhelming. Mum and I decided to have a quick wander round to get our bearings before attempting to do anything. I was given some very useful advice by Instagram friends to just explore before buying anything because otherwise, you’ll have spent all your money by the third stall! It was wise advice indeed -thank you!
The yarns on display were unlike anything I have ever seen before, so many colours and textures and endless possibilities of what you could use them for.
There were huge boards decorating the livestock pens with some of the mandalas from the 2014 festival.
The skill which had gone into the work on display was just amazing and far beyond anything I could contemplate attempting.
Even the Moomins put in an appearance!
It wasn’t just about knitting and crochet though, there were many stalls selling the unspun wool as well as all the equipment needed to have a go at home yourself. Despite this lady assuring the fascinated onlookers that it’s a lot simpler than it looks, I resisted the temptation to embark on another hobby for now. I don’t think a spinning wheel would have fitted into my case!
This was a day of firsts for me. Never before had I seen yarn and needles on such a BIG scale! This stand by Woolly Mahoosive had attracted loads of people wanting to have a go at knitting with needles as broad as my arm!
There was so much to see and take in.
Just look at these blankets….
At the heart of the Auction Mart was the Knit and Natter Lounge where people were gathering to eat their packed lunches and take advantage of some sitting down time to do a bit of crochet or knitting. It was also a magnet for fans and followers of Attic 24. The gate into this section was decorated by the beautiful Attic 24 logo created by crochet blogger Little Tin Bird. And of course, Lucy was there too.
I have to admit that I was a little nervous approaching Lucy, her’s is the first blog I ever followed and I am in awe of her work, but I seized the moment and introduced myself. Her first reaction was to give me a hug and say that her son loved my Yarndale sheep. I was a little stunned that she even knew who I was! Lucy’s youngest son ‘Little B’ had been helping her in the run up to the festival, unwrapping the sheep as they arrived through the post to Yarndale HQ and he’d been rather taken by Llanita.
I explained that I’d temporarily lost my original Llanita and ended up making two but had brought the second one with me to Yarndale. I asked if she would like to take her home for Little B and she said she would like that very much. So here is Llanita and Lucy, I am so happy that she has gone to a good home (and the home of the person behind the Yarndale sheep project).
I have since heard from Lucy that Little B was thrilled that Llanita had come home to live at his house. I’m so pleased that I brought her along with me for the ride!
After the excitement of meeting my crochet hero, I was beaming as I headed into the Workshop Theatre ready for a class that I’d signed up for. I was about to make a ‘Rip and Stitch Brooch’ with textile artist Jaki Bogg. I arrived to find a tray of goodies in front of me to make the brooch.
Jaki was a great help and offered much advice and encouragement as our group set to work on our creations.
(Apologies for the back lighting on this photo)
We were set to work choosing some embroidery cotton to embellish our brooches with.
And we were advised to layer up and position our fabric then take a photo so that we could remember exactly how we wanted it to look at the end.
I thought it rather appropriate that some of my fabric had print of handwriting and a stamp on seeing as I am Postcard from Gibraltar!
The hour and a quarter flew by in a flurry of stitching and chatter with my next door neighbour Katherine who had visited Yarndale several times before.
Before we knew it, our time was up. I enjoyed the process and would never have attempted anything along these lines before. I have filed all the information and and advice from Jaki away for future reference, perhaps I should attempt a fabric and stitch picture instead of a painting one of these days….
Once we’d left the workshop area, where Mum had taken advantage of the time to have a sit down and chat with a lady from Wales who had come with her crochet hook, I called my Instagram & blogging friend Wakey Makes to find her and meet up for the first time. Sadly, I had left it too late and she was already on her way home to Wakefield by then.
It’s such a shame we missed each other but she was able to tell me a very interesting bit of news… she had bought Llanita I!! I cannot believe that I found out where Llanita ended up. Of all the people she could have gone home with, I’m thrilled that she’s with Karen. I’m sure she will look after her well.
Mum and I made our way around the rest of the stalls for a mooch about. While I had been in the workshop, the crowds had thinned out considerably and it was a lot easier to see what was on offer.
I have long admired the work of Toft Alpaca and love the animals from the Edward’s Menagerie pattern books. It was just lovely to see so many of them on display together. I particularly liked the little bearded dog!
The Craven Guild of Lacemakers were on hand to talk to visitors about the intricate work that they do and offer demonstrations too. The intricacy and number of threads they work at the one time just boggles my mind!
After my recent foray into shawl making over the summer I was on a quest to buy some yarn to make another one for the winter months. I went to stall after stall looking for the right thing, but was very indecisive until I reached Esgair Fibres. Stall holder, Joanna, took the time to explain the qualities of her yarn and showed a crochet shawl she had made using just one ball of the beautiful wool she stocks, so I bought this lovely variegated yarn.
It was great to be able to see Janie Crow’s Lily Pond blanket ‘in the flesh’.
And I loved these cards… the one in the centre of the picture is particularly apt in my case I think!!😉
All in all the day was a total woolly overload!
By the time we’d returned to the flock of woolly Yarndale sheep, their number was rather depleted, but this little chap from the Isle of Man came with me for the trip back to Gibraltar. Allow me to introduce you to Laxey, my Manx Yarndale sheep. If anyone recognises him and knows who made him, please let them know that I’ll look after him well!
Before leaving I spotted a map for people to attach pins to show where they had come from. Can you spot my red pin for Gibraltar?
As we headed out of the Auction Mart to catch the double decker bus back to town and the station, we passed a table with a box filled with some of the ‘Woolly Hearts for Yarndale’. Just with that, another lady approached with a fresh box of hearts and put them down on the table.
I asked her whether the appeal had been successful and if they’d reached the target of 7000. She beamed as she said that well over 7000 had been received and it had been a huge success. Could this lady be @bonnies_little_crafts from Instagram, the mastermind of the appeal? Yes it was! I was so pleased to be able to meet Yvonne and chat with the person whom I’d sent my consignment of hearts to.
And here’s my very own woolly Yarndale heart, it’s come home with me on my bag!
It was time to head home, Mum and I went out to catch the beautifully decorated bus back towards the station. For a donation towards Martin House children’s hospice (also the recipient of the money raised from the Yarndale sheep sale) we got our passage onto the top deck and found our seats.
Even the interior was decorated for the festival!
A lovely mandala hung in the window next to me.
The bus soon filled up with festival goers weighed down with their yarny purchases.
So I guess you want to see what I bought then? 17 balls of wool, a calendar, notebook, Yarndale sheep, stitch markers and a scissor keeper with a tiny silver sheep on to remember my time at Yarndale.
This little lot should keep me busy!
I also loved this greeting card so much that I had to get one – it will be my motto from now on… 😜
After a very long journey back to Manchester (we sort of got the wrong train – which stopped at every station between Leeds and Manchester!!), Mum and I had an early night before heading back to airport to fly back to Gibraltar.
And so I am back where I began, if it weren’t for the photos and the large stash of yarn I’ve returned with, I’d swear it had all been a dream. Yarndale 2016 was everything I’d hoped for and more. I met lovely people including the lovely Lucy at Attic24 who has inspired me so much over the past few years, I saw such amazing yarny creations and have come back brimming with ideas and enthusiasm to carry on creating… now where did I leave my hook?
Footnote : Would you like to see a photo of Llanita I in her new West Yorkshire home? Well here she is along side a very appropriately coloured pair of socks in the making… Thank you Wakeymakes for giving her a good home xxx
My week began admiring a sand sculpture on Sandy Bay Beach and ended back in my childhood bedroom exhausted from the excitement of visiting Yarndale for the first time…
Sandy Bay sand sculpture
On Sunday we took a detour down to Sandy Bay beach to admire a new sand sculpture which had been created to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer.
We arrived once the work was completed and shortly before Miss Gibraltar 2016 and her Princesses emerged from their make-up tent for a photo shoot.
The sculpture was of the Nautilus and giant squid from the Jules Verne story; 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. It was really quite something and admired by the beach goers.
Med Steps the return
On Mondays morning I felt guilty seeing all the keen fit mums in Lycra on the school run. I had been planning to return home to laundry, vacuuming and general boring stuff and thought sod it, I’ll get my trainers out… It was the perfect morning, cool and overcast. I hadn’t been up the Med Steps since early June, so I seized the moment and did it.
I was very pleased with myself, I completed the climb only 15 minutes or so slower than my fastest time during Med Steps 5 training. I think it was rather unfair though that extra steps were added and the gradient made steeper over the summer holidays😉 (if only that were the case!).
September is definitely the month for sunsets in these parts and we’ve had some belters this week. I got a phone call on Tuesday evening from Mr Postcard to look out of the window to see the pink and purple sky (I was already out on the balcony taking a photo when he called!).
My dressmaking course continued this week with more pattern making and cutting ready for our first sample top. Fabric has been bought and sewing should begin next week.
Comedy in a cave
This week the comedian, Mark Steel, brought his BBC Radio 4 show to Gibraltar. Each episode he does a show in a different town after spending a few days there learning the history and soaking up the atmosphere and character of the place.
He recorded his show in St Michael’s Cave in the heart of the Rock of Gibraltar to an audience of local residents and many stalactites.
It was the first time Mr Postcard and I had been able to attend an event in the cave plus it was something we were very interested in so we jumped at the chance to go along. The show was really well researched and at times, hysterically funny.
If you want to listen to the show, Mark Steel’s in town (Gibraltar edition) is being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 12th October.
The Rock at night
I had never been on the Upper Rock after dark until Thursday, when we were watching Mark Steel’s show being recorded. It was absolutely beautiful to see the town lit up below us.
Being so high up gave us a great vantage point to see the street lights in Morrocco across the Strait of Gibraltar. The height also meant we’d escaped light pollution we experience down where we live to be able to see a clear sky of twinkling stars – it was really special.
Wow, what can I say about Yarndale? Well it was all I’d hoped it would be and more. I’m still a little overwhelmed by it all after spending the last three years admiring it from afar.
A late flight from Gibraltar on Friday and an early start yesterday to get across the Pennines mean I’m still a bit tired even after a lie in this morning.
So much happened yesterday and I met some really lovely people too. There was Yarnbombing of a scale and quality which astounded me and so much yarn in so many colours and types that they boggle the mind.
When I get back home to Gibraltar I’ll be posting loads of pictures and promise to tell you all about it.
Here’s another (larger) photo of Shaun the sheep knitting on a Thirsk Yarnbombers yarn bombed bollard for you to enjoy – isn’t he amazing?
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