Monday, 27 February 2017

Last Summer pt 3: Porlock Weir

When we booked our Somerset cottage, I began researching places for us to visit.  One place that stood out for me was Porlock Weir.

Porlock Weir is a very small port and tidal harbour, with a long history.  The port has existed for over a thousand years, in 1052 it was plundered by Harold Godwinson, who became King Harold for a few months in 1066, before his defeat at Hastings.

We didn't come to plunder, we came to find a tranquil, picture perfect village-by-the-sea, and we found it. Sheep grazing in fields almost at the shoreline, and seagulls, somewhat laid back compared to their more commercial seaside cousins.

The weather was very overcast, we expected rain at any moment, but is was surprisingly warm, even by the sea.

Today's outfit: Free M&S jeans courtesy of the reward credit card, £1 Jack Purcell Converse, and black 3/4 sleeve t shirt with Chinese dragon, possibly 50p both charity shopped

I was really taken by the colour of the pebbles on the beach, small and very large, in various delicate pastel shades of pink and green.

 These long sticks mark the entrance to the harbour, the deepest entry point for the boats.  As you can see, when we were there the tide was right out. 

When the tide is right in, the grade II listed Gibralter cottages are marooned on their own tiny island, accessible only by a narrow footbridge  

As they are only accessible by foot anyway, I was somewhat puzzled to find a Rover 25 in one of the gardens! (I know the shape of these cars well as I have one of the last ever 25's off the production line)

By the time we had our lunch at the picnic tables almost on the beach, the sky was clouding over and the headland looked quite menacing

We decided to drive back to the holiday cottage via all the interesting places we had spotted on the drive down.

In Porlock itself we found a tiny private museum inside an old pale pink cottage and had a look (no photos allowed inside) 

View from Selworthy Green

Further on up the coastal road we spotted National Trust signs and drove up a very steep hill.  We had found Selworthy Green

A little collection of picture perfect thatched cottages, clinging to the side of a steep yet green hill

 A cup of coffee and cake from the picnic bag in one of the most picturesque places, then back down the hill and onwards.

We noticed yesterday that Dunster had a beach and drove down to park up for a walk.  Surprisingly the beach was mainly sand with a few stones  

Dunster also has a little railway station.

OH was highly amused by this bench, apparently the name of a station in the film Oh, Mr Porter!  I was in blissful ignorance. 

We explored the little station, quietly hoping that a steam train would turn up, whilst admiring the old luggage 

This label for a famous Welsh town, was attached to the curved top case on the left of the trolley

Also known as: Saint Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave

This case has travelled a little further

Finally, after a false start of a diesel train trundling along the track, this little steam train pulled in to Dunster station.

7828 is a fairly new steam engine, it was built in 1950, scrapped in 1965 and ended up at the now famous Woodham Brothers Barry scrapyard in Wales, where the owner found it easier and more lucrative to cut up coal wagons rather than the more awkward engines.  This resulted in 213 of the 297 engines sent there to be scrapped, being rescued and refurbished.  But that is another story!

More Somerset tales soon!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Last Summer pt 2 - Dunster

Day two of our holiday and it's a Sunday. So, first things first, finding somewhere nice to have a Sunday lunch, we chose the Stags Head in Dunster.

Dunster is a medieval settlement with iron age roots.  The basis of what you see now was formed in the late 11th century, and Dunster Castle is mentioned in the Domesday book, being built just after the Norman conquest.  The village grew up around the castle, which sits atop a Tor, or rocky hill.

 Dunster castle from the beach

By the time we had parked up for free in the castle car park, courtesy of National Trust membership, it was almost lunch time. We meandered through the castle grounds, straying into the village beyond, and discovered a 15th century grade I listed packhorse bridge (Gallox bridge, so called as there were gallows nearby) on the way.

   We spotted a chap mowing the lawn to the left and struck up a conversation.  He told us all about the television programme Time Team, and their visits to Dunster and the history of the area around the bridge, that the nearby mature trees will have to be cut down soon as they are unstable and threaten the bridge (the ones behind OH in the photo), and his own walks, he was approaching 80 (and looked no more than 65) and was planning to walk Hadrian's wall for his big birthday!

These quintessential cottages were nearby, how very English is this!

 A quick look around the town and we honed in on the pub for our lunch at noon, prompt.

OH had the roast beef but I plumped for fish, and surprisingly, they reduced the price as I asked for a smaller piece of fish.

We were so pleased we went in at noon, as by half past the place was heaving, mainly with other tourists. We finished up and had a slow walk back to the castle for our tour.

 Dunster church

Dunster yarn market, another grade I listed building and from 17th century

The impressive and original 13th century gates to the castle, at the top of one of the steepest hills I've walked up!

The impressive frontage showing Victorian improvements to Dunster castle

All very Romantic and Gothic!

Inside is very much what you would expect, grand rooms huge fireplaces you can walk in, opulent decoration and sumptuous fabrics 

Look at that massive gong!

Four poster, anyone?

I had to have a go on the snooker table

Nice place for a read

 Interesting to see this guide to the shooting season was produced by a Birmingham company (Birmingham was known as the city of a thousand trades at one point) as were the cartridges, no doubt.

The view from the castle was stunning, and the weather wasn't too bad either!

Right, this is where it gets a bit spooky, we followed the signs to the crypt, and the lights go on and off in some areas,when the lights went off I took a photo

I took this, there was no mist in the crypt, and that swirly bit in the middle is a bit odd.  I'm not a great believer in things that go bump but I'm not sure what to make of it, it was certainly a little creepy down there

Yes, those are eyes you can see shining in the doorway, we could just make out the statue, which was intermittently lit up to scare people

Back down to the village we went, through one of few original bits of the medieval castle, the gatehouse

Wearing: DKNY jeans £1, BNWT Artscape top £2, leather Coccinelle handbag £1, all charity shopped, Eddie Bauer leather sandals Ebay £4 plus postage.

On the photo above you can see the incredibly steep hill up to the castle

Outside of the castle walls and we wandered the village, the narrow medieval streets twist and wind and compel you to go just a little bit further to see what delight is around the next corner.

We found these delightful gardens with a lovely view of the church

 Which happened to lead us to a craft and coffee shop offering cream teas!

 More wandering and we soon discovered secret gardens at the back of the church, how idyllic

Through a heavy wrought iron gate and into a lovely open space

Back around the base of the tor, through the castle grounds to the car park, we stopped to admire the watermill, this building was constructed in 1780 and stands on the site of an earlier mill, mentioned in the Domesday book

The mill is still grinding wheat today, how fast is that mechanism!

After a lovely day with very good weather, so good that even I had to change into sandals, we set off back to the holiday cottage to plan our next trip in Somerset.

Join me soon for more tales from last Summer

Monday, 13 February 2017

Cheap sew and sew

I mentioned recently that I found an Aquascutum skirt in a charity shop, it was minus the label, but I saw the hanging loops which had the branding on.

I nearly fell over in the shop, but hid my excitement and paid the £1.95 and ran out

Anyway, excitement turned to dismay when I found the moth holes, the hem was riddled. There were also several stains in the fabric too.

 I contemplated taking the skirt back as really it should have been ragged.  However, I realised I only wanted a short skirt, so deconstructed the bottom half, and removed a good 4 inches off the length, before sewing back up, and hemming by hand.  

Here is the finished article, all hand washed in Stergene (despite the dry clean only label, it is wool and silk, which can be washed, the only dodgy part was the lining but I crossed my fingers and that came through!)

This is before it was pressed, it looks a lot better now

A few weeks ago I also bought this blanket wrap, it was on a pound rail and something I wanted to try wearing but wasn't sure about. These things are so far out of my comfort zone it's untrue.  I loved the colours so bought it anyway.

My mannequin is set up at my height and you can see from this that the blanket wrap is way too big.  I tried it on but it just drowned me. Also, it was way too fussy for me, I don't like having to think about what I am wearing once it's on.

So, much searching on the internet and I decided to change the blanket wrap into a poncho with fixed sides and a slash neck

It is about 15 inches shorter than it was, plus the sides are partially sewn, so it just pulls on like a poncho.

Slash neck detail

Sleeve seam detail.  Not brilliant sewing but the light is bad in the cottage and I don't have a craft light at present.  There is a seam down the front, but it is offset to one side in the fold at the shoulder, so hidden from view.

I've had a few nice bargain buys lately as well. The first one is a bit of a surprise as it is the most I've ever spent on a jumper, £30.

Bit of a back story to this: In May last year I was involved in a car accident.  I was hit whilst in a traffic jam, and the person who hit me turned out to be a learner on his own in the car.  My car was written off but only because the repairs were deemed to be more than 60% of the cars value.  I arranged for my car to be repaired and had to pay for it to be fixed (I didn't go through my insurance, I went through a claim company, which was probably a bad idea), I had to borrow the money.  It has taken 8 months to sort out, and was on the point of going to court, but I finally got a settlement cheque the other day, and decided to treat myself.  

We visited a Fat Face outlet shop at the Valley shopping village near Evesham.  I saw this jumper and fell in love.

It was reduced from £52 and I have since found out that it is out of stock virtually everywhere. I also ended up buying a size 8 as the style is rather oversized, and a 12 would've looked ridiculous on me.

It is an incredibly warm jumper, I've worn it once and it really kept the Arctic wind out.

Next, and back to those lovely cheap chazza purchases, I found this snow white Lands End fleece for £1

These Olsen jeans, also a pound, they really stank as I found out while rummaging in the charity shop holding on to them tightly, no, the local smelly person wasn't following me, it was the stinky jeans I was hugging!

They need to be shortened by about an inch, so I'll get that sorted soon.

Vintage band t shirt for 50p, just because I need some more t shirts!

Odd spray body oil for 50p, it was sealed, and a scarf clip for the pressie drawer for 10p.

Lastly, a very recent ebay purchase, this gorgeous nightie was £2.50 with free postage. It is brand new with tags (this is the ebay photo)

We've had snow on Saturday in Worcestershire, this morning I was met with this view from the lounge, the buzzard was having a good look in through the window as I had the light on

More tales form last Summer coming soon!