I’m back in Scotlandafter almost 2 weeks in Norfolk for my sister’s wedding:
The children and I travelled down by train, cutting at least 3 hours off our journey. We had 3 trains to catch; the 3 F’s had their own picnic in their backpacks and plenty to keep them occupied. I finished a book and we did the whole trip door to door in less than10 hours. I was converted back to train travel and had visions of us all going back-packing inEuropeby train. The journey home was more typical… With the threat of strikes the following day, the trains were crowded, every one was delayed, we had no booked seats because we missed our connections, the loos were out of order but I didn’t have to drive, the children did not really complain and I had a G&T atEdinburgh.
It was a manic but fun trip. My parents had 13 people staying at their house from Scotland and the South of England. We had guests in spare rooms, a caravan and a VW camper. It was all hands on deck to do potatoes, beans, and huge marrows for the suppers. There were various barbecues. My Dad had a new one made from an oil drum and some sort of metal cage. It had a spit attached that was powered by a battery pack. We did a test run on a chicken which twirled and cooked beautifully. It was intended for a post wedding Barbie with a large loin of pork. Things are never straightforward in my family. My Dad decided that the spit system need to be modified so he cut it down with an angle grinder and somehow the battery pack had to be turned upside down which meant that the batteries fell out. He had omitted to ask the butcher to bone and tie the 22” joint that arrived frozen solid. He proceeded to saw a bit off and tied it up with string. I slashed the fat with a Stanley knife for crackling. The new joint was not symmetrical and quite a lot larger than the chicken. The batteries were unable to turn the meat which got stuck and burned my crackling. There was a bit of a kerfuffle and eventually the meat had to simply be turned over manually periodically. Great entertainment, though…
We borrowed a garden marquee in case of thundery showers but it was a flimsy model so it kept trying to take off like a kite. Fergus grabbed a corner and was lifted off the ground. After half of the tent straddled the high hedge, it got dismantled. Luckily, the marquees at my sister’s house were more substantial as we had torrential rain during the meal. Fortunately, it was dry and sunny up until then so the photographs and dresses survived the downpours. Hayley and Andy’s garden looked magnificent. The tables had lovely, cottagey jugs of flowers and the whole tent was filled with bunting and fairy lights. There was even a ping-pong table. Someone asked if that was how people danced these days as all they could see was leaping at the far end of the tent.
As my sister is expecting a baby in November, there were alterations to be made to her slim fitting satin dress. My Mother had struggled with 3 layers of petticoat and inserted extra pieces but it all had to be finished off by hand to get the zip back in. I was roped in to help but my dress-making skills are poor and my hand sewing is not much better. There was an incident a bit like the trapunto trimming on Buddha but I managed to fix it without anyone finding out.
The wedding at St. Giles Registry Office in Norwichwas lovely. There was even a piper a couple of doors down at another wedding so it looked as though we had arranged it ourselves. Freya and Andy’s niece, Maddie, read a poem in unison without having met or practised previously. Freya was a bit put out that she was not allowed to wear her new, blue converse boots when one of Andy’s work colleagues from work had a red pair on with his suit. I was glad when the photos were finally over as it meant that I could discard my high heels and put on a pair of crocs. The food was magnificent – Fergus enjoyed several pieces of pork pie and ham without salad and even 2 puddings. He kept taking my camera to make mini movies about ladybirds and stunt falling-out-of-hammock routines so the memory soon became full. There were diverse conversations around the table ranging from quilting to ipods, unco-operative satellite TV systems and well digging.
Over the holiday there were many late nights and bottles of wine. Freya trained a ladybird to sit up on its hind legs. She kept a super holiday diary with illustrations. Fenella and Fergus bickered over building a Lego camper van and who was allowed in the hammock. We all went to Southwold one day and enjoyed ice-cream cones in front of the beach huts. I read 2 thought provoking books. Victoria Hislop’s was based on the Spanish Civil War (I can’t remember the title because I have returned it to Tania) and Malorie Blackman’s “Noughts and Crosses” where society is truly black and white and the two are forbidden to mix. I have to admit that I am intrigued by the Amazon Kindle that is now available in theUSA. I first saw it on Bonnie Hunter’s website. It is an electronic book that can store and download hundreds of books to save you carrying a great pile on holiday. If you get tired, it will even read out loud. It sounds fun and super-techie but I do love real books.
I did manage to fit 2 quilt related trips in as well. I met Helen Howes who is a kite maker and textile artist working in a barn in Raveningham. I was most impressed by her pieces on trees. She gave me a teaching programme in case I would like to invite her to Scotland. Her website is very nice indeed www.helenhowestextiles.co.uk
I also wandered around a strange collection of antique rugs and textiles all piled higgledy-piggeldy in part of the old farmhouse at Raveningham. There was one that really intrigued me. It had locks of hair attached to a central area and individual quiltlets around the edges. They were all in a scruffy state but they could provide some inspiration. After I have finished the washing and blogging, I had better get on with some work to help fund my trip to FOQ in a fortnight. And buy gear for Freya’s Girl Guide camp, school uniform, sort out new chicken fencing, decide on Ginger’s fate, write a PowerPoint presentation, apply for another grant … the usual!