Friday, 22 November 2013

Ellesmere Port and the canal boat crafts.

When I was over in England a few weeks ago I went to the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port. We're always walking along the Lagan towpath here in NI, reminiscing, but the canal boats are long gone.
It was a great day out. I thought I was just going to look at canal boats, not realising I would also see all the associated canal boat crafts.

There was so much going on.  I thought,  'I could really get in to this!'
There's a Waterways Craft Guild where you can learn all the traditional crafts and gain accreditation.
Boat building, painting and sign writing. Decorative and giftware painting. Costume, crochet, cabin lace and rag-rug making. Ropework and fender making.
It was a Sunday and, in the museum, these volunteers were demonstrating their various skills.

There was a lady working on a peg loom making blankets.

                                              You needed a steady hand for the painting.


                                                          This lady was rag - rugging.

Her design came from this picture  below  of the Atlas mountains in Morocco.
I was really interested in this as my research & design work for City & Guilds was all based on Morocco.
I think it's a photo taken from space.

                                                        Then there was the costume.

             This lady, Mary Parry, was a Master in Costume and wearing her Boatwoman's Bonnet.

I bought a bookmark kit at her stall.
The 'Spider's Web' is the traditional stitch used for the Boatman's belt shown below.

There was also lovely patchwork and these pieces in the tins were cut from old clothing.

The right side of the quilt.

                                                                   And the wrong side.

Knot tying for beginners.

                                                        And advanced knots for the canal boats.

 This is what I bought for the Christmas Tree!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Which way?

Sometimes you just don't know which way to turn.

My mum fell recently (one of many falls) and ended up in hospital, with hypothermia and very confused.
Her usual carers, my sister and brother-in-law, were off on a cruise the next day.
Panic stations.
When I arrived the first thing she said was, "Did you get pulled out of a Mick Jagger concert to fly over here?!"

So I spent three weeks over in England. Back and forth to the hospital.
For the first week I looked out at this scene while waiting outside the ward for visiting time.
And while I was waiting at this hospital I met all kinds of people and listened to their life stories.

My mother gradually  improved and we were off to 'Intermediate Care.'
It was like a home for the elderly but in the middle of a housing estate.

My mum's room looked out on someone's back yard.

So I went back and forth, visiting and bringing treats, for the next two weeks.
Despite it's appearance this was a good place with good care.

Every day, as I was waiting for the bus back to my mum's flat, I looked over at this chimney and thought maybe I'll get time to go to that Hat Museum some day.

Then my sister and brother-in-law returned, and there were discussions, and this is where we're at now.

My mum is waiting while a care-package is being arranged and then she'll return home.
I hope it works.