Having a play

Hello All

Just as we were appreciating the auburn, rustling leaves of autumn along came the heavy rains. Once more I hear on the radio people in other parts of the UK must leave their homes as the flood waters rise. My heart goes out to them.

Walking through town I skipped – tricky at my age and with my lack of coordination – over streams, the pavements disguised by rivulets of water, trying to keep my toes dry.

Yet Kendal was surprisingly busy. Hardy Cumbrians are not going to let a bit of wet put them off their Saturday market and shopping trips (if we did we would hardly ever venture out). Nor were we going to miss the annual Comic Art Festival.

Children scampered from stall to stall becoming crazier and crazier cartoon incarnations of themselves. T-shirts and bags were being made at the numerous stands in the shopping centre and despite the inclement weather a good time was being had by all.

As for me? A quick nip to the library followed by buying my veg on the market was swiftly followed by a bus home. As soon as I was in the door the kettle was on, the pot warmed and a steaming mug of tea was soon being enjoyed. Softie that I am. Good time to think about my piece of felt wall-art.

As you can see I have completed the back-stitching:

Now I need to do something to liven up those dancing figures. I can’t remember why we went for black. Perhaps it was a nod to Peter Pan’s mischievous shadow as we were a jolly outfit. More likely it was because they stand out from the background, we were nothing if not bold! Feeling less bold now I am trying to come up with something to soften them.

I am presently working on flowery project so had a play with those needle felted flowers. I think I may be on to something. Making smaller, leaf-less flowers and in colours to compliment the swooshy bands of felt along the bottom of the banner may be just the thing.

Once that is done I will turn my attention to the rest of the hanging…any felty ideas folks?

Hope you are all keeping your feet dry.

Until next we meet,

Moke x

Happy Fortnight

Hello All

Apologies for last week’s lapse. Things are all good here at Casa Moke just a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. I warn you this is a l-o-n-g post. You will be rewarded with a cuppa if you make it to the end.

What have I been up to?


Delicious Beetroot, Mushroom and Dulse Seaweed Burgers. Grating beetroot always makes the kitchen look like a crime scene but the consequent mopping up was worth it for these tasty burgers packed with yummy goodness.

I love seaweed however often forget how scrumptious and beneficial it is. Thanks to Kate Humble’s BBC series ‘Back to the Land with Kate Humble’ I was reminded and have found some fabulous producers. For this recipe and the Seaweed Cookbook I turned to The Cornish Seaweed Company. The book is a wonderful resource: along with plentiful recipes for everyone (vegans, veggies, omnivores and more) it profiles a huge variety of seaweeds and gives a guide to foraging.


Simple patchwork and a teeny-weeny amount of quilting are helping me gain more and more confidence on my sewing machine (sorry Snail of Happiness I have still not tried stretchy fabrics!). I am also rather pleased with the results if I do say so myself. No 1 Daughter has put in an order for cushions to coordinate with her soon to be decorated living room. Praise indeed.

Hot off the press…

Another cushion made almost entirely from scraps from earlier makes including at least two outfits for my granddaughter. I am smiling looking at it.

Some of you may remember my HUGE over purchase of wool for the simple Fair Isle jumper for Peanut.

Well I have found the perfect project to use the surplus. A Guernsey Wrap.

The pattern by Jared Flood is on Ravelry here. Versions of it can also be seen on one of my favourite blogs ‘Foxs Lane‘ … but I can’t remember where! It is a fabulous blog well worth a visit and you may even stumble on the wrap along your way.


Walking buddies JG and JF set off clutching maps (OS Explorer OL7 – The English Lakes, South Eastern area) and compasses – they are part way through learning about navigation – with me their hill-loathing chum (how am I Cumbrian?!) in tow to complete the Kentmere walk we attempted last year when snow and ice made us/me decide to turn back. With the weather much improved – a DRY yet windy day – we set off in high hopes of sitting by a beautiful reservoir to eat our lunches.

Our day started with a charming easy stroll based on No. 3 in Norman Buckley’s book “Lakeland Walking: on the Level”. However as the hills of The Kentmere Horseshoe loomed in front of us it did look as if we were walking into Mordor. But hey! We had that attractive ‘lake’ to look forward to.

With a very flat valley floor and glacial moraines it was easy to see how the Ice Age sculpted this landscape. Ice now a thing of the past…things warmed up around end of April this year…lunch was calling and thoughts of dipping my tootsies in the lapping waters of the man-made tarn were becoming increasingly pleasing.

But what’s this?!

Or should that be what is it not?!!! Where has our reservoir gone? A couple of fellow walkers seeing our dropped jaws told us, it’s the result of a leak! In the past I have had small garden ponds and yes they have suffered the odd pond lining incident but a whole vanished reservoir? That is something.

Abandoning our visions of picnicking on a beautiful shoreline we crossed the spillway. Having watched much too much Nordic Noir I confess I was looking out at the wasteland for a skeleton or two at least. Happily I have nothing untoward to report but it was a very eerie setting…movie location hunters take note.

So being a bit agile (it says so in Buckley’s book) we followed a rough and narrow path back along the opposite bank of the River Kent until the going became easy again and we could stop out of the wind for sandwiches (hummus, peppers and celery if you were wondering) and have a short rest.

The walk back was idyllic. We couldn’t help but laugh at the adventurous and frolicking lambs (I thanked their mums for the wool) some of whom had perched themselves all over this glacial ‘dustbin’.

We admired the bridges.

And held our breath waiting for the bluebells to bloom.

All this and we barely got wet. A rare occasion in them thar hills.

Marching … Women of Cumbria

JG and I managed another tick on our ‘Women of Cumbria’ spreadsheet. We boarded the 505 Stagecoach bus to Coniston and had a wonderful time at the Ruskin Museum looking at all the displays and the exhibition dedicated to Annie Garnett a nineteenth century community entrepreneur who founded a textile industry in Lakeland.

Annie was one of six siblings and while her brothers went to school she was lucky enough to learn autonomously at home and particularly through her love of gardening. Taking her vision from Ruskin’s linen ‘industry’ Garnett founded The Spinnery in Windermere which gave women homebased work spinning yarns which were then woven at the spinnery. Many of the designs were created around plant forms.

Annie Garnett’s knowledge of weaving and textile history enabled her to create new fabrics and dye swatches that reflect her love of Lakeland’s colours.


Garnett was not only a knowledgeable, inspired artisan she was also an astute businesswoman. By 1899 over 90 women worked as home spinners and embroiders. These workers were given training and also loaned their equipment for free. Annie clearly saw The Spinnery as a business and not a charity and she worked hard to promote it. Her management style was most certainly hands-on!

Lastly we could not leave Coniston without a ratch around a graveyard. We were looking for two gravestones.


And W.G. Collingwood’s. Mission completed.

Are you ready for that drink? You’ve done really well to get here.

Tea drinking.

With a lack of dairy I have missed a delicious cuppa so I went to the Mecca of tea and coffee drinking which we are lucky enough to have here in Kendal, Farrer’s. I went experimental and by serendipity discovered a delicious brew.

And here I sit supping. Time you got the kettle on too. You have certainly earned it.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

PS I receive no freebies (I can dream) nor payment (does that happen?) for anything recommended in my blog. Mx

Bremen re-visited

Hello All

Monday 23 April 2018

After a quick breakfast,

‘Yes mum they are bread rolls … goodness can’t take her anywhere…’

– during which I managed to get locked out of the dining room (does this kind of stuff just happen to me?) and had to do an “Ooh La La” farce type run (who am I kidding, more of a trot..) round to a side door – we set off for a leisurely stroll around historic Bremen.

If you are a regular reader of this jumble of words and photos you may remember that I visited Bremen last October. It was great to share it with No 1 Daughter.

The town square now in daylight.

St Peter’s Cathedral, and that statue

Which this time I had ‘a child’ to photograph stroking the donkey’s nose.

Re-tracing my October footsteps I led No 1 Daughter to the Lilliputian streets of Schnoor. Thankfully she loved it as much as I had. Hard not to.

What I hadn’t noticed before was how many tea shops there are in Bremen. It would have been wrong not to stop for a cuppa and … hallelujah… vegan apple cake.


I know visiting Schnoor is like taking a step back in time but who is this dude behind me? As more folk in traditional medieval costume appeared the mystery was solved. This is the door to Schnoor Museum and these are the work clothes. Fabulous.

Schnoor was the perfect place for last stop shopping after which we headed off to the amazing Ratskeller which has been serving wine since 1405!

Situated in the undercroft of Bremen Town Hall the Ratskeller was the council wine cellar – now I have worked in local government for a number of years but have yet to locate a wine cellar under County Offices Kendal!

The Ratskeller is also a traditional tavern which also houses a restaurant. It holds huge ornate wine barrels

And the vaults stretch a distance underground.

There are also ‘cabins’ along one wall which have doors that can be closed for added privacy ….

You can just about see the cabins behind me and my soup…oh how I had missed German soups.

It was a lovely touristy way to end our day in Bremen.

Until next we meet

Moke xxx

Nice things happen

Even in very sad times nice things happen it’s just that it is easy to miss or forget them. I’ve looked back through my photos and here are some of the pleasant things that have happened over the last few weeks.

I had a lovely if wet day walking around Carlisle to search out the areas where I would like to live (there were many).

In addition there were jolly murals,

a reminder of Carlisle’s Roman past, DSCN0864

a market hall, DSCN0860

and somewhere to buy very good tea! DSCN0874

I like Carlisle (perhaps you’ve noticed) and I look forward to making my home there.

Nonetheless Kendal will always remain close to my heart. Many of my best friends live here and it holds some exciting events. The newest of which is the International Comic Arts Festival. Thanks to friends PG and CS I was lucky enough to go to a talk by the wonderful artist and observer of modern manners Posy Simmonds. She was hugely entertaining but also gave a real insight into her work (Life with the Webers, Gemma Bovary and Tamara Drewe).

Finally much looked forward to was a visit to Leeds to see my son. Although we talk every week it has still been months since I last saw him so it was a treat to travel with my daughter and her boyfriend to enjoy a family get together. Of course lunch was a must. For my son this is just a snack…


I had also forgotten what a marvelous city Leeds is. On past visits it has appeared at times to be a big building site this time with many of those new builds completed it was a rather beautiful combination of old and new.

And now? Time to look forward and create anew while keeping fond memories alive with just a little wooly project….

The Joy of Wallowing

Did I ever mention that I like the occasional wallow in self-pity? I know hard to imagine. But…

As a precursor to the chillier weather I developed a cold front of my own. Hacking chesty cough, sore throat, runny nose…you get the picture ….the works.

My friends knew I was feeling a teensy (what is that loud guffawing?) bit sorry for myself (stop that nodding in agreement!). Anyhoo, like a trooper (…stop it…) I carried on (picture hand raised to brow) but luckily as the week closed a ray of sunshine lifted my spirits. Yarndale Bunting I love you and all your cheery colourfulness. Thank you to the ladies (and gentlemen?) of Yarndale – that little bit of Yorkshire that seems to cover the entire globe – for providing a welcome divertissement from the onset of Autumn.

Nonetheless the cold wind whistling through the trees is a timely reminder to find ways to embrace the season. Out comes the trusty stock pot for hearty soups and Clara Chuff (my trolley) is taken into town to carry home delicious vegetables from the market for a warming supper served with jacket potatoes and grated cheese….yummmmm!

As to the town coat of arms and the motto beneath – Pannus Mihi Panis – more of that later….

Having made it (just) through the week I was relieved that I was able to get together with a group of friends two of whom are celebrating special birthdays. To spare blushes I asked them to take the photos to mark the occasion. You could call it an eclectic mix!

Can I say every group should have a JG cos without her mathematical wizardry we would never be able to work out the bill!

Having recovered from her calculations (offers are great until you have to factor them in to make everyone’s share fare!) JG and I were given lifts by AJ. Stopping at JGs for a final cuppa JG treated AJ and me to a slice of the wonderful AW’s cake. By now you will be becoming familiar with AWs sugarcraft and baking skills. She had surprised JG with one of her special cakes. ‘Ere ’tis,

AW had covered the cake with JG’s interests and loves, see what you can spot. And if you were wondering what AW’s cake looks like on the inside feast your eyes on the fruity goodness, DSCN0791

delicious…and now all gone….

But today my thoughts turned to wooly stuff. Kendal is famously a wool town – hence the coat of arms and motto from earlier – and during this Wool Week Kendal had its own Kendal Wool Gathering. I was lucky enough to play a tiny part. Gathering up my real string bag – capacious is certainly the word – and my bits and pieces of crochet and needle felting I toddled down to Kirkland and joined in a jolly morning of sharing crochet and felting with families and visitors to the town’s newest festival in Abbot Hall Community Centre.

It was lovely to meet people and share a cuppa and a mutual interest in wool based crafts. A fitting close to the weekend….almost….

The slip-thru scarf is complete! Here are the final stages:

So tomorrow I will be sporting a new scarf and enjoying the warmth it’ll bring. No more wallowing for me.

a BIG week

I said it would be a BIG week and here’s the reason why…I’m leaving the library service!!!!!  From Sunday night I can no longer be called Library Lady! Its an exciting time for me but as I am sure you can imagine a sad one too. I have had some wonderful adventures over the last six years (who can ever forget Pumpkin Monsters???) and made some very very good friends. I can honestly say it has been a privilege to work for the library service and I am very proud to have spent time in such an important branch of public service.

Kendal Library is like a big family and it feels a bit like leaving home…gulp. Yesterday was the LAST of all the LASTS I’ve done, the last Rhymetime, the last Saturday (Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday, Friday), the last Toddler Tales and the ‘last list’ goes on….

But Frances and I had one more children’s Batty Bat Hat session to run. Here’s Red with Frances ready to run us to Grange Library,Frances and Red

And there were no shortage of Batty Bats fluttering around the library,

When we got back it was time for a special lunch at Waterside Cafe (all veggie restaurant, yummeeeee), DSCN0548

This was a real treat and a chance for me to say goodbye (au revoir really) to some very important people. But there was more to come. Amongst their many talents my friends at the library know how to put on a spread

It really was a leaving do with a purpose, raising over £100 for Marie Curie (did I ever mention she was Polish?).

For which some lovely folk had also made and baked things to raise funds

I had two very special cakes made by AlW (her husband AW had also put together the bunting!),

A spectacular bouquet DSCN0562

Some wonderfully thoughtful gifts and a collection of cards I will keep to remind me of happy times whenever I feel blue

One of the gifts (thank you Frances) allowed me chance to get us all to join in an unforgettable and rousing rendition of “I’m a little teapot”, so that’s everyone trained for Rhymetime! Sorry guys I just had to do it. What a smashing bunch. Aren’t I a very very lucky girl?

I am going on to pastures new but still within the Council. They will be very different pastures and I am sure I will miss my friends at Kendal Library but I have a wealth of marvelous memories (and a huge repertoire of rhymes) to take away with me. Talking of which, so that Frances will never forget the paperbag Puffins we made in the May half-term I left a little gift of my own,

BIG THANKS to all the wonderful staff and patrons of Kendal Library. But as Arnie said “I’ll be back!”…well I don’t want fines on me books.

Aunty O celebrates 90 years!

Two cake stands down I just managed to snap this third before we finished off the last cakes, puddings and scones - the sandwiches had already gone.

Two cake stands down I just managed to snap this third before we finished off the last delicious cakes, puddings and scones – the sandwiches had already been scoffed.

“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday  Aunty Oh-Ohhhh, Happy Birthday to you!” It’s not everyday that you get to celebrate a 90th birthday. Today was one of those special days. And how great it was to get together with my small but beautifully formed family for afternoon tea in the sunshine overlooking Lake Windermere raising a cup and a tasty treat to Aunty O.

I’m beginning to think that cousins are like buses: you don’t see one for ages then three come along together. Me, A and JL. Well done Aunty O for performing this minor miracle by inviting us to Lindeth Howe to share the afternoon with you. Let’s hope these family get-togethers are becoming a habit.

But what to get the birthday girl? The flowers were beautiful. And water, replaced by these ‘jelly’ balls, sooooo yesterday.

I really didn’t know what to get so I did what I usually do. I turned to crochet. Each to their own. This gave birth to Aunty’s present Part 1.

Aunty O has always been a keen gardener (mental note – do more gardening) so I thought I’d go with a flowery theme.

Now I think they are lovely but I’m biased and I’m not sure they are really what a nonagenarian (it really does mean someone that’s 90 – I looked it up) wants. Time for Aunty’s present Part 2.

Coupled with a nice soap this could be the one! Phew.

Night night all.

P.S. I so liked the Daisy Facecloth that I got up bright and early and made one for myself!