Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A week in England

I can hardly believe I've been back in England for a week.  My US trip seems like another world now, and I've been trying really hard to not succumb to post-holiday blues (efforts not assisted by the fact that I've been suffering from a horrible cough & cold).  But what a busy week it's been: I've hardly had time to feel sad.

I spent two days sleeping and washing endless loads of laundry, then the weekend found me in London.  I went to see Anne Boleyn at The Globe, which was superb.  A very funny and, for a Tudor history geek like me, fascinating look at the rise and fall of Boleyn but also at James I and his attempts to unite the church with a new translation of the Bible.  I would recommend you go and see it, but sadly it finished it's run on Sunday. 

Usually when I go to London I spend my time rushing from one thing to another, feeling stressed and panicked.  On Monday I deliberately took things easy and planned just one thing: a trip to the British Library.  I visited the excellent Out Of This World exhibition, which is filled with sci-fi memorabilia.  I'm not an avid fan of the genre but found the exhibits really interesting and appreciated the focus given to female authors and feminist science fiction writing.  I whiled away a gorgeous sunny afternoon reading in the library courtyard, before wandering up to Islington, where I was booked into a sewing workshop at The Make Lounge.

Now, a confession: since sewing my school jumper to my work during Home Economics in year 9, I haven't been near a sewing machine.  I can sew reasonably well by hand and use fabric glue for bigger projects, but was keen to overcome my fear of sewing machines.  The beginners class focused on making a simple cushion cover with detachable corsage.  I found choosing the fabric the most difficult part, eventually plumping for a pink & white Eiffel Tower print.  The tutor took us through each step of the project slowly and gave plenty of support.  I spent most of the class in a state of panic but by the end felt incredibly proud of my straight seams and relieved that my top was unattached to the cover.  I'm already planning which workshop to sign up for next... lampshade making?  Book-binding? 

The finished product, taking pride of place in my study

The last few days have been very productive, getting little jobs done around the house and garden.  I have planted lots of bulbs and bought some autumn-flowering annuals for the pots which had died off after being neglected when I was away.

When I stayed at Sarah's house in Eugene I was extremely envious of her gorgeous larder, filled with jars and jars of dried goods.  A trip to Ikea later and I too am the owner of numerous jars for my baking cupboard.

I've been crafting like mad, making two pinboards (of which more later) and working on some brilliant bunting.  I've rearranged some pictures on my walls and finally framed the vintage world map I found at Baileys Home & Garden in Ross-On-Wye.  I've cleaned my woodburning stove and hearth in preparation for log fire season (getting soot all over my sofa in the process, oops).

I've assembled - with suprisingly little swearing - a chest of drawers and painted it a very pale grey eggshell to match my bathroom.

And now I am going to sit down with a good book, a cup of tea and a well-deserved crumpet.

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