♡ Thank you ♡ Hartelijk dank ♡ Mille grazie ♡

Johanna of Likefloraposte made me a surprise! She sent a packet, inside which some cute guests were braving the journey across the ocean…

a desert hedgehog cub, by Max Korostischeveski

(a desert hedgehog cub, photo by Max Korostischeveski)

“Hello World!”

I know, the cub in the picture is really cute… luckily it was not it that braved the long trip. In any case, I’m pleased to report that the packet and the content safely landed on this side of the pond (=England). The trip started long before (see Off to Britain post).

Oh, post for me!?

Mistery, mistery.. what will be inside?

Mistery content....

….. knitting needles …from Canada!

Nova Scotian birch needles

Nova Scotian birch needles

Oh, wait… they’re not alone… a jolly creature is emerging from the paper….

...and then a jolly creature emerged from the paper Hello, pleased to meet you

“This place looks rather different from where I was born. I wonder where I am.”

mh, I wonder where I am

“Let me explore around. This place is really old style… and what a strange accent people have.”

There are Smarties here as well :)

“Mum, be reassured, I arrived safe and sound. I’ll try to make new friends 🙂 Love and Liefs”

Love and Liefs

Thank you, Johanna, I loved your surprise and the new friends you sent me ♡ Judith

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A taste of Bayern

I was meaning to post more pictures about the Hampstead area of London, but after reading Yarnbrarian’s post on their trip planning, here it is, a post on a recent trip to Munich, Bayern, Southern Germany, for some inspiration.

A few highlights, starting with the Old Town Hall, the New Town Hall, then the Cathedral and finally a typical party in traditional folk style!

The Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) is located in the East side of Marienplatz, in the very centre of the city and easily reachable by public transport. Being first documented in the 14th century, it had been the domicile of the municipality until 1874.

In 1874 the municipality moved to the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus), located in the northern part of Marienplatz. The building is very large and hosts a gallery accessible from the inner courtyard. There is free entrance and the beauty of the Neo-Gothic architecture is worth dedicating some hours to wander around in its corridors, enjoying its magic atmosphere and flights of stairs. It has extensive stained glasses with various subjects, including noblemen, city views, a set of American themes (the Statue of Liberty, many American presidents and distinguished people) and manly love. The Glockenspiel performs daily at 11am, 12pm and 5pm.

The New Town Hall:

The Old Town Hall:

The Cathedral of Our Dear Lady (Frauenkirche) was consecrated in 1494 and features two towers, which are accessible to the public, climbing up the stairs, and offer a unique view of Munich and the nearby Alps (sadly they were shut when we arrived). It hosts interesting attractions: among others, the Cenotaph of Emperor Louis IV and the Devil’s Footstep (Teufelstritt), around which different legends have been built.

And more pictures, some are random shots, most were taken at the 40th birthday party of a dear friend, hosted in a traditional mountain hut in the city centre (!)…

Enjoy!

A history of London in pictures: the Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath, also locally known as The Heath, is an ancient natural park situated in North London, not very far from the Camden Town area. While Camden has a rather alternative flavour, the area of Hampstead Village is on the posh side. On one side of the heath, there is Hampstead Village, which has a long history and beautiful old houses. On the other side, there is Highgate Village, with its beautiful historic cemeteries (Karl Marx lies there).

The Heath has a gracious mix of various landscapes and landmarks: it includes beautiful woods, grassy hilly areas with breathtaking views on London, ponds, swimming ponds, bird areas, Kenwood House, a lido and some playgrounds.

Here it follows a gallery of views and places in the Heath and its surroundings (the photos are taken with my iPhone, so the quality is not the highest really!)

The area is really extensive and there is another set of photos taken in the surroundings of the Heath, including the Pergola, Whitestone, the Observatory and Hampstead Village… but that will have to be another post!

Give-away and thank-you’s

Give away: get your chance for a present :)

First things first – my long due thank you going to two really nice ladies who have made for interesting post reads since I joined the blog world: Heather of HKnits and Kate of fashion label Maison Bentley for their kind nominations, respectively for the Liebster Award and the Sunshine Award. I want to apologise for my ‘crappiness’ in not following up – I’m really bad at questions and answering them! I truly appreciated your nominations, it’s just me that I’m no good with those things… ♥

Next, it’s about the announced give away. How this works: post in the comments something about your favourite indie yarn. Alternatively, you can tell about your favourite item (book, vintage, etc). You can participate from any part of the world. Why that: it would be enriching to read stories from other people – by exchanging stories, we celebrate the beauty, variety and uniqueness of each product. And what are the prizes? There is a choice among the items you can find listed below. I tried to include different things, so hopefully the winner can choose the most suitable to her/his taste. Unfortunately, I had to exclude heavy/large ones because those could cause an issue with the shipment. Some of the items are new, others are used or vintage. Prize announcement: A random number generator will proclaim the winner, which will be announced on Saturday 25th May. Please post your comment by Saturday 25th 11am BST (here is a time converter to calculate your local time).

You can pick any one entry among all the bulletpoints listed below (for ease of choice, items have been grouped in categories: yarn, fabric, book, cute thing). Any question, please let me know.

YARN
there is a bit of variety to choose from, starting with local wools and then continuing with some summery colours and sock yarn.

      • Jamieson & Smith Natural Shetland, 100% wool, 3 x 50 gram balls, handwash only. Apparently it’s perfect for colourwork as it blooms nicely while blocking to help with any irregularities in tension; the yarn looks scrumptious and is dye free (colours are made by hand, sorting fleece according to shade).
        Jamieson and Smith, Natural Shetland
      • Shetland 2-ply 100% wool in shades purple, grey, midnight or flintstone blue, a fine 1/9nm yarn that gives ca. 900 metres per 100 grams. You can choose all in one colour or some of each shade. The yarn comes from cone and is oiled but blooms once hand-washed. The total weight will be circa 300 grams (approx. 6 yarn cakes) and will be winded up in yarn cakes, either single or multi-stranded to your choice. You can read more about this yarn in my previous post Shetland
        Shetland 2-ply
      • Wensleydale/Angora (75%/25%), DK weight, naturally processed by a small English producer; suitable for knitting and felting; 4 x 50 grams balls (approx. 120 yards/ball) in a natural creamy colour, handwash only
        Wensleydale-Angora indie English wool
      • Bluefaced Leicester wool, dyed by The Natural Dye Studio, 4-ply sock weight, 100 gram skein (360m/394yds), 2-3.5 mm needles, handwash
        Bluefaced Leicester wool, The Natural Dye Studio
      • Bluefaced Leicester wool mix (85% BFL/15% Donegal nep), dyed by Skein Queen, shade River Pebbles, 4-ply sock weight, 100 gram skein (400m/435yds), handwash
        Bluefaced Leicester wool, Skein Queen
      • Blue Face Leicester, DK worsted spun in Yorkshire, England from 100% British wool, 3 x 50 gram balls
        Blue Face Leicester, locally produced
      • Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK, 55% wool/33% acrylic/12% cashmere, 50 grams/110 metres, 4mm / US 6 needles, 2 x 50 gram balls, happy shades of apple green and strawberry pink for a summer vibe
        Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
      • Louisa Harding Grace Hand Dyed, 2 x 50 grams skeins, 50% silk 50% wool, 109 yds/100m in each, 4 mm needles, with its silk component is a nice option for spring knitting
        Louisa Harding Grace Hand Dyed
      • Regia sock yarn, 75% wool/25%polyamide, machine washable, made in Italy, 3 x 100 gram balls, each balls is enough for a pair of socks.
        Regia sock yarn

FABRIC

      • set of two fabric cuts: spring flowers motif, approx. 110 cm width x 70 cm length, drapery light material, it would seem suitable for a summery sleeveless top + ethno style motif, approx. 110 cm width x 90 cm length, lightweight, suitable for example for a sleeveless shirt or a light informal skirt. You can also see them in the first picture of this post.
        set of 2 lightweight fabric cuts

BOOK

      • Waking Up in Iceland by Paul Sullivan, an interesting account by an Englishman who visited Iceland for some months, easy to read, it offers a glimpse of the local culture, music and traditions (choice between new print copy or Kindle edition)
        Waking Up in Iceland
      • A World without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Gödel and Einstein by Palle Yourgrau, the book is rooted in a mathematical/logical background, I found it to be an interesting, although not exactly lightweight, account on two 20th-century key figures, who had sharp minds, peculiar characters and shared a singular friendship (new copy)
        A World Without Time - the forgotten legacy of Goedel and Einstein
      • Arthur: Roman Britain’s Last Champion by Beram Saklatvala, 1967 (vintage copy with some ageing)
        Arthur: Roman Britain's Last Champion
      • Cross Stitch Cards and Keepsakes by Jo Verso, containing personalised designs for birthdays, anniversaries, Easter, Christmas and various occasions (copy from my reference collection, that is used but in good condition)
        Cross Stitch Cards and Keepsakes
      • 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton (copy from my reference collection in very good condition) + 250 Patterns of Crocheting (a quirky vintage pocket paperback book with b/w illustrations, language is Chinese!)
        200 Crochet Blocks & 250 Patterns of Crocheting

CUTE THING

      • sheep stamp Leaping Sheep Border, size ca. 13 x 3 cm, for those who love all things woolly this is a cute new rubber stamp, locally produced by Inca Stamp
        + two little silk pouches (13 x 11 cm)
        Leaping Sheep Border stamplittle silk poaches
      • set of two prints with a natural subject, size 18 x 24 cm each, made on fine paper near Florence, Italy
        Prints on fine paper, made in Italy

This is my first give-away… hopefully I did things ok. I look forward to reading your stories!

A history of London in pictures: Greenwich

Greenwich is a lovely village along the River Thames, a World Heritage Site just a short train ride from central London. The area has been in use since the Iron Age and the place was named Grénewic in Anglo-Saxon (translating approximately as ‘green dwelling place, village, town or bay’) [I took an Old English course while ago, but I sadly forgot almost all of it; it is a beautiful language, for a quick reference there are many source online, I used this dictionary]. The town was the birthplace of many in the House of Tudor, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

There are many attractions for all audience types, from the local curiosity and vintage market, to the National Maritime Museum, the Observatory, the Meridian Line, the Queen’s House, the fully restored sail ship Cutty Sark, as well as the village itself with its maritime flair and holiday feel. One day may not be enough to visit it all – it’s not my first time there and I will surely need to return to view more of it (or simply view again interesting things).

IMG_1385piece from the Long John Silver Collection, the largest collection of Merchant Navy figureheads in the world, mostly dating from the 19th century: the collection is literally placed underneath the Cutty Sark – you’ll understand when you visit..

National Maritime Museum

The first stop is at the National Maritime Museum, with its collections related to Britain’s sea travels and encounters with other cultures – there you can find the uniform that Nelson wore at the Battle of Trafalgar. It also hosts temporary exhibitions, like the former “Titanic Remembered” (a few items can be seen below) and the current Ansel Adams’ “Photography from the Mountains to the Sea”, an extensive display of his black & white photos of landscapes, of which I particularly loved the sections on Snow & Ice and Geysers. In line with the exhibition theme, I acquired a suitable necklace (shown further below).

National Maritime Museum, postcards and objects from the exhibitions

Nelson's coat worn at the Battle of Trafalgar          Vice-admiral coat worn by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar; on the left shoulder there is a bullet hole, near to the epaulette

IMG_1432Elizabeth Mellenger wore this cape on the night Titanic sank, using it to help revive Second Officer Lightoller, who was dragged on board lifeboat 14

IMG_1434                First-class passenger Edith Rosenbaum (the journalist Edith Russell) wore these fine evening slippers when she abandoned Titanic in lifeboat 11

IMG_1430Prince Frederick’s barge, bow view

Miss Britannia II, speed vesselMiss Britannia II, speed vessel

"The Tetons and the Snake River"The Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1942. Photograph by Ansel Adams

IMG_1429camera necklace with long chainette and Swarovski crystals

The Royal Observatory is the home of the Prime Meridian of the world: since the late 19th century, the Prime Meridian at Greenwich has served as the reference line for Greenwich Mean Time (GMT); it was the official starting point for the new Millennium. Here are listed some more interesting facts about the Prime Meridian. The observatory also hosts a planetarium and many instruments, like the Harrison timekeepers (Harrison is the inventor of the Compound Pendulum and of several Time Keepers) and UK’s largest refracting telescope.

Royal_observatory_greenwich(photo by ChrisO, available here)

During the lunch break you can visit the local market housed in a courtyard in the village and taste one of the many British or exotic culinary offers, while looking at the curiosities, accessories, craft and vintage items on sale.

Greenwich Market

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Finally, we can head for the pier and enter the old sail ship Cutty Sark, now fully restored and exhibiting some great artefacts and installations originally presented. The ship restoration works, after a recent fire and a long duty career (it first sailed on 1869), were completed just a year ago, and it is impressive to visit the result of so much careful work. I ab-so-lu-te-ly recommend it. A complete presentation of the Cutty Sark history is available on this page. Arranged over the ship decks, there are distinct areas presenting the products that this trade clipper used to transport, with mesmerising sections on China tea and wool.

the Cutty Sark sail ship

a tea timeline                      a tea timeline

tea container

tea container, detail                    tea container, detail

Australian sheep Australian sheep

sheep's woolly coat is cut offwool is combedcarding combswool is spun and knitted to make... your jumpera woolly poemCutty Sark's 1,250,000 jumpers

An impressive feature is that the ship is suspended above the lower ground, hosting further exhibition space (that’s were the figureheads are placed) as well as a cosy cafeteria, serving typical teas, coffee, refreshments and some tasty teacake similar to the one in this recipe.

IMG_1391standing under the ship

Cutty Sark the whiskyCutty Sark the whisky (one of the many memorabilia)

The visit is over for today, after so many interesting things, thoughts are storming the mind and it’s time to rest. Has this little overview inspired you to plan a day in Greenwich?

Have a woolly week and happy travel thoughts!

sheep wool

Sunday in Greenwich

Today there was a birthday celebration and we decided to visit Greenwich – World Heritage Site and home of the Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT). There are plenty of attractions of different sorts – an original restored sail ship (truly impressive!), a maritime museum, an observatory, the Meridian Line, just to name a few. It was a long and enjoyable day and I took a zillion pictures.

I am too tired to write up a proper post, but here is a small preview and hope to prepare a story soon – there is so much to tell, especially about the amazing Cutty Sark and some wool stories that I found there..

Have a good week!

ImageView of Canary Wharf from the Cutty Sark

Imagea wall of wool 

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A history of London in pictures: the Temple area

I have been living in London for a number of years, but a busy life didn’t quite give me a chance to thoroughly visit it – in fact, very little did I see.

One day, on my way from the library to the college, I decided to take a side street instead, which lead to an interesting and unexpected sightseeing. I discovered that Temple has a name for a reason (of course!): The Temple located at its heart in a relatively hidden and unmarked backyard.

IMG_0379Middle Temple Hall: Elizabeth I, stained glass in the Queen’s Room

This little story started with the mention of a library, the Maughan Library. It’s a fine 19th century listed building located in Chancery Lane, whose full history can be found on the Victorian Web page here. Inside, among other things, there are a beautiful octagonal reading room and a (repurposed) medieval chapel; from the facade windows there is a great view of the neighbouring buildings and rooftops. In its courtyard it also features a small, peaceful garden with a bronze statue of Confucius.

Maughan Library in Chancery Lane

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As I was saying before digressing in the library sub-thread, wandering through a certain alley, I found myself in a quiet area, right in the heart of the city – hard to believe, with little squares, historic buildings and evocative atmospheres. I didn’t really know what the name of this area was, until I later reached the nearby Temple tube station and realised that its name came from the place I just visited. The Temple neighbourhood is formed by small side streets that lead to hidden squares, grand buildings in different styles and it borders the River Thames.

Views of the Temple area

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Lastly, I would like to introduce the Temple Church, which was built in the 12th century and was since its origins related to the order of the Knights Templar; its circular base makes reference to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The church hosts several tombs and marble effigies of medieval knights. In Victorian times its interiors were restyled to revive its original gothic atmosphere, but sadly WWII bombings damaged the church and the inner works, which were lost.

(A more detailed account of its history can be found on this Temple Church webpage.)

Imagethe interior of the Round Church section on the Temple Church in London (plate 84 of Microcosm of London, 1810, available here)

Imagethe knightly effigy tombs (photo by Alan Ford, available here)

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Image Imagethe two knights on one horse iconography recall the Templars’ lack of horse and poor beginnings, but this may well have been a tale or a symbol of Charity (source: Temple Church’s webpage)

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This little tour of the Temple area in London has come to an end, I hope that you may have enjoyed it. All pictures were originally taken for my own memory and were not intended for public use – this justifies (?) their not highest quality.

There may be follow up threads for my ‘A history of London in pictures’, depending on my writing “inspiration” and energies. Please feel free to leave your thoughts.

Enjoy your travels, whichever part of the planet your foot will tread.