Bath – Somerset – Photos

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey

My visit to Bath last weekend was great fun.  I haven’t finished showing you my American photos yet, but they will have to wait till next week.

Bath is a city in Somerset, renowned for its Roman Baths.  I didn’t visit these but I gather that they are very impressive.  The whole area is steeped in history, with Stonehenge not far away.

Bath Abbey dominates the middle of the city.  It’s a beautiful 7th century church.  As you can see there are two layers of stained glass windows which make it very light inside.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go inside it, because I’ve just found out that there’s a Heritage Museum in the basement which would have been interesting to visit.

Apparently the Abbey receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.




Kaffe Fassett exhibition

Kaffe Fassett exhibition

Kaffe Fassett exhibition

My main purpose in beginning with Bath was to meet up with my future daughter in law and her mother.  I deliberately arrived early so that I could visit an exhibition in the Victoria Art Gallery.

Many thanks to Sue for alerting me to this – the exhibition is called A Celebration of Flowers and it displays both quilts and other needlework from Kaffe Fassett together with ceramics from Candace Bahouth.  Both were totally delightful, with amazing use of colour.  There were no photos allowed so I had to be content with a photo of the poster.

Victoria Art Gallery

Victoria Art Gallery

The exhibition is on till September 2nd and I thoroughly enjoyed drinking in all those wonderful colour combinations.

The Art Gallery is housed in a lovely building with a statue of Queen Victoria above one of the doors.

American Museum

American Museum

American Museum

Just outside Bath is the American Museum.  I had seen some of their vintage quilts at the Festival of Quilts but it was a real treat to see more of the collection.

The museum has been open since 1961 and apparently remains the only museum outside America to display the decorative arts of America.  It is housed in Claverton Manor which sits on a hill and enjoys wonderful views across the surrounding countryside.

Vintage quilts on display

Vintage quilts on display

Some of the quilts are displayed on the wall like this one.  Most of them are displayed on hanging boards so that you can leaf through them.

They rotate the quilts on display so you would need to visit many times to see their full collection.

1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet

1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet

As an extra treat for quilters, they have the 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet on loan from the Quilters Guild.  It will be there till July 29th.  It really is an extraordinary project – I felt privileged to be able to see it.

The wedding church

The wedding church

Local churches

The area that my future daughter in law lives in contains a grouping of ten churches.  This is the one that will host the wedding – a real picture postcard English country church.

I spent a wonderful weekend seeing the various venues for the wedding and getting to know Anna’s parents.  My job is the bunting and now I have much more idea of what will be required so I can get stuck in on that over the next few months.

Philadelphia – America – Photos

Philadelphia City Hall

Philadelphia City Hall

For my Philadelphia visit I travelled by train from New York.  It was a very short visit so there must be large areas that I haven’t seen, but I did at least have a lovely walk round the historic area.  Philadelphia was founded by an Englishman, William Penn in the late seventeenth century.  He was given the land by King Charles II to pay off the king’s debt to Mr Penn.  He went on to found the state of Pennsylvania.

From my hotel the City Hall could be seen dominating the area – what a lovely building it is.  It also made a useful landmark so that I could find my way to the old city – and also back to my hotel afterwards!




Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

Philadelphia is well known for being the home of the Liberty Bell, that international symbol of freedom.  the inscription on it reads:

Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof

It is impressive for its history as much as for the actual bell itself.  The whole area was very informative – lots of information boards, videos and historical background.  The bell was apparently rung in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was read out and later became a symbol of liberty for the abolitionists.

Independence Hall

Independence Hall

Congress Hall

Nearby the Independence Hall looked absolutely fascinating.  However entrance is very strictly controlled and I didn’t try to buy advance tickets until it was too late and they were already sold out.

However it was still possible to get into the park area around the Indpendence Hall and that way I could also get to the Congress Hall.

 

Congress Hall

Congress Hall

Luckily the Congress Hall next door was more open to visitors and I thoroughly enjoyed my tour around there.  This photo may look a little lopsided, but it was because I was trying to show the eagle on the ceiling as well as the chairs and table where the Congress used to sit and debate in the early days.  Philadelphia was capital of the United States for ten years while the city of Washington was being built.  It was during a fascinating period when more and more states were signing up to the United States.  Kentucky, Vermont and Tennessee all signed up and ratified the Constitution during this period.

Betsy Ross House

Betsy Ross House

Betsy Ross House

The first American flag ever was sewn in the Betsy Ross House.  I would have loved to see inside this house, but about five school groups turned up at the same time as I did.  I guessed there wouldn’t be room to breathe inside with all those children, so I went on by.

Design ideas

Design ideas

Quilt Inspiration

Of course there are always suggestions of ideas wherever you look in any city, but this rug in the Congress Hall definitely took my fancy.

Now all I need to do is figure out a way of simplifying the design to make it into a quilt.

Statue in the park

Statue against trees

Statue against trees

I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember whose statue this is.  I just thought that it was really striking with those trees providing a backdrop for the statue.

All in all I had a thoroughly memorable visit to Philadelphia – and I learned a huge amount as well.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

 

 

New York – America – Photos

New York skyline

New York skyline

My trip to New York was a wonderful experience.  I also took in Philadelphia and Washington, but I’ll keep those photos for another time.  The flight that I had booked was cancelled so I had to go a day early – what a hardship!  I’m starting with an image of the Observation Tower at Ground Zero – after all the New York skyline has always been amazing and this is obviously a new addition to the skyline.

I’m not going to try and show you photos of places like Times Square because my photos can’t compete with all the wonderful images that professional photographers produce.  Instead I’ll try and bring you some of the less well known places, or of quirky things that I saw.




Inside the 911 museum

Inside the 911 museum

Ground Zero

I visited the museum at Ground Zero.  Last time I was in New York I just visited the area without going inside the museum.  However I was really pleased to see inside the museum this time.  It was a very moving experience.

The quote ‘No day shall erase you from the memory of time’ is  from Virgil and what appears to be blue tiling behind it is in fact thousands of blue cards.  Each one of them is a different shade of blue.

Fashion district entrance

Fashion district entrance

New York fashion district

Obviously I had to take a wander around the fashion district and these sculptures seemed very appropriate at the entrance to the area.  The tailor at his sewing machine and the needle through the button were very striking.

Along 7th Avenue the pavements are decorated with a walk of fame with plaques giving brief outlines of some of the major designers and their work.  I found them really interesting.

Highline New York

Highline New York

New York Highline

What a wonderful idea this is!  A disused high level train track has been turned into a 1.1/2 mile walk high above street level.

What is this tree?

What is this tree?

The walk is just beside the tracks and the entire length has been planted with flowerbeds, shrubs and trees.  It’s a real oasis in a very busy city.

The tree shown was not one I had ever seen before – in the top right hand part of the photo there is a huge white flower.  So if anybody knows what the tree is I would be really interested to know.

Union Jack sweet

Union Jack sweet

Sweets in the bus terminal

In the Port Authority bus terminal there were sweeties everywhere.  That’s not as weird as it sounds!

The terminal is hosting an exhibition and a popup shop devoted to the work of Laurence Jenkell.  These sculptured candies are everywhere, with each one designed around the flag of a different country.  Obviously I had to take a photo of the Union Jack sweet.

Candy Stars and Stripes

Candy Stars and Stripes

In the popup shop there were many more items made from that candy shape which is her trademark.  This flag is made from red, white and blue sweet shapes.

Sewing machine on rock

Sewing machine on rock

Another sewing machine

This sewing machine sculpture appeared on a street corner which I passed on my way back to my hotel.

There was nothing with it to explain it, so I can’t tell you why it’s there, but it certainly grabbed my attention.

Bronx zoo

Family of baboons

Family of baboons

Towards the end of my holiday I needed something calm and restful as I was exhausted.  The Bronx Zoo fitted the bill beautifully.  This family of baboons looked very calm and peaceful – especially the one on the right lying along the trunk of the tree.  If you’re ever near the zoo, it is well worth a visit and it’s much cheaper on Wednesdays.

Monkey

Monkey

This cheeky monkey was a complete contrast to the baboons.  Hasn’t he got a pretty face?

I’m sorry that I can’t remember which type of monkey he is.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

 

Himley Hall – Dudley – Photos

Himley Hall

Himley Hall

I visited Himley Hall by accident – I was on my way somewhere else and noticed the signs so I dropped in and had a wonderful morning looking around.  The magnolia trees surrounding the hall were absolutely magnificent.  They were in full bloom and really stunning.

The hall is 18th century and it is set in 180 acres of parkland designed by Capability Brown.  Obviously I didn’t get to explore all of it!  It used to be home to the Earls of Dudley but now is used for weddings and special events.  There were a couple of exhibitions on the day that I visited and they were really interesting.




Winter birdlife

Winter birdlife

Himley Hall Art Exhibitions

The first exhibition that I came across was the wildlife art of David Spencer.  This bird was beautifully represented – almost ready to fly off the canvas.  David is based in Staffordshire but his works cover wildlife from all over the world.

Ladybird by David Spencer

Ladybird by David Spencer

This ladybird makes a beautiful picture – this is the sort of content that would look great in a quilt.

It was behind glass so I apologise for the reflection of myself taking the photo.

Sydney Opera House in lego

Sydney Opera House in lego

Lego Exhibition

Lego was something that my children never really played with much.  However this exhibition definitely changed my view of lego projects.  I would never have dreamed that something so intricate could be made from lego bricks.

Yoda in lego

Yoda in lego

Yoda was even more striking.  What a beautifully made project.  There were quite a few Star Wars projects on display and the intricacy was really impressive.

Still waters run deep

Still waters run deep

Outside Himley Hall

The parkland was magnificent and I’m sure I’ll be going back to Himley Hall for longer walks.  On this occasion I restricted myself to a walk round the lake.

What struck me about this little inlet was how still the water was.  The reflection of the trees was crystal clear.  Once again my thoughts turned to quilts – what a lovely landscape quilt this would make.  One day when time allows ….

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Haden Hill House Museum – Birmingham

Haden Hill House Museum

Haden Hill House Museum

Haden Hill House Museum is another delightful museum that is a hidden treasure very close to where I live.  As with the Oak House, it is free to visit, but this one sits in a magnificent park of 55 acres.  I didn’t see much of the parkland as it was raining but I will definitely return for a nice long walk in the summer.

There are two parts to it – an old hall which is probably seventeenth century but was damaged in a fire, and the Victorian house. This is on the right of the photo.




Sculpture in the lake

Sculpture in the lake

This lovely small lake was the only part of the park that I saw.  As it’s between the car park and the house I couldn’t really miss it!

The library

The library

Inside Haden Hill House

The first room that you come across downstairs is the library.  This was described as cosy although I felt that it was very dark.  I think that the curtains were drawn to protect the furnishings from sunlight.  The model of a lady embroidering was very realistic.  In every room I was really impressed by the many activities for children.  It must get packed during the school holidays!

Bed in the servants' quarter

Bed in the servants’ quarter

The servants’ quarters looked really comfortable.  This bed had both mattress and pillows.  There were many Victorian items of clothing displayed around the room.

Treadle sewing machine

Treadle sewing machine

And also a sewing machine!  We didn’t have one of these with a treadle when I was small, but the machine itself looks really similar to the hand operated Singer that we used for many years.

Quilt Inspiration

Floor tiles

Floor tiles

Obviously I was on the lookout for quilt inspiration and these floor tiles will definitely be appearing in a quilt some time in the future.  The overall design was very Victorian and I was particularly impressed with the border tiles.  In one of the rooms there was a huge amount of William Morris design in both the wallpaper and the furnishings.  What a treat.

There was one gorgeous stained glass window that would make a great quilt, but my photo looks too shaky for me to display it here.

Scrappy quilt?

Scrappy quilt?

I was delighted to find a quilt on one of the beds.  While we would describe it as a scrappy quilt, this one probably filled the original point of quilts – using up fabric from old clothes to provide warmth.

Wedding dresses

Wedding dresses

They are licensed to hold weddings in Haden Hill House and one room was taken up with wedding outfits through the ages.

These were fascinating.

Overall I was thrilled to have found Haden Hill House Museum and will definitely be returning there.

Coughton Court – Alcester – Photos

Coughton Court

Coughton Court

For my visit to Coughton Court I managed to choose a day that was dry and not too cold.  It’s a National Trust property not far from here.  The Throckmorton family have owned it for hundreds of years – since 1409 in fact.  They were a very powerful family with many ties to the royal family.

Coughton Court is a Grade I listed building, a Tudor house that is brimming over with history.  The grounds are delightful and the interior is packed with treasures.





Outside Coughton Court

Back view of Coughton Court

Back view of Coughton Court

Coming out the back of the building, I couldn’t help feeling that this entrance was just as stunning as the front entrance.  This area must have been very sheltered and a real suntrap.  From here you could access the walled garden which was definitely the largest that I had ever seen.

The lake

The lake

The grounds are extensive and there were newborn lambs in a few paddocks close to the house.

As usually happens in National Trust properties, there were many walks marked out.  One of them led round this delightful lake – lots of daffodils gave a lovely splash of colour to it.

Inside the Catholic church

Inside the Catholic church

The Churches

There are two churches within the grounds.  I couldn’t get near the Protestant church as it was shrouded in scaffolding, but this is the interior of the Catholic church.  Very peaceful and relaxing.

Tapestry

Tapestry

The Interior

The interior of the court is stunning.  There were some beautiful tapestries and I was surprised at how well the colour had lasted on these.  Sometimes in these old properties the tapestries have become very dark with age.

In the bedroom

In the bedroom

Inside one of the bedrooms was a very comfortable looking four poster bed.  That woodwork at the foot of the bed is apparently an adapted set of antique library steps.

Beautiful rugs

Beautiful rugs

This time, the rugs were on the floor, not the tables.  I suppose when you have the sort of wealth that the Throckmorton family had, you have no need to show off your rugs on tables.

Stained glass window

Stained glass window

The Windows

One feature that really stood out for me was the stained glass windows.  I’m sure we’ve all made our own stained glass quilts, but the detail in these windows was way beyond anything that I would attempt!

The custom many centuries ago was to commemorate a wedding with a stained glass window naming the two families.  This particular window celebrated the wedding of a Catesby with a Throckmorton.  If you’re familiar with the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 you’ll know that Robert Catesby was the ringleader of the plot.  In fact Coughton Court was one of the escape venues for the plotters.  This surprised me because I’d always assumed that everything happened in London, but I now know that there was quite a big Midlands involvement.

I had a wonderful day out – a lovely mix of history, pleasant walks and beautiful rooms to view.