Hic sunt dracones….

And plenty of them…

Half term fun. Dragon hunting with a five year old in Brighton Pavilion.

She was less keen on this:

She refused to believe anyone had ever eaten it. In fact, I think we may be heading towards more vegetarian choices quite soon….

The most interesting thing in the Pavilion apparently has nothing to do with poor old Prinny. It is Queen Victoria’s bed – with SEVEN mattresses, carefully counted!

Playing with the dye pots again

(And I have the fingernails to prove it…)

Some dipped, some injected, some spattered, some painted with a brush…. no end of fun! The unwound skeins above are not yet finished, but they will end up as sock yarn and/or mini skeins. The samples at the top are on a new base of kid mohair lace weight. I like it, but it may be better suited to more pastel colours.

May in the UK has been utterly grim, weatherwise (at least in this corner of the South East – I haven’t travelled far). So indoor activities like the above are ideal. I use mostly acid dyes in England – much less messy than the natural plant materials or indigo that I prefer in France (where I can work outside, with proper SUN!)

I did get out walking today though – despite the chilly rain. I usually end up on the Downs or along the seafront but today I went Urban. I have been lucky enough to have lived in Brighton for my whole adult life – mostly right in the city centre – but there are still numerous back streets and little squares to discover. Because there are so many separate conservation areas, there is a lot of information online – so I set out like a proper tourist to explore. It is quite surprising how much you never notice till you actually look for it…I shall do more!

Both Victorian, both still in service.

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The first one – my local in Brighton – is a rough workhorse of a box, scuffed and much painted over. The second is in Tunbridge Wells (sorry, ROYAL Tunbridge Wells) – very pretty design, beautifully maintained and, it has to be said, with just a whiff of tourist about it….

They are both listed – the unsophisticated one as curtilage, not in its own right. I know which one I prefer though!

All about the trees?

 

 

 

 

Mine, with a few others from Standen – plus my bowl of quinces. All over now, except the quinces which have morphed into jelly.

Bit late, but it seemed churlish to ignore it altogether! I do feel nostalgic for the festive greenery, despite still finding trails of ivy under the sofas. On the whole, though, I’m glad to be emerging from what is always an unreal few weeks.

But January? The blogs I read (and do really enjoy) are urging me to ‘welcome winter’ and ‘go with the seasons” etc etc.  All very good advice – what is the alternative after all? So I am happy to reflect on winter walks, icy bracken, subdued colours of nature, roaring fires, hearty food, cosy reading (in fact, everything ‘cosy’) – but this is definitely an idealised view.  The reality out there, from this urban window, is mild, damp, grey and full of scuttling, rather miserable-looking people. Luckily, I can move to another window which will give me twinkling lights and sea views!

Maybe the best thing about January for me is the holiday I take from my Etsy work. Apart from some custom dyeing I don’t usually do much for the shop. Just a little fancy spinning for myself, and stuff for friends and family. I’m currently crocheting a blanket for daughter number 4 (I’m pretty sure she never reads this!) and a few other projects mixed up below!

 

 

Almost over…

 

But still got ten tickets left for Brighton Festival events this weekend – 8 for a family outing to BOAT for lunchtime picnic/outdoor Shakespeare – the Tempest this year – and a couple for Medea, Written in Rage. Not at all sure what to expect for this one, but it is apparently ‘different’ and much hyped!

I may already have mentioned how much I appreciate living in Brighton…?!  I came to the University of Sussex from small town Berkshire a zillion years ago and, despite the definite problems in the City (housing, drug-related, traffic and parking…) it is such an open minded, creative, quirky, vibrant and simply beautiful place that we have never left. I am lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time in rural France now, but cutting ties with my City by the Sea is just not going to happen.