Day one - motorbike to Manchester with camping equipment, about 270 miles with two ten minute breaks. We pop over to the headquarters of Natural Attrill and are treated to a lovely buffet and grand tour of their amazing house. Finally, someone who has more stuff than me!
Day two - motorbike out to Lake District. It is glorious weather and Cumbria is looking stunning - my old memories of gloomy, misty, looming mountains and constant rain are dispelled. We set up camp at Sykeside, which is a simply gorgeous site with fantastic facilities - but outrageously expensive for a tent pitch - 18 pounds per night, as (unusually) they charge per person. So we only stay two days...
A picturesque ramble through Sykes Farm makes me fall in love with the area.
sheep safely grazing and all that - very Samuel Palmer
Day three - sausages for breakfast - excellent spicy Cumberland ones from the little butcher in Ambleside High Street. We find a nearby beauty spot and I draw a sheet of sheep, while Andy treks up one of those big fell things. I don't do real walking - I'm much happier pottering about with a good supply of paper and pens. Lots of new ideas popping into my head thanks to new surroundings.
I get rather too good at not scaring the sheep and after an hour they are surrounding me and looking about as menacing as sheep can get...
I high-tail it down to the shade, sit by a lovely tarn and listen to the tumbling water with a bar of chocolate, until Andy finds me.
Day four - time to head back. Pack up camp and return to Manchester for a pitstop, then a somewhat tortured trip home, three hours almost nonstop. Biked well over 300 miles in one day. With rucksack. Walking like an aged crab by the time I prise myself off the bike. Good to be home and the cats are overjoyed to see us. If you like pictures of fells, sheep and sausages, there are numerous ones here.
And so with renewed vigour I start a week of paper cutting, and set up my little Etsy shop. Lots of lovely friendly sellers from the UK in the forum and I persuade Andy that I cannot live without this exquisite mermaid bracelet...(thank you Andy!)
...which I found in another 'newbie' Etsy shop, 'Infinite Reverie'. I was her first customer. She wrote a perfectly beautiful description, which was the final persuasion - if any were needed. A very good lesson in how to market and sell your goods. With her kind permission, here it is;
"This delicate bracelet reminds me of walking barefoot on sandy beaches and the glimmer of the sea in the sun. It is simple yet elegant and is sure to add some mermaid magic into every outfit... This bracelet combines a focal turquoise gemstone oval bead with light grey freshwater pearls and peacock (half lime green, half turquoise) faceted Czech glass beads. The turquoise gemstone bead measures about 20mm x 16mm. The bracelet is finished with an ornate twisted sterling silver toggle clasp. All the metals used are 925 sterling silver."
Now isn't that wonderful? What Cancerian could resist that? It is a perfect fit, not too loose or tight, and I am going to be wearing it at least all summer.