The last two weeks have been rather full on with work. A deadline for a new needle felt pattern, which is the largest thing I've designed instructions for. And because of a workshop happening up in the middle of that, a lightening 48 hour trip back down to Bampton, to my favourite haunt, Folly Fabrics.
Sharon (lovely shop owner and my host that night) took me on a little scenic walk around the village, where I snapped the 'Downton Abbey' church. Again.
And took touristy photos of pretty cottages and houses. I still miss the Cotswolds, despite loving Shropshire. And despite the fact that I could never afford to live here.
One of the things I miss most, is the combination of mellow light on Cotswold stone, against a darkening sky. It brings out a horribly poignant homesickness. 'The Land of Lost Content' indeed.
The Land of Lost Content
Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
A. E. Housman ('A Shopshire Lad')
I am sure that many of us have those places. I do find it painfully ironic that this particular excerpt comes, of course, from A.E Housmans 'A Shropshire Lad' - and that one of my favourite musical collections by Ralph Vaughan Williams is 'On Wenlock Edge' - which I now find almost impossible to listen to.
'On Wenlock Edge' is, as you may know, based around 'A Shropshire Lad'. The real Wenlock Edge - in Shropshire of course - is also close to the ancient green woodlands where Andy rests. All of these interwoven strands combine to make a tangled knot of intense sorrow and melancholia, which I try not to dwell on too much.
So let's not. Let's have a photograph of Sharon taking a photograph of wildflowers. As you do.
She was collecting autumn inspiration colours, and these 'Fox and Cubs' (as I know them) are the most gorgeous fiery blood orange.
That night, a cake was decorated for the workshop. They are always themed to fit whatever we are making.
And there everyone was, the next day, with the usual combination of chatter and concentration.
It's always lovely when people come back to my workshops and this time, four out of the nine places had been taken up by people I'd taught before.
Teatime and the traditional toadstool dance around the cake.
I never cease to feel so rewarded at the end of a session, when everyone has worked hard, ploughed through any difficulties and gone home with something they love.
I returned home to Shropshire that night (via train as usual), a little shattered, to find a box of macarons waiting for me; a present through the post from Joe. So sweet and so pretty; the only thing to do was to Instagram them. And then eat them. And feel lucky that I have a man who sends cake through the post.
The rest of the week was spent getting on with my pattern deadline, which was all business as usual; it will be published by Christmas, and it's my favourite one yet - I can't wait to show it off!