What I did on my holidays...

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!

our trusty work horse laden down

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...

Andy setting up camp while I lounge against a stone wall

A picturesque ramble through Sykes Farm mak
es 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 o
f 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...

"Do we know you?"

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.


Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Oh how beautiful and peaceful those pictures are. I have been waiting for them and they are worth it.
Sounds like you had a restful retreat.
Love your mermaid bracelet.

Cathy said...

Fantastic pictures, Gretel - I haven't been to the Lake District for years, and these are making me yearn for the hills.

Gorgeous bracelet, too.

Anonymous said...

Fab photos! I adore the Lakes. Super bracelet, too.

Suffolkmum said...

What lovely photos, and a gorgeous bracelet (and description).

Un Peu Loufoque said...

Oh goodies love sheep have been waiting for you to come back so I can drool over your sketches!

natural attrill said...

It was lovely to see you all, thank you for visiting us.

Camping, mmm, I am envious, I like being in the 'outdoors' but dont think Laurence is so keen.

Those sheep sketches are great, some really have character, I especially like the one on the left facing up the hill off the page.


Joanna said...

I love the Lake District and camping - lucky you. I can't believe how much some campsites cost, but it did look lovely. Good luck with the etsy shop your paper cuttings look great.

Westerwitch/Headmistress said...

Oh I do envy you the motorbike - been years since husband and I sold ours - couldn't get the childseat on it!!! Love sheep, love your bracelet, loved reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a really wonderful time, great pictures and I'm sure that yhose sheep are going to be showing up in your art work soon.
Love the bracelet, your right perfect for a cancerian, great discription to. I've just opened an Etsy shop so maybe I need to take a leaf out of her book. Good luck with yours, your work is so delightful your bound to do well - going to take a look now.

Becky said...

Oo, where to start... lovely photos of beautiful scenery, great sheepy sketches and a gorgeous bracelet, I can see exactly why you absolutely had to have it!

Looks as though you had a lovely break, hope you're both well and relaxed, despite the marathon bike ride.

joanna said...

Beautiful photos of your sojourn in the Lakes, and I agree, a gorgeous bracelet and positively poetic description. See you next week!

julie said...

What a beautiful bracelet - I'm not surprised you were tempted by that wonderful description. Thanks so much for your pics of the Lakes. We've stayed at Sykeside before(around 12 years ago)they had a couple of gorgeous dogs - burmese mountain dogs I think and we saw badgers after dark that used to come and root around. Camping in the Lakes is wonderful - it's so dark and peaceful at night and there's something very humbling about being surrounded by the fells. Glad you had a great time!

tlawwife said...

Looks peaceful. I am into peaceful these days.

Good luck with the Etsy shop.

Marianne said...

Welcome back, Gretel! :-D

What a wonderful trip! Exquisite photos - I nicked a couple for painting reference. Please, I hope you don't mind. :-) I couldn't resist the scary sheep and the tumbling tarn pics - too beautiful for words. You have an artistic eye for photography.

Loved the sheep sketches - and the sketchy sheep. :-)

Stunning bracelet: hope it brings you lots of creative inspiration as well as being something beautiful to gaze at.


tlchang said...

Fells, sausages and menacing sheep! Glad you got a bit of holiday yourself. It all looks lovely. (I watched "Miss Potter" on the plane on the way home and was breathless over the Lake District landscapes... Can I BE her when I grow up?)

It is wonderful getting caught up on all your adventures in book-and-type rescue as well as your new Etsy ventures. I've sorely missed being able to read blogs of late and hope to stay more on top of it from here on out.

Happy creating!

OldBagNewTricks said...

Thank you so much for these exquisite pictures... they have taken my breath away -- such a charming stone wall, such menacing sheep. I am so glad to hear you had a lovely time -- except for the long trek there and back which it looks well worth it. Glad you're back.


and Cryptia said...

I just love the sheep :-)


That bracelet is beautiful - just right for a water baby. And your pictures of Ambleside make it look gorgeous.
How did you get those sheep to hold a pose long enough to sketch them? I've tried sketching hens, and they just don't keep still!

Gretel said...

Ha, they did keep moving, it's like drawing children, you've got to memorise how they looked ten seconds before! Love drawing chickens too. :)P

Anonymous said...

Reading this post and looking at your photos was like a breath of fresh air. Sheep are one of my favourite things and you've captured them so wonderfully. And after seeing your bracelet with the added description, I can only imagine that there will be hoards of people wanting one. Your wrist makes a good advertisement and the bracelet looks right at home on it.