Fun, Friends and Freedom.

In January, we went to Madeira, which was a bit of a disappointment, partly because of the weather, which was, to use a very English expression, changeable. Mainly, it changed from mist to rain and back again. We had been led to believe we were going to an earthly Paradise and, lovely though the island is, Paradise it is not. However, we met a couple in the hotel who are becoming very good friends indeed, so Madeira remains a fond memory in spite of its meteorological deficits.

This week, those friends have been to see us for a few days and we have been showing them some of our favourite places. On Sunday, we made a huge traditional Sunday dinner – Big Yorkshire puddings with onion gravy as a starter and then a main course of roast chicken,  mashed potato, roast potato, cauliflower, carrots, Brussel Sprouts, stuffing balls and pigs in blankets. (That’s mini sausages wrapped in streaky bacon to you.) All finished off with Summer fruits in jelly with yogurt, ice cream and or cream.  We then sat and digested that little lot for the rest of the evening.

So Monday morning dawned bright and fair, exceptionally bright and fair for late September in Yorkshire and we had plans, so I never gave the Diva challenge a thought. You heard me, aha, not once. We went to Lincoln, which is where I trained as a teacher many, many years ago. Our son and his partner had given us a pair of tickets to go on a little cruise on the waterways from the city centre and we managed to find some on offer on the Internet for our friends too and off we went.  Good fun? Yup. Exciting? Nah. Pretty and mildly entertaining and that’s ok by me.

Not a luxury cruiser, not a speed boat but not the Titanic either. Good fun.
Not a luxury cruiser, not a speed boat but not the Titanic either. Good fun.

Then off to lunch at the Laughing Buddha, a Chinese buffet, where we ate enormous amounts of unsuitable food, especially banana fritters, which ought to be on the controlled substances list, along with cocaine and pure alcohol.  I had second helpings. Oh dearie me.

At that point, we decided that we deserved a little punishment for our over indulgence, so we set off up the Straight to Steep Hill, the castle, the cathedral and beyond. Well, it exercised the cardio vascular system and that’s a fact. Picturesque, oh yes and full of historical interest, but the blood is pounding in your ears by the time you reach the top.

This is just about a  third of the hill and there's more to come. Calf muscles in spasm by the time you get to this point.
This is just about a third of the hill and there’s more to come. Calf muscles in spasm by the time you get to this point.

But it really is worth it. There’s a castle, a cathedral, Norman buildings, Medieval houses, Tudor houses, coaching inns of great age, shops with things you don’t need but really want, second hand book shops and hand made chocolate shops. A tourist honey pot as well but it wasn’t too busy that day.

The entrance to the Castle.
The entrance to the Castle.

And then there’s the Cathedral, which is, of course, enormous and you can’t help wondering about the time when it was built. The people who built it and who worshipped in it lived in sheds and hutches but they built this amazing edifice to the glory of God. Rightly or wrongly, you’ve got to have a lot of faith to spend a hundred or so years building this.

Big, innit?
Big, innit?

It truly is a marvel and the inside is equally impressive. And, by the way, the architecture is full of Tangles. There is a legend about one of the carvings in the Cathedral – the Lincoln Imp – look it up, it’s entertaining.

( )

Knowing, as I thought, where in the building it was, I went marching confidently through the Nave , across the North Transept into the Angel Choir and started looking up. Did I find it? Huh. That’s all I will say. Huh. Had to ask a working man who was fixing light bulbs. And there he was, (The Imp, not the working man.) not far from where I had been looking but…  (I rather suspect he hadn’t moved since my last visit some years ago. )

Blog Lincoln Imp perspective Pict0614

Got him?

He's up there somewhere, honest.
He’s up there somewhere, honest.

The Nave and altar –

Lincoln-Cathedral (1)

This being nearer to God than I normally find myself, I could only take so much solemnity, so  I persuaded the others that we needed a nice coffee and so we went off in search of same. And we didn’t have cake, on financial grounds mainly, you needed a mortgage to pay for them in the stylish little patisserie we chose to honour with our patronage.

Home to chicken salad, French bread and wine and an early night.  And never a thought to the Diva. Sorry, Laura.

Tuesday dawned, as Tuesdays do, still bright, still fair and we were off again. Chatsworth was our destination and it really blew our friends away. Very beautiful and set in glorious parkland and, of course, this was my childhood stamping ground, well, the Peak District was, to be more truthful, but it meant I’m fairly well informed about the area and could answer questions. (Whether they asked them or not – you can take the girl out of teaching but you won’t take the teaching out of the girl.) A gentle walk along the riverbank to take some photos, sun still shining, swans on the river, totally lovely. Makes you glad to be alive.

Nice little pad.
Nice little pad.

Back to the car and into Bakewell to one of our favourite pubs for lunch. (The Wheatsheaf, in case you want a nice lunch in Bakewell.)  Wandered round the town, managing to avoid buying Bakewell Puddings, which are, in our opinion, awful, but unable to resist hand made chocolates, admired the ducks on the river and the trout in  it and home for Chicken Jalfrezi and a range of side dishes. Am I giving the impression that our lives revolve around food? Yup, that’s right, they do. And still no thought to the Diva Challenge.

Wednesday our friends were off to visit a cousin so my love and I reverted to normal. And I went onto the internet to visit the Diva. She didn’t seem to have noticed my absence, which was a bit of a disappointment but I suppose I must learn to live with that. And what is this week’s Challenge? To draw a string with one’s eyes closed, then fill it with whatever tangles we liked. Well drawing the string was no bother but I couldn’t make my mind up which patterns to use, where to put them, how to make it look like anything other than a child’s scribble… How can something so easy be so hard? The truth is, I can’t cope with freedom. Give me restrictions and I’ll push them; give me limitations and I’ll exceed them. Give me freedom and I’m a wreck.

In the end, three attempts and I don’t like any of them. Grrrrr!


Very wobbly blind string
Very wobbly blind string
Another wobbly blind string
Another wobbly blind string


Forgot to take a pic of the third string before I started the patterns but it was basically a spiral.

Three irritating tiles.
Three irritating tiles.

Patterns used : Green tile – Cruffle, Beadlines, Punzel, Fescu, Quib and Pystyl

Cream tile – Rain, Phicops, Rixty, Retro, Wave, Fescu

White tile – Rain, Reticulated, Zigster



7 thoughts on “Fun, Friends and Freedom.

  1. Rain made its dramatic appearance in two of those tiles…which are all nice, I think. My favorite is the one with quib in it…it’s so organic and free formish. But all three really…even if they were irritating. Glad you did it!

    But your journey thru the English countryside is charming. Loved the imp story and all the great pictures. Those old medieval cathedrals are pretty impressive, indeed. And I just love yorkshire pudding. Slurp!

  2. An awesome Post, MaggiBee. Beautiful photos of your adventures. Love your Tiles. All three of them impress me. I made note of the Patterns you used, half of which I need to research and learn. Thanks for sharing your infinite talents.

  3. I think you rose above your “blind” string angst and did a very credible job with them. 🙂 Reading the rest of the post made me homesick for England. We lived there when I was in the 5th form (Devizes, Wiltshire). Hmm. Did I already tell you this? One thing I love about England is the little Norman churches scattered about and then every once in a while —- there’s a massive cathedral. We didn’t live too far from Salisbury. As a recovering lawyer/travel blogger, I truly enjoy reading about peoples’ trips—–so, please, write on!

  4. All these tiles are lovely and have well chosen tangles (yes, you did very well after hesitating).
    I LOVE this post in which you took me along some pretty landscapes in UK. I’ve been several times in Devon, Middlands (were my husband use to live in Stratford-upon-Avon before he came to live in Holland with me) and near Bracknell (were my daughter lived for years). Thanks for your story that made me smile and the photo’s).

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