Pete Townshend was wrong

You may remember the immortal words from the song “My Generation” performed by The Who and written by Pete Townshend – “Hope I die before I get old…” At the time, aged about 14, I was with him all the way. Live hard, die young seemed an admirable and romantic mantra, linking to thoughts on Rimbaud, Keith Moon, and Romeo and Juliet. (Mind you, it didn’t take me long to change my mind about R&J. What a pair of spoilt, disobedient brats. Their parents should have grounded them and sent them off to boarding school until they were old enough to have developed some common sense. They weren’t star crossed, they were just the result of poor parenting.)

People try to put us down...
People try to put us down…

But for a long time, I thought it would be awful to be old. And, to some extent, Pete Townshend and I were right about that, it sometimes is. Until you consider the alternative. Better to burn out than to rust? I’ll take the rust, thanks.


However, to mix aphorisms, if a rolling stone gathers no moss, I may be rusty but I won’t be mossy. I’m keeping moving.



People spend holidays on these narrow boats and I have a friend who lives on one. Not for me.
People spend holidays on these narrow boats and I have a friend who lives on one. Not for me.

20150322Clayworth (3)We haven’t travelled far recently. Strange but true. We did go to one of our favourite “local” spots, which is a village called Clayworth, so small it has neither a shop nor a petrol station but, true to our heritage, it has two pubs. Got the priorities right anyway. It’s less than a half hour drive from our house and most of the journey is on pretty country roads. What attracts us is that you can walk along the banks of the canal, which is easy walking for us two old codgers, and there is lots to see in terms of wildlife and plantlife.

And the narrow boats too, of course. There are also some extremely desirable residences, if you like being a bit isolated.



The canalside path.
The canalside path.
I wouldn't mind living here though.
I wouldn’t mind living here though.



20150322Clayworth10And the church has some quite famous murals, called the Traquair Murals, after the woman who painted them. It was built in the 12th century (1150-1180, according to the notice outside.) and also has a 13th century stone screen and a Tudor tomb. Quite a lot for such a small village church.

I didn't take this picture but I can vouch for it.
I didn’t take this picture but I can vouch for it.




I’m glad that we don’t have to go far to find somewhere as lovely as this. We did go a little further afield yesterday, about 40 miles, actually, to Buxton, just for a walk round and a saunter in the sun. Not that it was warm; ten days to Midsummer and we’re still in winter woollies half the time!

Buxton is in thePeak District, right on the backbone of the country, in the middle of the UK. This was my stamping ground as a child because my parents were enthusiastic walkers and Youth Hostellers. (I still have my YHA membership card from 1958. I was very, VERY young. No, really.) SAM_8351


Anyway, it’s been a while, so we had a toddle around the town centre, which is like Bath, but more lived in. The Pavilion  Gardens were a joy and we spent quite some time there before going off in search of lunch at Wetherspoons.  There’s ALWAYS a Wetherspoons, like McDonalds for grown ups, but with variety and flavour.


The gardens were peaceful, although there were quite a few people there, most of them appearing to be octogenarians, making us feel positively juvenile in comparison. And there were some unexpected things to see, like this “blighted oak…”

This tree blew down in the gales a few years ago but rather than cut it down, they had a local artist carve this.
This tree blew down in the gales a few years ago but rather than cut it down, they had a local artist carve this.

I took pictures from every angle, as it looked different  from each side. Strangely, there were people walking past without giving it a second glance. Maybe they were locals and passed it every day, who knows?

The drive home was a litany of place names where we used to go hiking: Stoney Middleton, Taddington, Tideswell, Monyash, Ashford on the Water, Great Longstone, Baslow. I do remember, though, that these walks were often punctuated with cries from me of “Aw, mum, are we nearly there yet? Well how much further? But we’ve done miles and miles and miles… Aw mu-um…” I wasn’t a very willing walker, it wasted time when I could have been reading.

My craft room is finally approaching completion. The spare bedroom is a bedroom again; the dining room is fit to eat in and only one corner of the desk is still piled high with bits and pieces that I haven’t found a home for yet. Nearly there.

My favourite Milly Johnson book so far.
My favourite Milly Johnson book so far.

Our younger daughter, Ben’s mum, is staying with us for a few days. She’s a fan of an English writer called Milly Johnson, who lives quite near and writes, I suppose, chic lit books based in our area. Thoroughly entertaining and a good read. I like them a lot and Milly has a book launch today at her local village hall and Rachel and I are going. It will be fun, as Milly always gives an entertaining talk, supplies sandwiches and cake, (CAKE!) and there’s a raffle. Last year I won afternoon tea for four at a nice place called the White Heart in Penistone and we had a great time. It was only slightly marred by my two supposedly grown up daughters making rude jokes about the place name – Penistone – and stone penises. (Peniii?) I won’t be taking them again until they’ve outgrown their delight in teenage rudeness.

And soon it will be Diva Day again, can’t wait to see the challenge.

Ooo, by the way, fellow challengers, I do look at almost all the entries every week but have difficulty leaving friendly comments on some of them. (It’s not being friendly, I have difficulty with, you understand, honest.) I don’t have Flickr or Instagram accounts, so I don’t know how to leave a comment. I also start to feel as if I’m saying the same thing over and again, because I admire so much of your work and it tends to be the same things, using patterns in a different way, use of colour, shading…. If I don’t leave a comment, it’s not because I didn’t like it.

The colours are deeper than this but the camera flash didn't help.
The colours are deeper than this but the camera flash didn’t help.

Whilst looking through other people’s challenges last week, I saw someone, (and I’m sorry, I can’t remember who, but thank you, whoever you are,) who had made a maze book. I was fascinated and had a go. Not hard, although it requires a level of precision I find difficult to emulate. The first one, which I’m going to send to my granddaughter, didn’t turn out too badly but then I tried to demonstrate one to abovementioned daughter Rachel. It didn’t work out too well and neither did hers, so we had another go. I do use a lot of paper trying to get things right.

It fell to pieces in my hand.
It fell to pieces in my hand.


I'm going to put a bijou on each page and the pattern name on the facing page.
I’m going to put a bijou on each page and the pattern name on the facing page.

However, my third attempt is looking better and I’m going to use it as a project with some friends we’re visiting in Scotland next week. I’ll tell you more about that next time. And, almost finally, here is my ongoing piece of work. I’m using my Joanne Fink lettering on this name plate, plus a few patterns.

The names are coloured with Koi Water Colour Brush Pens, which I am learning to use a little better now but I think I will revert to my Promarkers for the background areas. I’m keeping the patterns limited because the last one took me weeks and I finished it as something of a penance.

And now the Challenge is here and Laura wants us to use colour, any way we like, but colour. So I’ve taken a piece of black scratch board, drawn a large Fengle and decorated it, letting the board do the colour. For something so easy, I think it’s rather effective.

It's hard to get the light right on this photo and the scanner has real problems with it.
It’s hard to get the light right on this photo and the scanner has real problems with it.
This one has flash on the camera but it doesn't help, I'm afraid.
This one has flash on the camera but it doesn’t help, I’m afraid.





17 thoughts on “Pete Townshend was wrong

  1. Oh, my goodness gracious, I LOVE this entire post! As I become sun-baked here in Arizona, I can only dream of a little holiday in your lovely English villages. My husband and I are big fans of British TV, in large part because of the beautiful settings (and the excellent mystery series). International travel is difficult for us, so we remain armchair travelers, alas! I had to laugh at your unhappiness with your daughters’ sophomoric humor. Quite honestly, in my family, we would have all been making jokes…so much for my maturity! I love your scratchboard design. I have seen those boards, but have never tried one. Your little books are wonderful too. I’ll have to search for that post – I did see it. Time to check it out! But now for the real LUST… I love your tangled drawers (uh-oh, here comes another immature joke, I fear…). I can only dream of having a craft space of my own! So, sorry for the long comment, but I really felt connected here this morning! Cheers!

  2. Your posts always make me wish we were still living in France. No matter where we went, there was always something interesting to see – and a lively cafe to eat in. The distances were short and the drives and walks usually lovely. Not so here where one most often needs to travel long distances by highway to “somewhere” rather than just wandering to wherever. Your challenge tie is lovely and I admire your tenacity on the book…it’s going to be gorgeous!

  3. Great minds and all that…I broke out the scratch board too! I loved your post. It’s always nice to have a picture of places I’ve only read about in books.

  4. Having just returned home from our 40th(!) reunion at Williams College, I can quite relate to your commentary at the beginning of your post. I hadn’t seen some of the people who came back since our graduation in 1975 when we were 21 or 22. Some people have aged more, um, gracefully than others. Talking to everyone was quite interesting—-hearing about their life journeys—lots of ups and downs. Williams College is in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts and is a really lovely setting, so we got to do some nice walks, but we had to drive a good bit farther than you did—-270 miles or so. Then we drove across the state to finally pick up our dog, Dino, who had been residing with my sister-in-law kn Boston while I was traveling. He doesn’t seem to have held my abandoning him for 3 and a half months against me. I like that about dogs.

    Back to business—-now I need to learn all about scratch boards. What are they? Do you make them or buy them? You managed a lot of nice detail with your scratching—not so easy, I imagine.

    1. Hi Suzanne, scratch boards, I don’t know if that’s the right name for them, are foiled card coated with matte black paint, which you scratch away with a wooden tool. At the time, I couldn’t find mine so I used a cocktail stick. I have seen a YouTube tutorial on how to make them but never tried. I bought mine from Poundland, which is the British equivalent of a Five and Dime store, I think. I’ll gloss over the fact that that they are in the kids’ section. On the subject of age and growing old gracefully, the loved one says we’re growing old DISgracefully and that’s the way he likes it. Got to love ’em.

  5. I saw a scratch board the other day and knew I needed to get me some, to tangle on. Yours is lovely. What did you use to scratch it? One day soon, I am going to give this technique a try.

    JRR Tolkien enjoyed the history of place names in England. He loved their history and tracing the etymology of them. I did get a chuckle out of Penistone. I wonder what Tolkien has to say about that one! ha!

  6. Hi Margaret,Love your letters, photos and craft news.I’m partial to a bit of G and S including” the flowers that bloom in the spring “, although mine are a bit late this year!! Went to see Pirates of Penzance at Cineworld, it was relayed from the  Theatre –as it happened — and was a brilliant £15-00 pounds worth.Been to the WI Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, family get togethers  and other enjoyable outings so this month has flown by.Looking forward to seeing S and B members on Thursday and hearing all the news. Sorry you will not be there, have a great holiday.Best WishesAnn

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