Running to catch up

Life has been very eventful recently, so both the blog and the drawing have slid down the priority list. (I’ve slipped away now and then to draw and relax a little but nothing exciting.) After the visit to Spain mentioned in my recent post, we came home and did Christmas preparations in earnest, as we had another trip planned before all Heaven broke loose. I do like Christmas, although it’s exhausting.

But before that we had another trip away, this time to Gran Canaria. Now we had been there before some years ago and didn’t like it very much, so you may wonder why we decided to go again. Well, it’s the loved one – he does like a bargain and he saw a holiday on offer at a four star , adults only hotel in Playa del Ingles. So, good price, no kids, good price and somewhere we hadn’t been before. Did I mention it was a good price?

Well we won’t go again. The hotel was fine but we just didn’t like the area. Although we do wander about when we’re on holiday, we also sometimes stay around the resort and explore on foot and this is what we decided to do this time. Mistake. Playa del Ingles is not pretty. There are some rather nice looking buildings, mainly hotels and apartments, but there are lots of concrete bunker style shopping areas, many of them with quite a few of the shops and bars boarded up and covered in graffiti. If there is a pretty part, we didn’t find it.


The sea front looks like a shanty town and even the admittedly impressive sand dunes of Maspalomas were a bit underwhelming. Fortunately, we go away a lot, so one less than perfect trip won’t ruin our year but, as I said, we won’t go again. If it had been our one and only holiday of the year, we would have been very disappointed.

I didn’t do much drawing while we were away, as it was windy every day and too cool to sit outside drawing. I did quite a bit of crochet, a scarf/kerchief for a friend’s 70th birthday. 70? How did that happen?

When we got back, it was all hands to the pumps in preparation for the festive season, more of that another time. The house looks and feels so empty after everyone has gone home and the decorations are down. Needed a holiday!

And then I hid myself away in the craft/computer room/ study/spare bedroom and my heart sank. I had signed up for several swaps with the Facebook group,

Zentangle Artist Trading Card Swap

and completed none of them. Suddenly I was overdue and was receiving lovely artwork from all over the world, well mainly US and Canada, and had sent none. It’s amazing how the fun goes out of it when you feel you SHOULD be drawing. No inspiration, no ideas, lost the will to live.

So I trawled Pinterest and emerged two hours later with inspiration bubbling out of my ears and I got cracking straight away. The snowy ones shown above came first and were, perhaps, the hardest. They ended up being much more representational than I would have liked.

And then it was Vintage Winter Ornaments. Well I got the colours right and then I got stuck in to patterning, using only Zentangle Mother Ship patterns. I’d forgotten how many of them there are, and how much fun.  I did the Rumpus one on the plane out to Tenerife in search of some warmth in these poor old bones and I couldn’t get over how it developed from random dots to this 3D flower garland. I was quite impressed with myself.  The bunzo/scena one was fun but less successful. You can’t see the colours on this very well – sort of peach and gray. And then I went for swags of patterns in pale pink, lilac and green, which is not a combination I would normally go for but which did, in this case, work reasonably well.  Just purk, pokeleaf and punzel  and it was a pleasure to revert back to old favourites I haven’t used for a while. 

And then I went for bronze and brown for the mooka one. It’s funny how that pattern haunted me for ages- I just couldn’t get it right, well, to my satisfaction, I should say. And now it’s a favourite and I just love using it. So I kept it simple and added Glossy Accents to the finished piece.  It cost me a fortune in postage but I was working towards a clear conscience and catching up nicely.


Which brings me to this week’s Diva Challenge. For February she is all about hearts, which doesn’t entirely work for me. I mean, hearts are fine but all this Valentine’s stuff is just a way of selling cards, tasteless and useless artefacts and forced red rosebuds that never properly bloom. Do I sound bitter? I’m not. The Loved One is the the Loved One every day of the year, not just on Valentine’s Day and I like to think it goes the same way for him too.


This week’s challenge is a string challenge – still going with my own theme of heart shaped strings this month.  The challenge is to use nested hearts as your string.

As it happens, I’m involved with another swap using black and white tiles so I nested some hearts on that to see what would happen. Not impressed but it’ll do until inspiration strikes…

DC 352

And that’s it for today. We’re off to the sun again soon, although the weather forecast isn’t entirely positive but at least the rain will be warm.

Until next time, world, be good -ish.



Letting off Steam

Not my picture but this is what the lake  looks like.

I was certainly letting off steam in my recent post, must have been ready for a holiday. Which is fortuitous, as we went off to Spain a couple of days later. We usually stay in Benalmadena and, as I have no doubt said before, this is an archetypically   Spanish seaside resort, built for the tourists and about as Spanish as Wigan.  For years I had nothing but contempt for places like Benalmadena, Loret de Mar, Benidorm, Fuengirola and I still don’t like them. But, because they are full of hotels and bars and open all year round, they are inexpensive places to stay, with all the facilities we could need and all close at hand. It was with reluctance that I first went and they were all I feared they would be.

The “real” Spain. Looking out across the town of Antequera from the castle battlements.
The same view but including the walls.

However, we get the best of both worlds. You don’t have to go far off the tourist strips to find something that resembles the “real” Spain. We hire a car and go off into the mountains, or along the coast to places less touristy and I just love it. So I forgive these places for the Irish bar, the Scottish bar, the John Bull bar, all with football on huge screens and English beer by the pint and a full English breakfast for 5 Euros; because I know where I can get tapas and home made bread, a view over the mountains and old men playing Hoy in the main square. I get crochet cotton and card making bits and pieces from the Chinese supermarket, “designer” handbags from the market and sardinas a la plancha in a chiringuito on the beach.  Reluctantly, I am not the tourist snob I used to be and I can accept the one as the price I pay for the other.

And if you want really old, I mean older even than us, these are the Roman bits. AND , there are neolithic dolmens at the other side of town. Doesn’t get a lot older than that.

So we stayed in Benalmadena and went off up into the hills in glorious sunshine, gloating that the weather back home was cold and wet. (We checked every day.) And this visit was special because we met up with a couple of old friends. I mean old. Not in years, obviously, we are all spring chickens really, but the loved one and his friend had done their apprenticeships together way back in the mists of time and we have kept sporadically in touch over the years. They have a house in Spain, about 50 miles from where we stayed, so we were invited to stay with them for a couple of days.  It was fabulous.

I loved the angles and the light and shade effects and, well everything, actually.

Of course, we did nothing but talk through every waking hour but we also saw a  lot of the country  because they live in a real Spanish village on a huge plateau where there are olive groves for miles and a lake with flamingos. (Laguna de Fuente –  see the picture at the top of the page.)  It has been a dry Summer after a dry Winter, so the water is really low and most of the flamingos have gone but you can still see some, youngsters almost ready to leave, shading from grey to pinkish and easily visible against the white of the salt around the lake edges.

It’s close to the lovely town of Antequera, which we had visited before, but it’s very different when you are with someone who knows the area well. That’s where we found the Chinese shop; there’s one in most biggish towns and they are a treasure trove of everything from Christmas decorations to pyjamas to bath plugs. I can be in there for hours.  However, there is an old town too and if Don Quixote didn’t visit it on his travels, he should have. It’s magical. I’ve scattered photos through this post but they don’t even begin to show you how lovely it is.

So anyway, we relaxed and let off steam and sat in the square drinking wine and eating tapas and gossiping with anyone daft enough to say hello. Ola! And I did very little drawing because we were being sociable instead.

I didn’t do the Diva Challenge either. Well, no, I did, but I didn’t post it because I didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t persuade the two suggested patterns that they wanted to be together.

And when we got home I looked at the following week’s Challenge ,  which was to use the newly released pattern Dewd, which I liked a lot and will use with pleasure when I’ve got a fix on it, but not yet. All I could manage was a poor copy of what Maria did on the video tutorial; I haven’t worked out my own way with it yet. I’ve used it on a couple of things, including a winter swap tile and I think I will get the hang of it eventually.

And then life got in the way for a while and, although I did a lot of drawing, I didn’t do any blogging, so it’s three or four weeks later and this week’s Challenge is to use the Olympics as our inspiration.

Now this is tricky for me, as I find sport about as fascinating as mouth ulcers and don’t have either a competitive or nationalistic bone in my body. The Olympics, therefore, don’t do much to inspire me. Anyway, I looked at the symbols and thought, “Go on Maggibee, you can do this…go for gold!” Or words to that effect.

I went a bit off piste, so to speak, keeping the rings and the colours and that was about it. And, you know what? I rather like it!

So I’ll finish on a high note and and say, as always, be good, world, well, good-ish.


Self restraint,,,

Christmas gnome No1- There will be more. This one is small and I’m going to do a couple quite a bit bigger to use as door stops over the festive season. Needs a darker coloured nose too.

Quite frankly, I think self restraint is over rated. I mean, why not do what you feel like doing? (Applying all the caveats like – as long as it doesn’t hurt/upset anyone else  and so on.)  So when I see a person in very tight leggings, a T shirt made for someone significantly smaller  (and, let’s face it, younger),  with underwear and fleshy lumpy bits on full display, why do I disapprove? If she’s happy looking like a cross between a duvet and a bouncing castle, why do I want to stand her in front of a mirror, point out the camel toe and shout “I don’t need to see this!”?  But, in spite of the damage it probably does to my blood pressure, I practise restraint and just scream silently.

And in the supermarket, when the people who have no concept of personal space, step backwards into my path and then don’t even respond when I say I’M SORRY, as if it’s my fault, why do I not stare them in the face and express my displeasure forcibly? With a cattle prod, for instance.

The second, and so far nameless aardvark. Any ideas?
My first aardvark – Arnold by name.


I’m an oldish person; a pensioner; a granny. This does not give me the right to greet someone I see EVERY BLOODY WEEK in the same place and proceed to block the aisle, while the four of us – there are always at least four – discuss the weather, our pharmaceutical regime and/or digestive peculiarities, and the price of washing up liquid very loudly because others in the group are hard of hearing and the speaker is hard of thinking AND at the same time, totally ignore their shopping trolleys which are careering off tangentially to damage several other shoppers. So why do other grannies do it?

And a doll for my grandaughter, also as yet unnamed – the doll, not the granddaughter! I think she needs pants – the doll, not the granddaughter!
A lop eared rabbit for the little girl next door. Are the eyes a bit too small? Looks more like Snoopy than a rabbi to me.

I hold doors open for people who don’t say thank you. Why do I do this? I know they won’t say thank you, so why do I expect it?  Well, hope wistfully, really, not really expect.  I do sometimes glare at them and say loudly “You’re welcome” in response to the thanks they haven’t given but that’s going to backfire one day when one of them turns round and biffs me in the chops for being cheeky.

Using Ell-ish as a motif monotangle for the swap.

And then there are the orange painted girls whose make up ends in a thick line around their chins that can be seen from space , with eyebrows that look as if they were designed at the Groucho Marx moustache school of maquillage,  whose not so subtley false eyelashed eyes are glued to their phones and whose 2 inch long fake nails tap tap a constant stream of  badly spelled abbreviations, whilst stepping onto the road in front of moving vehicles. Mine, in fact. I’d run them down and be done with it but I don’t want to get make up on my car.



I wish I could remember the name of this pattern.


They are crossing the road to be with similarly engaged young men, wearing T shirts of four letter words or sexually explicit pictures but with designer labels (on the outside!) so that’s alright then; whose trousers fall at the back below the designer underwear, revealing pale, often spotty, bum cleavages and buttocks  that have me desperately searching on Amazon for branding irons. And when they get together they barely nod an acknowledgement, instead, continuing the phone chat with the person they would, presumably, rather be with.




Mak rah mee. Not entirely happy with this, so I may send a substitute instead.
Another one I can’t remember the name of but it’s from the mother ship.

And that’s why I have trouble when I go into, or even near to, shops that sell craft supplies. I find myself buying just one more pen, or pack of pens, a block of good quality drawing paper, a die for my Big Shot, some glitter glue and water colour pencils;  yarn to add to my already bulging cupboard full and ready to crochet; embroidery thread and canvas; embellishments for card making and books. I mean, you can always see a book you would like the look of, can’t you? It’s their fault really. I’ve used up all my self restraint not killing, or at least maiming, the badly dressed, unthinking, mannerless dolts who all too often cross  my path.

But when I sit down to sew, crochet or draw, I can forgive them all, as I settle into Maggiland, with a cup of tea at my side and enough space cleared on my desk for  a piece of card and a couple of pens; my precarious equilibrium re- calibrates and the world is a better place. Aaaahhhh!

My first attempt at Striping, after seeing Margaret Bremner’s blog and trying it out for myself.
Striping for the monotangle swap – not my best but it’s a reasonable attempt.
And for the zendala swap, using Striping again. Not yet finished and not all the Striping will be black. In fact, I wish I’d used blue on this. However, you never know how it will be until you put the pen down, do you?

And then the Diva Challenge comes around and I am swept away on clouds of inspiration. Or not. We’ll see, we’ll see…



Well this week’s Challenge is to big it up, which is a bit tricky because I’m away on hols in Spain and the biggest piece of card I brought is about post card size. So I decided to big up the pattern instead. I stuck a metaphorical pin in  and found Lenche, by Anita Aspors Westin. I haven’t used it before so it was nice to try something new too.  It’s one I will use again, so thank you Anita for this one.



Running to Catch Up.

It’s a shame the sparkle doesn’t show on this photo, it’s really glimmery on the blue/gray.
The yellow one here is based on one of the prompts in the Little summer project, using Fedr and Crease. I like the mix.
I was going for sunshine and moonlight on these two.
I’m afraid these two are a bit space age and psychedelic, rather than floral and I hadn’t touched a drop.
At least these have a vaguely floral look to them.

Having given myself permission to relax about all the challenges and tasks I set myself, it’s as if a load has been taken off my shoulders, which is soooo silly, since it was me, myself, I who put it there in the first place!

So I’ve caught up on one of the swaps I was doing – which was for July (?!?) The theme was Summer Garden which should have been quite straightforward – but no. I didn’t want to be to representational, so I went for Summer Days/Summer Nights instead. I mean, they are floral-ish, in places but then again, not.

We did two ATC’s for each person on our swap, so I did a Summer Day and a Summer Night for each one. As always with these things, some turn out more to my taste than others but, in the end, I did enjoy it. Oh well, I’ve sent them off to my ever patient swap buddy in the States and that’s that.

The next one to catch up on is to be posted by the end of November, so there’s a chance I may get that done pretty much on time.


We’re going down to Wales to see my daughter and family this weekend, followed by a funeral in Bristol on Monday; babysitting our granddaughter on Tuesday and off to southern Spain to meet some old friends at the end of the week.  Hmmmmm.

I’ve started them and have decided to use this as an opportunity to practise different ways of shading, using pencil, alcohol markers, water colours, coloured pencils and Brusho inks; all in shades of black through to pale gray. For me it’s about getting the grading right. I want definition but not thick,dark lines, if only I can get it just so.

I’ve had a copy of Chris Letourneau’s “Made in the Shade” for quite a while now and I go back to it now and then when I can’t decide where to shade but what I need to improve now is the method. It’s a learning curve, but sometimes that curve is a tad more steep than I would like!

Perseverance is the key here, I think.

Believe it or not, I do have a life outside of tangling and it has been quite busy in its way.

I mentioned a funeral – well I don’t know if it’s the same elsewhere but, when I was child, my parents’ friends were honorary aunts and uncles. As I grew up, I tended to stop using the Auntie/Uncle title  and they became my friends too. Of course, by now they are in their 80’s and 90’s and there are fewer of them than there were and last week the last of my “Aunties” died, aged 85. She had been fading for a while and I’m glad to say we had seen her earlier this year, although she lived several hundred miles away.

Very soon the loved one and I will have to accept that WE are now the older generation. But not yet, not yet.

In addtion, I am up to my eyes in yarn of all colours and thicknesses too. My crochet bug hasn’t faded yet, so I have made amigurumi toys – a rabbit, an aardvark, two unicorns and a doll – two kerchiefs, two scarves and a blanket for Christmas presents – and a Cabbage Patch hat for my granddaughter and then there’s another blanket on the way. Actually, it’s no wonder I haven’t had much time to tangle is it?

And then, of course, it’s the Christmas cards. I’ve decided to cut down on how many hand made cards I’m doing this year. (I say that every year.) But many people do not recognise a difference between homemade (for cheapness) and hand made (for quality and the love invested in them.) I think I may do a sort of production line of similar cards, not yet decided.

And lo! The Challenge came upon us, and glory shone around us and we were…

Well we weren’t sore afraid and that’s a fact.

 Weekly Challenge #340: UMT Wibble by Shawna Martin

The first Monday of each month is a Use My Tangle challenge where the tangle we use is brought to us by ONE of YOU!! You don’t have to be a CZT to submit, but they do have to follow the guidelines etc found here…

This month’s Use My Tangle is called Wibble, by Shawna Martin.  You can see the step outs here

Shawna did not submit this tangle, but i did come across it while doing Inktober Tangles and i loved it and wanted to play with it some more.

DC 340

I wasn’t sure I would get a grip on this pattern at the first attempt but it worked much better than I expected. I’ve added it to the monotangle swap I mentioned above, so it served two purposes. Win win.

At which point I bid you a fond farewell and bid you, as always, be good, world if only good – ish.


Movin’ on Up…

I’ll start with progress from last time – these are some of the completed tiles for my circular tile swap.  I’ll show each with its background and then complete.


And after –

Side one
Side two


The other side of last week’s Diva Challenge tile.
The other side of the previous week’s diva Challenge tile!
Another before –
And after.

So far, so good.

My cousin and his wife came to stay with us for a few days recently and they are a bit old fashioned so I decided to make them a little Christmas garland to hang across the mantelpiece. It will be a set of half a dozen baubles hanging on a string. I haven’t decided yet whether to do paper piecing or Zentangle or a mix of the two. The mean part of me says I should use scraps of pretty papers that have accumulated over the years and not been used. The other side of me keeps looking in craft shop windows and thinking “Ooooooo pretty! Want it!” We’ll see who wins that one.


Well I found a die I’d forgotten I had so I’ve gone down to pretty paper route for a change. These are the central four baubles and there will be one at each end too. They will hang from a string or ribbon and have more embellishments when I get round to it. 

I quite like them so far so I may make some for our house too. (If I finish all the other things I keep wanting to do!)

So then I had a look at the Diva Challenge and decided it was one I would like to do.

This week the challenge is to get into the holiday spirit, or alternatively – to do a fall themed tile.  (To my friends who are into spring right now, feel free to do a spring themed tile if you like)

I had a partly completed piece in the right colours so I decided to complete it – one less on the “to do” pile. I had spilt some Brusho inks onto the card, let it dry, then outlined the shapes it made. Having lost interest at that stage, I put it to one side until a more inspiring time, which is, it seems, now!

DC 339

I’m not sure where I was going with this – autumnal colours and some leaf shapes here and there; a bit of Pokeleaf and Pokeroot and several other tangles but I’m not even sure it is finished yet. It might need some white, perhaps. But, for what it’s worth, my Diva Challenge response is this one.

That’ll do for this week, folks. Until we meet again, be good-ish.


Apologies and Guilt.

The prompt here was Red.

Last week I did the diva Challenge for the first time in what seems like ages. I got tied up with the Little Summer Project on FB, plus family visits and lots of other things and I lost my tangle mojo a bit too. I tend to be a bit obsessive about things and I’ve rediscovered crochet after a long gap and suddenly my life is all stitches and re-learning. So something has to go on the back burner and it has been tangling. However, I as part of the Diva Challenge thing, I visited Jean Chaney’s blog and this is how she started:

Hello all my friends and followers. Today I am posting my last post for Tangle Street Studio, for now anyway. I have followed many people over the years who have simply disappeared. Being of a certain age, I always worry that the blogger may be ill, or worse. I don’t want anyone to worry about me. I am in excellent health and happy. However, I have found myself becoming increasingly stressed with all the things I have added to my plate over the four years since I have retired. Not good at all. I’ve thought about this for some time and decided that it is for the best for me to give myself some breathing room.

I was trying for symmetry and a sort of cushioned effect.

That last couple of sentences really struck a chord with me. I have agreed to do at least three sets of swaps, which I haven’t completed yet and at least one of them is well overdue. I haven’t properly acknowledged some swaps I have received and, instead of getting on with it, I’ve been avoiding them altogether. Dammit this is supposed to be fun and here I am on a guilt trip. Every time I open FB I’m expecting rapped knuckles and “See me” from the teacher.  This is toooooo silly.

Going for 3D and a fragment but I can’t remember which. Oh, it says it on the page – Fragment L2.

So I am giving myself permission not to blog every week whether I want to or not. I will do the Diva Challenge when I like the look of it and not every week as a sort of duty. And I will go on FB and fess up that my swaps are late, acknowledge and thank the people who have sent me lovely pieces of work and then I will tangle -AT MY OWN PACE! So there, see, it wasn’t hard was it?

Going for floral here, well, organic, actually.
And the very, very last one. I was aiming for a sort of enamelled look using acrylic paints. It’s not as vivid as I intended but they never are.

So one of the swaps I’m doing is using circular tiles. I know they are called zendalas much of the time but a mandala uses the concentric circles and a sort of geometric approach and a lot of what I see labelled zendala doesn’t, so to me they are circular tiles. (And none the worse for that, of course.) So I decided to colour some of them first and then draw the patterns.

I’ve already started drawing on this one but there is still a long way to go.


What I also did was rest them on a sheet of water colour paper while I did the daubing and, where the ink went off the edges, it made a sort of design/string for a future ZIA. However, it’s on A3 water colour card, so it is going to be a biiiig piece. Honestly, no sooner have I taken the pressure off than I set myself up with another big project. Doh!

But I do like it and am quite eager to start. I’m going to add more colour, although I don’t know how yet, and I’m going to try to be less slavish than usual in staying within the shapes.  But we’ll see. One of the issues with a big piece is getting so far and then being afraid to continue in case I spoil it. Oh what cowards we sometimes are!

So I’ve just had a look at this week’s Diva Challenge and I like it so I’m going to have a go.

This week’s challenge is to play with White on Black.  You can use a black tile if you’ve got one, or you can throw a bit of black acrylic paint on a tile with an old credit card, or my personal favourite is Black Gesso.

I’m going to cut out a circular tile, so I can use it for the swap too and I’m going to use white, silver and gold. mmmmmmmm!


Well, so much for intentions, good or otherwise.

White on black?

Well, I realised half way through that it’s navy, not black. Then I added colour rather than silver and gold. Then I realised you can hardly see any white at all. Apart from that, it fits the remit perfectly. Hey ho.

Well I’m not starting again, so that’s my response to the Challenge for this week. Until my next foray into the bloggin world, which I don’t suppose will be long, farewell world and be good. ish.



Petworth and Tyntesfield

One of the last few pages in my summer Project.

This is not a firm of lawyers straight out of Charles Dickens, it’s two National Trust properties that we visited this Summer.  Petworth is in the South Downs and is worth a visit for the journey alone, on winding roads, through leafy suburbs and pretty villages. It took me back to the 60’s, when there were very few motorways and a lot of country roads were single track with passing places. (These roads weren’t that bad, just winding and prone to suddenly revealing a glorious view or village duck pond.) Petworth  house was built in the 17th century and contains some of the finest artworks ever, including about a dozen Turner paintings.

We went on a typical English summer’s day, when it was bright, cloudy, sunny, cool, warm and threatening rain in quick succession. Nothing unusual there. The walk from the car park is a bit strenuous if you have an arthritic knee but I couldn’t leave the damn thing in the car, so had to manage. I kept stopping to take pictures of the lovely plant specimens beside the way, and admiring the California redwoods. I mean, they’re not exactly the General Sherman tree but impressive nonetheless. The path takes you into an area that was the yard between the house itself and the servants’ quarters aswas. Now they contain the loos, the cafe and, of course, the gift shop.

Not mys own pic, I’m afraid but “borrowed” from Google.

I managed to avoid the gift shop, much to the loved one’s relief but we had a sandwich in the cafe. This was the old servants’ hall and had dozens of stag heads on the walls. (“Must’ve been going at a fair old rate to come through like that” is one of the loved one’s favourite jokes. He says it every time we see some of these things.) As you can see, it’s very high and quite bare so the acoustics were terrible and it felt really noisy. However, the tea was good and the courgette, lemon and rosemary cake was very nice too.

There are guided tours of the house and we had planned to go on one but it was booked up, so we decided not to wait for the next one, but toddle about, just the four of us. However, we kept meeting the tour as they went round, so listened in to the guide at every opportunity.  He was extremely well informed but desperately wanted everyone to know everything. As a result, he was sometimes over egging it with political, historical and cultural detail. In a way, you needed a bit of a background in English history to keep up, or, at least, to get the most out of it. I did, however, love the way he talked about all these great historical figures as if they were old friends who had just left the room.

In spite of the fact that the family had opened two of the private rooms that day, and we could see how it is lived in nowadays, the house did not really feel as if it was ever a home. Living in a comparatively small modern home, as I do, it was hard to see “real” life going on in these huge, cold, elaborately decorated salons. If you want grandeur,  display and living history, oh yes, but it’s hard to imagine how people actuallylived in them on a day to day basis.

And they don’t seem quite so grand when you discover that, somewhere behind a screen, there would be a commode chair, so if anyone needed a pee – or more – they just stepped out of sight and did it right there in the room. And they didn’t wear knickers and they didn’t have loo roll. All of a sudden that grandeur seems a lot less impressive.

I was suitably impressed by the works by Turner, Titian, Van Dyck and Lorrain and loved the oil painting by William Blake, since you usually see prints, but it wasn’t easy to keep up. It didn’t help when we walked into one huge gallery packed with artwork from across the centuries to find a statue of a satyr leaning over a beautiful boy/young man playing pan pipes and notice, as of course, I did, that the satyr in question had an erection. It’s  difficult (I almost said hard) to keep a suitably respectful demeanour after that, believe me. They don’t like it when you get the giggles.

So we went for a walk in the gardens instead.

The park is huge and landscaped by Capability Brown, of course. I’ve seen more impressive houses, such as Wentworth Woodhouse and Chatsworth, both nearer to  where I live, being cases in point, but the park is very lovely indeed.

A couple of days later, we went to Tyntesfield, which is an altogether different proposition. It was given/sold to the National Trust with all its contents and in a less than perfect state of repair. It’s much newer than Petworth, Victorian Gothic, and you can tell it was lived in. By milli – billi – trillionairs but a home rather than a museum. (The milli – billi – trillions were made from guano; well, where there’s muck there’s money.)

The library roof.

It was a glorious day and we enjoyed just strolling in the gardens but eventually succumbed to the lures of linenfold panelling and four posters. The first room we saw was the library and it really made you want to sit down with a good book. It’s a lovely wainscoted room with an amazing roof.

Although it looks medieval at first sight, it’s revival and has all the best that the arts and craft movement had to offer.  I mean, I know it’s a bit OTT but the craftsmanship is glorious. We were in a group of four but, as we all found things of interest to look at in more detail, we got separated and ended up going round the house on our own.  (Well, there were lots of other people there but you know what I mean.) Anyway, I kept on snapping with my camera phone, as you can see.


One of the upstairs corridors had this huge mirror so I just had to do it…

The house was in a poor state of repair when the National Trust took it over and, although they have renovated much of it and are continuing to do so, they have deliberately left some of the rooms pretty much as they were at that time, so you can see just how much work it is taking  to get the place looking as it did in its heyday. It wasn’t difficult to imagine how it was when it was lived in, unlike Petworth. There was a nursery which still had some of the children’s toys in it – rather poignant in its way.

It was quite magnificent in places but managed to look lived in too.

This is one of the rooms that has not yet been restored to its former glory, as you can see from the state of the walls on the left of the picture. Love the embroidered bed decor – very Jacobean.
This one, on the other hand, has been restored and I really fancied a snooze but they don’t like it when you do, you know. Picky sorts, the NT volunteers.
and this was the en suite – the bath is in the alcove where the people are standing. I couldn’t get a clear shot of it but a bath is a bath, after all.
We sat in the sun for a while admiring the architecture and thanking our starts that we don’t have all those windows to clean.
This is the main staircase, although I have to admit the artwork here did not measure up to Petworth.
But if you’re going to have a piano in the hall, it’s good to have someone to play it for you too, as we had that day.

The following day, not willing to return to the 20th century too soon, we chose to avoid the motorways and travelled across country on the Fosse Way, the old Roman Road that still leads you North for almost 200 miles. According to good old Wikipedia:

It is remarkable for its extremely direct route: from Lincoln to Ilchester in Somerset, a distance of 182 miles (293 km), it is never more than 6 miles (10 km) from a straight line.

So there.

And then we were home, with the washer going full tilt and a little relaxation with Zentangle. The Little Summer Project was coming to an end and my most recent pages are below. All 92 pieces are now complete and I do feel a sense of achievement.

Day 80 and Day 83 – using Beadles for the background and design your own string for the tile itself.
Day 82, the theme was Love, so I decided to do what I love and I tried three new to me patterns. Where it says lurve on the page, you have to imagine a sort of Barry White voice.
Day 87 the prompt was to use String 243, which I did twice; once on the background and once on the tile.
And the prompt for Day 85 was to choose your own prompt, which for me was the sea. Japanese influence if not in execution.

So, with all this in mind, what will the Diva Challenge bring? I’ve missed posting a few of them but I do intend to catch up.

Weekly Challenge #337 – Artoo

This week let’s all use Artoo’s namesake tangle. I used a prestrung 3Z tile for my submission


DC 337

Well I happen to like this pattern and, as I’m doing some zendalas for a FB challenge, I thought I would combine the two.  I used a string from, although I don’t remember what number and a mix of pens picked at random from a jar conveniently situated on my desk.



And so that’ll do for now. I need to get back into the swing of things and catch up on a few Challenges, so, until we meet again, world, be good.  ish.