Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Unexpected pleasures

I know I am fortunate, my life is good but there are some days that are extra special.  The sort of days where, as in all good children's stories I go to bed Tired But Happy.  I had been looking forward to last Friday and joining with two friends in a continuous reading of the King James Bible at the Bath Literary festival.  This year is the 400th anniversary of this elegant English translation which, for more than 300 years, was the standard text in nearly all English speaking churches.

Because of our busy diaries JTH and I travelled separately, I got to take the train., meaning I could knit all the way, and arrive in Bath without having to find somewhere to park the car.  A Very Good Start.  The weather, cold and brilliantly sunny, was perfect for exploring the small streets and squares.

On my way from the station to find the church of St Michael's Without where the reading was to take place, I spotted a sign to WOOL.  A moments hesitation only and I dived off Pierrepoint Street,


and into

And there was Wool  a new shop owned by the lovely Laura Batten

Two ladies sat on a large comfy sofa in the middle of the shop discussing patterns and suitable yarn.  For a knitter (and and self confessed hoarder of yarn) this was like the best sweet shop in the world.  I drifted from Rowan to Debbie Bliss to Noro but my biggest oohs and aahs were saved for this hand-spun in the subtlest soft shades of blue, pink, yellow, green...

Then I spotted this

and one of the shop ladies and I got chatting about blogging, my post about the rescued battery hens and how this lovely wool comes from rescue sheep.  The sheep are called Zidane, Benson, Violet, Ruby and Clementine, a micro flock,  kept just on the outskirts of Bath by shepherdess Caroline Davey.  The yarn is un-dyed, comes in several subtle natural shades, smelling evocatively of lanolin.

In my beeline for Wool I had not noticed anything else but as I retraced my steps back up Pierpoint Place I spotted the wonderful crafty emporium Country Threads. 

Its a tiny shop packed full of haberdashery and all things patchworky.  Its window display is fabulous. In Jane Austen's novels there is much talk of young ladies shopping in Bath for ribbons to trim their dresses and bonnets - perhaps some of the shop windows would have looked a little like this at the time.

In Bijoux Beads  facing Abbey Green I bought silver wire and charms.  I plan to knit some jewelry... one day. Not having enough time right now does not seem a good enough reason for restraint.

Enticed into The Makery Emporium in Northumberland place by the sight of ribbons hanging from old wooden cotton reels I found myself in conversation with people in the shop about interfacing

The conversation went something like this

Man :- I've just discovered what interfacing is
Woman :- what, something on the PC?
Man :- No it's something you iron on to fabric
Me:- Well you can get iron on, non iron and woven and non woven (I can't help being a know all)
Man:- now I'm confused again

I found all sorts of treasures here, deciding in the end to buy some tiny little metal labels that say 'made for you' and 'made with love', like dog tags for the things we make.  I intend to work the labels into the presents I am knitting (in the same way as beads can be incorporated)

Joining my friends in St Michael Without we spent an hour taking it in turns to read aloud from the books of Daniel and the minor prophets.  This is my dear friend Lizzie's partner MB reading some particularly dire warnings from Hosea

JTH was delayed by traffic and did not arrive untill dusk, when the light on the abbey church turned the stone pink reminiscent of the cathedrals and castles of Spain and Southern France

Our hotel was in beautiful Georgian Queens Square, from where we walked to our supper at a corner table in a cosy intimate restaurant, on the first floor of a tiny back street house, returning later to St Michael's to hear more reading in the now darkened church.

As I said, we ended the day tired but happy...




The undomesticated scientist said...

sounds like it was a wonder full day. a place i must get round to visiting (and must take lots of money with me too i think)

Shani said...

Thank you so much for reminding me about Bath... My best friend lives there and I forget all about it when planning a crafty day out... I could combine both pleasures at once...
Best wishes Shani

Jan said...

You have brought back memories of the time our daughter was at Bath university when there was always an excuse to visit this lovely town. What a good day you had.

Knitrageous said...

Your day sounds positively delightful! Thank you for the pictures allowing me to share!

Jessicah Win said...

What glorious shops to stumble upon. It makes me want to get on a plane!

robinintheuk said...

Wonderful post... fabulous photographs! What a spectacular, almost magical day!! Thank you for your kind words on my blog...

spinndiva said...

What a wonderful way to spend a day! Glad you had such a good time! You make me wish to jet over there. Loved England and the people on my last visit long, loooooong time ago!

Florrie said...

Bath looks a wonderful place to visit, the array of wool/craft shops look very inspiring.

Thanks for your lovely comment.

florrie x

Tracy said...

I've always loved Bath for its more obvious delights, but I feel that you've just shown me a Bath that would be much more exciting to explore. Your pictures are delightful and very sweetshop-like.

Thank you for visiting me too. It is always a pleasure to find such kind comments.

Scrapiana said...

Lovely to read about Bath from a visitor's point of view. If you fancy returning on 16th April, here's a really good excuse: