Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Not our best outing

I was getting a bit stir crazy and wanted to go out in the campervan, but I admitted to feeling a tad nervous about being out on my own until this eye settles down . . . so out we all went.

The plan was simple - quick drive to Houghton Hall just north of Carlisle.  It's one of these big 'garden centre' type places that is really a retail centre with a few plants outside and we have had successful visits there before.  But that was some considerable time ago and the place has changed. The Christmas decorations were particularly disappointing; the best bits I could find are below - only three photos from goodness-knows-how-many-square-feet of retail space.  The only thing I might have parted with money for was that wooden house - until I picked it up, saw the price and how badly it was put together.

Pretty much everything else available was generic and ubiquitous, and we could find it at every other similar store we know, some much closer to home.

But the sun shone all day, and we had a brilliant level parking spot as far away from the store entrance as it was possible to be (which is where we usually find the best places!)

Unfortunately Little Miss Perfect did not approve.  We tried every trick to minimise the disruption to Her Ladyship's regular schedule:  I walked her first thing, and after breakfast M. gave her another longer walk as usual.  She ate half her breakfast, as usual, and had a manic game of chasing tennis balls from one end of the house to another, as usual.  Daisy's normal schedule is then curling up in a warm bed until after mid-afternoon.  As evidenced by yesterday's post she did not approve of being in the van (she never travels particularly well) and made her displeasure evident once we stopped by absolutely refusing to settle.  We took her for another walk, offered her food, favourite biscuits, comfy bed in her (usual) favourite place where she can look out of the window but Madam was not having any of it.

M. had a look around the shop whilst I stayed with her, and then he stayed whilst I wandered around.  Back at the van we walked her AGAIN, which still didn't improve Madam's day, so had a late lunch and came home.  Which was horrid.  We hit the westbound A595 at a time where the full sun was right in our eyes and it was a particularly unpleasant drive.  The A595 is a nasty road at the best of times with an unenviable accident record, if there had been anywhere sensible to pull off I would have suggested we stop for a coffee until the sun had gone down but I knew M. (who was driving) just wanted to get home.

Hey ho, if this is the sum of a bad day for us, we're doing pretty well.  First World Problems.

This morning I am off for something (potentially) far more stressful!   I am helping/teaching a friend who is desperate to learn to quilt but has such low self-confidence and lack of belief in her abilities that it absolutely cripples and paralyses her.  Damn shame because she is clever and more than capable with her sewing machine but she's so terrified of "messing things up" and "wasting fabric" that she cannot begin a project without significant hand-holding and help.  But by taking baby steps she is slowly discovering that actually she can do this fabric stuff.  Which is wonderfully rewarding for both of us.

Daisy will be unimpressed when I leave the house without her which will reinforce my status as a Proven Flight Risk 🤪


  1. Daisy likes her routine just like Annie does, hence our decision not to take her on holiday now that she's elderly. It's a shame our dogs are so demanding but we do what we do for them.
    I hope your friend finds confidence to quilt with your expertise, I'm sure she'll appreciate your help.

    1. How loving, thoughtful and considerate of you not to put Annie through the stress of a holiday. xx

      Yes, they can be demanding but we would do the same for an elderly relative.

      My quilting lesson - ah, that needs a post all of its own :-(

  2. I’m sure all dogs are autistic or have OCD or both.

    1. Nah, this is just an elderly lady who does not take well to having her routine disturbed :)

      And . . . we suspect she was completely unused to car travel before we got her and it is possible that her first forays into vehicles were
      (a) to be abandoned when someone took her to moorland and drove off without her ***
      (b) be chucked in the back of a dog warden's van
      (c) be chucked in the back of another van and transferred to a different shelter
      (d) be chucked in the back of a van and taken to a vet for spaying.
      If that is the case, is it any wonder that she was terrified when I went to put her in the car to come to her new home and she's never recovered from the shock/fear?

      *** we are guessing about (a) but if fits other things that have happened and we have worked out over the years.

  3. I'm hoping to go to Houghton Hall at the weekend for some Christmas shopping and a quick look downstairs at the craft section. That 595 is not a good road, I use it often as my daughter lives in Aspatria, I'm always glad to get there in one piece. Wish I lived near you as I too could do with some hand holding over my quilting!

    1. Well I cannot contact you via your profile Eleanor, so all I can say is hope you get on better at Houghton Hall than we did :)

  4. Blogger must be having a hissy fit, I commented once and as soon as I hit publish my comment disappeared into the unknown :(

    It sounds like you didn't have a particularly good day, I hope Madam has got over her tantrum by now :) There's a couple of those garden centre-type places just a short drive from here and they both have some lovely Christmas displays - photos for a future blog post methinks :) I like to go there sometimes just for a look round as they sell some lovely stuff but I never buy anything as they are so expensive. I'm sure your friend will gain much quilting confidence with your help, I hope it's a rewarding day for both of you :)

    1. Hi Eunice, that happens to me when the cookie has got corrupted and I'm signed out of Blogger without realising it.

      I think some Christmas-decoration photo blogs from you would be delightful eye candy and I look forward to them!

      Quilt lesson - see note to Eileen :)

  5. Good luck with the quilt lesson; please ask your friend if you can post a picture of her quilt here so we can all admire her lovely work and perhaps give her a confidence boost. And it's not 'wasting fabric', it's learning and experimenting with her artistic ideas - at least that's what I call it. :-)

    1. My friend doesn't know about the blog (well, I do not believe she does) but I have a discrete photo I took, which will be making its way into the limelight in about five minutes . . .
      Unfortunately, even if every single person who looks at Bag End but never comments said "wow that is great" it would make no difference {glum face}.


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