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We’re all going on a…

Summer holiday!

Oi oi and Bonjour,

Any guesses to where I am at this current moment in time?

For those of you who guessed correctly, yes I am indeed sitting in a bar on a campsite in France!

I’m at a little place called Le Moulin Fort, in the heart of the Loire valley. So basically the last 6 days have consisted of sitting on a river bank doing very little and working my way through the pile of ‘must read’ books that has been growing since last year.

Sleepy baby #della #dog #cute #animal #yorkie #yorkshireterrier

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Euro Tunnel cancelled our train on the way out here, meaning that our journey took longer than we planned – some of us felt the strain more than others though it would appear. Poor little thing eh? You wouldn’t suspect she’s spent all day barking at the neighbours would you?

#hotairballoon #balloon #france #chenonceau #chenonceaux

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We’re surrounded by beautiful countryside, spitting distance from châteaux de chenonceau, which is a stunning example of French gothic and renaissance architecture, built in 1514-1522.

#chenonceaux #holiday #france #chateaux #stunning #loire #cher

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Who can complain at a view like that?

The weather is brightening up, having rained for the first few days that we were here – it’s safe to say that wasn’t much fun for any of us, being stuck in a tin can in the pouring rain, but it looks set to be rather sunny for the next week, so hallelujah!

Whilst I’ve been reading (I’ll get back to knitting soon…but even I have to rest sometimes!) Dad’s been fishing.

I love this photo – I can just imagine Sadie’s confusion at the fact Dad has been using her dog food as bait – she wasn’t very impressed…

Sorry it’s short and sweet today.

I visited the local zoo yesterday, but instead of bombarding you with photos, I thought I’d share that with you next time 🙂 Therefore,

Until next time

Bex

xxx

 

 

 

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Alpaca Annie

Good evening everyone!

For those of you who are regular followers of my little blog, you’ll be aware that I normally try and post once a week, and most recently this has been on a Thursday.

So this week, I thought I’d shake things up a little bit, because I’ve had a relaxing day – doing very little, and spending some time concentrating on myself rather than the chaos that has been surrounding me recently (results day is looming!) – and sit and tell you about something rather exciting that I did the other day…

 

This is Haguelands farm.

A friend of mine brought it to my attention when they were over for dinner, and we were discussing (or it might have just been me ranting) about the fact that I really wanted to meet alpacas, because I find working with their wool, absolutely divine.

‘Alpaca Annie’ is based is New Romney, Kent, and are one of the few places in the country that are not only a working alpaca farm, but also offer the opportunity to meet and learn about alpacas.

http://www.alpacaannie.com/

After much deliberation, we decided to book ourselves onto an alpaca ‘trek’ at 10 am on a Friday morning.

So, armed with walking boots, and a sense of apprehension as to what we’d got ourselves into, we headed off to find ourselves some alpacas!

When we arrived at Haguelands, we were greeted by a lovely lady in the ‘Alpaca Annie’ shop, where we waited until the rest of the group (there were 8 of us in total) joined us. Once everyone had arrived, a lady called Lara came and met us, and after a quick introduction, took us to meet the alpacas that we’d be walking with that day.

I’ve only ever seen alpacas from a distance, normally in a field whilst driving, so to get up-close and personal with them was a really amazing experience.

As we walked through the fields, we were greeted by a mass of ‘pacas of all different shapes and sizes…

After a briefing and health & safety talk, we were allocated our alpacas. I was given the ‘gentle giant’, Fennell, and we were taught that as much as you want to just give them a cuddle, the best way to approach an alpaca, is with the back of your hand facing them, because that way they feel more at ease, and then to only touch their necks, because otherwise they may feel threatened.

Walking an alpaca was completely different to anything I’ve ever experienced…I spent plenty of time down at the local stables when I was younger, but an alpaca ain’t nothin’ like a horse – let me tell you!

I saw a lot of my own personality traits in Fennell…good looks, charm, strong willed, stubborn… 😉  meaning that a walk with an alpaca, is more of a gentle stroll, with plenty of grazing in between, and a carrot break half way through…what a life eh?

I love this photo – I was attempting to get Fennell to smile, but instead it just looks like we’re in the middle of a heated debate – I told him not to mention politics!!

Whilst we walked, Lara – the herdsperson – answered all of our questions about the alpacas, and it was a really educational and fun experience – and I even topped up my tan 🙂

When we got back to the farm, we were given a certificate to prove that “We’ve trekked at Haguelands Farm”, and after a few more questions, we went for lunch at the bistro which is situated on site. Lunch was delicious and reasonably priced (you receive a discount if you’ve been on an alpaca trek), which meant that it was a really lovely end to the experience.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who fancies doing something different and trying something new. The staff were so friendly and informative, and most importantly, the alpacas are just so cute!

On a separate note – I know I promised that I’d share what I’ve been making with that blue cotton with you in my next blog, but I think I’ve told you enough to keep you going until later in the week, when I PROMISE I’ll show you some knitting and/or crochet!

I hope you like my little alpaca report – I promise I’m not completely insane…well…no more than usual anyway 😉

Take care and see ya soon

Bex

xxx

OH! P.S – I’ve received some really positive feedback about Granny Willis recently in the form of emails/comments – please do feel free to get in touch at grannywillis@hotmail.co.uk  I don’t bite! I may be a teenager, but I can converse in a language other than grunts and unamused facial expressions…(although possibly not before 9 am)

 

 

18…

Good afternoon!

Yes I am still alive, I know I haven’t been around for a few weeks, but so much has happened, I thought you might all appreciate a nice, picture-heavy catch up, instead of a few rushed words at the end of each week!

Ok, so first things first…

I’m officially an adult!

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As of the 3rd of November I turned 18…WOW!

It’s such a strange feeling…it’s quite amusing, I’ve spent my week trying to think about what I can do now I’m an ‘adult’, and this is what I’ve come up with so far with the help of Google…

You can vote in local and general elections.
Definitely one of the most exciting things I’ve discovered so far…(such a politics geek!)

You can stand for election as a Member of Parliament, local councillor or Mayor.
I think ‘Crochet in the Commons’ has a certain ring to it personally…

You can serve on a jury, or be tried in a magistrates court and go to Prison if you’re found guilty of a criminal offence.
Well…To be honest, I really hope this doesn’t apply to me at any point!

If you were adopted you can see your original birth certificate (and have your name added to the Adoption Contact Register).
No matter how much I joke about it…Sadly, it’s pretty obvious through inherited characteristics, such as my dad’s eyes and my mum’s nose that the people who claim to be my parents, are in fact…my parents! (Love you <3)

You can make a will.
Interesting…

You can get married without parental permission.
Oh wow…maybe I’ll give it a few years…

You can buy fireworks.
Bah-Humbug, a little fact about me is that I actually despise fireworks (or the use of them in residential areas)…but then again I do have an epileptic yorkshire terrier who turns into a quivering mess about this time of year, so that’s my excuse.

You can place a bet in a betting shop/casino.
I may be partial to a little flutter on the neddies…

You can buy cigarettes, rolling tobacco and cigarette papers.
I’m far too boring to smoke, I’m far to stingy when it comes to my money! I’ll probably end up as one of those little old grannies who keeps her savings in her mattress!

You can buy an alcoholic drink in a pub or a bar.
I prefer driving…and plus, drinking and knitting doesn’t mix! I might drop a stitch! (Heaven forbid!)

You can have a tattoo.
Nope, scared of needles.

You can drive lorries weighing up to 7.5 tonnes, with a trailer attached.
I can just about manage with my little Clio, so probably not…unless the woolly contents of my boot suddenly expands at a more dramatic rate!

Therefore it’s been one of those weeks where the most uttered sentences seem to be ‘Well, now I’m 18 I COULD do…..if I want to, but I don’t, therefore I wont!’ – Fabulous!

The second thing I wanted to share with you, was a little trip I went on just before, and in celebration of my birthday.

My parents very kindly took me to Rome for a couple of days, as I’ve already been to Paris, and it was a ‘milestone’ birthday.

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Taking off from Gatwick and flying via Easyjet was the first step, which was one aspect of the holiday I’d actually barely though about, believing I’d have a nice snooze on the plane and then wake up when we arrived in Rome refreshed and ready to face the day…

alas…Having not flown for 11 years, the one day we chose to fly just so happened to coincide with a spot of particularly nasty weather in the form of a hurricane, YES, a *Insert Expletive* HURRICANE!

Although credit must be given where credit is due, and we did actually take off with only a minor delay of an hour.

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I think at this point I was feeling definitely more Queasyjet than Easy jet…

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When we arrived in Rome, we were greeted by a rather lovely temperature of 26 degrees which was truly heavenly, especially when you take into consideration that only 2 hours ago it was torrential rain and gale force winds in dear Great Britain.

Please indulge me in sharing a few holiday snaps…here we go…

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Oh hello Trevi Fountain! Guess I’ll be coming back to Rome then…

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St Peter’s Square – TIP – If you go to Rome, definitely try to pre-book all of these attractions, the queues are ridiculous otherwise, as you can see below…

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The pantheon…

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Truly stunning architecture…

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Campo Di Fiori markets..

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Colosseum…

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KNITWEAR!! On the Via Condotti – THE PLACE to go window shopping.

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Where’s Woolly?

Remember this little guy?
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As promised, he has been having a few adventures since becoming friends with Granny Willis at the Knitting & Stitching show at Ally Pally…

He seems to have ended up in my satchel on the way to Rome, so consequently he’s now a very educated a cultural fish!

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Fishy at the Vatican…

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and in the Piazza Navona!

And there we go. I don’t think there’s much more to tell you other than to bring my adventures to the present day…

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It’s Remembrance Sunday, and although I’ll be at work this evening, I’ll be wearing my poppy with pride.

I’d also like to give a quick plug for the ‘Poppy Girls’ single – one of them is actually at my school, and I think they’re fantastic, so c’mon everyone, dig deep and donate, lets make it Number 1!

Take care and keep knitting
Bex xx

Château de Chenonceau

Good afternoon faithful followers and new stumbled-uponers! (I might have just made that word up?)

How are we all?
I hate the post-holiday feeling you get once you’ve unpacked, sorted the post and checked your emails, suddenly you seem to come crashing rather unceremoniously back to reality!

And boy did I wince when I stood on the scales this morning! But the less said about that the better I think…

I thought I’d share some photos and a little bit more info about where I actually was on holiday, and the Château that was spitting distance from the camp site.

So, let me take you on a tour of Château de Chenoceau!

Firstly, once you’ve bought your tickets and got through the gift shop, you are greeted by this magnificent walkway of trees…

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It’s a beautiful sight to behold, and a great relief to be able to meander in the shade for a while before you’re thrown once again mid-30 degree heat!

When you reach the end of the walkway, you’re greeted by the breath-taking sight that is the front of the chateau…

Oh, who is that stunning, rather red-faced beauty?!

Oh, who is that stunning, rather red-faced beauty?!

Now you are provided with the option to either take a stroll around the gardens, or continue to the château.

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We decided upon the latter, as we have already experienced exploring the gardens during one of the evening walks.

Inside the Château was equally as beautiful as the outside. Obviously being a royal residence, as well as being run and protected by influential historical women has it benefits!

My favourite part of the Château is the grand gallery, which extends across the entire river.

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During World War I, the gallery was used as a hospital ward, and during World War II it was used as a means of escaping from the Nazi occupied zone which engulfed one side of the river Cher, to the ‘free’ zone on the opposite bank.

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The windows in particular, along with the views, I found particularly inspiring. The curve of the outer-window draws the eye to the centre, focusing all of your attention on the breath taking views that surround you. It subtly, doesn’t give you an option. Maybe this was the architect’s way of saying, ‘Oi, look what you’re surrounded by!’, but in a more French manner…

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Once we’d explored the chateau, the lure of the ice cream vendor we’d spotted at the front gate was far too strong to resist, so we began the walk back. I can’t speak for the rest, but personally I was rather ashamed of the fact we’d been sitting next to such magnificence for 3 summers, but hadn’t actually made the effort to visit!

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So, what do you think? – No, not of me! The Château!

Has anyone else been to Chenonceau? What did you think?

It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area!

Oh, and before I forget, to keep this my knitting/crochet theme going, my blanket’s growing!

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I think I’m about halfway there? What do you say?

It’s certainly keeping me busy, and rather quiet, much to the approval of my parents!

I feel like a princess, slaving away in the loft, crocheting hexagons. I jest, it’s really good fun actually.

Until next week
Granny Willis x

Rest & Relaxation

Good afternoon all!

As I type, my parents have just arrived home on their bicycles from a little village 10 minutes from the campsite, and guess what they’ve discovered? A vineyard!

Something tells me they’ll be having an afternoon nap in a minute…

This week has been just what we all needed. We’ve done very little, proven by the fact that I’ve managed to read 4 books in as many days!

My reading list so far is as follows…

#1 About a Girl By Lindsey Kelk
#2 The Bone Bed By Patricia Cornwell
#3 A Night on the Orient express By Veronica Henry
#4 Did you miss me? By Karen Rose

I thought that I’d spend some time today explaining to you where in the world I am. (Hopefully you’re all ecstatic at this prospect; otherwise I shall not be impressed…)

I’m currently blogging from France (as you may have guessed), more specifically, next to a little village called Chenonceaux, 2 minutes’ walk from the château de Chenonceau.

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We’re camping in a great site called Le Moulin Fort, it is run by a very efficient English couple, and has everything you need to survive for 3 weeks in the Loire!

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The campsite runs along-side the river Cher, so dad’s been doing lots of fishing…

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And as you can see, I’ve been the one going in to get his tackle back when it gets stuck under a rock! (For those of you who said ‘oooh that’s painful!’ – what dirty minds you have!)

There’s also been lots of over indulgence, mostly in the form of French cheese – I’m a sucker for a stinky cheese!

This is a slice of Brie that Mum & Dad picked up from a local market the other day, although it didn’t last very long…

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We’ve also had some quite spectacular thunder storms over the last few nights. However, being a teenager, I’m rather skilled in the ability to roll over and go back to sleep in gale force winds and enormous clashes of thunder…therefore I’m afraid I’ve got no photos from 3 in the morning when such events were occurring!

There’s also been a lot of knitting this holiday, not just by myself (I’ll show you my efforts in a minute) but Mum has been having a go!

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Although…She is the ONLY person I know, that has been able to snap a knitting needle with no effort at all?!

Dad attempted to duct tape both bits of needle together in an effort to stop all of her stitches falling off the end, and luckily she was able to pick up another pair in a local shop.

It was typical that it was the only pair of 6mm needles I’d brought with me, I’ve got hundreds of pairs in other sizes!

This is what I’ve been working on…

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As I explained last week, after being inspired by the birth of George Alexander Louis, I’ve launched myself into another crochet baby blanket.

I think there’s more of an appreciation for a neutral colour palette at the moment, because I get the feeling that people are moving away from the stereotypical Blue for a boy, pink for a girl, and rightly so! – Personally I like blue just as much as I like pink, possibly even more so!

Oh, and before I wrap up this week’s post, this is my latest project bag. I couldn’t resist when I saw them in Morrisons for 12p!

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It’s a ‘Bag for Life’, but I thought it was perfectly summery and just the right size to bring away my wool in the camper. They have them in a range of different fruits, I’ve also got one covered in watermelons…

So that’s pretty much all for this week folks…

But I thought that I’d leave you with a couple of photos of the château at night, they have a discounted night time entry which allows you to walk around the grounds and admire the castle and gardens illuminated, with accompanying classical music.

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Pure tranquility.

Until next week

Keep Knitting, and don’t forget to take time to relax!
Granny Willis
x