Friday, 30 June 2017

The Jemima Project Jemima Puddle-duck Beatrix Potter Steiff scarfI love Jemima Puddle-duck, she must be my favourite Beatrix Potter character. She is both polite and foolish. I don't think she is completely gullible and she is not completely nice at all - yes she is unsuspecting when someone is nice to her, but she stands up for herself to those who are not.

I'm not sure who my daughter's favourite Beatrix Potter character is. When I showed her our picture at Beatrix's house from that 2014 trip, she vaguely remembered it (she was three years and 10 months). But she did remember something vividly, she said, "but I'd like to go back there, I'd like to go back to the shop, that's where I got Jemima Puddle-duck!" Jemima Puddle-duck Beatrix Potter Steiff scarf
I completed this upcycled scarf project years ago but as I've been sharing Beatrix Potter-themed photos on instagram, I just thought of writing about it here. I saw a Jemima Puddle-duck Steiff (pictured above, right) during my post-soft toy obsession. So that time, I was more interested in having the scarf than the duck.

The fringe reminded me of the cushion cover project we did back in primary school. In fact, I used exactly the same colour yarn for my cushion case. Like any project I'd done in the past that could get very tedious, I did this whilst binge-watching a TV series with my husband. I didn't know what I was thinking. Surely, I wouldn't use this scarf? I did it more for M, really. But in the end and knowing how long it took me to do that fringe, I wouldn't let her use the scarf without supervision! Jemima Puddle-duck Beatrix Potter Steiff scarf

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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Rise and Fall of Waverley Abbey

Waverley Abbey Waverley House Sir Walter Scott
Abbey ruins
I've been visiting Waverley Abbey in Surrey the past 10 years. I just love this hidden gem. Parking is free, entrance is free; bring a picnic or if you want to have some me-time, it's a great place to just read a book or meditate. Last year, we weren't allowed in; we visited not knowing they were making The Mummy film with Tom Cruise. The drive to the abbey was to the left and to our right, we saw a sign saying it was the Waverley House Open House that very day. The house is a Grade II listed Georgian mansion. We ended up going to the Open House and it was fun so every year we'll probably visit the abbey when it's also the Open House and spend the day there.

Waverley Abbey Waverley House Sir Walter Scott
View of the bridge from the house
Waverley is the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott's Waverley novel. I wanted to photograph a Walter Scott book in the abbey so I went looking for one in my shelf because I knew I had one but couldn't find any. Then I realised, I did read the Waverley novels but I was in my late teens, and I'd just borrowed them from the university library. It's a scary thought, to be sure that something happened only a few years ago when it truth it happened nearly two decades ago. I'm really getting old. My only excuse is I (used to) read a lot, and it's confusing to keep track of everything, when you have to take into account real life as well.

Waverley Abbey Waverley House Sir Walter Scott
View of the house from the bridge
I found more information over at ParadoxPlace, such as, the medieval bridge used to be the main entrance to the abbey. According to the website, "Waverley was the second daughter of the Abbey of  L'Aumone in Normandy.  Like many Cistercian abbeys it was founded 'far from the concourse of man' on a boggy but beautiful site on the River Wey at the initiative of William Gifford, the Bishop of Winchester. Both William and his successor Henry de Blois (brother of King Stephen) facilitated the transfer of large tracts of land to the new abbey and granted it many privileges."
Waverley Abbey Waverley House Sir Walter Scott
Top photo: Mike with Little M at six months
Bottom photo: Mike with Little H at two years

I know reading about a place hundreds of years old is more interesting if you can actually see the site. Such is the case about Waverley Abbey; in every visit I feel that there is something about it that makes me explore the place and reread about what it once had been.

The Rise and Fall of Waverley Abbey (text transcribed from the sign near the entrance)

"These ruins are all that remains of Britain's first Cistercian monastery.

Waverley Abbey Waverley House Sir Walter Scott
Me and M at what was once used to be a
Monks' Dormitory

Waverley Abbey was founded in 1128 by William Gifford, bishop of Winchester (1107-29). It was home to a Cistercian community for more than 400 years.

In its heyday, up to 70 monks and 120 lay brothers lived and worshipped here. The ruins you see today are part of a central group of buildings which stop within a much larger precinct of about 60 acres, enclosed by a stone wall.

The abbey was suppressed by King Henry VIII in 1536. The monks were dispersed and the site granted to Sir William FitzWilliam, later earl of Southampton (d. 1542). He built a house here, incorporating some of the monastic structures.

Several families held the property through to the early 18th century, when a new house was built to the north. The abbey ruins were then incorporated into picturesque parkland. The 18th-century house, which still stands behind you, was later extended and rebuilt."

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