Category Archives: Travel

Where are you reading?

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Where are you this fine day? I am overlooking Skiddaw in the beautiful Lake District.

The book is a highly recommended read by Gail Honeyman and most enjoyable in the Cumbrian sun shine. We are away to celebrate a Hubs BIG birthday ( but don’t tell him that I told you)

Skiddaw is a mountain in the Lake District National Park in England. Its 931-metre (3,054 ft) summit is the sixth-highest in England. It lies just north of the town of Keswick, Cumbria, and dominates the skyline in this part of the northern lakes. It is the simplest of the Lake District mountains of this height to ascend (as there is a well-trodden tourist track from a car park to the north-east of Keswick, near the summit of Latrigg) and, as such, many walking guides recommend it to the occasional walker wishing to climb a mountain. This is the first summit of the fell running challenge known as the Bob Graham Round when undertaken in a clockwise direction.

This birthday is being celebrated by just “being here” What more can you ask for? We are lucky to have amazingly good weather, nice accommodation and each other. Happy days.

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Don’t Tell Anyone it’s a secret!

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The weather today was gorgeous so we took Benji dog to one of the ( many ) beautiful locations in Wales.

We walked from the beach cafe through the kissing gate

I love this kissing gate with the automatic closing mechanism (stone!)

We then passed the 5th century mini church built into the sand dunes for fishermen. Apparently they used the alter rails to hang their fishing nets many centuries ago

Not far along the sand dunes we reached the river estuary. As it was low tide we walked along the beach and Benji enjoyed a dip in the sea.

All this with the backdrop of Snowdonia National Park. Bliss.

The church is Saint Tanwg’s church

The name of the little village is Llandanwg and lies just beyond Harlech beach and castle. Don’t tell too many folk as I want to keep it between you and me!

A Promenade

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An esplanade or promenade is a long, open, level area, usually next to a river or large body of water, where people may walk. … Esplanade and promenade are sometimes used interchangeably.

Thank you Wikipedia

The large body of water here is Cardigan Bay. One of the best places in Britain to see dolphins and porpoises without getting into a boat. We didn’t spot any today on this blustery, cloudy day. We did walk along the promenade and did a little beach combing. We picked up pebbles to paint later, and drift wood to dry out and await inspiration.

Criccieth castle was built by Edward 1st. The promenade offers the chance to amble from Criccieth castle at one end to Dylan’s Restaurant for coffee,at the other end.

Shopping in India

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Surajkund International Craft Fair reputed to be one of the largest in the World! It was huge! There was a great atmosphere with all ages visiting the annual fair. It felt completely safe with much friendly banter. We were the only white faces to be seen and obviously a spectacle of interest. We were constantly asked for permission for the locals to take selfies with us. I felt like a celebrity when even three policemen asked could they pose with me!

There was music everywhere, dance troupes at every corner and street food of every description.

I learned to barter which doesn’t sit easily with my shopping habit! I did, however buy pashminas, scarves and cushion covers!

It was the hottest day of the holiday but that added to the atmosphere of a never to be forgotten experience, in India.

Crafts of India (2)

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Rural India where artisans make fine hand knotted carpets. Here, in the village centre,the cows relax in the shade.

The village “pond” where clothes are washed and young men fish for dinner. In the foreground cow dung is drying in the sun, waiting to be used as fuel.

Young men dying the silk in cold water vats. The hanks of silk are dunked and rotated through the dye vats. The women stay at home and work in the fields.

“Boilers” waiting to be fired up to heat the hot water dying vats. Note the winding apparatus to place the hanks of silk on ready for dying.

Field of drying yarn hanks both silk and wool. Destined to become carpets. This region ( Bhadohi) employs 2.2 million rural artisans in a 100% export orientated industry.

The end product Beautiful silk carpets. Which incidentally, reached the UK within 10 Days.

Taj Mahal

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Memorable visit to Taj Mahal today in this wonderful, amazing land of contrasts.The poverty is difficult to swallow but the culture is immersive. I love love love the textiles and crafts. I am with a specialist textile company called Colouricious who have taken us to hidden gems. Whilst I am devastated that we have not had a block printing workshop ( my reason for coming) I am loving the other textiles. I am learning as much from my travel companions as we are all like minded.Marble inlaid with semi precious stones

Only a few more days to go before home.

Textile Treasure Hunt

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This Textile Treasure Hunt here in Varanasi India just keeps on giving. Today we visited silk weaving. This is carried out in the homes of local people in rural areas. I

am in a permanent state of shock, both culturally and dietary. The people are lovely and regard us as odd because many rural communities have not seen “white”faces before, especially the children.

The silk weaving is the main occupation and carried out by the men. It is a patriarchal society.

The silk produced is beautiful, colourful and hand woven. It is mainly produced for Saris, scarves and for dressmaking.

This morning we visited a Hindu village where the looms are hand driven just as they have been for hundreds of years. During the afternoon we went to a Muslim area of Varanasi where the looms are motor driven . We had the inevitable shopping opportunity where a beautiful silk scarf found its way into my bag!

just an example of some of the intricate weaving.

Ganga Aarti Ceremony

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No words can describe the ceremony that I was privileged to witness last night. It is a ceremony to pay respect to the holy Mother river The Ganges. There was multiple thousands of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Shiva and the river. Numbers were swelled last night as pilgrims had come from another ceremony about 100 kilometres away. Varanasi is a once in a lifetime holy place for Hindu people to visit. It felt like the whole nation came last night.

We traveled down to the river on a ramshackle cycle driven Tuc Tuc A hairy and thrilling ride through chaotic hooting traffic. I held on for my life and kept my eyes shut much of the time !We viewed the ceremony from a boat on the river along with hundreds of other boats juggling for positions

We did also witness cremation on the river banks Many Hindus come to Varanasi to die. This was a public celebration but nevertheless felt intrusive. We were very close and witnessed the whole cremation whilst on the river wrapped in clouds of smoke and Incense . This was a once in a lifetime experience for me and certainly one that will remain with me forever.

Tuc Tuc ride down to The Ganges