Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Abandoned house in Mordiford.

Some time ago back in March, I think it was the 8th I remember coming home to some flowers from my father as my birthday was was a lovely weekend and I was expecting my mother and step father and the house was in desperate need of a tidy up, so my daughter and I took a trip to Mordiford to find the abandoned house for her A'level exam project at Haugh Woods.  The name Haugh, which is pronounced "Hoff" is derived from the name of a Saxon owner indicating that this is the site of an ancient wood
As you do when life is busy!
I remember she drove and we nearly hit the wall of a house round a tight bend, in her defence: she was driving, there was a huge Mercedes car coming the other way that wanted all the road and was over the white line depicting his side, however we missed!
We found the car park to Mordiford woods, eventually.  The woods are about 7 miles outside of Hereford, where we live, so not far but they are up some steep hills, which was a driving lesson for my daughter in how to drop down through the gears and give the car a bit of an 'oooph' to get to the top. 
We parked and put on wellie boots, took the cameras and set off to find this house.  We had no idea which way to go and no maps or directions and thinking it wouldn't be far we were in high spirits!

How little did we know....the photo to the right shows the beautiful view we saw as we headed off down the nice track......the same nice track that soon became a boggy muddy marshy track....

It had been raining hard for weeks in our part of the world and the massive trees in the wood showed the casualties.  The enormous root systems fascinated me.

We walked for miles! Over hill and dale as they say - I am a life long lover of James Herriott stories!
We eventually came to a farm.  At first we thought it was the abandoned house, but soon realized it wasn't..
We walked through the bottom of the field which is a public right of way, next to the stream, another fabulous root system has been exposed here, made me feel all Brian Froud - so many references in this post to authors...

This next photo was of a small stream we had to cross further on from the farmstead, the photo still makes me chuckle as my daughter slipped and fell on her bum, leaving her with a muddy bum for the rest of the walk, sometimes its hard to believe she is an adult in her own right, but seriously very funny!

And finally...we found the house!  We had been walking for hours and were about to give up, our legs were aching, the sun was out and bright and warm and we were dressed for winter in big coats, which we were by this point carrying.  It has to be said that most of these photos were taken by my daughter as there is a big 'keep out' sign around the grounds to the house, but apparently if you don't get an ASBO for an A'level photography project you haven't done well...and that was from the tutor at college!!
So I kept look out and did the worrying mother bit and calling out every 30 seconds for her to NOT enter the building and was she ok?  she did get fed up with me!

Isn't it beautiful?  Can you imagine living here, surrounded by woodland, only squirrels to keep you company?  It is said that the house is haunted, it is certainly ethereal feeling being there.

These inside photos my daughter took from the door way looking in.  I took a couple of them as my fascination soon overcame my need to abide by the rules and I too stepped over the broken barbed wire and went to have a look, well, we had walked all that way!

Outside the fencing were these fungi, I took the picture on my phone, daughter had both hers and my camera by this point, I have no idea on the name of the fungi but a splash of red amongst all that green and mud was a welcoming sight.
The photo below right is the hill we climbed to leave the house and head back to the car...yes...CLIMBED!


Looking back from my vantage point UP  that ENORMOUS hill at the house.

The storms had been so fierce that these giants had fallen and snapped.  I climbed over them, as they were in the way, and caught my leg on a branch that was sticking out, the whole of my inside of my thigh went black, then purple, then yellow...then was so sore but after spending so much time laughing over my daughters muddy bum I got no sympathy.

Almost at the top of the hill...

I have no more photos of the rest of our walk, mainly because we were so exhausted..and lost..and thirsty as we took no provisions.  It took us a further hour and a half to find the car park, by which time we had found the road that had had the car in 1st gear to climb and walked a good few miles up it back to the car.  We were convinced we had done at least 10 miles just on the road, driving back down - I drove she was too tired! - we found the sign post that said ...
'3 miles to top of hill for car park'
I am still sure they got that wrong!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

I'm back.............

After a week of virus hell thanks to my son sharing his germs, I sniffed my way through the annual event that is the Flame Off.  Two whole days of fire and glass, of buying more glass, stroking a bit more glass, admiring other peoples glass and watching fantastic artists create using...GLASS!!  If you don't like glass, lampwork glass beads in particular, then the Flame Off isn't for you. 

Starting on Friday for the Flame Off  in Uttoexter UK the event ran until 5pm on Saturday  when some lampworkers packed up and went home, a fair few of us stayed put for another day trading on the Sunday for the bead fair. Its always great to catch up with those you have met on the internet, putting names to faces and to spend 3 glorious days nattering with friends you haven't seen for months...thanks to Caroline from BlueberriBeads for being my neighbour and putting up with me moaning and whinging about my snotty sniffing, even if she did threaten to wear a mask around me!  We had a lovely time talking beads, eating and drinking in the evening and hatching plans that will see us receive world domination and be knee deep in beads this time next this space we had 3 days to dream big!!

So, after arriving early on Friday morning to set up, me sniffing and my husband finding his bead fair soul mate in Caroline's husband, whom had brought his new drill and gadgets to attach to said drill, which then meant the pair of them proceeded to drill and screw down anything they could on both mine and Carolines tables, before they set off to collect Carolines new car - which is fantastic and ENORMOUS! with this marvellous step that comes out so you can get in the back...I am easily pleased and spent a fair few minutes just opening the sliding back door to watch the step pop out!

My photos are a bit on the lacking side...have I mentioned I was ill?...but if you can imagine I am to the right of the photo above.  I was next door to Caroline on my left but the GBUK stand on my right.  The photo above shows Heather from Heather Kelly Glass who makes the gremlin beads, they are just  amazing!  The other lady I am embarrassed to say I have forgotten her name, I am rubbish at remembering names, but she was just lovely.  The GBUK stand is a hive of activity at this event as it shows off the entries for the competition.  All winning entries can be seen here on their webpage.  All the entries were stunning, there is some talent in the glass bead work here in the UK, not least this entry below....

The beadwork has been done by the very talented and internationally acclaimed seed bead weaver Lynn Davy and features thousands of those iddy biddy little beads with some lampwork beads. 

The theme is Famous Artists and Lynn chose Damien Hirst, taking inspiration from his cow in a box with dead flies.....

So why am I showing you the entry that didn't win?  Well.  The winning entry was truly worthy of the win, but, back in January, I emailed Lynn, whom I am lucky to call a friend, and asked her if she wanted to have some beads for the competition.  The weather was nasty, the clouds dark grey and angry, the ground was sodden and the mountain of dog towels in my house was depressing and I wanted something to do that would make me smile and if anyone can come up with bead designs to make you smile then Lynn and I together can be dynamite! 

The photo on the bust is one I took at the Flame Off with my camera so its not brilliant, but the one above this text is one Lynn sent me of the finished piece.  The cows head is smiling...obviously...and the back that you can't see! is all bloody (glass red!) as if severed, the maggots are somewhat phallic in shape as are the pupae, and the flies are either dead with closed eyes or awake, but the best beads, which I believe were the idea of Lynn's husband was to have ...umm....shaggin' else do you get baby flies :P How much fun did I have over the weekend asking people if they had seen the shaggin' flies and watch them scurry back to the table for a closer look before they turned back with a massive grin :) So Lynn and I might not have won our category but if they were giving out prizes for the piece that got the most grins and sniggers.......