Category Archives: Trip

Quilts / Rain / Mud / Bothy

This seems a strange combination I know. But there was a quilt exhibition celebrating Kaffe Fassett at Standen. It was a miserable day. Wet & horrible. Spring in reverse, as it goes sometimes. The day after those lovely sunny pics from Sissinghurst.

I was superkeen to see the quilt exhibition. (I have loved fabrics since I realised mum’s boxes at the bottom of the wardrobe held a multitude of patterns and colours). There was some fantastic embroidery – I think actually I liked that more. In this world of Pinterest and blogs, the quilts were not as exciting as I expected – but of course in their day they were absolutely cutting edge. Some of the colours were really vibrant, that was certainly undiminished!

I also had a look at the bothy. A temporary art installation by Will Shannon. It was modest – so much in life isn’t modest any more – it’s brash and loud and wants constant attention. Instead this sits more quietly – it needs engagement and investigation, and doesn’t give up it’s secrets of comfort and cosiness so readily. Maybe we need a bit more of this feeling….





I drove past the sign to Caen Hill Locks on the way to my meeting, so I stopped for lunch on the way back. They are an impressive run of 16 locks on the Kennet & Avon canal – part of a total of 29 in a 2 mile stretch.

They were built in 1810 – a pretty impressive bit of engineering. Although I didn’t have time to explore the full stretch it was nice to see them all lined up in a row. They were massively refurbished – saved really – from the 1960s onwards. I’m glad.


Well of course we had to visit the Madeira wine lodge – in this case Blandy’s, established c. 1800. It was an ancient building, some bits literally made of knobbly stones. It was very warm, apparently the upper floors are even warmer – in the 40 degrees celsius range. Not sure I could have coped with the fumes. I liked the sense of history. The old barrels and the old vats, with their painted labels and the dark rooms, the wooden floors. They still employ coopers – i.e. barrel makers. That can’t be a common job these days. Of course it tasted delicious – Christmas puddings await ;).