All change

I have completed my induction week of my new life. For those who don’t know me in real life, I have left my job in education after 14 years because I have gained a place on a nursing degree, which is a real achievement – 160 places and 4000 applicants – and I’m still wondering how I managed it! I’m doing general adult nursing and although some specialisms appeal more than others I am looking forward to experiencing lots of different areas of nursing.


My Dad has already nicknamed me Nurse Nancy (from the Twinkle comic of my childhood), although my uniform isn’t as attractive as hers! White tunic and grey trousers, designed for comfort and sized very generously. Whilst one doesn’t want to be bursting at the seams I do feel as if I’m in my pjs, which means I’ll have to work extra hard to resist the urge to lie on a spare bed for a nap, lol!

Getting to grips with everything being online is my first challenge. Considering my first university experience was in the days when assignments were handwritten and each student had a pigeon hole for messages I will need to get into the routine of checking student email and the Blackboard system regularly. I am really looking forward to getting stuck in…

I arrived home today to find a For Sale sign planted firmly in the garden. Somewhat taken aback, as this was the first I knew of any potential move, I went indoors to investigate.

The sign was the first that Mum and Dad knew that they were moving too. Mum had already called the estate agent and was told that they didn’t know how it had got there but they would “try” to remove it later today. Clearly they hadn’t bothered, so Dad rang up and was Extremely Firm in his demands. He spoke to a different person to the useless piece of goods that had been so feeble earlier, and this person was much more obliging. She searched all the records and there was no record of any house being registered for sale with them, or indeed any house on any similarly named street in the area. She even contacted the company responsible for putting up the For Sale signs, who conveniently had no record of the sign in question. I suspect that they were covering up their mistake, although why they would erect a sign in a random garden is beyond my simple brain capacity.

The estate agent has promised faithfully that the sign will be removed tomorrow and if it isn’t then the manager is going to get a right dressing down before close of play tomorrow!!!

But……what a bizarre occurrence!


August was a quiet month. I was off work and didn’t have very many plans, apart from indulging in lots of “me” time.

I read a fair number of books, both re-reads and new to me books.

Visiting the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition was a highlight

Meeting up with C and Baby J for tea and gossip. I am used to seeing C most days and haven’t seen her for weeks, so it was good to catch up. We had a little sad moment when we realised we will never work together again as I leave before she returns from maternity leave. However it will be an excellent opportunity to introduce Baby J to university life!!!

Going to Whitby. I love Whitby and haven’t been as many times as I would like this year. Sadly I was mildly under the weather but it meant that I could get the train home and enjoy the lovely run through the Esk Valley.


A surprise visit from E and Baby D. I knew that E was coming up during the bank holiday week and we had arranged to meet one evening during the week (baby permitting) but she rang on Sunday asking if I was home as she was taking Baby D for a walk in my direction and wondered if she could pop in. Mum enjoyed cuddling a tiny baby that she could give back and E enjoyed a hot cup of tea!

All in all a quiet month, as said, but as the next three years are bound to be crammed full and busy it was nice to enjoy a calm before the storm.

Steam train celebrations

Whilst dotting out and about enjoying what little sunshine we have we ended up at Pickering (again!) and went to look at the steam train that had just pulled into the station. The first couple of carriages had been suitably decked out for a private party, I assume a ruby wedding from the sign on the front. What a wonderful way to mark a special occasion! It is my parent’s golden wedding in four years time and they took on board (no pun intended!) the idea of booking a carriage or two to celebrate with friends. They’re not really loud party people so this would suit them down to the ground – and it would feel very posh having a whole carriage (or two) to oneself :-)

Yves Saint Laurent

My mum booked me a spot on her quilting group’s outing a while back. Ordinarily I wouldn’t really be over enthusiastic about that but it was a visit to the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition at the Bowes Museum, and  tickets are as rare as hen’s teeth so I was rather pleased. In with the ticket price was lunch, served in one of the museum’s sumptuous rooms rather than taking place in the cafe. It felt very grand even though we only had soup and sandwiches! The Bowes museum was built by John and Josephine Bowes, to store their amazing collections of pictures, ceramics, antiques and general stuff. Due to Josephine’s French origins it was built to resemble a French chateau, not what you expect right up Teesdale!


I’ve been going to the Bowes museum ever since I can remember, so I am familiar with a lot of the collections. They often have some very well known exhibitions and if I’m interested it is close enough to visit whenever is convenient. The gardens are wonderful, especially in the summer on a rare day of sunshine and when the fountain is playing.


After lunch we had time to look round the museum, as entrance to the exhibition was on a timed ticket system and our time was 3pm. I mooched round the collection of paintings, which I love, ending up in the gallery in plenty of time for the daily performance of the famous Silver Swan. This automaton was created in 1772 and still works! The only other automaton of the time is in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. I have also seen that one, which is a peacock, but not seen it working. I did take a video of the swan in action but WordPress doesn’t seem to allow me to upload it, so here is a picture instead. The craftsmanship is wonderful, don’t you think?


Onto the exhibition. There wasn’t just clothes, there was a video of the clothes being modelled on a catwalk, so that you could see how they moved on a real person, there was another video of YSL and one of his working partners describing how the clothes went from idea to model, which was very interesting. As well as examples of outfits, there were the toiles that he used to finalise details, which were wonderful to see.


There was also examples of prep work for beading and embroidery.


There was a shawl made entirely of beadwork, which was stunning, although I’m not sure how wearable it would have been. Possibly I don’t mix in the right circles!


Mum is of the right age to remember these styles coming out, and how different they were, although she didn’t wear designer labels. One of her sisters in law did and Mum can remember her “swanning about in them” as she put it! She remembers how avant garde trouser suits were and how people weren’t allowed to wear them to work for a long time.


Being more of a dress girl I loved many of his dresses, although there is no way they would go over my left leg, let alone fit me!!

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Some of them seemed to be a bit over the top to be worn to any function, but I am sure that they must have been, especially in the 70’s and 80’s, when fashion did go a bit over the top, led by haute couture.

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Some of the outfits haven’t really dated, or they’re coming back into vogue now, I’m not sure which. Mum really liked the Mondriaan inspired dress and said that she used to wear dresses of that style when she was younger (i.e. pre-children!)


I thought this one looked like a 1920’s schoolgirl outfit, clearly YSL was inspired by school stories!


And a few more gratuitous photos of clothes.

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The exhibition runs until October and if you are given the chance to go, I would. There was an interesting mix of people there; many were of an age to remember the clothing styles first time around, they may even have worn them. Others were clearly fashion students; what a great opportunity to have! Others just amused me. They tottered their way around talking as if they knew all about the fashion world when it was clear that they didn’t, they just sounded silly. I found it wonderful to be able to see the design and the workmanship that had gone into each piece, some of them really were labours of love.

Although I have posted this on Instagram, I shall still blog about it for any readers that do not follow me on Instagram (or linked social media). The pattern is called “Made So Quickly” from Susan Crawford’s A Stitch In Time vol 1 and I used Louisa Harding’s  Ianthe (now discontinued). According to Ravelry it is called Fuchsia but it is more of a reddy pink, like watermelon sorbet. The buttons are made by me, using Liberty Tana Lawn in Winchester S. Coincidentally both pattern and fabric design are from the 1930s :-)

Made So Quickly

I feel as if I will get a  lot of wear out of this, and I am even contemplating knitting a long sleeved one in wool for the winter. We shall see, though. There are so many pretty patterns and not enough time to make them all. If only I had a rich husband or an independent income!!!

July so far

At the end of June I received some excellent news; one of my oldest friends had safely delivered her first baby. It wasn’t the easiest birth but both were safe and well. I organised to go to London so that I could see the baby. I haven’t included a photo because I forgot to ask permission, although I don’t think I’d be allowed as New Mum isn’t a fan of social media. However I can report that he is very tiny, very cuddly and only cries when wet/hungry/cold/hot/uncomfortable. A perfectly placid child 👶

London is rather a long way to go for one day so I (and my bank balance) decided to spend most of two days travelling (I went by coach) and have two days. H, with whom I was staying, took the Friday off and we went to Canterbury and Whitstable. I’d never been to either place and I had a wonderful day. Canterbury had a lot of lovely little shops and I could have spent a fortune, an urge only repressed by the fact that I had to carry anything I bought onto the coach. Whitstable was a lovely place. We didn’t go into the town but to a place just outside. There we dined at the elegant Marine Hotel

After dinner we had another walk along the front, admiring all the beach huts. I was filled with beach-hut-envy!

H and I spent a wonderful time planning our fantasy beach huts! They would be at least twice the size of these beach huts and very luxurious.

Here are a few of my favourite ones…

I love the Art Deco look of this one, in particular the green and cream colourway.
There will always be blue skies here.

Blue and white was a popular combination for beach huts. It looks so fresh and summery.
This one made me smile because our local psychiatric unit was called St. Luke’s until fairly recently, although we decided that this hut belonged to the Scouts.
Beach huts from begin, showing the sea.
Walking along the front we saw some splendid houses but I only took a photo of one (remiss of me, I know). This house would have been perfect if Monsieur Poirot decided to holiday at Whitstable. It is so 1930s, not a curve in sight! One very modern house, we were somewhat horrified to notice, had a floor to ceiling window in the bathroom!!!!!

When I did my post holiday accounts I am very glad that I have no big financial plans for the rest of July. Instead I have a long list of books to read, crafting to finish and a rather late, much needed spring clean to complete.


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