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Met loads of lovely old and new friends at the recent Parchment Exhibition in May and more recently at Bristol in June. It was also super to meet lots of like minded tutors, all of whom do parchment craft so differently, giving lots of choice to suit your level of ability. A good time was had by all. Please see my facebook site for photographs taken at both events.
Another great three weeks in Ireland. Had the first week in Sligo with friend Mary Fergus who showed us around the area and had us for four nights, thanks Mary and Jimmy a great laugh all week. Then we travelled across to see the Giants Causeway in County Antrim, which we have always wanted to do. That was fantastic. Stayed overnight in Ballymoney at "Ken-Mar House" B and B (which was excellent) then travelled down for the weekend in Carlingford Lough just over the border in Southern Ireland on our way back down to Dublin. Been there before, but we love it there - very quiet and a lovely little town. Another great B and B, "Mourne View" just outside Carlingford literally under the Mountains of Mourne. Lovely views. A great 8 days holiday.
I then got on with my two private courses at The Marine Hotel in Sutton. Most of the ladies were from my Portmarnock and Rush groups over the years and we had a super time. The three day course was fantastic and lots of studious people in the classes doing gridwork, pencil work, PCA template work and whitework. Also had 6 beginners on the second week. A good time was had by all and the Hotel looked after us very well. Grateful thanks also to Sheila and Bob in Swords near Malahide, who had us stay for 7 nights over the holiday.
We had the usual four day break in between the two courses at "White Cottages B and B" in Skerries which as usual was excellent. (We had a fantastic Afternoon Tea there which was great!). The weather was atrocious though, very wet and squally showers all the three weeks sadly. The only good four days we had this year were when I was in class!! Finally home again after a great time in Ireland to a bit better weather!
Harrogate Parchment Exhibition was held in May and I met lots of lovely people at my stand. I demonstrated the new PCA templates and also how to emboss and colour large flowers. Lots of people were interested in my gridwork books too which were on special offer along with other website bits. Thanks to Paddy and Catherine who helped on the stand whilst I was working!! I even had Brigid come over from Dublin for the day!!! Early flight!
We had almost three weeks in Ireland this year just three days after the exhibition! Phew!!
I started off with a one day course for my 10 lovely ladies at Rush, and stayed for the weekend at The White Cottages in Skerries, our favourite B and B. The week after that at the college An Grianan ICA college near Drogheda - was great with 11 ladies for the week, and then a weekend course with 7 ladies straight after. Had a couple of hours down on the beach during the day as a rest between courses! The weather was lovely that week, so Paddy was able to get out and about whilst I was earning a few pennies! The college of course was great as usual, with great food, students and great craic for the week.
The following week, we did the three day course at The Marine Hotel in Sutton, which was great fun. I had 15 ladies for the three days, and we had a whale of a time. We did a full range of teaching to the group which included three beginners, another 2 or 3 ladies who had done parchment but not been to me, plus about 10 ladies who had been to me for several years. I also taught all the classes this year some PCA template work, which was new and great fun. Thanks to Brigid and Mary for organising all the ladies at Sutton! The ladies at Sutton gave me an extra surprise on the last day - a 60th birthday cake 6 weeks early! That was lovely, thank you all! Then I also received a lovely bouquet and chocolates by Interflora on my actual birthday in July which was extremely kind.
Paddy and I managed to see the family in Dublin 3 or 4 times during the three weeks, and had lots of great meals out, so much so, that I found that I had put on 5lbs on getting home!! Stayed for several nights with friends in Sutton as usual, thanks again Mary and Bill for your hospitality!
A bit more news… I am not doing any more cruises; have done 9 super holiday cruises, but I feel it is time to enjoy holidays now and not have to work. Have had a great time and met lots of lovely people in my classes on board.
Our latest jaunt to Ireland. Two weeks and five days working holiday, staying over for two courses at the college near Drogheda as usual, our seventh year teaching there but our 11th lot of courses at the ICA college. We had the first weekend at Skerries at The White Cottages (www.whitecottages.co.uk) our usual overnight stay, and stayed for three glorious nights with Joe and Jackie - fantastic time. Check out their website if you are visiting Dublin.
We then set off to the college for the first week and had 7 students, a little less than past years, so the students got plenty of tuition! Then off to stay at The Marine Hotel in Sutton for the weekend, which was superb. Had a lovely room overlooking Dublin Bay, watching the ferries coming in and out. Taught for the usual Portmarnock Ladies group on the Saturday which was super, meeting up with old students.
Then off back to the college for the second week.... with 12 ladies this week! Busy busy! The college as also full, of RTE film and sounds crews plus celebrities from TV and radio filming the Bootcamp for RTE television in August, like a celebrity Big Brother type thing.... Great fun. Met Siobhan O'Connor a radio presenter from 98FM and Mr World (the equivalent of Miss World!) Kamal Ibrahim from Limerick City - they were both lovely. Kamal was very friendly and chatted to us in the bar one night. He actually won the week's heat and will be one of four celebrities going for the final in August. (Check him out on Google....) See photo below! Had another super week, and finished off by heading off to stay with friend Carmel at Rush for two nights, whilst teaching the last Sunday with the Rush ladies group, that I teach every year. Did the usual day with the ladies, all 13 of them which was very quiet (they were almost all doing gridwork!), and later prepared for our final day back at The Marine the next day. Had a lovely final meal at The Marine on the last night with Mary and Rosemary and their husbands as we did last year. I daren't hardly say at this stage that we have sailed across the Irish Sea 24 times now in the last 11 years, and never had a problem. Now over our last weekend, we had severe gales in UK and Ireland, and just the night before we sailed home, the winds dropped and the late evening air was almost warm, and only a little breezy. We sailed across to Holyhead with the sun all the way, and the sea was like a millpond. They say the sun shines on the righteous, well we must be!
See you next Year Ireland. Can't wait!
Our 9th cruise, to the Baltic on "Marco Polo" was again, super. We haven't been on this ship before and thoroughly enjoyed it. We sailed from Tilbury and met up with another lecturer on the cruise, Peter Williams and wife Anne as soon as we boarded the ship. Lovely couple, Peter was talking on his Army years in the Cold War - very interesting and funny - and Anne being a jewellery designer was right up my street (my hobby being jewellery making!). Richard Sykes, my boss, the Cruise Director, was hilariously funny and good fun to work with.
We visited several ports that we have been in before, but still found them super. My first morning class was whilst we were heading across the North Sea and we had about a dozen punters, followed by 14 in the afternoon - all very keen! The next day, was Warnemunde, in Germany - our first stop. Lovely weather, although it rained in the afternoon, but we were back at the ship before that! Lucky!
Then another day at sea with the 3rd and 4th session, each one getting bigger! Had 15 and then 19, news travels fast! Tallinn in Estonia was the next port, another super day, hot and sunny..... great!
Then two more ports in a row, Helsinki in Finland, with another trip to the old town of Porvoo, plus Helsinki highlights, and then Stockholm the next day, with a bit more cloud there sadly. Had a walk into the city where we have stayed for a holiday before, and loved it as usual.
Then another day at sea with my final two sessions, by this time, we had got to 23 people, all dying to get into the class - Paddy by this time was fetching extra chairs in! The last port was Kalundborg in Denmark, a change to Copenhagen. We visited Kragerup Manor out in the beautiful Danish countryside. We were met by Baroness Dineson who runs this wonderful huge white manor house, as a 4 star hotel and conference centre. We were treated to wonderful Danish pastries, fresh pineapple and superb coffee and tea in the cellars. Even got a photo of Paddy with the Baroness, which made his day! Finally, on the way back, going through the Kiel Canal once again in sunshine, and within hours, cloudy weather was meeting us back on the way to the UK ......typical!
On the cruise, we met a wonderful young concert/classical pianist Richard Lennox. If you ever get the chance to hear him, he's wonderful. An excellent person to tinkle on the ivories...... Such relaxing classical and modern music - A joy to listen.
Had another day workshop in Bottesford, near Grantham for the local U3A group there who do card making and other craft classes every fortnight. We were introduced to this group through Miranda who we met on a cruise two years ago, and have become firm friends with her and her husband Doug! Had a great three hour session doing peel-offs and stencils on parchment, which the ladies seem to enjoy very much. This is the second time we have been down to Bottesford. We are shortly going on holiday to Cornwall with Miranda and looking forward to a chill-out week in a log cabin somewhere in the wilds of Cornwall!!
The Parchment Exhibition in Harrogate. My husband Paddy sprained his ankle two nights before the exhibition, so my very helpful daughter Catherine came to the rescue and took me up the night before to set up the stand. Then on the morning of the exhibition, I was a bit under the weather with a bug, and really struggled to be there on the stand that day! I tried to chat with everyone and it was very tiring but I managed to stay there almost all day, before coming home to three days recuperating! Anyway, Catherine held the fort and demonstrated in the afternoon for me and Paddy hobbled around collecting the sales money. The exhibition was a success though, with lots of interest in the gridwork easel cards on my table, and hopefully quite a few people enjoyed meeting me and having a quick chat. The easel cards are now included in a pattern pack on the website for sale.
Here beginneth my 19 days in Ireland - it gets longer every year now! Paddy and I took the ferry across the Irish Sea (thankfully the volcanic ask from Iceland didn't affect the ferries!) and stayed overnight in Dublin with friends.
Left on the Monday morning and went straight up to the ICA College of An Grianan, north east of Drogheda for the first of two weeks teaching. Had 13 ladies the first week, had a great time as usual. Only having one beginner made it great fun, with having 12 ladies who had been before! They settled straight in and we had a great week. (Too much food at the college - need I say more!?). Left Thursday night and onto Rush near Skerries on the coast for another teaching day the their group on the Friday. The Rush ladies have had me for about 6 years now, so its all good friends there! Stayed overnight with Rosemary and Greer and had a great time. That night, set off down the coast, staying again with Mary and Bill in Sutton, our friendly B and B for three years now (great prices too!).
Taught for the Portmarnock ICA ladies the following day with 11 ladies. Just had four beginners there, with 7 from the last two years there. The day flew by but another good day was had by all.
The next day was MY FIRST DAY OFF in a week! We took Bill and Mary out for a leisurely carvery lunch at the Grand Hotel in Malahide, one of our favourite places. Mary wouldn't let me do anything that day, but by the evening I was bored, wanting to do some parchment! Instead, we played Rummikub in the evening - guess what - Paddy won!
Back to the college the following morning, after meeting Paddy's cousin from Dublin over lunch, and set up the class again. Had 10 ladies the second week, with four beginners and 6 from last year. Even Bridget from Waterford group last weekend came too. A glutton for punishment! She was there with her ICA the second week and thought she couldn't get in, but with a cancellation came her place for another three days in class!
Anyway, apart from the emergency with a burst water main in Drogheda on the second morning; we had no mains water for two and a half days - we coped very well! Its good job we all knew each other, we couldn't have showers, wash, or flush the toilets for about 24 hours. Paddy helped Noel the handyman at the college to carry buckets from the college well (that was lucky!) for flushing of the said toilets! We all pulled together with the "blitz spirit" as they say, and I finally had a shower again on the Thursday night. Thank goodness for baby wipes and deodorants! One of life's crises.....as they say! Another good week anyway.
Finally after leaving college on the Friday morning, I had taught for 11 days and four evenings in the last 14 days, I was fairly shattipated! Then had two great days at Jackie's White Cottages overlooking the bay in Skerries, (heaven) and one night at The Grand Hotel In Malahide (even more heaven - with a beautiful room overlooking the Marina and the estuary!) on the last day before returning to Mary's for our final night before the 7am ferry home the next morning. Thankfully, after weighing in at Slimming World the morning after we got home, I had only put on one and a half pounds over the 19 days which was pretty good, with having three course lunches and 2 course teas at the college, plus three 2 course meals out the last four days too! And those wonderful scones at the college...... mmmmmmm ......all that food!
Anyway, bye for now.....until next year. Slain agus go raibh maith agaibh! (Goodbye and thank you).
Taught a day workshop for Chris Watson's little group of 14 ladies and 2 gentlemen in the John Innes centre in Norwich. Had a great day, did a bit of whitework and pencil work, and some general cards with them.
Had a quick week across in Southern Ireland, a place we love, having been asked to teach my group of parchment crafters from Rush, north of Dublin for three days in October. Paddy and I (well Paddy!) drove across to Holyhead and thankfully the Irish Sea was calm for the end of October.
Taught for three days in Rush to my group of 13 ladies run by Rosemary, whom I have been teaching for about 6-7 years, and then moved south for the fourth day to teach the Ladies from Portmarnock organised by Brigid, where I have been three times now. It was lovely to see them all again. My one day off in the week was the day after the four days teaching, and guess what, it rained all day!! We spent a happy couple of hours reading the paper and doing the crosswords in the Grand Hotel In Malahide, as you do, watching the rotten weather outside!
Paddy managed to visit the family in Dublin on his five days off (lucky him!) and we had a great week staying with Mary and Bill again, (thank you both!) in Sutton.
Came home the following day, with glorious weather across the sea; the sun shines on the righteous they say (the following day was gales and rain here, so we were pleased we were not crossing the sea that day!).
Its only about 22 weeks to go, to cross the Irish Sea again teaching at the college in April. Time flies when you are having fun, so they say! When we win the lottery, our first spend will be on the house in Malahide or perhaps our five girlies (4 daughters and 1 grand-daughter) will think they should come first - and then the cottage!
The picture on the left is the Ladies from Rush with Marie and her huge cake in the centre (calorie free of course)!