Although I had told myself to leave plenty of time to pack for my Yurt expedition to Newcastle, I ended up teaching in school for two days. After making up maps, stories and wrapping fake parcels for "Katie Morag" with Primary 3 I dashed home, loaded up the Landy then went to watch my own children's marvellous school show. I am stunned by how well everyone sang and how many words and lines they all managed to remember. Fenella has brought her fantastic penguin costume home. Perhaps she might like to wear it on our trip to the Edinburgh Zoo next week?
I had a clear run down to Gosforth Park Racecourse and arrived mid afternoon. The Yurt had to be unloaded, crammed into the goods lift of the catering kitchen and set up on the first floor of the grand main building. We managed to round up a few volunteers to get the frame and roof up and within a couple of hours I was satisfied that all was ready, although it was set into a corner as space was a little tight.
My B&B accommodation was interesting... it looked cottagey from the outside but inside it was not so much "shabby-chic" as just well, shabby. The en-suite bathroom was brown and there was no wifi for an internet junkie. Being a typical Brit, I didn't like to grumble. The lady cooking my breakfast was lovely and it seemed rude to buck the trend from all of the other delighted comments in the visitors' book. I secretly enjoyed watching trash TV from a choice of two channels and drinking plonk out of a tooth-brushing glass but I shuddered when the milk in the little jug for tea went gloopy. I eventually plucked up the courage to tell the show organisers that I wouldn't recommend it for future reference. It has to be noted that it has given me far more to write about than if it had been perfectly appointed. I do wonder about some B&B's though. I reckon if I had one it would be perfect: quilts, decent showers, wifi, Gin & Tonic in a mini fridge, sewing machines and home baked bread!
I really enjoyed the show - the people and traders were friendly, the setting was super and as a bonus there was the excitement of seeing some horse racing on two days. I taught several workshops including a circles journal quilt, free motion quilting samplers and a zipped cosmetics bag in an open plan area upstairs overlooking the race-course. There were other classes running alongside mine in crochet, rug-making and paper crafts. My students were very willing and all seemed extremely pleased with what they achieved. The brand new Janome machines on loan from the Singer Sewing Centre in Whitley Bay purred along very nicely. This generated a lot of interest in the local sewing machine shop and there were a few sales so by the end of the show I managed to persuade them to let me have a good deal on a Lady Valet dress-making dummy.
I went on a jaunt to IKEA one evening to buy some cheap cushions for the Yurt. I bought some small ones for 80p each and a fleece blanket. I quickly ran up some very basic cushion covers with fringed edges in my makeshift studio. Typically, I also bought some useful random IKEA items such as a hard-boiled egg slicer, a silicone ice cube tray that produces novelty-fish-shaped chunks of ice and a spare set of pinking shears.
It was pointed out to me by my landlady that there are quite a few footballers' wives and girlfriends living in the Ponteland area which would explain the flash cars, Waitrose and some very tanned ladies with glamorous hair-dos. I went out for supper one evening with Crafting Angels, Jen and Rosemary from Broxden in Central Scotland. We had a good time, discussed a little business and enjoyed a spot of people-watching.
Guiltily, I phoned home to wish Freya "Happy Birthday" but it sounded like she had a good time anyway. Tania provided her with a surprise birthday tea, she went to Bands Nite at the town hall, unwrapped lots of super presents and finished school for the Easter holidays.
Dismantling the Yurt after the show went very smoothly and Robert from Norman Cummings Fabrics was a great help in holding onto the crown until all of the rafters were removed. It was decided that it was far easier to carry all of the gear down the terraced seating and park the Landy near the paddocks. I wish that someone would grab a camera unexpectedly one day. I must have looked like a very odd turtle balancing the crown on my back. Everything got shoved in and I found a friendly farmer to assist with the rope lashing that I always do just in case any of the cargo straps fail. I had a scenic drive home through beautiful countryside via Coldstream on the A697 with the last of some unseasonably summery weather. The children were pleased to see me return home from my latest trip and even helped to unload the Landy and stow away the Yurt until its next outing. I paid them a little pocket money from my postcard sales so they may even feel inclined to help out another time ;)