I have to admit that I was not actually looking forward to the Uttoxeter trip... It was the thought of all of the packing, organising, sorting, making lists and trying to get my FOQ entry almost finished that was putting me off. Once everything was done and I finally set off in the Landy listening to Radio 4, I became excited about my expedition. I collected Kay from her farm in the Scottish Borders and we trundled down to Staffordshire where Ani had a casserole ready in a quaint holiday cottage. For my driving I was rewarded with a large, refreshing G and;T and we spent a few hours catching up as we had not seen each other since FOQ last year.
Uttoxeter Racecourse proved to be a very nice location for the British Quilt and Stitch Villlage, organised by Traplet Publications. The countryside was far greener than up here in Scotland; there were far more signs of Spring with hawthorn and magnolia blossom and far more substantial lambs. It was easy to find with plenty of parking and even spaces for caravans. The facilities are really good at racecourses since there are plenty of loos, cafes, lifts and all sorts of function suites. There were 190 or so quilts of a good standard, a separate embroidery exhibition, special exhibits including one of Kay’s stunning wholecloths, The Ostrych, and the incredible tentmakers of Cairo. There was even a guitarist playing relaxing acoustic melodies all day long which created a great atmosphere. The was a good range of traders selling everything from buttons, paints and fabric to longarm quilting machines, of course.
We had two APQS longarms on frames at the show - Millennium and; Lenni and also the large throat sit-down version called George. Visitors were fascinated by our demonstrations and they were impressed by what they were able to achieve themselves. We met some old friends, internet friends and fellow longarmer, Janette stayed in our cottage for two nights.
We enjoyed our pub suppers after the show each evening but I think I will avoid Frankie and; Benny’s forever... There were a lot of noisy children’s birthday parties on Saturday night and I cringed every time the whole restaurant was expected to sing “Happy Birthday“ followed by “Congratulations”. My friends hatched a plan and secretly informed the waitress that it was my birthday, which was not actually the case. She duly arrived with a chocolate brownie, topped with lighted birthday candle, balloons, birthday greetings and led the raucous public singing. It was ridiculously humiliating and hilarious - we laughed so much that we ached and still could not stop chuckling for the rest of the evening.
I really enjoyed the Uttoxeter Experience in the end - partly because it was a most enjoyable show but mostly because I really enjoyed the Kay and Ani’s company. We got along really well, mucking in together at the show and cottage. We laughed endlessly at my inability to navigate without making odd detours and wondered why I could not concentrate on one topic for discussion at a time without going off at a random or irrelevant tangent.
Ani packed up her awesome, capacious, little camper van, a Bongo Friendee that Kay and I wish belonged to us, and set off back to Devon while we climbed into the Landy for the long drive North. We made such a great team that I am now really looking forward to FOQ!
Watch a video of the show by cutting and pasting this link into your browser bar: