Kent and Cumbria

When people talk about the length of Great Britain, they often say, “From Land’s End to John o’ Groats”.  For the length of England they might say, “From Cumbria to Cornwall” or “From Cumbria to Kent”.  The alliteration seems to exclude Northumberland, which reaches farther north and is diagonally opposite Cornwall.

I have written before about some time I spent in Kent in the summers of 2014 and 2015.  The first time I stayed at Burrswood coincided with a flower festival.  I took a photo in less than ideal light just before leaving mid-morning.

Breakthrough cross

Breakthrough cross

The Breakthrough Cross is a piece of sculpture dating from 1966, which was made for Burrswood.  The person who made it was (Joan) Ophelia Gordon Bell.  Until I read her name on a card from Burrswood I had not heard of her.  Out of interest I looked her up on Wikipedia.  She was married to a well-known artist and lived in Cumbria.

In this age of mobile populations it is hardly surprising that some people from Kent move to Cumbria and some from Cumbria live in Kent.  Less surprising that artists and sculptors have work in far-flung locations.

Another place in Kent I have visited a few times in recent years is Bromley, which has a good shopping centre.  Last time I went (in October) I became aware of a heritage trail, which explored the town’s past.  Some famous people have lived there.  I cannot think of an obvious connection between HG Wells (an author, whose books I devoured in my teens) and Cumbria.  Nor between Charles Darwin and Cumbria.  However Wikipedia alerted me to the fact that a clergyman at a church in Bromley became the Bishop of Rochester (in Kent) before becoming Bishop of Carlisle (in Cumbria) in 1972 (until 1989).

The name of the county of Kent is the same as the name of the river, which flows through Kendal – a town in the south of Cumbria.  Cumbria became the name of the county in 1974.  It was a new administrative area formed from Cumberland, Westmorland and part of Lancashire.  It is best known for including some beautiful scenery known as the (English) Lake District.

A quick piece of detective work on Wikipedia (looking at the derivation of place names) leads me to believe that the connection between the name of the county and the name of the river could be that early residents of both areas were Celts.  Kent possibly means bright in an early language.  If I am not mistaken the name Kendal is a contraction of Kent-dale,  the valley of the river Kent.  Now, what have I heard about Wikipedia and newspapers, I will pass on to you – don’t believe everything you read!

If you’d like to see more of my pictures of Kent and Cumbria, please visit Sue’s words and pictures.

How (not) to make an angel

My latest craft project has been to make an angel.  When I heard that Burrswood was having a Festival of Angels this December, my original reaction was that I could crochet one.  After reflection and a look through my craft materials, I changed my mind.

I have several craft books with projects explained.  The Big Book of Soft Toys by Mabs Tyler has patterns for simple dolls.  I drew a paper pattern and cut out the pieces from some white polycotton material.

Paper pattern: doll and wing

Paper pattern: doll and wing

My sewing machine came in handy for joining the body apart from a gap for the stuffing.  (I used some recycled polyester stuffing.)  I also used the machine for the clothes, which I designed as I went along.  I had the remains of a frill from a petticoat.  My angel ended up with an underskirt and a smock.

I drew the pattern for the wings on a piece of scrap-paper.  I had some white felt and cut four wings.  Stuffing the wings lightly was a possibility, but I decided that two layers of felt made the wings stiff enough.  I embroidered them simply with feathers in mind.

At this stage I thought of an angel joke.  “Cross my wings and hope to fly!”

Her wings are attached to her clothes rather than her body.

I made a wig out of surplus tapestry wool and attached it to her head.

My biggest worry was her face.  I am not good at drawing faces.  I had a similar doll, which my artistic daughter made several years ago, as an example of what can be done.  She had drawn a face.  I was not confident.  Then I found a piece of flesh-coloured felt.  Embroidery is not permanent.  If it looks wrong, it can be unpicked and redone – several times.  So her face was attached after her hair.  (Not recommended.)

Back view

Back view

Perhaps my angel will give people some amusement.  It is not particularly beautiful, but I have tried.  Maybe it can fill a space where it won’t be inspected too closely.


Front view

And if you’d like to make an angel out of any material any size they are required by 20th November 2015.

A previous Christmas project at Burrswood was a knitted Christmas tree.  There is a short YouTube video about how it was constructed.

If you live within reach of Kent, why not go and see the angels for yourself?  I only wish I could, but due to distance, I’ll have to make do with photos.



Sunflowers and beyond

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Community’s tribute to Tina Downey.

Trying to make sense of the premature death of someone we love is not easy.

I have said farewell to several people either younger than me as Tina was, or only a few months or years older.  It doesn’t seem to get any easier.  While we miss the person, who has gone before us, we must not lose sight of the faith, which should sustain those of us, who share Tina’s beliefs.

The following post appeared soon after I heard the sad news – and that of the death of two others I knew locally and one I followed on Twitter.  It seemed like a timely reminder that death is not the end.

Why Jesus waited

After reading Tina’s post about her sister taking a sunflower up a mountain, I commented with a link to a post of mine with sunflowers in it.  As I had one view from the US that day, I’d like to think it was Tina and that she enjoyed the pictures.

A grateful heart

A grateful heart

Tina enriched the lives of many bloggers and will be greatly missed.  Her family and friends are in my prayers (as Tina was).

I suffer from hayfever myself, so please excuse me for recycling two photos I took in July at Burrswood, Kent during their flower festival.

All things bright and beautiful

All things bright and beautiful

Tina believed, “Life is good”.  She had a grateful heart.  I pray that all of us who are marking her life today and our readers might have life abundantly.  John 10:10