How I Spent my Summer Vacation – and a Super Special Meet-up

Greetings, all! Long time no post. But I’ve been around (mostly on IG), doing a bit of sewing, planning lots more sewing, and having a lovely vacation in Wales and England. Some of the high points follow. Trust me when I say this is a majorly abbreviated look at our trip. We had so many wonderful experiences (I could write a whole post on the cheese alone!)  Be sure to read through for details of a meet-up with a special someone at the end. She’s a blogger and most of you will know her; she sews, she paints, she makes shoes and jewelry, she’s a writer, and a great photographer…can you guess who she is?

Here we go!

Our boat, and a few of my favorite things about her.

There are eight spare propellers –  seen here from the top deck. It was fun to wander through them.

The cloud of steam is actually coming from a red and black stack
directly behind this giant orb. They’re much farther apart than it seems here.

The radar tower is fascinating, with or without flags.
Good morning, Southampton, we’ve arrived!
We’re off to Cardiff, and rainy day Eistedffod at Millennium Stadium.
Pretty streets downtown (and the shops! and the restaurants!)
A planned visit to Butterfly Fabrics and a vendor in an open air market yielded this.

We explored ancient sites – such as Raglan Castle…

Hubby is at the tip top looking down on twinning cousins.

Photographing him photographing us.

My turn in the crow’s nest.

Stunning 360 degree vistas.

…and Tintern Abbey – remains from the 12-century

Looking out.

Looking in.

Looking up.

We found a high peak in the old stomping grounds near Brecon.

We also found sheep. Who would have imagined?

And horses. Wait a minute, no cows???

Well of course there are cows. This is Wales.

We spent two days in Cheltenham, in a lovely B&B similar to this one.

Prettiest administrative offices I’ve ever seen.

Dinner with another cousin and his family.

And after a short train ride the next day….

We are ready for the Shakespearean actors!

“Now just wait a minute”, you must be thinking. “Shakespeare? Stop teasing us! What happened to the super talented, sewing, shoe-making, jewelry-making, surprise meet-up announcement?” Did anyone guess who she is?

Would you believe Kate Davies of Fabrickated? Yes! The one and only. Her husband Nick retrieved us from the train station and drove us to their lovely home, where we were introduced to Kate with hugs all around. This lovely lady is just as I had expected – warm and welcoming, and all the good things. As we sat enjoying the view, Kate asked about my sewing progress, and my response led from one thing into another, such as children, family, losing loved ones, even a dip into politics. My thoughts were confirmed that we are of like minds on many topics. Somehow we never returned to the sewing conversation!

We had a quick tour of their home and I was wowed by the amazing sewing room where Kate works her magic. A colorful huilpil from her Dress Like Frida challenge was artfully arranged on the dress form in the window. A framed painting of a special dress she had created (from her own hand-painted fabric) was on the wall. With a place for everything, this room accommodates all her creative pursuits, and even allows guest space. This is what happens when two clever, artistic people design a home together!

Nick is a talent in his own right. Not only has he built most of the cabinetry in the home, he is also a marvelous cook. A delicious (and beautiful) lunch spread was waiting for us; meat, cheese, and veggies of our choice on homemade focaccia bread. All he had left to do was assemble it. And all we had to do was enjoy! Which we did, with gusto.

They had also arranged for us to see an outdoor presentation of Much Ado About Nothing on the lawn at Rendcombe College after lunch. The day was brisk and cloudy, but the cast carried on and never moved the performance to the stage indoors. It was funny, well-acted, and completely enjoyable.

They could have chauffeured us back to the train station, but instead took us all the way to our hotel. More hugs, and a most delightful day was complete.

Since the pictures included above are only a tiny fraction of the pictures I took on our vacation, you’ll be surprised (if not appalled) to know that the empty stage shot is the only one I took of the entire day with Kate and Nick. Likewise, Kate took only two photos (of our husbands), so to prove that my story is true, I’m sharing one of them with you! No doubt they are discussing their wonderful wives.

Kate Davies was the first “real” blogger to follow me when I started blogging, and has always been so kind and encouraging even as my postings dwindled. And now I have met her and consider her a friend. How very cool is that.

Be back soon, and in the meantime, stitch on, everyone!


19 thoughts on “How I Spent my Summer Vacation – and a Super Special Meet-up

  1. I guessed it would be Kate before I got to the end of your post! I met her a few years ago at a sewing meet up in London and we’ve stayed in touch via Instagram. It looks like you had a wonderful trip to England & Wales.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can only imagine how fabulous everything was from the ship to the shore and back again. It would be alright with me if you took an entire post to talk about the cheese. LOL Thanks for sharing what you did here, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I too guessed it was Kate. You described her perfectly, with all her talent and generosity. Looks like a fantastic trip. I live near Southampton (all one word) where you disembarked and I am hoping to go to Cardiff very soon so I took careful notes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It pretty hard to disguise Kate, isn’t it? You will love Cardiff! My post would have far too long if I’d included everything, but we loved Cardiff. Would move there if it were possible. If you’re a sewist, Butterfly Fabrics is an amazing place, and although I couldn’t make it, Trixie Lixie is well recommended, too. Have a marvelous time! And thank you for the correction. It has been corrected (ooops). 😉


  4. Oh Jen, you over did the trumpets there!! It was our pleasure to host you and Bill and show you something of our English Eccentric lifestyle. Thank you for your kind gifts. You were so warm, lovely, interesting and easy to spend time with. We loved hearing of your adventures, past lives and future plans. Travelling is always such a great way to meet new people and learn about other ways of doing things – aren’t we fortunate to have such fantastic opportunities. I hope we meet again one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha Kate. Perhaps the trumpets were a bit strong….but you were recognized by my description, so it must be true! (And now I’m blushing) I too hope our paths will cross again one day, perhaps on this side of the pond so we can squire you and Nick around! Isn’t it amazing how small this big world can be?


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