Cake (Not Scone) of the Week

This week we visited the Old School Gallery at Alnmouth. Situated just outside the village centre on the road out towards Foxton, the Gallery has a small cafe area. They had no scones (so not exactly a “Scone of the Week” post} but five different cakes to choose from. I think they may have a bigger menu at busier times of year. Today we were the only customers there at the time of our visit.

We had a wander round to look at the art while our cake and coffee were being prepared and there were some lovely pieces, in a variety styles and media. They included a lot of seascapes and other sea-themed pictures. Many are available as prints and there a few other items too, including ceramics, textiles, cards and gifts.

The Gallery’s Spring Exhibition is currently being prepared ready for opening on 14th Feb so we could see many of the exhibits ready for hanging. My favourite was a huge seascape on canvas – I don’t know who the artist is but it was stunning.

Our home-baked cakes were excellent. I chose the lemon drizzle (one of my favourites) and Mum had the polenta and lime cake. Both were moist, light and full of flavour. For those preferring something with icing, there was coffee cake, chocolate, or victoria sponge. We had very nice Illy brand barista-style coffee to go with it.

The only issue with visiting the Gallery is the access. They have tried by creating a ramp from one of the entrance gates into the building , but then there is a single step inside, quite steep with no handrail. Apart from that it’s quite a nice place to visit.

We couldn’t visit Alnmouth without looking at the sea, so we drove down to the beach. It was a beautiful clear day and the sea looked almost inviting.

The afternoon sun lit up the Aln Estuary and shone on the wet sand.

As we drove away we saw one of the skiffs that are based in Alnmouth. Skiff racing is becoming quite popular around British coasts and as the boats are very traditional in design, this is keeping the old boat-building skills alive. They are quite often to be seen wheeled out of the boathouse by the beach like this and I love to see them.

It has been a week of seeing old friends. On Tuesday I had lunch with two fabulous former colleagues. It was so good to catch up (and far too long since we last got together). Later on I met a dear friend for coffee. She is off to Australia in a couple of weeks and I’m missing her already. Today we saw a lovely couple who live near my Mum for the first time in ages… turns out that this lady reads my blog! I didn’t realise. It was so nice to see them both.

Have you had any reunions recently or been back in contact with people after a long time without? I’d love to hear about it.

My Own Personal Unicorn

I’ve had the house to myself for most of the day, so I finished a project that has been hanging around since last Christmas. It’s a rather sweet needle felted unicorn, made from a kit I received as a gift. It was my first attempt at needle felting.

To a point, these kits are a bit of a cheat. If you were making this from scratch you’d make a skeleton or armature and needle felt over that, but this kit came with a polystyrene base, so it was just a case of making the legs and ears, covering the body/head shape and felting it all together. The instructions were not great: a sheet of tiny photographs and no explanatory text. Once I’d worked out what to do, I found there’s something very satisfying about wielding that felting needle, especially if you are in a bad mood. I did learn that getting carried away has its drawbacks however. If you miss it really hurts. Also, those needles break really easily.

The most fiddly part was the unicorn’s horn. This involved twisting some of the purple fibres and a white thread around a short piece of pipe cleaner and securing it with hot glue. I went for a more free-flowing mane and tail than the one on the box illustration, so they don’t look that similar. You finish it off with embroidered eyelashes. I love putting the eye on a toy or animal. I always take a lot of care getting the placement right – it seems to be the most important thing that brings it to life. I rather like it!

When I’d finished I looked out the window and there were seven collared doves in one of the trees in our garden. They usually seem to gather when it’s stormy to shelter from the weather. These three looked particularly cosy with their feathers all fluffed up.

I didn’t stay in the house all day: I nipped out to pick son up from Alnmouth Golf Club at Foxton and parked up with my knitting while I waited for him. I had a great view over the golf course towards Coquet Island. Being Mum’s Taxi does sometimes have its compensations!

Back home, Unicorn is now sitting in pride of place. I need to think of a suitable name for him/her. Any suggestions?