On Thursday 24 Nov at a dark but dry 6am I set off with my friends for a fabulous trip to Harrogate to the Knitting and Stitching Show.
http://www.gilestours.co.uk/page/1/welcome-to-giles-tours/ - I believe they have been organising this trip for about 20 years, this was my second year and I hope to be saying in 18 years that I've been going every year since !
Many thanks to Neil and Frank, excellent drivers/organisers for all their help and the journey, although long, is manageable with lunch stops and 'comfort' stops along the way. I also see the journey as a time to get some crafting done and many of us were knitting and crocheting on the ferry and the coach!
We took the 7.30am ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan, a fairly smooth crossing and it is a very spacious and comfortable ferry, lots of seating areas and refreshment choices.
The first of our shopping oportunities was at http://www.gretnagreen.com/visit-gretna-green we also had lunch there.
Back onto the coach and another 'comfort' stop a couple of hours later, and then straight to The Cairn Hotel, in Harrogate.
We spent the whole of Friday at the Knitting and Stitching Show - just fabulous - several huge halls filled with stalls selling craft supplies, other halls with beautiful and inspiring art and craft creations.
There are also many workshops held through out the day, last year I couldn't make my mind up which to do so did none, but this year I was better organised and did two!
The first was to make a Christmas stocking for beginners in an hour and I did!
In the afternoon I did a lovely workshop, - beading on canvas - another new skill to learn - similar to cross stitch but picking up a bead - no photo of a finished piece for this one as there was more talking than stitching done in that hour but great fun and I did buy a kit to make a beaded credit card holder
which I plan to have finished by next year's trip!
On the Saturday there was an optional day trip to York, last year I didn't go because it was snowing and I wanted to see Harrogate but this year even though rain and winds were forecast I decided to go. I bought an umbrella when I first arrived and that was my lucky charm - no rain in York that day!
I loved it! It was bonkers - thousands of people at the Christmas market - at times it was just wall to wall people but I took my time and wandered around taking in the atmosphere.
I remember visiting York when I was in second form (not saying how many years ago that was !, can't count that high!) and York Minister was my first stop -
I also found the Shambles - an ancient cobbled street
where the old buildings nearly meet over head
Sunday is the journey home, it was an eventful day with a fire alarm at 7am, not a major incident, a first stop at http://www.watershedmill.co.uk/ for coffee and shopping, then there was a bit of a mechanical problem with one of the coaches which was quickly repaired by the DAF truck repair man, meanwhile there was an opportunity for lunch at http://www.klondyke.co.uk/houghton-hall-garden-centre-carlisle, fab place, I could definitely have spent longer there and then a final quick shopping scoot around http://www.gretnagateway.com/ , an outlet centre similar to Junction One in Northern Ireland, before heading to Cairnryan for the 7.30 ferry. Unfortunately, the ferry was delayed and delayed, but we kept ourselves entertained on the coach with knitting, reading etc and the craic was great ! and Neil kept us up to date with X Factor and Strictly results from home.
I eventually made it home at 3am but it was so worth it! I keep smiling to myself, thinking about the really lovely time I had on the whole trip. Will be booking for next year asap!