4/10/2010

Picnic by the river.



We have just returned from a little trip down to Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. As well as being home to Wind-in-the Willows it is also the home to Makower, the fabric company who produce fabrics for crafters and quilters. I needed to meet up with the people there to talk over my new Christmas Collection for 2011 and as my husband was still on his Easter break it was a good excuse to turn the trip into an overnight stop.

It was a delight to drive under a blue sky, past fields of green, hedges flanked with daffodils and trees full of blossom. One of the most thrilling things for us was to spot red kites circling overhead, we never see these magnificent birds in Cheshire, in fact they have been brought back from the edge of extinction fairly recently. Red kites have a huge wingspan of about two metres; this combined with a relatively small body enables them to circle for long periods without beating their wings. I am not sure how long they have lived in the fields over Oxfordshire but they are very easy to spot so I am guessing that they must be thriving. Now I am not clever enough to photograph red kites but you can read about them here.

We had some time to picnic by the river, the first time this year it has been warm enough to walk about without a coat! Gentle breezes stirred the famous willows along the Thames and we sat for a while and watched the ducks and coots building their nests. After lunch we strolled along the riverbank and admired the many pretty cottages built of red brick and flint, something else we don’t see in our neck of the woods. After a quick visit to the market it was time to visit Makower.

It is quite rare for me to actually meet the people I work with face to face, so much work is done via the internet so it is quite nice have opportunities to talk things through and to pool ideas. The meeting went well and before too long we were back on the road again, this time to nearby Oxford where we had booked B and B here, I shall tell you about this in my next post.

26 comments:

  1. I am so jealous. Spring in Oxfordshire is amazing. We lived there (in King's Sutton NR Banbury) for six years and I still miss it. Hope you enjoy every minute.
    Kat

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  2. Valerie, people always sing about "April in Paris", but having been in England in April myself, I know its charms! I know exactly what a wonderful time you've had!

    Lovely!
    Diane

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  3. Whenever we go south we always notice how much further on everything is down there - still we shall still be enjoying our may blossom long after theirs is finished.
    Hope we are to be treated to a photo of some of your fabrics when they are produced.

    How is that grandchild doing?

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  4. It all looks lovely, it is amazing how the sunshine changes everything. On a trip you seem to enjoy everything and see so much more. A picnic on a bench by the river, so relaxing and time slows down. Have a great weekend and hope the sun continues to shine.

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  5. Sounds like such a lovely trip. Wind in the Willows! the River Thames -- what could be more English? So glad you were able to have a picnic. No overcoats sounds good. Here the temps are very low, but the flowers are blooming and the trees are getting green again, side by side with the evergreen trees! Looking forward to seeing your Christmas fabric for Makower!!!

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  6. What a great day out. It really felt like Spring at last.

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  7. Sounds like a wonderful trip, ad I'm so glad that at last you had the weather to enjoy it. Aren't the red kites wonderful? We watched several giving a wonderful display in mid Wales a while ago. Let's hope they continue to colonise.

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  8. Looks like you had the best weather for travelling and visiting such lovely places:)

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  9. You have so interesting trip! Very wonderful!
    Recently i read in one science book, that- exist one Big Bird, wich have wings-3m and this bird can to stay in the air- 3 years!

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  10. I love the English countryside. I was lucky enough to visit several times and each time was like entering a sweet daydream.
    So happy you had a lovely trip.
    Have a good Sunday.
    Eli

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  11. how very lovely...wish i could see this in person...sigh

    kary

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  12. Isn't it lovely to be able to go without coats again. I wore a Tshirt today! :)
    Glad you are getting out and enjoying spring.
    xx

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  13. Oh Valerie, how beautiful those red kites must have been swooping through the air, enjoying the power of their wingspread.

    I am glad that your meetings with the fabric company went well, and also that they are located in such a great location, ... one I have actually visited at various times of the year.

    Isn't spring wonderful? xo

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  14. Journeys like that would be a dream come true for my daughter and I. :)
    So glad you had such wonderful travels~
    Received my BEAUTIFUL journal... you are so very talented! Your attention to detail~ amazing!
    Thank you for including the adorable Easter egg tin and card~ such treasures... I have the perfect button collection to fill the tin! Yellows!
    So glad you offer such treasures...
    Thank you!
    Hope you have a nice Sunday~
    Michelle

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  15. What a perfect trip, and a picnic
    lunch on a Wind in the Willows river bank to make it even more perfect.
    "Oh my!Oh my!Oh my!"

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  16. valerie you lucky lucky woman!!! what a rich and beautiful experience. i hadn't heard of red kites before and i am thrilled that another species remains in my home country despite all odds! i remember a similar thrill when the golden eagles of the lake district made a recovery. thanks for sharing this lovely trip here. steven

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  17. Glad that you had fine weather for your break Val and am looking forward to seeing more. I was delighted to see Red Kites during my visit to West Wycombe - they're an impressive sight. Best wishes, Lesley

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  18. A picnic by the river is so idyllic. What a beautiful day.

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  19. O,You have this great new website..how marvelous:)))

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  20. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. I love the Thames, there is a place called the White Swan opposite Eel Pie Island (Twickenham) that always reminds me of Wind in the Willows.

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  21. I love reading about your travels in England Valerie. Henley is a lovely place but especially in spring. I regularly visit a large craft fair at Stonor House near Henley. Red Kites are a real success story for the Chilterns area. I have seen around 30 of them circling the skies near Stonor and we even have them in Amersham now.

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  22. What a delightful post! Oh, a drive through the countryside on a sunny Spring day, and a picnic by a river. Perfect.

    Wish I could have been there!

    I recently finished reading the Wind in the Willows (ills. most charmingly by Inga Moore) to the two youngest. Would love to wander those roads some day. C x

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  23. Yes, the B&B did look pretty ecclesiastical ( I clicked to see where it was!)
    Gosh, I loved Oxford when I was at art school there in the late 60's!
    So interesting to actually meet people you know from business connections.

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  24. Yes, the B&B did look pretty ecclesiastical ( I clicked to see where it was!)
    Gosh, I loved Oxford when I was at art school there in the late 60's!
    So interesting to actually meet people you know from business connections.

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  25. It is a very solemn building.
    Colors are profound.

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