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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pencils and Cheese

Pencils and cheese – completely unrelated, but two things on our recent holiday in the beautiful Lake District. The Lakes is one of my favourite places in the whole world. Even when it rains (which it does a lot), it is still charming.

We stayed in Ullswater this time, in a lovely little cottage with stone floors and big wooden doors, not to mention the open fireplace. I can just imagine how cosy it must be to come in from a blizzard and sit in front of the fire... This is a pic of our cottage in the distance:

One of the places we wanted to visit was the pencil museum in Keswick. I went there when I was younger and wanted my own children to take a trip there too and see the world’s largest pencil! I also wanted to go again as an adult to fully appreciate my wonderful new colouring pencils!

A while ago I ordered two tins of pencils for my children’s book illustration course. One set is Derwent Coloursoft, which have a gorgeous velvety feel when you put pencil to paper and the other set is Derwent Pastel pencils, which are basically pastels in pencil form. Both sets are a joy to use and I highly recommend them. It was really interesting to learn about how these pencils are made and visit the place where they come from. As well as using the pencils on my course, I’m also planning to use them in my new(ish) shop on Folksy – Dear Duck Illustration... At the moment I’m just selling watercolour artwork, but hope to add some pencil work soon.

Anyway, back to the Lakes... We met a couple of interesting people, one up a mountain. He started talking to my dad when he saw us using a back carrier for Baby W. The man said that he actually invented the baby back carrier when he had to rescue a man with a young child, by cutting two holes in a rucksack to stick the child's legs through and carry him. Unfortunately, he took the idea to a well-known outdoor company who weren't interested, only for them to come up with the idea themselves some months later. Hmm.

We did a lot of walking/hiking as usual on our holidays! Here’s a pic I took in Grizedale Forest:

I would recommend Grizedale if you have young children but still want to go walking without too much danger. There are a number of marked trails of varying difficulty. We did a 4-mile strenuous walk with a 3-year-old and he was fine. There are lots of pieces of art to look out for along the way as well. Sorry, I should have taken more photos!

On the way home we stopped off at the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes, Yorkshire. OK, so it’s not the Lakes, but I thought I would just add it in to say how delicious their cheese is! Of course, you will know of Wensleydale from Wallace and Gromit. The museum tells the history of cheese-making in the area and there are a number of interesting artefacts to look at too, as well as viewing cheese-making in progress. Then you come to the cheese tasting area... There are so many cheeses and I thought all but one (the blue vein one) were yummy. Here are the four cheeses we bought:

From left to right: Wensleydale Special Reserve, Pineapple Twist, Wensleydale and Cranberries and Wensleydale and Ginger. My favourite is the cranberry one, closely followed by the pineapple. I'm wishing we'd bought the chive and onion one too. Oh well!

This time it was my mum who got talking to someone in the cheese tasting area. My parents must have a certain look about them! This man grew up with Kit Calvert who was responsible for saving the dairy from closure in the 1930s.

I also bought my children a cheese recipe book. We might try and have a go at making some of the recipes soon. I’ll be sure to post the outcomes here.

Well, that was just a little bit from our hols. We also visited a waterfall called Aira Force. I’m planning to do a short post in a few days about how to photograph waterfalls, so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested.


  1. That sounds like a fabulous hol! I think I remember visiting the pencil museum as a child. Those cheeses look like heaven on a plate!!

  2. We've spent several family holidays in and around Keswick; it's such a fabulous place for children with the lake and the walking close by. Lovely to see your pictures!

  3. It really is lovely there isn't it? Glad you like the pics. I'll try and post a few more when I do the waterfall post.


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