Monday, 30 March 2009

Steamy Weekend

Saturday dawned bright and clear, time for the boys to get their railway fix.

Mr HenHouse, always up on what's going on where on the steam railway scene, had long since spotted that last weekend was to be the West Somerset Railway's Spring Steam Gala.  Lots of wonderful engines all to be in attendance (apparently).  After a bolstering cup of tea and hot buttered crumpets, off we set!

We did drop in at my fave local charity shop on the way so I could get my thrifty vintagey fix, to steel myself for the railway onslaught that was to follow!

A meandering drive through the beautiful West Somerset countryside found us arriving at this very quaint rural railway station.

The Railway had gone to a lot of effort to make sure everything was looking its best. There were lots of vintage treasures on display to satisfy even my aesthetic side!

But someone enjoyed themselves oh so much more, fulfilling a lifelong ambition (all seven and a half years of it, you know) to be a GWR engine driver at long last!

Always keen to encourage youngsters' interest in the steam railway, we were allowed a rare treat to go up into the signal box.  Oh so cosy!  A stove in the corner, a nice arm chair, kettle on. I could have really made myself at home with my crochet!  The boys were much more interested in all the levers and bells and err, things, of course.

We had a ride along the railway, jumping on and off at various stations to have a peek into the engine sheds and finally arrived at the terminus at Minehead.  The treat here is the new turntable.  If, like me, your knowledge of railways is somewhat patchy at best, the turntable is used to well, turn, the engine round at the end of the line.  It is quite something to see in action, seeing tonnes of steam engine being turned around.

Still with me or have your eyes glazed over at all this railway talk?  Let's move on to vintage prettiness.

A while back, you may recall I visited Cath K at Bicester (I know, it's hard to remember, I hardly ever go to Cath K...)  There I puchased some bargain blue cotton sheets with crochet edging.  Well, I turned the single sheet into two pillowcases (the sheet cost £8) and left the super king size one as it was (cost £20 as opposed to the original £90).  I am a bit of a white bedding freak so the blue is taking some getting used to, but they are really lovely quality.  I've teamed them with some stripey pillowcases (50p from the fave charity shop) but I need to make some new cushion covers because these ones are too blue alongside the blue sheets.  I apologise for the creases but the bedding went on late on Friday night when we got to the cottage and the photos I took then were all blurry because it was dark so the better photos are post-occupation, so to speak!

Our little cottage has just two rooms upstairs, our bedroom and the Munchkin's cowboy room, of course. It is very higgledy piggledy, roof rafters and beams everywhere at odd angles, the little windows peeping out of the thatch.  It really is the quintessential chocolate box country cottage.  When we went to view the cottage before buying, Mr HenHouse went up the (tiny little windy) staircase (no mean feat for a six footer) and shouted down "You're going to love this!"  A few shots around the bedroom reveal the cottage's quirky nature...

It is a complete contrast to our life here in the big city, both wonderful in their own way.  It certainly is nice, lying in that big Victorian bed with my snuggly eiderdown, hearing nothing but the song of the birds outside.

Now, I really must get on and do something productive today!


  1. Such a beautiful cottage, I wonder how you can bear to leave it for the city each time. I enjoy a trip to London now and again, but my heart is firmly in the countryside...means I wake up to birdsong everyday. Dev X

  2. Hi Hen

    Its official, I love your blog!!

    I'm originally from Somerset, My dads family are from a small fishing town called 'Watchet' which is very close to Minehead,and my mums from a little village called 'Cannington', my nan always use to define people by whether they were born in the village or not, even if they had lived there 40 years!! its so sleepy and pretty I love going back to visit!

    All the best, Felicity xx

  3. Your cottage is so pretty Hen...such a lovely weekend, we were so blessed with great weather here!
    Glad you all had fun!xxx

  4. the cottage looks lovely and you've done a great job of the pillowcases! I've been making my own for years.
    Josie x

  5. What a gorgeous little cottage. You've decorated it beautifully with all your pretty fabrics.

    Sue xx

  6. I wished I knew you were coming this way I would of loved to meet you - let me know if you are coming again this year for one of the other weekends...........
    (I've put the engines on my blog)
    Glad you all had fun!

  7. Your cottage is gorgeous, such a pretty bedroom. xxx

  8. Your cottage certainly does look cosy.

    My mum and I have a date in the diary to visit Bicester Village next month, I'm hoping to find some great CK bargains.

    Victoria xx

  9. So great to have that day in the country with you all. I love the photo of the little pirate/engineer. Those steam trains really are is your vast energy and creativity.


  10. it was a lovely weekend wasnt it ! munchkin looks pleased as punch in his hat and very smart too :-)
    that bedroom looks all comfy and snuggly i wouldnt want to get up !
    lesley x

  11. Steamy weekend??... I wondered what up were going to talk about..LOL!!!
    Looks lots of fun... I like signal boxes, I think you should have stayed with your crochet & let the boys get on with it. Love the cottage, looks very pretty. My mum lives in a very old cottage, she says it looks pretty but it's very hard work keeping clean!!! The bedlinen is lovely.... I could just curl up for a little nap now! :) xx

  12. My boys would have loved the train day out. My youngest has that very jumper your's was wearing!

    Lovely bedroom by the way.

  13. Love the bedding and Hen thanks for the pin cushion so love it.

    lynn x

  14. Hello,

    Is it just me, or are you recycling pics of Mr HH?!? ;-) He likes that pose! :-)

    I love your gorgeous little cottage, but then I love small cosy and cute. When we were looking for places we probably could have got an enormous new build with double garage and acres of land for the price, but I would happily have my teensey cute cottage over size any day! :-)

    Would you ever consider moving permenantly from London to the country? We upped sticks last year (been in our cottage for a year now), it's great because as you say we lay in bed and hear nothing but the church bells and the birds, yet we are less than an hour's drive and 45 mins on the train from London. Best of both worlds methinks.

  15. The Munchkin look in his element in the photo's! Is the turn table a bit like a lazy susan?!!! I love your little cottage. I am sure I could be very creative there or maybe just curl up with a good book!

  16. Hi Hen
    I haven't been on that train line yet but look forward to trying it out some day. I am not a big train enthusiast as such but steam trains do manage to take you back in time somehow and I love that feel.
    I am yet to go to CK in Bicester, what a bargain! I have the same set, same colour and paid full price:-( That was in the days when I hadn't learnt to be more patient and wait for things like that to appear in Bicester! I used to be someone who wanted everything new as soon as it first came out. Thank Goodness I am no longer like that. Being into vintage things has changed my perception of things for the better. I am happier for it.
    I know that you must hear it all the time but it must be said again. REALLY STUNNING COTTAGE!It has a wonderful welcoming at home feel. The feeling it gives out is HAPPY HOME.
    Isabelle x

  17. Absolutely love your handiwork. You are so talented. Love the cowboy room, your munchkin must love it.
    Thank you for letting me be one of your followers.

  18. A very pretty bedroom!
    What a great day out for the 2 boys, glad to see you also got your fix too.

  19. Oh I love your bedroom! I could just curl up with a good book on that bed!

  20. That looks like a lovely weekend away, vay vay steamy.
    Your cottage is utterly beautiful.

  21. Gorgeous pictures, gorgeous cottage, gorgeous sheets, gorgeous day out! Lucy x

  22. Oh goodness - heaven! I mean the cottage obviously (and I really like the blue on blue btw) but like you, a bit of me quite quietly likes the steam engine thing too.

    There's a vintage/heritage steam railway just at the bottom of our road (Churnet Valley), about 500m away so for two little boys, a daddy and a grandad its the most exciting thing ever!

    We have a cosy waiting room too and they're just about to move a crossing keepers cottage here for a new cafe and shop - suddenly I'm fonder of it already. Have a smashing week Hen.

  23. What a wonderful trip! Love the photos!

  24. Thank you for posting pictures of your beautiful bedrooms. You have decorated them perfectly!!

    Cherry x

  25. What a pretty cosy cottage! How lovely you've made it look. I think so many of us would feel right at home in it! x

  26. Hi there I meant to ask you if you have had sight of the new crochet magazine that should have launched on 27 Mar? I have not been able to find it in my local supermarkets as yet. dev X

  27. I love those little cottagey windows. I'm so glad you make good use of it and stay there lots. It's the kind of place I see wonderful man and I living with our chickens and bees when we retire.(dream on!)

  28. I love your Cath K bedding. Goes great in its surrounding features.

    I would like to re-visit the Bicester village.

  29. What a lovely rural retreat! How can you ever leave it and go back to London?!!!

    My cousin is an occasional engine driver on the West Somerset railway - fulfilling a lifetime ambition, after being a British Rail employee all his working life. He's certainly enjoying retirement!!!

    Sue x

  30. Takes me back to our train day in Yorkshire! Wonderful! And that huge grin on your little man's face, what a joy!
    Your bed and bedroom look lovely, so cosy............ I'm a huge fan of those strpy pillow cases too!
    Love Vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)


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