uk craft

Friends, Family and Wombats

If you follow this blog (or follow me on instagram) you know of my deep and everlasting love of designer and activist William Morris! This post another Morris fan letter.


Red House

This whole house is full of love, inspiration and fun. Morris wanted a place to live with his wife Jane and their children. He chose Bexleyheath for its location of the Pilgrimage route to Canterbury tales (Morris loved Chaucer about as much as I love him).



The house was designed by architect Phillip Webb with loads of input from Morris and his group of friends. It is the first Arts & Crafts style house. It is also the place where Morris realised he was good at Interior Design and led him to open Morris & Co. design wallpapers and make tapestries!



Every week Morris’ friends like his bestie Edward Burne-Jones and other Pre-Raphaelites would come by to help out. They wanted to make a home like a medieval hall - complete with banquets and having visitors sleep in the hall.



This included painting murals! This is Burne-Jones’ work based on the Canterbury Tales. Notice the king and queen? That’s William and Jane! One of many little personal touches.  



The very same mural has a painting of a small furry animal.  Some people think it is a dog or a cat but others think it may be a wombat! Apparently the Pre-Raphaelites loved them and Dante Gabriel Rossetti even owned a pair as pets (after the mural was painted though). In honour of this fun connect there are a few stuffed animal wombats hidden around the house! Its a fun thing for kids and adults alike.



In the dining room they have on display Morris & Co.’s famous Sussex chairs.  They made a few different models and one was designed by Rossetti for the company.  



The beautiful stained glass windows look out onto the lush grounds. The National Trust now owns and operates the property. They were able to acquire the lot next door so the gardens are wonderfully sprawling. The words on the glass is Morris’ personal motto ‘Si Je Puis’ which translates from french as ‘If I can’


The whole house features Morris wallpaper although he had not designed any until he moved out of the home. It adds a really nice touch. Originally the house was hand painted - an example of which you can see on the ceiling. 



I visited when the house was decorated for christmas. These lavender bunches on the stairs are a beautiful touch. It alludes to the medieval period when people would spread sweet smelling herbs on the floor to make the house smell nice. Very Morris!



The minstrels gallery here was used by Morris’ two young daughters May and Jenny.  The ceiling here has been painted white in order to preserve the murals and wall paintings underneath.  In a few places there are little peaks at what lies beneath. The Morris’ eventually left this home after 5 years and moved closer to London and never returned.


Rating: 5/5 

Pros: Amazing building, wonderful story and interpretation, great collection, good for all ages, friendly staff who are super knowledgable, cute cafe, nice shop, beautiful garden, fun events

Cons: Check how to get there as it is a distance from London, it closes up in the winter months, not the most friendly for those with mobility issues

2

Town Mill in Lyme Regis, UK, is a working watermill complex dating from 1340, and now housing art galleries, craft shops, a pottery, a micro-brewery, a cheesemonger and a great café. The mill itself is worth looking round: it’s powered by a giant waterwheel, which produces hydroelectricity (some of which is sold back to the National Grid) and also turns the grinding stones to make the organic flour sold in the mill’s shop.

The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do.
—  HENRY MOORE

Innis & Gunn Bourbon Dark Ale (7.4% abv)

Poor ol’ Innis & Gunn, amongst the larger UK craft beer community these Scottish dudes are kinda seen as the brewery equivalent of that creepy uncle whose stained rain coat seems to crawl of it’s own accord if you mistakenly get to close, no, that’s unfair. They’re like that dog in your grandparents small town that spends it’s days urinating on old ladies feet and snarling at small children like it want’s to eat their faces off in front of their parents. Nah, that’s not right either. They’re more like that bore of a fixture at the local pub who can drain someone’s life force with just a few words in his monotone drawl. What I mean is, most who know ‘em have learned to steer clear. 

This was a gift. I&G’s commitment to mediocrity has burned me too many times before and these days I walk past their bottles of couldn’t-give-a-fuckery without a second glance. So it was with some trepidation that I opened the really quite lovely box and popped the cap on that equally attractive bottle. Maybe this wasn’t gonna be so bad… 

A sip and… Slap me ‘round the chops with a wet dildo and call me Clarence! This really isn’t so bad at all. Like stewed dark stone fruits smothered in bourbon caramel sauce and garnished with a random twig. It’s unsurprisingly sweet and malty, the bourbon is restrained but evident throughout, and a lurking spicy earthiness develops towards the finish. It’s smooth, medium bodied and err, delicately carbed (or well, flat), but those well crafted and complex yet subtle and easy drinking flavours really did a number on my taste buds. I gotta say I thoroughly enjoyed it and even think I’ll try and grab a few more if I can.

Wait, what

6

‘Sup y’all. It seems like an age since I last did a non-tasting note type post to welcome all my new, and not so new, Tumblr chums. Glad to have you along and I do hope you’re not too disappointed with the reality of my sporadic, half-arsed Tumblring. So, here’s a few pics of UK craft/microbrew stuff purchased recently as much for their label design as the malty, hoppy, and sometimes fruit infused delights within. And yeah, I really do like The Kernel’s labels. There’s just something about textured brown paper, y’know? Anyhoo, I’m gonna crack open another beer, cheers m’dears!