Posted by: marymarthatours | October 8, 2013

A Tour Full of Fun and Fabulous Folks

I am now over my post-trip jet lag, back on Northwest time, and recalling the special moments and sites of our September Quilts & Textiles of England & Wales Tour.  In future blog postings, Mary and I and some of our ‘guest’ traveler writers will be sharing about particular locations and events on our adventure.  Here I want to mention a couple of the people-experience high points for me.

Manor Hs, Moreton, MW13

Happy hour at the Manor House Hotel, Moreton-in-Marsh

First, this was the first time that several travelers found information about an M&M tour via our blog site and jumped on board.  Each of the four was a special lady who added to the sharing and enriched the tour for others.  Joining us were quilters from Philadelphia, from Arizona, from Canada, and one from near Melbourne, Australia.  We all loved our Aussie, Fran, for her accent and humor.  I doubt that any other traveler could have assisted Mary in leading the singing of “King Caractacus” with such gusto.

Second, we shared time with two different groups of British quilters.  In Bath, we had a ‘show and tell’ time at our hotel with a group of about 8 local quilters.  They brought quilts to share, and we showed photos of our creations.  Two of the gals from the USA gave a brief demo and gave the UK ladies the tool and directions for a fun project.  We then went to lunch together at a nearby pub.  The food, served buffet style, was perfect.  Both at the hotel lounge and at the pub, the rooms were a whirl of motion and a buzz of conversation and laughter as the quilters instantly shared and interacted.  Joined by the common thread of quilting, we needed no other ‘ice breakers’.

Hever Wksp, MW13Our next opportunity to meet with UK quilters came in Kent.  Several months ahead of the tour, my UK quilting friend, Jan, had matched up quilters from the UK with our travelers.  Pairs emailed each other and became acquainted.  Then at the Hever Castle Patchwork Show, they met and spent time together in a workshop, visited the quilt show, and explored the castle grounds.  One traveler was invited to attend a special textile event in London with her buddy, and another spent an entire day with her buddy prior to the start of the tour.  Jan had done a great job of matching up the interests of the pairs, and I am sure some will be long-time friends. 

These opportunities to share with local quilters proved to be as much fun for the UK ladies as for the M&M travelers.  I doubt that many other ‘quilt tours’ include such a personal opportunity for meeting and interacting.  It all happened because I found Jan online when I first began to plan the itinerary for this tour.  She was willing to give me ideas and information.  Our friendship grew, and we thought that others might like to share a UK/US quilter relationship like ours.

Jan & Martha, Hever, RP13

Jan and Martha at Hever Castle

This posting gives you a brief glimpse of some of the travelers and the quilters we met on our recent tour.  Watch for more about the wonderful locations we visited and the presentations that we enjoyed.

And give some thought to joining us on our first ever spring tour, Spring Gardens of Cornwall and Devon, April 26-May 10, 2014.  We expect to see many beautiful gardens and have lots more fun.  For the brochure, click here.

(by Martha)

Want to have some fun learning “King Caractacus”?  Sing along with Rolf Harris.



  1. Buffy and I first heard King Caractacus while having a very welcome tea upstairs in the tearoom looking right across Coffee Yard to Barley Hall in York on a very rainy and chilly day. We kept hearing it on the sound system and thought we heard it, but of course who would ever write a song like that, right? Anyway, since then I’ve taught it to a lot of people . . . would be very hard to do all the motions, though, on a bus! Have you ever watched the YouTube variations of people singing it? There are little kids who are terrific and people who look like they’re playing charades and always several beats behind. Love that nutty song — almost as much as Ahab the Arab, same composer. Great art

  2. Didn’t try to do the motions this year. You’re right about it being a challenge on a moving coach — plus holding a microphone in one hand. But, who knows, maybe we’ll go for the whole effect on next year’s tour.

  3. Thank you for the photo of our workshop at Hever Castle. I didn’t remember to take one so I saved this one. I hope you remember how to make those folded squares as I’ve forgotten already. Ginny

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