With a title like that, you would be forgiven for thinking that I am going to talk about Kate Adie, BBC reporter extraordinaire, as that’s the title of her autobiography.  That may come once I’ve read the book, but in the meantime, last weekend, I visited the Stroud International Textile Festival, a festival that’s been going for a few years in the Cotswolds, and one that has increased in stature over the years. 

This year, of special interest to me was a lecture series involving some textile artists and weavers who I respect and wanted to meet.  The first of these is Michael Brennand-Wood, well known in the UK and Europe, but less so in the US I think.  I have met Michael on a number of occasions, but particularly wanted to see his latest work and hear him talk as he is coming to be our lead speaker at the Midlands Textile Forum Symposium in November.  The talk was interesting and thought-provoking, and I’ll look forward to hearing more from him later in the year. 

The other speaker who I wanted to hear over the course of that weekend is Philippa Brock, the Weave Leader at Central St Martins, London, who was showing slides and actual fabric from a wonderful project she’s been doing in collaboration with Sir Aaron Klug, Nobel Laureate.  I had heard about Philippa from a number of sources, but could never find any information on her other than her connection with Central St Martins and she’s working in an area of textiles that really interests me.  I love science, art and nature, and her involvement with a sci-art project on this sort of scale was something I just had to find out more about.  Her lecture was also informative, insightful and stimulating and I got the chance to chat with her before the lecture. 

Anyway, the title of this post doesn’t actually refer to the festival, but to a wonderful couple I stayed with.  I’m usually pretty well organised when it comes to going anywhere, but this time, I managed to get up late, meet up with other dog walkers and make myself reaaaaaally late in getting going, so I bundled everything I needed into a larger bag, and set off in a hurry.  I had one of those vague feelings that I’d forgotten something, but it was only when I pulled into the local supermarket car park to grab something to eat before Michael’s lecture, that I realised what it was!  I had forgotten to transfer my wallet, complete with all my cash and cards, from my usual bag to the one I was using.  Ironically, I had actually gone back to pick up a few business cards which are the usual thing I forget!!

You can imagine – for a second, total blind panic.  Then I breathed again, and the heat flooded through me as I berated myself for being such a total brainless idiot!  Then some deep breathing while I tried to calm my thoughts so I could actually do some useful thinking.  Well, since I was there already, it would be daft to go all the way back without hearing at least one of the lectures I’d travelled 120 miles to attend, so I went to the lecture.  Sitting calming myself before it started, I thought – ‘Oh well, hopefully something will sort itself out’, so I focused on the talk, deciding to deal with the problem later.

After the talk, I went for a walk through the park.  I rang my husband and explained the situation to him, and bless him, he was prepared to meet me half-way with my wallet, but I knew he had a concert to play in and that would cut into his free-time and possibly make him late if the traffic was bad.  I had the phone number of the B&B people I was due to stay with, but they were out, so I left a message.  A short while later I had a reply.  No problems, I could stay there as planned, they would lend me some money for an evening meal (thankfully I had a bag of mixed fruit & nuts in the car, and a bottle of water) and whatever I needed for the following day and I could send them a cheque when I returned home.  And these are people I had never even met!

When I met up with Terry and Nan Dyer, my hosts at Silver Street Farmhouse, in Coaley, Worcestershire, I couldn’t have hoped for a more lovely couple.  The wonderful smell of fresh homemade bread wafted out of the kitchen, and then Nan brought me a couple of thick slices of the warm bread for me to keep me going until my evening meal!  The room was a lovely attic room in their farmhouse from the 1600s, there was tea and coffee, and I was able to relax and count my blessings.  The meal at a local pub was good with a lovely walk through country paths, across fields and bluebell woods and I watched the sun go down over the horizon on the way back.  After a great night’s sleep, breakfast was guaranteed to last me the whole day until I got home! 

So if ever you find yourself in the beautiful area of Stroud, do make a point of visiting Terry and Nan Dyer for a night’s B&B and say that I recommended them.  One good turn deserves another!  They were wonderfully kind and generous to a stranger!