Mrs Johnson’s Emporium – Progress Report

Mrs J's

Well organised

About that “easy ” scarf ….

After Week 1, I practised, and practised.  Sat up in bed til 0200hrs, working rows, taking out rows, ending up with less than I started.  Now feeling stressed and inadequate.

Week 2 at Mrs J’s
“Hmm.  You’ve gone a bit wonky there.”   Without ado, Patricia unravels my painstaking efforts – all 2 inches of it – back to the foundation chain.   Got that bit right!  More practising required.

The knit and knatterers
can knit and natter at the same time.
I can’t do either!

Mrs Johonson's

Knitting = 2 needles

Week 3 at Mrs J’s
“Hmm.  Not sure what’s going on here,” says Patricia.  Oh no!  I watch more unravelling.  Patricia takes home my disastrous attempts for further attention.

Week 4 at Mrs J’s
Patricia presents me with the beginnings of a beautiful scarf.  I love Patricia!

Week 5
Looking forward to meeting up this week to show off my progress.  Or will it all be unravelled?

Mrs J's

A haven of wool and works of art



Mrs Johnson’s Emporium …


… should be added
to Blackpool’s list
of tourist attractions


Mrs Johnson's Emporium

Everlasting hanging basket

Situated on Bond Street in South Shore, it’s impossible to walk past Mrs Johnson’s Emporium without stopping to admire an eye catching shop frontage, stunning window displays, everlasting hanging baskets, and adorned lampposts.  Once you’ve stopped to look, there’s no option but to enter this magical cavern full of projects, works of art, haberdashery, and a lot of yarn.

Mrs Johnsons Emporium

A (crocheted) moose about the house

Mrs's Johnson's Emporium

Inside Mrs J’s world of wool

I’m not a knitter, crocheter, sewer of any description. So much so there’s a long-standing little pile of buttons crying out to be reunited with their button hole.  If a safety pin does the trick, that’s fine by me.

For some 12 months I’ve dipped in and out of a learn to crochet book.  There’s a neat scarf, classed as “easy”.  I haven’t made any progress with that.  I ask Mrs Johnson what to do.

Mrs J invites me to pop along to the Knit & Knatter Group where I’ll be sure to meet someone who’ll set me off on the right road.

Mrs Johnson's Emporium

A knit & knatter’s work of art

Mrs Johnson's Emporium

Creations galore

A happy group gathers every Tuesday, spinning yarns as they knit and crochet.  I watch in awe at the speed of knitting needles and crochet hooks.  Beautiful creations unfold before me.  Everyone is keen to help a novice.  I meet my mentor, Patricia, to be sure, who sets me off on my crocheting journey.

It’ll be a bumpy ride.

Mrs Johnson's Emporium

Wall to wall wool

After two hours I leave Mrs J’s with homework!  Patricia has set me a practice piece to work on in preparation for starting my “easy” scarf next week.

I skip down the road to catch a bus, completely hooked on crochet.

Will I have a long scarf shortly?

Mrs Johnson's Emporium

Mrs J’s displays


Soup Season


Last of the summer crop of tomatoes

Soup season

Last of the crop

Drizzle tomatoes and
garlic cloves (still in their skins)
with olive oil

Roast in the oven

Melt a blob of butter on the hob
and soften celery and onions

Remove tomatoes from oven and
squeeze garlics out of their skins

Combine with celery and onions

Cook gently on top of stove

Whizz in blender

Pass through sieve
to produce a thick
tomatoey/garlicky/celery/oniony concentrate

Add stock


Tomato and Celery Soup


Soup season

Destined to be chutney

Spider Season


“Will you walk into my parlour?”
said a spider to a fly:
“’Tis the prettiest little parlour
that ever you did spy.”

The Spider and the Fly 1834 – Mary Howitt – 1799-1888

A sunny September day, perfect for pottering in the garden: deadheading flowers, tidying borders, picking the last crop of ripened tomatoes – and being ambushed every step of the way by spiders.  Beautiful arachnids in all shapes, sizes and colours.

A wispy web, with owner occupier in the middle of its pretty little parlour, waiting for lunch.

Spider Season


An abseiling spider repaired its damaged web; a high flying bungee jumper, bouncing between web-zones, hung around hoping for an airborne catch.

Spider Season


Spider Season

High Flyer

Bees buzzed, frantically collecting pollen from the last few remaining flowers.

Spider Season


The construction of a hedgehog den became an all encompassing project.

Spider Season

Hedgehog Den

I’ll be watching and hoping a prickly friend will take up residence and hibernate in safety.

All aboard the Pleasure Beach Express


Choo!  Choo!
All aboard the Pleasure Beach Express
on one of Blackpool’s Heritage Open Days

A wild mouse couldn’t keep me away!

Taking me back in time
the PBE weaved its way through the park,
passing under age-old constructions
competing with modern-day counterparts

Pleasure Beach

Old versus new

Some original rides survive

Blackpool Pleasure Beach


The Big One is for the brave at heart

I can only watch in amazement


Pleasure Beach

They’re off!

Pleasure Beach
They’re back!

Side-stalls lure passers by to
“Win a cuddly toy”

Blackppool Pleasure Beach

Win a cuddly toy

The Pleasure Beach
is a massive part of my life
growing up in Blackpool

I’ll love it forever

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Top banana



Feet – Part I


Fascinating feet


Get me out of here!

It doesn’t feel intrusive
taking pics of peoples’ feet
as they shuffle on their way


Weekend away?


Feet don’t pose for a snapshot

Feet just go



Where shall I go today?




Running Wild – Grand Theatre


Who are the real stars of this fantastic show?  Young Lilly has oodles of lines to learn and performs brilliantly.  Her mum, dad, gran and whole cast put on an amazing show.  Life-size puppets are magnificent.  Puppeteers, who bring to life Oona the elephant, a roaring tiger, snapping crocodile, and rowdy gang of orangutangs are, for me, the stars of the show.  The puppeteers are awesome.  It takes 4 to operate Oona.  Her ears flap and her trunk moves like that of a real elephant;  she snorts and trumpets (from both ends!);  her tiny eyes sparkle. The croc lurks in the swamp and snaps at Lilly’s ankles; the tiger slinks across the stage, stalking Oona; a family of orangutangs, inquisitive, playful, hang from trees, scamper across the stage, and make authentic orangutang noises.  The sound, lighting, props all add up to Running Wild being a visual feast with twists and turns, hilarious bits, scary bits, nasty bits, and an underlying ecological message.  Maybe a bit deep and dark for under-8s?

It was a remarkable performance. I was glad to have had plenty of space around me so I could snivel into my tissues without anyone noticing.  On leaving, I did notice the lady behind me had red eyes!

As with all theatre performances, taking photos isn’t allowed.  But I managed a pic before the show began – to set the scene for what was to follow.

Grand Theatre Blackpool

The stage is set