All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Mr Allcock, Exploding Meatballs and Stuck In The Mud

Well my wee chums it’s been an eventful few days on the All Counties Craft challenge so I hope you’ve got your loins girded and your nadgers well and truly trussocked.

Ready? Let’s begin.

All Counties Challenge Header

Previously I had mentioned my visits to Glasgow, Aberdeen and Clackmannan.

Well, for this week’s All Counties Craft Challenge workshops I was staying in Scotland and headed WAAAAAY up north.

In fact, right to the north coast of Scotland.

To be more specific, to Thurso. Where everyone knows everyone, and you can see Orkney.

Not a bad little jolly you may say? Shut the hell up, I reply. Well, have you driven along the A9?

A road that was built not for car, but for skiiing and climbing.

It sits innocuously on the map lulling you into a false sense of security with the promise of cruise control along it’s lovely winding path.

In reality the first two-thirds of this route are great. Cruise control, mostly dual carriage way. Then you hit the Caithness border and WHAM!! Hairpin bends sit at the bottom of super steep inclines; the road runs perilously close to the sea at points. Even your height relative to sea level is also subject to considerable change from this route from near sea level to nearly 1,500ft above it – and that change probably in a few miles.

Fourth and Fifth gear are, for periods of miles, not to be heard of.


Still, many folk travel it as it is a main route in and out of the northern regions so, with dogged determination, Maisy made it through.

*pats bonnet to congratulate Maisy, burns hand on over heating engine* Ow!

Anyway, long story short, too late – we made it to Elizabeth’s Fabrics in Thurso!


I had no idea what to expect as I have never been this far north before. Are the people normal?! Do the laws of physics still apply? Are vegetables, vegetables?

Only time would tell.

I first met Steph who had invited me up to hold the workshops.


Steph is a very talented lady who makes the most wonderful bags and other craft goodies. She was also recently wed!

This was a good start to my ‘are people normal’ question.

Steph is part of the lovely and well known team that run Elizabeth’s Fabrics in Thurso.

It’s a family run business with generations of the same family working in the store.


Ok, still going good with the normality quota.

I even got to meet Skye, Steph’s gorgeous little doggy!


A little excited to say the least, I couldn’t get a still shot without Steph’s help!


There we go. How cute!!!

Anyway, before I just sit here and admire cute doggy all day, I’d best tell you what else went on.

Steph had been working hard to promote the event so we ended up with two days of workshops working with Pinflair fabric kits.

The team at Elizabeth’s had also arranged a raffle for the event.

I’d love to win first prize please! NOM!

What do you mean I can’t enter as I am doing the draw?! Oh well, hopefully those that win will enjoy their goodies :)

Right! On with the workshops!

Two very enthusiastic and creative groups attended over the weekend and worked their way through two fabric projects supplied by Pinflair.

Oh, I think the men are starting to come out of their shells as we had another attend this workshop!

His name is Clive, but apparently he is called Mr Allcock – I didn’t ask why…


Anyway, here are some shots of the workshop under way on day 1.

We even got to have a chat with Rachel Pierman and Melanie Heaton via Skype to the studios at Create and Craft TV during the morning!


Jeez, big head!

After the workshop I was advised to check out Dunnet beach whilst I had some day light so after the workshop I took Maisy for a little romantic sunset sightseeing and had a little impromptu picnic.


*happy sigh*

*cold nose sniff*

Not sure what it is about the coast, but it always fills my heart with joy in any weather.


Day two got off to a late start but we were soon busy working our way through the fabby Pinflair projects again.


A very busy and exhausting couple of days but a very worthwhile visit.

Between the workshops, the raffle and the colouring postcard books, the fabulous team at Elizabeth’s managed to help raise almost £1,000 for the challenge!!

This money will soon be added to the Just Giving total which means that we are over the halfway mark in terms of time AND funds raised – awesome work!

Sadly it had to come to an end so it was time to wave goodbye to the normal folk of Thurso.


Let’s try that again.


See, normal.


Right, back on the road and back down south heading for Fife and Inverness for the next workshops – these will conclude my Scottish bit for now. Will need to pop back next year to sort out the rest of the Scottish counties so if you know anywhere in a county that I haven’t yet visited, please do get in touch!

Ok, on the road and yes, I did attempt the scary road after dark. Ended up taking a stopover at some services though and continuing on in the morning as it was just too much to try those inclines and hairpins without the ability to see the road ahead.

This did present it’s own little joys with a midday sea mist rolling in over a bridge crossing and making for an eery image …


Eek – hope there’s an actual ‘other bit’ to this bridge and that we don’t just drop off the end!

Silly boy.

Anyway, before I leave you, I’d just like to say that sometimes this challenge is a challenge because of me rather than for me.

Why? Allow me to share a couple of tips for other motorhome users out there and you will probably see why for yourself.

1. Don’t attempt to drive a front wheel drive 3.5 tonne motorhome up a wet grassy field. Why? Because you get stuck and need a four wheel drive van to come out late in the evening to tow you out.

2. Don’t attempt to cook meatballs in a microwave. Why? Because they explode.


I am really going to need to get Maisy cleaned before she appears at the NEC next week.

Oh, and …

3. Never lazily throw your electric hook up cable into the motorhome when packing up because inevitably you have a tangled mess to sort out at the other end before you can do anything else.


That reminds me, I’ve got some crochet on the go so I’d best get on with that.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this update.

Please don’t forget that I am doing this tour I order to raise awareness of mental health issues and to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity.

If you would like to contribute and help me reach that £20k target you can do so in three ways.

  1. Make donation on my Just Giving page.
  2. Make a donation via the Create & Craft TV website, for an additional P&P charge of £2.99 you will also be sent an official challenge postcard colouring book.
  3. Attend a workshop. To find out if there is one coming up near you, please visit the itinerary page on this blog.

Right, update done for this week.

Thank you for reading and I’ll catch you again soon!

J :)










7 thoughts on “All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Mr Allcock, Exploding Meatballs and Stuck In The Mud

  1. Hi John

    Saw your Skype with Rachel and Mel, glad you had a wonderful time with the normal people of the far north of Scotland. Don’t have a microwave due to space issues but did laugh at the memory of many an exploded dish! A bit jealous as I used to love a scary road but never drove one in a camper which must’ve terrified both you and Maisie. Well done both of you!

    Take care John, stay warm and safe, T x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thought you would enjoy the trip to Thurso John, been as far as Golspie but hopefully get further in the future. You can always count on good hospitality in Scotland. Haste ye back.x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, John. Just caught the last bit of your Skype with C&C, so it was wonderful to get the full catch-up. I was blown away by the generosity of the folks in Thurso who have helped raise so much for Mind. Also, want to say how much I’m loving your photos. You have a real talent there, Mr. Bloodworth. You are quite the storyteller. Attention you publishers out there … coffee table…book…just sayin’. All the best to you and Miss Maisy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi you’re going great guns with the challenge….well done. And well done for braving those scary roads. Not easy I know, I used to feel I needed another holiday to get over caravanning holiday! Great catching up with your adventures they start my day off with a big smile on my face. Looking forward to my next instalment. Karen x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow your description of the road to Thurso took me back nearly 30 years ago when I drove up there in a heatwave in an MG Midget with roof down, it was an awesome drive looks like you had fun fingers crossed I can get to one of your Scottish workshops.

    Liked by 1 person

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