Spring Quilting - A Tour Manager's view
Our tour manager Steve Hartnell led two of our recent Spring textile programmes and discovered that extraordinary quilts are just the beginning…
ECT: Can you tell us where you’ve been?
SH: First to Prague for the European Patchwork Meeting and then to the Netherlands with the Dutch Quilting & Spring Highlights tour, which took us to the Patchwork and Quilt Days show in Rijswijk, Keukenhof gardens and the city of Delft.
ECT: And what were the highlights?
SH: I’m not a quilter, but I really enjoyed the European Patchwork Meeting. There was such a range of skilled work to see, including an amazing peacock tail. We had lots of time to explore Prague too. The Century Old Town Hotel, where we were based, is within walking distance of all the city’s main attractions, including Charles Bridge which is a great place just to stand and enjoy the incredible view looking toward St Vitus cathedral. And the variety of food on offer in the city was a highlight too!
With the Dutch tour, the thing that stood out was the variety of things we saw. As well as the Patchwork and Quilt show (which was fascinating), we went to Keukenhof Gardens to see millions of tulips flowering in the Spring sunshine and to Delft, where we were treated to a guided tour of the Mauritshuis. This small museum contains the true superlatives in terms of Dutch art, including Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and View of Delft. I’m a big fan of Jan Steen’s comical paintings too, so seeing those was a particular personal highlight. And some of the group discovered a Thai restaurant called Mallee where’s there no menu, they just give you what they've cooked on the day. It was absolutely delicious.
Carel Fabritius Het puttertje, 1654; Johannes Vermeer Gezicht op Delft, c. 1660-1661; Johannes Vermeer Meisje met de parel, c. 1665
All courtesy of Mauritshuis, Den Haag
ECT: So other than the chance to travel to exciting places and eat wonderful food, what do you enjoy most about being a tour manager?
SH: The people I meet! Everyone’s so different. And if I’m allowed a second reason, it would be that being a tour manager allows me to live anywhere in the UK. Currently, home is rural Mid-Wales. I love it here, but there are very few jobs. Working as a tour manager means that doesn’t matter.