Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Isle of Iona

So, the second day of our Scottish holidays on the Isle of Mull and we ventured out of our very comfortable little cottage by the sea......


...........down the path.......onto a jetty and onto the Iona ferry.


Iona is actually only 1.2 miles from Fionnphort (where we are staying), but then my swimming's not that good, especially when I'm carrying our picnic.


The sun was shining and the sea was crystal clear, with pale soft sands to rival the poshest of beach resorts in the Caribbean.

Iona is a significant place within the Christian faith, as it was the site of an important monastery founded in 563AD by Columba.....it was a place of pilgrimage and reputedly where the famous Book of Kells was produced by monks on Iona.  Whether or not you go for any of that doesn't much matter, the place is stunningly beautiful, unspoilt, peaceful.........



St. Martin's Cross, dating back to the 8th century



After wandering around the grounds of the abbey and seeing the ancient cobbled road which led to a cemetery where Scottish kings are believed to be buried.....we picked our way up a good-sized hill called Dun I.  It was windy at the top, but we nestled in among some rocks (like some sensible sheep) and at our picnic lunch.



At the bottom, we saw this fluffy-coo with a few of his friends....



We walked around the island for a couple of hours more and soaked in the tranquillity of Iona......yes, tranquillity even with three noisy boys.




And lastly.....a long forgotten favourite band Iona.....probably (without remembering it until visiting Iona), the biggest influence in the instruments I play now.....funny how a visit to a new place can re-inspire something which I had somehow forgotten about........close your eyes, and let the music wash over you......

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Year of projects - Happy Easter

Happy Easter one and all!

I'm not sure what its like elsewhere, but here it is glorious!

This week's YOP post is brought to you from sunny Scotland, we arrived in beautiful Fionnphort last night.  It's the first time we've been to Scotland, and we are not disappointed.

First up, I finished my Miss Winkle....in fact  finished it on the journey here, I've only recently discovered I can knit while being driven, which for me (terrible traveller) is a miracle.  We got stuck in a long queue at roadworks for best part of an hour, so out came the knitting.  I have yet to block it, but hopefully it will be done while we are here.



I've started a small baby blanket for a friend who has just had a baby boy....Yay!  Hopefully this will be mainly done by the end of the week.


After a lovely relaxed Easter Sunday roast (and a good bit of chocolate egg), we stretched our legs a bit, and took in our surroundings.



Littlest boy not being a bit put off by our feeling sorry for the rabbit after he had bitten his ears off!


To catch up with fellow YOP-ers check out the ravelry page here.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Miss Winkle - SpringKAL

Soooo....a little progress, but not maybe as much as I would have liked......what happened to all my knitting and crocheting and blogging time that I used to have.....if anyone can solve the mystery please do.....


I'm not sure how I will finish this, one of the balls of 2ply is running short, so I'm in a quandary, but as the rest of the shawl has been a bit experimental, I'll tackle it, when it happens!

To see other fellow KAL-ers, pop on over to see Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch who is hosting this lovely SpringKAL.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

SpringKAL

Well, for a moment there, I was quite convincing, "I've made more than enough shawls", "I've got lots of other projects already started", "I haven't got any yarn that really lends itself for this", "There's house work to do"............

Hhhhhmmmmm.............see, you were pretty convinced weren't you?

I finished my Sunny Days Shawlette and within a couple of hours, I was downloading the pattern and looking at my woolly shelves.........



So I've made a start, but haven't had much time to actually knit, so I'm on ten loops, which may stay that way into next week as its a busy weekend ahead with biggest boy's eleventh birthday, bowling, eating cake, singing, eating....you get the picture.

Oh....but this is a lovely knit.....glad I joined in!

To see other SpringKAL-ers pop on over to Crafts from the Cwtch



So last week, I cast off my Sunny Days Shawlette and within hours I found myself pressing download on the pattern and 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Year of projects - 23.03.14

I've been meaning to do a post about my makes for a couple of weeks, but as you can see, it didn't quite happen.

My temperature blanket is on going, I must not rest on my laurels though, as I will find myself with a back-log of 'days' to catch up on.  It does seem that the weather has brightened a lot, so it doesn't look like I'm going to get any freak lows (dark blues) unless I make them up!

My wonderful hubby on his return from South Africa, well trained that he is, came back with two beautifully hand-dyed skeins of Merino...and a shawl pattern to go with.....now what more could a woman ask for....he knows what makes me smile!


I finished the shawl yesterday and blocked it overnight.  It's a simple small triangular shawl called Sunny Days Shawlette, designed by Carle' Dehning. The shawl was made in her own Nuturing Fibres yarn in a blue/purple/turquoise colourway. I used a darker blue for a couple of garter stitch rows at the end to accentuate the design.

I'm not sure I had the whole of the pattern, as there had to be a bit of guess work at the end, but I'm pleased with the shawl, and the simple design sets of the colours perfectly.



A few weeks ago, obviously when I was feeling a little chillier, I decided to make myself a Capucine, a lovely hat with bags of space for a big haired lady like myself!  The design is worked from the rim up, and unfortunately that was my undoing!  There's a lot to be said for something you can try on as you go....mine ended up being pretty big (even for me and my hair!).  I have still got a pom-pom to put on and some plaits at the sides, but with the sudden cheeriness in the weather, I think it may well wait for another season.


A couple of weeks ago, I introduced you to a new knitted teddy, the library book that I got the pattern from, also had some clothes, so I whipped up a hooded cardi for him to keep warm, (and to cover up those squonky ears!)

One last make, from a few weeks ago, was littlest boy's World Book Day costume.......its always the boys' choice, and this year, littlest said he wanted to be The Gingerbread Man (thankgoodness not too difficult!)


I was rather pleased with my more methodical approach and the finished costume.  I made this with a cheap fleece blanket, and plenty of patience.....it is now in use as a warm onesie for bedtime.....I'm tempted to make one for myself!

Anyway....I'm on to the next thing......another shawl wouldn't you know!  I couldn't stop myself, although I made a concerted effort for a while there.  I've decided to join in Sarah's (Crafts from the Cwtch) knit-a-long......more about that next week!

To see other Year of Projects work,  check out the ravelry page here.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Wild West

I thought I'd share a few photos of the boys half term hols, all spent at home, and mostly at the beach it would appear!

I'm glad to say that the weather has been glorious for the past few days, very welcome after a few too many blastings of stormy weather.  We (the boys and I) have spent three weeks home alone while my hubby has been holidaying in the town he was born in, Fish Hoek, South Africa....happily he is home now, having had a fabulous time, and missing the worst of the storms.  The local builder looked after us well, and nearly all has been put back to rights.

The things that can't be put back so easily are our beautiful coastlines.....changed.....new beauty.....different...

One morning, quite by chance, the boys and I happened to discover a new world, this is our closest beach, a small cove a stone's throw from our house, hidden down a set of steep steps.




The children spent a long time running through it all...'it's just like wonderland!'......I fooled a few, with my photos, into thinking we had had a freak snow storm....but no, those ferocious winds and stormy seas had made a beach filled with salty foam.....like walking on clouds!

Another walk later on in the week, took us along the coast path, evidence of the storms was everywhere.






The path leads down to a  small beach which sits below the jetty from the refinery....the boys dragged all the detritus laying about, to make boats and dens.





Chester joined in the effort!

The holidays were pretty chokka with meeting up with friends, swimming lessons, soft play, housework, walking....ooh and a disco in a waterpark!

Our last trip of the week, to the same beach in the first few photos, showed us different scenes again.  I haven't got to hand photos of this beach just recently.....before the storms



Actually....Ive just found this one on my picassa album, this is the beach as we know it, with sand.....


.....and without sand......it's hard to comprehend how much the level of the beach has dropped by....the sand washed away, exposing the reef below.



This last picture was one of those 'by chance' moments.....the littlest boy hotfooting away from the waves which were running after him.....magical!


Monday, 17 February 2014

Brecon Mountain Trail Challenge

For those of you who've hung around, you'll remember that last year I spent a lot of time walking, mainly to try and build up my stamina for the Brecon Mountain Challenge  a twenty mile trek through The Beacons taking in the highest peak in Britain  south of Snowdonia, 'Pen y Fan'.  My hubby and I raised £230 for a local food and clothing bank PATCH.


We set off at 4am full of excitement with a few nerves (well I was nervous!) to boot.  We arrived at the startpoint at 6-30am, signed in, got given our maps and then off we went...here am I....just about ready to go!


The beginning was fairly easy going (lulling into a false sense of  security!) and some people went off at an amazing pace with running shoes and tiny bags (where was all their food?!!)


We walked across a large area of bog land which is where my main problem occurred when my boots leaked...these bogs were still very wet despite the very dry summer we had last year, there was more than one walker that said the previous year that a few people had to be pulled out by fellow walkers when they got stuck up to their waists!



This is where the walk became more serious as we started the first climb......



Here I was looking back down to where we had started the climb, you can see the road there in the middle.


.....and the view onwards.....


....and more climbing.....I kept having to stop to get my breath take photos...I wasn't alone, parts of the beginning of the walk were murder and I  found it seriously hard to smile!


Even though we had been climbing for what seemed like forever, there was still a good way to go, (you can see people in the distance).



Get a load of that!


Oh, and I made it!  After getting to the top, all moans and whines were forgotten, and I could enjoy a nice drink and look at the panorama.


And down the other side....we had over ten more miles to go, so no time to dilly-dally!



These mountains literally take my breath away..........so stunning that they make something ache inside...does that make any sense?


After coming down through the mountains, we walked on passing reservoirs, through fields and across moorland.



So near and yet so far!




This is the board of everyone who had returned, our tags were somewhere in the middle there.....my worries that we would be the last ones turning in was totally unfounded!


I sat down on this bench just after handing our tags in....it seemed like a good idea .......I rethought my 'good idea' when it came to getting up again!

Looking at these photos reminds me of a wonderful day, walking in beautiful countryside, the mountains, the big skies, the sparkling reservoirs...it's maybe also not hard to forget my incredibly sore feet, (my leaky boots went straight back to the shop a couple of weeks later when I was actually able to put boots on again). 

When we got to the B+B after the walk, I rather embarrassingly was finding it pretty difficult to walk, in fact I went to dinner that night in slippers as it was all I could bear to put on!

I loved doing this 'big for me' challenge...I even sang a few lines of 'The Hills are Alive'! That's the Welsh girl in me, always a song on my lips!