BackTo Knitting With A View

One of my favourite things to do is drive to the beach and sit with my knitting while K takes the dog for a walk. It’s been a while. The beach is just too far to walk to from home so when lockdown began we stuck to dog walks round the village. Then when the restrictions were lifted the world and his wife seemed to arrive in Northumberland for a staycation. The coast was basically full! The surge in domestic tourism has helped the local economy and kept our local hospitality industry going which is great, but now the school term has begun and many of the holiday makers have gone it’s lovely to reclaim our beaches.

Today we went to Sugar Sands. It’s a bit off the beaten track and getting there involves a gated single-track road through a farm (with an honesty box – you pay £1 to park by the beach and it all goes to local church funds.) It’s been one of the few places we’ve been able to park on the coast, until August Bank Holiday, when it appeared on a list of “Britains’s top secret beaches” somewhere and got overrun. There were still quite a few people about but as you can see there was nobody sat on the beach.

The parking area is at the top of a steep bank , so the view over the beach and out to sea is wonderful. It was such a beautiful day, if a bit breezy, and the sea was the most brilliant blue.

There were still some sand martins about (they nest in holes in the bank). Some tiny wading birds (sanderling I think) were trotting about the shoreline like clockwork toys. A pair of gannets were hunting quite close to shore, unmistakable when they turned into the sun to show pure white plumage and black tips to those long straight wings. They would soar to gain height then fold their wings and plummet into the water with a splash, catching small fish with that dagger beak. It’s always spectacular to watch.

I love to knit with a view. Do you have a favourite knitting spot?

Some Very Special Birthday Presents

I just celebrated a special birthday – one with a zero in it. I had a lovely day, though our celebrations were a perhaps little more low key than they might have been if it hadn’t coincided with the pandemic. We plan to take a trip somewhere interesting when travel is safer and less prone to restrictions. I did get some lovely presents, including some totally unique ones that K commissioned especially from some very talented people we know.

This charm bracelet was made specially for me by Alison Rushbrooke of the Button Bothy. Alison is based in Poolewe, in scenic Wester Ross in North West Scotland. We’ve been spending holidays in that part of the world since the children were small and we love it there. Sadly we had to cancel this years trip but will return in 2021. Over the years we’ve seen Alison’s business grow, selling her unique button jewellery in local craft galleries and markets, then getting her own studio/shop in the village. We always call in in at the Button Bothy to stock up on buttons for projects (I’ve never seen such an amazing selection of buttons in one place) or to buy greetings cards or gifts. Her work is also available online at Highland Hiddle and Numonday

The bracelet includes beads and buttons in tartan colours to represent Scotland and the charms are all examples of the amazing wildlife we’ve seen while on holiday there, including otter, golden eagle, whales, dolphins and red deer. I love it .

I also got this abstract original art work by Laura Ella Kirk. We know Laura from Poolewe too. She sell her art, greetings cards from her original designs and items in resin, fused glass and wood at the local market in Poolewe and online on Etsy. I love the organic swirly design and the colours were picked to go with our lounge. It is perfect!

K really enjoyed the collaborative process. There were a lot of messages and photos going back and forward in the run up to my birthday to pick colours and check that he was happy with what they’d come up with. The painting even arrived with a birthday card from Laura. It is so special to have two totally unique pieces made just for me, to celebrate my milestone birthday.

This card from K is pretty special too. It’s from Elizabeth Chrisp Art – we’ve known this talented young artist and her family for many years and she’s recently started her own line of greetings cards using her wildlife designs…..and what’s not to love about this delightful puffin!

I love my presents!

Have you ever commissioned something to be specially made for yourself or as a gift?