A Ray and a Rainbow

It was blowing a gale again when we were at Boulmer this afternoon.

K had already been checking out the beaches this morning. He was choosing his mark for The Amble Open – an annual fishing competition which is held tomorrow. He found this Cuckoo Ray washed up at Sugar Sands. Buddy was fascinated.

We haven’t seen this species before – the books say it prefers deeper, warmer waters. As the fish was still alive, K returned it to the water. Buddy’s intermittent retrieving instinct did kick in at this point, which it always seems to do at the wrong time, but K was able to distract him long enough for the ray to swim away.

At Boulmer the sea was not as rough as it could have been, but the spray was blowing off the wave crests on the shore and on the rocks out in the bay. Boulmer is sheltered by reefs and out to sea beyond them there were a lot of white topped waves.

With relatively few walkers about there were a lot of wading birds on the beach, pushed in by an incoming high spring tide, including turnstone, redshank, curlew, oystercatcher and lots of these little knots (at least I think that’s what they are – I may need to update this post!). They run rapidly up and down the shore avoiding the incoming waves. I’m always reminded of clockwork toys when I see them.

As the winter sun got lower it lit up the wave crests and every so often I could see rainbow colours in the spray. Then I looked up and there was a proper rainbow

It looked even more dramatic against the dark clouds to the west.

Of course, with all this to photograph, I didn’t get to do any knitting there, so I’ve made myself a mug of hot chocolate and will sit here and get on with trying to finish the cobweb grey scarf.

This is my new favourite mug. It sums me up perfectly. Do you have a favourite one ?

Boulmer, Boats and Birds: Working Towards the New Year Resolutions.

A different beach and a different project today. I’m making great progress with the New Year Resolutions too. We went to Boulmer (pronounced Boomer) and while K took the dog for a walk I knitted some stitches by the sea (definitely working on Resolution #6). This UFO is a project that’s been hanging about for a while: a cobwebby scarf in fine mohair yarn on 10mm needles made in garter stitch. This was sitting in the bottom of my knitting bag where it’s been on standby to be worked on in knit and natter groups if the other project I have taken with me requires too much concentration to allow simultaneous nattering and knitting. Must crack on and finish this one (Resolution #4)

  1. Make a Santa hat. There are always a number of times I need one over the festive season (eg choir/ukelele performances) and I always think how much nicer a hand- knitted one would be than the tacky felt one I’ve been using. By the time I think about this it’s always too late. To avoid this happening again I have already started this, so that’s the first new project for 2020 underway. If I enjoy doing it I might even make a Bah Humbug version for K, my own personal Grinch.
  2. Make a Christmas jumper. For exactly the same reasons as 1.
  3. Keep on stash-busting. I want to finish the Stashbusting Blues Cape/Poncho and look at what else I can use up. I recently came across the SABLE (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy) acronym so I need to reduce what I have ….and that’s all craft materials, not just yarn.
  4. Finish as many UFOs (Unfinished Objects) as I can (which is linked to 3. in a way.
  5. Tidy up the craft room. When I retired, one of the first things I did was decorate the conservatory (which had become a bit of a dumping ground) and turn it into a workshop/studio /craft room and a place to store all my yarn and craft kit that was previously scattered around the house. I do have the share this space with son’s drum kit, but as I acquire more stuff, it silts up. This needs a good sort out which will in turn help with 3. and 4.
  6. Get out more – with my knitting. Sitting in a car with a nice view while K walks the dog, will actually increase my knitting output. At home there is always something else that needs doing before I sit down with the needles and yarn.
  7. Improve my photography. I was not impressed with the blurry knitting on this post. Needs work.
  8. Learn brioche. I keep seeing beautiful examples of this. It could even be my new skill for 2020

Boulmer was looking glorious in the sunshine and the beach was busy with families, and dog walkers. In an effort to improve my photography, I got the decent camera out to take these (Resolution #7)

Looking south from Boulmer
Boulmer is a safe haven for fishing boats, protected by rocky skerries, with a narrow entrance into the bay.
Looking north
Boulmer Village

The blue and white boat in this picture is a coble, the traditional fishing boat of the area. The sand here is fine, verging on mud and supports a lot of invertebrates and in turn wading birds. There were lots of oystercatchers, turnstones and curlews among others, feeding at the waters edge, flying up every time someone (or some dog) went past. The birdwatchers seem to congregate at Boulmer as I keep coming across reports of rare birds from here. This evening K found an online report of a black redstart seen today within 100m of where I was. I’ve never seen one of those before and I missed it!

Last night I completed the Santa Hat (Resolution #1)

This was very quick and easy to make – the pattern, Santas Hat by Angela Modzelewski is here. I didn’t have circular needles in the right size so I did it straight and sewed up the join. For the furry bit I used James C Brett Chinchilla which is incredibly soft and knits up on 10mm needles. The main red part is in James C Brett Chunky with Merino, which felt great to work with and knitted up very quickly on 6mm needles. If I do it again I won’t use the same yarn for the pompom which moults worse than my dog! I’d use a more conventional yarn (though the Chinchilla was perfect for the band, Now I have to put it away until Christmas 2020!

How are you getting on with your New Year Resolutions?