At the Beach.  Sunny. 

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Milk-bottle white, lobster red
Scantily clad, covered up
Legionnaire hats
Naked tots, entire family clad in bodysuits
And the one family, always one, in heavy shoes, trousers and jumpers
Just in case or taken by surprise?
Sun cream: in blobs, by stripes
There’s no love like a mother with a wet wipe
Two-year-old making a meandering beeline for nothing in particular
The moated castles, the holes, the buried
(Preference of teenagers)
Dogs straining on leads
‘No dogs on the beach’
Scooters everywhere
Child with stabilisers, more zag than zip
Ice cream: in cones, in tubs, on sticks
Why on earth would you give a child that colour ice cream?
Chips, salted and vinegared
The boisterous overcrowding outside the pub
Piled into picnic tables
Armed with plastic cups
Always a raucous one, loud in every way, too much everything
Public toilets, unique smell
Soap’s run out but at least there’s paper
Queues here, there, for everything
Flip flops, bare feet, trails of sand
The sand-encrusted children, writhing sculptures
The saltwater hair
The contortionists attempting a change of costume in public
Dabbling in the scant rock pools
Lifeboat, yacht, canoe, paddle board
No space to throw a ball
Chairs or rugs or sit on the wall
Gulls wheeling overhead
‘Don’t feed the birds’
Wind breaks, pop-up tents
Cricket below the tide line where the sand is firm
The family with everything
Bar the kitchen sink
A puff of wind, mouthful of sand
The mallets come back out
The readers, the snoozers
Teenage love declared by frames per minute
The moaning minnies
The always have something to say
Tempers fraying: heat, hunger, tired
“Don’t throw sand at your brother”
“Don’t even think about putting that on Instagram”
“Because I said so”
Barbecue fume, cigarette reek
Accents from every part
And a few other languages for good measure
Bags from every supermarket
Hardly any cameras
Phone, phone, phone
Phone, tablet, phone
Small child with sandcastle:
“Can I borrow your phone to take a photo Dad?”
The families going home; scruffy, jumbled heaps of belongings
Dragging a reluctant or a howler
Trailing what will later be claimed as all the sand on the beach
(Especially after the third hoovering)
“You’re going in the bath when we get home”
Sand, sea, sunshine, seagull poop

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This Wind

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Illustration by Shirley Hughes

 

This is a petulant wind

Shakes everything

Buffets everything

It moans and cries

It jeers at history

Mocks at expectations

Whistles at all

It shakes its head

It stamps its foot

Echoes in our heads

Runs us ragged

It blows cold

It blows wild

This never-ending wind

FO: My Kind of Summer Shawl

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Bandana Cowl Point

Do you remember that I said that I had knit up a new shawl over the summer?  I just haven’t got around to showing you the photographs and telling you about it, it’s the story of my blogging life.  I have plenty of ideas (especially in the middle of the night!) but life just gets in the way of my developing them.  Life, health and technology.  This year has also been a nightmare when it comes to technology, toothaches and gremlins galore.

Last summer I knit up my heavily adapted Solstice Scarf by Jacqui Harding in a very thick, warm and heavy bouclé yarn which I then proceeded to wear on the warmest day of the year.  Naturally.

Although I did eventually appreciate my new scarf during the winter, you would have thought that there were lessons to be learnt.  Aren’t there always?

But you see, I have a somewhat sceptical approach to summer and every year me and my friends have a day out planned which seems to only attract the worst of weather.  Being hardy, determined folk, we haven’t given up yet.  And me being me, it’s never quite as bad as I forecast.  I forecast snow every time so I’m rarely disappointed by rain or wind or fog!

Therefore there was a kind of logic to me planning and knitting a winter-weight shawl for the middle of summer.  Perhaps a slightly me, slightly pessimistic logic but a logic nonetheless.

I’ve had my eye on this pattern for ages but then I couldn’t find it when I actually wanted to knit it up.  I think I was rushing.  Me and some knitty friends had a yarn swap and I acquired some beautiful yarn that was just calling to be my new cowl.  (It’s a funny word, isn’t it?)  So I cast on as soon as I got home, scrabbling around the internet for a pattern.  (I ended up using a free one from the Lion brand website).

It knit up quickly, which is perfect for my attention span.  (If I check on Ravelry, in just a couple of days which has got to be a record for me!  And was it really that long ago?!)  And pretty soon I was test-wearing my new cowl.

And then shelving it because it was far, far too warm to wear!

But I took it with me and when the mercury dropped, I was highly grateful for it.  There’s something about sitting outdoors that makes you mercilessly prey to bad weather, isn’t there?  I also discovered that I can pull it right up to my eyes, pull my hat right down to my ears and then fall asleep in private!  (Well, I was sussed by those who know me too well).  I am a human snowball of woollens but when the weather is thus, I am only too grateful!  Now to make some more hand-knit socks …

Bandana Cowl

(PS.  The colours are gorgeous, it’s just one of those colourways that doesn’t photograph easily!)

(PPS.  I probably do need to iron shirts before I use them in photos!)

(PPPS.  Didn’t you love adding PSs to letters when you were little too?)

Freak Weather

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Blue Sky

As you can see from the above picture, there is clearly something ‘wrong’ going on at the moment.

It SNOWED

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This is what early Sunday morning looked like:

Unexpected Snow

Can I remind the weather that it is actually mid-March and we’re rather expecting spring anytime now?

Back on go the thermals, which is slightly inconvenient because my legs have decided that they’re now ‘allergic’ to them.

Want to Come on Another Jaunt?

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I can’t believe that this was three months ago already, this week we’re going back to the hospital for another check up.  The appointment is, of course, not mine, I’m just the navigator.  But I’ve got to meet and make friends with two lovely people, friends of a good friend of mine, and we had a lovely day out at the same time.  (My good friend is the driver.  It does take four adults to go to a hospital appointment).

It was a city that we’d never visited before, Portsmouth, but my good friend is always one for an adventure and an explore so this is our wander on a bitterly cold winter’s afternoon:

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Want to Visit the Big Smoke?

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This time last year, we country bumpkins got to gallivant in the Big Smoke, otherwise known as London.  The weather was, of course, abysmal most of the day but you can be sure that didn’t stop me from taking photos!

Want to take a walk around the city as pictured through a rather idiosyncratic lens?

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