Saturday, June 25, 2016


Visiting my husband's stepmother, who is in hospital - long story - we found ourselves overnighting in Broadway, a quintessential Cotswold village.  There are worse places to be, although it is overrun with day-trippers on fine days. 

We dined at the Lygon Arms which we had long wanted to visit.  The furniture designer, Gordon Russell, learnt his trade by patching up antique pieces for this hotel where his father was the hotelier.  Now, there is a museum dedicated to his work, in Broadway.

On the knitting front, two cabled hats for the second-graders in Rapid City.

And the progress made on the back of the Porridge cardigan.  The wool was in a pack with a printed label stating that it was Scottish Tweed.  Ravelry shows all the colourways of this discontinued yarn, the nearest of which is called Porridge.  I'm more convinced that it is a Rowan yarn having found the same faults as others describe - occasional sections of loose spinning and thick slubs.  Odder is the presence of quite vivid tweedy flecks, tiny but vivid, in a base yarn which is fawn with a gingery blend to it.  I'm quite pleased by the wooliness of it, which should be just the job in winter.

As we drove back from our visit this afternoon, through a truly scary deluge, I thought how earlier Elizabethans would have seen this weather:  the disturbance of the macrocosm, given recent events.  But we know all about the water cycle, and cannot lose that knowledge.

Friday, June 10, 2016


At last, a bit of knitting! 

First, the hats and mittens I made while on holiday.  These are being shipped out to South Dakota for primary aged pupils this winter.  I am still using up yarn I have had for some time.  The pink are a pairing of Jaeger Merino and Langora.  Lovely yarn and should be warm, but not in colours which appeal to me. 

The lime green are in Drops Nepal, an alpaca/ wool mix.  Lovely handle to this yarn, and a quick knit.

While in Cumbria, I spotted a pack of what was described as Rowan Scottish Tweed in a charity shop.  I just could not leave it there, although I do have some doubts.  There were no ball bands.  Scottish Tweed is a discontinued yarn, but Ravelry suggests that the balls were of a different shape to these.  The colourway is Porridge.

However, it knits up into an authentically rustic fabric.  I found this pattern in a magazine and am planning a shawl collar.  It's a while since I made something to wear myself.  I suppose it can always go to Knit for Peace if it does not work out.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Green Gable

While we were in Cumbria for these two weeks we saw no less than sixty-five species of birds, many more than in May of previous years.  Rarities for us were the ring ousel, heard, but not actually spotted, high on Green Gable, sandpipers on the lake shore and eider ducks out at sea in the Solway.

I am not really  a bird-watcher but poddling about up the coast, or in the little nature reserve, makes a very pleasant change of pace after some fell-bashing.

Next on our list was a walk starting from Honister Slate Quarry, high above Buttermere.  We took the steep path up to Grey Knotts, over the moor to Brandreth, then on to Green Gable.

  Ahead loomed the bulk of Great Gable, with Kirk Fell off to the right.  It looked eminently accessible, but my husband decided to save it for another trip. 

We descended to Windy Gap by a badly eroded path: larger pieces of loose material this time, but just as treacherous.

Later, I read the report of the Mountain Rescue Service for the area.  106 callouts in the year, mostly for leg and ankle injuries.  It certainly gives you pause on paths like these.

Our last walk was to an inconspicuous top called Hen Comb, presumably because it looks like one from some angle.  This is one for those who do not like crowds, or even a proper path.  A rare photo of me, because my husband was now using his camera. 

We finished the walk sitting by this stream, watching a grey wagtail - it's yellow - go about its business.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Rydal Mount

After our soaking, we opted for a quieter day, visiting Rydal Mount, the gentleman's residence rented by Wordsworth for many years, after they outgrew Dove Cottage.

It is a lovely house, with a splendid garden.

Wordsworth had a study in the attic, with extensive views.

The property has a very compact parking area. Just as we were leaving, an enormous coach arrived.  We were impressed by the driver's skill at reversing in such a confined space.  But then my husband had to manoeuvre our car out between two others, watched by a crowd of pensioners who had just debussed.  I'd have panicked, but he is made of stronger stuff.

So then we moved on to our own cottage, already "walked in".  It's never a good idea to move from Essex walking - flat - to Cumbrian walking - mountainous - in one go.  But on Sunday we were ready and headed for Buttermere.

The couple parking next to us were setting out to walk around the lake.  Ten years ago, that would have been us.  But not now.  We were headed up the Scarth Gap path, then turning right on to High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike - the row of tops along the South side of Buttermere.

As you ascend, so you join a different range of people.  From a neighbouring top, hang-gliders were taking off.

Several times, fell-runners passed us coming down.

And what about these three?   Note the mountain bikes slung across their shoulders.  This is a very rough, boulder-strewn path.  They were going to "drop down into Wasdale, then go over into Borrowdale," as the young man breezily told me.  That's a lot of carrying over mountain passes.  The one in the lead was a girl.

We climbed steadily on, then followed the ridge route.  The views from here are outstanding.

Finally, we plodded up Red Pike.

The path down is clearly visible in this picture.  It is one of "those" paths, very steep, heavily eroded and consisting of loose, red grit.  We clung on to the rocks at the side, hoping not to slide too far with each step.  When we reached more solid ground, our hands looked as though we had been doing the front step with  Red Cardinal polish.

We recovered with a drink in the Fish Inn.