North and South

A week off between jobs was the ideal opportunity to visit friends in Aberdeenshire.  They have renovated a watermill and created a totally unique gift shop and tea room.  The waterwheels are fully functioning and it’s very special to have your tea and cake with the sound of the water hitting the big wheel as it turns.

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Eden Watermill

If you are ever in the Banff area, call in to Eden Watermill, the scones are the best ever and you will have the warmest welcome.

Eden Watermill is also the home of Needlenose Creative Arts, a stunning range of Harris Tweed handbags and accessories, all designed and handmade by Elaine.  Elaine is also a qualified kiltmaker, which is an extremely difficult thing to achieve, as it demands huge amounts of tartan fabric to be measured, cut and pleated with incredible precision, and stitched by hand.  It takes many, many hours to make a kilt, from taking bespoke measurements to the finished article.  Elaine has used these skills to great effect in her original and bestselling handbag, the ‘Wee Kilty,’ a bag with a hand-pleated kilt panel on the side.

The weather was amazingly good, and although time was short we squeezed in a visit to Fyvie Castle, a fairytale castle with lots of turrets and a fascinating interior.

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Fyvie Castle

The walled kitchen garden is wonderful, the largest, neatest and most elegant veg patch I’ve ever seen!

Less glamorous but not without interest was a visit to Peterhead, the most easterly point of mainland UK, a deep water harbour with a long history of fishing and of servicing the North Sea oil rigs.  I love sea ports as my father was a sailor and I grew up by the sea, so I loved finding out about the hidden tunnels built by smugglers in days gone by, and the 150 year old dry dock.  Even on a fine summer’s day it was bleak and extremely windy, but not without a sense of humour.

Below is the dry dock and some local wisdom from outside the optician’s on the high street.  Totally agree!

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My constant companion during my visit was Belle, the jack russell terrier.  She knows no inhibitions and leapt onto the bed every night and burrowed under the duvet, usually with her ball.  Some dogs have such huge personalities!

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After a couple of days back home in Sheffield, I was off ‘down south’, to Hastings in East Sussex, to start my new job with an induction at the company’s head office.  I am a Sussex girl and used to visit Hastings as a kid on family day trips, but I’d not been there for many years.  As a kid it was all about the beach and the amusements, but now I was charmed by the old town, the medieval streets, the castle and the view from the clifftops.

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There’s a huge amount of history to discover in this area, invasions and battles, the changing shape of the shoreline, and more recently how the place was affected by the Second World War.

Now back home and settling in to the new job. So glad I made the move, it feels really good so far, very happy to be back in the heritage and tourism sector.  That’s what I’m drawn to, even on my days off, so I’m lucky to be able to weave in my interests with my day job.

Where have I been?

Oh dear. This has been the longest time between blog posts since I started this blog. I just got so damn busy recently. My temp job got extended for another month but won’t last much longer so I’ve been really pushing myself to apply for other jobs. I must say, the temp job is great but the uncertainty about what’s next is quite a worry.

The other day on the way back from work I stopped in Tesco’s car park and observed this glorious rainbow.

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It lit up a most humdrum scene of cars and shoppers. The photo hardly does it justice: it was a complete rainbow with both sides clear as anything, and it cheered my heart.

The weather has been very wet but mild and we still haven’t had any snow this winter. Now the crocuses are out and even my camellia is showing a bit of flower, so it looks like Spring could be here.  I remember the weeks of snow and ice last year – even on Mother’s day it was a whiteout with a good 10 inches of snow and I was relying on my snow grippers to get me out and about for weeks. How ironic that I didn’t fall over once in all that snow and ice, but instead I managed to fall over in July and break my ankle!  You just never know what’s coming.

All for now,
Til next time,
L x

The Last of the Snow

Here in Sheffield, UK we are enjoying a glorious weekend of bright sunshine and mild temperatures.  Yet only 4 days ago it was like this:

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I went on a sales trip to Scotland, in some trepidation as to how bad the weather might be further north. To reach the motorway, we have to cross the Pennine Hills. There are two routes across this region: steep, rocky and breathtakingly beautiful hills which pass for mountains around here. The Woodhead Pass was closed, but surprisingly the aptly-named Snake Pass was declared open. At the summit, the road travels across a flat and desolate plateau, and we found it only just passable: covered by a thin layer of snow and  narrowed to a single track. Once safely down from the mountains and back in civilisation, skirting the city of Manchester there was no snow at all. We visited Glasgow, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, Dundee and Perth, all completely snow-free, and we were most relieved. Back in Sheffield, next day, another blizzard hit, and despite lots of grit and salt on the roads traffic was at a standstill by five o’clock so once again I walked home trying not to slip over.

It is delightful to at last be able to enjoy some fresh air in the garden and feel the warmth of the sun whilst sweeping up leaves and thinking about doing a spot of pruning. New buds are coming through and I haven’t even dead-headed the hydrangeas yet. It has certainly been a long and snowy winter. I’m looking forward to getting out and about with my dog-walking buddies.

Knitting is on hold at the moment unfortunately. I am waiting to hear from my Uncle about making some oversized double pins for me. He hasn’t actually said ‘no’, so I hope he will be able to say a definite ‘yes’. My pattern is almost perfected and written out, after lots of trial and error and more prototypes than I can remember.  So as soon as I have needles, I will be flying.

In the meantime, I have a nice little project on which is to design and make a set of clothes for my friend’s little girl’s bunny. Mrs Bun-Bun has had all her pink fur cuddled away and she’s looking quite naked. A skirt, a jacket and a hat are needed to restore dignity.

Till next time,

L x