A new day. Shetland

The moon, a crescent, wakes me at just before 4am. It is shining through the window, the night sky pitch black but studded with stars.  Outside, I can see everything by the light of the moon.

In all the time that I have lived here, I have wanted to sit by the light of a long, outside, taper-candle on the beach. Now, I light it in the garden by the light of the moon in a windless night just after 4am.  I stick the taper into the ground in front of the house,  between my thinking bench and the wall. The shadow of the flickering flame dances like a sundial, resting on the south side of the taper, whilst the flame gently flickers north.  There is no wind, just a gentle whisp of a breath of air.  Here, I can see where the breeze arrives and leaves.

The sky is studded with stars.  The only constellation that I know is the Plough.  It is ahead of the house in the North East, I think. The rest I do not know but I look around and around in awe of miles and miles of stars, not seen as clearly in cities or towns.   Slowly, faintly, the sky begins to lighten in the East, showing its arrival through the crack between earth and sky, splitting and dividing the darkness into sea and sky. Still, the taper dances on unhindered, glowing light and a slight warmth.   I am not cold here on my thinking bench between house and porch, drinking tea and eating a Tunnock biscuit. There is no sound other than the sea down at the beach.

Northlink arriving from the South

As the skyline lightens with the approaching sun, the stars fade but I still see them.

The stars have all but disappeared. The light is magical. I use the camera to capture the moon. There is only enough battery to take three photos before it shuts down. I capture the moon in two. 

This fulcrum of time of darkness and light tipping from one to the other, is magical. What a gift to be alive at this moment, in this place.  There is no nip in the air but it is clear and crisp. The taper flickers on.   This is turning out to be one of my most beautiful mornings here, to watch the world in front of me change from dark to light guided by the light of a flickering outdoor taper, serenaded by the sound of the waves.

At 5:45, the sky has a faint peachy glow in between the sea and sky horizon line. As I look South, I see the tiny glowing lights of the Northlink arriving far away. What a peaceful calm sailing the passengers must be enjoying, sailing into sunrise.

A peach ribbon of light stretches south. The light begins to form the shape of a horizontal shard – the point of which is at the South and the wide end of light to the North, many miles away. There is a clear dividing layer of cloud, sky, sea – taking on hues of peach, pink, lilac, a deep rose colour and blue.  Slowly, slowly, the Northlink sails into the shard of light. The sky looks as if it is a tide upon a beach.

I sense the present moment in elements – Earth, Sea, Sky, Water, breeze and see the colours of peach, pink, lilac, blue and rose whilst sitting facing the sunrising and the moon leaving.  Light is pushing away the darkness, bleeding into it forming a new day.

Just think, if I had slept through this.

At 6:40am the first Starling arrives. I have baked them oats.  I don’t know if they can eat them but figure that if we can – then why not.

I have been on this bench for 2 hours celebrating a new day – what a start.

Shetland.

A quick postcard from Shetland

Alfie and the ribbon sky.

Some days, Shetland is good at sparkling.  Yesterday, from sunrise until the rain came in the afternoon, the South of the Island sparkled.  My friend is here for a week and she loves to walk.  The day started with the most beautiful sunrise, sky ribbons and pink sunlight. I nipped to Levenwick beach first thing to walk along the edges of the tidal waves coming in. The beach is a gift.  The sun rising above the cemetery cast a pink glow upon the sea horse waves coming in and a seal bobbed a little way out, the ebb and flow of the sea water cast a net of ridges upon the sand as if hair splayed out.

There was just me on the beach and a seal – what a start to a beautiful day. 

Whilst Deb has been here, we have been to all of the beaches in the South of the island – long, curved Scousburgh probably being the best experience as half a dozen young seals followed us in the sea as we walked along the beach and back. They played and we smiled. St Ninian’s is always beautiful and West Voe, always barren and astonishing in beauty with its wide vista edged in waving grasses.  No seals bathed on Rerwick.

On Sunday, we walked along the coast line in Levenick to the Broch (or what is left of it ) with a special view from the old water mill grinding stones. It was boggy and wet underfoot, the fog was lowering and the landscape became atmospheric.  So much tangible history here touched by many hands over time. This was Deb’s favourite walk.

Yesterday returned to Jarlshof to walk to Sumburgh lighthouse along a track that skirts the coast which we saw clearly marked from a standing point above, last Friday.   Along the track are many Cairns, we placed stones and I made a wish.   It was sunny and breezy and light – a perfect walk, and this became my favourite walk.

Sea water, swimming water, salt water

clarity

It is one year since arriving and I am now leaving. The biggest memory I will take back with me is one year living by the water. Water is ever present in Shetland, latterly, in fog and mist but on the clear days, and even on the not so clear days, I have been swimming in the sea with a really good friend in the village, on my own and once to a magical place on the West Side on the most sparkling of days. When the fog rests across the ground, it is easy to forget the magical swimming days but even last Saturday, we went swimming in the sunshine and left the beach in the rain.

Levenwick, Saturday 4th September

It takes a while to get ready to go swimming at the beach, and often it takes longer to sort stuff out when you get home, but I walk down the road, in the wetsuit with a jumper on top, to meet my friend and we walk and chat on the way to the beach. She has given me the confidence to really enjoy the sea, its depths, its clarity, its coldness and its power to bring me to the very present moment and feel alive.

Last Saturday, the sea was pale green, reflected from an overcast sky. Each time, the sea is different in colour, clarity, choppiness, or calmness and each time we are accompanied by different creatures, a cheeky seal or birds or a crab and sometimes jelly fish but always, and every time, it is a wonder and the sound of water is a healing property. Sometimes, the sun glistens across the surface of the water and you are part of a different world – not of land but of sea.

When the sea is pearlescent green, but still clear to the sand bed and the sky is washed out white/grey, and I wade in confidently, it is an exhilarating moment.  Striding up to knee height is easy, thigh height and sea water seeps in between your sea slippers and the bottom of the wet suit climbing up your legs but it is not until the sea water reaches to the top of our legs, do you feel that you are in sea water 60 degrees north.  Keep walking, do not stop. The northern temperature bites through the zip at the back of my wetsuit, flooding my bare back with an icy reminder of cold and still I keep walking until, just until, I can breathe and have stopped swearing and waving my arms around and then, surprisingly, after about five minutes of cursing and squeaking, the water warms, or my body cools – either way, body and water harmoniously exist side by side to bring the mind exactly to the present moment.  When I swim, I no longer feel the coldness. It is then that the sea water laps down the neck of the suit and reminds me of the temperature

Keep going, don’t stop. I could have done more becasue I have only just begun to understand the water. I wasn’t born by the sea but it has become my ever present friend over the last year.

Keep going – do not stop, this is one of the beauties of living here. Raw, alive, cold, awake, harmonious– sea swimming at Levenwick beach, at Scousburgh Sands, at St Ninian’s and on the West Side.

Some days in Shetland are crystalline. They don’t always start that way but develop in the the most glistening of days. Swimming in this rock pool with Foula in the distance was such a day. Everything glistened and we swam without wet suits. A true and clear world was reflected back from the pool and the sky in clear colour of blue and green. On days such as this, there is no finer place to be with a great friend, astonishing beauty, no noice, no litter and a completely natural world.

And then I went home to my beautiful house, which faces the sea, with all its doors and windows open, just smiling.

Where’s Alfie?

Levenwick Beach is perfect for sea swimming. We wade out, keep going, swim across the bay and back again. In the summer we met a group of 10 yorkshire ladies – all sisters and aunts and cousins, who went in the sea every day on their 2 week holiday. They were also there, chatting and laughing and it is heart warming to see people enjoying this place.

approach

LOVE

One day, I went to Scousburgh, with another friend. I started swimming in the wet suit, got acclimatised then peeled it off and went back in, in just my costume. We brought the suits and shoes and gloves back in a large blue tub. It was a fine afternoon spent on one of the finest beaches in Shetland. A local group of 4 women were leaving as we were arriving. Women love the water.

And, then there is the local swimming pool. I still go every day and swim gently or hammer out 50 lengths. The women here are powerful swimmers and I’m so impressed by their strength and stamina to swim solidly like seals for an hour – me, I potter but swimming has been part of my life for 40 years or so. The pool at Sandwick has few people using it. Over the past year, attendance has grown but yesterday, I had it to myself to start with. The staff are brilliant. They know me and my routine and they are all really lovely, accomodating people. Swimming is an activity that has been my companion for a year in Shetland and for many years before arriving. All forms of water immersion are mindful.

Sandwick Pool

On Thursday, A friend is coming to stay for a week from Sheffield. She wants to go sea swimming so I will lend her my suit and socks and gloves and I will borrow a suit and we will go. I will not tell her how the cold takes your breath or that you will bob up and down on your toes to acclimatise. I will be quiet so that she can enjoy her own experience 60 degrees north and hopefully take away something rare to remember. We will maybe go at late sunrise with knitted hats on.

Levenwick Sunrise swimming

Easter

I have lost all sense of how I feel about this new land of mine in which I inhabit. The night of gales so harsh brought snow blizzards in 53mph winds. It was not a surprise to me but still I was not ready. Every experience is still in my first year. The long, dark, lonely, isolated winter had, I thought, passed but the night of harsh weather brought it all back and I wonder what is my purpose to being here.   I knew at 6pm yesterday that the night hours would be harsh and I began to compare the weather here with the photos of Sheffield in blossom and there is no comparison, no point in looking south because either I embrace the weather here, or it will beat me. This is not an island for blossoms.

I looked out at the sheltering boats in my sight line, knowing they were there because of the roaring North Westerly winds.  I wondered how these men survive out at sea and the oil rig guys and then the poor sheep ready to lamb.  Before daylight vanished yesterday, before the light was anywhere near dark, the snow had been blown into a low sea of ripples coating the road as if a fine sanded beach but the snow was frozen into solid ice.  Ice ripples. It is both magnificent and daunting to see this elemental response to winds, snows, freezing temperatures and exposure to the elements through no shelter. I gathered wood for the fire and shut the door.

In the morning, in the bedroom facing the sea with a chimney full of swirling, angry winds, I have lost all sense of what I feel. Remnants of the long winter are still within me, in my bones and memory. The Easter blizzards have brought back a reminder of an isolated feeling.

At 5am, the sun will not show a hint of light, whereas during the week running up to this storm, the sunlight glowed at the same time. I imagined the sun wrestling in the sky with winds, snows and clouds so ferocious that all it could do was wait for a gap, wait for the elements to die down so it might shine.   The forecast gives no respite for 2 days.  It feels as though we are plunged back in to winter except that we have more day light hours. It is lighter.  The cats want to go out but Alfie is terrified of these winds but he can wait no longer.   I stand at the door shaking to my bones whilst he goes for a pee under the poor Christmas tree.  I think it is his doing that has made the tree lose needles. Tiggy thinks twice about the whole idea of going out but finally has to. They shoot back in the  house, brushing my legs with their bodies.

I  leave the outside porch light on to let the boats know that we are here on the  land, whilst remembering the story I was told last week of  the winter storm where a ship hit the rocks at the south end of Levenwick. Eleven men scrambled off the sinking ship on to the rocks, in to the sea and up the cliff.  It was pitch dark but in the  darkness, they saw a light in a small house which they made towards and were taken in.  If they had not seen the light, they would have perished outside, wet, in a freezing storm at night.  The rest of the crew were lost at sea and only the Captain and his sea chest were washed ashore.   Years later, the cabin boy, who survived, returned, as a skipper of his own boat, to the house where they were taken in.  He sat upon the cliff and cried at his memory – then he sailed the boat that he was skippering to  the place of the wreck, stayed a moment then sailed on.   This is a land of survival.  The cats and I are adjusting, learning, swimming, treading water as we only can.  City bodies on an island. 

It is way past the time of sunrise – the sky is still midnight blue, the sea as if ink. What will the day bring – I will have to go and dig out the coal, bring in the peats, light the fire and be grateful for this opportunity to live in this environment but even so, I am aware that this is the harshest of gales that the cats and I have been here for and feel that instead of looking at the harsh extremes, I begin to  actually see the extreme beauty where nothing is missed and  I am aware of everything.  

Living a real life, missing no details.

Look over your shoulder

17 Feb 2021

If on the 17 mile journey on the  way home from work in Lerwick, you realise that you don’t have enough petrol to get to town tomorrow, then you have to continue past home southward to get petrol and along the way you find a place you have never been to before, whereupon you arrive in time to watch the clever dog working the sheep with ease and grace while the unexpected winter sun rests upon your face and the roaring sea is in sight line, then you wander and find the  marks of your dreams – where a woman stencilled upon her croft house walls many, many years ago and the  pattern is still faintly visible even though the house is open to the elements – and after all the wondering if you made the right decisions to move to an island from a city come to a head because at that very moment you become washed over with a sense of pure contentment whereupon all the uncertainty and current concerns fade away and I know that I made the right choices to get to this very point on earth that I never knew existed and I look over my shoulder at the five year journey I have made to get to this one pure moment of clarity understanding at my own achievement – to  live life fully – even if it hurts sometimes.

To look over one’s shoulder to see the journey of risk, decisions, learning, acquired knowledge, tears and joy is to truly come to a resolution – it may be fleeting but these moments are the pure moments that mark out lives. I will never forget it.  My life choices have not been easy nor have they always rendered happiness but without doubt, I am trying to fill my life with curiosity.

A similar pure moment happened to me when I lived in China and found, exactly one year to the  day of arriving, that I also turned and looked over my shoulder at the journey – that was in 2009.  It is here but it happened in a similar situation when I was walking to Tiger Hill and all the stars aligned.

https://www.travelblog.org/Asia/blog-424932.html

Shetland Winter walk

On the doorstep, the air of the first pre-dawn breaking light is heavy with the scent of peat smoke.  It has faintly snowed as if salt has been laid down. Eleven geese fly in a staggered distorted V line, calling as they fly overhead in the dark blue sky.  The fine white snow covers the earth.  I’m heading towards the beach, it is 7:30am and the sky is a deep mid blue, the sun has not risen but the horizon is a faint burning pink line.  It is neither dark nor light.  Everywhere is silent apart from the trickle of the brook beside me babbling, occasional geese flying above and the ducks at the top house waking.  Few houses have a light on. It is Winter hibernation time – even Alfie went back to bed after he’d eaten at 6.

A large boat sits in the bay. It’s quite unusual to be here.   I’ve looked at it through my tiny eye glass. It is piled with containers and its lights are on day and night. I have since found out that it has stopped for repairs on route from Estonia to Iceland. It’s a different world.

When I breath in sharply, icy air surrounds my nostrils – there is no scent in the air – yet. 

Sheep rise stiffly and move away from my approach.  I try to not disturb them from their icy beds.

Towards the beach, my footprints leave not trace in the frozen snow.

I think, as I walk, that it is as if I have never lived in any other place, yet I have only been here about 20 weeks.   The sand is frozen in the shapes of yesterday’s footprints.  I came for seaweed but it lies frozen in the sand so I leave it. The beach lies below the Winter sunrise horizon line – it is entirely in shade and entirely frozen.  To my right, the cemetery is outlined in the early morning light.  I can see where Susan lies next to her parents above a thousand years of history. The grave stones stand as a crowd of people against the light.  

 At the edge of the cliff, I stare at the large boat in the bay. I can hear its distant engines chugging. The natural sea laps below me.   As I turn, I catch a glimpse of my tiny house on the hillside facing South East.  It has stood there for 200 years.  The white houses are all white, they do not glow pink as a reflection from the sunrise.  I feel calm, at one, at peace, yet there is a hint of uncertainty edging my fragile calmness – similar in shape to the pink edged clouds in front of me.  The light lightens.  It feels surreal to be standing on a bank above a crescent beach, listening to the ebb and flow of the winter tide. 

Rabbit holes pit the ground around the cemetery walls.  The rabbits know what lies below that ancient mound.  In this light, I see that all the beach is faintly covered in salty snow.

Sea, tide, ebb, flow, beach, wet sand, footprints, shells, tide mark, tiny shells, frozen seaweed, snow covered sands, frozen footprints.

The clouds are edged in frills of pink facing the rising of the sun god.

On my return, the sunrise has crept into the porch, indicating a return of the sun to a  more easterly position.  When I open the door, I see the sunlight flooding across the bare chimney wall in a shard of light.  The crystals throwing rainbows onto the ceiling, the shadow of the bar in the window frame flanks the wall in a perfect shape.   

I actually gasp at the magnificent light in my simple home, a home of few things, and know for sure that I would not wish to be in any other place in the world at this moment. The house provides me with safety in my unsure world. It is a place of shelter, a place of life, a place where I live and see and feel this world around me. I mean, really see and really feel this world – eyes wide open.

Shetland Mid- winter

23 December 20
02.01.21
03.01.21
05.01.21
08.01.21

Each day, my first point of contact with the world is through the sitting room window which frames the sea and the sky.  Some days, the window is full of a sea’s horizon, as if drawn using a spirit level.   Outside, the sky has always drawn my thoughts and gaze, but here, the day is written in clouds so visible in a long 180 degree joined up formation of whisps that colour my day.

On the bench, I look at the horizon thinking I am back in the Himalaya viewing the mountains – which at the time, I thought were clouds.  Here, each cloud edged in pink frills around its south side looks so much like a snow topped mountain range that I could do no other than think of being back in Nepal.

I have moved to a remote place with nature as my ever-reliable friend.  It is the sky that raises my spirits and gaze. I am drawn to the horizon line day after day, where the sea touches the sky and where the clouds rest in a row. Just after 9am, after the sun has risen, we have been having two pure hours of crystalline light where this small point on the earth shines in magnificent, unquestionable glory. 

A string of chandelier crystals, on a wire line, edges the top of the window.  The prisms and nuggets throw rainbows up the northern walls of the sitting room.  Already, I know where the sun rises in this composition of interior thrown light.  The sun rise has slipped southwards.  It throws its light in to the porch and the covered Jasmin.  With the light, I figure out my possibilities. I am alone but not alone.  I have my thoughts and feelings and they run unencumbered – wild and free.

08.01.21
Himalaya? or Shetland Sea and sky

Shetland Winter Solstice

On 21st December 2020, I met a friend in a layby just south of Cunningsburgh, which is actually a remaining part of the old winding road that used to skirt the coast from Lerwick to Sumburgh. Now, there is one main road in Shetland – the A970 –  a perfectly smooth, well-kept, tarmacked road that rolls out for miles from the most southerly point of the island at Sumburgh to the most northerly point some 60 miles later at North Roe.   Some of the sections of the old road still remain – used as laybys or viewing points facing the sea. They jut out beside the main road and this is where we planned to meet at the southern end of Cunningsburgh to watch the sunrise for our 2020 Winter Solstice.  In Shetland, we have, at this time of year, just under 6 hours of daylight.

Two days in the week running up to 21st December had given us glorious sunrises from about 9:02am to 9:15am.  I knew this, because I had watched the golden round sun rise out of the sea in Levenwick.   On 21st, we were positioned ready, hoping for light.  The sun did rise at the same time as the previous day but it hid in the clouds. All we could do was drink hot tea, chat, eat cinnamon bagels and watch as the day just grew light.  It was a beautiful start to any day but it was, for me, completely special with good company and a good reason to meet. When we knew the sun was up, but that it wasn’t going to show, my friend went to her place of work in Lerwick and I went on to Cunningsburgh beach to look for sea glass.

At exactly 10:02am when the earth tilted 23.5 degrees away from our Sun and the Northern regions of Earth experience the shortest day of the year — our Shetland world became the Winter Solstice and at exactly 10am, the sun broke through the clouds to be the most magnificent, powerful star in the universe at that exact moment in time at exactly 60 degrees north. From the beach, I could not believe its brilliance. It was one of those moments when you just do a little squeal of excitement without knowing you were going to do so or that you could, in fact squeal.   Here is that moment of pure brilliance throwing light.

I have long wanted to use crochet in one of my small designs but didn’t know it on that beach until I went in to Lerwick, bought 3 colours from Jamieson’s that were of that Solstice moment. When I got home, I started to make little granny squares like the rising sun to join to make a pair of mitts.   I picked out the colours that most reminded me of the sunrise but the joy of this pattern is that it can be made using any 4 ply yarn that we tend to have in a box all jumbled together. About 5 years ago, I started making a blanket in tapestry yarns – it still grows and it is as heavy as a rug.

Taking inspiration from the landscape that now surrounds me has become one of my greatest joys whilst living here. Every day, I look for the sunrise and last night, 27th December, I stood out at midnight under a perfectly clear, calm night with an almost full moon surrounded by a huge perfect moon halo. The Cats came out with me, I messaged people about what I could see and tried to take photographs of the moon but they never come out from the phone camera.

Storms and sunrises and moons are a huge part of winter and I am settling.  

here are the Crochet and Knit Winter Solstice Mitts that I made – the Pattern is here https://www.ravelry.com/designers/tracey-doxey

https://www.ravelry.com/designers/tracey-doxey

Good Wishes for the New Year

It is just over a week now since I finished my latest knitted hat design which is entirely inspired by Susan Halcrow.  If you have been following this blog, you will know that Susan lived in this house from around 1880 to 1960.  The pattern that I designed is with her in mind and hopefully honours the woman that lived here.  When photographs were brought to me, I saw how strong this woman looked but also serene and calm.   I’ve put all of the photographs of her on my wall, by my desk so that if things get a bit tough, I can look at her and think, she lived here alone and didn’t have a car, internet, TV or phone or any of the comforts that I do and she lived to be 83 years old.  I’ve already shared the photograph of Susan in front of the magnificent peat stack, which she will have undoubtedly help cut and if not, definitely helped dry, carry and stack this magnificent pile. Since moving in to this house, one of my favourite things is to step out in the mornings and smell the heady scent of peat smoke still in the air from the previous night’s fires in the village.

I purposely chose peat as part of the range of colours of the new design because Peat featured heavily in people’s lives then, and can still do today.  I burn peats on my fire (because they were kindly left by the previous owner) and I hope to get a peat bank and cut peats next April to dry and save for the Winter fires.  The best peat smell is from my neighbour’s fire smoke – somehow, their fire smells really good.

Susan Halcrow and her Peat Stack

I called the pattern, ‘Good Wishes for the New Year’.  This is the lovely message that Susan wrote at the bottom of her Christmas card one year.   The photograph was taken in a professional photography studio in Lerwick and was the only one she ever sat for.  She looks calm, serene and beautiful. 

Anyway, here is the hat – If you’d like to take a look at the pattern, it is here

Ravelry: Good Wishes for the New Year pattern by Tracey Doxey

If you would like to read further research – I write my research findings both on Susan, the family and this house, in a monthly newsletter on Patreon and the link for that research is below.

https://www.patreon.com/TraceyDoxey

Thanks for following and, if I don’t get chance to write again before Christmas, Good Wishes for the New Year, we could all kinda do with it.   Much love.  Tracey

A home Susan lived in and now I do.

Ravelry: Designs by Tracey Doxey

A letter to a rainy day

Saturday, 24th October.

The weather has turned but I am still deeply happy here.  For the last week, it has seemed as if the house has been a small boat buffeted by the 50 mile an hour winds and the relentless rains, bobbing on a sea of all imaginable water – rain, sea, fog, mist – except for Thursday.  Thursday was bright and sparkling where we all came out brightly and sparkly blinking in the sun to do outdoor jobs. 

Last night the aurora appeared but I didn’t leave my bed until 3am when Alf started his routine nighly bip bip bipping noise wanting to go out and my night was disturbed again much like 32 years ago when my children were babies.  We now have a cat flap but he cannot, for some unfathomable reason, use it and Tig can only go one way – in.  So every night, I am woken and have to let them out.  Sometimes, I get up, get them out, return to bed and sleep wondering in the morning if I did get up, sometimes, I get up, wait and let them back in then feed them and we are all confused about 3am being part of a dark daytime, but mostly, I am awake for at least 2 hours either mulling over the many, many jobs to be done or thinking and feeling.  I write words that are so crystalline that these nocturnal hours may be my best for writing.  There doesn’t appear to be enough hours in the day, so my thoughtful times blead into the night.  

I have found some kind of rhythm. It is dictated, in the first place, by weather.  If it is fine, I start digging out the byre behind my house. I am hoping that it will be my greenhouse.   I’m slow.  I’m getting old but every spade of years of growth moved, every flag stone revealed, and every time I bump my head on the low door way, makes this little shell of an old stone building more into the fabric of my daily life and for the future.  I’m keeping the ferns in it and there appears to be grape vine but the rest is slowly being removed to make way for a roof next year and a sheltered place to grow veg and scented flowers.  Every stone placed by someone before me, every shovel of overgrowth removed by me puts my small mark inside the place.   There’s a barn too – called a shed.  It leaks and houses inherited junk, rusted metal things, old wood and peat.  I like it. I have a vision for it but that will wait.

The house has not yet been changed inside by me.  I am letting it speak to me, expose its foibles, and express its joys.

Things are returning to this place, kindly returned to me by a man who cleared it after his Aunt moved out in the early 90’s.  His kindness at returning old jugs, glasses and plates that were once in this beautiful old house has been deeply moving. The pottery has once again seen the light of day and become pride of place.  My favourite returning jug is a mid 19th Century Victorian salt glaze cream jug with pewter lid, which Raymond remembers being in the kitchen.  It is returned to its old home after about 35 years of being away.  I also love an old Wedgwood plate and if anyone can shed light on this plate, I’d be grateful These tactile treasures have been touched and used by the last two women who lived in this house for nearly 100 years.  Just think of that – all the touches, all the pouring, all the meaningful reasons they were used.

old Wedgwood

This place and surroundings are always real, always natural. I am finding out more of the house and who lived here as well as change of land and outbuildings.  My boys have settled into island life – mostly taking to bed during storms (which appears to be quite a lot)  I’m glad they came with me – they make this place a home. 

Anyway, it’s raining, to put it mildly.  I’m going to put on 3 more layers of clothing and get out for a walk.

I also want to let you know that I have opened up my spare room on Air B&B for next year for single lady travelers, explores, lovers of knitting and crafts who would like to experience this island and lovely old house – the link is here.

Where ever I lay my hat….

Sea Urchin and Fire and Sea hats hanging behind my bedroom door.

If you would like to knit either of these hats, here’s the link https://www.ravelry.com/designers/tracey-doxey