Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...


Super moon

As the alarm went off, we sat bolt upright. Although still night the sharp light pouring in through the curtains was a pure icy brilliance. I could barely focus my eyes but knew it was 2.15am. Himself got dressed while I just piled on layers of warm things straight  over my pjs.
Rubbing my eyes and stumbling downstairs after Himself, we went out side to witness the supermoon lunar eclipse.
We quickly returned inside, me to switch the kettle on and to wrap on another layer and Himself to wake the boys. They soon rattled downstairs fully dressed and fully awake.
I have to confess to feeling a little light-headed due to a rather obnoxious cold, so while the boys were rather animated and discussed the reasons why the moon was red, light waves and absorption of the colour spectrum and the chatted about it's corona and whether a star was a star or whether it was a planet ...(just too much for me at 2.30 in the morning) I sipped my tea and in the dark, quietly leant my head against the kitchen wall.
The skies grew darker and the stars appeared more visible as the moon became more and more covered by the earth's shadow. Then suddenly the colour changed from an icy white to a rather muddy red with a brilliant slash of light at the base. It was a strange time - no sound from the village, no aeroplanes leaving contrails in the skies, no cars, nothing... just us and the transforming moon.  
Eldest took a few photos as did I but we both found that our cameras could not capture clearly what we were witnessing. Youngest had his tablet with him and was communicating with various friends around the countryside watching the moon too - that felt odd - a bizarre mix of ancient celestial dance and modern teenager tinterweb-pontification.
Finally when the moon had become fully red and the light slash has moved around to the left side, I had to admit defeat and go back to bed. My head was pounding and my sniffly nose was.....well.... very sniffly! Reluctantly the others wandered in after me. I must have fallen asleep with in seconds.....

As the alarm went off,  we struggled to sit upright. Although the morning, the light seeping in through the curtains was a grey early morning feeble glow. I could barely focus my eyes but knew it was 6.15am. Himself got dressed while I just wished I could stay in bed....


Autumn equinox

A shift happens for us in the northern hemisphere today - the sun seems to be quietly leaving us for southern skies.
There is definitely an autumnal nip in the air and the duvet in the morning seems more and more reluctant to let me leave it's warm and snuggly embrace.
The drive to work through the country lanes has changed from summer greens to hues of russet, orange and brown. I find it a mixture of melancholy and earthly decay. There is definitely a subtle crispness to the morning air.
Our summer this year, although not particularly wet, wasn't particularly warm and sunny either, has slipped away.  I hope that autumn will not follow suit but will sparkle and fizz and inject the final part of this year with something special.
On a more positive note it does mean an excuse to wear scarves and mittens and wrap myself in woolly goodness. It means boots and jeans and long socks. It means walks in marmalade and pickle coloured woodlands. It means lighting the fire and watching the cats gently melt in the warmth as they lie in front of the fire. It means lighting of candles and switching on of lights.  All ingredients needed to make a magic potion to keep me happy:)
And you?
What do you do to keep the doldrums away?
How do you keep your spirits us as the sun slips away?
What magic do you spin?


Mud glorious mud

Last weekend I helped (wo)man our work marquee during a local agricultural show.  I'd helped a couple of years ago and it had been a gloriously warm and sunny late summer's day. However, this year, well - it was a little different.....
Friday, the day before, when the marquee had been set up, the field was bone dry and required quite hefty hammering to get the pegs into the ground but by the time I arrived on the Saturday morning - the field had the consistency of chocolate butter icing sliding off a hot cake.....

Let me start at the beginning.

The agricultural show rotates between three villages within the valley so although I'd attended before, I was not exactly sure where I was going this time. Himself and I checked out the map the night before and we worked out that I knew most of the route apart from a section that traversed over a section of the moors but as that seemed just to be a single direct road, I was not worried.
All through the night I could hear the rain against the window and when we got up in the morning it was still wet with low cloud and poor visibility. Never mind I reasoned, the marquee was already up and I would wrap up warmly. 
As I waved Himself good bye and set off, the skies cleared a little while the weather report on the radio cheerfully informed me that by 11 am the cloud would lift and the sun would blaze down - yay!
I trundled through the countryside - I knew I would take about 40 -50 mins to get to the show grounds and the roads were lovely and quiet at that time of the morning so I was fine.  

Well, I was fine until I reached the moorland road when the clouds dropped and visibility became so poor with the roads signs few and far between.
I kept following the road, frequently checking the map but I felt I was not on track. I felt I was heading the wrong way.  Then after 10 minutes, I landed in a village that was in the opposite direction. I fortunately knew the village and could now get myself over the moors and back into the correct valley.

When I finally reached the show grounds, there was a maHOOOsive queue to get in. Uh oh - cars were stuck in the mud trying to get on to the fields. I leapt out of the car and ran forward to a steward and pointed to my little car bursting full of goodies for our stall and he instantly agreed that there was no way I could get on and off safely without some sort of rescue.  The steward said 'just pop over the field and park there'...
I followed his gestating hand and looked across a sloping field rutted and gouged by large four by four vehicles and agricultural plant and already parked up with rather expensive looking cars. How on earth was my little car going to get over that??

I ran back to my car, which now was blocking the traffic, leapt in and put it into a low gear took a big breath and turned toward the mud.
Within moments I could feel that I was going to slide and lose control (I hate driving in snow for the same reason).  Argh.
As I was just ticking over, a car moved, creating a space and with a huge sigh of relief I managed to roll (slide) the car into the spot. My heart was pounding coz I was so worried I was going to slide into another car or into the river bordering the field. All around me were stewards yelling and pulling cars out of the mud, cows mooing and sheep baaing. There were tractors and trailers wheel spinning and mud flying.
Several trips from the car to the marquee later - I was drenched and splattered in mud up to my knees. Yet all around, although nearly everyone else looked the same, there were smiles and laughter.

The rain came in waves and between the showers we managed to get out and about and see the exhibits and watch the competitions. During the morning, we chatted to visitors, supplying drinks both hot and cold as well as shelter from the rain.
The staff in the morning swapped over at lunch and in that brief dry moment I decided rather than risk another walk around the show I thought I better get my car off the parking field. I waved goodbye and slushed my way out the field. 

Oh my goodness.

The mud, the mud.

I walked the possible route I would drive off the field - planning to roll down broadsiding the ruts towards the river and then use a stony mound to 'sling-shot' me to the right and hopefully onto the stony track. Now all I had to do was to get it to work.

Deep breath. Roll car, bump through mud, hit stony bank, accelerate carefully, slide, slide and by sheer luck, get one tyre on the track which was just enough to pull me off the field! Woo hoo!! 

I even got a cheer from the stewards. Other vehicles needed a bit of assistance :)

Driving home when the brief window of sunlight closed and the clouds grew thick and dark and the rain returned. With the windscreens on full, I missed the all essential turn off and got myself lost on the  moor road AGAIN! But this time, I just carried on until I found a village I recognised and got myself home (eventually).

The weather certainly played a part in the visitor numbers but it was a lovely friendly (if a little damp) little show. 

My car,my boots and my jeans took quite a bit of cleaning!


A letter to our tent (Told you I was different)

Dear flapping piece of green fabric,
your waterproofing was greatly appreciated
when the rain was lashing down
soaking us to the skin.
Dear shelter,
You held us safe that first night
while the wind howled around which
made me dive into my sleeping bag as
I worried if your pegs would take the strain...
...and when we awoke the next day,
with bags under our eyes
and very tired - we were dry and warm.
Dear tent,
you made the most delightful shadow puppets out of us
during the day.... 
and became magical at night....
 with your strings of tiny nautical fairy lights,
jauntily swinging during that very windy night,
all the while emitting a gentle light,
making our temporary home
more welcoming.
Dear brief holiday abode,
with your 'magician's wand' poles
which fold down neatly...
Thank you so very much.
Thank you.
But will you please... 
Behave yourself
and get back
into your 
Managed it.
 Don't worry,
we loved our jolly away with you
We fully fully
plan to take you
on holiday
with us


Island hopping - an amazing micro-adventure

At the beginning of the year we attempted to cross the sea over a shingle rack during low tide to the island of Hestan. We failed miserably due the rather inclement and bad tempered weather and our insufficient planning.

Once home, we did a bit more research, studied the waxing and waning of the moon and the height of the tides and with a bit of wrangling of holidays - managed to get a long weekend when the moon was at it's most full. Talk about excited!

We drove up to Galloway on the Friday, planning our island invasion for the Sunday.

Sunday dawned clear but we knew we could not go too early as the tide would still be high, so we spent a gloriously sunny day at a classic car rally (which I will post about soon) then later returned to our camp-site to sort out our haversacks and pack ourselves a picnics.

To get to the end of the peninsula before we could cross the rack would take us about an hour to walk so we had to factor that in our timings too.
We set off, following the tarred road which dwindled to a stony track then a wild foot path, finally fading to a vague hint of a route over rough moorland.  Surprised sheep watched us as we trekked through their coastal grazing grounds.
The sea finally came into view as did Hestan Island. Still cut off - still inaccessible.
The beach was a welcome relief from the rough descent we'd had.  The boys muttered dark things about being ravenous so we cracked open our picnic and ate some of the most delicious pies ever. I'd bought them that morning from a local farmer's market as a treat and they were just perfect for our setting.
Slowly slowly the tide began to recede and the rack started to show. Exposing the changing beach and revealing seaweed and a mermaid's purse. The boys explored and splashed in the sea while I managed to knit and take in the view.
The boys became impatient and tried to wade out across the waters to the start of the rack. I was not so impetuous and waited and watched as they forded and returned. Himself pronounced it safe and gathered his haversack and slung his shoes over his neck. Youngest did the same.  However Eldest and I watched as they set off, struggled a little then returned....they would try further to the left. They set off again and returned as the waters seemed higher than they anticipated.
 Finally a safe crossing place was found and I was persuaded to join them, Eldest was as reluctant as me but when I was going, he too rolled up his trousers and slung his shoes around his neck.
The water, although cold was not unbearable, which had been my main concern. We soon crossed the receding waters and arrived at the incredibly rough and stony rack. Boots were hastily donned. We then trekked over the uncomfortable terrain watching as the island and it's little cottage became closer.
The rack then rose upwards towards a small but beautiful shell covered beach which in turn rose upwards to grassy dunes and grazing pasture. The small cottage looked well kempt and the garden looked like it had been working through the summer but had now blown over.
We climbed to the top of the island and despite it's rather low and neat mound shape it had the most amazing 360° view. We celebrated with a mug of tea and biscuits before setting off around the perimeter. We found the lighthouse and the small flock of resident sheep - who seemed quite horrified at the human invasion on their patch! The sun was sinking in the sky and we could see the tide was now at it's lowest and would start to trundle back. 
As we rounded towards the rack, I spotted 'Elephant Rock', I knew it existed but wasn't too sure where it was, so I was greatly excited and may have squeaked a little.....the boys are used to me now and took it all in their stride :)
 It is an enormous rock formation (Youngest can be seen in the bottom right image) which certainly impressed us, sadly we could not linger so we continued around the shore line back to the beach and then set off for the rack linking us with the main land.  It was as uncomfortable a return walk as it had been to get to the island - but then, if it were easy then the rewards would not have been as great!
The sun was setting and for a short while as we pushed through the scrub on the mainland we lost sight of Hestan island. When we reached the other side of the trees- the island was once again cut off.... we had made it.
By the time we'd finally reached the car it was quite dark and I suspect I was not the only one to have grinned most of the return journey!

We had walked to the island and it felt brilliant!