The long road home

A Happy New Year to you all!

I’ve been on a trip to the South of England again to meet up with friends and relations over the holiday period. New Year is always a time of assessment and reflection, and on my journey back to Scotland, I had plenty of time to think, and to knit…

This is a Christmas/Birthday present for my friend Amanda in Bristol, it’s a short-sleeved cardigan, based on Ysolda Teague’s Cria pattern:

Knitting on the train

Going home can often feel a little sad, after enjoying some time away, and Brighton looked suitably grey as we pulled away from the station:

View of Brighton from train

It was a mixed trip, with a crazy New Year’s Eve watching the old punk band, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, contrasting to a funeral; enjoying time spent with laughing with friends, and cursing with them in grotty pubs and stressful shopping trips; meeting up with friends who had a difficult personal struggle in 2011 and excitement of exploring beautiful yarn in the fabulous yarn shop, Loop, in Islington; walking by the Thames in Windsor in the rain, and enjoying the bustle of South Bank in the sunshine; teaching my sister-in-law knitting, but not having enough time to teach more; missing my friend in Newcastle, but enjoying quality time with my family and friends.

The train trundled on and soon we were in London, and I got a good look at The Shard from the train at London Bridge station:

The Shard at London Bridge station

I saw it a couple of times during my trip – it’s intended to be the tallest building in Western Europe when it’s finished, another landmark building for London’s skyline, and will house offices, a hotel, apartments and a viewing deck. Have a look at the website. It looks very large close to, but doesn’t look that high compared to other buildings, but I guess it’s not finished yet…

View to the Shard

I enjoyed a brief visit to London during the week, and enjoyed a lovely sunny walk along the South Bank on the way to see the Gerhard Richter exhibition at Tate Modern. Due to illness, I missed a retrospective exhibition of his work in Edinburgh last year, but I think there were more of his paintings exhibited at the Tate, so that made up for it. I first discovered his work when I worked at the Royal College of Art library, and was fascinated by his super real, slightly blurry seascapes. They are painted from imperfect photographs, and I found out he was most known for this style in the 60s, but he branched out and made some huge and staggering paintings using a squeegee technique. This technique was demonstrated in a video accompanying the exhibition, and it was interesting to see how each stroke of the squeegee added to or erased what was painted before. I really enjoyed seeing more of Richter’s art, and might have to save up for a print from the exhibition.

There was a funny moment when my friend and I were looking for somewhere to eat after the exhibition, and she said:

“I’ve seen a giraffe!”

Not living in London, I didn’t know this was a restaurant chain, and thought she was possibly seeing things… Although I see from their website that the chain has spread Northwards, but just hasn’t reached Scotland yet.

I’m really pleased they have re-opened the Thameslink rail route across London to Brighton; as it’s really tiring lugging a heavy bag to and from Victoria on the tube. Now I just have a short walk between King’s Cross station and the beautiful refurbished St Pancras (one of my favorite buildings):

St Pancras Midland Grand Hotel

I’m glad to see they have fully restored and refurbished what used to be the Midland Grand Hotel in the amazing Victorian Gothic building designed by George Gilbert Scott: it’s now the Marriott St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Maybe I should pop in for a cuppa next time I’m passing – if I can afford it!

After a short wait at King’s Cross, I embarked on the journey North, passing through Finsbury Park where I got a quick flash view of my old flat, as we sped through, I got comfortably settled in for the 4 hour ish journey to Edinburgh. I had a bit of a daydream about what I was going to knit with gorgeous wool I bought on my visit to the Loop yarn shop:

Yarn from Loop yarn shop

The teal/blue/green yarn is Malabrigo Sock yarn in “Solis”, and I’m going to re-knit my Tulips for Margaret pattern in it, as the yarn, Crannog, which I wrote the pattern for, has been discontinued. On the right is also Malabrigo Sock yarn in “Rayon Vert”, which I am probably planning for a summer top, and in the middle is yummy Wollmeise 100% merino, which I’m thinking of making into a lacy scarf for me, this colourway is called “Igor”, and is actually more “gothic” looking than it appears in the photo – deep shades of purple and grey. Rousing myself from my reverie, I noticed the weather was improving as I travelled steadily North; which nearly made the billowing plumes of smoke from Eggborough Power Station look attractive:

Eggborough Power Station

I was feeling a bit sad about going home, partly because I’m leaving behind people I love, but also with a kind of trepidation about what the year would have in store for me. Although I was excited to be involved with my craft co-operative, Lauder Trading post (which I wrote about here), there had been some difficulties with it, which had left me feeling a bit depleted, and I just didn’t feel ready to get back in the fray again. Sometimes having M.E./CFS makes me see future events as a series of occurrances designed to tire me out, and it’s quite hard to feel positive. I feel like I am on an unstoppable train that I can’t get off; and having been off the train for a few weeks I wasn’t sure I was ready to get back on – although I know the ride can be exhilarating. I guess we all feel a little like this after a holiday…

The train heads past some well known landmarks on this route, which helps to break up and mark off the time along the journey – York Minster:

York Minster

It slowly works its way towards the coast, and I saw Durham Cathedral, and the bridges across the Tyne at Newcastle, and the Northumbrian coastline, with wide open views out to sea, and I felt the crowded South slipping away from me, and an inexplicable wilder, free feeling coming over me. I looked out of the window, waiting for the tidal island of Lindisfarne to appear:


Followed very soon by the bridges at Berwick upon Tweed:

Berwick upon Tweed

From there it’s not very far to Edinburgh, I passed the distinctive hills of North Berwick Law and Traprain Law, and the sun set:

Sunset from train

The train rushed through the outskirts of Edinburgh and quickly arrived in Edinburgh’s Waverley station, and I was in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Edinburgh rush hour:

Edinburgh from Waverley station

By now, I was feeling pretty tired, and just wanted to get home, but it was 50 minutes until the next bus to Lauder, I slowly trundled my bag through the crowds up the hill to the bus station, and grabbed a coffee to help me last the rest of the journey. Feeling a little revived from the coffee, I survived the 1 hour 20 minutes of the bus journey, and was relieved at last to turn the key in the lock and be back home.



  1. Hi there Ruth
    Carol and me wanted to say how much we both enjoyed our first knitting session tonight , you have the patience of a saint, we will both be back , thank you for taking the time to help all of the new beginners , we will be knitting socks soon !!!

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