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:
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:
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:
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…
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):
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.