I took a solo trip away from home on Saturday and stayed in a hotel on Saturday night all on my own, something I haven’t done in over 15 years. I used to love travelling by myself and have always enjoyed my own company, but it feels like a lifetime ago ( my pre-children life – was there ever such a thing??!). I must admit I felt hesitant to depart that morning, but once I got going, put my favourite music on and was travelling on the open road through the beautiful autumn countryside, I began to enjoy myself and my new found freedom.
It rained all day, but that didn’t dampen my spirits as it was actually fun to walk in the rain; to look at the world through my rain spattered glasses and not to have any responsibility to model good behaviour!!
I went to my favourite National Trust property for autumn colour and I wasn’t disappointed. I left my ‘mummy bag’ in the car and it was just me, my iPod, and my membership card and car keys in my pocket – how liberating for this mama! There was hardly a soul there because of the rain, which was refreshing. It felt as if I had this whole secret garden all to myself; I could sing and skip and whatever took my fancy 🙂 including taking lots of photos. Above all, I could be present, fully present. It was a gift indeed.
Here are (quite) a few of the photos that capture the mood of the moment 🙂 I hope you will indulge me for a moment, I felt totally inspired at the time by all the beauty surrounding me….
So good to be out in nature!
Then I treated myself to a lovely lunch in a great cafe we recently discovered. The atmosphere was cosy, with lots of fairy lights – my favourite kind of cosy 😉
The food was delicious and I could savour every tasty mouthful without distraction or interruption. Simple pleasures!
When I arrived in the village where I was due to spend the night, I took a walk around to explore. Such fun to discover a new area, going down back roads and just being curious because….It soon started raining so I sought refuge in another lovely cafe and enjoyed my third redbush tea of the day….
I decided to start writing my Christmas letters! I know it is rather early, but I try to make sure I write a proper letter ( 2-6 A4 pages worth) to all my friends abroad at Christmas (and I try to write at birthdays too, although this year was a bit more hit and miss than other years). I always end up writing around 20 letters , so ideally I need to start early if I want it to be a relaxed experience. I tend to write most of my letters in cafes or at home with Christmas music on to get me in the mood. I have never started this early before, but it feels good. I probably won’t send them til the end of November, but at least two are written so far (to friends in the States). Another 18 to go 🙂 . I love writing letters at Christmas time, especially if I haven’t caught up with these friends over the year. There is always a lot to write about and spending a couple of hours in a cafe writing a proper long letter to a friend is my way of spending some time in their company and feeling closer to them somehow. I have a few friends who are my regular ‘pen pals’ who I met whilst travelling in Australia many moons ago. Nothing beats receiving a hand- written letter in my opinion. An email can be read and forgotten but the feeling of sitting down to a letter is so much more satisfying and nourishing. Human warmth shines through in a letter in a way that can’t be acheived by an email, I feel.
Unfortunately the hotel I stayed in was rather disappointing. There was no mention of a band playing in the bar when I booked it, but basically my room was over the bar and there was music well into the night. I fell asleep just after midnight and the music was still going strong. Not quite the picture of peace and tranquility that I had in mind!! I did enjoy having a lovely long candlelit bath with Epsom salts and essential oils to begin with though and spent the evening watching ‘Gladiator’ and starting some knitting projects. I like to start a few at a time if possible, so I can pick up the one that takes my fancy.
I have started the fingerless gloves I mentioned in my previous post,
I started and finished another drop stitch cowl which is my favourite knit for instant gratification (we all need those don’t we 😉 ). I didnt’ have enough to do the four rows of drop stitch, but it is still lovely.
I have decided to knit my daughters a Phoebe mouse each after seeing this post of Nicole’s at Frontier Dreams. I remember thinking they were so cute when she made her daughters them some years ago and I need a relatively quick and sweet project. I had hoped to make quilts, but that will have to be an Easter gift methinks.
I have done one head so far which is a good start. I now have 46 rows of just knitting, so I will pick my time for that ( when I don’t need to concentrate fully…) and probably start another head in the meantime. It feels good to have made a start.
The following day, I had a leisurely morning, breakfast, a walk and another trip to a cafe for a fruit tea and some alfresco knitting.
This leaf landed in my lap!
I am taking a break from chocolate and caffeine (since the beginning of November) so redbush and fruit teas are my staples at the moment. I love the colourway of this yarn. It feels so autumnal to me and the yarn is so chunky and cosy.
I met my dear family for lunch and an afternoon adventure in the woods – another trip to Pooh Country. It was so lovely to see them again after the break.
We found these lovely shiny sweet chestnuts amongst the piles of wet autumn leaves.
We are planning to roast them on our wood burner once it gets colder (it is still fairly mild here for this time of year).
All in all I felt so very grateful to have this time away and I know it won’t be my last. I can see how my nervous system calmed down (despite the noise in the hotel) and I have been able to be much more patient and understanding for my children since then. I definitely needed this solo trip and I am so very grateful to have a husband who understands this deep need in me.
I hope you are having fun Keeping Calm and Crafting On