Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Capricious April

“Oh, to be in England now that April’s there”  Robert Browning may have had a point, though he was writing from the lush warmth of an Italian spring, rather than the chilly dampness of a northern Scottish season. The last fortnight’s scattering of lovely sunny days may soon seem like a dream if the weather forecast for this area is to be believed. 

With luck the promised showers will be of rain, rather than the snow which accompanied our journey north at the beginning of the month, but wintry showers are not beyond the bounds of possibility by the weekend.

Thank goodness DH and I took advantage of the sunny weather to get out and about a bit. The landscape of the North-West Highlands is wonderful whatever the weather, but in sunshine it is truly spectacular and our respective cameras have been working overtime.

The road north on a snowy April Fool's Day

Ben Loyal the morning after our arrival

And a week later after a beautifully sunny Easter.

The Kyle of Tongue heading north to the sea

A symphony in grey - no leaves to soften the trees yet

Clouds over the mountains of Sutherland herald a change in the weather

A very different sunset this evening

Still, at least the disappearance of the sun gives me an excellent excuse to abandon gardening for family history research, which is proving ever more absorbing as I learn the techniques of finding and assessing the wealth of information available online. Knitting too is coming on apace, with the weekly knit & natter group enabling rapid progress on my latest pair of socks. 

I’ve also been busy reviving the almost forgotten art of knitting a new toe for the socks which DH’s iron toenails have worn into a hole. There’s too much work in a pair of hand-knitted socks to throw them into the bin at the first sign of weakness and it’s been fun giving a couple of pairs a new lease of life, even to matching the pattern of the self-patterning yarn. I knew it was worth keeping all those remnants of yarn from the many pairs of socks I’ve knitted over the past few years.

Now all I have to do is to spend more time on my shamefully neglected clarinet and my life will be in perfect balance again, which is more than can be said for Simon’s rather bedraggled cat.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Do not be afraid

He is not here, for he has been raised.

Image :     Le Tombeau Vide by Bénédicte de la Roncière.

Hymn :     Words: George R. Woodward (1848-1934), 1894
                  Music: Vruechten (This Joyful Eastertide) (Dutch melody from David's Psalmen, Amsterdam, 1685,  
                                arranged Charles Wood, 1866-1926)

Friday, April 03, 2015

And they crucified him


Image:  The earliest crucifixion in an illuminated manuscript, from the Syriac Rabbula Gospels, 586 AD.

Music:  J S Bach ‘O sacred head, sore wounded’ from the St Matthew Passion, 1727.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

On the road again

It’s Saturday morning and I am typing this in an empty house, the only sounds the clicking of the keys and the wind lashing the rain against the window next to my desk. Yesterday afternoon I waved DH off on another of his regular visits to his very elderly mother and after clearing a few chores headed out into the garden.

Earlier in the week a good friend had presented us with a delayed house-warming gift, a bare-rooted rose bush which needs to be planted without delay. Unfortunately the perfect position was already occupied by a battered, unsightly and very spiny berberis, which it was my unwelcome task to remove. The struggle was fierce, but ultimately I prevailed and managed to complete digging the hole for my rose as twilight fell.

The berberis had its revenge, however, and I spent much of the rest of the evening with a sharp needle, extracting the numerous thorns which had made it through my strongest gardening gloves. This morning my poor hands look as though I have a very localised attack of measles, but at least I’m ready to sally forth into the garden as soon as the rain stops and the ground dries up a little, and bed the rose comfortably into its new home.

After that my busyness will take a different direction, as I get down to the preparations for our spring trip to the north coast of Scotland. DH will be home on Monday evening and by then I need to have everything ready for us to pack the car on Tuesday morning and begin our journey with our customary overnight visit to his brother in Southport.

I’m already looking forward eagerly to the long journey up through the Highlands. The road is familiar to us now and we drive it with huge pleasure, revelling in the grandeur of the scenery, whatever the weather, and keenly anticipating our arrival in our little home from home between the mountains and the sea. Easter in the Highlands has become part of our lives over the past few years and I can hardly wait.