Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Okay nearly up-to-date! After Shetland went on plant dyeing, felting and weaving 4 day course near my Mums which was wonderful. there were 10 of us situated beside the river Wye in a glorious setting with Jane Meredith as our teacher. She is inspirational and does a variety of courses - if you are interested look at her website www.plantdyedwool.co.uk . Hoping to go on her Dabu course next year. She has an amazing garden full of vegetables and plants that can be used for dyeing. We made pieces of felt, found out about different fleeces, learned to card and spin wool, and wove a few pieces - I am hooked!!!!

Our view over the river Wye

The other direction

Dyeing wool

Plant dyeing garden

Dyed wool drying

One example of my weaving!

I got the sad news that one of our dogs had been run over back in Nairobi and along with various other stresses, not least of them being that I was missing David terribly! I decided to come back to Nbi 2 weeks early. Before that however, I made a quick dash down to Devon and met up with Mikes mum, Dorothy and spent a lovely day with her, meeting up in Tavistock. She kindly agreed to accompany me to take a second look at the house on Dartmoor that I had fallen in love with as needed to take pics to show David. Isn't it gorgeous - just us I think!

View just outside Postbridge

Sitting room


Door from sitting room to garden

Garden with stream at front of house

Back garden - nothing a good strimmer cant sort!

Spent a lovely evening with Alison and her son Freddy in Tavistock then dashed back.

Had usual 8 hour wait at airport as bus gets in so early, uneventful flight then the 2 hour nightmare that is usual Nairobi traffic to get at last back home and back to David.

Been lovely being back but frustrating as process of selling house seems very slow and time is now not on our side. We have until the middle of November and if not sold by then we have no house, no income etc etc - gulp! Also may lose house in uk! But hey, life is fuller if there are challenges to meet!!! x


Well, got back to Kenya on Wednesday, after 8 hours at airport - must get that later bus! - only to be facedwith a 2 hour drive from airport before I could see my gorgeous hubby! So lovely to see him againand have spent week together and having lovely quiet time. this week we will start reconnecting with friends.
Anyway, back to Shetland! As always I ahd an awesome time. I have a theory that for most of us there is a special place where we just feel we are at home, where we feel part of it, and for me that is Shetland. I was once told that in a previous life I was a herbalist living on a remote croft and growing herbs - probably seen as a witch doctor by the locals! - so maybe that is why. Whatever,both my sister and I, when we reach the border going up into Scotland, give a whoop of delight! Talking of which, was weird driving up from Newcastle to Aberdeen to get the ferry. It had been really sunny driving through the North of england but literally right at the border the weather changed and the other side of the border was really misty and glowering. Just made me laugh!
Our wonderful, generous friend, Mike, up there on the island, had very kindly agreed that I could stay there rather than in the gorgeous Benigarth where I was last year. A brave man indeed! However, he survived the experience and possibly even enjoyed my company - it is possible my friends!!! fortuantely for me though not for him perhaps he was out on strike one day so we went over to Bressay with another friend Jane and had a beautiful day climbing the cliffs and having a picnic.
Had hoped to do lots of painting while I was there but got so sidetracked with going out walking and generally just being busy that it never happened.A few pics of the gorgeousness!!!

View from St Ninians Isle to Bigton

Cliffs at back of Watsness

View from house I was staying in - Foula island in background.

View from the house

Such characters - at Sumburgh Head

So many highlights but the best was perhaps the day we saw the orcas. It had been a grey day and Mike had kindly driven me around seeing places I hadn't seen before. We were very lucky as wherever we went the weather seemed to lift. Stopped off and had coffee with a friend of his at Vidlin who showed that it is possible to have a beautiful garden- with trees1 - in Shetland. Got back quite late and were halfway through cooking dinner when jane called to say the orcas -killer whales by another name - were hugging the coast down the south mainland. After humming and haaing for a few minutes we madly decided to take the 80 minute dash down to the south to see if we could catch them. On the way we were laughing as the fog was so thick we could barely see the road at times never mind whales out in the bay. As luck would have it, they were still there - a big male, 3 females and a baby right into the shore - we spent a wonderful half hour watching them. Stunning. Only got bad shots as so busy just enjoying watching.

They are orcas, honest!
Also they had a mini type of Up Helly A called the Fire Festival where they burn the Viking Longship and had great evening - really good atmosphere.
The parade through the streets - lots of the costumes are authentic

The burning boat

Throwing their torches onto the boat

An impressive sight


The tall ships race was the other major event and because of it I got to go to Yell and Unst with Mike to see some of the events that were going on. The musical talent on Shetland is quite amazing and there is such a great community spirit. And the ships were truly magnificent. On the last day when the parade of ships made its way into the bay they looked truly majestic with their crews lining the sides of the ships and disappearing into the mist. As they passed the fisheries vessel a cannon was fired and Pomp and Circumstance played - stirring stuff!!!
Lerwick harbour

THere was live music all day over the 3 days of the festival and well into the night - free!

Alexander Humboldt off Walsay

Parade of ships out in bay

This was an amazing sight - they lined all of the masts

Christian Raddich in Lerwick

 Going to end this blog with those few pics of that and catch up in next blog. Have a great day! x

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Summer of 2011!

Wow! What an amazing time I have had. Long time no blog I know but have been busy, busy. Over in the Uk and was lovely first few weeks as managed to spend time with my sister! Oh, but before I left my lovely hubby in Nairobi we went away to a cheap little place on the edge of the Rift Valley as an early wedding anniversary celebration. It was very low key, we had an amazing few days and, dare I say it, after 12 years of marriage love my hubby more and more. Says a lot for how wonderful a man he is - and, yes, the fact he has stuck by me for 12 years!!! Thank you my lovely! Here are a few pics of the place we stayed. If you want to experience it, it is called Enkaji Osiwo and available to rent through Langata Link, Nairobi.
View over Rift from verandah.

Enkaji Osiwo

Incoming storm - amazing!

Metal carrier bag - for mags - brilliant!

Just loved this quirky .... WHATEVER!

When I arrived the very kind Kim picked me from airport and spent lovely few days with her and Simon and Greg catching up - it was lovely to have a few days together rather than just a few hours.

So onto Uk. My lovely sister and I went and stayed in a gorgeous cottage in Yorkshire - http://www.abbeyholidaycottages.com/  - first time we have ever been away together and it was wonderful. The idea was that we crafted and we had 2 days at the lovely Dy's workshops in Harrogate and did do quite a bit but also took time out to sightsee and got to meet up with my friend Kieren who was over from Kenya - weird to see him in Uk! We were away for 4 nights and it just wasn't long enough!!!
View from cottage one way....

View the other way! Were right at the end of a steep valley - gorgeous.

The lovely Donna - and my motor of course!!!

Then it was onto Shetland - my favourite place in the world. The minute I get there all feels right with the world!! THough not quite as soon as that this time as had to take ferry of course as took car. It was a calm crossing but still felt nauseous all the way and made the mistake of not booking a cabin - don't do it folks!! It is worth every penny!!!!!!
Will put all about Shetland in next blog as got to get ready to hit the streets of Hereford with the folks! It is all go!