The Not-holiday

We’ve just had two weeks off of work. We have the kind of holiday days which are use-them-or-lose-them, and our holiday calendar starts at the beginning of October every year. We had holiday days accumulated because, well…. Covid. We needed a break and had to take it now. Unfortunately, neither Doug nor I were feeling comfortable with travelling internationally (and in particular, didn’t want to ruin the blissed out glow of a week spent lazing in the sun by coming back through Heathrow in its current crazy chaos). Additionally, Doug had some major mouth surgery just before the start of the holiday, and he looked like he found the wrong end of a bar fight, in addition to having a mouth full of stitches that needed removing, and, oh yeah, a lot of pain. So we decided to have what the British are so sweetly calling a “staycation”. In other words, have a holiday here in the UK.

What we failed to take into account is that some people actually plan a holiday in advance! They make bookings! For September even, when the schools are back in session. The nerve! I could tell you a long, pointless, and ultimately boring story about how we tried to find a place to stay, but I won’t. The point is that we did not plan in advance, and thus we stayed at home.

That is not to say we did nothing. We read, we cooked, and we took a lot of nice walks. I knitted. (“Aha!”, you think, “finally some knitting content.” If this is you, skip to the bottom of the post and I promise I will talk knitting.)

We took a number of walks locally along the Thames. I liked this spot, near Pangbourne, where on an unexpectedly hot afternoon, the locals gathered to swim. I wonder who was more surprised: the cows or the people?

We spent a lovely day at Kew Gardens, which was lush and green and peaceful. Doug even convinced me to take the areal walk, which is 9 flights of stairs up in the treetops:

I am afraid of heights, so I tried (not quite successfully) to relax my clenched teeth enough to get this photo showing me up in the treetops:

Kew is beautiful and I heartily recommend a visit there. We are members, but still don’t spend as much time there as I would like.

(It was unfortunately on the way back from Kew, that our car broke down, as mentioned in my last post.)

We spent a day hiking around Hughenden Manor, the home of Benjamin Disraeli. It is now a National Trust property and has some pretty gardens and attached parkland. They also have great beach chairs scattered around, which almost makes it like a beach holiday (only without the water, or the sand, or the gin & tonic).

We spent an absolutely glorious morning at the West Green House Gardens. This is a private house with the most beautiful gardens. It was truly lovely and we hit it on a magical day.

We also celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary last week. Here, just for fun, is a photo of us 30 years ago:

Lastly, some knitting to report. I have mostly been working on Caravay, a Linda Marveng design. This oversized pullover is knitted in a very cool textural stitch which has a lot of depth, made even more rich by the beautiful burgundy yarn (Tinde pelsullgarn by Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk). I took innumerable photos of the work in progress, but find it is almost impossible to capture both the colour and the texture properly. Here are two different shots, which hopefully give an idea of the richness:

I also did some swatching for a mystery pullover, in this pretty pink DK wool from the Wool Barn. (Note that this is a mystery for you, not for me. As I have noted before in response to the craze for Mystery Knit-a-longs: “I like to know what I am knitting”.)

And I cast on for the Gresham Shawl. If you recall, I received a kit for this shawl on my birthday a few weeks ago. This is knit with worsted weight wool so it flies off the needles:

Tomorrow we go back to work. I am not convinced I feel entirely rested, but I will admit that I don’t feel nearly as crushed as I did beforehand. The trees are starting to turn, and my inbox is filled with knitting pretties, and new autumn patterns are appearing. Sweater weather is here, and with it, the usual boost to my knitting mojo and the re-charging of my creative muscles. Do you have new projects on your needles? Curious minds want to know.

6 thoughts on “The Not-holiday

  1. This looks like the loveliest vacation ever, if you ask me. Now I’ve put Kew and Hughenden on my list, if ever we can travel abroad again. Nice knitting content, too.

    Happy anniversary!

  2. Love the 30 year old photo. Love the Caravay pullover, both the stitch & the color. And I like the pink Wool Barn wool. I’m with you on mystery KALs – I like to know what my hard-earned money is being spent on. Thanks for continuing to post.

  3. Glad you enjoyed yourselves. Love the flowery photos, esp the one matching outfit to blooms (floral burgundy top). Congratulations too on 30 years, nice to see the photo of 30 years ago.

  4. Happy Anniversary! It sounds like a very nice couple weeks of staycation – you got to some lovely locations 🙂 We call at home vacations staycations here too. Your knitting projects look wonderful so far too!

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