By way of explanation of my absence here, I've been on holiday this past week, up in the Scottish highlands. The plan, before the volcanic ash is that we would fly from London to Inverness, and hire a car for the duration of the 2 hour trip to our destination. With flights, airport parking and car hire all cancelled at the last minute, we got in the car and drove for 12 hours to get there instead (a 12 hour drive!). We had a great week - the weather on the whole was good, one day we had thick heavy snow and bright sunshine within about an hour of each other! Despite the lovely sun, it was chilly up there, and we were thankful that we'd chosen to take plenty of warm clothes and waterproofs/wellies etc, and for the underfloor heating in the lodge we were staying at!
Somewhat naively, I wasn't prepared for the stark landscapes, main roads which were single track and like a roller coaster, towns which had one or two little houses and the odd shop, and no mobile or internet connection. Oh and millions of sheep!
It truly seems like a different way of living, and is maybe what appeals to the many artists and crafts people who work up there. We were just a few miles away from the Isle of Skye, so spent quite a few days driving all around and exploring the little villages and hamlets, and sometimes the only thing at the end of road was a loch and a little artists studio/house/workshop, or a tea room which was the annex of someone's house, or a little shack/shed in their garden. We were visiting out of tourist season, so all of these places were quiet and it's difficult to believe that the artist can actually make enough money, but having spoken to one ceramicist, she told us that she spent the majority of the out of season months making, as she doesn't have the time for making during the busy summer season.
One of the little places I visited was a hand spinner of wool and silk. The lady who owns the shop dyes her own wool too. I felt it was only right to support a local crafts person, so spent a silly amount of money on wool. I now just need to think of something to do with it all.
Our little cats missed us this week (and we missed them). When we got home last night, mellie came to meet us on the path and was literally yelling miaow's as us, and little stevie will just not leave me alone today - here she is just lying behind my laptop, sticking a paw out to touch my hand every few minutes
Also, it's official - as of 16th April, I am unemployed. This feels weird, but exciting all at the same time.
My work colleagues got me some lovely and very thoughtful gifts and I had many emails from people wishing me luck and telling me they would miss me. I had a leaving speech from the Snr. Director of our department and I had prepared a few words to say also, but when the time came, I just had such a lump in my throat and couldn't say anything.
I'll pop back in a couple of days to show you my leaving gifts and tell you a bit more about my plans for the next few months.
The plan for today is to have a TV day - we're both totally shattered after the drive home yesterday. If you've emailed me ( I have loads in the space of a week with no internet!) I'll get back to you soon.