I really had meant my first Highland Diary to be about how… we moved to the Highlands! A rather fast-moving chain of events that, via lockdown, led us to find an old part-renovated farm steading in which to continue this chapter of our life in…
Spurred on in equal parts by health, happiness and a little bit of craving new adventure… Had we become stuck in a rut in London? I think that that perhaps I had. A smallening of my London existence brought on by the need to adequately manage the onset of early MS, every day felt like a juggling act of what I could and couldn’t do – and it felt increasingly that a lot of what I liked to do (darting about here, there and everywhere) was no longer ideal for my new day to day. I needed slower, more at home, more relaxed and pinpointed eating routines, exercise too, to take a priority. And then… I could continue to do the things I liked best: creating, photographing, connecting, posting, blogging, writing and so forth.
It wasn’t until lockdown that the foundation for my healthy, happy existence – ie. feeling good, strong and healthy as opposed to dragging myself across the floor with weighed-down limbs – that I realised bringing those things to the forefront (sleep, eat and exercise – in the way that I need) was way more easily done in a remoter, quieter place, a less city-like environment. Probably the single most eye-opening realisation that I’ve had in the last decade.
And so it is we find ourselves seamlessly – when things are meant to be they seem to go very smoothly, don’t they? – relocated from a big city to soft and quite hills, next to a forest and gurgling river. And to mark the transition, from the in-between time of lockdown to the arrival and the new start, I have once again started knitted with gusto.
The first time was when I worked my second serious office job and I needed a lunchtime therapeutic respite to soothe my brain from busy admin and feature writing; this was when I learnt to knit socks. And to socks I returned this lockdown, easy, familiar, deeply satisfying, with beautiful, fun wools. Fours pairs or so – yes I’m guilty of not finishing pairs, so eager to start exciting new yarns. And then about five hats! They can be done in about a day, in chunky wool and make a wonderfully sweet and thoughtful family gift.
And then I thought why not try a sweater? Something that had seemed out there in-the-void levels of difficult, not for the likes of me. And to begin with as I was trying, with a sweaty brow, to get my head around the (actually quite simple) art of cabling that I thought maybe it isn’t… but then the flow started, the cable completed, the rest of it plain if monotonous but relaxing sailing, and at the end, a beautifully snug and cosy wonder in mohair.
It feels like a rite of passage I must say! And now I know the ins and out – the slight shock of not being able to sew it all up in a matter of minutes eventually overcome (and yes, I attached the sleeves too tight and had to re-d0!) it feels within the realms of possibility to knit another. And another. Up here, a half Italian Scot in the Highlands, preparing for the cold winter months is EVERYTHING. Jumpers it is… !