Rock on

After a week or more (I have lost track of time) of intensive heat, hosepipe bans and the threat of a shortage of vegetables. I thought I wouldn’t be able to enjoy wearing my knitwear for a couple more weeks as the forecast is grim (hot, hot, hot) for those of us who prefer cooler weather with the odd day of rain thrown in. It is amazing how soon we have become acclimatised and plan our lives around sunshine and blue skies. We made our minds up to go back to the coast, to take some photos of Atlas the cardigan I had just finished knitting.  I could visualise the rocks being a good back drop for the grey of my cardigan. I planned to take my jeans and shoes to change into as previously all I could think of wearing was my sleeveless dresses with bare feet and sandals. Imagine our surprise when the clouds arrived, the blue skies disappeared. We now had a dilemma which made us think of how we had taken the previous days of hot weather for granted. We decided to go and try as the light was good being tempered with the clouds rather than dazzling in the sunshine which would have presented more problems than the cloud. I must add we had another glitch as dad had been in and out of the house, garages, garden all day and couldn't remember where he had left his car keys. He found them but I thought it was the answer to my prayers that the photo shoot could be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances....was it safe for me to go with the silver wave surfer?

 solid rock

solid rock

Atlas, on our shelves is a large book with a collection of maps and charts. Atlas on and off my needles travelled across to the USA as this was designed by Jared Flood and his company Brooklyn Tweed. I think we all know I knit quite a lot of Brooklyn Tweed’s patterns and with their wool but this time my wool was from Kate Davies who has a small business in Scotland. Milarrochy Tweed the wool and mohair I used was spun for Kate in Donegal and this brings me home to living in Northern Ireland.

Birkin grey, rock and stone

Needless to say when dad came along, our photo shoot was fun and sometime uncomfortable as I tried to stay still on a very hard rock. The man in his shorts, took his time to get the right angle while I sat and prayed he would let me move from my not so soft and comfortable rock. Why did I visualise the rock backdrop when I ended up perched precariously at times. Swipe, click, pop each photo, if you would like to view my rock solid pose!

While I waited for his clicks I was thinking and looking below my feet and there in the rock pools lay the treasures that the tide had brought in. I couldn’t wait to be ‘allowed to move as I had spied a sea urchin, ever so tiny. I collected my treasure and then saw some jelly fish although this time I just took a photo as a memory! We were on our way back to the car and found groups of thistles reminding us of The Shieling blanket that I am currently knitting. In the midst of the thistles a tiny ladybird slept. We have noticed there hasn’t been as many ladybirds this year and we would have walked past this one if we didn’t stop to study the thistles. The thistles weren’t very friendly and both of us knew what it was like to be a pin cushion

Treasures of the sea : sea urchin

All in all, despite the cloud that we hadn’t seen for so long we had a lovely evening and I really enjoyed wearing my cardigan. Milarrochy Tweed feels light in weight but holds warmth for the times when I am feeling cool. The evening was balmy but I was more comfortable wearing my cardigan as I really feel my blood has thinned down to cope with the heatwave and now when temperatures go below 20C I think it is cold! Photos on rocks, treasures found in rock pools, rock on dad - it’s a wrap!

swipe and pop the silver wave surfer playing his role as a model...dad

side notes : Milarracohy Tweed : Birkin, Cranachan, Bruce

Coastal butterflies

Sleeveless dresses, sunhat, sunglasses and don't forget the suncream. Is this Northern Ireland, were we love to talk about the weather, normally cold but refreshing with day after day of rain, after all this is why we have so much green. Are we the only two who long for those days when we can listen to the blackbird singing after a shower and smell the freshness around us after a summer of rain. Yesterday the blackbird lay in our garden, wings spread across the soil, in his attempt to cool off. Both of us will go outside to sing and dance if we hear the rain is returning for weeks to come! I know others are enjoying this unusually long spell of heat and I hope we can share the blessings we found by going to the coast in the evening to try and cool down.

 I see the sea

I see the sea

With temperatures soaring morning to night we have had to change our routine to cope as best we can with unusual for us temperatures. I much prefer to feel cold and wear several layers of my knitwear. I am photosensitive and keep out of the sun, only going out to escape my room which bakes in the evening. Layers of sunscreen, thicker than my skin to go for a walk in the evening, followed by cleansing all of the mineral sunblock off, exhausted! I have gone through so many tubes of cream in order to have an effective layer of protection on. I am glad we no longer have the desire to go on sun holidays and know for sure we won't move abroad to live in constant heat like this.  We set off for the coast after tea and didn't expect to find the grasses above the rocks and sand was home to the common blue butterflies. After all the formal gardens with the glimpse of one or two (maybe none) our trip to the sea turned into an evening of a butterfly dance. Not singing in the rain but dancing with the butterflies.

common blue and not just one or two

I don't know if the anyone passing by would have seen the tiny wings which caught my eye. We found the first one and dad wedged me up in the grass to try and take a photo with his camera but little did we know when we turned the corner we would find tiny wings dancing and one or two were friendly enough to perform on dad's finger! I had my iPhone and took several videos as they opened their wings to our sheer delight. They didn't seem to like my finger but dad was the platform for several of them to land on. I posted a short video to my Instagram account @minib and after this we decided to go back the flooring evening, this time I took my DSLR and renewed my love of macro shooting even if it meant lying down in the grass and coming home feeling I had the flu!

 flower girl

flower girl

The common blue seem to have a wonderful habitat here as we found them each evening on both beaches in county down. There was a few brown wings which just wouldn't settle at all but after a different walk last night (possibly a blog for another time) I eventually waited long enough for one to rest with a  similar flutter and found this was the Ringlet butterfly. Habitat the same as the beach we were at on this occasion. I have added a little gallery for you to click along and see what we saw including some stills of the butterflies that danced for my video on Instagram. The top three photos on the grid are taken with my iPhone x

Evenings to remember as we enjoyed a leisurely walk which is different from previous years when we went further and covered more miles but now I cant just keep up that pace we have found a lot more time for peaceful thoughts and reflections and even know what seats are when we see them along the path. They may not be the most comfortable but if they are in the shade they are acceptable. Perhaps by the end of the heatwave I will take my knitting along now that we actually stop along the way. Speaking about my knitting, my Atlas cardigan still needs the steek cut but my thoughts of wearing something wooly at the moment aren't quite right, for me. I have started a lace weight, short sleeved top, hoping when I finish it I will be too cold to wear it!

I will end this blog by setting the scene aside from the butterflies. We really don't realise how privileged we are to live so close to the coast and the country. Forest parks and the towpath didn't seem as refreshing to visit over the past nights, yet we could drive less than 30mins from our home and listen to the sound of the waves, and gulls (noisy) feel the sea breeze (too gentle but it was there) and look up to the broccoli trees! 

broccoli trees

Coasting along with along came dad : Crawfordsburn county down

One last photo....who could it be? Along came dad who told me to keep my iPhone at home when the next night he appeared to go for a walk, wearing his shorts...maybe a photo with legs next time ;)

 looking cool

looking cool

We are busy saving water as we have a hosepipe ban. In and out to the garden when we have water to recycle. It looks like our shower was fitted just in time as we aren't allowed baths! Remember the garden birds need water, even a saucer for them to drink and bathe. We have the bird bath plus several dishes and all are being used, with families arriving to drink and wash. It's vital the birds have water and more than ever. They will sing their thanks throughout the day. Thank you for reading our blog today. Beverley

Along came dad

I have some fun to share today especially as it is Father's Day and my friends will know how much dad means to me and how much fun and supportive he is to me. My knitting friends will know dad as my knitwear photographer and the fun we have when we go out. My friends fro OKDOTHIS will know dad was even more fun when both of us set out to do the DO of the day.

 dad behind the lens last week

dad behind the lens last week

I hope my blog today will bring some fun and smiles when I share some of the fun memories we had on OKDOTHIS. This was an excellent photo sharing community from which I learned to see a photo everywhere and became friends with inspiring photographers. It was the one place I never failed to visit and most of us checked in first thing and throughout the day to share photos from all corners of the world. There were no ads like Instagram and we had fun times along with learning how to be creative with our cameras. During this time 'Along came dad' was launched, although we no longer have this community I am still in touch with some of the members via Instagram but we all miss the inspiration and constructive feedback we experienced when we took part in the DO of the day. Just a few days ago Niall came back to Instagram and we remembered the times we shared on OK. Niall, Christiaan, Colin, Anthony, Lee, Jeremy, Jennifer, Kim, Kait, Tonya, Portia, Tania, Shannon, Jaqueline, Karen to name only a few who continue to share photos on Instagram but we all miss the closeness and inspiration we experienced over several years.

 silver surfer

silver surfer

I am going to add some galleries for you to see how much fun dad can be and still is and why he really is the best dad in the world, to me. The photos will show that despite his medical issues and the times when photos I have remind me of how he suffers, yet never complains and is always ready to join in the fun. Dad spent his childhood with callipers on his legs and a lot of years in hospital. He has a heart condition and diabetes but he never lets any of these thing stop him. I was the naughty daughter and dad was very strict, yet it didn't do me any harm as he really is my best friend and a super dad, no matter how many years have passed. The photo site had a challenge each day, that made us think and ultimately post a photo as our interpretation of the DO of the day. Some were more serious to teach us composition etc but some were pure fun and guess what...dad came along.

Below are a selection of the 'Wallee' challenges, my model was dad and now I look at these and see mood boards of colours for knitting! These brought back so many fun memories when we went out to look for walls all because this was a DO on okdothis. We need to find more walls and start this all over again. Click along the walls

More fun challenges when yet again dad was my model and one or two show age doesn't matter. Have fun in a park.......books are everywhere (appropriate title in one of dad's) he was game for a laugh no matter what. Don't ask about the boat.....we borrowed it. Look closely the photographer (me) is in dad's sunnies for his cool portrait shot. Click along the adventures 

Another day, another challenge and dad who used to be so shy was at Castleward which was used to film the series neither of us have watched but he became a star from The Game of Thrones (we used to think it was the Game of Thorns!) We became so engrossed in our photography when visiting another National Trust property that we forgot time and we came back to the car to find this note. Thankfully I had my iPhone and they came back to let us out.

I really could share so much more but I will finish this soon with a shot that made us laugh so much, even remembering it today has brought tears to my eyes. The DO of the day was 'Legs up' we went out with a mission and found a pile of wood chips and this happened!

 Yes, it's dad!

Yes, it's dad!

I use Day One journalling app on my iPhone and iPad and didn't realise that over 5yrs I had been adding these memories. I am very fussy about any apps I use but this one has proved to be excellent. Each day I have 5 years of memories shown to me and most of these photos appeared to remind me. I didn't use it as extensively as I do now and will be adding more photo memories as this is something I don't add to my written dairy. The app and the photo sharing community we used to have really have brought together the reason for 'Along came dad'

I hope anyone that reads my blog today will enjoy some fun as I hesitated about this in case it was like viewing a morning family album. I really wanted to share something special on Father's Day while still remembering friends who no longer have their fathers. Mother's Day has the same memories and feelings for me and I didn't have a journalling app to have fun photos from times that were more family than social sharing. Both of us miss mum and I am very grateful to have be been to two very supportive parents, who believed in 'training a child in the way they should go' we still have traditional values in our home and this is why I am me. I respect dad and off course I love him and really hope you will 'see' the fun we have.

Dad doesn't know how to use a computer or an app but I think we can say he plays a big part in sharing fun and continues to support me through good and bad times.

A few nature notes from our walks during the past week.  We watched a Thrush and heard the noise as he broke the shell of a snail to indulge in the meat, on the outset of our walk and saw another one on our return journey. We saw a Jay who stayed still long enough for us to study the wonderful colours. We were entertained on two evenings with fluttering coal tits who had just fledged, wings so tiny they had to be fed before flying on but on how they made their presence known! I spied our first ladybird of this year, we had been wondering where all the ladybirds are hiding when in the midst of pink grass I saw the red with black dots; an advantage of having to walk slower along the path. We have the joy of viewing a wren’s nest, hidden in our honeysuckle. The little gapping beaks with chirps when they know the parent bird has arrived back with a beak full of wrigglies! We welcomed the return of a  goldfinch retuned this morning with the red and gold markings to charm us. 

I was in a bit of a flap this morning, thinking of all the things I had to do when I turned on the radio and our favourite piece of classical music had started to play, both of us were silent as we listened to the music which is a lovely long, relaxing piece, guaranteed to make me stop, breathe and relax Arvo Pärt’s - Spiegel im Spiegel

Happy Father's day, along came dad

Shoreline

I didn’t think I would be typing a blog after a week that it has been too warm to wear any of my knitwear. I can now understand how my friends feel who love knitting but live in temperatures like we have experienced or even hotter for more than a week. I would much rather be back to wearing lots of layers and saying ‘I’m cold’ our homes and lifestyles aren’t acclimatised to weather like this. Cooking, baking, ironing zapped my energy and even my clarity of thought. It was too hot to be out during the day and this is why we chose several places, close to home to walk in the slightly cooler evening air. 

The sun itself is weak when it rises, then send gathers strength as the day gets on
 salted water, weathered wood

salted water, weathered wood

The first few evenings we chose parks, listening to the birds singing, discovering two herons at the side of the riverbank along the towpath. I enjoyed feeling cool enough to cover my arms up but was this me with bare feet wearing my sandals even at night. I must have gone through more cleanser with double cleansing to make sure I had removed all the suncream. Even worse when I cleansed and then we decided to go out as I had to put suncream on again and then come home to cleanse for the 3rd and 4th time! I must add dad isn’t just as fussy as me, therefore changing his mind to go out wasn’t a big event like it was for me but both of us needed fresh air and a chat. 

I thought my leg would be much better in the summer but no! Dad was most understanding and made sure our saunters were on flat paths but one night he had forgotten there was more hills along a stone strewn path and really felt guilty as my leg became useless and he had to hook me onto his rucksack to get back to the car. I just kept going as I didn’t want to give up and fail. 

When life presents challenges look beyond the obstacles, there's exploring to do when we can see clearly and step over the hurdle we suddenly face along the way.

We can put this to the back of our minds as last night, dad had planned a walk along the shore. Normally the path wouldn’t be high on our list as it’s flat from A-B then back to A from B but now I can appreciate how we need paths like this and how much we enjoyed are evening, which was the hottest yet but the sea air promoted the most luxurious sleep. I gave no need for beach hair sprays as my hair had beach waves without any sort of trendy spray (much to my dismay)

 Back again - shoreline 

Back again - shoreline 

I thought I would share different photos today. I have chosen some photos from our saunter along the shore. The beauty of living in Northern Ireland is that we can be walking in the countryside one night and breathing in the sea air the next evening. All our walks just a short drive from home. Last night was one we will remember and both of us noted the waves were so gentle, barely a sound. The gulls floated on the lapping water, we passed one or two people. The path belonged mainly to us.

 

The breeze cooled as we walked back to the car. Thankfully dad was wise this time as I would have wandered further and only realised how far we had walked when the car seemed to be lost in the distance!

 sun down

sun down

Listen to the music of the waves, soothing a troubled mind, softly in the breeze, respite