From where I stand

My blog post today could have been entirely different as the anniversary of our blog approaches later this month, renewal with our web host have been dwelling on my mind. I feel a great sense of responsibility in maintaining our blog and know of recent times I have failed to keep my promise of sharing our days which we planned to go out with our cameras. The photos of nature and scenery still haven't appeared on our blog, hence my post today was going to announce that we would be hibernating our site for the foreseeable future. Without going into boring details, I would love to share our adventures and photos from our part of the world but this year, in particular my energy levels haven't let us be out and about like previous years. We have hardly even used our National Trust and Forest memberships which also caused me to feel stressed. Suffice to say I had my notebook out and imaginary set of scales, weighing up the pros and cons to try and find a balance in how I was feeling and if I could possibly blog more with topics our readers will be interested in. I worried when I thought I had let everyone down by only posting knitting projects but these were all I had as knitting was like a therapy to me. I even felt lost in knitting groups as most can meet and enjoy the social part when I was alone and 'only knitting' I really appreciate friends from the groups I was active in who have left lovely comments on my projects and the closer friends who message me and even knit along with me in mini KALs.

Today I had a chat with dad and we have decided to keep our blog for a longer time and trust anyone who still visits will enjoy blogs, long or short, out or in and most definitely from my heart. We have photos to share today which aren't knitting related and ones that came out of the unexpected. A few weekends ago there was the annual specialist plant fair at Mount Stewart. I had promised dad all year we would go back as it was an excellent weekend last year. This year however when we arrived, we discovered we could count on one hand the specialists who had setup. I was disappointed as we had made an effort to go after being at an appointment that morning and I was feeling tired. We don't know what happened but can only presume there must have been a lack of support last year to make the journey across the water too expensive for the specialists who came last year. This is something which helped to make my mind up on another event this year which I will refer to at the end of this blog (hopefully it will be a blog post on its own in August) 

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Contemplating

Why on earth did I think I couldn't blog as I have already typed too much for anyone to read! I guess I really would miss our blog. Back to our disappointing garden festival although dad was able to buy more spiral supports for our peonies. We wandered about the grounds and the photos will show our view, of a group of tourists, views and how they were enthralled with the gardens, taking photos of each other, listening to their guide who we really didn't understand! This made me think, we shouldn't have felt disappointed as there was beauty all around us and these people had travelled across the world to enjoy the beauty we had on our doorstep. We weren't intrusive but fascinated as the ladies and men really showed us around the grounds the day we thought we would be spending with plants and shrubs to buy.

It is with respect to the people in the photos that I am publishing the photos to share with you how other people see our world and how we see other people. I know this is something I have to learn to cope with better when I think of how others see me. If we had been able to speak the language we would have sent the photos to the tourists who made our day one to remember. 

Beauty shines through

The 'lack of support' theory I referred to has given me the push to agree in advance and we have even purchased our tickets to attend the first ever yarn fest in Northern Ireland! I saw a tweet and the rest is history as dad zoomed me along to my iMac to purchase our tickets while my eyes were closing as it was late at night when I read the news! If we don't support this very small festival, there may never be another one. If the vendors come and are successful, perhaps there will be more next year. The group I belonged to on Ravelry all go to festivals and meet each other, I can never be part of this but never dreamt we would have one of our own. I will hopefully blog about this when we have been....watch this space!

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A little bird told me....

In the meantime, please enjoy the photos and thank you for reading my blog today.

Anne Frank: Think of all the beauty left behind and be happy

Time out

I don't have a lot of photos to share on this blog post but after a few weeks feeling pressure with social media, I had to take an offline break. The realisation of how much pressure I felt under when 'likes' became like a fail mark on an exam paper began to make me doubt my creative mind and any skills I had. Suffice to say, everything races by, leaving someone like me who is sensitive to how people react to shared projects counting more fails than passes. A digital detox was vital, even if just for a short time and the highlight of this weekend was a last minute decision to go out for a walk in a small forest park, a short drive from home.

The calm of nature hit my senses as we stepped into the forest, the birds were singing, the sun was beaming through the trees. We didn't rush (I couldn't rush!) People passed by with a friendly smile, an exchange or words, no judging me but how I looked and I can tell you I didn't look good. I had grabbed the first pair of jeans I found in my wardrobe only to discover they were big and baggy, but no-one cared. We saw several butterflies on the wing, too fast and fleeting for any photos but to have the visual experience was enough to calm my mind. We searched our memories for all those names of butterflies, bees, insects which we knew off by heart when we took more time to be out with our cameras. We both miss those days but if the weather is kind we will be back to exploring and recording our finds.

On our way back, before the nightmare gradient out of the forest, eagle eyed dad spotted a dragonfly. This is fun to recall as I saw the one he didn't see and he thought I was looking at the one he found! We suddenly realised there was two hiding, off course they were in the most awkward place and became very difficult to photograph. I have added one photo of our find as our starting place to remind me of the importance of 'taking time out' 

Dragonfly

Stop, look, stare..... captivated

 

I have to mention, our walk wasn't knitting free as dad soon found our more relaxed chat involved planning my next project and subsequent selecting of the wool I need! To end our walk we had the hill to face, I was pulled along the incline with help from dad as my legs were like jelly as I tired to kept breathing! I imagined the couple behind us were thinking I was a shameful disgrace as it wasn't exactly Mount Everest, a mere gradient but steep when you have expended all your resources. It occurred to me that there was a difference about what I thought people saw or said to the reality of my misjudgment in real life, they didn't think I was a failure or a shameful weakling as they joined in to say that they were finding the hill tough but just kept thinking of the joy they discovered while walking their dog in the forest. To all of our shame, the dog ambled along possibly wondering what on Earth these people were puffing and groaning about! We had a lovely conversation about nature and how much pleasure we had away from news, shops, rush and all the chaos we are in today. All isn't lost as this time out has refreshed my mind although the pressures of social media need to be kept in check but thanks to a very dear friend who knew how to support me through a time like this and thoughtful, encouraging comments left on a post I will keep focus on enjoying my hobbies with the understanding that it is OK to take time out.

Thank you for reading this blog today which wouldn't be the same without a sneaky photo of dad!

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What is life, if full of care, we have no time to stop and stare?