Whether by happy accident, or as we would like to think, sheer unadulterated genius, H and I managed to find the one patch of clear sky within the mainland UK and headed straight for it – we went to visit his sister and his cousin-the-dentist up in Edinburgh.
Friday morning after we got the necessary and useful trip to cousin-the-dentist done and dusted we headed out to Edinburgh’s north east shoreline, and the very beautiful beach at Portobello.
At the weekend and in the summer it’s probably mobbed and covered in grockle stands and other tat but on a cool, bright November Friday it was quiet and largely empty, the arcades and chip shops shuttered up and only the true sea salts out for a blow in the fresh air.
I suspect that the position of the beach on the Forth of Firth, a round curve, bulging out of Edinburgh, is what gives rise to the wonderful shells scattered along the shoreline – that or it was the cracking storm the night before.
Each section of the beach seemed to have a different sort of shell; mussels gave way to clams, which in turn gave way to cockles and the occasional razor shell, and then there was a whole stretch revealed as the tide went out sprinkled with the tiniest little pointy spiral shells in a myriad of pinks and purples.
We navigated to a chip shop by a stream of lunchtime school-children heading down to the sea and sat on the sea wall with our lunch. H’s request for sausage and chips came as a mound of chips with three battered sausages on top, and my chips and cheese turned out to be a poly box, half filled with chips, half filled with cheese and folded together. It was wonderful.
Our lunchtime companions obviously thought it looked good, or probably smelt good, as a number of puppies came to investigate from a distance. My favourite, a copper-brown spaniel with an upturned nose, came to a skidding halt in front of us as she raced passed. Her human friend called her on and she trotted off reluctantly for a few paces with a bemused expression before stopping, flicking confused glances between us with an expression that clearly read:
“But Mum, they’ve got chips!”
We also took the chance to do a little photo shoot for the newly finished Guiseley. So newly finished that some of the ends aren’t actually woven in in the photos, just tucked inside.
I knit the large size on 7mm needles which is hugely stretchy and would probably fit someone twice my size as a fitted tank top.
In terms of modifications (don’t mind the picture, I’m doing a twirl for the photographer), I added 2 inches to the length which brings it level with the top of my thighs, and I sewed the side seams higher than the markers and then knit the sleeves in the round.
The side seems to the markers gave me an unfortunate Roman Centurion look that isn’t really my style.
Just in case you’re feeling too envious about the weather that allowed me to run around a beach in a t-shirt and jumper, I should show you what I was really wearing …
Cocoon is wonderfully warm, but it can’t entirely defeat a North sea blast.
And finally, one more picture. I have two memories of Portobello before last week, one was running the marathon when it felt hot and long. The second was a couple of years ago when my parents-in-law were in Edinburgh to complete the family circle. We all trooped down to the beach, some of the siblings a little reluctantly, but H and I sprinted to the sea, started paddling and scooping for shells and threatening to throw my father in law in the drink.
My father in law always says that he will never forget the metal picture of the pair of us doing forward rolls in the sand, heedless of what anyone else thought of two twenty-somethings pratting about like little children – so this one is for him