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Category — Norfolk

Breathing Space

I don’t know about you, but I find that the beginning of April to be the breathing time. That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Winter is sleepy and deep and quiet, while the Equinox is a bit turbulent – all that pulling into balance – its a cross between a menopausal woman and a bad hair day. well it is in my world. Which is a worry. 

But April, ah, that new unfolding time, the breathing time. you lovely month (yeah, I know, short memory, it snowed this time last year) – the month when I think “oh yes baby, the sunshine is here, the blossoms are around the corner, dust down your shorts, we are nearly there”. I take full responsibility if my premature enthusiasm tempts that pesky fate into sending us blizzards next week.

Enough talk of weather, enough I say. Let me talk stitching. Oh let me…..well, you see. It goes like this. When you are feeling completely overwhelmed with emails, and parcels of pink knitting, and your hormones, and housework, and illness and life – well, here’s what you do. You make sure you discover a new obsession, in this case English piecing, and spend literally hours peering through your spectacles like some crazy cat lady, at the tiniest stitches on little wee pieces of fabric. It’s a winner.

You can lose literally days of work, to this timeless art; meanwhile the little work pixies take pity on you, hop up onto your laptop and take over the management of your to-do list, like those cute little elves who made shoes at night. Only this lot are a highly trained crack team of admin specialists, and they have sorted your life out in a nano second. O.K, I’m getting a bit weird. It’s all that April fresh air.

Truly though, stitching is the very best. And my friend Cindy knows her way around fabric, let me tell you. She is responsible for me haring down this quilty road when I have so, so much else to do. You Queen of Badness. Those of you who are local, check out this fabric shop to end all others.

And seriously, going slowly, making tiny stitches in a way our grandmothers would’ve done, quietly, slowly by hand, is my way of breathing out, slowing down, getting out of my busy head. It’s got to be good.

Breathing space means that you slow down, and suddenly take a look at the moments you find yourself in. You may be surprised to find that your little boys turn very big, that celebrations with a houseful of teenagers and other family is actually quite enjoyable. (note to self: even the most incompetent adolescent can be taught to knit when the pressure is on – don’t let them fool you for one minute into thinking that those little pinkies can only work iPhones, oh no sireee)

Lucky girl that I am, I am about to journey to both of my oceans – first the ocean of the west, and then all the way across the land by train, to my ocean of the east. I am feeling very lucky that my work can travel with me, and my needles and thread, and camera. I am set. I have dear and lovely friends to see at both ends too, salty air to walk in, and pebbles to collect. I love you April, there is much to breathe in.

With apologies for the ridiculous number of photos this week, here are some outtakes, incase you are tempted to think this is all a bit Mary Poppins……

April 4, 2014   2 Comments

Samhain by the Ocean

Beautiful and quiet week, catching up on sleep, knitting, having lovely food cooked for me. The beginnings of mellow winter sunlight, crab apples, pumpkins, rosehip and birch. Feeling a sadness for this last visit this year to my ocean of the east, and a rightness in getting myself ready for the rich, dark dreaming time that Samhain ushers in. Wishing you all the most gentle of late autumn time, may all changes be for the good.

November 1, 2013   No Comments

By the Ocean (tinged with teenagers)

I have been so cunning this year about spending as much time as possible by the ocean…and here I am again…but karma is a sneaky beast and it is this trip that has had both a carrot and a stick. So yes, I have swam in my creek and loved my life. But I have also been frogmarched to the edge of my sanity with shoeless 15 year old boys and subjected to Thriftshop by Macklemore (google it my friends, and be warned, it’s not the sort of thrift shop you or I care to hang out in with our dreams of vintage…..) 

Hey ho, it is still time by the ocean…so let’s be positive. Gorgeous gorgeous. Hope your skies are blue too lovelies…..

August 18, 2013   No Comments

A question of focus

Well, my garden leave neatly dovetailed in to another ocean escape, so here I am, back in Norfolk, breathing out and watching the most stunning sunsets over my precious salt marsh, where our caravan lives.

Of course it isn’t all one big picnic…that journey took a circuitous route via GCSE’s, orthodontists appointments, doctor’s visits, card orders, tax returns, car insurance, housework, and the general hassle of living. But after a trek across London and East Anglia with a backpack, at last I’m here, and even though I have brought work with me, this is an official week of escape.

Stiffkey is a small village on the north Norfolk coast, and I’ve been coming here for nearly 25 years; it feels like home. And it’s small shop has the best cake ever…didn’t dare photograph the cake incase lemon lips had me arrested (I’m on a final warning) but here are some other lovely things i found there…

I love my time here. There are long walks in pine woodlands, walking and splishing by the shoreline, and supper with old friends

This week we’ve even had a small piece of summer (clever me for catching it, as it flitted across England, bound for luckier places like Spain) – here I am bleaching out, crisping up and tuning in to my favourite iPod playlists

There are fab things to rest your eyes on here – miles of pristine unspoilt salt marsh, hares in the fields at dusk, wild, empty beaches. Beauty is everywhere. It made me realise how very hard I sometimes have to work to see beauty back in my everyday world. And yet it is there, despite the nonsense that we are fed from the news and in the papers about what a dangerous, nightmare of a society we live in. Sure, there are some pretty scary things going down. But listen up! The EC has banned neonicotinoid pesticides to help our bees. Saudi Arabia has its first women in its previously all-male Shura Council, and Scotland is aiming to meet 50% of its electricity needs from renewables, having just exceeded its previous target.

Shall I go on? O.k, well, the Governments’ plan to sell our woodlands has been dropped after overwhelming public pressure, vandalism and gun crime has fallen to a 20 year low *, and proposals to protect the Arctic by creating a global sanctuary around the North Pole have drawn worldwide support.

And lastly, just to get it off my chest, whilst this is not a peaceful world, there are actually fewer wars now than ever, and 48% of the world’s populations are living in established democracies. So don’t let this over culture of lies tell you otherwise. Ooops, I think all this sea air has made me a little feisty. Seriously, good things are happening people….its all just a question of where we put our focus.

So, let me put my focus back onto the lovelies that I have been spying all around me up in these parts….

and finally these….

Forgive me for drawing you in with nice pictures and then wham! A big hit of world politics….but there are so very many things to be excited about, that are simply not being reported. O.k, time for me to get back behind my camera…and go and chill out with the seagulls. Sending love and sea breezes from the wild English coast.

* Official figures from the Crime Survey of England and Wales, 2013

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May 29, 2013   1 Comment

By the Ocean

:: Blackthorn buds ::

:: Deserted beaches, tooooo raw and cold ::

:: Boardwalks through pine trees ::

:: Boat rigging and other harbour paraphanaelia ::

:: Hazel catkins and dusty yellows ::

:: Early morning creek walk ::

:: Sand dunes and sharp grasses ::

:: Fishing net blues & turquoises ::

:: Driftwood and leopard skin wellies (a wee break from pink, always good) ::

:: Seagulls reminding me I love being by the ocean ::

:: Time with family, how lucky are we ::

:: Looking for spoonbills and curlews in the freshes ::

:: The love of feathers ::

:: Sunset, sunrise at my favourite place in the world ::

:: Wells deli – a good place to be ::

:: Nearest harbour ::

:: Village shop ::

A few days away from our five valleys, and even though we were often numb with cold and huddled around the fire, it was enough to rest, and breathe out, to think and stretch. Dear ocean of the east, I do love you. 




April 10, 2013   No Comments


I am back from my dear Norfolk ocean and place of quietness…straight in to full on teenagers, Halloween happenings, yarn episodes and all sorts of hit-the-ground running shenanigans…..quite enough to turn my hair grey…or pink (thank you oh wondrous Lily, friend of teenage daughter)

But I am skipping ahead…that was the end of my mad week. No, it started innocently enough on Monday, at three minutes before bedtime (my bedtime that is, my kids are often lawless in the land of nod) – with a ‘mum, I need a Halloween costume IMMEDIATELY and so what I need you to do is wrap me tightly in cling film, and then cover me with yellow duct tape’. Of course you do.

Now, this was turning out to be some horrific 50 Shades of Yellow b-movie, but it ended reasonably well, all things considered, and really quite sculptural (it’s a Pikachu outfit in case you were wondering. I wasn’t, at 10.53pm)

The middle of the week was intense, and soul searching, with dear land and ocean sisters holding me gently (I love you)…including witchery in the woods, talking around a fire, talking over the phone, and even a pumpkin soup picnic.

….a very perfect antidote to all the sugar and adrenaline that was steamrollering our way.

There has been trick or treating, lighting of ancestor candles, and even the excitement of Stroud’s first yarn bomb…woohooo….

and all the while the season turns colour quietly and steadily

A world away from my salt marsh and herons, this is another kind of life-living – a good kind, but crazy kind. It is all part of the soup that makes up my world I guess. The trick is to give in to the flow of it, I’ve decided. Surrender to busyness, but remembering to breathe. Don your best stripy tights, let teenagers organise your hair, love it, and live it.

Until next time, this is Jaine Rose, queen of pink and perky, (and sometimes much weeping) signing off.

November 5, 2012   3 Comments

From the Ocean….Samhain Mists

We are here for one last time this year…always the sweetest trip, saying goodbye to my Ocean of the East for another season. Here is a little patchwork then of our days….who am I trying to kid? It is a stupidly HUGE patchwork….honestly people…stop me. Before I have someone’s eye out. It’s just that there is so much colour and sea fog, and autumn leaves, and oh…oh….

:: Skulking around Morston harbour, on the look out for crabs, and being wildly distracted by boats :: the gentlest of sea fogs comes down and enfolds us in grey quietness :: walking deserted beaches and silent creeks :: splashes of burnt orange and reds in my winter hat, sea buckthorn and more boats (all planned to match of course) :: woodlands full to bursting with fungi, with all the damp and wet we’ve been having :: a very big treat of homemade gluten free bread and raspberry jam (thank you Bad Jo and Gari) :: falling in love for the hundredth time with autumn birches (I am a Birch Sister, it is official) :: swishing through leaves in late afternoon light :: beach huts at Wells (I noticed one for sale with Sowerbys) :: enjoying sweet chestnut trees, not so many where I live :: beautiful cobwebs making me feel very witchy in a magic sort of way :: the pink wellies of all happiness :: harbour yellows :: seasons turning :: lots of woolly thinking, a gynormous plan emerges……

October 25, 2012   4 Comments

A big old summery fib (sssshhh!)

Ho hum….well, I guess winter is rolling around again….kids are back at school….and as soon as we are settled at our work desks once more, an Indian summer sweeps in to mock us. What is this British obsession with weather? I am as bad as anyone for cloud watching, checking forecasts on the hour, tippy tapping at the barometer (o.k, that’s a lie, I don’t have one, but if I did….). So I hope you won’t mind if I tell one huge, big, Monday fib about my summer?????? Could I? Just this once?

Ah yes, you see, in MY summer the skies were big and blue, and we skipped around teepees like frisky little Unicorns. My garden sang happily with abundance and colour and the vegetables were so enormous and plentiful we had to hold a table top sale. The snails and slugs sloped off grumpily to pastures new muttering ‘well we just won’t bother with this particular Nirvana’.

The children gaily chorused, “please please do take us for long walks over the hills!” and so sighing heavily we did, and we frolicked over the greenness until the sun set.

Those lazy, balmy days….we just couldn’t get the sun cream on quick enough. There weren’t enough Margarhitas to quench our thirst on those long days of festivals, friends and freedom.

Oh, and the ice cream at every turn! Summer days filled with walks to the beach with our picnic bag, not a care or a cagoul in the world. We lazed around on warm golden sand, dipping our toes in the warmest of water in the North Sea, and no one snorted when I suggested an afternoon dip – YES PLEASE! – they all chimed in.

There was, naturally, hours and hours of free time to sit on the shingle and crochet. Oh yes. Mainly on account of the children deciding they do actually love making sandcastles harmoniously together, and infact Facebook, Twitter and other phone related activity is the work of Satan that they are better off casting aside.

Evening meals in the garden, listening to the chirruping of cicadas. A glad heart that we didn’t travel far from home. Why bother with Spain, when it’s all here on your doorstep, hey? You know, (and I am saying this in a whisper), it was so hot for so long in Stroud, that we had to cool the dog off every day with a hose pipe. Really. Unbearable. How we longed for the cooler days of Autumn to blow in…..

Friends, what can I tell you about my summer? It was gorgeous of course, with or without the blazing sun. I am truly grateful for those few times when we did throw off our anoraks at the prospect of a full 18 degrees. And no! Not once did we cower among the rain soaked dripping clothes on the washing line, for the umpteenth time, wondering why we didn’t move to Greece. That was NEVER us….

September 10, 2012   7 Comments

From the Ocean……sailing

How much sunshine and water can I pack in to these short days away I wonder…..this has to sustain me all through the winter, so it’s gotta count right? Well, more scampering around today, this time with one of my oldest and dearest friends Mrs Earland….one of the funniest, truest and up-for-anything people I am lucky to know!

So for today’s patchwork from the ocean, I bring you “Sailing”………

water sparkling :: sky blues :: wave lapping :: deep oranges :: ready and about :: boom ducking :: swallows & amazons :: rope tightening :: feet squelching :: boats bobbing :: chocolate scoffing :: sail stitching :: teenagers frolicking :: yellow + turquoise loving :: wind :: sea :: summer :: sailing ……. I love you!

August 10, 2012   1 Comment

From the Ocean……skinny dipping

Hello again! I am a little out of date order here, as I have two lovely festivals to tell you about…but the ocean calls. And that is exactly where I find myself, oh yes.

We share a caravan by the most wonderful salt marsh on the north coast of Norfolk, and it is to here that we speed  as often as we can. By car, by train, by bus, whatever it takes. So we have done for years and years, it is my place of quietness, of wildness, of coming home.

This year’s excitement is that I have my camera, laptop and a little dingle dangle (my technical term for the foxy little plug-in that connects me up to cyberspace)….yes, I know, I’m on holiday, and solitude is Queen. But. I can blog…..yahoodie!! (big sigh from my family who thought they’d have some time off from Kodak moments)

So here is the first part of my ocean patchwork of images, as they happen! Ooooh, nearly real time…get me!!

Skinny dipping :: dune watching :: catching up on diary writing :: gazing at layers of blue :: a hidden cabin in the pine woods :: bare toes on moss and needles :: smelling fresh pine resin :: an empty beach in the late afternoon sun :: Cormorants :: Oyster catchers :: cool, sweet smelling seaweed between fingers :: loving the different yellows of sand :: noticing my abandoned clothes match the sea and the sand :: razor shells :: happy toes :: happy me

August 9, 2012   3 Comments