Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Day 44 - Tales of golden threads and very wet rain.

Wednesday 13th February

Shocking! The weather on Arran is absolutely shocking. The rain is very wet and the wind is very cold. Much worse than that though as the very next village to ours has had snow! This is now beyond a joke. How can the next village have it and then when it reaches the sign for Whiting Bay it just turns to wet rain? I am seriously not speaking to the weather now.

I have, however, had a lovely day despite thee weather. Pete continued with the home school for Max and George and I worked with Harry on designing a fitness programme for his dad. Pete has no idea what is about to hit him. I managed to squeeze in some sewing before going off for lunch with my very dear friend, Louise. Louise and I met on the school playground many years ago when our children were just starting school together. We had both moved to Arran and we just clicked straight away. We have been firm friends ever since but we don't get to catch up as often as we should because life gets in the way. We put that right today with a really good catch up and we even hatched some creative plans which promise much. I took Louise to the Douglas Hotel and you really must all visit this hotel because it is just wonderful. It has recently been refurbished to a very high standard and the staff are all excellent. I like the bar and, more specifically, the big leather sofas in the window where you can sit and watch the ferry come in and out. For me it is a grown up space and that is what is fairly unique on the island. The island does a lot for families and I dare say so do the Douglas. But the bar space attracts grown ups and I think that is important on a small island. When you sit staring at the sea time seems to stop as you step off life for a while. Well done the Douglas! We have also eaten in their restaurant and that is exceptional as well. The menu is varied and the food is cooked very well. For all this though it is the staff that make it the experience it is. Put it on your 'to do' list for when you come and visit us.

I am in the zone now because after lunch came a swim at the Auchrannie Spa Resort. I did my 20 lengths despite it being rather busy as it is half term holidays. They had a lane marker out so that helped although I think the next thing they should think about is an abacus either end of the pool. This would, no doubt, help my husband who seemed to add 2 extra to his total each time he completed a length. No matter, he is happy as in his mind as he thinks he swam 36 lengths, but I know different!

So life rolls forward and at least this rain will test the repairs on my new studio roof. Once the Mother's Day launch is out of the way I will be able to focus on fitting out the studio and creating some silk pieces especially for that space. What fun I shall have. As I am so focused on my sewing at the moment I did want to just share with you the story of my Grandmother, Ella. She taught me to sow but she taught me so much more than that. I wrote this piece last year as part of a winning entry in a memoir competition and I wondered if you would like to read it? This blog might be about my life on Arran but Ella is someone who shaped who I am today and I do think it is important to pay tribute to these special people. This is the story of my relationship with Ella and I do hope you enjoy it.


I have a blanket that Ella made. It is a patchwork of off cuts and other pieces from old blankets, all stitched together and all warm. The blanket rests on my chair that faces the sea and when I feel small I sit in the chair and wrap the blanket round me. Ella was my grandmother and I loved her dearly. She helped me become who I am today and, even though she left the planet some time ago, she is in my blanket. She is in all the sewing I do and she watches to make sure I do it right. I remember her saying to me once that a stitch has to be right. It has to be the right length and it has to be the right tension otherwise it will fail. It will fail to do its job and then what would be the point of the stitch.

Ella threaded her needle with long thread and I once asked her why her thread was so long. She replied ‘it is so I don’t have to thread it too often because I can barely see the eye in the needle.’ I can barely see the eye in the needle now so I too keep a long thread and I understand why. Ella sewed and I sew and that has always linked us. It is like a secret golden thread that binds us and keeps us connected across different worlds. A thread that glows in the dark when the stars are too tired to shine and a thread that I lock away out of sight.

I think that, perhaps, we should all have a golden thread that connects us with someone in a different world. Someone who has passed through our world and knows how it works. Someone who knows us and loves us. As they thread their golden thread through the eye of the needle they pause to consider where it will come out. As they pull the thread through they smile with relief at their achievement. Their eyes are failing but they must thread this last golden thread.

Only once the thread is through the needle can they leave this world and enter the next. They can leave the end of the thread knotted around our soul and from time to time they can give a gentle tug. We can then feel that tug and remember then all over again. When I leave this world I will need a very long thread to connect me to all the people that I truly love. I will knot it around each of their souls and hold on very tight. If it breaks I will simply thread it again and give a gentle tug so they know I am there.

Ella wove a quiet and gentle thread through this world. She left us warm blankets to wrap ourselves in and they always help to soothe our souls and I love her for that. I have noticed that my blanket has some stitches that have come undone. That will never do and so my task is very clear. I will thread my needle with a long piece of thread and make new stitches, taking great care not to drop one just in case Ella is watching.

Until tomorrow xx
Picture at the beginning of the post is of a path at the top of the hill overlooking Brodick Bay. This image always reminds me that it is not always necessary to know the destination. xx