Home again

We’ve been away for the last ten days, soaking up Spanish sun, Sangria and having a thoroughly restful time.  It’s been bliss!

We took big daughter’s boyfriend with us and the five of us fitted very nicely into a house on a hill about an hour’s drive from Alicante.  We had a pool and an amazing view and nowhere to be in a hurry on any day.  I never got tired of looking out at the sea, watching the boats making their way across the bay from behind the Penon de Ifach, that huge rock that you can see on the right of the photo.

In fact, that view became more fascinating than any TV programme as we watched a thunder storm roll over the bay (if you look closely, you can see the rain falling from the clouds) …

and completely hiding the rock.  I love thunder storms.  This one rumbled around for hours, huge flashes of sheet lightning making the night sky as bright as day.  It was certainly the most spectacular one we’ve seen for a while and had the added benefit of dropping the humidity quite considerably.

I’m always fascinated by the flowers that grow in other countries.  Plants that grow outside to an enormous size whilst here in the UK they’re destined to be forever houseplants, growing to a fraction of their potential as long as someone remembers to water them.  It’s a bit sad really, and I speak as one who’s not always very good at remembering to water houseplants.  I don’t know what the blue flowers are …

but I do know that this is a Bougainvillea …

and this one is an Hibiscus.  The house owners obviously liked these as there were lots of them in different colours, all blooming prolifically despite being grown in what looked like barren, compacted earth.

This is how I spent the early mornings.  A brew and a sock.  It doesn’t get better than that!  This is my Magic Mirror sock knitted in Whistlebare yarn.  It grew really quickly, and this yarn is gorgeous to knit with; soft and silky with a beautiful sheen.  I’m still a bit worried that I might not have enough to finish my pair with the pattern, but I’ll keep going and see how I get on.  The pattern is very well-written and even though I’m converting a toe-up pattern, I’ve not had any problems with making the chart fit the sock.

That early morning moment was where I spotted this little chap too.  I think it’s a grasshopper but I could be wrong.

There were cicadas in abundance too, making a noise in the trees that sounded like a hundred hedge-trimmers all being used at once.  They’re so loud!  We had to keep fishing them out of the pool as well; they’re a funny looking insect and not one that you’d think would be inspired to try swimming. They weren’t very good at it.

These were a BIG hit in the pool, though.  Big daughter bought them at home and we brought them with us (fortunately, they weren’t as heavy as I expected them to be) and they were good fun.  No, there are no pictures of me riding the unicorn (not that I’m prepared to show you, anyway!) mostly because it was surprisingly difficult to stay on it so we have lots of photos of legs in the air as whoever was riding it disappeared underwater.  Sadly, the flamingo didn’t make it home as it was so well-used that it popped.  Adios, “flingamingo”.

Staying for ten days meant that it didn’t matter too much if we didn’t really do anything for the first few days as we still had over a week of our holiday left.  I had a lovely time sitting under a sunshade knitting socks, getting into the whole siesta culture thing (is there a nicer way to snooze than in the shade with a cool breeze stirring the umbrella from time to time?) and generally being very lazy having a rest.

Yes, you did read me right.  I did say “socks”.  My early morning sock is not the only sock I’ve been knitting.  I don’t know if you can read the words on this sock blank but they say “Yarndale Rocks Handknit Socks” and it was a gift from Julie at Suffolk Socks at Yarndale last year.  I’ve never used a sock blank before – all to do with not wanting to spoil the picture and worrying about getting a match, clearly sock blanks are not designed for people with stripe OCD! 🙂 – but I thought this would be perfect for plane knitting.

Yes, I did knit on the plane.  I took my 25cm wooden Symphonie circular needle and had already cast on so that it was obvious that I was creating something.  If you’re flying from the UK, the latest Government guidelines do state that you can take knitting needles on planes but there’s always a risk that someone in security might not want you to, so I had to be ready to hand it over if that happened. I don’t know what I’d have done if they had; cried in security probably and made a bit of an embarrassing scene but fortunately for me, Manchester airport security weren’t worried about me or my sock and we went on our way.

I took this one too.  If you think you’ve seen this yarn before then you’re right.  A short while ago it was the Bumpy, Curved Trail (Ravelry link) sock and now it is Angee by Cookie A (another Ravelry link), something which both the yarn and I are much happier about.  Another well-written pattern which has been a pleasure to knit.  In fact, I think my socks have been pretty happy on holiday in general.  They’ve been to the pool …

to the beach …

and have admired that lovely view.  Spoilt, these socks have been.

Not so spoilt that I let them loose on the flamingo and the unicorn, though.

It only takes a day or two of doing not very much at all to feel as if you’re ready to go out and explore. We drove up and down the coast to visit beaches and seaside towns …

and into small hill towns to look at their historical churches and squares …

wander up and down the narrow streets …

and sit in cafes to watch the world go by.  I loved that the underside of these balconies right outside the cafe had decorated tiles.  How thoughtful of the builder to think that someone looking up might want to see something more beautiful than concrete!

It’s nice to be home again, but I will miss the view.

And that sky.

Back home, I was thrilled to see that our tomatoes had ripened just in time for our return and I wasn’t faced with lots of soggy, over-ripe mush at the bottom of the plants where they’d all fallen off.  Home grown tomatoes are such a treat, I must confess that not as many go back into the house as I pick from the plants 🙂

And I was surprised to see that some new spiky plants had grown.  I went over to take a closer look.

Nooo!  This is all that remains of my sprout plants.  It looks like we won’t be having sprouts for Christmas dinner after all.  I’m very cross and very disappointed too.

Here are the culprits …

They’re the caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly.  I’m all for supporting wildlife, but this is ridiculous!  There are hundreds of them, they’re all over the place, climbing up over the house as well now to make their chrysalises.  I might have to take drastic action which, as an organic gardener, doesn’t feel right but on the other hand I think the damage is done now so maybe I’ll just leave them.  I’ll have to take more care to cover my sprouts up next year; my Dad didn’t have this problem so it didn’t occur to me that I would.  Ah well, you live and learn.

I’ll just try to keep calm and remember the sound of the waves on the sand.

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28 Responses

  1. Mickey says:

    What a grand story you have told us today, with pictures of far away places, as well. Thank you for all of that.

  2. AnnieOBTextiles says:

    Sounds like a perfect holiday, sun, sea, swimming pools and socks! I'm guessing that is youngest daughter's mermaid tail in the sand – how lovely. Sorry your Brussel sprouts have succumbed to the caterpillars but the tomatoes look wonderful, I can almost smell them from here, delicious.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Actually, it was my mermaid tail! Whenever you sit on the sand for any length of time, small daughter wants to bury you in it so I persuaded her to be creative instead – luckily it didn't involve too much sand everywhere! 🙂 xx

  3. Dy says:

    Great photos! That blue flowering plant looks like Plumbago. Shame about your sprouts!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Ah right, thank you! I wonder if it grows as a houseplant in the UK? Although that would involve remembering to water it … 🙂 xx

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't think it would be happy as a house plant. It needs warmth and sunshine as well as water :>) Also here is Texas it likes to spread out. It is great for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds but that means caterpillars ….

  4. BongoBatty says:

    Thank you for sharing a good laugh about you sprouts. Heartbreaking and funny at the same time!
    I was also going to say plumbago for the blue flowers. I had one in a green house for many years but a really prolonged cold spell (-10) killed it.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Ha! I was not laughing when I realised what had happened to my poor sprouts, but it's a lesson learned – especially as next year there are going to be even more butterflies around! I may have single-handedly saved the Winwick population of cabbage white butterflies! 🙂 xx

  5. Christina says:

    What a blissful holiday! I am glad you all had a wonderful time. I am pleased to hear that sock knitting is acceptable on planes now, it can make a journey that much quicker. xx

  6. cateoh says:

    That looked to be a wonderful holiday, sorry about the sad sprouts you returned to. The blue flowers are Plumbago ans are commonly grown as hedges where I live in Australia.

  7. Julie says:

    Cabbage white lava is really bad this year, we've covered our crops at the community allotment but have lost lots still. Your tomatoes looks really tasty.
    Lovely pics of your hols. Pretty socks you've been creating.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      That makes me feel a bit better – now there are caterpillars everywhere turning themselves into chrysalises but at least they're not eating the veg any more! xx

  8. Anonymous says:

    It's rough when when nature decides your precious plants are dinner, just not for you! I guess caterpillars are food for something else and it's nice to see the butterflies. I grew a plumbago from seed once and kept it going for a few years outside in a warm sunny spot in the summer then cut back and brought inside in the winter as it wouldn't cope with even the generally mild winters here in Surrey. It would have been lovely in a conservatory though. Sally.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I think that I might have to give up on the idea of growing plumbago here in the North West but it was nice to see it! I was hoping that whatever eats caterpillars would have been a bit more active in keeping my sprouts safe but that wasn't to be this year! xx

  9. Amy at love made my home says:

    Glad you had a great time and that you enjoyed the sock knitting too! Glad your needles were safe too!!

  10. Eva says:

    You have been so close to my home. I live in El Campello, near Alicante, in the beach. When I go to Skipton for Yarndale (we´ve have gone for three times) I always say that the weather there in September is like our winter.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      You live in a beautiful part of the world, Eva, we had such a lovely time visiting. If you're coming over for Yarndale again this year, do come and say hello! xx

    • Eva says:

      I'll do it. I have a question and probably you can help me because I don't find the información in the web of Yarndale. Do you know if my son and daughter of 16 and 13 years old need a ticket for Yarndale? I have asked the question in Facebook but I don't have the answer. Thank you

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I found this on the Yarndale website, Eva: yarndale.co.uk/times-and-venue/ It says that the ticket includes the brochure and under 16s are free. Hope that helps – and see you soon! 🙂 xx

    • Eva says:

      Ok, thank you very much

  11. **Anne** says:

    What a lovely holiday you had in Spain. The flowers are gorgeous and the blue one, Plumbago is native to Central America, Southern Asia and South Africa. Shame about your sprouts, how disappointing but glad your tomatoes survived.

  12. Maria says:

    What a lovely holiday spot! I see that other readers have given you the name of the blue flowers. Plumbago grows really well where I am in Australia; looks after itself basically. I have a white variety and a number of different blue ones growing as a hedge.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I think the plumbago would make a really pretty hedge – and certainly a lot less spiky than the hawthorn hedge in my garden! Xx

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