Surprise! It’s Monday and I’m here with a blog post rather than at the weekend … and that’s because we made an epic journey from the north west of England allllll the way down to the south coast to visit Arts University Bournemouth as it’s on not so small daughter’s shortlist of places to study next year.
Goodness, it was a long journey! Friday afternoon on the M6 motorway is not the place to be and we crawled along for miles and miles through heavy traffic and roadworks. Not so small daughter and her boyfriend (also looking for a university place) were chatting and watching films in the back of the car, and my husband and I shared the driving and chatted in the front. I even got to do some knitting, and it’s been a while since I knitted in the car!
We arrived at the Travelodge we were staying at on the seafront about 9pm (six hours in the car!) after dropping not so small daughter’s boyfriend off at his aunt and uncle’s house. We were all very glad to get out of the car, I can tell you! We couldn’t quite see the sea from our bedroom window but we could see the bright moon and the lights of the buildings which follow the shoreline
After so long in the car, we decided to take a quick walk to stretch our legs. We headed to the chip shop recommended by the lady on reception for a box of chips to share (they were really good chips, too!) and then walked the short distance down to the seafront.
This is Bournemouth pier, all lit up against the night sky. My husband was delighted that we were so close to the pier – this is where he used to come for his holidays when he was little, and I could sense his eagerness to get down to the beach and see what he remembered.
We arrived in Bournemouth a day or so after Storm Ciarán struck the south coast causing flooding and damage – I think we drove through some of the tail end on our way down as the storm headed up north – and although all was calm now, you could see where the huge waves had flung seaweed and sand high up onto the beach and past it to the shops and beach huts.
We didn’t stay out too long as we were all tired and we knew we had a long day the next day, looking around the university and then driving back home again. We hadn’t planned to stay for the whole weekend – for a start, big daughter was looking after the dog and the cats and needed to get home to see her own boyfriend and cat (does that make me a cat-grandparent, or a grand-catparent? I’m not ready to be a human grandparent yet! 🙂 ), and we all had plans for Sunday so a flying visit it was!
It didn’t seem to bode too well when we opened the curtains …
Ugh, that is not the best kind of weather for wandering about a university campus!
Whilst not so small daughter and I were getting ready to go downstairs for breakfast, my husband went out for a quick walk on his own. I think that sometimes when we revisit a place that is in our own memories and aren’t shared with the rest of the family, it’s nice to be able to walk on your own and remember the time that you were there. When my husband came back, his face was bright and his eyes shone as he told us about the cafe where his parents used to take him for treats (still there) and the paper shop where his Dad would pick up a paper to read on the beach every day (still there) and the Oceanarium where you could go in and out to see the sea creatures (still there) – it was all updated, but nothing had changed significantly and you could see how happy he was to be back.
He took some photos for me to share with you …
It had stopped raining by the time he took these, although it was still a bit of a wild and windy day – I’m not sure I’d want to be dipping my toes in that water!
After breakfast, we headed off to the university collecting not so small daughter’s boyfriend on the way (we didn’t make him walk!). There are two universities in Bournemouth; one for the “usual” subjects like English, sciences and languages, and the one we were going to, Arts University Bournemouth, which is geared towards film-makers, artists, costume designers, and other creative subjects.
When we got to the car park, I spotted a rainbow reflected in the car window …
but I couldn’t see it in the sky! I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me as I looked around for the big rainbow arch – and then I looked right up overhead, and there it was!
Not so much of an arch as a stripe and just a little bit of a rainbow, but enough to reflect on the window. How unusual!
We spent a good few hours at the uni listening to course talks and doing campus and accommodation tours. Neither my husband nor I went to a bricks and mortar university (we’re Open University graduates) and we were chatting about whether we’d have liked to have come here or not. I loved the arty-ness of it all, and how creatives could spend their entire time at university surrounded by like-minded people, and my husband liked that the campus was self-contained but still only a short bus ride from Bournemouth town centre. I’m not sure I’d want to go back to university at all now, even if there was a subject that I thought I’d like to do. I think my formal study days are over, or at least for now (I still love doing a course on something new!) and even if I was thinking about some kind of textiles course, I like to do my own thing with my socks and not follow a curriculum every year so I think I’ll leave the university life to not so small daughter now!
The drive home was much easier – only four and a half hours instead of six – and the miles soon disappeared as we chatted, I knitted and we discussed what we thought about the day. It’s been a while since I’ve had nothing to do but sit and knit, and I couldn’t believe it when we got home and all I had to do was finish off the toes of my socks!
Oh, I am so pleased to have these finished so that they can go on my feet! They were my Emergency Socks (knitting I keep in the car in case of unexpected waiting) so I’ll need to start a new pair. The yarn is Marine Rainbow by The Yarn Badger with contrast cuffs, heels and toes in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Fuchsia, and the pattern is my Basic 4ply Socks pattern. There was absolutely none of the striped yarn left and I got exactly two pairs of one 100g skein – a pair of UK size 8 (68sts cast on) for my husband and a pair of UK size 5 (60sts cast on) for me, with contrasts on both the pairs. My husband has a short row heel on his pair but I stuck to the heel flap heel for mine, partly because I like the fit but also so that I can tell the socks apart if they’re in the wash at the same time 🙂
All that I needed to do then was write up my notes in my sock notebook and I was done!
Do you make notes about your socks? I’ve got a couple of books that I write in – more so these days than ever before because I’ve knitted so many pairs now that I can’t possibly remember all of the details about them all!
I’ve got a book that I write design notes in …
You can actually find both of these pairs on the blog – the Patchwork Socks are created with intarsia and are one of my next-step tutorials (and also feature in More Super Socks), and the New Leaf socks are called Calcite Socks and that’s a free cable pattern. I’m impressed that I can read my own writing, too! 🙂
I’ve also got a notebook for more general sock notes in case I want to make another pair the same (ideal if I’ve knitted for one of the family but it’s been a while since the last pair), but also to keep track in case I want to use the information from that pair in another pattern or in a blog post.
The notes on this page (apologies for the rather blurry photo, not sure what happened there!) are the prototype for something new that I’ve been working on … I’m developing a sock notebook as part of the Super Socks series. I’m super-excited about it – it’s got space to write plenty of notes for socks that you’ve knitted, and it’s also got the Sock Stitch Calculation from the Winwick Mum Sockalong tutorials plus two of my Basic Socks patterns as well – everything you’d need for quick reference to hand in one small project bag-sized book!
I’m waiting for the notebook proofs to arrive so that they can go out for road-testing, and I’ll show you what the book looks like so far in my next post as they will have arrived by then.
Exciting times! 🙂