Autumn Colours Walk in Epping Forest

Epping Forest is a lovely long stretch of woodland just outside of London in Essex.  There are miles of meandering footpaths in a surprisingly remote mature woodland.

I have been on a beautiful walk together with a meet-up hiking and outdoor group. It was a guided linear tour from Epping to Chingford (outer London).

We walked for over ten miles; the landscape and colours were pretty and peaceful and we were very lucky with the autumn weather – a fresh day but not wet at all.

We started off from Epping station, were we gathered and had a small breakfast, then set off at a good pace walking along some road, to finally enter the forest.

We stopped to have a packed lunch at a pond where some birds hungrily approached us to share our sandwiches. They did get some (most of mine).

It was a great walk, easy but not boring, and having a guide meant that I didn’t have to worry about consulting maps or compass or navigator… Thank you for the guide!

I’ll leave you with some impressions from the forest…

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grazing sheep

Look at what I came across a few days ago: an enclosure full of woolly creatures ♡

I took the pictures while precariously standing on a stone wall with a very uneven surface… For a while I even contemplated the option of getting inside the enclosure; in the end I discarded the idea because of the unpredictable reaction that the creatures may have had and the wall and my outfit would have not been suitable for a quick retreat.

I was even shooting some short videos, but my free WordPress site won’t let me post videos!

Can you guess where this was taken? It’s in England and is a former Roman town…

long time no speak

There are times in life, when a certain state is reached and the need for change occurs: the state we may be finding ourselves at that point in, it is one that differs from the state of affairs we wish. In the course of the past year, I have recognised myself as being in a necessity of change – it was needed for my well-being. I am undertaking a path for change, which is not sure where it will lead me to. Change is usually not easily attainable – if it is at all, it may involve a lengthy process, which may drain one’s energies.

Reserves of energy are limited, and I find myself having to not attend to things, activities or situations that I would have otherwise done. At times, it happens that there is a need to withdraw from “noisy” contexts, maybe go “offline”, disconnect. So this is part of the reasons why I have not being posting for a while. On the other hand, I have taken up activities that, for some reasons, I had left behind in the past: reading, meeting up with friends, going for a walk.

As a kid and a young adult, I would read very often, but in the last years, I could seldom get myself to complete a book. Maybe out of curiosity or a need for distraction, I’ve recently been reading quite a lot. I’ll briefly introduce some of the books, so bear with me if you’re still interested…

In a way, these were related to history (some treated about real history, others about an imaginary one), in particular that of areas now part of the United Kingdom.

One of the first I read was Vinland by George Mackay Brown. Some time has passed since, so I don’t recall everything about it. Though, it was an interesting reading, although at times I remember feeling somewhat unsatisfied with it (it felt a bit too religion-prone). It is the story of Ranald, an imaginary Orkney-born character, and follows his story and adventures, from his youth trip across the ocean to Vinland, to later times at the court of Norway, the fighting at the side of the Earl of Orkney in Ireland, and life back to the family farm in Orkney until his final days. It reads very much like a saga. A much better description and thorough commentaries can be found on this GoodRead page.

Image Vinland by George Mackay Brown

More recently, I read The Story of England – a Village and its People Through the Whole of English History by Michael Wood. The book accompanied a major BBC TV series, focusing on the village of Kibworth in Leicestershire and its community throughout the centuries, from Roman Britain to the modern days. I thoroughly enjoyed it and appreciated Michael Wood skills in telling stories from the past in a fascinating manner. While there will accidentally (unavoidable) be mention of kings, the focus is more on the overall life and perspective of the people. I would wholeheartedly recommend it!

Image The Story of England by Michael Wood

While I was at the local community library, my attention was captured by a strange book. I hardly had any knowledge or familiarity with the subject – ghosts in an English rectory (I even didn’t know what a rectory exactly was!), but curiosity got hold of me. I borrowed out the two books on the subject: The Enigma of Borley Rectory by Ivan Banks and The Borley Rectory Companion: the Complete Guide to the Most Haunted House in England by Paul Adams, Peter Underwood and Eddie Brazil. The first book is a comprehensive, even if biased, presentation of the topic: very briefly, the Borley Rectory was built on the ground previously occupied by older buildings and was seemingly haunted by various apparitions and characters (a 17th century nun, an old fashioned horse coach, a headless man, a little girl, among others). It offers a thorough investigation on the historical matter that could have originated the facts presented. I would say that I’m not inclined in believing in supernatural, but after reading it I thought whether there was some truth in the stories, chiefly because of the many witnesses across different times (collective hysteria, or for our current knowledge inexplicable facts?). I found the reading compelling but also scary at times… especially during the night sessions before bedtime! The other book, offers a more coarse overview, followed by a dictionary-like treatment of the corpus, but has extra and more recent information, due to the later date of publication. Overall, I would recommend both of them to those who have an interest or curiosity about the subject.

IMG_2491 Borley Rectory

Currently, I am reading The First Europe – A Study of the Establishment of Medieval Christendom, A.D. 400-800 by C. Delisle Burns (1947): the work is concerned with the establishment of the early Christian Europe and investigates in particular the coming in being of moral authority and new social relations. Although some of the material may be somewhat dated, the subject is still source of interest and fairly well presented.

The First Europe by C Delisle Burns The First Europe by C Delisle Burns

The post has well overran an ideal length.. so that’s it for today! You all take good care ♥

A bit of everything: yarn, history, swatches

Today’s post is about many different things, though still business-as-usual we could say: yarn, history books, swatches.

The first news is that I received some beautiful yarn, that will join the enormous stock that I have by now. Yes, I’m considering sorting and destashing some of it at some point. Anyway, the yarn I received includes some wool (no label but it feels like good quality) in shades of browns, greys, beige and gold yellow, probably a 4 ply, in a cone of over 600 grams. Together with it, some British Wensleydale wool in cream and brown: a little ball is handspun – incredibly soft and with a natural shine; the rest is in 50g regular balls. I’m in love, with all of them. By coincidence, Kate Davies’ last design, Catkin, features a beautiful yarn, Titus, made with a blend of British wools (50% grey Wensleydale, 20% Blue-Faced Leicester, 30% UK alpaca), which thing made me smile, as I ordered the yarn before even reading about it. I must have a ‘good nose’ for good yarns, lol.

handspun British Wensleydale handspun British Wensleydale (not my work!)

wool in shades of browns, greys, beige and gold yellow wool in shades of browns, greys, beige and gold yellow

British Wensleydale British Wensleydale

Other recent deliveries contained some Jamieson and Smith Shetland yarn, some Shetland wool on cone that I mentioned in another post, and some circular 2mm needles in 20, 30 and 40 cm. Now I’d only need an app to keep track of my items, before my memory forgets what’s in my beloved stash.

Jamieson and Smith Jamieson and SmithJamieson and SmithJamieson and Smith

In today’s stroll I stopped at an Oxfam bookshop and availed myself of some history-related books: In Search of England – Journeys into the English Past by my favourite Michael Wood (if you have access to BBC iPlayer seek out for his history documentaries); The Wars of the Roses – a Royal History of England edited by Antonia Fraser (an introduction to the topic can be found  on the Wars of the Roses wikipedia page); Ancient Britain by James Dyer, about the prehistoric life of Britain from the first human occupation 450,000 years ago, until the Roman conquest in AD 43; Diamonds – a Jubilee Celebration by Caroline de Guitaut (I’m no royal fan but the book is interesting in that it presents the story behind the royal jewels). Maybe I ought to start a clear out in my book section, as well…

In Search of England- Journeys into the English Past   The Wars of the Roses   Ancient Britain by James Dyer Diamonds - a Jubilee Celebration

Lastly, I have done some progress on my swatch playground. The first one of this series is completed but ends are still to be sawn in and washing to be done. Here is a preview of the beginning, other pictures will follow once I have done more swatches. It looks nice but requires a loooong time – knitting a fine 2x2ply with a 2mm single-point needles, so it takes forever and especially colourwork knitting on the wrong side… I know, I could have used circular needles but I also wanted to learn colourwork in flat knitting (plus I was lazy at the idea of trying steeking). I was tired and kept having issues with silly colour pattern mistakes (had to unravel about 1/3 of it) and stitches cheekily sticking out their heads here and there without any reason (the stitch count seemed to be still fine?). Anyway, the first test is more or less done. I’m now trying another on an even finer yarn… wish me luck!

Swatch no. 1, 2x2ply on 2 mm flat knitting, Shetland yarn             Swatch no. 1, 2x2ply on 2 mm flat knitting, Shetland yarn

View from the kitchen window                 View from the kitchen window