threading a beach hat

Way back in spring 2012, Mum rang me one day to see if I’d like a new hat for summer.  She was at a little boutique in downtown Merimbula and had found some very sweet, inexpensive crocheted paper hats.  I was keen so she picked out a sky blue one for me and one for herself – I can’t remember what colour yours is Mum!?  Brown – olive?

Anyways … I wore it everyday during our lovely lovely summer holiday at the beach.  And then, on the dreadfully hot day when the bushfire struck, we were cutting out four inch squares of lovely soft Japanese lawn.  Because of the length of fabric we had bought, there was a very narrow strip left over from most pieces.  Hmmm …. what to do …

here I simply must insert these gorgeous photos of Mum’s cosmos
she is a wonderful gardener (I don’t take after her at all)
I took these on our last day in Merimbula & completely forgot about them
until tonight, when looking for photos of the hat …

ooooh!  and see this stump?  I can’t remember whether I’ve shared this, but where Mum’s house is, was once the family owned dairy farm that provided Merimbula with all its milk – very appropriate given just how much we Boots love our milk – at first we thought this fence was a gardener’s folly, but now wonder if it is, in fact, a remnant of the farm. Such a lovely thought.  Back to the hat …

After a few more days thought – and a lot of hat wearing – I decided to thread some through the hat – mayhaps a couple of rows around the brim?  So there, on our last day at Bar Beach, with seagulls a-watching, I began.  I used my crochet hook to pull the lengths of fabric through – up, down, up, down.  To start and finish, I simply tied a knot at the end of each length of fabric nice and close to the hat.

By the end of that night – most of the hat was covered!  Oh it’s the old lily story.  Once started, couldn’t stop.  I even unpicked the hem of the brim and wove a piece of fabric around that – like a very simple whipping.

I love it … such a cheerful and colourful hat … and a little bit wonky.  Perhaps a bit like its owner? :-)  And it’s had SUCH a good workout over the last couple of weeks.  Here’s the finished product whilst on duty at Birdrock Beach …

And at Mt. Martha’s Gelati Bar.  Three marvellous features – it’s instantly identifiably as mine, has a lovely low brim so offers wonderful protection from our aggressive sun, and is wonderfully crumpleable – I just squish it up and shove it in my handbag or basket – and when it comes out, it looks just like it did the day it arrived!

Thank you so much Mummy darling for thinking of me – it’s grown into my favourite hat ever :-)  And if you should want your hat to match, just send it my way ;-)

p.s. hope you love your cosmos photos xxx

the daring grandad

The day was grey, drizzly and cool.  Sensible folk were staying indoors.  But my dear old Grandad is not so sensible – especially according to some of the women in his life.  So, when I suggested a quick drive to Haycocks Point – the furtherest rocky outcrop to the south that we can see from Mum’s front porch – this gorgeous old thing was more than happy to ditch the laptop (after protesting for years that computers were not for him, he became besotted with the online newsletters of the Australian Lighthouse Association) and his funky headband, and hit the road for one last adventure before returning to his much more sedate everyday life back in Brisbane.

At this time some of the women in his life (perfectly lovely and best intentioned) were debating who bossed Grandad around the most.  I, naturally :-), declared that I did not need to be considered because I did not boss him around.  “Ha!” one of the aunties pooh-poohed, “Just because he’s always happy to do what you want, don’t think you aren’t included in the bossy list.”

Not so!  The only reason Grandad is always happy to do what I want, is that I always want to do what HE wants :-)  He’s taught me well.  So, shunning offers of jumpers and jackets and lunch, we hit the road.  With a stop-off at the fabulous Wild Rye Bakery in Pambula for supplies – freshly baked organic cinnamon doughnuts.  Yum!

:: yes!  it’s a wallaby!  we knew they must have been around
given all the scat we had to carefully step over

Now,  my only knowledge of Haycocks Point came from Mum who declared, following our epic 27 km bump along the rocky trail to Green Cape Lighthouse, that the road to Haycocks Point was trivial – short and paved – and that once you pulled up in the carpark, you did not even have to get out of the car to see the view.  Hmmmmmmmmm ….

In fact, the road was dirt and windy and when we finally reached the carpark, the signposts advised that the shortest track to ANY view (apart from the environmentally friendly toilet block) was 2 km round.  Keeping in mind I did not want to spoil Grandad’s last day – either by telling him what he should or shouldn’t do, or putting him at risk – I asked what he thought our best option was.  “Walk!”  he declared emphatically.  “That’s what we’re here for!”

So walk we did.  And it was magic.  Sitting here now, in my inner city, sun filled kitchen, remembering the stillness, the quiet, the misty coolness, the incredible beauty of both the landscape and being there with my Grandad, makes me pause, close my eyes and sigh.  It was such a fabulous afternoon.

Soon after setting off, we encountered a rather alarming set of stairs, dug into the side of the hill.  All I could think of was Grandad tripping and how I was ever going to explain the ensuing chaos to the aunties.  Grandad, however, assured me that as long as he took it carefully, slowly, with me on his left elbow, and him leading with his left foot, he’d be FINE.  Okay!

Two hours passed blissfully.  We slowly, slowly made our way up the stairs and along the track.  There was so much to see and learn … Haycocks Point was, until recently, privately owned grazing land.  Now it is part of the National Park and a revegetation programme is in place, hand in hand with a weed eradication programme.  Once you climb the small hill and head out along the narrow finger of land to the sea, there are few trees.  Instead, the landscape is thick with waist high shrubs – the perfect cover for the local furry folk – black rock wallabies and kangaroos.

Oh my, there we were meandering slowly through the grey drizzle, chattering all the way, when all of a sudden I looked left and there she was.  Standing still and silent less than a few metres away from us.  Grandad was utterly enchanted.  We watched her until she tired of us and hopped away.  Honestly, I have tears in my eyes now just thinking about it.  It was so beautiful – we were the only people there and it felt like we’d entered another world.  One that neither of us had ever had the privilege of visiting before.

We kept walking until we reached the sea.  It was one of those days where the gloomy, still, wetness of the sky seems to hold the ocean beneath just as still.  There were barely any waves and the water simply sat there below us, as pretty as ever, but almost motionless.  There at the edge, we found what looked just like the berries described back on the carpark information board as bush tucker that the local Aborigines enjoyed.  So we picked some – for Julian to try later :-) – and tucked into our doughnuts instead :-)

Once we’d filled out hearts and eyes with the view, we headed back, meeting another wallaby and a pair of feisty kangaroos on the way.  It was almost like a Where’s Wally – if we just peered closely enough, we realised that the bush on either side of us was actually wriggling with animals.  And so our steps and voices were gentle and low, as we relished every moment of sharing this almost eerie place with such beautiful creatures.

Upon our return to the carpark, there were five young men trekking back from the beach with their rods and buckets.  Grandad instantly puttered over to them – he so loves meeting new folk – wanting to know how their fishing had gone, what they’d caught, where they were from etc.  After several hours, they’d caught just one whiting, but assured Grandad that the fun was in being there together.  He chuckled heartily, agreeing with everything they said. We hopped into our car and as we pulled away, the five young men stood there, rods at their sides, waving goodbye to Grandad.  It was divine and such a perfect affirmation that our world is full of lovely people.

Once home, Grandad and I peeled fresh, sweet prawns which we ate with buttered sourdough, and gave the bush berries to Julian.  Our lunch was delicious.  Julian’s was disgusting.  He couldn’t even manage one berry – had to spit it into the sink and rinse his mouth out copiously.  Maybe we picked the wrong berries.

To quote my Auntie Wig, it was the beautifullest day (that was her favourite adjective – beautifullest) and I’m so incredibly glad we ignored the drizzle, the grey, the cool, and the worriers.  See, I concur with Grandad.  Life is there to be lived – especially when you’ve made it to 87 – and if the inevitable arrives a wee bit sooner, just because we took an adventurous walk in the rain, then at least we had a marvellous time doing it.



the lace handkerchief

I know!  Another lace handkerchief crocheted whilst sitting on a summer’s beach.  I did just this last summer too.  It must because the dear little fabric store, down in the town, sells these lovely pure cotton handkerchiefs.  Right near them – a basket full of reduced DMC crochet yarn.  It was just too much to resist.

So – with my supplies packed, I headed down to Bar Beach early in the morning, bought my coffee, and set up in my favourite nook – amongst the red rocks, my feet in damp sand, the waves washing so close.

It is a glorious way to start the day … sigh!  I so wish I could begin every day like this.  Julian tells me I’m greedy – to just relish the moment.  I try :-)

The only distraction?  The seagulls – squawking and chasing and posturing.  I feel a felt seagull coming on.  Of course, the other distraction is a more primal call of nature.  After an hour, that wake up glass of water, cup of tea with Mum, and coffee by the sea is more than I can stand and I have to bungle everything back into the basket and tear back up the hill, practising those “now, pretend those muscles are a lift and imagine them rising up and up – floor 1, and 2, and 3, and 4″ exercises the physiotherapist at the prenatal classes taught us!

So the hanky was finished on the front porch – so sweet.  I made up the design as I went round – and am quite pleased with it.  But I wonder what it would be like if it were finer (I think I said this last year too!).  Like the ones my Nanny Dougall made.  With one of those crochet hooks where you can’t even see the hook without a magnifying glass.

Hark!  I hear more hankies calling!  “Come and buy us! Come and buy us!” they are saying.  Oh really?  Alright.