Knitting Retreat to Hell Bay, Isles of Scilly: day 4, Thursday 23rd March 2017
Today the weather was not as kind to us as it was yesterday, and instead of the blue skies and sunshine that we’d enjoyed on the previous day, the weather was cooler with overcast skies. However, it was a free morning for the ladies to do whatever they wanted, so we all kept themselves busy, some joining Chris on a second guided tour of the island, while others continued with their knitting. I decided to go for a walk around the island with my dad to take some pictures, visit the church (which had been recommended to me), and explore some of the beaches that we had not yet seen. So with warm jackets, hats and sturdy boots, we set off!
Our first destination was the church which was close to the quayside. A steep hill led us down to the small stone building, and we were both glad to get indoors out of the bitterly cold wind. The interior of the church was simple and modest, however, it was illuminated by very modern brightly coloured stained glass windows. And instead of depicting the usual religious icons that are found on most stained glass windows, the images were of flora, fauna, the landscape, sea and birds of the Isles of Scilly. They really were quite unusual, and very inspirational to see.
Hanging from the rafters towards the back of the church were three patchwork quilts – another interesting aspect to the church’s interior decor, and not something that you would not expect to see. They really were very beautiful and exquisitely made. One of them focussed on the island’s natural beauty and included images of birds, flowers and the landscape. This one was my favourite and it reminded me of some of my Mystery Blankets and the picture knits that I have knitted in the past, inspired by my travels. Now there’s an idea – a Scilly Isles knitted blanket!!!
Next we ventured up a hill, not too far from the church, to the Bryher shop and Gallery, which many of the ladies had been too already and recommended that we visit. The shop was the islanders main place (only place?) to buy all their household sundries, food and drink. But they also made (to order!) the most delicious pasties. So we placed our order which would be ready and waiting for us in a hour – perfect! The gallery next door was a real treat, brimming with locally made arts and crafts, a showcase for many of the local artists. There were all sorts of bits and pieces on sale, ranging from wooden sculptures, paintings and ceramics to ladies scarves, handmade aprons and buttons. And did I buy anything?!?…need you ask!!!
After visiting the Gallery we went in search of a beach, preferably the beach at Fraggle Rock that my sister had been to yesterday and was in awe of! However, with bitter winds gusting all around us and the clouds threatening rain, we did find a beach – not at Fraggle Rock, but nontheless a very nice one! – but it was SO cold that we decided to head back almost straight away, picking up our pasties on the way.
In the afteroon we all headed back up to the Community Centre for our third workshop session. Our group was a little reduced in size after today’s departures, but everyone was in good spirits as we enjoyed an afternoon of knitting together.
We had been pre-warned that “Doctor’s Surgery” was held at the hall on Thursday afternoons, so we did see some of the islanders while we were there, many of which were very intrigued to see what we were up to! In fact, it was big news on the island that our group had arrived, and most of us were asked at some point during the holiday, ” are you the knitters?!?” We found that very amusing!!!
Jenny had a great tip for ensuring she is using the correct colour yarn for her Mystery Blanket patterns, so I am going to pass her great advice onto you. She puts each different coloured yarn in a bag that she labels with the colour name, and she keeps the yarns in their bags throughout the project. That way she never picks up the incorrect colour to use – which I know has already happened to some of the members this year. I thought that this was a very ingenious idea and one that might help you too!
After a lovely afternoon we made our way back to the hotel, and then we had an hour or so to relax and unwind before our fourth evening meal together. By now we knew what to expect – amazing food! – and again we were not disappointed. Ahead of dinner we sent a message to the kitchen that it was Amanda’s birthday tomorrow, but she was leaving in the afternoon which meant that this would be her last meal with the group (as it was for several others). So the chef decorated a plate with “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate and served it to her with a glass of Prosecco while we sang to her. It was a lovely end to the evening, not only for Amanda, but for all of us.