True Colours

Having said goodbye to Warwick again we did the now familiar journey to Edinburgh via Birmingham. Previously we transferred between the Birmingham stations, by going through the shopping centre or through the covered passage. It is lit but dark all the same. On some of the transfers it was raining or dark but this time it was bright and we chose the open rainbow route opposite Moor Street, pedestrian but not plain. Some planters in the pedestrian zone added a splash of colour too.

Shane looking less bright than Birmingham
A bit of colour in a grey urban scene, painted pedestrian passage in Birmingham.

The train was crowded, due to other services being cancelled, but on time and we were able to relax in booked seats, though we had not got them together, and as my lunch was in Shane’s bag and there were a number ofpeople standing between us, it took some time before he was able to get it to me.We messaged each other on the way. When the ticket checking was happening and he had his two together card to show, I advised him that it was not enough to just say I am with the lady down the carriage knitting as I had already seen another woman in a stripey jumper knitting half way down the carriage between us. He would need to say, “the woman in blue, knitting”. I don’t have to check outfits in similar situations, as almost without fail I can say I am with “the man in red”.

Unusually we already had an invite to a meal that evening. Kenny had asked us round as it was his birthday. Nye was excited to share with us that he already knew what was for tea as he had bumped into Kenny the evening before. Helena had prepared a true taste of Portugal for main course, roast octopus with potatoes, peppers,tomato and chorizo. The dessert was a colourful birthday cake from a Sicilian bakery, with Portuguese writing on it. All was delicious and she shared the secret for preventing octopus from being rubbery and it was indeed soft and tender. There was a tentacle and a bit extra each.

Roast octopus in a bed of potatoes (presumably unfarmed) and red pepper, tomato and chorizo
Multi coloured fruit topping to a Sicilian birthday cake

Kenny and Shane of course planned a bike ride immediately and I had a plan to meet a sister and niece the next day and we enjoyed the eruption of yellow flowers on the Meadows as well as some bright and pastel paintings in Summerhall’s gallery. Lorna had also painted a mother’s Day card based on a photo of the sunset at Portobello beach. The pinks suited her watercolours and looked softer and more fitting even than the original photograph. As we have been trying to take photos more we have found the sunsets caught on camera are often very different from what we are seeing.

In the evening I went round to help a friend with knitting. She had been gifted wool which had a dark base colour with many bursts of different bright colours throughout in a loose unspun texture. It needs needles far bigger than any I have used so it was hard to tell how it would look knitted up. I couldn’t help much straight away. I will have to research patterns for such an unusual wool.

The forecast for the week was very variable, with lots of sun, some heavy showers, and wind. A day that started as an excellent drying day ended with very wet sheets on the line. This didn’t put Shane off cycling or me off walks and the up side was that we saw some excellent rainbows My sister, Mary, came and stayed overnight. On a walk up the hill, I headed for a patch of blue sky but still we got wet in the rain, I slipped on the mud and fell. I got very muddy trousers and a stung finger but luckily didn’t fall in the gorse and was uninjured. We all had a great time, the rainbows were extra bright so we could see the colours against the trees and houses as well as in the sky. Double rainbows and the colour of spring flowers certainly added to the enjoyment of the walk.

Mary had brought some wool for me that was the same colour as that that I had ordered for the mustard Tudor stockings that I am knitting. She had it spare so I ordered half the quantity required. In a fair exchange, I was giving her some natural toy stuffing for a toy she was knitting as the request of her granddaughter. But once she got out the wool we saw that natural dyes are very variable and while they were definitely the same colour from the range, they looked very different. Hopefully the recipient will be forgiving. He has already said he understands natural dyes are inconsistent when he came round for a sizing. I have to knit a longer stocking I find but width wise it fits. My friend Margaret also visited and helped me with the Victorian pattern, as she is a skilled sock knitter, so I am happier with the shaping but there is little I can do about the colour without starting again so I can interweave the two shades throughout. I don’t have time to start at the beginning again. I am hoping that it will be true to Tudor hues to have mixed dyes.

Two kinds of mustard mixing in the stocking

This visit to Edinburgh was very short and packed with visits. We expected a dull and slightly lengthy return trip and again our booked seats were not next to each other but nearer than before. As we were working out where to sit we found we were near a friend we haven’t seen a long time. She was travelling alone to Birmingham. She checked and found unbooked seats near each other in the next carriage and it made for a much merrier journey for us all.

We parted at Birmingham New Street station. Outside Moor Street station I saw paintwork I had not noticed before. Were these many to be moorhen footprints for Moor Street station? I was reminded of the prints I had seen in the snow recently, but this would be on a brighter background than the lockgate.

Station steps, moorhens in Moor Street

It is a very short journey to Warwick and we were returning in a brighter light than usual and the planters were more colourful than when we left. As I left the flowers behind and turned to Bartimaeus and saw two moorhens fleeing, one flying over the bow and the other stepping across our roof. I was enjoying the boat before we had even got on.

Planters at Saltisford, bright blues and yellows flourishing