All buttoned up!

Cosily ensconced in our holiday cottage in Purbeck, Dorset we now finally and undeniably are and, indeed, have so been ever since late last Friday afternoon, when we arrived – having taken more than an hour to get out of London’s trafficky clutches and then completed the remainder of the journey in a relative flash – in definite need of some serious relaxation and unwinding. Two glorious weeks and this warming open fire lie before us: heaven!

Our first ever open fire!

Our first ever open fire!

You may be forgiven for thinking – given the picture above – that we have not yet stirred out of our Grade II listed Purbeck Stone quarryman’s cottage which dates back to 1772. You may be forgiven, but you’d be wrong. In fact, even though long coastal walks were on our holiday wishlist, I have to say that we were ourselves somewhat astonished to find that on our first full day here we’d accidentally hiked 12 miles. I kid you not. And not bad for townies, either, especially given the terrain.

The weather on Saturday – and bear in mind this was 1 November! – was incredible. Cagoules occasionally provided a useful buffer against the wind, but t-shirts, even on the coastal path, were often enough. Jumpers were definitely surplus to requirements and sunglasses were imperative. So, armed with sandwiches and water bottles in our trusty backpack, off we went.

Somewhere between Houns-tout and Kimmeridge Bay.

Somewhere between Houns-tout and Kimmeridge Bay.

We left the cottage at about ten past ten in the morning. Our aim was to be back in the village by half past three at the latest so as to be in absolutely zero danger of missing the outrageously scrumptious cream tea at the friendly village tea rooms (as you may have guessed, we’d partaken of this treat before – last year – twice, in fact). We started at Worth Matravers and headed over the fields to Chapman’s Pool, on the coast. From here, we bravely tackled Houns-tout (we went down this extremely steep incline last year and knew we’d have to climb it one day)…

Houns-tout is - trust me - extremely steep.

Houns-tout is – trust me – extremely steep.

… past the bottom of Swyre Head, past the Kimmeridge Ledges, past Clavell Tower, down into Kimmeridge Bay and then stopped to eat our sandwiches. It was now about a quarter past one and we hadn’t even thought we’d get as far as Kimmeridge.

We then resumed our march, fuelled by the promise of scones, jam, cream and tea. Up we went into Kimmeridge proper, then tackled the climb up onto the inland ridge leading back towards Swyre Head. We then took the bridle path to Kingstonwhere the inhabitants are clearly skilled in the art of pumpkin carving…

Someone's been watching too many horror stories...

Someone’s been watching too many horror stories…

… before taking the Purbeck Way back to Worth Matravers. We arrived at the tea rooms at a quarter to four, pretty tired but very soon absolutely stuffed to the brim with the best cream tea ever:

Yum! What a brilliant first day!

Yum! What a brilliant first day!

With the weather so mild, we aren’t having to button up nearly as much as we thought we might, which is very welcome. But – to get this post back on to crafty pursuits, which is really where I intended it to go! – one thing I have recently buttoned up is my enormous bolster cushion cover which, as you might have gathered from my last post, is now complete:

From clinical looking hospital whiteness to lovely knitted stripeyness.

From clinical looking hospital whiteness to lovely knitted stripeyness.

I’m very pleased with this creation. It may only consist of garter stitch, but this knitting project has transformed the awful-looking bolster cushion I started with and prevented it from going to waste. It’s also been a lovely, easy one to keep going in the background while also completing other – perhaps more involved – projects. I’m particularly pleased with the fact that I managed my first ever knitted button holes:

Button holes, schmutton holes.

Button holes, schmutton holes.

And, indeed, I rather like the buttons themselves:

Lovely wooden buttons for my  first ever button holes.

Lovely wooden buttons for my first ever button holes.

But most of all, I’m pleased with the seam (there was a lot of sewing up to do!). Check this out for neatness:

Seams (get it?) to me that mattress stitch is pretty useful for neat finishes!

Seams (get it?) to me that mattress stitch is pretty useful for neat finishes!

Yes, I’ll mark this one down as a roaring success, I think, even if I do say so myself!

You may remember that in my last post I proclaimed our holiday aim for a ‘combination of fresh air, long walks, log fires and red squirrels… and some crafting and blogging’ and you might be wondering how likely this is looking now that we’re actually on the much-anticipated break. Well, we’re bang on track so far: we’ve had loads of fresh air (off out for more shortly), two long walks in as many days, our first log fire and, yesterday – on the wonderful Brownsea Island – we saw lots of gorgeous red squirrels. So far, I’ve finished my first holiday project (a knitted cowl) and am part-way through my second (another woolly hat) – more about these soon. And, of course, I’ve now completed my first holiday post.

It’s so good so far it could be a Famous Five story. After all, we are only a couple of miles from ‘Kirrin Castle’ itself!