Posted by: christinelaennec | February 15, 2016

Northwards to see a friend

This past Saturday, I travelled up to Aberdeenshire to visit a good friend who has been through a lot.  Some of you may read Roobeedoo‘s blog; if so you will know that she wrote very honestly about the last days of her husband’s life.  He died on the last day of January.  I had been trying to be supportive from afar (mostly nagging her to eat), sad that I couldn’t be more practical help.  But the Dafter was thankfully better, and so Saturday morning found me on a train slipping North through the Scottish countryside.

Snowy Scotland: between Stirling and Perth, 13 February 2016.

Snowy Scotland: between Stirling and Perth, 13 February 2016.

There was snow on the ground almost the minute we emerged from the Queen Street tunnel, speeding through the East side of Glasgow.  The weather became rather dramatic on the higher elevations between Stirling and Perth.

Wintry!

Wintry!

I was sitting next to a couple of football fans who were worried that the game they were going to further North would be cancelled, but I told them that this stretch is often snowy whereas on the other side of Perth it might well be very different weather.  And on this occasion I was right:

A stately home by the North Sea. North of Arbroath, I think. 13 February 2016.

A stately home by the North Sea. North of Arbroath, I think. 13 February 2016.

There was snow on the hills in the distance, but not at lower levels:

The Angus Hills, covered with snow. 13 February, 2016.

The Angus Hills, covered with snow. 13 February, 2016.

The golf course at Stonehaven, which as you can see is right on the edge of the North Sea, was very busy.  I noticed that bobble hats are this season’s golfing attire – the wind must have been pretty strong.  But I expect they are used to that.

Golfers at Stonehaven Golf course. 13 February, 2016.

Golfers at Stonehaven Golf course. 13 February, 2016.

As always, I hugely enjoyed reading and knitting and watching the familiar countryside sail past.

Horse in a field next to the North Sea. Between Stonehaven and Aberdeen, 13 February 2016.

Horse in a field next to the North Sea. Between Stonehaven and Aberdeen, 13 February 2016.

Soon, there was the lighthouse as the train came into Aberdeen:

Coming into Aberdeen: Balnagask Lighthouse. 13 February, 2016.

Coming into Aberdeen: Balnagask Lighthouse. 13 February, 2016.

I had a short time between trains, and then there was Roobeedoo, smiling at me just like always.  She had made soup for me.  Her house was full of flowers and cards, and sunlight:

Chez Roobeedoo

Chez Roobeedoo

The view from her windows includes a landmark that will be familiar to anyone who knows that part of the country, the hill called Bennachie.  You can see the “Mither Tap,” its main summit, from her house.  In fact, there are several peaks to Bennachie.  The Mither Tap has an Iron Age fort at the top, and many’s the time I have climbed up to it, although not in recent years.  Bennachie was very important to Roobeedoo’s husband, and his ashes are in a spot he chose, with a view of it:

Feb13_10

View of Bennachie from Chez Roobeedoo. Aberdeenshire, 13 February 2016.

We had a really good visit.  There was plenty of time to talk, eat, talk, knit, talk, look at photos.  We enjoyed our usual show-and-tell, and on this visit she had handspun yarn to show me!  Amazing.  At one point she was worried as she thought it had been over two weeks since she’d seen the lawyer, and I had to go through the dates with her to convince her that it had been just over a week.  “It seems SO much longer!” she said, marvelling.  Yes indeed…  some would explain it as the difference between chronos (clock time) and kairos, the elastic time of very intense events.  The timescale of the soul.

We did keep an eye on chronos, and all too soon the train was due and we were saying goodbye.  It was just like so many times before, but completely different now.  However, I was reassured by seeing her, because I could tell that she is going to be okay.

Back I went to Aberdeen, past familiar and much-loved landmarks:

Coming back into Aberdeen: Union Terrace Gardens seen from the train.

Coming back into Aberdeen: Union Terrace Gardens seen from the train.

Another friend had been in touch and met me for a 20-minute coffee, which was a lovely surprise.  And then I was on the train to Glasgow.  The sunset cast beautiful shades onto the clouds:

Sunset colours over the North Sea, leaving Aberdeen. 13 February 2016.

Sunset colours over the North Sea, leaving Aberdeen. 13 February 2016, 4:40 pm.

The coastline there always delights me:

The beautiful coastline south of Aberdeen. 13 February, 2016.

The beautiful coastline south of Aberdeen. 13 February, 2016.

And the sight of snow falling on the water was much more beautiful than my camera was able to capture, through the window:

Snow showers over the North Sea. 13 February 2016.

Snow showers over the North Sea. 13 February 2016.

Most of the return trip was in darkness, and I got plenty of knitting done (in the company of a ship’s engineer full of stories).  Here is what I was working on, a shawl made from a gradient yarn that Roobeedoo gave me for Christmas:

Starting my "Raspberry and apple" shawl. Pattern is Wild Poppies by Charlotte Walford; yarn is Urban Hints by the Wool Kitchen.

Starting my “Raspberry and apple” shawl. Pattern is Wild Poppies by Charlotte Walford; yarn is Urban Hints by the Wool Kitchen.

By the time I was back home, the flecks of pink had begun to appear on the apple green.  And for those of you who have been interested in my Oregon cardigan, here it is at the moment:

The Oregon cardigan: slow emergence of the pattern at the bottom.

The Oregon cardigan: slow emergence of the pattern at the bottom.

It doesn’t look like much does it?!  Nevermind.  Knitting for me is the ultimate kairos experience – no worrying about how the process fits into clock time, just relaxing and making something, stitch by stitch.

I wish you all a very good week!  Thanks for reading.

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Responses

  1. Glad to hear roobeedoo is as well as can be expected after such a great loss. My sister has gone through the same. Your friendship must be a great comfort to her. I wanted to also say thank you for posting pictures of your journey – it did my heart good to see them – my spirit always lifts when I pass that stretch of coast and know I’m nearer to my ain folk and hometown which I don’t see often enough so thank you again.

  2. Knitting is such a great way to spend time, either with friends or by yourself. I was just saying to someone tonight how much I enjoy it. I’m glad you got to spend some time with your friend. Your Oregon cardigan reminds me of our meeting together in Perth a few years ago and I love seeing the progression of it. It is beautiful.

  3. Thank you for posting about your visit to Roobeedoo. Iv’e been following her journey the past few years and feel so sad for her over the loss of her husband. It was great that you were able to spend the day with her.

  4. What a lot of lovely pictures, I almost feel like I was on that train with you. I am sure it meant the world you taking time to visit your friend. In this world where everyone hurries along at a scary pace, time is the most valuable gift we can give. You do such beautiful knitting, love all the colours you use. So beautiful. I have had to take a break in knitting due to a whiplash from 18 years back. My son’s watercolours at hand though, I have been painting instead. Wish you and your family a lovely week, blessings, Pam in Norway x

  5. Lovely post Christine.

  6. I feel so relieved to hear of your visit to Roobeedoo–glad that she had a real friend with her as well as all the good wishes of internet followers and friends. Thanks for sharing your trip with us! I always love your posts, and this one especially because of all the connections and the news.

  7. I’ve visited Roobeedoo’s blog, and have followed along. It’s so good that you could go and visit with her. I know she must have appreciated it. Keeping her in prayer.
    Lovely yarn too, and the Oregon cardigan is going to be beautiful.
    Enjoy your day ♥

  8. Beautiful knitting and beautiful pictures of your trip. Sorry about your friend’s loss. So nice of you to be able to visit and spend time together. Each time I read of one of your trips, I see how beautiful your country is and more and more it makes me think if we ever take a trip abroad, Scotland might be a great choice.

  9. Thank you for sharing your recent journey and meetings with fellow travelers and friends, especially Roobeedoo, Christine…precious times that remind me to appreciate life and care for those around me. xx

  10. Such a lovely post and photos. I read both yours and Roobeedo’s blogs. It’s good to know that she has a good friend to support her at this time. I am inspired by your (plural) beautiful knitting; so much so that I’m going to try some socks!

  11. I have been following your blog and Robeedoo’s for a while, and I particularly enjoyed your photos of the countryside -which I realise is fairly close to Elgin and Dufftown. My mother’s side of the family is from Dufftown, and I have such good memories of visiting in 2004.

    • Hello Jean, I grew up very near Dufftown and went to school in Elgin. Whereabouts are you now?

  12. I’m sorry to hear of your friend’s loss, but glad you feel she is going to be ok eventually. I hope you’re ok too.
    Your photos are lovely, and have a very peaceful feeling – I do love the stretch of coastline between Aberdeen and Stonehaven particularly.
    That Urban Hints yarn has just captured my heart completely…and of course, lovely to see the Oregon cardigan coming along 🙂
    By the way, today’s Google doodle is of René Laennec, who invented the stethoscope – perhaps a connection in some branch of your family tree? 🙂

  13. You are a good friend to Roobeedo – good friends (love) and look after each other – when they can – and I’m sure she appreciated your love the day of your visit.
    Off topic – I see Sakthi beat me to it, but are you by any chance related to Rene Laennec whose 235th birthday Google is honouring today (Feb 17th) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Laennec

  14. Thank you for the lovely post. So glad you could visit Roobeedo. Sometimes a visit from a good friend is an enormous comfort in sad times. Enjoyed all the pictures, and I wondered if Scotland truly feels like home after you have lived so much of your life there. Do you ever feel like you must eventually go “home” or do you feel that you are there and will never leave?

  15. Winter, snow, train travel, knitting, countryside and sea…and a visit with a friend (albeit under sad circumstances)…what more could you want!! xx

  16. You write such meaningful stories of your life and friends with great pictures to go with it. Thanks.

  17. It was so nice that you were able to visit your dear friend during this difficult time. I too loved seeing all your photos of the beautiful countryside. The Oregon cardigan is coming along beautifully with the pattern. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week. Pat xx

  18. Always lovely to be heading north! The East coast railway line is such tremendous value for views and dramatic cloudscapes.

  19. I was so sorry to read of Roobeedo’s sad news. It was nice of you to go and visit with her and make sure she was going to be ok. It looks like a lovely journey, one day I plan to make that trip by train, I’ve never been to Aberdeen, or in fact anywhere much on the East coast. I must rectify this as soon as possible! Hope you are well. x

  20. Je suis heureuse de savoir que vous avez passé ce bon moment avec votre amie, même si les circonstances étaient profondément tristes. Votre billet rend si bien le calme que l’on peut ressentir lors de tels voyages, seule dans le train, ou même en voiture, mais alors sans le charme du tricot ! Des parenthéses de solitude, qui font tellement de bien !

  21. Thank you all so much for your comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the journey with me, and the visit with Roobeedoo who is a blog friend of some of you.


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