Now please don’t take this as a criticism, but I don’t think there’s actually that much to do in Mallaig – at least when one has a toddler in tow. Hill walking is out (we forgot the baby rucksack) and hours of knitting are never a possibility when in the company of Husband and such fine weather. So we took the ferry to Skye. Although on such clear, bright day, I don’t think it would be too far a stretch to call it a “cruise”.
On arrival, we were greeted by baskets of yarn outside one of those lovely, lovely crafty-type shops. On closer inspection, I was surprised to find that said yarn was from one of my favourite Welsh suppliers. And since I’ve been to their “home” – twice – it would be disloyal of me to buy their yarn from so far, far away. As suspected, the shop is full of delights, trinkets, knit wear but no more yarn in either skein or ball-form…. And so I leave, empty handed.
Off to Armadale Castle and after a not-so-quick stop at their lovely café (for Son to chomp his way through a bowl of baked beans while I make a mental list of the cakes and ice-creams for later), we enjoy a wonderful walk around the gardens, picnic lunch and then, oh yes, then: Son sleeps and I knit, relishing the warm sunshine, and listening to the gentle trickle of water as it flows from pond to pond. For more than a few moments, this is just wonderful. But I’d forgotten the midges. Not only attacking me but also my unsuspecting little boy. Nap time is quickly over – which obviously means that knitting time is too – and comforting Son takes us right past the café (and its freshly baked scones) and back to the ferry port. Where there are no more yarn shops, and no more knitting. Just a tired, grumpy Son and his tired – and obviously not grumpy - parents. But there are wonderful guys called Denis. One of those strong, burly, fisherman / off-shore types from whom I wouldn’t normally expect more than polite courtesy. That is, until he spoke to Son. Son had clearly started to melt this seaman’s heart on his way to Skye. On our return trip, Denis helped Son forget his bite-related troubles with tickles, sharing his watch (or “tick tock”, as we like to call it) and keys, demonstrating how to work the winch and sharing his rich tea biscuits. Magical, those biscuits. And they didn’t just work on Son. Mummy and Daddy might not have shared their sugary richness but they certainly got an energy boost, so much so that, on the return to the hotel, Husband bathed Son while I sat in the window, overlooking the sea, and returned to my knitting. Thank you, Denis.