Well, we're back. We had an excellent holiday in most respects, and we will be going back next year to the same place, as it is so perfect.
We stayed in a beautiful little apartment - really, lovely. Simply furnished, and very Cretan.
We had a little terrace which opened onto the most amazing garden, there was an excellent pool, and the place is set right on the beach.
Lilies growing on the beach, right outside the apartment - these aren't tiny, they are quite big, about four or five inches across.
These are apparently increasingly rare. They were a common decorative image in Minoan art - the Minoans were the people who built the palace at Knossos where the Minotaur myth originates - and I must say that I am quite taken with them myself.
They look much too delicate and beautiful to withstand the combination of sea winds and hot sunshine.
The weather was good - during the first week it was warmer than average for the time of year with the temperature in the low thirties, sunshine every day and not a cloud to be seen. The second week was less wonderful, with cloud and cooler temperatures for several days, and a fair bit of rain. Actually that is a bit of an understatement, there was a lot of rain. But even when it is cool and rainy, Crete is a good place to be.
Unfortunately my poor husband was a bit unwell during the second week, but the medical care out there is impressively good, and all is now well again.
Knitting has been minimal, surprisingly. I have done a lot of walking, a lot of swimming, and a lot of reading - more about that later - but not a lot of knitting. The only thing that has actually been finished is one sock for my husband - completely mindless knitting.
Here is the current progress - my usual sock pattern, in one of Regia's Kaffe Fassett colourways, which I think is Fire Landscape.
When we were getting ready to go home again, I was surprised to find that my jeans felt positively loose, and I needed to use the next hole on my belt. However it turns out that I haven't actually lost any weight at all, so I suppose it is that old thing about muscle weighing more than fat. Good, anyway. It must be all that swimming and walking.
Right, the announcement, which I have been putting off for a little while now.
I am leaving my job.
Yes, I know. Being a Rowan Design Consultant is The Best Job In The Whole World for a knitter. Truly. But still, with huge regret, I am leaving.
It isn't the job. I love the job. It is the daily travelling, which unfortunately is just too much on a continuing basis. Every day it is a good hour each way - an hour and a quarter usually, often an hour and a half, and there have been points where I have been considering leaving even earlier. The drive is varied and much of it is very beautiful, but there is always a lot of traffic on the motorways, which often resemble a carpark more than they resemble a highway.... I could go on. But the upshot of all this is that it is taking its toll, and I am not going to continue.
I discussed all this with my managers a couple of months ago, and I will be leaving at the end of September - which of course means that I have just a few days left.
Right now I am feeling more than a little ambivalent about this. I have made so many friends at work, both colleagues and customers, and I do love my job - I feel very proprietorial about 'my' Rowan department, and I still can't quite imagine handing it over to somebody else, which is exactly what will be happening next week. Also, I shall really miss the teaching, which I very much enjoy. If the journey was only forty minutes, then you wouldn't be shifting me with dynamite. But it isn't, it is more like twice that .....
Working for Rowan has been something of a dream for me. Rowan is a company whose work I have admired for years - I am still in awe of the sheer talent in that design room! - and I feel privileged to have spent some time with them. And they are all such nice people!
Just two more days - Saturday, and Tuesday.....