I suppose it was reading Heidi as a girl that started my fascination for mountains. I can remember getting an ‘A’ for my story about Switzerland when I was at my prep school – I described it as the one country I would like to visit. How strange it is that, apart from once driving through a corner of this country and having a picnic in sight of the Matterhorn, I have never been!
As a young girl and the eldest of five, I can remember the caravan holidays in Scotland with mixed feelings. I shared a bunk with my little brother, top and tailed in sleeping bags – the bunk was two poles with a canvas sling and that was above the rest of my siblings in a vast double bed. I can remember complaining about ‘the heat up here’ and my father ticking me off until he climbed up and realized that the gas mantels were making the top of the caravan like an oven.
The caravan was very basic and how my mother coped with five children and two dogs, I cannot imagine. During the day though we loved the mountains, streams and all the glorious lakes. I can remember being frightened when we woke up in a layby in the middle of nowhere and we were south of an enormous dam with simply the highest mountains around us.
Over the past few years of my travels with Bill I have been fortunate to see Mount Fuji peeking through the clouds, the start of the Himalayas, Mount Cook in New Zealand and the Matterhorn in Switzerland. During my time as MD of the Cross Stitch Guild Bill and I took parties of stitchers to Norway and in particular to the Hardanger fjord – I have even been on my hotel balcony and heard an avalanche on the other side of the water!
One of the holidays my children enjoyed the most was driving to Lake Como in Italy and staying in a gorgeous place called Bellagio, where we parked the car and used the little boats and ferries to get about. They both still talk about it in their thirties. I am not sure whether they enjoyed all the scenery or just eating watermelon in the pool at the hotel and the pool man getting really cross!
Recent adventures have been closer to home. I know that the Malverns are not mountains but when you walk up to the Worcester Beacon you could be persuaded that it is a mountain and, of course, the views are fabulous. With my slightly dodgy ticker, I have to carry a spray just in case, so mountaineering is not a current hobby!
The soft, natural colours of lakes and mountains are always a favourite of mine and, you’ve guessed it, this lovely palette is the inspiration behind my latest thread collection. I hope it conjures up wonderful images for you too.