Thursday, 30 January 2014

Sharks Valley

Good afternoon!
Today I want to share a lovely walk. Last week J and I celebrated 11 years of marriage, and to mark the occasion J took a day off work so we could spend it together exploring a corner of St Helena that we had not been to before. As soon as the Smalls were safely in school we headed off to a little place called Silver Hill.
looking back to the centre of the island from the start of our walk
There are lots of great walks on St Helena, and many of the best are collected together in a book of 'post box walks'. There is a map and written instructions of each walk, and at the end of the walk is a 'post box' (usually a box in a hollow post) containing a note book and pen to sign to say you got there and a rubber stamp to mark your map or the walk book.

This is where we are going - down Sharks Valley
We have collected a few stamps but many of the walks are to far or two hard or two precipitous for the Smalls, so to get out on our own is a real treat.

It was a misty moisty morning, so we stood by the car applying sun cream in the rain. Not as mad as it sounds - the sun here (southern hemisphere and close to the equator) is very strong and it is not uncommon to burn through the clouds.

St Helena was showing off all the amazing variety of her landscape as we started along a wide path marked by cairns of stones.

We were heading down Sharks Valley to the sea on the south west coast of the island. It is thought that the name is a corruption of shirk's valley. It would be a good place to hide.

After about 45 minutes of walking through dry scrub and then semi-desert we were directed towards a very dark tunnel under some wild mango trees (sadly nothing to do with the edible sort).

In the tunnel we picked our way across a stream. There are very few streams that run year-round here, and this is one of them. We joined it not long after it emerged from the dry hillside and followed it right down to the sea.

It made a lovely background to hear the sound of the water as we walked.

we appear to have walked through the shire
 Near the stream was a ribbon of greenery in the bottom of a very dry, dusty and steep-sided valley.

We crossed the stream several times, and J had fun clearing any greenery that encroached on the path with his machete. (He referred to this as his sword throughout...)

We could hear water falls even when we didn't have a clear view of the stream, and some times we came across pools.

The pics above and below were taken from the same spot. All I did was turn around!

As well as the wild mango, there was what is known locally as yam, but taro over the rest of the world, and wild celery.

As we got nearer the coast the mist lifted and we could see our shadows.


The way-markers changed too.

The path sort of petered out at the end and we had to scramble down the rocks to the beach.

The stream arrived in a somewhat more stylish manner.

And here it is - the post box.

We stamped our map, my book of St H flora and the handle of the machete (sword) then went for an explore.

It clouded over again but the scenery was still impressive.

The sea on the south side of the island is often very rough and never safe.

the view back up the valley
 After exploring the rocky beach we returned to the stream to look for a good spot for lunch, and this is what we found...

An actual and real waterfall and pool combo fit for an actual tropical island. The only thing missing from central casting was the weather. It started to rain. Hard. We ate our sarnies sheltered by a rocky overhang.

It soon stopped, and although it was a bit chilly to take a dip, I did take my boots off and put my feet in the water. Very lovely it was too.

Then it was time for the return journey. To paraphrase Yazz: the only way was up. A long way up.

looking down on the pool from above

I stopped taking photos after a while as I got hotter and more out of breath. The last half hour or so were very hard work, and when we got to the top I could really have done with that pool to jump in! Instead we went to the shop and bought ice creams. Then it was time to head back and pick up the Smalls from school.

A lovely grown up day out.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Lost my way

[Edit: I posted this a few minutes ago, then reread it and realised what I whinge-bag I sound. Also I forgot the whole point of this post which was to welcome all my lovely new followers who come by from Grow Your Blog. Great welcome eh, a whingey moany post! BUT but but, I feel much better for my whinge so I am going to be true to myself and leave it up. Mostly this is my shiny-happy place and I am sure normal service will resume shortly.]
Arg, I am having trouble with my blogging voice. In fact I think I have generally lost my way in many things at the moment. 
much loved but falling apart blouse, deconstructed

I am looking for it, my way that is, in all the usual places - making stuff, tidying up, spending time with people who are good for me, planning fun things, cooking nice food.

paper pattern made from the pieces

But it is an elusive creature. I am spending as much time unpicking as stitching, photos don't look the way I want them too, my clothes feel awkward and my food is tasteless.

cut out pieces

I feel like I am going through the motions but without properly engaging in anything.

working out what order to sew them together

So, I think I am going to have to ramp up my way-hunt.

gathers worry me

Anyone else got any ideas where I should look?

a ta da that I ought to be rather pleased with


Friday, 24 January 2014

Grow Your Blog

Today I am taking part in Grow Your Blog organised by Vicki over at 2 Bags Full. The idea is to pop over and take a peek at lots of blogs, then follow those that take your fancy. At the same time people are popping in to see you. It's like a sort of street party for bloggy types. So if you have come via 2 bags Full, welcome to Stitches and Seeds, and if you have come for any other reason, welcome also. My name is Eleanor. Now, can I get you a glass of something? Cuppa? Cake? Excellent.
Now I am supposed to tell you all about why I blog and what it is all about. Hard question really. I started almost two years ago, really just to prove to myself I could. I didn't even broadcast the existence of my little blog to anyone to start with, I just wanted to see if it suited me. I think it does and so I like to ramble about my crafty makes, my much loved garden, baking, days out and all manner of fun.
Then about 15 months ago we embarked on a little adventure. J and I and the three Smalls left our happy house and our lovely garden to travel half way round the world, and came to live here on the little island of St Helena for two years.
My little blog expanded to include stories of our travels and our exploits in our new home. I have met amazing crafty types and have expanded my horizons in every direction since we have been here. My non-crafty friends and family back home have even started popping by sometimes. 
So scroll back through a few posts and you can explore life 1000 miles from anywhere and have a peek at one of my pet projects. If you like what you see, follow along with the button in the left hand side bar and I look forward to you popping by again soon.
Expanding my horizons: the view from Jamestown wharf this evening.
Now, charge your glasses and lets make a toast to future bloggy fun and frienship.



Thursday, 23 January 2014

Oh, honey honey

Shopping in St Helena is very much a hit and miss affair. If you see something you like, (exotic things like dishwasher salt for instance) you empty the shelf into your basket. Some things are non-existent: soft fruit, Indian curry paste (Thai is pretty easy to get), sun-dried tomatoes. Some things are there occasionally: fizzy water, black olives. Others you can make your own: hummus, guacamole, interesting bread. But there is something you feel you ought to be able to get but just can't.

Other than our holiday back to the UK, we have not eaten honey for over a year. Imports are banned because it is not a processed product and it can harbour diseases that might harm the local honey bees.

But last year, the drought caused the honey crop to fail. This year it is still in scarce supply, but we managed to secure three jars.

Three precious jars of golden goodness.

It is delicious, very runny  and very much appreciated.