Winter really felt interminable this year. It seemed that, for weeks I passed the same corner every day looking in vain for the snowdrops that always appear there, heralding Spring. “I don’t know what I’d do if it wasn’t for those” said one of my neighbour-buddies, indicating a single patch of struggling crocuses that provided the only cheer on a particularly grey and grim sub-zero March morning. When we visited New Lanark on April 2nd, there were no wild flowers blooming at all. The only things of colour we saw were the yellow eyelids of the nesting peregrines and the bright red toadstools that Tom struggled through some spiky undergrowth to photograph. After all of this weird nothing, May’s rapid explosion has felt particularly welcome. I began to see primroses and cowslips poking through the brown and grey . . . then the grass pinged green . . . and then there was speedwell, and bluebells, honesty, and dove’s foot geraniums . . .





. . . and then the blossom started to appear . . .


. . .and now the ordinary urban paths that I walk on every day appear like fairy glades.


. . . or rather, large black dog-filled glades.

In many respects, these past few months have felt a little odd. Tom has been living during the week in Glasgow, working really hard at his new job. Meanwhile, I have been managing various health issues with greater or lesser degrees of success, and trying very hard to work around and within my limits. These few months have made Tom and I both realise how reliant we are on each other, and how completely rubbish we are at being apart. The upshot is that we have decided to move from Edinburgh to an as-yet-unknown location close to the Highlands but within commuting distance of Glasgow. The prospect of a garden in which to grow veggies, a few chickens and another dog (or two) is very exciting to me, and I am hopeful of finding a small house or steading out West where this dream can become a reality. Less exciting is the work we have to do to our current abode prior to selling it. Apparently, property purchasers require chilly Edinburgh flats to have more sources of warmth than that which is provided by our solitary living-room wood burner . . . thus, with the help of David and Stevie and Trevor we will be installing shiny new-fangled central heating and making various other “improvements.”

Why am I telling you all this? Well, because life is inevitably going to be disrupted over the next few months. A kind neighbour is allowing me and Bruce to hang out in her flat while Stevie is up here ripping up the floorboards, but I have now lost access to my computer and work-pod during the day, so am less accessible by email. I also have to consider the implications of moving my business as well as my home. We have just a handful of boxes of Colours of Shetland left in my warehouse in Leith. Once these are sold, I will have to allow the book to go out of print until I can make new warehousing arrangements at our new as-yet-unknown locale. So, if you were considering purchasing a print copy of Colours of Shetland, my advice is to do it now, as there are not many left (the digital edition will, of course, continue to be available). I’m still taking wholesale orders (with the number of copies-per-shop limited), but for both retail and trade orders, once the books are gone, they are gone.

So, if anyone is looking to buy a flat in North Edinburgh’s leafiest and friendliest neighbourhood, then be sure to keep your eyes peeled later this Summer. And equally if anyone has suggestions for places to which Tom and I should consider moving please do feel free to make them — we are now conducting recces!

77 thoughts on “transititions

  1. how totally exciting! We renovated my tiny one-bed London flat before leaving for Australia in 2006, and we now have a beautiful old weatherboard on an acre of trees and flowers, with 20 beds of veggies outside the back door in Tasmania. We have a dog, a cat,and chooks are on the cards. It’s pretty much paradise…. I wish you huge amounts of home-hunting fun, and I know you will find the home you deserve… look forward to reading all about it! xx

  2. It is always a pleasure to see you photos of Scottish flowers. While friendly and welcoming to you, most of them seem exotic and wondrous to me in here coastal New England. Wishing you the very best in your search for a new home.

  3. Thank you for sharing the lovely pictures and I wish you all the best with finding a new home.

  4. Best wishes for enduring the hassles of the moving process. Once you are settled in your new home, you’ll be able to reap the rewards. Meanwhile, take care to conserve your energy and pause often to savor the restorative power of nature.

  5. Kate, I hope things will go as smoothly as possible. I know that for me, the thought of being able to add more pups to my family would be SO exciting! (I just hope Bruce will be happy with it.)

  6. Such exciting news!!! I’m sure you want to go further north but Pitlochry is possibly my most favourite place on Earth. Maybe worth a recce????? xxx ps good luck with the “improvements”

  7. Just ordered your book and I am so excited for your new adventure. We’ve been married 35 years and figured out early on that being apart wouldn’t work for us. Change is hard but easier when you are together. We’ve enjoyed raising fruits, vegetables, chickens, bees and dogs over the years. Life is sweet and I wish the same simple joys for you, Tom and Bruce.

  8. I’m sure you and Tom have spent many hours thinking about this move. Leaving an established nest may tug at your heart, but the future possibilities sound glorious. Yes, Arrochar. It was on Location, Location, Location. Phil and Kirstie found some stunning properties. Hey, why not contact them for assistance?!

    1. Kate – Candice is right – you and Tom… and Bruce… would make a fabulous edition of LLL! Too bad you are going Glasgow way…..

      ….I look forward to reading all about the house hunt and I know you will find the perfect place! Enjoy the whole process…

  9. OH, ‘the only constant is change’…………so they say! It will be quite the move but since you can take it slowly it will go WELL! Loved the flowers and the Lanarkshire walk made me homesick.
    As always I wish the BEST and we will all await your posts……..oh to move to Edinburgh….

  10. I personally put in a vote for Nashville, Tennessee, but I guess that’s kind of a long shot. One can wish, right? Can’t wait to hear about your new place.

  11. What a great adventure you will all be having! I’m sure having a property will be nice for everyone, especially Bruce, who will be able to have some brothers & sisters. Good luck with it all!

  12. at times change is necessary and even good… shame for leaving the Edinburgh’s leafiest and friendliest neighbourhood… if I had the chance to buy (i.e. finance), I’d look out for your soon-to-come-on-the-market flat :) all the best for the transition times!

  13. How wonderfully exciting this all sounds! Of course it is sad that you will be leaving Edinburgh, but I will be very excited to hear about your new home and what adventures in knitting and hiking a change of scene might inspire. The best of luck on your house-hunt!

  14. All the best for the move – I lived in Edinburgh – well Leith to be totally accurate – I think it’s got to be one of the most vibrant and exciting places in the world….. but my sister lives in Argyle and it is truly stunning – all manner of critters visit her on a daily basis – and she grows everything from Ginger to Tatties…. so excited for you!!! x

  15. How very exciting for you both! It will be a lot of work, but fun, to find a new home and to sell the old. I have just placed an order for your book as I didn’ t want to miss the opportunity. I really enjoy reading your blog, seeing the photos, and wondering if one of these days I can manage to knit one of your super designs. Thank you, and look after yourself during the “transition”.

  16. Best of luck in your move! Thanks again for the wonderful colorful flower photos as my world is still white with snow and brown with mud. I thought you ought to just knit the new owners some wool items and say . . . there is the answer to the lack of heating! Best of luck on your new home and be patient with the process as I am sure you will find your slice of heaven.

  17. How very exciting and oh to be able to live in the countryside with chickens and dogs. We are not good apart either but thankfully my hubby’s job only takes him away one or two nights a week, though that is new and something we are having to adapt to. I look forward to hearing all about you move when it happens. Good luck.

  18. Well this is all just super news – even the short term work and inconveniences. I bet Bruce can’t wait! Just take it one day at a time, and enjoy the process (well … after the workmen leave). :)

  19. Good luck and take care with your new, and exciting changes! I hope you don’t do what happens to us when we move – we make the house so lovely, with all the decorating and improvements made, we then don’t want to move out! I look forward to hearing more, love, Karen x

  20. Good luck with everything, and I do hope you find somewhere wonderful – I’m sure you will. Somewhere for another dog sounds really exciting, and the west is wonderful…

  21. Good luck with all the boring preparations, and much fun with the exciting bits. We have just returned from a short break near the Kyles of Bute, much further South than our normal visits. We were amazed at how easy it seems to be to commute to Glasgow by ferry from the islands and peninsulas.

    Many years ago I used to work for Blackie publishers – their head office was in Bishopbriggs (I worked in the London office), and we used to stay in Milngavie when up for meetings. I always loved the Campsie Fells area. I hope it has not changed that much since the mid-70s, but then again….

    I always thought that Edinburgh was within commuting distance of Glasgow.

  22. while the prospect of a move and all that entails is daunting – we all are sending lots of energy your way! i am sure there is the perfect property waiting for you and Tom and Bruce ! (i only now the Highlands … a bit too far for a daily commute).

    looking forward to reading about this new adventure!

  23. It is possible that Kent may be a wee bit too far for a commute to Glasgow, but it is considerably warmer down here. Loving your photos of flowers. How exiting for you to be making the move, despite all the tribulations, there is always something very thrilling about making these big life decisions.

  24. Kippen? Or just Stirlingshire? That’s where a lot of other University of Glasgow academics seem to end up :). And Stirling is really very pretty, good services and close to the Highlands (yes, it is my home town why do you ask?).
    How to sad to leave Edinburgh, though! I did wonder if Tom were commuting to Glasgow every day, but Leith to Hillhead is a bit of a hoof, I do it once a week and I’m knackered. Best luck with whatever you decide, and a garden of your own is a lovely thing.

  25. omy!!

    At times like this, I repeat the lesson Louise Hay taught me:

    All is well.
    Everythings is working out for my highest good.
    Out of this situation, only good will come.
    And I am safe.

    Keep in touch, my dear
    x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x Teri

  26. Hope all goes well with the pre sale improvements and how exciting to be relocating to a beautiful area (we holidayed there a few years ago). Make sure you look after yourself.

  27. How exciting is this!!? You are so fortunate to have good caring neighbors who can take you and Bruce in whilst your home is being rehabbed!! The fun of looking for a new place with a little garden area is great. Slowly does it in everything you do!! Happiness to you, Tom and Bruce. I do hope you will be close enough to the trains to get back and see your friends. It looks like (on the map) that Edinburgh and Glasgow and just a stone’s throw from each other.

  28. So exciting! And just the push I needed to finally buy the print edition of your book!

    Moving is a ton of work, but the possibilities it opens up are so exciting.

  29. Congratulations on your move! I can well imagine the hard work it will take to get where you are going, but once you are there I am sure you will wonder why you didn’t do it before.

  30. What a riot of colour to finally push winter away! Kate, you will love having a little (or not so little) piece of land to call your own and Tom and Bruce will be ecstatic. It sound as though your renovation arrangements are well advanced and now you have the fun part of finding your new home. I will enjoy reading your adventures as they unfold with the seasons.

  31. How exciting for you! Getting house, chickens, gardening and working with yarn and wool was long a dream of mine when I lived in Stockholm. Now I live in Värmland and now I have it all. Moving can open new opportunities. I really recommend it.

  32. An artist friend of mine lives just outside Killearn (I’m presuming that is what the ‘By Killearn’ in her address means!) which is close to Glasgow and simply lovely. There’s even a train from Milgavie.

  33. How lovely to see the wildflowers. I remember a return visit to the south of England in April and being blown away by the riot of colour along the roadside – bluebells and primroses mostly. We seem to have some wildflowers in bloom all year here in Melbourne, not all at once of course, so there is not the ‘Ah, spring is here at last ‘ feeling that you get in Britain. Good luck with your house hunting, anywhere in Scotland would be lovely as far as I am concerned -although you wouldn’t get me moving back to those cold winters! Hope your health improves with the change of location.

  34. What exciting news! Moving…terrifying and joyous all in one. I wish you and your family the smoothest of transitions. I, too, long for a plot of land with a garden, hens, and life out of the city. Perhaps I’ll enjoy vicariously through you? Thank you for your lovely spring flower photos. I’m curious, what sort of camera do you use? I’m ready to graduate from a point and shoot. All the best! Heather

  35. Did I just hear you say ‘another dog… maybe two’ ??? This is big news indeed! And a place to have a wee garden, I can just see it now. Time for a new era !

    ((And lucky me, because Lizzi so thoughtfully sent me one when they were first printed, I have your Colours Of Shetland before there are none left … whew ! )) :)

  36. Changes are so exciting! As someone who has lived in two countries and recently moved to an early 19th-century limestone house, I know how exhausting and disruptive it can all be, but it sounds as though the end result for you will be worthwhile, especially with a garden and dogs!

  37. Exciting times, but I know these things can have moments when you feel totally daunted, especially if health is not good. I live in tied accommodation though, and fantasy house buying is a favourite sport of mine, so I’ve had a peek at some of the areas mentioned above and am comforted by the number of properties in beautiful locations near Glasgow with the things on your wish list. I wish you peace in the midst of change and hope that you find the right place to blossom for you and Tom and Bruce.

  38. So hard to leave North Edinburgh, I love living in Comely Bank with a short walk into town. Lovely to get a garden and more space though! I do remember more than one Location Location with commutes to Glasgow. They are always being repeated. I know one was in the Campsie fells. Stirlingshire would maybe avoid some of the most busy places such as driving up the side of Loch Lomond. (Although there are some lovely places up there.) Also Stirlingshire is easier for trips back to Edinburgh? Then of course the West is so beautiful.
    Exciting big decisions to make…

  39. No recommendation from me as I’m not at all familiar with the Glasgow area, my favourite Scottish places are on the other side of the Highlands, in Moray and Nairnshire (momentary sidetrack – I disapprove of Chrome’s inbuilt spell check function, which is currently telling me ‘Nairnshire’ is not a word – I think you’ll find it is, Chrome – and suggesting I replace it with Lanarkshire!).

    However, I do wish you best of luck finding a place and I’m looking forward to vicarious puppy obtaining exploits to come.

  40. Be well and strong. May the journey be part of the joy. Your photos are great. Many thanks and good wishes from Vermont.

  41. Very glad to hear that you are planning such an exciting new life and a lovely new house, definitely out of Glasgow city – I always preferred Edinburgh and still love it now that I live in the Borders. But I haven’t seen mention of your cat, I hope he is also going with you?
    Whichever part of Scotland life takes you, I wish you all the best and lots of luck! x

  42. Lots of good, exciting change in your life at the moment … which doesn’t mean it’s not stressful, but overall it’s a GOOD stress.

    We got a second dog last year, and honestly it was one of the best things we’ve done. Leo was just a puppy when Jasper got here (Jasper was 4), and they do such a great job of entertaining and exercising each other … and delighting us with their antics. Double the mud and shedding, of course, but that’s a small price to pay. I’m sure Bruce will love having a sibling.

  43. I love the flower pictures. Cowslips are always so sweet. Take the move at your pace and enjoy it. I can’t live without a little ‘dirt’ around me to garden in. Best wishes.

  44. Joining in the good wishes for a smooth move! May the work not be so intense that it interferes with the joy of grand adventure!

    I wish I knew the Highlands so well as to be able to provide some helpful suggestions.

    Take care of yourself. Congrats to you and Tom for being able to see what you need and go after it.

  45. Good luck! We did similarly last year: Also leaving our leafy and friendly north Edinburgh abode but we headed south to the Scottish boarders. Got the chickens, started growing the veggies (and fruit) but still working Hubby about the dog! And the good ol’ A1 means that commuting into Edinburgh is perfectly do-able. Have you tried county living before? I grew up in the countryside but in some ways it’s very different doing it as a “grown-up”. (Don’t think miles away, think minutes – that way a 50 mile round trip to your “local” knitting group won’t seem so ridiculous!) Haven’t regretted it for a second though – and wish you nothing less x

  46. Tenho certeza que logo, encontrarás um lindo lugar para estar com seu Tom
    espero que seja florido, para que possas nos presentear com lidas fotos como
    estas. Desejo-lhe muito boa sorte…..!!!!

  47. I have to say that you always have such a lovely way of describing your walks and the natural beauty around you. It always gives me a lift! Best of luck with your renovations and finding a new lovely spot to live!

  48. Love the saturated colour of your flower photos. Exciting times for you! I grew up partly in the west Renfrewshire farmland and would say it might be worth considering that part of the world, only 25 minutes from Glesga. But must admit that my heart’s in the highlands – one of my favourite things about our house was that I could see Ben Lomond from the back garden – so I’d agree with everyone who recommends the north side of the Clyde, whether to the west (Helensburgh) or north (Trossachs). All the best with your search.

  49. As someone who’s about to move too (though not on such a grand scale!), I just wanted to wish you, Tom and Bruce the very best of luck in finding somewhere absolutely perfect, or at least in finding somewhere you can make perfect without too much effort!

  50. All the best to all of you!
    I will order your book, as I meant to do for the last two months but never got round to so far.
    I follow your blog with great pleasure and I hope you will be able to continue with it and share your news with us…
    PS If I can ask, what happened to Jesus the cat? Is he still part of your household and will he move with you if so?

  51. i know nothing beyond what you post, but i have to say your relationship with Tom is inspiring to me. i hope you work through these transitions well and it is filled with joy. many hugs to you both!

  52. Just to say good luck with your move. Looking for somewhere on Rightmove and Zoopla is the fun bit, having the builders in somewhat less so! Chickens are great.

  53. Dear Kate,

    I’m so excited for you and your family! I hope the whole moving business and house hunting goes smoothly, and that you’ll soon be able to enjoy a new house, garden and possibly another dog.
    Best of luck with selling your house and finding a new one!

  54. How exciting and daunting all at the same time! However, the thought of more dogs, well, it may keep you buoyed up through this process!
    Good luck and I look forward , as always , to one day reading all about your new abode in the highlands!!

  55. Oh how exciting! I thought you might move to Glasgow but I can see why you would prefer dog-space and greenery. Where to? Ooh – so many possibilities! You probably know the West better than me. I am a sucker for Applecross, but perhaps that is a bit too far for daily commuting to Glasgow. Wishing you a wonderful house-hunt!
    Does everyone do up their houses before selling nowadays? Don’t the first-time buyers want fixer-uppers anymore? Crikey, they will have to knock ours down and start again.

  56. Spring has been so slow here in Northern Italy too…best thing about it is that I’m still able to have a lap full of wool in May so projects go a bit faster. The lilly-of-the-valley, usually comes in April but I didn’t see the first one till last week. Thanks for the cherry photos and best of luck with finding a new home and work-space!

  57. Thanks for delivering my order of your beautiful book so quickly. Ordered Saturday, arrived Tuesday. I am taking it into work tonight to have a good read of during my breaks. Hardest decision make will be which of your gorgeous designs will I tackle first.

  58. I’m sorry that the prompt for me to get your lovely book had to be the news of your uprooting from Edinburgh. I’m sure only good things will come from the move, wherever you go, and I wish you all the best.

  59. Gourock! An easy commute to Glasgow. Looks onto the Argyll Hills and beyond – fantastic views for inspiration. And lots of yarny people for company!

  60. hi kate.

    i saw you on the chancalot path on my way to work! totally admire your work and love your style. i was the one that was smiling like a loon when i saw you and bruce on a bike in a red jacket.would have stopped to chat (and cuddle bruce) but i was late for work in my usual style.

    anyways. my inlaws live in helensburgh and we spend a lot of time there. it is lovely, however, as you probably know, it rains quite a bit. i suggest you look there and around there (shandon, rhu, ardarden etc)

    glad have spotted you in edinburgh while you are still living on the east coast. best of luck to you!

  61. During our visit to Scotland last week we stopped at New Lanark. The gardens are in full bloom. Seeing the mill was one of the many highlights of our trip. Best wishes for a smooth and uneventful move!

  62. Kate, having been well over a week, I just wanted to mention I miss your posts ! As you warned, you must be out of the flow of the ‘net, and seeking shelter in your neighbor’s flat, well in the middle of construction. Well, just sending you a lot of California (cold) blue sky, and a well-wishing for your bright new future. I still can’t get over this new era you speak of, with chickens and multiple dogs, and ‘steading’… a new chapter in life !

  63. Ordered my copy of Colours of Shetland after seeing this entry. It arrived this morning and just wanted to let you know that I love it. Want to make those buttons now.

    The background information about Shetland, the fascinating snippets of history and the beautiful photography make it so much more than to book of knitting patterns. And those patterns are so inspiring – don’t know what to make first. Love the gorgeous Hap and the fair-isle tammy and mittens and the hoody – in fact all of it. Thank you.

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)