Carbeth loch

High summer in Scotland. Days of rain, and days of grey, and weird, unseasonably chilly days, and then the occasional jewel comes along. A day of warm sunshine and breezes when, after work, we pick chard or courgettes from the garden, lament the woeful state of the tomatoes, and sit outside to eat with swallows and housemartins whirling above. The late sun lights up the house across the loch; a blackcap sings a song of startling beauty atop a neighbour’s TV aerial, and the world turns the colour of old gold. We walk up and over the hill, where German scouts in kilts are camped out enjoying the view. Below us, the Blane and Endrick valleys stretch away toward Loch Lomond, the Trossachs and the west Highlands beyond. I feel that sensation of familiar astonishment that this is actually my doorstep.

goldenevening

It has been an interesting few weeks. Several things have happened as a consequence of my Woman’s Hour interview, both good and bad. All I will say about the bad is that when a tabloid journalist tells you they are going to use your radio interview as the basis of an article in their own newspaper, uses offensive phrases in reference to your own (and others) disabilities, and demands to see photographs of you suffering in hospital after having had a stroke, you can be pretty sure that their output is of the very lowest quality. The good consequences are much more interesting, and indeed much more positive. They led to a stimulating meeting in London yesterday which has really made me think, and which may perhaps mark some sort of new departure. We shall see.

8

Meanwhile, Tom and I have been married for a year. It has been an incredible year of hard work, lots of fun, and many changes! In case you hadn’t realised, Tom hopped off the academic merry-go-round, and is now enjoying the world of photography, book production, and yarn (lots and lots and lots of yarn) instead. KDD is all about making things (yarn, knitted garments, books, words, images) and we are having a blast making them together. As you might imagine, we have a lot on the go at the moment, and we are currently working on two very exciting projects. Both of these projects are very much under wraps right now, but I will be able to tell you about them very soon (hints: a new shade and island travels).

Here’s to year two! Slainte.

mekons

100 thoughts on “August thoughts

  1. That’s the gutter press agenda in action. I dare say it wasn’t the journalist, it was the journalist’s editor, pursuing the “all people on benefits are shirkers” agenda. I’m sure he or she knows quite well that when there isn’t enough news to fill the newspaper otherwise, Woman’s Hour is a good place to mine for stories like yours that can be turned on their head. It must be absolutely livid-making to find one’s life story being stolen like that in the service of newspaper sales.

    So Tom’s deserted his faithful little B cells? But lots of other people can work on them, whereas only he can take those really beautiful photographs. Congratulations on the success that has led you both to take that decision to work in the same business together. The sky’s the limit for you two – and thanks for taking us along for the ride.

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  2. Listened to the interview on Women’s Hour and I’m now hooked! I would have liked the interview to be longer and go deeper into your thoughts, Kate, as I found it fascinating as well as your journey of recovery after your stroke.

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  3. Such beautiful photos. Some distant ancestors from Scotland though I have seldom seen any photos. I also love the beautiful things made of wool. Felting is something I love to do – I feel such a connection to the animals through the wool. Thanks for such a beautiful post. Debra

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  4. Thank you both for the inspiration, & education you provide via this blog & your books! I’ve loved everything KDD has produced thus far and am excited to hear about the new projects you have in the pipeline. I really enjoyed your Women’s Hour interview – it is helpful to have our eyes opened to the challenges faced in recovery from a stroke, and I am sure that everything you have achieved since then (both on a practical as well as professional level) will be encouraging and inspiring to others who currently find themselves in a similar situation. Many best wishes for the year to come!

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  5. Here’s another wish for a happy anniversary and many more fine years. Better look on the bright side of life instead of things not to be considered.
    I think I found the article you talk about and I fully agree on the “output of lowest quality”. It’s rather like a collection of quotes eventually to be used in an article that has yet to be written, so the connection of the quotes doesn’t want to add up, not even (un)intentionally misunderstandable. The good news is, she didn’t get to publish any sensationalist pictures, thank God for small mercies.

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  6. Happy Anniversary! Happy Year Two! May it be another glorious adventure (which I think is already under way). Great to see that lovely wedding photo again!

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  7. Happy Anniversary both of you – loved the Woman’s Hour interview and don’t let the press get you down .. I hope the positives outweigh the negatives. I’m sure you know how much fun we’ve all been having knitting haps all summer and that’s down to you Kate – so thank you for making my life (and others) so much more pleasurable.

    Best wishes and can’t wait to see whats next.
    Julie (aka Crochet Julie)

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  8. Happy Anniversary! Everything that you write is always thoughtful and inspiring. The photos are always gorgeous. We are the lucky ones to receive your posts. Many many thanks.

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  9. Happy anniversary. My husband and I recently celebrated our 30th. The romantic man retired on our anniversary. My parents celebrated 59 years in May.
    Enjoy every moment; surround yourself with great people; take care. Please give your four legged friend a hug from a friend in Kingman, AZ.

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  10. Happy Anniversary! I’m delighted to hear that Tom has been able to leave academia, you make a great team. As for the tabloids – I despair at the state of our press, all sensationalism, and not just in the tabloids. Your interview was great, hope the positives outweigh that negative, Looking forward to the new ventures.

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  11. Happy anniversary! And many many more, and also lovely books and adventures! And cheers to new opportunities! Sad regarding the ugly journalist, but I just have to have faith that folks with integrity will continue to shine brightly. We cannot make large changes perhaps, but we can be like little islands of light and comfort, and if there are enough of us…. perhaps the gloom will lighten?? :-) Cheers to being a bright one and wishing you and Tom and Bruce all the very very best!

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  12. Happy Anniversary! The Woman’s Hour interview was so interesting. Your blog is really inspiring. I love to read it. The photos are beautiful. Lots of success with your new projects.

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  13. Happy anniversary!
    As a long-time follower of your blog, I was absolutely thrilled to hear you on Woman’s Hour, and then to follow the other interviewees in the chain. I am shocked that a tabloid journalist turned that into something negative. Your blog has been such a positive force and I have recommended it to friends who have been through difficult times.
    I hope that the positive impact of that interview far outweighs the negative for you.
    And I second the remarks of all of those who are so pleased that your business is thriving. Congratulations!

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  14. all the best for the two (all right bruce, three) of you – not just for the next year, but for many more to come. look forward to what you both come up with next.

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  15. You will weather this storm as you have weathered others — with perseverance, intelligence and dignity. Happy anniversary to you both, and many, many, many, more!

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  16. Happy Anniversary!! We celebrate our Pearl Anniversary at the end of the month – I don’t know where the years have gone!!

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  17. Happy Anniversary! Congratulations to you both! I have been enjoying your blog and all of the beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing your talent and your life with all of us. Best wishes to you and Tom!

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  18. Congrats on your anniversary and all the exciting changes you two have brought to you life. Thank you for sharing your lovely evening. To be able to fully appreciate the landscapes we live with is a wonderful thing.

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  19. I love that you left academia out of necessity, but that Tom left (at least in part) because your departure was such a success. Congratulations to you both (on your marriage, business success, and on leaving academia… I’m a former academic myself, and definitely feeling the zeal of the newly converted).

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  20. Congratulations to both of you on your anniversary. We celebrated our 13th anniversary (lace) on the 5th with our candle (lit every year). Every year is better than the last.
    Why are some people so nasty? There is really no need. They’re not worth bothering about, though it must be hard to ignore when you’re in the middle of it.
    Looking forward to hearing more about your plans.

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  21. Love your work, enhance by Toms photography. I enjoyed reading haps on a recent cruise to Norway and Orkney. Pure pleasure! Ignore that stupid journalist. Disability and illness force’s such contact with people whose ignorance is such a pain. Perhaps Bruce could be persuaded to jump and slobber all over her!

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  22. Congratulations on your anniversary Kate and Tom. I have been following your blog for years now and your downs have been very low and your highs are up there with the best. But despite this you just keep keeping on. That deserves the biggest praise. So congatulations for that as well.

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  23. Sorry to hear about your bad experience with the so called journalist. Happy Anniversary to you and Tom and I love the shadow photograph of the two of you and Bruce.

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  24. Hi Kate..the best to you and Tom, and for many more years to come..so great to be so compatible that you can work together..cheers for Tom, for changing up his life direction..as always his photography is amazing , always adding that magic to your writing
    ..too bad there are people out their like that journalist eh , an intensive person , reminds me of the ones on the American cnn, ghoulish ..not to mind though , they are so the losers in their career and life , just put it behind you..am excited to hear about your new plans…not planning any knitting trips are you, with workshops…ha, ha , put me on the list if you are

    I do fancy a trip to Scotland….hugs pat j

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  25. Congratulations on your fine year of wedded bliss and of your fine accomplishments. You three are wonderful examples of lives well lived and well loved.

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  26. Your lyrical description of your spot in the West Highlands makes me want to hop a plane and travel directly to the Way. Travel instead to Shetland for a month of wool and words (work on a novel) will have to do. As I think of your anniversary — and wish you many more wonderful ones together — I’m struck (no pun intended) by the many lovely changes that have come about as a result of your having left academia and of Tom’s having followed you. Of course the residual effects of the stroke are still with you, and of corse they still irritate and frustrate. But we, out here in knitland and yarnworld and wooluniverse have gained so much richness from your creativity and scholarship. There’s so much delight we would never have experienced, so many designs we wouldn’t have knitted, so many places we (or I, at any rate) wouldn’t have traveled (to the Sonia Delaunay exhibit; to Shetland, multiple times). Thank you for all you have given us. I’m glad your work has been “a blast,” something I know could not have been said about the groves of academe! With every good wish to you both.

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  27. Lovely article, Kate. whatever this time of great change brings, change is good. You and Tom and your friends and team are inspiring. All the best to you all.

    Happy summer.

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  28. Happy Anniversary!! Did wonder how Tom, the Wonder Man, the able to do so much and am so pleased he made that choice!! Academia can be a BEAR, as you know!! You are both so lucky and yes, you made your own luck. Bugger on the tabloids!!

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  29. That initial paragraph is pure poetry. Your love of place shines through.
    What a delightful year it’s been for me to read about your adventures and amazing
    accomplishments.
    Thanks for the link to the Women’s Hour interview. Meant to listen to
    that earlier but “busyness” took me in another direction.
    Thank you for such a delightful blog!

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  30. Had wondered how Tom managed to balance so many plates. Yes, follow your passion. And I agree with an earlier commenter “piffle with the tabloid twit”. Here’s to ya!

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  31. Happy Anniversary! And how exciting to be embarking on a new adventure with Tom! Tabloids are the worst. Thanks for being your wonderful self and not letting low level journalists get you down! Keep up the good work.

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  32. Happy Anniversary to you both! Long may you enjoy working together. Congratulations to Tom for leaving academia and persuing his passion.

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  33. Congrats to you three!
    We were in Gullane last weekend eating the best Sea Buckthorn ice cream. It was warm with Scottish pals in tee shirts and me wrapped in wool and cag.

    Great to see Bruce so well!

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  34. Happy First Anniversary to the both of you, Kate and Tom, and Bruce, too, of course. Also, congratulations Tom, for hopping off the carousel. I must tell you, Tom, that your pictures are often sources of strength and inspiration that I keep returning to. May the rest of the summer be golden! I anticipate your new projects with glee and pleasure!

    Oh and piffle with that miserable tabloid twit!

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  35. Congratulation on your wedding anniversary – to many many more! I have a friend whose grandparents celebrated their 70th anniversary just recently! As ever, I look forward to hearing all about your new projects and ideas!

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  36. Congratulations – as much as anything, for embracing change and all that implies.
    And thank you for the reintroduction to Women’s Hour – great fun to find it’s still there and I can listen to the podcast from Vancouver. It was a great interview, as were the following ones in the chain.
    I think it’s a gift to be able to truly appreciate the beauty in front of you – so many people rush by and don’t notice the gems, small and large. So, long may you have those breath taking moments – there are a number of places here on the North Shore that I keep thinking will become everyday, but every time they make me draw breath, stop, smile, sometimes shed a tear of joy.
    Life is good, and the crap days only enhance that!

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  37. Happy Anniversary and congrats on pursuing your dreams together. Tom’s photography is gorgeous and what a great choice to leave the stressful world of academia and pursue it more. It’s so special that you can work together on your projects.

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  38. Happy anniversary……………….what lovely photos, looks fantastic there. Think about all the good things, and ignore the awful things – there are a few horrible people in the world, who get joy from belittling others and making people fell bad – they are not worthy of our time. You have been a great inspiration to so many people, people love your work and sharing your inspirations via these posts – you are amazing.

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  39. Happy Anniversary, Kate! I just love the photos you post of your neighborhood. I was in the Trossachs years ago and it was my favorite part of Scotland. I listened to your interview on the Woman’s Hour and I found such inspiration there, it is a shame that not all felt that way.

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  40. Hello Kate.

    I am a fan from Missouri USA. Love your designs, blogs. Question for you. I have searched your site but can’t find the info on my question. I imagine it is because my dream doesn’t exist. Do you have a shop/porch/barn anything…that we can shop/touch/look at your beautiful yarns? 3 friends and I will literally be in your neighborhood in Sept. We knitters have planned our Scotland Get Away for 5 years. Our plane takes off Sept 8…and we are so so excited. We will be renting a car to get into the country we really want to see. We plan on seeing the area of the “look-out” on the Scenic Drive because of the article I saw on your blog. My fear..is that we won’t want to come home from Scotland!

    My trip dream would be to spend all of my “yarn money” on your yarn and books. Is there anywhere in Scotland we can buy your yarn or is it strictly done on your on-line store. I need to feel that yummy yarn. :-)

    Carol Lehman who will be traveling with Kim, Connie and Cheryl

    >

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  41. Happy Anniversary! I want to say that I really enjoyed your interview very much. It was so nice to put a “voice” to the words that I have been reading. I truly appreciate all that you shared with us. Congratulations to Tom for leaving academia, and for all of you (Bruce, too, of course), following this new path. I look forward to the continued posts and inspiration that your work provides to all.

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  42. Happy anniversary to you and Tom, Kate. Remember that no one has the power to hurt you unless you let them. Focus on all the good. Your life is an inspiration. xo

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  43. Thanks again for taking us on virtual walks in your lovely country, Kate. Happy Anniversary to you & Tom and congratulations to Tom for escaping academia. As to your bad experience with the tabloid, that reporter better remember that all of us will defend you & that we have many pointy objects to do so. I’m sure that Bruce is happy to have you both at home now. Enjoy your new adventure. We are all eagerly awaiting news of the secret projects.

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  44. You two, I mean Three —
    are my ROYAL FAMILY.

    Lovin’ your poetic vision + colours + golden touch.
    Carry on, your Highness!!

    Teri

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  45. Congratulations! So good to take a moment to reflect and savor all the blessings. We are 50+ years married and always relish seeing the start of a beautiful journey. I too, listened to the interview and would love to have PBS carry it or something of the like. I do feel that journalism is a mirror of the culture and unfortunately here in the US we’re seeing a streak of Neanderthal, (maybe that’s offensive to the N, comparing them to trump). But knit on! Maybe there’s the path to unity, all creating something beautiful!

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  46. Happy anniversary, and here’s to many more :) I too really enjoyed your Woman’s Hour interview, and anyone who pays attention to tabloid nonsense is a fool! Those journalists are really the lowest of the low. You are truly an inspirational woman – I’ve been following your journey for some years now and it has been such an amazing one; you should be proud of what you’ve achieved against difficult odds. Congratulations from a fan, but not a stalker!

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  47. Happy Anniversary Tom, Kate and Bruce! How fast the year has gone. May the three of you have many more! Congratulations Tom on the career change, you have the perfect partner for career and life!

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  48. I’m personally delighted that I was introduced to you via the Woman’s Hour interview and so sorry that there has been a negative; t’s sad that there are individuals like that – but they’re not worth thinking about. Your blog is an inspiration and I’m looking forward to trying some of your knitting patterns in the future. Happy anniversary!

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  49. Happy Anniversary to you two, and to a long and creative life together!
    I really enjoyed your Woman’s Hour interview, and having just received two of your books as birthday present, look very much forward to many more beautiful and inspirational things to come.

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  50. Happy Anniversary! I love what you do, your books are works of art as well as being fabulous knitting resources. Ever since I happened on a copy of Alice Starmores Fishermans Knits in the 80s I have been intrigued by ‘traditional’ patterns and the social history behind them and your books expand that interest. Looking forwards to what comes next.

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  51. Happy Anniversary! I recall enjoying that lovely wedding picture of the three of you walking the hills.

    I’m in southern Louisiana, where the heat index was 108 F yesterday with 75% humidity. I feel cooler just reading your lovely post!

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  52. Wishing you both all the best and ignore the rest! You are an inspiration to more than knitters.
    Can’t wait to find out your next adventures. Always a lovely journey.

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  53. Wishing you and Tom all the very best in year two!

    As for the tabloid writer (can’t call that journalism), well, there aren’t even words. Stay with the sure knowledgethst you have contributed so much good and beauty to the world.

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  54. Goodmorning Kate from a blistering hot Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you and Tom for lovely photos of a much cooler Scotland! Those always bring back happy memories too of our honeymoon in Scotland. Come to that: Congratulations on your first year and all the fabulous things you and Tom and your friends have accomplished. (I thouroughly enjoy the hap book!!!) Cheers to that and all the good things coming to you. And please ignore the stupid people’s from tabloids and the like!!! Love and Peace, Johanna

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  55. Happy Anniversary!! I, too, enjoyed your interview and “assumed” the Foreign Press was much more civilized than the groups over here. If possible listen to or read the words to Phil Collins’ song Dirty Laundry.
    The photos you post of your surroundings are amazing. What beauty right out your door. Is your weather always so changeable?
    Also congratulations to Tom for following his dream also.

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  56. A year already, doesn’t it go fast! A busy and successful year too, long may it continue. I’m coming up your way on holiday in a month’s time so I watch for your photos with great interest. Believe it or not I’ve never been to Scotland before (lived all my life in France until recently), so I’m very excited to discover. I shall be based in Lochgoilhead, I hope that is a good choice.

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  57. Sorry to hear about the bad, but wishing you a long and happy future filled with the GOOD. The golden evening photo in this post is one of the most beautiful I have seen.

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  58. A very happy day to you both and mayyou have many many more years together!
    I hunted up the interview and had a listen. It was a good one. I wanted to hear what you had to say, but also to hear what you sounded like, as I’ve only ever read your blog and seen pictures. Hoping to change that, as we are making plans to come to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival next year. I’ll be one of your many fans stopping in to say hello.

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    1. I too wanted to hear what your voice sounds like! I was surprised by the northern accent (although why I should have been, I have no idea, since you’ve told us in the past where you grew up). But it was a pleasure to listen to your interview and Felix’s; such well-spoken advocates for women’s work! I really value the intellectual and historical research you share with us about textiles and knitting; I can admit to an overly romanticized view about traditional knitting communities, before reading your essays and blog posts. Many thanks for everything that you do for this community, and Happy Anniversary too!

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  59. Or is that “under haps”? It was a brilliant interview and I am sorry about the negative sequellae, but hope the positive very much outweighs the tabloid experience. Your writing has done so much to explain sensitively your stroke experience and is a great encouragement. Enjoy the rest of the summer!

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  60. Happy anniversary. May the years ahead be full of excitement, joy and love. Really looking forward to hearing about your new exciting adventures.

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  61. Gulp! I heard your interview on BBC4 Woman’s Hour, and that started me reading your blog, and delving back into your earlier posts. I have become a fan. Who imagined anyone would distort what you said and you would have such a bad experience as a result – I’m glad you did the interview, and glad the bad has been so outweighed by the good. Good luck Kate.

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