I have a bit of catching up to do with my readers. I'll probably share more detail in the next few months as I ease into the luxury of more time. But, the headline news is that six weeks ago I moved to rural Aberdeenshire, and 10 days ago my London publishing job expired. As I moved to London a few years ago, I found myself gradually working more and more, away from my business, partly because of the opportunities but mostly in order to afford London. It was a step out of the swirl of London careers, but I've done it before and it was much more obviously the right thing to do.
Why Scotland? I nearly moved to a beautiful part of West Wales. I frequently stayed at Pen Pynfarch as my escape of choice from London. A settling wooded valley, with warm-hearted and creative hosts, it became my rural home from home. Now, however, I find myself a lot further away.
I spent part of my childhood here, as my grandfather was from near Fraserburgh. Then, as a young adult at Edinburgh University independence gave me the taste for rural escape and I would visit him in these parts whenever I felt that need. I missed it terribly when I first went to Italy after graduating but it slowly got buried as the rest of life came to the fore.
I never dreamt of moving back but I also began feverishly unpicking some strands of family history in the last few years. I discovered a large archive of family papers that are carefully housed in the The University of Aberdeen Library Special Collections Centre and it seemed to make perfect sense to base myself here a hour away from Aberdeen. I found a farmhouse to rent in the Deveron valley, not far from the coast.
I'll be spending more time working out where my fashion business needs to go next. I'm unsure right now, as it's early days. It's so hard to have that clarity when you're dragged in so many directions, as I was in London. The dark winter, which is beginning to gather round, will be my time to contemplate and plan.
It's a beautiful region of Scotland, and is delighting me as I return here, with its landscapes and coastline. Austere at times but I find this both enthralling and comforting.
Here are a few images Hipstamatic has offered up:
The Deveron Valley, from where I live
Sandend village and beach, with appreciative dog.
Findlater castle; a dramatic cliff-top ruin
Quiet corners of Old Aberdeen, near Aberdeen University
Breakfast treat in Huntly, £1.65 all in; tea and home-bake buttery from an unmodernised caff. Buttery (aka rowie or morning roll) is a delicous lardy croissant-type bake.