It is strange how things come full circle. It's a Saturday night. Everyone at Frank & Olive's crochet retreat has had dinner, and I'm stood at the edge of a field in North Yorkshire, watching swallows scoop through the air as dusk settles. I spent a lot of time as a teenager looking up at the very same part of the sky, because my best friend lived less than a mile away down the road. Any balmy night in Yorkshire is worth spending outside, and we'd often sleep in her summer house or in tents in her garden, campouts where we'd wake up with slugs on our pillows and trudge inside through the wet morning grass to put the kettle on.
When I lived in the countryside as a teenager, everything felt small and I couldn't wait to live amongst endless concrete and newsagents and coffee shops and train stations. But now those skies feel huge, that air feels like the novelty. Those birds, the hedge line tucking us into the shallow valley for the night, they all feel so strange and eccentric.
At the start of last month Hannah and I packed up Guac Kitchen and went to celebrate a whole year of Frank & Olive crochet retreats. It was the first time the retreats would be held in Birdforth and The Millhouse, and we'd been told to plan for a party.
By the time we arrived at midday on Friday, Ruby and Kim had transformed the huge house into a Frank & Olive crochet extravaganza with floor-to-ceiling balloons, tables full of flowers, streamers, bunting and *lot* of cactuses.
It was so lovely to be part of yet another retreat with a birthday surprise around every corner. On Saturday, we had the biggest crochet lunch we’ve catered for so far- about 30 people- with lots of days guests and press from the world of crochet and craft dropping by. After lunch, I served up a ginormous chocolate fudge cake with caramel frosting. We had so many guests on Saturday night, Kim had to make an actual children’s table for me, her and Hannah so everyone could eat in the same room.
Then suddenly it was Sunday, and we were serving a final lunch before everyone dashed off to catch trains and beat the traffic home. And the house was de-crocheted in a few hours and before you could tell, the retreat was done once more.
It’s always slightly sad to see each retreat packed up so quickly when Ruby and Kim have put so much work into making them run so smoothly. It’s all the behind the scenes effort that makes them look so seamless, and it’s amazing what they’ve managed to achieve from scratch. So I’m really excited to say I’ve signed up for another year of crochet retreats, midnight feasts, not being able to sleep from laughing too much, early morning coffees, beautiful countryside, amazing creations, and of course, all the wonderful people we get to meet with every new retreat. You can find all the new dates on Frank & Olive's website, right here.
Bring on 2017!