It took two years to reach it. I brushed the last shaggy locks of the alpaca into incompetent rolags, and spent the rest of the afternoon obsessively spinning.
One of those random days where none of the bits matched any of the other bits.
We started with reindeer of course, striding away across the snow. Not feeling like doing any striding myself, I ripped back some knitting. Do you know how difficult it is to unravel wool which is both hairy and decorated with sequins? Not so much ripping as delicately untangling each row and removing the snags one by one to avoid spoiling the yarn.
The reindeer were having a little rest. Some of them were asleep. The ones that were asleep chewed slowly. The ones that were awake chewed less slowly.
I cut the grass. I promised myself I wouldn’t complain about cutting the grass. Look: this is me not complaining about cutting the grass. I decided the time for curlicues was past, and mowed straight over the violets. Most of them were finished anyway, and now they all are.
Checking in on the reindeer: they were stepping steadily in the chilly sunshine. A few paused to suck and gnaw at exiguous strands of lichen glued flat to black rocks. I meditated on stripes. Tricky things, stripes.
Episodes of social engagement followed. The sea was blue and sparkly, the hills pale green over the pale chalk, but I couldn’t enjoy – bank holiday weekend, so all the ordeal of homicidal motorbike riders and suicidal cyclists and lost tourists looking at the view instead of the road. Bad combination.
Home again, I made sure the herd was all right. Their humans were amusing themselves by drawing giant patterns in reindeer, right across the valley floor – by laying a trail of what looks like pony nuts, which the reindeer rush into lines to feed upon.
Watering plants next. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, at last, and the timing is rubbish as usual, with hundreds of people in tents, poor loves, and an early garden show kicking off.
Back with the reindeer. I’ve turned the sound off. It’s getting a bit late in Norway and the screen caption says it’s -12°C. The current shot: A reluctant northern night is gathering. A small snowmobile van thing is shown slowly approaching the camera position over a wide field of snow. It passes the camera position. The camera pans to keep it in view. The van thing progresses across the snow. The camera centres on its little flat square doors. It goes further away over the snow. It goes further away some more. It goes away a bit more. The now tiny back view of the van thing disappears gradually over the brow of a snowy hill. The camera continues to look at snow on the now empty hill.
I think the reindeer and I are stuck with each other for the duration.
Coming for a walk? (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)
Watching Suffragette gave me time to contemplate how my own feminism is getting on, how male interpretations sneak into everything (yes still), and how small girls are indoctrinated with pink and dollies and make-up (the pages of any toy catalogue are a perfect horror show).
One seasonal example: Mary is the only woman appearing in the vast majority of Nativity scenes displayed at this time of year. And I don’t believe it. Quite apart from female solidarity, women buzz round new babies like wasps round jam. So when I knitted up Jean Greenhowe’s crib scene a few years back, it acquired an improvised figure: the innkeeper’s wife, who has looked out a blanket left over from her own babies, and is about to give it to the infant Jesus.
Maybe this year I could knit the bossy WRVS lady who lives in Bethlehem and has just heard about Mary. I can practically hear her rushing up the road, full of good advice for a first time mother (possibly rather more advice than Mary actually wants), and bringing a pot full of nourishing stew, which will, of course, be incubating efficiently in a hay box.
This is why you never throw anything away:
so that when you want a giant sandbag a yard long, you can cut up the recycled fabric from the worn-out cushions of twenty years ago;
turn the clinging velvet sausage right side out over the giant knitting needles used for an unsuccessful project fifteen years ago;
and fill the narrow aperture with rice using a jam funnel bought ten years ago to stop you spilling hot jam – which made jam spills even worse.
And we spuddlers know that we might need a yard long velvet sandbag at any time, day or night. Don’t we?
lxiv : Teeny little stitches
Collect up the patches
and start sewing. Always looks a horrible mess, full of tacking and paper.
It’s hard on the fingers. I went to my sewing box and an old sewing box to find a good fit. Something for generations of stitchers, with swollen hands or slim: Britannia metal, celluloid, aluminium, plastic.
The tiny child’s thimble is heavily worn; all that sewing practice and pricking of small fingers. Pretty sure she is dead now.
Sewing different fabrics together is always tricky – different thicknesses, nap, and stretch. And I’m not the world’s neatest seamstress.
Looks as if it might work.
The chooks have adopted some eggs:
The chick count is currently five.
The current fad is for twiddle muffs. The local hospital is appealing for some, to comfort the restless hands of patients with dementia, so I thought I would try one. I hope they do work for the patients.
I can no longer sit down in the conservatory. Every surface is full of seedlings, and now the recliner is filled up as well. I was using up old seeds and thought the germination rate would be down, so I sowed an excess. I think every seed must have germinated … especially the radicchio.
The latest firing produced the second round of lace pots and porcelain bud vases. One of the lace planters slithered through my hands, fell, and struck the concrete with a sounding clang. Bizarrely, it then bounced, and was neither marked nor cracked. That high fired stoneware delivers value sometimes.
This vase looks like a teeny tiny cooling tower: