Tag Archives: Ridgeway

So That Was Mine. How Was Yours?

So that’s over for another year.

And look! I’m just a few stitches off completing both sleeves of Glitter Glam. Then there’s just the collar and the assembly to do.

Anyway, Christmas happened. A rotund and elderly chap dressed in red broke into our house via the chimney. But instead of stealing stuff, he left little chocolatey gifts around the place, hidden inside old socks. All normal rules of not-accepting-sweets-from-strangers were off as the twinnage tore the foil wrapping from approximately one billion chocolate coins. Then they left the foil pieces all over the floor so there was a festive jangling noise as anyone walked around.

By order of the twinnage, I wasn’t allowed to light the fire on Christmas Eve, in case it burned Santa’s bottom.

The boys recited carols in their sweet six-year-old voices, but only when they thought that nobody was listening. I’m treasuring the memory, because soon enough they’ll be disaffected teenagers rapping about how ghastly everything is. Except I don’t think the word ghastly features very much in rap songs. Anyway, it’s important to sing traditional family carols such as – just off the top of my head – Once In Royal David’s City:-

Once in royal David’s city

When the Wi-Fi went all wrong,

Folk were forced to gather round and

Join together for this song.

Phones and iPads set aside;

Kids, their parents did abide.

I could continue. Believe me, I really could continue. But anyway.

It was frosty, too.

As is traditional, the Stoic Spouse cooked so much Christmas fare that I’m beginning to suspect him of trying to murder us slowly by hardening our arteries. It would be the perfect crime. Nice nosh, though.

Ridgeway Oxfordshire

We walked a small stretch of the Ridgeway, the ancient routeway that cuts through the Oxfordshire landscape.

And then it was Boxing Day, and some sociopath posted an ‘Only 364 days until Christmas’ meme on Facebook.

T’was rather pretty, out and about.

We went to watch the mummers in the centre of a nearby market town. I use the word ‘see’ loosely because there were about a squillion tall people in front of us. Here’s a photo I took by climbing up a bus shelter:-

mummers wantage

Mummers

In case you’re not familiar with this very British, been-around-since-the-eighteenth-century tradition (mumming, I mean, not climbing bus shelters), take a look here. The best part is a long and topical poem about the year’s events. Needless to say, there was plentiful satirical reference to Brexit, Trump, and the above-average number of talented famous folk who’ve been summoned to the great Green Room in the sky this year.

I managed a run, though, just as the sun was going down.

Of course, at this time of year it’s important to enjoy traditional family games such as ‘Who can figure out why the dishwasher has suddenly stopped working on Christmas Day?’ and ‘Well somebody is going to have to do all this washing up from a three-course meal for eight.’ Also, ‘Look, I’ve been up since dawn cooking so I don’t see why I should wash up,’ and ‘Well I was up at 4am looking after a poorly child’. As well as ‘Well maybe if you hadn’t given him so much chocolate yesterday, he wouldn’t have been sick’. And that old chestnut, ‘Oh, so it’s my fault, is it? Well if you feel like that, we may as well get divorced,’ and finally, a fun round of ‘Fine. See you in court. But you’re still doing the washing up.’

I’m exaggerating, but the dishwasher really did stop working, so in a quaint show of festive togetherness, we all gathered round the iPad to watch videos about how to fix it. And I did the washing up, because between you and me, washing up for an hour is the very best way of getting warm in this freezing house.

Meanwhile, we tried to stay one step ahead of the twinnage’s sceptical questions about the existence (or not) of Father Christmas. Some of these questions were easy to field. ‘Whaddya mean, Why does he come in through the chimney and not the door? You know how hard it is to open our front door, given that the wood swells at the slightest hint of heat/cold/wet/dry. Frankly, even I’m tempted to come in via the chimney.’ Sometimes, the twinnage are more sneaky. ‘Does anyone live at the North Pole?’ Twin One asked with apparent innocence, yesterday. ‘Of course not!’ I replied, and launched into a lengthy explanation about climate and the lack of land mass at the North Pole, silently congratulating myself on how well my sons will do in their future geography lessons. ‘BUT YOU SAID THAT FATHER CHRISTMAS LIVED THERE!’ yelled Twin Two, and I realized too late that I’d been ambushed. Again. Should’ve spotted that one coming a mile off.

On a final knitting note, I received this rather splendid-looking book. I can’t wait to try it out.

So that was my Christmas. How was yours?

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Time Travel

Good evening, my fine fibrous friends. I hope that you’re so far ahead in your Christmas knitting/crochet, that you have plenty of time to read this post. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope that your Thursday has nevertheless been filled with joy and productivity (and yarn – lots and lots of luscious yarn).

Today at the Twisted Yarn, we’re going to engage in a wee smidgeon of time travel.

I hope you don’t mind if I knit whilst we talk? I’m a little behind with the projects that I want to show you (partly due to the shock of the fire at work), and also I’m knitting a Christmas gift which I can’t mention because the recipient reads here, and he doesn’t know that I’m knitting for him. (No, Stoic Spouse, stop looking so terrified: it’s not you!)

bauble

So whilst I knit frantically, let’s travel back in time a couple of months, because I want to show you some interesting photographs. No wait, these pictures were taken in October, but really we’re travelling back well over two thousand years to the Iron Age in what is now Britain. One of the things that I love about Oxfordshire is how deeply and obviously its landscape has been marked by our ancient forebears. (I’ve talked before about the Ridgeway and Blewburton Hill. And skipping forwards many centuries, also ( 😉 ) about our family seat.)

One day a few weeks ago when the Tyrannical Twinnage were on their very first break from school and my newly-transplanted-to-Oxfordshire parents happened to be free, I nagged everyone into a trip back to the Iron Age. Not far from my parents’ new home is Segsbury Camp, a hill fort reckoned to be between 2200 and 2600 years old. Here it is on the map (marked ‘fort’ in the centre of this image):-

Segsbury Camp www.thetwistedyarn.com

Ordnance Survey, my heart will forever be yours

On the map above, the pink diamonds mark the Ridgeway, and we climbed the hill from Letcombe Bassett at five-year-olds’ pace. There were some decent views across autumnal Oxfordshire, such as this:-

image

And this:-

image

And also this:-

Oxfordshire www.thetwistedyarn.com

And then at last we reached the fort. Can you imagine the men who would have guarded these ramparts and the wooden structures contained within its curtilage?

image

The sides remain steep. How many hours were taken to build these ramparts by hand?

Segsbury Camp www.thetwistedyarn.com

I can’t help being impressed. (Even the twinnage were fairly interested.)

image

We walked the perimeter of the fort, and admired the fruits of autumn, such as sloes. (Why did I not get round to making sloe gin this year?)

sloes www.thetwistedyarn.com

And hips:-

image

And then, spurred on by the not gentle sound of children whinging, we descended the hill again.

I always feel a little meditative after such experiences, as though I’ve almost been able to reach out and touch those ancient people. They’re not so very far away from us, you know.

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The Blog Post Of Many Things

That stranded skirt I’m designing? It’s progressing, y’know:-

image

Yup, That Is A Grape-Derived Refreshment In The Background

No further progress has been made on the crocheted house, but the yarn for the windows has arrived, so I need to begin swatching some glasswork.

Is it obvious that this post will be a tad desultory? Well the past few days have been a bit like that. I have some exciting secrets to reveal soon, but not quite yet. Rest assured, I’ll be telling you as soon as I can…

But look! I’ve discovered a quirky new stitch! Nothing seriously fancy, but a combination of stockinette with yarnovers and SSK’s yields this wonky loveliness. I found it in an old book at the library on my day off, and I have no idea whether it has a name:-

Delightfully Wonky, Lacy Stitch

Delightfully Wonky, Lacy Stitch

Anyway, with time off from work on frenetic psychiatric wards, there have been peaceful walks along the Ridgeway:-

View From the Ridgeway

View From the Ridgeway

For anyone not family with this bit of south-central England, The Ridgeway is Britain’s oldest ‘road’, a 5000-year-old and 87-mile path along slightly elevated ground, walked for millennia by herdsmen, travellers, soldiers, and latterly by psychologists-cum-knitters.

ridgeway 2a

It passes close to our village and I’ve long loved this high(ish) wide path as a chance to escape the low-down life. There really is something about the Ridgeway that makes you feel the press of history. Maybe it’s because the path is so wide, and you can see so far from its (meagre) elevation that you sense its importance.

The stoic spouse and the twinnage on a The Ridgeway

The stoic spouse and the twinnage on The Ridgeway

Back downhill at village level, we (the Toddler Twinnage, the Stoic Spouse and I) have had our first work-out in a shamefully long time at the allotment, digging over the beds in preparation for the growing of potatoes and much other deliciousness. Having taken over the plot less than a year ago, we’re still discovering its surprises, such as these hellebores:-

Hellebore

Hellebore

So now we’re at home, recovering from the exertion and, in my case, knitting. There is so much colour to come in these pages over the next few weeks, as well as the revealing of some exciting surprises. Stay tuned, and keep knitting/crocheting.

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The Ridgeway

Out-and-about today with the twinnage and the stoic spouse. No, this isn’t a knitting post, but I’m 80% of the way through my latest project and will “ta-dah” it in a few days’ time.

So, we went to part of the Ridgeway. I’ve often walked small sections of this ancient 85-mile trail before. It’s a long, raised chalk ridge, trudged for at least the last 5000 years by herdsmen, traders, soldiers, and other travellers. Its height helped navigation and security, and raised it a little over the boggy lowland. The trail stretches southwest to northeast across a chunk of central southern England, and over millennia it came to be peppered with landmarks such as the Uffington White Horse, numerous Iron Age hill forts, and at its end, the World Heritage Site stone circle at Avebury. We didn’t get near Avebury today, but here’s a photo I took there with friends a few years ago.

Avebury stone circle

Avebury stone circle

And while I’m at it, here’s a view inside the excavated Neolithic barrow at Avebury, constructed 5600 years ago:-

My friend inside West Kennett Barrow

My friend inside West Kennett Barrow

Anyway, back to today. We were in Oxfordshire, dawdling at toddler place along a wide section of ridge:-

View from The Ridgeway

View from The Ridgeway

The sky was pretty funky:-

Impressive sky

Impressive sky

And we wandered along the wide track reasonably contentedly:-

The stoic spouse and the twinnage on a The Ridgeway

The stoic spouse and the twinnage on The Ridgeway

And finally, as the sun set, we headed back towards the car:-

Sunset over The Ridgeway

Sunset over The Ridgeway

Not a bad trip, especially as the stoic spouse drove, so I could knit in the car. 🙂

Edited later to add: and now, the children are abed, and I’m drinking pink champagne in front of a roaring log fire whilst knitting. I’ve had worse days.

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