Oh yikes, has it been that long since I posted? Apologies. Let’s pretend that my absence was due to Very Worthy And Important Stuff, rather than the truth, which is that I was struggling with post-cancer-treatment side-effects that made my right arm medium-useless for a while. Fortunately, I was still able to walk and run in pretty places around here. This is Thrupp Lake on a crisp November morning:-
Since I wasn’t able to knit very much, I didn’t feel as though I had a great deal to share with you. Fortunately, continuing to go running seems to have helped enormously, and I’m now the proud owner of two reasonably functional arms. Also, I just haven’t been feeling very funny, which was worrying because I know you only come here for the LOLs.
Anyway, welcome to a cold November night. To set the scene, I’m curled up in The Chair…
…working on the gazillionth incarnation of a mitten for the book. The design is pretty much sorted, so this is a left mitt to mirror the already finished right mitt. What could possibly go wrong? Um, plenty. Lets have a quick photo before this too goes purls-up and I have to rip back to the start, yet again.
Never mind all that Second Sock Syndrome; I’ve got Gazillionth Mitten Syndrome which is, I can tell you, a far more unpleasant condition.
But at least the fire is lit, and my wine glass is semi-full.
Looking further to the right, since it’s a good moment to give the sitting room tour that absolutely none of you have ever requested, is my great grandfather’s sea chest, which just over a century ago went with him to war – the First World War – in a submarine. Obviously, it wasn’t painted blue with a gold keyhole back in those sober, scary, days.
Miraculously, he returned alive. They hadn’t perfected the engineering of submarines in the early twentieth century, and he was lucky to be assigned to a battery-powered (yes, really*) E-class sub, rather than the steam-powered K-class which had a thoroughly irritating tendency to spontaneously blow up, killing everyone on board. On days when I think my job is hard, I ought to remind myself of this fact.
And just when this sea chest and its owner could be forgiven for congratulating themselves on surviving World War One, then along came World War Two, and the family (my grandmother and both her parents) cowered (safely) in a garden shelter whilst their beloved home was bombed to smithereens. Very little survived from the house, but the sea chest was saved, as well as my great-great grandmother’s sewing machine – bought in 1899 – which now sits in my study. (You can see more pictures of it in this post.)
I remember my great grandfather from childhood, though he lived too far away for frequent visits. He was tall, I think… but I’m the stunted runt of the Twisted family, so absolutely everyone seems extremely tall to me. By the time I knew him, he was nearly deaf and blind, and my seven-year-old self wasn’t sure how to interact with him. So I sat quietly in a corner, and watched as my great grandmother read the newspaper to him at glass-rattlingly high volume, whilst he inhaled pinches of snuff from a tiny, ornate tin. He didn’t say much. Occasionally he’d excuse himself to go and use the cold, spidery, outside lavatory. Strange to think that this was a mere four decades ago. Once I felt I’d done my social duty, I’d flee back to the upper two storeys** of the house, where my grandmother lived. At least she had indoor plumbing and good hearing, though she was intimidating. It was only in adulthood that I learned that Joe Cox wasn’t my real great grandfather, but that’s a story for another blog post…
Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, the sitting room. Moving on from this century-old chest, there’s a mess of seedlings and other veg-growing paraphernalia snatching what daylight it can beside the French windows. Overwintering broad beans and peas are germinating in compost-filled loo roll tubes, ready to be cast out into the cold harsh garden. Dinner won’t be ready for another five or six months, so feel free to help yourself to a snack.
A little further round the room, sitting on my late grandmother’s favourite table is an illuminated paper model of our house, made by my wonderful friend Silvina. More pictures of its detailed brilliance are in this blog post.
Should you ever decide that there’s not enough paper-cut beauty in your home, go visit Silvina’s site, here. She sells her work, and she teaches her skills, and I promise you that she’s the most talented and inspirational woman you could encounter. (In case you’re curious, here’s how we met.)
I’ll spare you the shabby old green sofa, with its cushions that have survived years of being lobbed at one twin by the other, as well as the giant wicker toy chest. So that takes us back to the bookcases and The Chair in the corner. Mostly, this post was an excuse to say hi to you, my Fine Fibrous Friends, despite my lack of knitty progress, and check that you’re all still there and OK. In these crazy covidy days, may your yarn never tangle and your stitches never drop.
Until next time,
*Actually it was battery-powered underwater but diesel-powered on the surface.
**Translation: “stories” for those of you in the US.