Throughout history, powerful figures have established dynasties, enabling their influence in a pre-Instagram world to continue beyond their own mortal years. The Nehru-Gandhis in India, the Ming dynasty in China, plus my personal faves, the Plantagenets.*
But more ambitious and proud than any of these is the dynasty in our own back garden, right here at Twisted Towers. Many of you will remember Robyn-the-robin, the four-inch-high adorable tyrant who stole hearts and mealworms around here in equal proportion. For two summers she ruled the garden (and increasingly, our house, though we gently discouraged that), demanding snacks from all four of us whilst vanishing from sight whenever we had visitors. Ahhhh… visitors… remember those? I do miss visitors.
Robyn would let you know that she wanted food by zooming past your head at scary speed, or by standing in the plum tree staring at you. We all loved her, even though she was bossy and feisty. Probably because she was bossy and feisty.
I miss her, and I know that many of you became very fond of her, too. One of the last times I saw her, she brought her children to see me, and my cold old heart melted. (She was a twin-mum, too.) She’d always chivvied her babies away from me before, but this time she decided to risk trusting me with her own twinnage. These were her babies, not yet red in chest:-
But this past fortnight, there’s been a new kid on the block, and I have reason to hope that it’s one of Robyn’s children, all grown up. Seriously, hear me out. Looooook:-
European robins are cheeky by nature, but this young whippersnapper is ridiculously confident, and follows me round the garden until I fetch some mealworms. Almost every time I go out there, he – I’ve decided arbitrarily that he’s a he – appears, standing in the apple tree or on the fence, screaming far louder than any of the other birds hereabouts.
This fella is off-the-scale loud. And quite tuneful, too. I didn’t capture many photos of Robyn open-mouthed because her style was more to silently stand and stare until you did what she wanted, but at least half of my shots of this chap are MOUTH OPEN, YELLING.
He hasn’t fed from my hand yet, but he comes quite close, and usually eats the food that I scatter on the wall for him. It’s difficult to be sure whether he’s yelling “GET ME MORE MEALWORMS, WENCH!” or – since robins are so territorial – “GET OFF MY LAAAAND!” Or possibly both.
Time and mealworms will tell whether we can become friends. Having had the privilege of knowing Robyn, it’s fascinating to observe how different this chap is, in appearance, in voice, in behaviour, and personality. I guess it’ll take a while for us to get used to each other’s quirks.
But I promised you some yarnery.
Thank you for your kind words about the Covid Cowl. I’ve designed an accompanying hat (pattern available soon) and crocheted hat (ditto). They’re all worked in Stylecraft Highland Heathers and I gotta tell you, one ball of each shade is going a long way. And if you follow my Instagram, you’ll know I got a tiny bit carried away when it came to designing the bobble for the knitted hat:-
Fortunately my friends are sound of mind and they quietly let me know that this was perhaps a gimmick too far, so I’ve also worked a more conventional pompom into the mix. But I did wear the crazy version when I went to get the first dose of my covid vaccine two weeks ago. Maybe I should have made a little knitted syringe to add to the hat…
Anyway. I hope you’re doing OK. I hope that you have enough yarn. We’re still in lockdown, and the School Of Parent is proving to be a woefully inadequate institution, where too many lessons are on subjects such as NOT LEAVING BISCUIT CRUMBS ON THE SOFA, or HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU GO AND TURN THE BATHROOM LIGHT OFF. Pupil engagement is poor. Pupil attainment is worse. Pupil tendency to sneak off to watch weird videos and eat chocolate is predictable. Teachers’ need for wine is ongoing. (Teachers should probably be sacked.)
And last week, I finally returned to (part-time) work after months of cancer treatment by wonderful NHS clinicians. Gotta say, that was a shock to the system. In surreal times, it feels strange to be doing something ordinary. Honestly, if a plague of pink giraffes rained down from the sky I’d scarcely bat an eyelid, but doing normal, regular, stuff like earning a living? That’s just weird.
Stay safe, my fine fibrous friends.
* Mostly due to my obsession with Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Henry II, who ruled this oddball land from 1154 until 1189.