We all make mistakes, right? Errors such as thinking, “I can finish knitting this jumper before my friend’s birthday.” Or deciding that of course you’ll remember what size hook you were using to crochet that half-done afghan.
The Stoic Spouse has a foolproof method for avoiding knitting and crochet mistakes… which is to never once in his life attempt either knitting or crochet. He has thus maintained a laudable 0% failure rate in all things yarny, unlike the rest of us fallible mortals. He’s not entirely immune to making other sorts of errors, however. Allow me to tell the story, but very quietly, in the hope that he’s not listening, yeah? This post is illustrated with photos whose meaning will become clearer as we continue.
First, a little relevant background to this tale. My parents – the Twisted Seniors – have a habit of moving to a completely different part of the UK once every decade or so. (I await news of their imminent transfer to the Scottish Hebrides any day now.) When I was 16, we moved from Hertfordshire (England) to a teeny-tiny hamlet in rural south Wales that was home to far more sheep than people. It was a mixed experience for my awkwardly teenage self. On the plus side: gorgeous scenery, dramatic and fossiliferous coastline to explore with my new friends, lambs sneaking into the garden from the field next door in order to make Big Trouble, grass snakes around our newly-dug pond, and a lovely house with a cliff (ex-quarry) in the garden, where I found an ichthyosaur fossil in the rockface whilst poking about for samples to aid my geology ‘A’ Level coursework.
On the minus side, an astonishing quantity of rain, delivered systematically as a relentlessly soaking drizzle, plus the life-lesson that not all schools were as nice as the one I’d attended before we moved (and a little bit of ostracism for having secured a place at Oxford Uni). But lets not dwell on that. The relevant point for this post is that our tiny hamlet was within just-passed-the-driving-test range of some awesome teenage adventuring along the stunning Jurassic coastline, and up into the mountainous majesty of the Brecon Beacons.
Soon after the Stoic Spouse and I met, my parents moved yet again, so my poor husband hasn’t had much experience of my old stomping ground. Wouldn’t it be great, I suggested, to show him and the twinnage the secluded caves, the crystallized stream-beds, the walled clifftop garden, the fossil-rich cliffs, the so-many-castles-that-nobody’s-bothered-to-fence-them-off-and-charge-admission? Of course it would! Even the Stoic Spouse agreed with that, and he agrees with remarkably few of my clearly genius ideas. It’s half-term school holiday here in the UK, and the Stoic Spouse got on with booking us a cottage for three nights away in my old neighbourhood.
Reader, the Stoic Spouse booked a pretty cottage in a village called Ystradowen, because my teenage home in the hamlet of Maendy was a mere mile away. I was excited and slightly uncomfortable to be heading back after an embarrassment of years to my former home. What if I bumped into someone I’d been at school with, someone cooler than me?! What if I got arrested for loitering outside my former home telling the twinnage “This is where Mummy used to live”? I vaguely glanced at the photos of the house but didn’t otherwise do much investigation because I was in the middle of a horrendous week. (A middle-of-the-night ambulance ride to hospital with a struggling-to-breathe twin was a particular low point – he’s fine now – but the week also dumped a whole load of other less-serious yuckiness too.) But I did just about find time to have some seriously mixed feelings about our trip. We invited the Twisted Seniors to join us, because the cottage was fairly spacious.
The Twisted Seniors received the link that we sent them.
The Twisted Seniors viewed the link that we sent them.
And then The Twisted Seniors responded with a respectful enquiry about whether we’d noticed that the house the Stoic Spouse had booked was in an Ystradowen some forty miles away from the Ystradowen that we’d had in mind. Err, oops.
Actually, not an excessive quantity of oops. The Ystradowen in which we arrived was magnificent, with a view across the valley to the majestic Black Mountain. We spent three happy days in the Brecon Beacons, walking, adventuring, clambering up waterfalls, and watching the twinnage splash about in streams, hunting for invertebrates and building dams (conclusive proof that they are indeed my children). But that doesn’t mean that I’ll let the Stoic Spouse off from a good teasing about his mistake every single day for the next ten years. Strictly between you and me, I’m actually glad that he booked this wrong-but-gorgeous place, but I’ll gnaw my own nose off before I admit that to him. I hope that you can keep a secret, yes?
But I seem to recall that this is a knitting blog. Having sent off both cardigan and its pattern to Novita, I’m focusing on the cosy stranded dress that they also commissioned. For a moment there, I was stressed about deadlines and busy knitting this beast regardless of outward activity, even if I was deep underground in a cave with my family.
But the folk at Novita are nothing if not reasonable, and we’ve agreed that this second pattern will be good to go for the autumn edition of their magazine. So at last I can breathe, and gambol with my children, and generally not stress. So now we’re home from Wales and I’m unstressed and… what could possibly go wrong?!
Plenty. I should have learned by now that there is always that plenty that can go wrong.