I was out and about on foot today doing this and that and on the
long walk home discovered that I had walked much, much further
that I had originally intended. What's more I was rather foolishly
wearing brand new shoes which hadn't yet been broken to the bit
let alone a saddle, so as I hobbled past the library I decided to nip
in for a quick sit down and a read of the newspapers to give my
barking dogs (Cockney speak for sore feet) a brief rest before I
lurched the rest of the way back to the Lock-Up.
Seemed like a plan but what I hadn't bargained for, or even knew
about, was the monthly meeting of the craft club in the main foyer.
"Come and join us" cried someone. They're a friendly bunch and it
would have been churlish to decline,. So it was a couple of hours,
umpteen cups of strong rosie and several new friends later that I
finally returned home footsore and knackered.
At the club I met one very well turned out lady (don't ask me what
I had thrown on, the style police are still on red alert) knitting socks
on four needles with some baffling new verigated German wool.
The finished work looked like she'd been following a complicated
Fair Isle pattern even though she hadn't. Don't ask me how it worked
but it did and it's now high on my list of things to try when I'm next
at a loose end.
Another very experienced quilter was recycling a pair of old double
duvet covers - one Union Jack, the other Stars & Stripes - and the
Anglo-American result was quite amazing with an intricate border of
blocks - one stars, one stripes, all the way round the edge.
You can often tell a crafter by the way they dress and one young lass
certainly didn't disappoint. Crochet handbag decorated with a heart
of buttons, pendant with a petit point ballerina insert, woven friendship
bracelets and a nifty hand-felted hat. The perfect specimen. She was also
a yarn bomber and was busily lagging an old supermarket basket in
brightly coloured wool as we spoke.
But what really touched me was when she talked about her father in
whose memory the family had placed a bench on the village green
under the Folly Tree. On his birthday she had "bombed" his bench as
an act of remembrance and not feeling inclined to stop there she had
also hung crochet motifs and streamers from the branches that shaded it
too. How lovely is that?
I leave the best till last. The elderly lady of 83 sitting next to me hand
stitching some templates looked like everyone's favourite granny but
the way she had coped with the problems life had recently heaped on
her was truly inspirational. She had dutifully nursed her husband suffering
from Parkinson's right to the end with scant help, difficult and often
abusive behaviour from him and little regard for her own well being.
After his death she said she felt enormous guilt that she should have done
more and because men of that generation often controlled the finances
she had that side of life to get to grips with as well as overcoming a
huge dent that had appeared in her self confidence too. And then she said,
and I quote: "I thought sod it dear. It may sound wicked but I'm
starting to like it on my own so I shall concentrate on all the things
I can still do and not worry about the ones I can't."
And that's precisely what she's done. She's joined lots of clubs and
societies, sold the car because there's people to talk to on the bus and
been on more holidays these past 18 months than in the whole of her
long married life. All on her own too and that takes courage at any age.
"The world isn't going to come looking for me dear, so I must go looking
for the world." She's my kind of a woman and no mistake.
I shall certainly be at next month's meeting clutching my craft bag full
of good intentions and raring to go.