Thursday, 9 January 2014

A Week Of Peace And Quiet And The Wonder Of A Hand-Knitted Blanket

Everyone's gone back to school and work here except me. I have three additional weeks off college while the full timers do their work experience. Next week I shall have to get on with writing up notes and that sort of business, but I decided this week to do nothing remotely stretching or stressful and just to be.

So, I have been. 

Which in my language doesn't mean lying on the chaise longue eating grapes and drinking champagne while idly flicking through the latest copy of Cosmo (God Forbid). It means tying up loose ends: buying new sheets and towels, sorting out soon-to-need-renewing car insurance, updating the accounts, giving the kitchen a much-needed clean, tidying and putting away stuff which seems to mysteriously accumulate all over the house, making sure the birds have got sufficient seed in the feeders and spending time with the dogs.

This last has been lovely, especially when, after an hour of being quiet Pops can bear it no longer and scrabbles with her paws to be let up on my lap for a cuddle and a face-lick, and failing that just sits there smiling up at me with a ferociously wagging tail. Or when Ted, sensing my need for a friend, suddenly gets up from where he's been sitting by the fire and stares at me for a moment, big brown eyes solemn and searching, and jumps up (shhh, it was On The Sofa) and settles down for a snuggle. He's always been the most sensitive of dogs and knows your mood and what to do about it before you do. 

Incidentally, I am getting a Little Bit Grumpy about people I meet continually questioning whether Pops really is a Jack Russell or not, because they've never seen such a fluffy or small one before. I feel Quite Tempted (the next time this happens) to say something like: Oh my goodness, you're right, she isn't a Jack Russell at all, she is, in fact, a Greyhound, only I'd forgotten. Grrrr.

I have been focusing on enjoying simple things. Like chopping kindling and lighting the fire at night and feeling its warmth spread through the room and me. Or like looking for pieces of blue in the grey grey sky, and enjoying the silver slither of the moon growing fatter each night. Even the cold bite of the wet rain felt invigorating and necessary as I ran down the lane and back through a storm. And tonight there is the possibility that we might see the magical aurora borealis lights here on the south coast of England. I shall be staying up and hoping.

I've been careful about what I've chosen to watch on tele in the evening recently, careful about what I've chosen to read and expose myself to as well, and as a result the things I have seen and read and done have made me smile and brought me satisfaction, instead of making me grimace and wish I could shake whatever it was from my soul. 

The faces in Winchester when I went this morning were grim and unsmiling, possibly suspicious or just so caught up in their own existence they'd forgotten we're all part of the same world. I felt tainted by it so when I came home I went outside and stood in the garden with the dogs and felt the fresh air on my skin and in my lungs and breathed all the angst away.

And somewhere in the middle of all of that I have felt a sense of stillness and peace returning. 

Definitely, the visits to Avebury and Salisbury ushered it in, but it has been my choices over the past days that have encouraged it. And so I mean to go on, as much as is possible when you live in the world and don't shut yourself away from it (although I am certainly a person who needs to do that, just every now and then- go somewhere quiet, away from people and noise, and let the dust settle).

I've also finally stitched together the blanket I've been working on for the last two years and have (rather delightedly) realised that I can keep adding bits and bobs to it for as long as I want- there are no specific rules, and that in itself has been a Liberating And Freeing Thought. 

It's had a strange effect this rag-tag-and-bob-tail blanket. L adores it and wraps himself up in it despite its shambolic appearance, and I have it on the bed at night because although it is feather-light it is also incredibly warm and so I don't wake in the  night feeling like I've been trapped in a net, which is a bonus. M (who usually hates blankets of any description because they make him too warm) has also taken to it, which is most unlike him. 

It is the first time I've ever knitted anything more significant than a scarf. The first time I've made something that makes a discernible (perhaps crucial) difference to my comfort while I'm sleeping. Quite why it should feel so special I don't know. Often the simplest things have a reach that goes way beyond their physical form. Years ago L gave me a heart-shaped stone he had found on a beach and it is one of my most precious things. 

This all fits very nicely with the theme of keeping life simple and enjoying simple things. And that is what I am doing. I wish the same for you.

CT :-)


New shoots are appearing on the Delphinium

Teddy in the garden. Calm and insightful dog.

Oak Tree next door where owls sit at night.

Poppy. Being herself.

The Fabled Blanket!

A new piece to go on it in due course




 

14 comments:

  1. Your week of peace sounds wonderful, it also feels quite calming just reading it! Your blanket looks good it sounds quite a hit with the family too. Have the dogs discovered it yet?
    Sarah x

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    1. I'm keeping the blanket upstairs otherwise it wouldn't stand a chance Sarah. They both love nothing better than ferreting balls of wool out of the basket and chewing them! x

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  2. Awwwww...blanket lurve....what more can a girl want? And Teddy and Poppy and trees and signs of Spring...so simple...so lovely...so right! Xxx

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    1. Sings of Spring and the birds are singing differently. They know when the light's changed and is on its way back. Give me a simple life over a complicated one any day x

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  3. I LOVE the blanket. So much nicer and abstract than a run of the mill one. The picture of Teddy is fabulous....shame you didn't have it for me back in ...er.....November? Losing my mind here and need to do your calming stuff too. Have had a very bad morning involving a cancelled meeting with someone who wanted me to draw up plans of their house for a planning application. I was hoping it would pay for our plights to Scotland in May....deep breaths and look for the blue sky. xx

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    1. You can't beat homemade things, no matter how scruffy they look I reckon. I don't think you could have captured Teddy more perfectly than you did- everyone says the picture is him to a 't' and we all love it. Sorry you're having a hair-tearing morning. Not much blue sky here to look at at the mo but the birds are still singing beautifully- I woke to our Robin singing his little heart out in the willow tree this morning. Wishing you peace Em x

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  4. I'm glad you've found some moments of peace this week. Dogs are always such lovely company, aren't they? They can be so tuned in to how you feel. I love the blanket - so colourful.

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    1. I don't know where I'd be without the animals who are kind enough to live with us. Rays of sunshine and as you so rightly say, such good company. They lift you. x

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  5. Well it sounds like a wonderful week to me CT. Its good to get things done-especially when they are your things, rather than the necessities.

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    1. Too right Suze. Hope you're feeling better after your op? And that the weather has settled down for you in Brixham now :-)

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  6. Lovely to read of your quiet, peaceful and relaxing week - just reading it makes me feel calm :) Well done on the blanket - I must finish my perishing scarf and start mine. Great idea of yours to keep adding to it too - it makes the initial task less daunting :)

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    1. I'm glad reading it had that affect. I've certainly needed a quieter one here :-)
      Realising I could knit whatever shapes I wanted for the blanket and just stitch them in as and when they were ready has taken the pressure off and made the whole thing utterly enjoyable. I stitch it at night and sing to myself while M is reading- very peaceful occupation I find :-)

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  7. Thank you so much for becoming a follower to my blog.

    You sound very calm and grounded, which is the best way to get through these winter days. Like you, I find that the simple things, and the companionship of animals, helps to put the rush of human life into perspective.

    I love your liberated blanket that finds its own shape. Rather like the rivers this week!

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    1. I'm enjoying reading your blog.

      And I love the idea of a liberated blanket finding its own shape like a river does- that's exactly how it feels :-)

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x