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Another Place

I watched a film the other night.  I borrowed it from the library.  The film was called the Tree of Life.  This film was a Cannes winner.  I did not know about this film before I watched it.  The film is impressionistic and has been said to be more like a prayer than a movie.  I have to agree.  To me the film unpeeled layers of grief to reveal a deeply personal portrayal of grief.  It revealed in visual form the nature of grieving.  I would guarantee that The Tree of Life will not appeal to everyone.  To me it was an unraveling of bewilderment and has given me a voice.

I feel as if I am waking up a little.  To visually describe my position would take the form of the Anthony Gormley sculpture ANOTHER PLACE.  I have been rooted to the spot when we first heard the news.  From that point to this the world and life have carried on as normal.  Tides rise and fall, seasons change and business goes on as usual.  I stood still inside.

Initially the shock and fear sharpened all my senses.  I saw things so clearly and started painting again.  I recorded the things of now.  It was as if appreciating the details of moments in time could somehow protect from the uncertain future.  The brittle nature of grief needed protecting with a blanket of real things.

I was not in denial, but held in suspended animation unable to focus.  Our fear has been tempered and our normal been absorbed.  Grief is like breathing smoke everyday.  In time, although it does not go away, it does learn to behave itself.

And so to the feeling of waking up.

It was Mothers Day yesterday.

I have a shift in perspective.  I do not think the goal posts have moved.  I do not feel as if everything has moved on around me so much now, I feel less disconnected.  My shrunken world has become obsolete.

And I have no words for this…………


After all, the branches stripped bare give perspective, a better, clearer view.  Structure is revealed.

Tangible Results

Well here I am again!  this is a tangible result from a resolve I made to myself – to keep blogging.

Today I decided just out of interest to look at what I knitted last year and the very beginning of this year.  I have the results of most of this here.

I have recently taken to feeling that I do not really achieve much, especially when I see results of prolific production on Ravelry.  However, I did achieve a respectable amount of tangible results!  I also made a couple of dresses too and some shawls which I have not shown.

Much of this knitting was done in hospitals and much in the evenings.  There is definitely a theme here of repetition.  The reason for this is that I become curious as to how changing colour affects the result.  I suppose there is also an element of calm in repeating a pattern until I know it off by heart and can repeat it without it engaging my brain too much.  For example I adore some of Kate Davis designs to state the obvious!  I also like Isabell Kraemer and Brooklyn Tweed.




Seeing as opposed to looking.  Seeing as understanding.  Inspirational seeing.  Seeing as a combination of thought and looking.


Spring pierced through today!


It opened windows in every sense.  Like a quick flit of housework, the sun opened inside as well as outside.


Everywhere colour is changing and freshening up.  The bravest celendines open their faces to the sun in warm welcome.


Primroses huddle together in dense clusters and dare to gleam their milky yellow through last autumns leaves.


Lichens glorious chalky greens against the rich moss or russet carpet enhance crisp clarity from a background of rich fertile soil.


Bouyant spirits and hope rising along with sap.


And then there are 8 new lives!  4 boys and 4 girls.  3 weeks old bouncing babies!  These are my home grown bitches first litter to a dog who lives in Wales.





Stream of Consciousness

So this year slides by without engagement or recognition.  All my well meaning intentions and resolves have dried up along with the passing weeks.

My beautiful puppies have all left for pastures new.  Exciting new opportunities and adventures for each one in perfect, loving homes.  Phew!!  The last 3 went this week and I admit to having to go on a soggy walk to clear out my sense of loss.  Ridiculous really but 2 of them I became extremely fond of, and I miss them.

On the family news, its very sad.  I struggle at the moment to process and deal with fast and furious uncertainty.  I battle with hope and despair on an hourly basis.

I have tried to fit in an hours knitting a day.  This is not always possible.  But I have enjoyed a slightly challenging knit.  A knit which engages me so I have to concentrate, but that does not require my undivided attention.  This has been made possible through Ravelry groups and also through finishing projects with which I am pleased.

I am exhausted in every sense of the word but try to keep going and positive.  Animals help bring routine to my days and they do remind me to laugh and enjoy.  I have tried to mix work with time to indulge for a few moments.

It feels like limitations have been placed around what I took for granted as being my ‘normal’.  Ambition and competitive notions drained through the gaps.  An internal net shrunk in the ‘wash’ and gathered more closely around a core of what I suppose is actually ‘me’.  Soul searching and transparency have found me wanting, barely adequate to face myself let alone the world around me.

Everybody hurts.  Everybody wears pain differently.  There is treasure in the depths if we can help each other to unlock it.

I have learned to love more and listen more and feel less ashamed.  I have not sorted life out at all but I have learned to take a hand when it is offered and to offer my own.  I hope I am learning humility and grace.  I hope that I am making a life worth living and loving, somehow carving a wiggly path through the non -sense.

Pleasure in loving life and what if offers.  Loving the indulgences of making and colours and creativity.  Loving the access to other minds and company.  And trying not to burn on a short fuse when it all seems a bit overwheming.

Maybe this post is self indulgent.  I just wanted to get it out there to leave some space in my head.

In the mean time my gorgeous dog is having his pockets picked at the vet while I speak.  This was a decision made to ease life that tiny bit (my perspective not his).  Ummmmm…………

Plum Jam and Puppies!

Its puppy time and jam time!  What a busy weekend we had!


We picked some of our plums (the ones we could reach).  We stoned them and soaked them and then cracked all the stones to rescue the kernals.  These we then peeled and skinned and added to the jam (this adds a lovely hint of almond flavour to the jam).



We cooked the jam expertly and WOW!!  We had the BEST jam on our hands almost ever!!  A stunning colour!


Labels were made and stuck on jars and here we have the professional delicious produce!  All home grown except the sugar.


Also home grown are these delightful new arrivals (between July 26th and 27th).



4 boys and 4 girls.

Delightful!  Clever Lace!! (And Dobby sort of……)


Then we managed a ride too!!


Random Kindness

Its June.  How June arrived so suddenly is a puzzle.  But here we are.  Shearing here was last weekend, which, in terms of energy spent was how I imagine I would feel after a marathon.  Job done and fleece skirted and soaking.


Lace is expecting at the end of July.  We had no pups last year and this will most likely be her last litter.  we have never had a summer litter before – the last 2 being late winter/early spring babies.


I have been knitting away and enjoying making more than I think I ever have.  As I am not doing any of the shows this year the pressure to make samples and keep dyeing has freed me up to make with a clear conscience – a revelation!

One item I have really enjoyed has been the Britishknits (Ravelry) Hapalong.  I made a full Hansel – Gudrun Johnston and really enjoyed the process so much that I joined her MKal.  Almost there on that too, although I am a little slower than some.



The weather has been gorgeous.  Looks like summer and feels like spring – perfect!


This week has been full of suprises.  Two random acts of kindness have come my way.  Kate and Maxine thank you so much.  A real lift of spirits and affirmation of the generous nature of many people.  Neither knew of the background history to this week (which has not been easy), but both dropped loveliness into my week.


Bert and Other Tails

There is a lot to catch up on……….. Family news continues but we can now allow ourselves a little optimism.  Living with fear is an odd experience.  There is a grief which is constantly present but not realized.  Something which is impossible to discipline but which must be walked with.  Something unseen and yet more real than anything else. Spring has pushed its way through.  This morning the skylarks filled the valley with their declarations and I defy anyone not to smile!  Such a tiny glorious bird shooting vertically into the sky, making such an unmistakeable noise fills my inside with optimism. Primroses, Celandines, Oxslips and Cowslips are all filling the air with their unmistakeable ‘spring’ smells. Yesterday was Palm Sunday.  Bert is a donkey.  Just that simple sentence is sufficient and infers a dictionary of words and experiences if you have had anything ever to do with donkeys.  Bert has a career in being holy.  He does church events at Christmas and Palm Sunday.  Yesterday he attended church twice.  On Saturday I was walking him trying to practice ‘holiness’.  Bert considered premature holiness a waste of time.  Sunday is for halos NOT Saturdays.  I was told!  Sunday he was AMAZING!!  Despite 2 church wardens being extremely nervous, he attended the service, walking under palm leaves and singing hymns.  He was adored and had no opinion about it!!  Incredible!  He left no gift in the churches, the perfect donkey.  ummmmmm…… today the opinions are back and he does not consider any more holiness is worth investing in.  twice a year is ok, but more than that is, well, just silly! Knitting has been my place of refuge.  I have enjoyed my making more than I almost ever have.  Strange though.  the projects which have been my company by hospital beds and appointments are so full of feeling that for the moment I can not return to them.  This has suprised me.  It must be a very subconscious thing.  I will get back to them but can not for now.  I have, however been making lots of things and here are some. Kate Davies designs have been a favorite.  Also designs by Isabelle Kraemer.  Also my own, for Up to Seven in Bath. Making is healing in many senses for me.  An ongoing place to return to.  Regular repetition of patternwork, the handle of pure wool combined with the smell (probably just me…), sensuous colour combinations for fun or reflection or just to express the current mood.  All the actions of knitting I find therapeutic and reassuring. There is much more to tell about Jillybeanyarns but I will save it for another day.  I have never been very good at wearing my heart on my sleeve.  Private by nature, I have issues with exposing those deep places with which I am full  right now.  But unpeeling slowly the top layers is like letting spring arrive, allowing the hope to show a little? Cautiously optimistic……..

Meg and Ollie!

Meg and Ollie!

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