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Dear Dad

Us and our cousins in 2013, celebrating what would have been Dad's 100th birthday

Us and our cousins in 2013, celebrating what would have been Dad’s 100th birthday

Back when I was at boarding school, we wrote letters on Sundays. Mine always started in the same manner, “Dear Mum, Dad and Youngest Aunt, How are you? I hope you are well. I am very well.” What came after that was likely to be influenced by what I’d been doing – attending basketball matches or other sporting events, going for a walk, trying to keep warm or cool depending on the season – and questions around what might be happening at home. I liked writing letters. I still do. Later on, in the early 1990s, when Mum was long dead, Dad and I tried to resurrect the art of letter-writing. We had something of a two-person crusade going for a while. We weren’t able to keep it up, but it was fun while it lasted. And, as today would have been his 102nd birthday, I thought I might write him a letter anyway.

Dear Dad, Happy birthday. I hope you’re managing to keep warm (I think I’d have to say that; he wasn’t much of a one for the cold and it’s pretty chilly). YoungB will be home next week. It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed but his long absence has been made easier by modern technology. I wish we’d had that when I was overseas and you weren’t because, at that time, letters took a long time and phone calls were hideously expensive and remarkably difficult. We’ll have a family lunch to celebrate his return, though not everyone will be there. There’ll be lots to talk about as well as his being home again. After all, there’s to be a wedding in the family in October and that’s a happy prospect. We’re all excited about it and I’m pleased to be involved in making some of the decorations for it. No, I can’t tell you about them because the details are secret; actually, so secret I don’t know them myself yet 🙂

There’ll be the Bloody Long Walk to accomplish prior to that, of course, because we’re all training up for it. Your youngest granddaughter, whom you never met, is completing her physiotherapy training and will be able to give us some good advice. She’s been keeping an eye on us from afar, because netball has claimed her when work and study haven’t, and wondering who would be the first to succumb to injury. You know how dodgy my knees are, so I dare say you won’t be surprised to hear that I gave her cause for amusement after last weekend’s walk by requesting advice for some strengthening exercises. Oh, well, somebody had to be first and it doesn’t matter that it was me.

(In pensive vein I might go on to thank him for many things, in no particular order.) Thank you for teaching me to tie a reef knot, to milk a cow, to skirt a fleece, to whistle; for instilling in me the importance of shining my shoes (I used to get compliments for them when I was a student nurse; the credit, I think, is entirely yours), for teaching me how to change a tyre and persisting with teaching me to drive. Thank you for travelling with Youngest Aunt and me through Europe and, on the whole, not being too much of a PITA about it. I hope you were able to say the same. It was a tough gig, but we survived and didn’t we have some tales to tell!

Thank you for coming to our rescue when we lost our little 4WD over the gully, and for enduring the camp bed in the shed when you visited us on our bush block. Thank you for your sense of humour and your knack for storytelling, both of which I see in my son, the younger grandson whom you never met. You would have liked him. He shares your love of word games and he rides a motorbike. He’d have loved your old Norton. You would have had lots of things to talk about. You could have shared your impressions of Italy with him when he returns next week, and laughed, no doubt, about the crazy drivers and the terror of life as a pedestrian in their busy cities. You won’t have that opportunity and neither will he. That’s a pity but it’s life. One generation makes way for the next. And though I don’t see your looks in his apart from his colouring (which is too dark for Dr B to claim credit), his easygoing nature is so like yours that I’m convinced there’s a bit of DNA that can be attributed directly to you. Thank you for that, too.

Thank you for more things than I can think of right now, really. Although you’re no longer here, you’re always part of us. We miss you. Lots of love.

PS (there was almost always a PS): I got some new walking boots the other week because my joggers weren’t up to the rough terrain around the southern part of the BLW; although they’re not Rossis, they’re all right and provide good ankle support. And, wouldn’t you know it, I had to buy some new boots for work, too, because that cheap pair I bought a couple of months ago fell apart! But of course I still haven’t knitted any socks 🙂 XX

 
 

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getting round to things

Eldest Niece's mitts have finally left my hands and I hope they'll soon be keeping hers warm.

Eldest Niece’s mitts have finally left my hands and I hope they’ll soon be keeping hers warm.

Today, the Aunts, two of the Nieces and I joined a fundraising walk, a gentle 4 Km circuit beginning and ending at a beachside venue familiar to me from the occasional Audax Christmas dinner. I don’t think any of us came remotely close to working up a sweat. No matter. We did it and enjoyed ourselves. Also, it provided an opportunity for me to hand over Youngest Niece’s birthday cowl (crocheted using Moda Vera Ambruni yarn) as well as the fingerless mitts for Eldest Nephew (knitted using Country Tartan 8 ply yarn) and Eldest Niece (photographed above and knitted using Bendigo’s Murano yarn, nominally an 8 ply). Middle Niece is pondering her options and will probably put in an order for one or the other article for her birthday in June 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m about four stitches away from completion of unpicking the sticky beanie (knitted using Moda Vera Bouvardia yarn) and hope to be back on the knitting of it by tonight (the four stitches are where I’ve woven in the ends, so I’m finding them particularly tricky). I won’t complete it tonight but it will only take a couple of evenings of work (it’s knitted in the round so there’s no seaming to contend with) to have it where it needs to be: ready for popping in the post to the friend whose head it’s intended to cover. Then, and I’ve promised myself it will be only then, I can make a start on some socks for Dr B.

And that’s as much of a plan as I can wrap my head around at the moment. Work is manically busy and we continue to have computer problems on the home front. I hope you’re faring better, whatever your weather and whatever you’re getting round to 🙂

 

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not smug, just satisfied

That would be me as I start finishing off a few projects I’ve had lying about the place for a while, including the chevron-style scarf that wasn’t really lying about the place so much as something quick to keep me occupied while I thought about which other project to tackle next. I don’t like huge amounts of unfinished projects although I think they’re a necessary part of how I knit (different projects for different purposes). I’m even just about ready to get back to Nonna’s cardigan.

More immediately, however, I tinked a couple of inches of my Noro Silk Garden scarf and am now making good progress on that. Being simply a two-row sriped 1×1 rib (knitted with two balls of yarn and definitely inspired by Jared Flood‘s mouthwatering version), it’s good sit-and-knit stuff and does me nicely for commuting in the car (if perhaps not so well in a bus because it’s on straight needles). That will be a good thing to have out of the way and ready for use. Winter is definitely here, however late it might have been in its arrival, and I need a good, thick scarf. The chevron-style one is lovely as a neck warmer but it’s not really heavy duty enough for those cold, cold morning walks that I undertake while YoungB rows and Dr B cycles.

As to Nonna’s cardigan? Yeah, well, I’d have been a little less hasty about using the old one as a sizing template if I’d seen her in it before I cast on for the new one. I washed and mended the old one, as much as I could, and sent it back to her. Then we happened to go out somewhere and I saw her wearing it. Though I don’t doubt it was originally the right size, by now it’s obviously too small. Oh, dear. So I’m actually going to have to frog 13 inches of work on a cardigan knitted in one piece to the armhole. You can see why I’ve stalled on that for a while. I know she’ll love a new cardigan and all that, but, you know, I’m feeling a bit defeated there and wondering if I’ll actually have enough yarn. We’ll see. I’m sure I can come up with some sort of solution, but I need to keep knitting while I’m thinking about what that solution might be.

Once I finish the Noro scarf, I have a couple of other small projects that I can probably get back to before I need to tackle the cardie again (I’ll frog it and leave the yarn to de-kink in the meanwhile). There are some mitts and a pair of lovely socks (the latter for myself) that ended up at the bottom of the list for a variety of reasons mostly relating to other people’s need for other, more important and definitely more urgent, things. Those little undertakings deserve to be shaken off and finished so that I can then devote some serious time to the Ursula mittens, doing a cardie of some sort for Nonna and making a start on YoungB’s jumper (that would be the one I’m going to make for his 21st birthday in three years’ time; if I start soon, I should finish it before the due date). In between times, I have to convert some old pillowcases to garments for a ski trip – don’t ask; just think uni students and general silliness – and get our messy house into some semblance of order! Yeah, right.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Knitting

 

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