All roads lead to…

each other and yet we all have our very own. Are you on your path, are you sticking with it.

Looking at the art of knitting, I thought there was just English and Continental techniques. I had an inkling that Shetland had its own style. Then discovered there was Portuguese, Spanish.

Knitting began as the coptic style – one needle threading through loops. Origins may be from Africa and the Middle East. In Europe, Germany apparently heralded the Continental way, which is very similar to Russian.

South America adopted European habits apparently.

In reality, no one can say exactly where two needle knitting began! But as a knitter you tend to be either a picker or thrower of the yarn, sometimes combined. It’s good to know both. Continental is speedy for  knit stitch, great for different colours on one project. English suits purl and decreasing at end of rows. Continental gives an even, neat appearance on knit. English does purl the right way up.

I’m Continental with a Russian slant. I adopt English for certain aspects of patterns. But recently have found Russian patterns, in Cyrillic! That would be like knitting in a secret code. It’s all magical though, isn’t it.

I have spent some time in recent hours researching a fairy tale. This too appears to have different techniques, origins perhaps, and adaptations on the way over hundreds of years.

Whatever stories we choose, or perhaps they pick us, the road they take us on bring us to each other. We all have our own folk or fairy tale, our own favourite. I have mine and it’s been in my subconscious for years leading me to story-making. I have only now realised how influential it is on my main character.

Mexican three bean soup, malted pecan loaf, textiles, for the weekend. Have a good November. It doesn’t matter if you take an alternate route, it makes a story more interesting. Keep writing!

redriding

 

Rhubarb!

It’s a part of West Yorkshire’s industrial heritage. There’s a saying – ‘load of old rhubarb’ – meaning what nonsense. Every allotment still has at least one plant.

The stalks are chopped, cooked with sugar and ginger then a dollop of custard added on top for a lazy school pudding. It’s a certain kind of person who can consume that tart, slippery mess – a hungry one!

I’ve always had some in a garden. The leaves are good for pesticide when dunked in water. the stalks freeze rather well, but an instant crumble is best.

I’ve read a little recently about its history in Kew on a Plate with Raymond Blanc. Rhubarb comes from China (as many plants have) and Siberia. It became popular in West Yorkshire and the Victorian era, in London.

There is the tradition of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb whereby it is grown in sheds in the dark by candlelight. Certainly sparks the imagination!

‘Forced rhubarb plants are shrouded in such an aura of mystery and romance, like fragile prima donnas that have to be handled so gently,’ says Raymond.

We are all stalks in the dark sometimes, growing slowly.

Image from slowfood.org.uk 

rhubarb

Counting Butterflies – A Day Off

A longer weekend. We have rain after what seems to have been weeks of heat. In fact, it’s only been three, or was it four. I wonder if the grass will grow again, will it be green and long. No hose pipe bans here as yet. I remember the summer of ’95 and syphoning off bath water to feed the greenhouse then.

We grew all kinds of fruits in that little space. Cucumbers, loved by us and the slugs that found their way in. Peppers and tomatoes, turning from green to yellow and red, like traffic lights. An aubergine plant, a melon plant which broke through to the outside, reaching for the sky – no fruit though.

I grow nothing right now. But hope to again. Instead I go in search of good fruit. The local grocer has a decent variety as do the market stalls. The difference between a large lemon with  thick skin and a puny think-skinned one is all about aroma, flavour, longevity.

Aldi offers decent avocados, in a relaxing, meditative green that you’d want to dive in to. Piccolo tomatoes which smell as if they are straight from the soil. Clusters of beets, radishes, carrots, all bundled.

Shopping around pays, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth either.

I have gotten through a fair amount of writing in recent weeks and achieved quite a bit. There is now a brief hiatus as I wait for autumn to bring fresh results. September tends to bring change for me year on year.

As I go walkabout, it is more and more apparent to me what my life *should* be hereon in.

In the meantime, I have reading. Ivo Andric’s Bosnian Chronicle, Collected Fictions – Jorge Luis Borge and to finish Pullman’s latest La Belle Sauvage, which is delightful. Three more shorter novels on the side thereafter with cuisine themes, and a reserve at the library waits for me – George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo.

Someone once said all you need is a library and a garden and life’s just fine. Okay. I may have finally come to accept that. Except one needs yarns too.

Starting today for the next three weeks, Butterfly Conservation are asking us to count butterflies. Visit their website, download the app or chart. Spend 15 mins at a time counting. This can be done as often as you like over the next three weeks. I’ve noticed many butterflies recently in this hot summer, and bees. Just lovely, absolutely lovely.