Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Of course, the downside of spending the housekeeping on yarn is that one must be somewhat frugal until the next payday - which is over two weeks away. Cauliflower cheese, anyone?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wonderwool Wales

Look what I bought!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This is my life

..or at least it has been the last week! 18 months ago, I made a pinwheel sweater for a friend's little girl, then used the rest of the yarn to make one for my cousin's little girl a few months later (pics here and here) For my birthday last year A bought me the yarn to make one for myself and this month I finally cast on for it. It is the biggest thing I have ever knit, having now exceeded the baby blankets. I only have 21 rounds left to finish the body, but each round has about 450 stitches in it. It sits in my lap, a great puddle of knitting, as I trudge round and round.

So of course, what I really need as I wrestle with it and try and finish it off, is this:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Twenty Years

Twenty years ago.

A fair Saturday afternoon.

I was packing my things ready to return to Liverpool for the last term of my first year. I was probably listening to Otway.

The doorbell went.

To my surprise I opened the door to a boy I knew from school, but hadn't been particularly close to at the time. He was on a year out and had dropped by on the off chance that I might be in. He became a good friend.

I offered him a cup of tea or coffee. He asked for a glass of milk.

Meanwhile 150 miles away, the girl who worked a few benches down from me in the chem lab went to a football match.

Whilst Nick and I were chatting, Mum was listening to the radio. As he left she came to tell me there had been some trouble at the Liverpool match. By the evening news it became apparent that this was no ordinary case of crowd trouble. As we were to find out later, it wasn't a case of crowd trouble at all, whatever some sections of the media wanted us to believe.

The drive back to Liverpool on the Sunday was sombre. As I returned to my Halls there wasn't the usual sense of laughter at reunion; people were subdued. I unpacked, grabbed my granny square blanket and went to my boyfriend's room. As I sat and crocheted the blanket that I am sitting on now, the evening news came on. The first victims of the disaster were named and their photos flashed onto the screen: sisters Sarah and Victoria Hicks, 19 and 15.

The shock was immense. Even now, the sensation of my insides turning to water vividly remains. I didn't know Sarah very well and it shook my world at the time; I will never be able to fully comprehend how the families feel and how they survive from day to day.

The Thursday after the disaster, a friend and I got a map, plotted a route and walked to Anfield. We joined the snaking queue to lay flowers. By the time we got there, the flowers covered half the pitch. The fences at the front of the Kop were a riot of colour, with football scarves and shirts from clubs across the country. The sense of grief was almost overwhelming. It was the first and only time I have been to Anfield. I spent a fair bit of free time that week at the Metropolitan Cathedral, just across the road from the Guild of Undergraduates. I found it then to be a place of peace.

Today the urge to be in Liverpool was overwhelming, so I went. Without A, I didn't think I could face Anfield and in retrospect I'm glad I didn't go there. My composure was wobbly enough as it was and 28,000 people singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" would have finished me off. Instead, I returned to the Met. I stayed for the two minutes silence, then sat outside listening to the bells of both cathedrals as they tolled 96 times.


Archive radio and photos are here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Faces from the past

This week I bumped into someone I went to college with and haven't seen since my Graduation in 1991. I recognised him immediately, but he needed some help to recognise me. The years have been kinder to him than me, I suppose, or I was pretty forgettable, which could also be the case. I did have the advantage of having often wondered if I would bump into him, however; I work in his home town and last I heard from him (mid 1990s) he was still living in the town.

It's funny, I often wondered what we would talk about, and we were predictably boring, sticking to work. I told him I had married A, since we were all at Uni together, but realised afterwards I hadn't asked him about family life at all. I also didn't get any contact details, much to several people's subsequent displeasure, but I'd already detained the poor chap and just didn't get a "vibe", if you know what I mean. I didn't want to foist myself on him, I know I can be pushy and try not to be.

I've spent a lot of time in the last 10 months or so thinking of the past. Last summer marked twenty years since my A levels, leaving school, moving to Liverpool, meeting A (although we didn't get together we were good mates) and my thoughts turned to people that I haven't seen for many a year. There's a faint wistfulness there for the girl I once was, even if I was screwed up. There's so much potential when you set out on that journey, leaving a small town for the big city. Arriving in Liverpool felt like arriving in a different country, not just a different region. My memories are full of colour and noise - Liverpool was (and still is) a very vibrant city. Did I meet that potential? I don't know - am I the best judge of that? I do feel that I missed out on things - that I didn't take full advantage of being in Liverpool. I was so embroiled in a relationship that was ultimately doomed that I didn't go clubbing the way others did, I didn't develop female friends the way I perhaps should have done, but then I look back at school and see that I was friends with more boys than girls, so many that's just me. After all, I'm not much of a "girly" girl, and things that teenage girls were supposed to be interested in left me cold. Make-up? Clothes? Not really. I was much more into music, not chart stuff but searching out what was cool and different (a legacy from an older boyfriend?) and that was viewed far more as a male trait than a female one. Jackie magazine? No, NME and Melody Maker. Cosmo? Sometimes, but I'd rather read Q.

So.. wistfulness? Yes. Regrets? Some. Would I have my time over? You betcha, I loved moving to Liverpool. But would I do anything different? You know what...I think I'd still make the same mistakes.

Enough. Navel-gazing gets you nowhere. Let me leave you with this, a favourite in the early 1990s which rings with even more resonance today.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Bloggus Interruptus

We apologise for the lack of service on this blog. Partly this is due to problems with Blogger on an old PC, partly to do with a large workload but predominantly to do with the fact that the author is a lazy git.


Must. Try. Harder.