Friday 31 January 2014

little hare

I finished another little knitted creature made from recycled wool earlier in the week, this time a little hare. I'm very pleased with her sweet little face...and I think my smallest pupils will also be delighted to meet "Harriet the hare" during our next English class.

Wednesday 29 January 2014

tiny ted # 1

January seems to have flown by in a blur, I've been so very busy. I've still managed to make time though to sneak in little moments of knitting here and there. With leftover wool, I knitted tiny squares which I then sewed make a very tiny bear.

Monday 27 January 2014


Last week, there were too many lessons, resulting in too much tiredness. As well as quite a few tears.

There was hesitation followed by decision making:

Acceptance to work a little less.
Acceptance to rest a little more.
Acceptance to listen more attentively to my body.

I spent the start of this week by the fire, unravelling an old jumper knitted by someone other than me.
I spent hour after hour meticulously unpicking, unravelling and re-winding the yarn.

Unravelling the jumper somehow calmed my unravelled spirit, as if with each unpicked stitch I was somehow letting free some little worry that had been imprisoned within the rows until then.

When my labours were done, I was also rewarded with a stash of new wool, just ready for some new project...

Friday 24 January 2014

Bristol, a memory

Inspired by the lovely Jai, a memory from my time in Bristol, as a student. 

Street Art in the "People's Republic of Stokes Croft"
Do you remember my last autumn as a student in Bristol? When the motivation was slowly running out but the essays just kept on pouring in? When three months seemed far too short for a deadline, but like an eternity to be apart? 

Graffitti in St Paul's
I remember that November. With it's dismally grey days and howling wind and lashing rain. And  I remember in the middle of it all, deadlines, wind and rain, you said you would come to Bristol and visit me.

The Canteen, Stokes Croft
It took you two and a half days to get there from the Pyrenees: hitch-hiking up the west of France, across the channel by ferry and then a coach to Brizzle. 

But you came. 

I met you at the bus station. We hadn't seen each other for nearly two months. You took me in your arms and I melted.Then I took you by the hand, and I showed you the city. 

ConsumAction in Stoke's Croft
For five days, we walked the city streets. That November, they were occupying Council Green and there was still yet no Tesco's in Stokes Croft. We rummaged in the charity shops along Gloucester Road and you ransacked Oxfam Books whilst I was in class. I showed you the guerilla knitting in St Andrew's Park and the best place in town to buy a falafel sandwich. 

View of Bristol, from Clifton
We devoured Turkish pastries and salty yoghurt drinks from Bristanbul. We wandered through the allotments and eco quartier in St Werburghs, and I took you to see a hidden climbing wall. We searched in vain for reggae in St Paul's, but managed to find some Banksy graffiti in Easton. 

Terraced houses in St Werburgh's

In between lectures, we walked through Clifton to the suspension bridge. We watched a foreign film at the Watershed. We bought croissants then went into the Canteen to drink coffee and read the Guardian. We ate a scorching curry at the Thali café.

The legendary Thali café, Montpellier
And do you remember the afternoon when I bunked off of class, for the first time in my life? When we hired a tandem from the Bristol Bike Project? We had the hair-brained idea to cycle to Bath along the old railway. 

I had never been on a tandem before. You went in front, steering the way. I sat behind and closed my eyes, terrified. We cycled around the streets of Easton, you shouting out instructions, me, protesting with every turn of the pedal: "MOINS VITE, MOINS VITE!!!" 

Men with dreadlocks and women in djellabas laughed to see the young French couple wobbling past on the tandem. 

Through the streets of Bath, by tandem

And then we found the cycle path, and I found my feet. 

We sailed down to Bath, cycling in unison. It was exhilarating to cycle with you. I had never gone so fast, never gone so far on a bicycle before. I felt on top of the world. We sang songs at the top of our lungs, watched the countryside roll past. Stopped to examine plants or observe birds. 

In Bath, we peddled down to the river, past the Cathedral and then dived into a Tea Rooms. I was badly in need of cake, and you needed a coffee. And then it was back on the tandem, cycling back to Bristol with the wind behind us, beating the dusk before the sun set across the fields.

Recycled Tandem and Putney bridge, Bath

Wednesday 22 January 2014

sleepless nights

What a fortnight, what a week...

I've been overwhelmed with work, overwhelmed with that mind-numbing fatigue.

Lessons to prepare, verbs to conjugate, translations to hand in on time.

But worst of all: insomnia, aching muscles and fatigue have been holding me in a headlock. I've tried to break free, but it's impossible. 

Sleepless nights ... 

Sleepless hours ...

Sleepless hours tossing and turning, trying to not get overwhelmed by this rythme that seems just a little too tight for comfort at the moment. 

Fortunately, there are good friends to come for tea. To distract me with their sewing projects, their swelling bellies, their imminent weddings...

Fortunately, there is knitting to be done, a pair of slipper socks for my cheri to be finished. Whether a row or just a single stitch, it helps me feel like I've achieved something with my day, no matter how insignificant...

Wednesday 15 January 2014

last and first

It was my last knitting project of the old year...and the first I've finished in this new one. I cast on the first of these slippers for my chéri in the first week of December, and I managed to knit up the missing second one this week-end. The only question is, are these slippers a very late...or very early Christmas present? 

Wednesday 8 January 2014

sunshine and socks

Sunday was just perfect, like a gift. After a week of southern wind to warm up the valley, it felt just like a spring day. Who wants to stay inside on a day like this? So we left the homework translation for another day and went outside to enjoy the sunny weather. There wasn't a cloud in the sky as we walked up to the castle. 

How wondrous it felt to leave the house, to eat a picnic in the sunshine with my beloved, to pull off my boots and tights and tickle the warm grass with my toes...
I also managed to (finally) finish a pair of socks that have been waiting patiently in my knitting basket for a few months..