Friday, 26 August 2011

Island Living and The Road to Recovery

As ever. Let's do it.
Let's play Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Who wrote the phrase "No man is an island"?
John Donne? John Milton?
John F. Kennedy?
Jon Bon Jovi?
Jon Bon Jovi. Too easy.
And, if I may say so, a complete load of ********
In my opinion, all men are islands.
And what's more, now's the time to be one.
This is an island age.
A hundred years ago, you had to depend on other people.
No one had TV or CDs or DVDs or videos...
...or home espresso makers.
Actually, they didn't have anything cool.
Whereas now, you see... can make yourself a little island paradise.
With the right supplies and the right attitude...
I like to think I'm pretty cool.
I like to think I'm Ibiza. 

(Screenplay transcript of Nick Hornby's About a Boy) 

 Well, as you can see from my previous blog entry I have been in the depths of study for the past few months, but what you can't see is the back story and boy is there a back story!!  This piece of work could have been completed five years ago, that's when I completed the Masters training course, but.... I was physically and emotionally shattered by the training course and I missed the first deadline for the dissertation.  Missing this deadline was an alien concept for me and I was very disappointed with myself,  from then on I some how misplaced my self belief in my ability  to write this work.  Five years later the final deadline loomed and I was at breaking point.  When I wrote the last blog post, I was at the point of giving in.  I had been writing and writing and nothing appeared to make sense, in fact I had written over 60,000 words and I only needed 15,000.   Many people had offered help, but for some reason I couldn't accept it.  I didn't want to show anyone what I was writing, I had become an Island.

Two friends came to the rescue, they seemed to somehow say the right things at the right time.  They read every word, made gentle corrections and suggestions and showed no end of patience and compassion.  One friend was reading my writing and returning it via email at 3am in order to support me.   I managed to hand in my dissertation. I am eternally grateful and I have learned an extremely important lesson.  I am not an island, I need to accept the support and help of family and friends, this strengthens me and gives me the courage to keep plodding on....

So ten days on I am recovering from the stress of writing what had come to be known as my "d word".  For the first time in five years there is nothing to feel guilty about... I can sit down and read / crochet / knit / sew / tortoise watch / or simply just sit, with out thinking I should be writing.
This is a good thing because I have many Works in Progress (WIPS) to be getting on with....

Hmmm lets see... there are two crochet projects, two quilts, plus a log cabin bag in the making and a pair of socks.  There are other WIPS squirreled away I am certain of it, but these will do for now.  I remember buying the sock wool, dp sticks and pattern some time ago now.  I was  in London with a friend and I stumbled across I Knit London!  Well it would have been rude just to pass on by and as it was close to a record shop my friend likes, I was able to take my time perusing it.  I Knit London, truly is a fantastic place, the variety of yarns is amazing and the friendly, quirky atmosphere is very welcoming.  You can stop for a cuppa or even a glass of wine and have knit and a chat and there is a sweet tiny little dog, who may allow you to tickle her chin if you don't move too quickly!  Within minutes I was chatting to another customer about socks.  I have always thought that knitting socks is a skill I would like to master and I happened to mention this.  Well the enthusiasm from both staff and customers was lovely and about an hour later I emerged frome the shop with double pointed needles, a free easy pattern and some yarn.  It then sat in its bag for nearly 6 months.

Last week I finally got going.  Don't look too closely though, it is very clearly a first attempt and now  that I know what I am doing, I may well unravel the first sock and re knit it.  The pattern was a free pattern when I bought Trekking sock yarn.  I chose to use the Fortissimo yarn for this first pair though.  I also needed a little extra help as I was still a little baffled.  I have never used YouTube before for demonstrations of how to do things, but this lady was really helpful and informative.
Now, really I am no expert in knitting and certainly not in sock knitting, but I have already learned one thing that I feel is most definitely worth passing on.  Choose your stitch marker wisely.  I was using the green ones for the first sock.  They are wound in around the stitch you want to mark.  It works just fine until it falls out.  This happened too many times for me to use them ever again.  Yesterday I went in search of better markers and I came across the orange safety pin style markers that can't come undone as easily. so far they have worked a treat!  I hope to complete the socks by the end of this bank holiday weekend if not a little earlier  They will then be the first tick on my list of WIPs to complete.  I have packed the socks up in my special little carry case to take to my Mums for the weekend.  Mum has always encouraged me to make things even though she isn't a maker herself and I know there will be plenty of time to sit and knit at Mums house!
Have a wonderful long weekend one and all.  Oh and I promise to bring news of the tortoise eggs very soon, they are still in the incubator and have a few weeks to go.


  1. Congratulations on completing your 'D'. I used to dream I had deadlines years afterwards. I am so glad you are enjoying your mental freedom. Please do update us on the eggs, I scanned the post in anticipation :)

  2. also been waiting in anticipation for tortoise news looking forward to see photos of your socks enjoy your weekend make sure your mum spoils you

  3. Wow you have plenty to keep you busy! Horray for having D complete!