Wild and dreary

It is a foul day today indeed. The light has not really been with us all day and now at three pm it is all but gone again. I confess to having done nothing useful or productive today. I am sitting at my desk, listening to an audio book and knitting on the new cowl that I cast on last night.

I am making another Rivington Cowl, this time in Cashmere and using up leftovers from a pair of Colourmart yarns that have already furnished two scarves. I shall work on this for the time being as I lack the 9 mm tips to make the hooded cowl and Mr L’s sweater yarn has yet progressed no further than Hinckley. I did root through my stash yesterday and bring indoors a few potential partners for the Colinette left overs for my hooded cowl. Looking at the forecast weather it may be some time before I get good daylight to weigh up the shades together.

On the headphones I have (yet again) The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell. This is a book that I have been trying to get under my belt for many years. I have had several attempts at reading it and this is my third start on the audio version. I have no idea whey it has yet to be finished and believe it just to be circumstance and other matters getting in the way. I certainly enjoy it. The social issues and the politics seem as fresh today as when the book was written – it really does seem hugely topical today. Apart from that, I love the descriptions of the decorators at work. It seems to me that the tasks changed little between the time that the book was written and the days when I was drafted to help Dad decorate the house when I was small. Tressell mentions the mechanisation of wallpaper trimming but yet I recall rolls of wallpaper requiring their selvedge knocking off – and the joy of doing that task with a hearty thwack of the roll edge against the paste table! When he speaks of a man burning off paint with a blow torch I recall the acrid smell as though it were yesterday and in my mind’s eye I see the curls of old green and brown paint layers parting company with the wood beneath and sticking to the shave hook as they cooled. The mention of old wall paper soaking before stripping brings back that particular odour as though I were still standing in the back kitchen of our little two-up two-down.

The world seemingly changed little between 1910, when the book was written, and the 1950s – despite two world wars. It is tempting to remark how much faster the pace of change has been since —  but then, coming back to the themes of poverty and its supposed causes, the power of the press to mould otherwise uninformed and unthinking opinion, the “damn foreigners” causing all the working man’s ills, soup kitchens and children going without… the rich still get richer and the poor remain not only oppressed but also abused as the supposed cause of their own misery. We don’t learn and we don’t move on. We just don’t have to trim the edge from the wallpaper any longer.

Mr L tells me that the weather pattern is locked in for the remainder of the year. It seems unlikely that we will get away for his birthday after all. I hope we manage a shopping trip to buy something tasty and interesting for his birthday dinner and our wedding anniversary meal. Really, I am very, very tired of root veg just now.

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