Hobbies 4

We went round last night and played bridge with X & Y. We had fantastic cards and had a lovely evening – not so X & Y!

One of the more interesting stands was the local coloured wool weavers and spinners. I was surprised at the price they were asking for two or three sacks of wool they had there. About thirty dollars. Admittedly, I suppose they contained about four fleeces, or at any rate three – and I did get $7 for my biggest one the other day. They had one large bag labelled in large letters COTTED FLEECE, which was word I hadn’t come across before. It apparently meant so tangled and matted that it was practically impossible to pull out and card. Most of mine are a bit like that!

She was keen to have a demonstration of spinning on a wheel. We had a bit of wool there and I managed to get her wheel going reasonably and spun a little bit, and she then had a go and after 15 or 20 minutes had got the hang of it and was producing some very reasonable yarn, which pleased me.

We have borrowed a couple of more up-to-date books on ACOL which are proving fairly disastrous while we are in the process of adjusting our bidding system! So far Monday does not seem quite such a pleasant evening to play as Tuesday. It may be of course that most of the people are just much better than we are! But whether or no, a good many are rather patronising to the poor little ‘jumped-up Tuesday pair’ – and also a bit rude in that as you move to the next table they are quite likely to continue their post-mortem without so much as a nod of welcome.

X no doubt told you of our catch of fish – three was quite enough for me, and I decided that even if we had been staying I didn’t want to go fishing any more until I had discovered an infallible method of finishing them off, and taking the hooks out.

I’ve spent a good deal of time constructing a balsa wood plane from his grandfather: a grossly optimistic compliment to his nimbleness of mind and body! We did have the satisfaction of it flying in the end, although I must admit it was aerodynamically rather unpredictable, veering to the right and flying into the house on the first flight and zooming to the left and getting shredded in the fence on the second.

My head of X is going slowly, I try to leave it for a day or two so I see the mistakes, this morning’s was rather major, the forehead has to be built up, and I’m not happy about the eyes. I suspect one is set further back than t’other… [later] I’m far too ‘stressed’ to use my new typewriter! I’ve been battling with my 4th attempt with X and everything that can go wrong has – I now have it caged in 4 or 5 layers of plaster of Paris with heavy iron bars set in back and front. I expect I’ll try the next stage, but I’m not hopeful of the result – maddening when I remember my first 3 which I made casts for on the kitchen table in between meals – I feel very old today!!

The National Management game is in full swing again. We’ve made our first two ‘decisions’. Did I tell you that X is on a girls’ team this year? Their business sense is non-existent, their maths worse but their industrial espionage has to be seen to be believed; why, one of them even married an opposing team member to extort information!

Hobbies 3

We’ve been in for two bridge tournaments since I last wrote. As usual we were in the last quarter of the list both times. It really is very irritating that we play bridge so badly and don’t ever seem to improve. There must be some sort of knack for visualising where all the cards are, after the calling, and then remembering which ones have gone and adjusting the picture of what remains as they turn up – but neither of us seem to be able to acquire it. And of course we tend to stretch the rules a bit when we are calling so we even manage to deceive each other. However ‘it’s only a game’ – and a pleasant enough one unless one has a whole evening with hardly a hand to call on, when it can become temporarily boring.

[Limericks were a family amusement]

X the cheeky boy started off one:

How red is gran’papa’s nose

continued by others with

Perhaps whisky or port is his dose

But those in the know

Say it cannot be so

For see it turns blue when he’s froze

It turns blue

In spite of their daily ration of ‘nuts’, the poor sheep are perpetually hungry just at present – not the best of times as the first lambs might be born any time in the next week – though the Farm Advisory man I spoke to about it said thin sheep generally have their lambs more easily than fat ones. I hope so, not having had any midwifery practice. At least X seemed to think that they are all going to produce – so the ram seems to have done his stuff in spite of his youth and tentative manner, whenever we saw him making advances to them.

I’m going to take up fishing when I get back – such an easy way to do nothing.

X put together the poncho thing I had made for her in two halves, but it didn’t hang right, and also she felt that it might prove too delicate in construction to stand up to much wear (though it would not be likely to have much because it was as warm as wearing a whole fleece!) – so in the end I made a diamond frame of wood and it now adorns the wall in the dining room, and looks quite decorative.

I’m sure I told you when I last wrote how avidly I was reading Doris Lessing’s books. Well, I also read ‘The Golden Notebook’ by her. Honestly, it is powerful stuff, not only a whole social document, but the women, who are the main characters, are marvellous, real: ‘I urge you to read it’ as the reviewers say! Also I read ‘Jane Eyre’ for the first time since I was at school, and again I was so impressed. Jane is my heroine: such standards of honesty and trust and integrity I can only hope to attain after a lifetime. Also I loved the whole style of the book; not a spare word in it. T.S. Eliot has a poem ‘East Coker’ which you probably know. There was another discovery. These three things I have read are my big reading discoveries of the year. Thought I would share them with you.

I have actually made a little start with weaving – but only on a frame loom you hold in your lap, using a long wooden needle to manipulate the weft. So far I’ve only done – or half-done – one piece and that only six inches wide, because the only thing I could find for the warp was a limited length of fishing line. It started as six inches but is now down to five, because I have been pulling the weft up too tight – especially in the sort of rows where you go round each warp string separately to produce pretty patterns. A further snag is that the variations in my spinning make it difficult to discern the pattern when you have done it! However I am getting more regular in my results (thanks among other things to a spinning seminar which I went to a couple of Saturdays ago, at which I picked up quite a few tips, including the importance of really good carding of the wool before you start). They tell me that after a time it becomes positively difficult to introduce the lovely airships which at present add such variety to my yarn!

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