It's all about Suffolk: Lesley Dolphin

Lesley gets the needle in her latest look at county life

Lesley gets the needle in her latest look at county life

I have a bit of a guilty secret. You know how (I’m talking to my fellow women here) when you’re wearing that new pair of shoes which you just couldn’t resist buying last week, and he says: "Are they new? I haven’t seen those before," you just tell a weenie, white lie and say: "These old things? I’ve had them for ages!" Well I am wondering how to do the equivalent with some rather expensive knitting wool that I’ve bought.

My new year’s resolution two years ago was to try and find some time to do the hobbies that I used to enjoy. But even though both the boys have flown the nest and Mark and I are home alone, I seem to be busier than ever and still don’t get time for reading or knitting. Yes, I did say knitting. I gather it’s a trendy thing to do these days with celebrities like Catherine Zeta Jones taking up the needles, and the sale of wool has risen by 40 per cent.

When I was young my mum would spend most evenings with her knitting needles clicking away. I was very impressed because she could watch television at the same time as doing stocking stitch or rib. She spent hours lovingly knitting brown school cardigans for when I went up to ‘big school.’ They were made to last which means they were a couple of sizes too big and I had to roll the cuffs over several times!

Mind you I got away with it quite lightly because Mark tells me that some of the kids in his class had knitted swimming costumes! I can’t quite believe it but I gather when they got wet they would stretch!

When I had children of my own I really enjoyed creating Thomas the Tank Engine and Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles jumpers. They loved them, but then they were too young to know any better. Sadly my knitting can’t be mistaken as anything but home-made. Why is it that rustic ‘artisan’ bread is highly desirable while my ‘artisan’ home knitted jumpers are more of an embarrassment?

Most Read

Anyway last year, determined that I would find time to do some knitting, and regardless of whether even I will dare to wear the finished product, I eventually found a wool shop in Bury St Edmunds. I was amazed at the variety of designer yarns and patterns available, all in a multitude of textures and a rainbow of colours. I was also staggered at how much they cost! It’s definitely not the cheap option to make your own clothes any more, especially if no one wants to wear them!

I did succumb to temptation in the end and bought some pretty, aqua coloured wool along with a designer pattern, although it’s so long ago I can’t remember who the designer is or whether the pattern is for a jumper or waistcoat, but I am looking forward to knitting it soon. At least when Mark looks at the wool in surprise and asks if it is new, I will be able to say – ‘no I’ve had it for ages’!

Staying with clothes I got a real bargain at a ‘clobber swap’ a couple of weeks ago. I have publicised the fundraiser at Ipswich hospital for the past three years but never managed to get along myself before. The idea is you take along some clothes to swap so I rummaged in my wardrobe for a couple of dresses and skirts that I never wear and took them along to the event at the hospital’s lecture theatre. It wasn’t hard to find, I just followed all the other women carrying bulging carrier bags ...the place was heaving! Although everyone was very polite they were also very determined and as soon as ‘new’ garments arrived they were pounced on. I soon got into the swing and after an hour or so rummaging, came away delighted with a black coat, a tan suede jacket and three handbags (you can never have too many handbags!). I was delighted, after all there is nothing quite like a bargain and it was all for charity, so make a note in your diary for next year’s event, which raises money for cancer patients, it is at the end of February.

April is one of my favourite months because at last there are signs that winter might be over. Every morning I take our elderly dog, Satsuma (his name is another story in itself) for a walk on the local heath and listen to the birds singing their hearts out. I love it as the mornings get lighter and the trees start to burst into leaf. Although we live in Ipswich the heath is an SSSI, a site of special scientific interest and my little piece of sanity. I grew up in the countryside and so being able to get just a little bit of nature every morning really sets me up for the day. Satsuma quite likes it too – roll on summer.

Comments powered by Disqus