30 November 2010
sackcloth and ashes
Oooh, err. Sorry. I just don't know where the rest of this beautiful November went to. Misty mornings. A sharp frost that finally saw off the leaves from the mulberry tree - we watched and listed to them fall into the garden with a slight shusshing sound. The first snow, though not much. There was a wonderful walk along the canals and the Greenway (more concrete than green, hideous barren looking rose bushes) to view the Olympic site with Felix. A block of parsley growing along the canal path. Hot chocolate at the Counter Cafe and beer in the The Camel. An irresistible ball of Wensleydale wool bought here. Another day, a chilly grey Sunday, there was a trip around the City of London to hear Susan Phillipsz's plaintive singing in almost empty and quiet streets, under London Bridge with the river lapping below, in soulless city squares. The sound of Lachrymae in Milk Street was enough to squeeze your heart. All this against a background of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall which I didn't want to end. At home, there were a couple of weekends of baking squash muffins to sell at local events - quick and easy if you skip the frosting, better with an added teaspoonful of ginger, and sunflower rather than olive oil. Several soups. Kale at the market. The first hot water bottles.
My sackcloth wasn't too punitive, unlike that of Thomas More. This apron was my offering for a wee project we had at the WI to make a little something out of coffee sacks given to us by fairtrade coffee suppliers, Cafe Direct. It was not exactly the easiest fabric to work with - I stuck it in the washing machine to get rid of the dust and it came out a little the worse for wear (the rosette is hiding a big hole that appeared) and still kept shedding bits of fibre. I lined it with some unseasonal but jolly blue spotted fabric that at least keeps my clothes from turning into hair shirts and I have to say I've grown rather fond of my sackcloth. It's good for doing the dirtier jobs around the house - like cleaning out the ashes from the grate now we are having fires again - and I shall definitely be wearing it on the allotment. I've even had a commission from John to make him one for work, though with a rather more subdued lining.
First day of Advent tomorrow - and I haven't even put up the curtains to keep out the winter draughts or baked the cakes and puddings yet.