08 May 2012

lashing down

Des Pawson's Rope display - Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

As you know, it has been raining.  The roof has been leaking for weeks, too wet to repair, and bowls are being kept close by for emergencies.  There have been nights when, as Ted Hughes would have understood, our house has felt like it was at sea. Enough said.  However, the lashing down most on my mind has been in relation to rope, and knots and rigging in general.  For I have progressed in my upholstery class - and I am loving my class - to the challenge of lashing down springs. And it's quite demanding for someone with weak hands who never was a guide or sea scout and has not a clue about knots.  All this is shameful for someone whose birth certificate says she is a ship's rigger's driver's daughter, whose uncles could tie all sorts of knots, whose skipping ropes were so coarse and hairy and thick that if you didn't learn how to jump high enough resulted in lashing of the bare legs, whose father was always proud of his own roping and sheeting skills.  Captivated by the lovely line drawings in Annie Proulx's Shipping News years ago, you would have thought I might get a book out of the library and have a go.  Alas, no. I'm inspired now after seeing Des Pawson's rope display this weekend at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, located I discovered on land that was once a ropewalk.  The scent of those ropes in the dampness of the woods and their romantic connotations of voyages and exotic goods was enough to pull me in.  They reminded me of the joyous display of Alfred Wallis's paintings at Kettle's Yard that I saw on a cold, wet day a couple of weeks ago.  Heaps of paintings of barques and brigantines and steamers.  If you can, or have a choice at all, go there on a rainy day.  It will cheer you up enormously.


Annie @ knitsofacto said...

So much in one short paragraph :D

You could be describing my skipping ropes, but they were made by my grandfather with rope he kept in store. I still remember the sting on the legs if you got the jumping wrong, though I hadn't though about that in decades.

The Ted Hughes poem I regularly quote at my husband when wind and rain whip across from the Welsh Hills, but at least we don't have a leak. That's the plus, the con is that I'm far too far away to get to see the Alfred Wallis exhibition, rainy day or not.

colleen said...

Annie - so good to know that I was not a lone sufferer of the rope sting! And a pity you are too far away for Alfred Wallis. It was so uplifting.

Catherine said...

A ship rigger's driver's daughter! What a heritage! And you read Ted Hughes. I shall definitely be following your blog