Monday, 29 December 2008


Typical. I wait all year for a saviour to come along and then two arrive at once.

After yesterday's Hat, today comes the children's Aunty Dee, driving at ten miles an hour from Wales, probably. So if you were stuck behind her on that narrow, winding stretch of B road today, apologies. She was coming to entertain Shark, Squirrel and Tiger while I involved myself with other matters. Like hiding in the office pretending not to be home, trying to keep a clear head to think about the year to come.

When Aunty Dee arrives, she is greeted by the gritlets like she's someone divine walking on earth, and have they waited an age for this appearance. They're over her like a rash, which is some testament to the strong relationship she has built up with these three squabbling little beings since they started rampaging around this planet eight years ago. She keeps on coming back to see them, yet they have thrown mostly everything they can right at her - bar sex, drugs and rock and roll, but that's only because they haven't thought of those yet.

Since year zero, they've thrown at her head a torrid mix of projectile vomit, temper tantrums, wheeled vehicles, chickenpox, books, insane jealously over access to her knees, paint, and a selection of ear piercing screams (which might actually account for her deafness). Yet still she comes. This is an astonishing feat, and really, I am in awe of that. Most people do not come back after the first triplet assault, but to drive for hours so she can 'pop in' and see her gritlet nieces is wonderful indeed.

Well Aunty Dee is popping in today and tomorrow and then popping back up to Northumberland for New Year's Eve. I hope she'll be seeing in the New Year smashed on Bolly and rolling about in a Northumberland gutter with a semi-naked young man. She's probably not doing that, but might opt for a sweet sherry along with her early night.

And this is Aunty Dee. She lives life quietly and neatly and gently and carefully and brings these qualities to the gritlets in a way that I cannot. I bring chaos, disorder, a big shout once a month and yesterday's cold bowls of pasta. The gritlets can see Aunty Dee's qualities too. Because the quality they yearn to learn from her more than anything else is how to KNIT.

I cannot knit, am driven criminally insane by the thought of knitting, would stab myself with the needles before I had the first row, would want to die, slowly, over a spit, rather than be forced to knit one perl one. Aunty Dee is my opposite, yet I am so glad of her skill that I might kiss the hem of her hand-knitted garment if she would let me. There she sits on the sofa, knitting away, chatting about birds in hedgerows and hot water bottles, and there the gritlets all sit circled around her, devotedly, devoutly, knitting away, quietly chatting about birds in hedgerows and hot water bottles, and from the bottom of my heart for all your gentle, calm and slow approach to life and more, for your remarkable ability to KNIT, I want to say, Aunty Dee, a big THANK YOU for making life quiet and gentle and clearing a space for my head, for saving me and us today.


Mean Mom said...

Aunty Dee sounds like a treasure. I can knit but I can't pick up dropped stitches, or undo it, if I go wrong, which can be a bit of a disadvantage.

Crochet is easier than knitting. You don't have dropped stitches and it's much easier to undo. Have you tried that?

Sam said...

Yay! for knitting, but double Yay! for crochet.

Mean Mom is so right :-)

Anonymous said...

She sounds like a joy. I hope her visit gave you time to catch your breath and enjoy time with her.

Knitting: I like the idea, not sure I'd have the patience, skill or care!

sharon said...

Three cheers for Aunty Dee and her Needles of Calm! Think of all those lovely snuggly hats and scarves the dextrous Gritlets wil be able to make to keep you all warm in the depths of the Great British winter. I love knitting, it's very relaxing to sit producing something decorative and/or useful whilst watching the TV at the end of the day (that's when there's anything worth watching of course. Australian TV isn't the best by a heck of a long shot!)

I have my fingers crossed that 2009 is working out well.

mamacrow said...

this was TOO cute!

I can sort of knit a bit and am quite knowledgeable about birds in hedgerows (er, I can name a few...)

but I need to brush up my hot waterbottle conversation!

hope 09 is going well for you!

Mr Farty said...

Wait, I thought everyone could knit, even me...

Oh, you mean without a knitting machine? Stuff that for a game of soldiers.

Knit 1, perl 1, slip 1, drop one. As my mum used to say.

Grit said...

mean mom, i will take tiger down to hobbycraft in due course and point at the crochet section. from then on, it's up to her. i hate the idea of crochet as much as the idea of knitting.

sam, you need some serious re-education on this issue. i suggest i make a start by getting you blind drunk when we can sing rude songs together about knitting patterns and vicars.

mud, you are one step ahead of me because the very *idea* brings me out in a cold sweat.

NO WAY Sharon am I ever wearing A SCARF KNITTED FOR ME BY MY CHILD. Phew. had to get that out in CAPS.

hi mamacrow! 2009 is a year of new resolutions. as usual. but this time i feel more optimistic. possibly for the first time in 8 years. of which more, later.

mr farty, you speak an enormous amount of good sense. aunty dee also bought a bottle of malt, which i'm sure you'll agree is a far better way of passing the time than knitting.