Weaver’s Tale – 17



I wrote yesterday about flax and linen and mentioned the process which is known in fairy tales of turning straw into gold. It’s a miracle that the most utilitarian looking plants can be transformed into the softest of fibre and fabric with a jewel-like sheen. The process is a lengthy one from planting the seeds, to harvesting and rotting and drying the plant stalks so that they can be broken down and combed to fine fibre.

Today the story is about a bag of seed heads and an enterprising mouse. The received wisdom after the seed heads are removed from the stalks is to store them in plastic boxes, in a dry place so the seeds can be used the following spring. We followed the procedures, weighed the yield of seed heads and put the box on a shelf in the workshop thinking it would be safe and our plants would be twice as many the following year.

What we didn’t know was that a mouse managed to find its way up behind the shelf, chew a hole in the part of the box we couldn’t see and helped him/herself invisibly to a great winter feast, eating the seeds and leaving us the seed heads intact, thank you very much. Just shows that you think you have something and then find out it’s disappeared when you weren’t looking.

When I started to write this blog at the beginning of February, I decided to write from the heart and not spend too much time editing, going over things and rewriting, but rather  let the blog write itself with me as a channel. It’s worked amazingly well and I would recommend it as a tool to anyone for clearing thoughts and bringing ideas together that are whirling all over the place. It’s been a great tool for recovery helping me to see what is essential in my life and what can be discarded once and for all. This may mean from your point of view as reader that I repeat myself sometimes and express the same things now and again, so I hope you will forgive this lack of perfection and read as much between the lines as you do on the surface.

Today my theme is loneliness, inspired by the end of last week’s family visit, a talk I had with the wonderful occupational therapist Fiona who has supported me through this past year of readjustment and a programme on Radio 4, Solos on Loneliness. You can still listen to this half hour on iPlayer. Appropriate too to the box of seeds which disappeared when I wasn’t looking.

Statistics have been collated showing that 25% of the population are lonely. This is attributed among other things to marriage break-ups, retirement, children moving away, losing a partner or living with a partner who has Alzheimer’s or needs other kinds of care.

For me several things happened in close sequence which contributed to feeling lonely, and I am convinced that this was a cumulative, contributing factor in my sudden illness.

Turned on its head, recognising these feelings are an important part of healing. I’ve learned to surround myself with supportive, caring people, to say NO and spend my time doing things I want to do as much as I can, spending quality time by myself when I can. The main message from the radio programme is to ask for help when feelings of loneliness seem overwhelming. One of the contributors was the presenter Andy Kershaw who talked openly about his situation when his marriage broke up. People assumed that because he was semi-famous and surrounded by people he could cope with whatever and didn’t always recognise that this was not the case.

We know that feelings of loneliness can be most acute sometimes when we are surrounded by other people. I LOVE the expression …”I’d rather be alone than wish I were.” I hope it will be useful some time for you as well.


To read more about my art and textile work see the following websites:

The Arran Knitting Company

Rainbow Textiles

Websites that I love:

Scottish Island Mum – Day 40 – Come and Meet the Lovely Lynn

Miracle Design

About lynngrayross

A mother and grandmother with over 40 years of experience in textile arts. Author of "Handweaving: the Basics" published by Bloomsbury UK. Available to purchase from www.bloomsbury.com

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