Weaver’s Tale – 14

Jill's Farewell

“Farewell Arran in glorious weather, see you next time –  Jill

Chris left today for Manchester to catch his plane tomorrow to fly back home to Philadelphia and his gorgeous wife Louisa. The girls are back in Galway catching up with their friends and we are all experiencing the afterglow of such a sunny sparkling visit as we prepare for the next phase in our lives.

Chris said it better than I could when he expressed the fact that they were all very grateful to have a place to go back to where they feel at home, despite any changes. Now the grandgirls are building their own memory banks with photos and anecdotes and talk of the next trip. Much as I love Arran I have the same feelings when I go to Stockholm – home but different.

My friend responded to yesterday’s blog by writing the following comment. She has hit the nail exactly on the head.

“I can feel with you, Lynn, saying good bye is never easy. But I try comforting myself by thinking that if they did not go away I would never have the joy of seeing them coming to visit me. Many people live parallel lives while living together – one can easily see: that is not happening in your family! Welcomes and good-byes show us so much more just how we love each other as a family.”

Today then has been a day of rest and contemplation and trying not to plan what my attitude is going to be to the next phase of my life. I know that my nearest and dearest are content and all is peacefu todayl in our geographically extended space. Arran is here for the next visit and I am lucky to be the one who lives here. My immediate future is going to be the dance between illness and health, adapting illness as part of my being, but understanding that healing is possible and available just for the asking.

My thoughts are turning inevitably to the garden and working out a comfortable corner where I can be outside with all the flowers I love, and some tentative efforts to grow vegetables on a smaller and much more manageable scale than I did when the garden supported our economy and fresh pea pods never reached the house, but served as snacks for hungry, busy children.

I’m also going to look at the “things” I’ve been hoarding, “just in case the children want them”. It was agreed that the only thing that we all wanted from the toy box was the Lego, the rattle of which I have mentioned previously.

I’ve decided that I’m not going to send “things” anymore, but rather be aware what would be helpful in their lives at the moment and what could provide new experiences.

I have to say I came close to changing my policy when I opened the silver filigree earrings that Chris and Louisa had chosen for me – so maybe occasional “things” and the second hand book my thoughtful daughter had found for me – more on that anon.

Tonight I feel a bit sad, but mostly energised and ready to face the next few steps in my physical recovery and enjoy each day as it comes.

As well defined by Pooh and Piglet in their discussion in the cartoon in my timeline today.

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For more on my art and textile work and to look up websites I like:

The Arran Knitting Company

Rainbow Textiles

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

Miracle Design

Fern’s Book – Diary of a Hamster by Ramsay Steward

Weaver’s Tale – 10

Two Gray Hills1

“A NAVAJO SORT OF DAY’

Today I am still glowing in the aftermath  of a positive visit to the hospital yesterday, plus a positive response from my publisher and most of all the presence of my tall, thoughtful son.

Today’s events so far have a sort of Navajo theme about them. One of the fun things about my necessary nail care is choosing a new colour, especially this week when things have tended to be a bit gloomy. My fingers have changed shape since I’ve been ill, so I can wear my Navajo ring again which has been in the box for about 10 years. It was a gift from my parents-in-law the first time I visited them on my own in Phoenix. We drove up to Fort Apache and Montezuma’s Castle a cliff dwelling on the reservation and they bought me the ring as a memento of that trip. The silver and turquoise are traditional Navajo with rays carved to represent the sun, and small half moons curved with rain drops.

Later when we moved to Chicago I met “Laura” (her Facebook name) and discovered someone else who was as passionate about Navajo arts & crafts as I was. In her travels west she collected Navajo rugs in traditional designs like the one pictured here called Two Gray Hills, which she has very kindly allowed me to reproduce in my Practical Weaving book. “Laura”‘s enthusiasm for Navajo weaving coincided with my own growing awareness of the the craft and contributed to my determination to become a weaver.

In the years that followed we met a few times, but then lost touch. She had meanwhile moved to the South of France and carried on her own fabulous textile work there. She discovered me a few years ago on the Ravelry website for knitters, got in touch and the rest is the next phase of history.

You can read about her rediscovery of me on her blog Miracle Design and find out more about her gorgeous textiles as well.Update on the Arran weather situation – please send thoughts and prayers to those that haven’t yet got power switched on again. We have been asked to be careful about our electricity use as we are still on emergency generators. It’s so easy to forget the deprivation once everything comes on again. The emergency crews have been wonderful, working hard to get pylons up and running again and getting food through to people who are stranded. As it’s Easter weekend this week, Arran usually experiences a significant rise in the number of holiday  home owners and holiday makers and although the major hotels are open, anyone planning to come to Arran is asked to check with their accommodation provider to make sure that it is suitable still to come over.   Let’s hope for everyone’s sake the situation levels out sooner rather than later.

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To read more about my creative textile work and to find out more about “Laura”:

The Arran Knitting Company

Rainbow Textiles

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

Miracle Design

Weaver’s Tale – 9

AFC TOP1

“FROM FOOTBALL TO WEAVING TO SNOW AND OTHER SERENDIPITIES”

Rolling the film backwards on this day I am writing to the sound of football as Scotland is slowly being pushed out of the Olympic competition by Serbia. Why am I listening to this, I hear you say. Because I am so pleased to have my son Chris visiting and over his jet lag. We chat in between boring non-plays and make up names for an alternative team like Strikeovich, Scoragoalovich – you get the idea! You can tell from this that a childhood favourite in our household was the Asterix series by Gascony. It also reminded me that I was never unduly troubled by Chris’ passion for football because it was a wonderful learning tool – producing league tables, setting up neighbourhood tournaments, using basic mathematics, geography and a number of other subjects. Not to mention the transition to setting it all up on vintage computers, adding further to the skills base.

One of the projects outlined in my upcoming book “Practical Weaving” is a piece that Chris produced with the Aberdeen team colours and initials, designed on graph paper. I could probably continue through the whole school curriculum. Suffice it to say that Chris is now working as a soccer & softball referee in Philadelphia, adding assertiveness and confidence to the list of skills acquired.

Speaking of my book I also heard from the publisher today that they are very impressed with the final draft and it will now go to the copy editor to check grammar, etc. It’s so exciting and I can’t wait to see the final draft!

Back to the power cuts and snowbound roads on the island, things are still pretty grim in some places.  We are fortunate in Brodick that the situation is mostly under control, but there is a worry that the generators might not cope with the surge of electricity that we take for granted on a daily basis. It’s too soon to look at the long-term implications, but something will have to change, perhaps in the use of underground cables rather than the more vulnerable pylons which can’t cope with the sudden weight of a snow and ice storm.

I had a chance to see the island from across the water today as I had to go for a check-up at the Liver Transplant Unit in Edinburgh. The mountains were spectacular in the sunlight and it was hard to imagine that chaos behind the facade. There was no ferry disruption.

The news from the hospital was encouraging. My body is finally showing signs of recuperation which has been going on for a year without any noticeable progress. I can walk a bit farther without support and according to the consultant I look significantly better than I did when he was the attending physican at the clinic last May.

Amazing how much better you feel with positive words and a sense of achievement.

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To read more about my creative work see:

The Arran Knitting Company

Rainbow Textiles

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

Practical Weaving on a Frame Loom

Weaver’s Tale – 8

WINTER MOUNTAINS1

TWO AND A HALF DAYS WITHOUT POWER – AND WE’RE THE LUCKY ONES!

POWERCUT 2013

My neighbour’s son lives in Ulan Bator in Outer Mongolia and my son, as you probably know by now from the blog, lives in Peru. One way or another they both knew that Arran was completely snowed in, cut off and shut down from Friday morning to Sunday lunch time. We have been on the national news – which we unfortunately couldn’t watch and without phone and computer off island communication was at a definite minimum.

Tonight I’m warm, well-fed and basking in the arrival of number one son from Philadelphia, who as I write has just given in to jet lag. As when he was two years old, the sight of him asleep on the sofa softens my heart and I look forward to more craic (translation: chat) as he gradually wakes up.

I’m also thinking about the people on the other side of the island who are still cut off literally and figuratively and hope that all will be back to normal soon. Whatever that will be.

I promised you a tale of how I became a weaver and why we came to Arran. At the moment that seems unreal in light of the past week’s events, so I’ve decided to put it into bullet point form, so that I’m ready with my next blog to write about current events which seem to be overtaking past memories at the moment.

  • I rediscover Arran from my aunt’s upstairs window in Kilmarnock and decide to come over with my 6-year old daughter and take a closer look as I’d never been here
  • We have a wonderful WARM and sunny few days (at this time of year) and fall in love with the place
  • We go back to Sweden, I finish my MA degree and accept a job for the summer months as head of a language school, first in Jersey in the Channel Islands and then in Cambridge at Jesus College
  • I make the difficult decision to leave Jill with her father so that they could get reacquainted and she would have a stable environment
  • I persuade my friend to spend a week on Arran in mid-June, another unbelievably hot and sunny spell. We cycle round the island and meet several members of the thriving craft community
  • We find out that there is a niche for a weaver/spinner/dyer to run a workshop, selling hand-produced textiles
  • A seed is planted which will not be ignored
  • I stay in Britain until September, return to Sweden fully expecting to expand my English teaching portfolio and study Educational Psychology towards a PhD
  • Life has other ideas
  • I return to Sweden, start my new course and go for interviews as a TEFL teacher
  • At the beginning of October I meet a head teacher who doesn’t want to hire me even though I have a degree in Linguistics, 5 years of part-time teaching experience and I was a native speaker. His reason – I wasn’t Swedish
  • I walked out of his office, gave a month’s notice on my apartment, wrote to the Tourist Board on Arran to find a cottage, which I did, and got a quote from Thomas Cook to ship my loom over to Arran, thinking that I would give it three months to decide whether it was going to be viable to work as a craft producer, packed up all my belongings and came to Arran on Bonfire Night 1975. I’m still here.
  • My daughter came back from her time with her father and our new lives began
  • I may have had unexpected and difficult times, but never ANY regrets and now looking back even from this forbidden wintry environment, I would not have had it any other way.

From now on I’m going to focus on the serendipity of our life on the island rather than the chronology. I hope it will make sense and you will begin to see the new Spiderweb form as the story unfolds.

The Arran Knitting Company

Rainbow Textiles

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

Weaver’s Tale – 7

“More Implications of Living on a Scottish Island”

SCOTTISH FLAG1

I promise I’ll get back to the story of “How I, my daughter, and my Swedish rug loom came to Arran.” Meanwhile I’m fast-forwarding to the last couple of days where I’ve been in Lamlash hospital overnight going through the procedure of draining off excess fluid from my body and helping keep my liver stable during this waiting-for-the transplant phase. I’m so GRATEFUL this possibility is available locally.

I’m so lucky to have the care that all the hospital and ambulance staff provide with wry humour and no-nonsense practicality.  Of course there are one or two who think I qualify for “Pesky Patient of the Month” award – no names mentioned, but you know who you are. I give as good as I get and the war of tongues takes my mind off my physical predicament.

So today is one of appreciation of the health care we have in this country when we need it and the secure feeling that gives.

Today was also one of historical significance for Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament has named the date September 18, 2014 for us to vote whether we want  to be independent from England.

For me, emotionally there’s no argument but a resounding “YES”. But what’s exciting about this decision is that in addition to gut feeling,  the economic facts must stack up and show that as a country we have the means to pay our way and provide the services that we now see as essential. There is much to be discussed as to how things will ACTUALLY be run in the event of a “YES” vote and what the implications of a “NO” vote would be.

Let’s hope that the debate is constructive and we take the opportunity to understand and prioritise the best way forward.

Much to be thankful for and much food for thought!

These lines from the unofficial anthem of Scotland “Flower of Scotland” express what I would like to see about the relationship with our Southern neighbours:

Those days are passed now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again……..

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To find out more about my art & textile work see:

The Arran Knitting Co.

Rainbow Textiles

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

Wee Ginger Dug

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Scottish island mum

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