"Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold"
"A friend is someone who knows all about you, and still loves you" - Elbert Hubbard.
This weekend, one of my closest friends, A, came to stay with me - we met through a mutual friend when I was a PhD student in Durham and she was still an undergrad, but contemplating staying on to do a PhD. My then housemate was about to move in with her partner, so I needed a new housemate. Conveniently, all the pieces neatly fell into place, and we lived together during my final year in Durham. I got her (heavily) involved with Guiding, we have a tendency to call each other by our owl names, and we even flew out to India a few years ago to meet up with our mutual friend who was volunteering at Sangam.
I usually stayed with her when I went back to Durham for meetings with my PhD supervisor, but now that my PhD is finished, I don't go back there very often. Realising it had been March since we last saw each other properly (not counting the 10mins in April when I dropped off some badges on my way back from a wedding), I ordered her to come and stay with me. She obliged (partly because she wanted to see me, partly because she wanted to get out of Durham during the weekend when all the freshers arrive!) and took the Friday off work so she could make the most of her time with me.
A marvellous time it was too! We speak regularly on the phone, so didn't need to 'catch up' as such, it was just lovely not to be rushed. After dinner, as we sat on the sofa drinking tea and chatting, she noticed just how much stuff she could see that I'd crocheted. I have two blankets on the go as wedding presents, a production line of snowflakes for Christmas, I had a baby blanket which just needed the ends sewing in, as well as the two cushions that live on the sofa, and the blanket that lives on the armchair in case of inclement weather. Oh, and the dinosaur on my desk.
"Fluffy Owl, can you teach me to crochet?"
Of course I can! An excellent idea! She is a very clever owl, and also very crafty (in a good way) so I knew she'd pick it up quickly.
I gave her some yarn and a crochet hook, and taught her two basic stitches, going back and forth in rows so she could learn how to do it, and try to keep them even. After a while, this is what she ended up with:
She was definitely getting the hang of it - the 16 stitches on the bottom row had turned into 11 on the top, but they were much more even.
We headed to bed (as it was now definitely bed time) but in the morning, before I had even made her a cup of tea, she wanted to do some more. As it was quite late in the morning, we headed into town for lunch, and then on to a shop for A to buy her own hook and some yarn. Two colours, as I knew she would be that advanced before she left mine!
Back at mine, we moved on to granny squares. With me doing it stitch by stitch with her, she made this:
A pretty much square granny square! She then changed colour, and carried on going. This is a photo of how it looked before she left on Sunday:
During this time, I was doing my own crochet, cooking dinner, there were moments when she couldn't talk as she was concentrating so I had to be quiet! Eventually, just before we had dinner, she got off the sofa to wash her hands, and realised she hadn't moved for 3.5 hours! I think that's what you call concentration. She was very proud of her accomplishment, as I was I for teaching her. I love having friendships which are at the level where you don't really need to talk - you can just sit and enjoy each other's company.
On Sunday she sadly left me to return to the north east - not sure when I'll see her again as she'll have finished her PhD and left Durham by the time I return for my graduation in the new year. But I've told her I want regular photo updates of the crochet. Seeing her this weekend really did lift my spirits, I do appreciate her travelling for a total of 11 hours on trains to come and visit me! She also delivered a badge from a Guiding friend's recent trip to Lativa to help develop specific aspects of Guiding over there. Can't beat a badge for fundraising purposes!
My own crochet projects are coming along nicely, one of the giant blankets is for a friend's wedding and I know she is reading this, so I can't show photos (although I have emailed some photos to other people, and they like it!). The final colour I was waiting for finally arrived (my order of yarn arrived in three separate deliveries, and typically the colour I needed next for the sequence arrived last). Here's a photo of some ends. I hate sewing in ends. I know I should sew them in as I go, I do try, but there are always so many!
Another very good friend of mine, Snowy Owl (she who sent me 3kg of spare wool to turn into squares for the charity Knit A Square) sent me post. Very exciting post it was too! Ben opened the door to the postlady, and when I asked him what it was he said it must contain owls, having seen her surname on the back of the envelope.
He was right, it did contain owls. I expected nothing less!
I do love stickers. So utterly pointless in the grand scheme of things, but so pretty.
The parcel also contained some merino wool (soft! squishy!) which I could apparently turn into a hat. I shall see what I can do. Also a lanyard with owls on, and a chocolate lollipop (which got eaten pretty quickly) as well as a book to borrow.
I love post anyway, but unexpected happy post is even better. Thank you Snowy Owl!
I also received (it was a good morning for post, if we ignore the credit card bill) two letters - so now I will have a late lunch and catch up on some correspondence, using plenty of stickers to decorate the envelopes!