25th November 2019

Black Friday...the day everyone goes mad
please take this newsletter 'with a pinch of salt'

I'll explain this photo' later

  We are counting down the final days and hours until that rather relatively new, and rather curious phenomonen, known as the The Black Friday Sales. Many of us will feel a gradual rise in panic and anxiety, money is tight and Christmas, with all it's self inflicted physical, mental and financial pressure  is just around the corner. You aim to be strong willed and resist all incidious Black Friday marketing, BUT can you honestly afford to NOT purchase a sofa bed for the spare room, a second  vacume cleaner, just in case your current one stops working, and, if you purchase your 'other half' a leaf blower, then of course your entitled to a new lipstick. Hmm!

   You hear yourself think 'I'd be silly NOT to take advantage of these huge savings, despite the fact I actually DO NOT need anything,' and this very 'thing', that you know to be nothing more than clever marketing by retailers wanting your hard earned cash, actually INTRIGUES  you. You know that  you'll  almost certainly regret your impulse purchase within a matter of hours of flashing your credit card, and  that the dopamine hit will be incredibly short lived. Yes, you have well and truly been sucked into the chaos and utter madness of  Black Friday. There's only one winner here and that's The Retailer. Lucky retailers.

   As an aside, my Black Friday last year really was a Black Friday. I had flown from New Zealand to England, arriving early Black Friday morning. It was the day of my dad's funeral. Thankfully my brother met me at Manchester airport, I didn't fancy catching the bus up to mums house after such a long journey. We had some time to kill at the airport as Tim's son, James, was due to land a couple of hours later on a flight from Sydney. The arrivals area at Machester airport is dismal, scruffy, chaotic  and soleless. We managed to sit ourselves down in a quiet corner of a cafe that apperared to have not been  refurbished since1979. Plastic brown seating and sticky formica tables are not my thing, and certainly not when accompanied by the dodgy smeared remains of previous customers meat pie and fizzy drink. The tea was  'served' in a polstyrene cup along with a paper sachet of sugar... oh how critical I am. I would, however, by the end of the day,  have drunk many, many cups of tea and consumed my weekly calory allowance in sugar. I hate sweet tea but goodness me it certainly helped me get through that day.
   Along with my unpleasantly memorable cup of tea, another unfortunate event occured while my brother and I waited for the Emirates flight to arrive from Australia. Some SCUMBAG managed to obtain my credit card details. Apparently these lowlife individuals have a 'device' that is swept past your bag and your credit card details can be read. Obviously I knew nothing of this until my husband telephoned me later that night, having noticed some alarming large amounts of money being spent on my credit card. I wearily explained that the only outing I had had that day was to Stockport Crematorium with Dad, and my credit card had just being removed from my purse once, to buy an appallingly bad cup of airport tea. Nice one! 

  As an aside, Dad had always been an incredibly punctual man, he was however, a little delayed on his final journey. The drive down to the crematorium was a distance of about 4 miles, down a single, fairly busy main road. The journey that should take about 20 minutes at the respectfully sedate speed of a hearse. However, the funeral directors hadn't factored in that the Black Friday traffic on the road was nose to bumper and vehicles were reduced to a little more than walking pace. Dad was going to be late! Well, what followed would have been hilarious if it had taken place in an episode of Monty Python or Last of the Summer Wine, and I suppose with time, we will also laugh about Dad's final car journey. Dad's driver decided that 'the scenic route' would now be required as we turned off the congested main road. We squeezed our way down  narrow country lanes, had to pull over and reverse for oncomming vehicles and I  saw parts of the Cheshire countryside that, despite living in the area for 35 years, I never knew existed. We had covered a distance of around 10 miles and arrived at the 'Crem' a little late. It transpired that this wasn't a problem as, due to the horendouse traffic congestion, all services were running late.  Dad would not have been amused! 

  So, where exactly is this newsletter going? Sometimes, as I ramble on, I do have to ask myself where on earth  am I going with this one?

  Well, of course, I am a retailer and I do have to sell rather a large amount of knitting wool and knitting parafinalia to stay in business. Shouldn't I be shouting loud and long about all the 'stuff' you must come and purchase from me this comming Black Friday. NOT A CHANCE! I am rather an unusual retailer. If I can sell you something cheaper that will achieve the same result, I will. If you are a novice I will suggest you knit a beanie rather than a jumper. A beanie is far cheaper to knit and you will finish it. I will happily talk you out of making a large purchase if I suspect you will become  out of your depth. My marketing tecnique is definitely 'less is more' and I want to build up a  trusting and respectful  relationship with my customers. It seems to work for me.

   So, may I suggest that on Black Friday you resist purchasing a new washing machine, a water blaster or a spare trio of cushions for the sofa. How about comming to see me and choosing a single ball (or several $$$) of our organic fairtrade Gossypium Cotton, and knitting a dishcloth or face cloth.  This is not as daft as it sounds and we have a complimentary knitted dishcloth pattern to accompany your purchase. The yarn will set you back litttle more than a couple of cups of coffee, you will have a delicuosly realaxing time with your knitting, and you end up with something that is incredibly useful, and certainly won't ever get chucked out. You will feel so virtuous. I have a whole pile of knitted dishcloths at home and I actually go one step further and make up lemon dusters. The photo' at the top of the newsletter shows my never to be repeated, sparklingly clean, and instagramable kitchen, with my lemon duster in the foreground. I use lemon dusters in my kitchen to mop up the tremendous messes my cooking and baking sessions seem to produce. I also scrub away months of dust from the furniture and dog slobber off the floor, they really do clean and sanitise, and smell absolutely amazing. I'll give you the recipe and instructions below. 

knitted dishcloths
   I would like to share this 'recipe' for Lemon Dusters, from Wendl Nissan's glorious book 'The Natural Home'. I take great delight and feel incredibly virtuous  in spending half an hour or so in the kitchen making my lemon dusters, I'm far better at this activity than baking a cake!
Wendl writes...
Lemon Dusters:
I can guarentee that once you have made, and tried these, you will never use anything else. You can make them in seperate little jars-they make great gifts- or fill a large Agee jar and use them as you need them.
You will need:
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
5 drops lemon essential oil
6-8 knitted dishcloths
3-4 lemons

Mix equal quantities of water and white vinegar in a bowl and add the lemon essential oil. Soak the dusters in the bowl and sqeeze them out so they are just damp.
Peel the rind off the lemons and lay a couple of pieces on to each duster. Roll each duster up lengthwise, then roll the other way into a ball. Place them in a jar one on top of the other , throw in the occasional extra piece of lemon rind and screw on the lid. Take the dusters out when you need to use them, and if they aren't too soiled you can roll them back up and use them again. The smell in the room is divine.

  So...this Friday I expect you all to be knitting dishcloths and making Lemon Dusters.

   That's all for now, I expect you're all relieved. Now just be aware that we intend to have an extended holiday over Christmas and New Year. I haven't finalised the dates yet but I'll give you plenty of warning so that you can stock up on plenty of wool. Hey, and if you need any inspiration how about...A KNITTIED NATIVITY? I do have the pattern available in the shop. Maybe we should take a moment to forget mass consumerism and consumption and put the  Knitivity back into Christmas.


Happy knitting,
Fran, Olivia and Michele.
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