5th March 2020

Priceless doctor's advice...and a rather cheeky sale this weekend

Mother and Daughter..
  My Mum lives in England, she's totally alone now that Dad has ascended to that football pitch/whiskey distillery/veggie garden in the sky. Mum is a little lost, there's no family support, all three children left England many years ago to bring up our families  'Down Under'.

  Mum's a fiesty individual, she's has run half marathons, walked the lengh and breadth of the UK and is always game for an adventure. Only 18 months ago I heard that she had gate crashed a childrens playground, hopped on the flying fox and hurled herself at great speed from top to bottom. Mum was well overdue another adventure, one that involved escaping the UK winter and spending a few months in New Zealand and Australia.

  Auckland was mum's first port of call. Myself and my brother had decided she would need special assistance, including a wheelchair,  for her departure from Manchester and her arrival into Auckland International Airport. Mum was not amused, but this arrangement was non negociable. Both Mum and Dad have had various hair raising adventures at airports, including turning up to check in a few days after their flight had departed. The adventure that will go down in family history is the following... On a flight from Sydney to Perth mum got chatting to the passenger sat next to her. The lady had an awful lot of hand luggage and asked if mum would be able to carry a bag from the aircraft, through the airport and hand it to her in the arrivals hall. AND, if the lady was 'delayed' at Border Control, could Mum please mail the bag to the address the lady gave her? Mum said that she would certainly help out! Thankfully mum managed to hand over the bag (no doubt containing something it shouldn't have), to the passenger in the arrivals hall and 'a kind hearted old lady' narrowly missed a lengthy prison sentence for drug trafficking.  An airport  chaperone was certainly needed for this trip,  if only to keep her on the 'straight and narrow'!

  One Tuesday morning last November I anxiusly waited in the arrivals hall for mum to appear through the automatic, one way doors. I hope she didn't register the shock on my face when I spotted her,hunched over in her wheelchair. She was so small and frail, she looked exhausted and her face was grey. I went to give her a big but gently hug and she burst into tears. Golly what had happened to my mum!  Mum's no matter how old they are, are supposed to look after us...arent they?  Well the time had obviously arrived for the role to be reversed, golly, I hadn't expected that...silly me!.

  I can honestly say it took 2 weeks, of almost full time care, for mum started to show an interest in her surroundings and find her  appitite for both food and life.  Since Dad passed away she had neglected herself somewhat, meals were a chore, cooking  for herself seemed pointless and too much bother. My aim was to feed her up, to return her to her old robust state, to get the Old Mum back. I was shocked, when, after spending 5 weeks in my home, and been well cared for, she  came out with the statement that she could remember nothing of the first two weeks of her stay with me nor anything of the flight out to New Zealand. Maybe her  amnesia was a good thing thing, you see, Mum had a wee incident on her second night with us. I awoke at 2am to the sound of an almighty carsh comming from the vicinity of the bathroom. I popped my bedside light on and dashed to see what had happened. Poor Mum, she'd needed to visit the bathroom, became diorientated in the dark, and  tumbled into our bath. I found her full length, face down in the tub. I managed to haul her out, it was not easy, and there was absolutley no way she could have got out unaided. I did a quick once over check, nothing seemed to be damaged (Mum, not the bath) and helped her back into bed. The following morning she was pretty sore so I made an appointment at my doctors surgery to get her checked out. Mum was particularly impressed when I explained that we could have an appointment within the next half hour and please could she get herself dressed quickly. I understood, from Mums moanings over the years, that in the UK, you can wait  many  days, if not weeks, for a doctors appointment. You have to be very strong willed and persistent, first having to pass an interrogation from the receptionist and then, hopefully get a 'real' appointment to see a doctor, rather than getting 'fobbed off' with a telephone consultation from a practice nurse. The National Health Service is not what it used to be! 
  Mum gingerly sat down in the waiting room and within a couple of minutes I gently led her into see my lovely GP.  Thankfully Mum had not sustained any serious damage. She was given an extremely thorough examination and had an x ray taken of her shoulder. Dr Brow, said that no medication, other than Panadol was required HOWEVER she would give Mum some extremely important medical advice. "Margaret", she  gently said, "in future, would you please put the light on when you go to the bathroom in the night"

  Mum is extremely frugal, its a generation thing, and actually, rather an admirable atribute to have. She may well have believed that she was saving  money on my power bill, by not swithching on the light for her late night journey to the bathroom!  

  As a child growing up in the 1960's and 1970's I experienced a diet of traditinal British fare, meat and two vege, and a comforting pudding, as long as my plate of 'mains'  was scraped clean. Everything had to be  eaten otherwise it would come out, reheated, at the next mealtime. As a result of this no nonsence meal time parenting I learnt to like, and devour, everything set out in front of me,  (except those dinners containing  liver or kidney). On the rare occasion we went out for a meal, or to a relatives house for tea, Mum had a completely different set of rules, especially if a cake or pudding was involved. I swear I am haunted by the words, "Frances,  let's just have one, we'll cut it into two and have half each." This rule would apply to a vanilla slice, a chocolate eclair, a sausage roll or a pork pie. Golly, how nonsensical and cruel. Mum gets a little defensive and refuses to believe my rendition of only being allowed half of any sinful morsels, but I know my memory is incredibly accurate and now, as an adult, I take great delight in having full, huge and glorious portion of any sweet or savory treat I fancy.        
  I took Mum out for fish and chips to the new eatery on Devonport wharf.  Mum, true to form, requested a small portion, did they do an OAP (old age pensioners) discount and she would just drink a glass of tap water. In mums eyes I am still an eight year old, a child who should unquestionably follow her mothers rules. However, Im middle aged, strong willed and hungry. If I want to eat a huge portion of fish and chips and guzzle a large glassd of wine I jolly well will do! In the photograph below mum is telling me off, she's saying  "Frances, your eyes are  bigger than your belly, your very greedy and you'll never finish it" Yeah right! I love my mum. 

You're never too old to be told off!
What's happening at Woolly?
  I havent got round to writing a newsletter for some months. I took most of November and early December off work and then we closed for the Christmas and holiday period. We are now 'firing on all pistons' and getting the shop fully stocked and ready for the beginning of the knitting season.
Here's just a quick rundown of what is new instore

Rowan Yarns arrived early last week and are now displayed in prime position in the centre of the shop...as well they should be! We have a tasteful selection of Kidsilk Haze, Felted Tweed DK and Fine Lace.There's also a comprehensive range of pattern books and leaflets supporting these yarns along with other new Rowan publications.  I haven't had the time to pop these yarns on our web site yet, please give me a few days to get organised.

  From one of my favourite suppliers, Naturally Yarns, comes Lammermoor Organic  Merino 8 ply. This wholly New Zealand yarn is utterly glorious, and I spent some delicous solitary days over the holidays working with this wool. Click on the link if you would like a peek of my work.


 May I also entice you to take a look at the Organic Merino Wool and maybe pop a few balls into your shopping cart. With all the deliveries of new season yarns I have HUGE bills to pay, so please help me out! 


  For those of you who have a sock knitting socks I can offer you the softest sock yarn ever. From Peru, we have a Chaska Baby Alpaca yarn, 75%Baby Alpaca, 25% nylon, 100 g hanks, and available in some rather classic solid shades. I am a hopeless sock knitter. I only make one sock, send the remaining yarn to England and get my mum to knit the second. She has now 'put her foot down' and refused to knit any more. 

  If you want some damn good, no nonsense New Zealand Natural Wool I have huge 200g balls of both 8 ply and chunky. There's  cream, beige light brown and charcoal on the shelves, looking all rather yummy and perfect for great value, earthy and honest knitting.  If there were more hours in the day I would be making a chunky blanket and my husband might get a nice new sweater. I wish I were an octopus, fancy having eight arms, and hands, you could have multiple projects on the go at once!

  If your concentration and attention span is more finely tuned than mine, we have some classic 200g balls of British Aran (10ply) pure wool. The colours are wonderful...cream, light grey,  sage green burnt orange, beige, maroon, mustard and navy. I know I will never, ever complete a cabled garment but I will definitely be making a striped blanket, I am addicted to knitting blankets, as many of you well know. 
And finally...here's the exciting bit.
   I have had enormous deliveries of yarn this last couple of weeks. I am a little shocked at how carried away I got when placing my winter orders.  My shop is pretty cosy (small) and there's actually very little shelf space available. So, how about we have a jolly old sale this weekend and make some extra space on the shelves? I think a 50% discount on a whole  lot of assortment of yarns should  work you all up into a frenzy, AND if you haven't spent all your housekeeping money on toilet rolls, hand sanitizer and tins of vegtables, you can certainly find an excuse to add to your stash. I'm going to throw a whole load of yarns onto my sale table and you can come and fight over it.
    Just teasing you...we have some super yarns at half price!
Saturday and Sunday
 Now, I've had a long hard day at work, guzzled a large gin and tonic and am now a little tipsy and tired. I just need to finally mention that I have written a pattern for a 'balloon sleeved sweater' using our wonderful brushed baby alpaca yarn.  Click on the link to take a look. If you fancy knitting one for your daughter, or maybe yourself click on the link below.


That's your lot...I suppose I should proof read this before pressing 'send' but I'm way too tired so lets just hope I haven't made to many spelling mistakes and gramatical errors.

Happy knitting,
Fran and The Woolly Girls.
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