Being July in Britain, especially here in the north east the weather is very mixed. But our summers would not be proper British summers without the cold wet days, the dark stormy overcast weekends and our traditional waterlogged bank holidays.
This year we have been spoiled, the hot sunny days, have outnumbered the cold rainy ones so there have been ample opportunities to spend quality time lazing in the garden.
And I just love sitting in the sun, reading a book on my Kindle ( much easier on my poor old eyes) or finishing off the odd bits of hand sewing I need to do. And that is what I’ve been able to do these past two weeks. I’m sure the heat from the sun helps my stiff fingers move easier, and it certainly makes the time go faster. The pleasure I get from watching a variety of birds popping for a meal is priceless; such calm and beautiful afternoons away from all the madness of the outside world. It’s incredible how peaceful my garden is, so difficult to believe we are only a few hundred yards away from two busy main roads and a nearby motorway bustling with vehicles of all description.
Once farm land the houses were apparently built around the then existing trees, so I’m surrounded by a copper beech, several oak trees, numerous apple and plums trees. But sadly for the first time in over a hundred years there is a space where our elm tree grew until last summer. Finally succumbing to disease, sadly the sturdy old tree had to be removed. It was like losing an old friend. Watching it’s demise I had several flecks of sawdust blow into my eyes causing them to water profusely, much to the amusement of the male members of my family.
Last week I looked after my grandson who was poorly. He’s a little dear who can always make me laugh, as he makes the most silly but often honest comments and observations. Last week he informed me that I’m not old, aw bless him I thought. Then he added, ” you’re just very, very old”.
He is always fascinated when I’m sewing and he asked if he could make something. So out came the felt and the thread and my large dressing making shears, we proceeded to cut out a little felt car. We both struggled to thread the needle, I couldn’t see and he couldn’t hit the eye of the needle. A sad pair we turned out to be. But eventually after several attempts we were finally ready to start sewing.
I explained to him about tacking, how it would keep the fabric secure until we had finished sewing the car together. After demonstrating how to tack, he finished off very quickly. And then we started. I thought over-sewing would be most appropriate for him to start with, it’s quick and uncomplicated and is easily unstitched if it goes wrong.
And so we sat together side be side in the sunshine surrounded by nature, the young and not so young sharing quality time together.
Being his first attempt at sewing I expected him to need quite a bit of help. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He handled the needle like a professional, holding it and manoeuvring it exactly as I had shown him. And before I had time to thread my own needle he had reached the corner of his work and was asking for help to move on. Not once did he ask for his sewing to be undo, nor did he complain he had done it wrong, he sat silently, his whole attention and concentration focused on the job at hand.
I reminded him to leave an opening for the stuffing. He started to push the stuffing inside but he struggled for quite a while, refusing help when I offered. Then I realised I’d forgotten to instruct him to remove the tacking stitches. Oops. Nevertheless, he never gave up. His little index finger worked like magic and all the stuffing was eventually inside the little car.
Now there was no stopping this creative little man. Out came the sewing kits for animal puppets his Aunty had bought. Apart from threading the needle and starting him off he managed all the sewing himself. Then together we glued on the features and I had one extremely delighted little grandson.