Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Memories of a Hot Water Bottle.

"My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue...

An everlasting vision of the ever changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold."

I went to College in 1972 and listened to Carole King endlessly. I love Tapestry then and I still love it now.

I have " talked " before about my way of crafting. The way I am with crafting,the way crafting is with me.


I find it soothing,calming,enriching joyous and it makes me feel complete. I miss my hook, needles and yarn if I can not spend some time hooking or clicking every day.

But. I also find crafting makes me very reflective,meditative and thoughtful This,in general adds to the calm I feel. It is so easy to reflect on happy memories,people who are precious and the sunbeams and rainbows of life.

Sometimes, however, working on a project brings up darker clouds and thunderous rumbles. I rarely foresee these when I start a project. More likely I have been prompted by the eye candy available on Pinterest or on other peoples gorgeous blogs.

When this happens I find have to work through that feeling in all areas of my life not just when I am immersed in that particular project. I read somewhere that if you keep revisiting the same issues it is because you have not really dealt with them. You may have tucked them up but you have not put them to bed!

So, it goes like this,this post of mine. I saw a beautiful Hot Water Bottle Cover and thought the idea perfect for a present. Simple,quick and easy. I thought.

However, I have a vivid memory of my Dad sitting in a car exasperated by my sullen silence. He said wearily to me " one day you will I understand!"

I remember just as clearly thinking " maybe,but it will never make it better."

These feelings were in my heart as a child of warring parents. Of course I grew up and the intellectual part of my brain totally understands. But the pain in my heart from living such a life has never totally left me. I am thankful for so much my parents gave me but it should have been more. More,in a fundamental way. The fundamental desire to be brought up in a loving,united home.

Thankfully to this day the "Sporty One" and I have managed to iron out the creases of a 40 year relationship with a love that has seen us make a home for our children. Not perfect by any means, but one where they have known love all around them. Thank goodness for that,for them, but also for me. The best cure for that ache which tries to wriggle out of its bed at times.

So, where is all this leading. Where did it start ..... Ah,yes that hot water bottle cover.

Life for me as a child was like being on a see saw that had got stuck. One half rooted happily on the ground. My mother,my Maternal Grandmother and that side of the family. The other side felt like I was in the air kicking my feet to try and get down.I am sure nobody wanted it to feel like that it just did.

I once went to stay with my paternal Grandmother. I can not remember how old I was maybe six or seven. She lived on her own in a cottage in the wilds of Mid Devon. I can remember it, and that visit as if it was yesterday. I totally understand about it now but not then. The cottage had no electricity or running water. Not unusual in those days. The kitchen had a table and a flagstone floor and an Aga that spewed smoke from the coal shaken from the scuttle. There was a door to a back kitchen where there was a shiny black pump handle which looked to me as if it went into the bowels of the earth. And sounded like it too when it was cranked to bring up a bucket of the coldest water I have ever felt.

My Grandma's cottage was full of cosy things. Cushions,tapestries and hand worked samplers all about God. Messages of a very serious nature about how to live your life and the consequences if you did not follow such guidance. I certainly did not understand anything but the literal at that age. I loved the little stitches but the messages worried me greatly.

My Grandmother wore long black clothes and had white hair plaited in a long tail pinned over the top of her head. I can't really remember her face.

But,those few days were a nightmare to me. She killed the slugs in her garden with generous doses of salt and I can still remember seeing their gelatinous bodies curled up in what to me seemed agony. I was a dreamy child who really rather liked making friends with all creatures and had never grown a lettuce to have to endure the appetite of voracious snails and slugs.

We walked around the lanes near her cottage and she dug up clumps of bluebells when I had been taught to just pick a few wild flowers and leave the rest for others to enjoy.

We played board games together but for some reason we could not play Snakes and Ladders properly as she did not include the descent aspect of the game when you landed on a snakes head. So,as she landed on the longest one just before the end she would not go down. I still don't understand that!

But,all this reflection has come about because of the hot water bottle. I think she must have only had one bedroom because I had to share her bed.

Above it was a very serious sampler about the end of the day and God. I read it and took it's meaning literally. The end was nigh. I nervously said to my Grandma with her flowing,brushed white hair " see you in the morning!"

Instead of a cuddle or a kiss her response was " God willing!"

I was totally scared out of my wits. Maybe God would not be willing. The sampler said he was probably not. So I lay there, huddled and cuddled by the only warm thing in the house my hot water bottle, listening to her breathing and praying fervently to that same God that Grandma would be alive in the morning.

Needless to say she was, but how I hated the next ritual. As there was no running water,let alone hot water I had to empty my hot water bottle into a big bowl and wash my face with the barely tepid offering. The smell of the rubber was so horrible and not a lot of washing went on.

Of course there were no phones in those days,no mobiles or Internet so I had to wait until it was time to be picked up by my parents. I don't remember how long I stayed but I do remember standing by the gate waiting for their car to arrive and crying as they came. Poor Grandma. I never went again. Perhaps she was as relieved as I was. The saddest thing is I don't know her name.

So,if my Dad was still here I could give him a hug and tell him that I love him. I could tell him that I do totally understand.But,how I wish that he had had the joys of a happy marriage like me. Where all the family is united and surrounded by love,laughter and shared memories of days spent together. It would have been lovely for me too.

I am going to make a few more of these hot water bottle covers and let this tale fall asleep with them.

How very apt ... a "Tapestry" of Granny Squares!


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