Fair Isle Cardigan 6- 9 months

Fair Isle Cardigan (Debbie Bliss The Baby Knits Book, Ebury Press 2002)

Another Debbie Bliss Fair Isle cardigan – such a delight to make and (experience suggests) a pleasure to receive  too – quite incommensurate with the effort put into making it. The pattern is from Debbie Bliss The Baby Knits Book, Ebury Press 2002 and the yarn is her baby cashmerino, the main colour being navy.

Fair Isle Cardigan (Debbie Bliss The Baby Knits Book, Ebury Press 2002)

What peculiar times we live in. I’m not quite in the age category to be advised to stay home although having a great affinity to any passing flu bug, I am being cautious. I have a bit of susceptibility for respiratory infections I think because my childhood ailments include emphysema (induced by over inflation of the lungs during an operation to have my tonsils and adenoids removed) and whooping cough (spending 6 weeks on a mattress on the dining room table in a tiny room with a constant coal fire which my father had decided was better for me than lying in a cold unheated bedroom!), added to which I’ve had pneumonia at least once in adult life. Meanwhile, my husband, fifteen years older than me, has a splendid respiratory system. There will be some irony if I am the only one allowed to go out and forage for food!.

Fair Isle Cardigan (Debbie Bliss The Baby Knits Book, Ebury Press 2002)

My husband’s main medical problem is ankylosing spondylitis in which the small bones in the spine fuse. He doesn’t have it severely and usually copes with the pain by lying down on his back for 15 minutes or so. Sometimes he takes paracetamol. Irony number 2 in this blog is that at the moment you can’t find paracetamol to buy anywhere, yet a couple of years ago I was so worried that he was accumulating too many boxes of the pills which came with repeat prescriptions for something else, that I made him stop getting any more on prescription, feeling we should buy them ourselves. (Now, no paracetamol are available on prescription.) He’s philosophical and will cope.

Sample Fair Isle pattern in different colours

And thinking about childhood ailments, I feel for the benefit of my grandchildren who may one day read this blog, I should remind them of the nasty illnesses that they no longer have to suffer as long as sufficient people take up inoculations on offer. Whooping cough was horrible and often had long term consequences. Measles was also not very nice. Somehow one of my children missed out being vaccinated for this. It affected her eyes most and it is interesting that  she is the only one of my 4 children to have to wear spectacles. I knew of no one of my age group who had Diphtheria which we must have been inoculated against but a neighbour  in the 1980s, who was born in the early years of the C20th in a little artisan terraced cottage across the road from where we lived recalled that she shared a bed with her 3 brothers and sisters, 2 of whom caught Diphtheria and died while she and her brother had it and survived. I remember just one case of someone who had polio and walked with a stick and had callipers on their legs. So, dear children, it is very worth it to have the childhood jabs on offer and let’s hope that, unlike me, your parents are up to date on which jabs you should have when!

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Baroque pearl engagement ring and a newly made wedding ring

Baroque pearl and gold engagement ring and gold wedding ring. Made by Peter Williams, Monmouth

I am delighted to have now been wearing my new wedding ring for all of a week and have to thank,

Baroque pearl and gold engagement ring and gold wedding ring. Made by Peter Williams, Monmouth

firstly, Ecclesiastical Insurance for acting so promptly and without quibbling, in sending a cheque for the quoted value of the replacement ring (less £75 excess),

then secondly, I have to thank Peter Williams, the craftsman who originally made both wedding and engagement rings. He has now retired and though he still has a workshop it is no longer set up for working in gold, so he found a colleague, Mike Gell,  to do the work instead. I hadn’t thought about it before, but making sure the gold isn’t contaminated is essential because by law all items made of precious metals (gold, silver, platinum and palladium) have to be assessed, or tested for purity, by the assay office and hall marked accordingly.  There are four assay offices in the UK and our nearest is Birmingham which is also the largest in the world. (It pleases me that it is still to be found in the Jewellery Quarter, as I’ve seen several television programmes recently showing ancient factories in the area closed up and sold for redevelopment.) But Peter didn’t just put me in touch with Mike and leave it at that, instead he and his wife came over from Monmouth, collected my engagement ring, went over to Mike’s workshop in Hereford with ring, drawings and photographs and then, two weeks later, picked up the finished item and did the whole journey in reverse. Buying hand crafted items often means there’s a very special relation between buyer and maker and sometimes, luckily for me, that can go beyond the call of duty.

Baroque pearl and gold engagement ring and gold wedding ring. Made by Peter Williams, Monmouth

Unfortunately, you get a gnarled hand along with pictures of the ring but at least you can see why a neat little, low carat diamond ring would not suit at all. I won’t go so far as to call my rings knuckle dusters but nice and chunky suits me very well.

Peter’s wife Rosemary is also a jeweller and well known for her cleverly designed rings in the form of a human figure (see below).

Gold ring in the form of a human figure bu Rosemary Williams, Monmouth

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