Today I drove the hill road into the harbour town to meet a friend. I was early and picked the sofa and the comfy armchair beside a warm open fire. The buzz was…..theatrical. I think I say this because the welcoming staff were all dressed in colours, with rings and tattoos and artistically coloured hair. Smiles wide, looking at me. I get it. An old woman in a big frock with bare legs and short boots and a home-fashioned jacket, seeded once in an old cardigan that freaked out when I washed it on ‘Too Warm’. I had thought at first, dog blanket, then I heard the story in it. My feisty impossible mother-in-law had knitted this thing, and for me. That had to have been days of knitting; days of love and commitment. No, I will lift this hunched and crunched woollen thing into my life, breathe my breath into it. Okay, great big respect. Now what? It thought me. I decide to wheech out the material drawer. I find velvet, or something that thinks it’s velvet and it is not for me to disappoint it as I finger the hold of it, the depth and then bring my own knowing into this I am Velvet thing. I am quiet on the subject, lifting out the deep colours, just knowing that this Not Velvet will be a right bugger to shape. It won’t shape. It yawls like sails in a slack-flack wind somewhere off Cherbourg. Hmmm.
I brought down my ridiculously pink tailors dummy on a white stick. I laid the compromised cardigan around her perfect pink shoulders, marvelling, with a snort, at her perfect pink breasts. I tell her this. I am amazed that anything I make for me, knowing my own body and using you as a caption of what I never was can ever fit, not with those pointy things almost taking my eye out each time I move around to pin or tuck, or wheech. But I, we, move on. She stands quiet whilst I pin and sew, pin and sew and then it is done, this bejewelled jacket that can only come out for air on dry winter days. Two, maybe three. Today was one so there won’t be many more.
We ordered soup. It’s always home made and so is the bread, so are the scones and the sweet baking. The fire was tended by a smiling young man. I hailed an artist I know well, one who has got his work into the online Saatchi gallery, and congratulated him as he passed by. There was a writing group just finishing up on a table nearby and I hailed the leader and signed myself up. So cosy in there, so easy, so fine-art. After lunch we visited the new exhibition, all local artists. I was enthralled at the work. I knew most of the artists just from their work. Many had sold and I was not surprised. I talked with my friend, an art therapist working with textiles, and we laughed and shared and quite forgot our old caring roles as we became two women in a space, with nothing but forward to go.