“What are you doing?”
It sounds like a parent/teenager exchange, but actually it was simply my weekday response to a full long weekend. My friend, an enemy of indolence, was instantly concerned.
“Are you OK?”
“Sure. Just relaxing, doing nothing.”
Actually, I was crocheting some white elephants, a blanket-edging pattern that caught my eye as I was browsing, and as the video tutorial was in Spanish I was pleased with myself that I had been able to figure it out.
Here they are:
I’m not too happy about their tails, so was working on a way to remedy that, but I wasn’t about to explain all that on the phone.
I was also busy using up all the odds and ends of wool left over from my failed attempts at granny squares: I just couldn’t devise anything that I liked, but it meant that what had been quite large skeins to begin with had ended up as a number of small balls of different coloured wool, that was starting to unravel and looking not only fatigued but exhausted. It took me most of the week but by Thursday I had a cushion cover to go with my shell-patterned rugs (or “plaids” as the French and Germans insist on calling them). I still have some dark blue and white left, though only a few yards, following the elefantillos and the stripy reverse of the cushion.
I might also have told her that I was watching the grass grow. At the beginning of the month we had our garden rotivated, new topsoil spread and levelled, and grass seed scattered. It was very, very hot at the time and the earth looked extremely dry. My neighbour and I were quite concerned that the grass seed was a total waste, and we’d have done better to have had it turfed – the usual way of making a lawn in the UK, but considered an expensive luxury here in Switzerland. However, we were informed that it would germinate as soon as it rained.
Well, yes, one day it did rain, but immediately afterwards the heatwave resumed and we couldn’t see any sign of life in our grass. The money we saved on getting seed instead of turf has gone towards a sprinkler and the promise of a robot lawnmower, so we turned on the sprinkler for a few days and my neighbour hosed the bits the sprinkler didn’t reach, until the ground did indeed begin to assume a greenish cast. I performed an unintentional Mr Bean act the first day by trying to move the sprinkler without first turning it off, which resulted in a drenching not only for me, but also for my neighbours in our house as well as those across the road and the lady next door. I hope nobody was videoing that!
Meanwhile, three weeks later, with lower temperatures, a bit of rain now and then, and probably the effect of the morning dew, we now have what is indisputably a lawn. It’s very tender grass, like the hair on a baby’s head, and the area outside my patio is patchy, but I am optimistic that soon I shall be watching the robot mower instead of the grass. I check it every morning – not with a measuring rod, I hasten to add, but visually – and it is perceptibly growing. So that’s my latest hobby. And I’ve gained a suntan while pursuing it.
And why was I so in need of doing nothing?
No complaints! I had a great weekend, starting with a wonderful party to celebrate the tenth wedding anniversary of my eldest granddaughter and her husband. About sixty people, many of whom had been guests at the wedding, feasted on a delicious so-called sucking pig (it was a young one, but no way was it still a suckling) roasted on a spit, masses of food and champagne, and all beautifully managed by my dear granddaughter, who is noted in the family for her efficiency ever since she attended nursery school and streamlined their systems for them at the age of two. She certainly lived up to her reputation, and as far as I could see, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Garden with tree house ready for the kids, and party tent for the gown-ups
I was able to catch up with a number of people I hadn’t seen for a while, including my youngest granddaughter, and had the pleasure of the company of my middle granddaughter and her husband, who were staying overnight too, over breakfast and lunch on Sunday morning.
I had rashly agreed to lead worship at the Sunday afternoon service in our little church fellowship, and needed some practice. We are a small community, and very far from competing with the Tabernacle Choir. Some of us can play an instrument – piano, keyboard, guitar – with varying degrees of competence, and anyone who can hold a tune within about an octave is encouraged to join in as vocalist.
Last Sunday, we had no instruments, so had to resort to canned music. As leader for the day, I was allowed to choose the songs and hymns so I picked some old favourites and waited for the summons to practice. Unfortunately, although our “choir” consisted of only three of us, the only time we were all available to rehearse together was an hour before the service, so Fred, who is in charge and rivals my granddaughter for efficiency, sent us Spotify versions to practise with: a demo version and a performance version.
To my surprise, I was able to install the app without any trouble. But then – Wow! Were these the old familiar songs I had picked? Not the tempo I was used to in a couple of them, too much gospel flavour in that one (fine to listen to, but I can’t do it myself) and a bit high in another, and as I listened to the performance version, which is like karaoke, I was bewildered as to where I should come in. So Sunday morning we had a nonstop loop of worship playing in the background as I tried to familiarise myself with these arrangements. Middle granddaughter was highly amused that “Granny has Spotify!” and grandson-in-law was helpful in orienting me as I painfully navigated in the app to the places I wanted to be.
By the time I got to the rehearsal, I had some idea of what it ought to sound like but I wasn’t terribly optimistic, and hoped the congregation would sing loud enough to drown me out. Of course, Fred fixed it: he had listened to these tracks so many times, he could have sung them in his sleep, and I just watched him and came in when he nodded to me. We even managed a canon version of “You are my hiding place” and to my relief I didn’t feel in need of a hiding place as we finished up. In fact, we felt rather exhilarated at having pulled it off without live musicians to back us and the congregation seemed to enjoy singing the old favourites.
Afterwards, I was invited to spend a day or two with a good friend, so although that was in no way strenuous it did involve a lot of talk. So all in all, a lovely long weekend – but it was soothing to return to my crocheting and the excitement of watching the grass grow.