My friend (I hope I can use this word about a relationship in its early tentative real stages but further along perhaps in virtual life) Friko has inspired me with her miscellany blog so I hope she won't mind my pinching the idea.
What has touched me, meant something to me, this week, large and small?
Last Tuesday I went to a service of thanksgiving for the life of a blogging friend who died far too young. She was one who had made the leap from virtual to real friend. A group of us living on the borders between England and Wales (she on the English side, I on the Welsh) met a couple of years ago and found a mass of things in common. She had struggled for years with serious ill health but was the liveliest, sparkiest, least self pitying person you could find, looking outward when she could have been forgiven for looking in, fascinated by the world and by people, the kind of person who is quietly, consistently kind. We gathered in a tiny church in Herefordshire to say farewell. The church was in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields where grassed humps and dykes showed traces perhaps of earlier dwellings. Four of us who were blogging friends arrived early and sat, we thought, to one side to leave the main body of the church for friends and family and neighbours. The church began to fill, and fill. They were sitting people in the choir stalls, bringing out extra chairs until all chairs were full, and eventually thirty or so people stood in the aisle. Her husband spoke and made us laugh. A special send off for an unusual and special woman.
Then a couple of days with my daughter, son in law and the new baby. The baby has just reached the smiling stage. On the first day I worked hard for my eventual smile but on the second morning was taken by surprise and delight when he beamed and crowed and hooked me like an expert angler. How powerful an evolutionary weapon a smile is for a baby. They need to attach their carers to them with grappling hooks for the long, slow process of human dependency and, just when the sleepless nights would be beginning to wear out the new parents, suddenly there is the magical reward of a small baby smile to hold you fast and entranced.
Laughing until tears ran down my face at the comedian Rhod Gilbert on Live at the Apollo. Look out for him. He may be the funniest man alive.
I learnt how to knit on three double ended needles inspired by Pomona and with the eventual intention of knitting a sock, maybe two if I really get the hang of it. I am not the most likely person to take to knitting. I used to do loads when I was a teenager growing up in New Zealand with no money and no television and not much else to do but I haven't done any for years. It is just a bit slow for me. I lose patience. But knitting in the round is weirdly intriguing and weirdly satisfying and every now and then I read one of my favourite bloggers like Pomona or Pipany and see some really beautiful wool and think maybe it is time to rediscover the lost pleasure of something taking shape between your fingers.
A poem by Mary Webb, which could have been written standing at my front door, looking out across the hills:
Against the gaunt, brown-purple hill
The bright brown oak is wide and bare;
A pale-brown flock is feeding there--
No bracken lights the bleak hill-side;
No leaves are on the branches wide;
No lambs across the fields have cried;
But whorl by whorl the green fronds climb;
The ewes are patient till their time;
The warm buds swell beneath the rime--
For life does not forget.