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--
Contented, still.
No bracken lights the bleak hill-side;
No leaves are on the branches wide;
No lambs across the fields have cried;
--Not yet.
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.



  1. Yes to all. So much to be thankful for and be touched by.

  2. Lovely blog elizabeth - I especially appreciated the bit about Woozle. Lovely poem too. Glad you have been rewarded by a smile from the tiny one. So special. A life ended, a life begun. Such is the circle.

  3. Dear Elizabeth what a great event to have a virtual friend became a physical friend. But what a heart ache to have to loose that friend. It was great that you and your friends got to go to the funeral. Blessings to you and your friends and family.

  4. Hello Elizabeth, I just wanted to stop by and see what you write about since you come "visit" me on my blog. I'll be back for sure.
    We have friends in Sussex which I can see on our map is a ways from you, hopefully some time in the next couple of years we will be over to visit.Seeing the photos on your blog now makes me want to take a little road trip to your corner,it is so lovely! It kind of reminds me of our Willamette Valley here in Oregon.
    Until next time..

  5. I love your description of the new born smile - once they know how to do it they really do try to reel you in with it. Very bewitching - and easily forgotten when they grow older. You just made me remember my own three at about the same age.

  6. I like this idea of miscellany, Elizabeth. One woman's miscellany - because I'm so interested in the lives of others, and because I'm aware that what is everyday to me might be novel to another. Thanks for writing a bit about Woozle - as she was a virtual friend, I appreciated being able to attend the service courtesy of yours and SBSs observations.

  7. I also love this idea of miscellany, some times I think that what I write is so banal. I love the way you put yours together. I too have met with virtual friends around the world, and find them inspiring and fun to know. Sad about your friend but happy about the baby, they are such treasures.

  8. Ah, sadly, you've answered my wondering about how Woozle was doing; her last blog posts were brave and honest but not hopeful. I'm sorry that you've lost her as your real-life friend.

  9. How poignant and beautiful--lovely including both the sadness of losing a friend and the joy at gaining a smile of a new life. It's funny (and wonderful) how even miscellany has order to it.

  10. A mixed posting causing a mixed response. As Her on the Hill said so well - 'such is the circle'.

  11. I am very happy that you have taken up the idea of a 'Miscellany' post. You have chosen some very moving moments, all of them worth mentioning as a post in themselves.

    There are various others who have liked the idea, perhaps we should continue with it and have a regular or irregular posting of such small but important matters.

    I may have another post, rallying a few more blogging friends (yes, please) to tell us about 'snippets'.

    A bit like what I call 'fridge soup', making a meal out of leftovers, which are too good to discard.

  12. Elizabeth, Your post was gentle and water-coloured and quietly enjoyable, even though it held sad news. For the loss of your friend, I am sorry.

    Just joshin..

    Getting to your post, sorry you had a loss. Happy for baby,



  14. Beautifully written Elizabeth, especially the contrasts of dear Carmen's death and the sweet smile of a baby. How right you are about the need for that most cherished of moments when utter mind-numbing exhaustion could drive such a wedge. Wonderful to hear of your knitting and thank you so much for your lovely comments about my blog. Pomona's is also one of my favourites xx

  15. Good things . A great sense of loss eased by lovely memories and friendship . And a baby .....can't get any better than a baby ....preferably someone else's ... who's yours to play with and enjoy .
    When you add the satisfaction of making your own warm socks and the thought of NO MORE SNOW , I'm hooked .

  16. Sorry about your friend. I lost a blogfriend last year, and it was an odd thing... to have lost a friend I never met in person nor spoke to on the phone.

    Thanks for the lovely poem!

  17. Thanks for all your comments and hi to Rois, lovely to see you here.
    La Petite Gallery - the rooster is in the post.

  18. Thank you for another lovely blog, Elizabeth. I have just read through Woozle's blog again with a lump in my throat. So special as you are too.


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