Stars and dinosaurs and knitting hillsides

The wind blew back in early this week and after a sunny, warm weekend I turned back inside.  There was a huge floor cushion to be made for five year old grandson to accompany his curtains.

There was more to be done on the project of knitting a cushion to reflect our hillside.

The colours reflect the different greens of the fields and the open hills.  The darker brown rows are the lines of hedges and bare trees and the gold is the bracken.  I have spent an hour or two weaving in the ends, an oddly meditative kind of thing to do, before casting on the other side and seeing what comes.

Then there was bread to be made before turning from the practical to the numinous.

There was Alan Garner's last public lecture to go to.  Alan Garner is a great writer and counts amongst his admirers the author Philip Pullman and Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury.  The picture shows Alan's house where he has lived and written all his adult life.  He was lecturing at Jodrell Bank, which is an unsettling yet fitting neighbour to his medieval house on its ancient site.    The lecture was accompanied by the release of this previously unpublished poem.

Across the field astronomers
Name stars.  Trains pass
The house, cows and summer.
Not much shows but that.
Winter, the village is distant,
The house older
Than houses and night than winter.
The line is not to London.
Unfound bones sing louder,
Stars lose names,
Cows fast in shippons wise
Not to be out.  I know
More by winter than by all the year.
And a night to kill a king is this night.
© Alan Garner
Erica Wagner, former Literary Editor of the Times, is putting together a celebration of the life and work of Alan Garner via unbound, which provides crowd funding of books.  If you are a fan of Alan's work have a look here and get involved.
And there were more and more flowers to pick and eggs to eat.

What a satisfying mix of the things you can hold in your hands and the things that you can't.  A good week.


  1. Dear Elizabeth,

    Thank you for your thoughtful, helpful and most caring words left a short while ago on my last post. They spoke to me and helped.

    Warmest wishes,

    Stephanie x

  2. I really enjoyed this glimpse into life on your Welsh hillside. I will have to read the poem again and read it aloud as it did 't open up for me on the first reading.
    I imagine that the huge floor cushion will be a favourite bit of the bedroom!

  3. I read Alan Garner books as a child, they were wonderful.

  4. What a beautiful post, full of the things that make me happy. I love the look of your knitted cushion, I love the colours and patterns of the countryside and I look forward to seeing it progress. Jane x

  5. Lucky grandson! And I love your latest knitting project. What was the lecture like? I am a huge fan of Alan Garner's books, and still happily re-read 'The Owl Service' and 'The Weird Stone of Brisingamen'.

  6. Gosh I've been to Jodrell Bank and never realised I was so close to one of my favourite childhood authors. That's a wonderful photo - such a contrast between ancient and modern, with such a brooding, mysterious light. I can imagine all kinds of tales sparking off it as well as that wonderful poem.

  7. VP has taken the words out of my mouth :) It sounds that you have had a most satisfactory week Elizabeth.

  8. Love your posts, and this is one of my favorites. :)

  9. I still love those dinosaurs :) sounds like a lovely productive time :)

  10. Gosh, you have been busy - and all most worthwhile projects.
    Loved the look of the bread particularly.

  11. O dear. I'm never sure my comments go through so my apologies if I've said something twice. However, if your memory is as terrible as mine, it won't really matter, will it? -grin-
    The bread. THE BREAD. Mercy, I've not had breakfast yet and am drooling at that photo. The photo of house and satt dish is breathtaking in its intensity and as to "naming the stars" I believe God beat the astronomers to it.

  12. Elizabeth, you have had a very good week indeed, with such a variety of interests, events, accomplishments...and wonderful flowers keep on coming, too.

    Your knitted cushion cover evokes your landscape very well with its subtle color changes and the way in which you've allowed a flow of ligthter and darker tones. Lovely!

    Attending Alan Garner's lecture must have been a true privilege. Your night photograph is marvelous.


  13. A lovely post. I remember The Owl Service was set in Wales wasn' t it? Great to go Alan Garner' s lecture.

  14. Oh I love Alan Garner's books. I read them in childhood and re-read them regularly. Thank you for the link.


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