I’d only been back at work for about five minutes after my holiday when I came down with The Plague – otherwise known as the stinking cold that I catch every year when 3,500 new students arrive at the University. Usually my hyperactive immune system knocks me down flat for a couple of days, during which I stay in bed, and then I emerge feeling sorry for myself but generally well enough to go back to work. This time I was off work for a week, mostly because I had a cough but no voice, and was therefore pretty useless on a telephone and a reception desk. Once that week was over I assumed I’d be fine, but no. I went to see the doctor yesterday (about something unrelated, as it happened), and she immediately gave me a note for another week off work.
I’ve been spending a fair few nights awake, propped up on the sofa, to try and avoid keeping Paul awake with my terrible coughing. This has resulted in quite a lot of knitting being done, including learning a new technique. This nightmarish tangled mess, for which I do not currently have enough swear words, is two socks at the same time, on two circular needles. It only took me two goes to cast them both on the right way round, and I only knitted with the wrong needle (thereby finding myself trapped in an impossible loop) three or four times, so I think I’m getting the hang of it now. The toes are done, and I’m knitting my way slowly up the feet. (Very slowly, as these are for Paul, who has Very Big Feet.) I’m fairly certain I’m spending more time untangling the two balls of yarn than I am actually knitting, which is extremely frustrating, and makes the whole process seem very slow.
The yarn, by the way, is the “Sulley” colour way of Superwash sock from Woolly Wonders. It was supposed to be for me, but for the first time ever, Paul saw it in my knitting bag and quietly asked me whether it might turn into a pair of socks for him. Despite his size twelves, there was no way I could refuse… and I do have two other fantastically bright skeins (Carnival and Rainbow Sparkle) to knit socks for myself!
I’ve also been doing a few bits and bobs for the new incarnation of Mr & Mrs Magpie’s Inexplicable Emporium. They’re explained (sort of) in the first blog post, and will be available in the shop as soon as the set is complete.
I have to confess to feeling horribly guilty about doing any kind of making while I’m off sick from my Proper Job. The thing is though, there are times when I’m genuinely not well enough to leave the house by 8am, speak to people all day, answer the telephone, concentrate on booking forms and looking after visitors… but I am well enough to sit at a table and quietly make something. (Well, I say quietly, but you haven’t heard this cough!) At home I can get up when I feel like it (except for Paul leaving to drive to a meeting at some ungodly hour this morning), I don’t have to speak to anyone, so my cough is slowly getting better, and if I want to pack everything away and go for a nap half way through the day, nobody will mind! If it was possible for me to do my Proper Job from home I’d be doing just that, but moving the museum’s reception desk to my house doesn’t seem terribly convenient. So, I’m mooching about, doing everything very slowly, and achieving what I can as I try to look after myself.
Desire To Fly from R&A Collaborations on Vimeo.
I’ve been reading a lot of blogs while I’ve been tucked up cosily on the sofa, looking in particular for artists who work with magic and fantasy and character. There are a whole bunch of people I could list (Mister Finch, The Pale Rook, and Amanda Louise Spayd, for a start), but I’ve been particularly enjoying the fairies of Samantha Bryan. I love the fact that she imagines a busy working life for her fairies – and then provides them with everything they might need to be successful. Absolutely wonderful!
There’s a bit of character-related work going on behind the scenes here, although it’s currently very firmly in the “thinking about it” stage. Lots of notes and lots of ideas, but absolutely nothing to show for it just yet. It’s related to the Emporium, in that I’m hoping to be able to bring Mr & Mrs Magpie to life a little bit… but it’s an ambitious project, so it’s sitting quietly in the background for now. We’ll see how it goes.