On Sunday we were sitting on the spacious and capacious deck at The Peaceable Kingdom, soaking up some very unseasonable and welcome sunshine with Mr and Mrs Peaceable. It was Mother’s Day so Mrs Peaceable and I had pride of place in the most comfortable loungers and we were engaged in one of our favourite activities – talking about what we had heard on National Radio (or The Programme, AKA The Font Of All Knowledge) recently. This can be a bit of a tricky occasion because while good manners demand that you hear out the other speakers and let them have a turn, if you don’t immediately blurt out what is on your mind you are inclined to have forgotten it as the topics whirl past and the moment is lost. So we were all trying our hardest to be civilized, but I have to confess I didn’t always succeed and was likely to interrupt more than was necessary.
We could see out over the area where Mrs Peaceable’s chickens are housed in their new luxurious accommodations – all except for the serial escaper, who sprang up into the raised vegetable gardens and had a good fossick through the rhubarb. She must have the most enormously muscular thighs, because she leaps up like a pole vaulter (but without the need for a pole) with not the smallest bit of difficulty. Beyond them could be spied one of Rosie the rabbit’s descendants. Rosie was “no better than she should be” and had a taste for “a bit of rough” in the form of Mr West, the piratical looking wild rabbit with the ripped ear, which resulted in an unusual strain of rabbits all over the farm, some white and some speckled and all in all a very interesting combination of shades and colours. (Mr Peaceable assured me that there exists one rabbit which is snowy white but with black ears and a black mask, a la Zorro, but he could be just tricking me because he is a good spinner of yarns and I am somewhat gullible.) In the distance the very healthy pig was rootling around and also enjoying the sun along with the rest of us and the whole occasion had the feeling of the end of the warm weather, with a slightly melancholy feel but in the nicest possible way.
I began to turn over in my mind the sad fact that it was almost time for the weekend to end and for us to begin the trip back to the city. Sometimes this time is a bit difficult because I need to get together some stitching supplies for in the car. It is great to be able to tack some fabric hexies over their papers on the way home and if there is a bit of a delay in the traffic you can achieve a surprising amount. (I once overheard a woman in an embroidery store telling the shopkeeper that she achieved a lot of stitching at traffic lights, but I don’t go to this extreme, only stitching while a passenger. Imagine how many sets of lights you might miss and how many people you could upset if you adopted the habit of stitching at lights!) If I am getting ready for a car journey it often transpires that my favourite needle has gone missing, or I don’t have enough hexies, or my cotton is the wrong shade, or the scissors have somehow vanished. Mr Shoestring begins to compress his lips, rattle his keys in his pocket, coming up behind me and breathing down my neck and generally being just a little bit diffy. He begins to resemble a sheep dog rounding up a recalcitrant flock, but luckily he so far hasn't resorted to nipping at my heels. I have some pretty little bags including some given to me by friends which are ideal for taking in my handbag so I can stitch at lunch break or on the bus, which I would never part with.
In a lightning flash of inspiration I realised the thing I needed was a dedicated car stitching kit so Mr Shoestring would have no cause to compress his lips and sigh. And here it is, an emergency kit (be prepared) so that whenever there is a car journey in the offing I am ready to go at a moment’s notice, with no delays. My favourite scissors, varied useful shades of cotton, a thimble, a selection of hexies of the correct dimensions and the fabric to cover them are all there at my finger tips, ready for action.