Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Socks for sailors...

Now I’m not a great fan of warfare - it tends to shorten people’s lives - but as many see it as a necessity there’s no point in pretending that it isn’t there - which brings me to socks.

My gran used to knit socks for sailors. I have no idea who these sailors were and I hope that she didn’t either, but she would sit in front of her few sticks of a fire and knit away whilst I listened intently to ‘Listen with Mother’ on the Home Service. Doesn’t that make me sound old; I guess I must be getting there.

My gran would knit and knit, sock after sock. She’d been doing it for years, parcelling up socks for the soldiers on the front in the first war, then later balaclavas for sailors in the second. You didn’t have to pay postage. Just knit and take them off to the post office and the post office did the rest.

Imagine that today, an act of unity and kindness supported by business and the government. Maybe it still happens but my cynicism tells me it doesn’t. Everything has a cost these days and everybody wants paying. Sometimes (often) I wonder what happened.

My mother in law knits blankets - well she did until recently - beautiful random things with wool we would get for her from the discount and pound shops; we couldn’t go in without checking for wool at a pound a ball. The colours never went together but they were made with care, mainly to give her something to do and keep her hands and brain moving.

But that was in the past, a long three weeks ago. Neither her hands nor her brain moves much now and when we go to her empty house to put out the bins and feed the birds I see her needles and the blanket she hasn’t finished and it makes me sad. It seems her life has ended coloured as randomly as one of her blankets.

In my drawer in Wales I have a pair of woollen socks that she knitted for me. Thick socks to keep the cold out like a fisherman out on the sea. They have lost their shape and don’t fit very well and I’m no fisherman, but they are made with care and they kept her hands moving. I think I may start wearing them again.

Ever feel like crying?


  1. Sharon Taylor on FB
    when you feel like crying just let it come out, it is never a good idea to keep tears bottled up x

  2. Jayne Butterworth on FB
    Sending love xxx know that feeling too well. Xxx

  3. Andrew Height
    No fine words can explain what we have to do. It's over.

  4. Kate Bell on fB
    Oh andrew I'm so sad reading this, am away so not kept up to date, was really hoping for good news for you all xx