Well I’m none too sure quite what’s up with the weather this year, so far we’ve had a pretty rubbish old Summer, odd moments of sunshine seem bookended by overcast skies and heavy thundery showers…..but when it’s nice I try to get out in the garden for a few minutes at least, mostly to potter, do a little weeding, or forage around, snacking on the wild strawberries that are slowly taking over everywhere out there (and the raspberries and blueberries are now eatable too)…..but mosly I like to sit on the backstep and enjoy the peace and quiet that just is…..
By the back door we’ve got a small bay tree in a pot which smells lovely when you crack the leaves and it’s neighbour is a small lavender. It got very scorched last Summer and I thought it was going to die but it’s pulled through and has all bushed out splendidly this year, it’s really beautifully scented and the air above it is a constant haze of perfume, it smells so fresh when it’s just rained….there’s always at least a couple of bees tumbling around the blossoms and even Bernard seems to like it as he often brushes himelf against the oily leaves and delicate flowers.
After his health problems at the end of last year where we thought we were going to lose him, Bernard is actually doing fine. He likes to follow me around if I’m outside and supervises if I’m weeding or tidying….but mostly he likes to nap out there and doesn’t seem to favour sunny or shadowy spots, everywhere is suitable for an impromptu sleepy spot. He’s made a bit of a den under some garden fleece in the middle of one of the raised beds and he’s got another favourite place under some plastic where we were trying to grow salad….even when it’s really pouring he’ll be out there watching the rain, keeping dry while he looks up and watches the rain come down
He’s also rather fond of “helping” if I’m knitting which isn’t so good for me if I’m trying to knit something which I’m needing to concentrate on…balls of yarn get sneakily patted and he’ll roll them off if he’s given half the chance so I’m finding socks a bit easier to manage when he’s in a helpful mood (everythng sits happily in my lap and isn’t spread out so isn’t so tempting to a naughty wool craving kitty.)
These are the latest socks I’m knitting. The yarn is some of the West Yorkshire Spinners sock yarn in the Owl colourway and it’s my first try at a ribbed sock…..the needles are KnitPro Zings and are a bit longer than ones I’d normally use so I’m having to be careful that I don’t keep poking the cat with them when he wants a lap cuddle, but the longer length does mean I can keep trying these on without the stitches flying off in every direction. The needles are nice, slippy but not too much and the yarn slides along them no problems, they aren’t as sharp and pointy as I like but apart from that I’m getting on fine with them…I’ve also found my tension seems to be loosening up so there’s a bit more give in the fabric.
Often I set up a space on the back step, cup of tea, something soft to sit on, knitting or sewing in my lap…it’s not long before someone makes an appearance from under the raspberries or he’ll come mooching out from under the plastic sheeting….this is when he gets all silly and behaves kitteny and I quite forget he’s actually getting on and is classed as an old cat…..
Little back wriggles and chirps and mews are made until whatever I’m doing is put down and I go over to give him tummy rubs…..
Sometimes he stretches out and will gently pat my toes….I try not not wriggle them too much as he’ll grab hold with those paws and hold on tight with the sharpest little claws.
I love watching him stretch out though, like he’s doing kitty yoga…revealing a coat full of smudgey soft greys and charcoal….he always looks a bit on the grubby side but that’s just the colour of his fur.
Some of the yarn I’ve been knitting with this Summer has been the lovely Tamar yarn by Blacker Yarn, it’s a really lustrous and glossy yarn and more than a little reminds me of the flickeirng shadows and pools of light that reveal themselves when Bernard stretches out in the sunshine……..
At the moment I’m using the Tamar to knit Karise which is a shawl pattern by Karie Westermann, it’s a really nice pattern to knit, and has been very enjoyable to sit and knit outside…..the colour changes somewhat when I’m outside and the slight grey hue in the yellow yarn really recedes in sunshine, it’s not a flat dull colour but really shimmers full of light…..so along with the sound of the bees on the lavender all buzzing softly there’s also the tinkle of my stitch markers as I slowly knit the stitches, moving them along the needles stitch by stitch…….these are some I made myself at Christmas and I’m really pleased with how they came out, there’s no sharp bits on them to snag on the yarn and I like the sound of them as they click against the needles and then tingle as they drop down against each other……
Another activity that Bernard seems to appreciate me doing outside is winding up skeins of yarn on my makedo for now nostepinne……..he shuffles up close and watches the yarn un-winding around my feet up on to the kitchen roll tube…….he looks like he’s watching a tennis match as his eyes and head move from side to side…..if he’s feeling mischievous then he’ll try and assist, patting the yarn or just dive-bombing the skein around my feet…..I’ve learn to keep a lookout for when he gets that look in his eye, when he he lifts his bottom up a bit, and wiggles from side to side, most times I’m able to catch him before he springs up and attacks……
A lot of his time now is spent tarting about and showing off…posing in the cutest positons to grab the attentions of the new neighbours that moved in at the start of the year……they’ve got a little girl and I can often hear her and her friends calling over to him, they all peer over the fence, call his name and coo with delight as they watch him wriggle and stretch out on the path or be all silly and kitteny in one of the raised beds….he seems to enjoy the attention but eventually saunters off to a quieter spot.
This has been the first year that he’s not been dashing up the trees, climbing up onto the roof or strolling along the top of the fence, even a jump from the bedroom window sill to the bed has to be thought about (it almost broke my heart the other day when he chose to jump down onto the floor and then clumsily clamber up on the bed….no more springing across gracefully like he used to…..)
But he knows when he’s being talked about and then he gets all shy and bashful.