I am easily distracted from the path of righteousness, one of making inroads on the stash or doing what I’m supposed to be doing. There’s so much else to do.
Distraction No. 1: the lure of research.
I realised recently how little I knew about the colours of fleece, and decided to look into it. I know I said I’d devote the next few posts to coloured fleece, but I’m still looking into it… That’s because I’ve been diverted down QI-like side alleys, full of eccentricity and wonder and odd bits of information.
Did you, for instance, realise that Alpine sheep bells came in different tones, deep ram bells (redoun) and higher-pitched ones for ewes (sounnaioun) and each flock had a different mix of tones, thus identifying it at a distance? Or that Merino sheep were introduced to Mexico as early as 1540? I just thought of the Conquistadors as bloodthirsty looters and spreaders of smallpox at that time… and, incidentally, they took sheep to Peru for food rather than for wool; that was provided by alpacas and llamas. Then there are some fabulous breed names, like the Barbados Blackbelly. See? Easily distracted. I’ll get back on topic soon, but the memory of the Barbados Blackbelly may take some time to fade (they’re rather odd-looking sheep, with a sort of dangling chest wig). Ahem.
Distraction No. 2: work. Let’s zoom over that one, at speed.
Distraction No. 3: the garden.
Oh boy. It’s gone bonkers; it always does at this time of year but it takes me by surprise nonetheless. Everything is burgeoning. Especially weeds, and P’s dog/overgrown puppy who spends a lot of her time here digging parts of it up while looking for the chafer grubs she can hear moving under the grass, and for dahlia tubers she can’t hear do any damn thing, but which she digs up anyway. Grrr. See? Distracting.
Distraction No. 4: food and cooking.
This is sort of part of No. 2, in that I often write about food and cooking, and not just on my work-related blog; I’m working on cold soups at the mo, for instance. I get paid for it (eventually), and have just been allowed into the Guild of Food Writers. But I also enjoy cooking enormously, and it’s related to No. 3 right now – in that I have to eat what remains of last year’s produce and empty the freezers before this year’s insanely over-optimistic, somewhat hysterical, let’s admit it, plain-and-simple overproduction kicks in. I like beans but I’ve still got about two kilos left from last year. I’m growing enough spuds for a family of six. I can’t even fit the courgettes in, so they’re going to have to wait in large pots for the garlic to be harvested. Why do I do this?
Distraction No. 5: I am literally ‘woolwinding’ at the moment.
I bought three vast skeins of Hebridean yarn at Wonderwool and am turning them into something a little more manageable. They need washing, after which they will fluff up and – hopefully – stop smelling quite so attractively of machine oil and lanolin, but in order to be washed properly they need to be in something smaller than a minimum-500g skein. I have several potential pieces of kit which should have helped but, entirely due to the bulky vastness of the MegaSkeins, they all proved useless. After several botched experiments and a nasty tangling incident or three, I resorted to the old expedient of two chairs back to back. Happily I have a great Ashford skein winder, thus removing the need to nail anyone to the floor for several days – I can’t do too much at once or my hands give way. At least this distraction is woolly, unlike…
Distraction No. 6: other crafts…
Shh. Whisper it low. I’m attracted to saori weaving, but I haven’t done anything about it yet (a rare instance of being sensible?). Instead I started going through all my threads – while sorting out the spare room, aka sewing room – and then my patterns, dumping most of them as being dated and/or crap or both. Then, tipped off by a friend who should know better, I discovered indie pattern designers. Yippee! I’ve just bought Tilly’s Coco dress/top. When am I going to sew this? Hm?
Distractions No. 7–10: walking…
Walking in the woods, in the hills, on the beach and in the woods again, doing a Plantlife wildflower survey. I’m lucky enough to live in Snowdonia, so this is an ever-present temptation. I spent a lot of years in London because of work, and I loved it at the time, but London can’t beat this:
I mean, dur…
It’s not my fault, this easily distracted thing. I’m blaming my parents.
They were avid crossword solvers. My father used to start at 1 across, worry away at it until he’d got it, then move on to the next clue across. My mother would pick off all the words she could get, anywhere on the grid, and only then work out the more problematic clues armed with letters from the words she’d already completed. Dad would then accuse her – she inevitably finished well before he did, despite the fact that they were both very quick – of having a ‘butterfly mind’. I have clearly inherited this tendency. See? Not my fault.
Of course, it doesn’t help that I have the willpower of a maggot.