Knit and Natter Friday #7

This afternoon I was at the first Knit and Natter Group of 2020 at Alnwick Medical Group. As you can see, there was a magnificent haul of charity knits from group members who still found time to knit on top everything else they were doing over the Festive Season. Between us we handed in hats and angel tops for premature babies, “fish and chip” baby tops, and a twiddle mitt.

The room we use is now complete following refurbishment. This has included new table and chairs and a large interactive TV. We will be able to use this to share project photos and technique videos.

One of the lovely staff who support our knit and natter sessions was with us for the last time today as she is leaving to take up a post elsewhere. She has looked after us and kept us entertained over many Fridays. During this time she improved her own knitting , beginning with a scarf for her dog! She was the one who made us the amazing gingerbread house for our Christmas meeting. We will miss her very much but wish her every success in her new job.

Are you joining any new groups or activities in 2020?

Scone-Free Thursday: Food for Thought

Usually I post Scone of the Week on Thursdays but today was scone-free. I was meeting a friend and her daughter for drinks at Nelsons in the Park at Swarland and had this yummy hot chocolate. They have a hot chocolate menu with several flavours – I opted for the chocolate orange. it tasted as good as it looks.

We had a good old catch up – my friend’s daughters are visiting from Australia. One of the girls was ill in bed, saving her strength for the trip home which begins tomorrow. I can’t imagine anything worse than a long haul flight when you are feeling under par, so I hope she has a safe journey. It was good to see her sister though.

It was really interesting to get the insider’s view of the devastating fires in Australia. We have all seen horrific TV footage and can only imagine what it must be like for those directly affected, when lives, homes and livelihoods are lost. I sincerely hope that appropriate and timely help is given . There are lots of opportunities to donate to the relevant aid charities.

We are also hearing news of the wild animal casualties. Of course the cutest creatures will always get the most coverage. Koalas are badly affected – slow and sleepy, not best equipped to escape the flames. There will undoubtably be huge reptile and invertebrate losses too but they don’t get the coverage, although their places in ecosystem are just as important as any iconic mammal.

One of my friend’s daughters works in conservation and her sister pointed out a few things that I hadn’t considered. For example very many of the rescued koalas and other animals will have to be humanely destroyed as their injuries are too severe. Also, as so much habitat has been lost, there is nowhere to return the rescued animals to. The only option would therefore be to keep them in captivity until the environment has recovered enough to support them. This will take many years.

Knowing that I’m a knitter, a couple of friends have sent me info about groups here in the UK that are using their craft skills to make nests and pouches as bedding for the rescued animals. There are lots of different designs of suitable items in various sizes and shapes depending on the species they are intended for. It seems to be pretty well organised too, with various collection “hubs” to co-ordinate the effort. I’m still trying to get the full information on materials to use – some documents say the rescue organisations require pure wool items only and pure cotton fabric for sewn liners. I thought I’d make something and that this might be a good way of using up scraps , including donated yarn, but it’s not always obvious which is 100% wool when there is no ball band. I’m actually quite curious why some sources say “wool only”. It’s not always the easiest yarn to wash and dry. It was explained that the bobbles on boucle-type yarns could be nibbled on so this was not to be used and also that there should be no loose threads to entangle in tiny claws etc. and this makes perfect sense.

Hearing from others I know in Australia and even New Zealand, I hear that even far away from the fire zone the clouds of smoke and haze are clearly visible. The environmental and health effects of this disaster will be far-reaching and long term.

We just have to hope for all concerned that things improve soon and that lessons are learnt that can prevent this happening again.