Perfect Bank Holiday Weekend…

After spending Saturday morning in a vague malaise online and editing sound-recordings, I decided to stop kidding myself that I was going to get any work done on the podcasts when I could plainly see whole families playing together in the sunshine outside my house. I tidied my bedsit, and headed off into town to meet Stav. I felt at once more in step with the rest of the world, submitting to the beautiful haze of bank-holiday goodness infusing the streets.

It was good to head out into the daylight with handknits, lipgloss and a package of belated birthday goodies under my arm. To post DVDs back to Lovefilm, to have tidied before I left. To have done a few of the small things that reorder a restless mind. And it was more than good to see Stav, who I adore.

Stav, opening her presents

After lemonade, bread, olives and plenty of chat, we went for beer at The Hobgoblin. Stav shares my appreciation for the fine ales of England and after much deliberation and trying of beers at the bar, I settled on Dr Hexter’s Wedding Ale and Stav went for Maggs Mild. Then we drank and chatted and laughed and told stories for what felt like many hours in the balmy evening air, amazing ourselves and each other with our stamina for conversation. At closing time we parted ways, still laughing, and I marvelled at what a wonderful thing it is to have a girlfriend that you can drink with. And I don’t mean like a drinking buddy – someone you ONLY meet to drink with – but like a girlfriend who you can get steadily, artfully, conversationally, entertainingly and rapturously inebriated with. I don’t know if I can ever express my sentiments concerning alcohol with the same panache as Kate did when she wrote Whisky and Women – but I do enjoy the experience of frequenting a bar with a good friend and drinking good beer and I am interested in the gender politics of this because I do think there are some surrounding alcoholic drinks. When, for instance, in the endless scenes of social-drinking scenes in Sex and The City did we see any of our four favourite leads drinking pints? But to return to the topic in hand and temporarily shelve the other, yet-to-be-written, future blog-rant on ale and feminism…

…Sunday morning was a gentle affair. More tidying ensued, more editing happened on the podcast and more emails associated with said podcast were sent. Then I headed out for a massive 15 mile walk with the latest rendition of the first podcast on my mp3 player, to listen through along the Thames path. I walked up to Sonning, then up through the woodlands around Shiplake and Binfield, then back down to Sonning bridge where I rejoined the Thames Path to walk home. I saw a maybug, bats, red kites, robins, blackbirds, starlings, butterflies and a baby rabbit. The air was full of people enjoying themselves; barbecues on the large grassy areas, laughter from the fields. Once the sun had gone down and I was still walking, people lingered in small groups, reluctant to concede the lovely day was drawing to a close.

Today was amazing too because I spent it with Liz and we did more walking. It was great to chat and to walk together in such a beautiful landscape. What’s not to love about a herd of deer you see on the way, or a bright yellow field of rape in full bloom?

We walked a 5 1/2 mile circuit around Stanton St John, saw deer and kites and buzzards and heard a cuckoo. When we got to Stanton St John I was able to see the exhibition of the Oxford Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Highlights included all the daffodil-themed entries to this year’s guild competition, Liz’s gorgeous knitted cupcakes and a felted-bowl that reminded me very much of an oriental poppy seedpod. I really enjoyed reading from Ellen, Liz and Meghan about the daffodil-themed crafting competition. It was great to see their handiwork with my own eyes, and all the other beautifulness made by members of The Guild.

The daffodil themed knits…

Liz’s knitted cupcakes

Poppy-seed shaped felt bowl – does anyone know who made this so I can put a proper credit?

…and after looking around at so many fields and so much fibre, I started spinning this on Liz’s drop-spindle.

I hope you all got to sigh in pleasure at some beauteousness this weekend and that you all enjoyed the bank holiday pause as much as I did.

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