August Online…

July offline was very eventful and the experiment was wholly successful. I didn’t keep myself 100% Internet free, I must confess. Missing some blogs just too much to bear, plus some necessary work-related admin and a few important fact-finding missions lured me into cyberspace on several occasions but the hours of staring at a computer-screen were greatly reduced during the month of July and a host of enriching life activities filled my time instead.

This was good for my work, whereon I temporarily took up painting and manual letter-painting in order to create The League of Domestic Noisemakers for Modern Art Oxford’s recent Yard Party. Oxford Mail article here.

It was also good for my knitting, which has been copious and rich and which has included a baby surprise jacket in garthenor yarns, a lady surprise shrug in oddments, an unwearably massive selbu modern in new lanark wool and several other yet-to-be-completed projects that are lying on surfaces all around my bedsit and keeping me in a happy, creative mess.

Additionally, it has been good for a documentary I am hoping to make with Thursday Films about UK sheep and handknitting. I have met a lot of sheep during July and I feel – perhaps like Susan Gibbs did when she picked up that sheep-rearing book – that sheep lie inevitably in my future.

For the time being I am exploring old folk songs about sheep and sounds from the knitting and ovine soundscapes such as baaing, needle-clacking and the pleasing rhythm of spinning wheels (which all, it would seem, have their own unique timbres and sonic quirks…) but I am dreaming of Portland sheep and of Shetland sheep and I am enjoying reading this. Here is a very handsome, very rare Portland sheep.

July Offline has also been good for my mind, which is full of thoughts to do with sound and place, with knitting and tactile sensations, with the landscape and with colours. I have become very interested in this and in some sound-recordings housed by The British Library including especially Greg Wagstaff’s sheep-shearing recording, created in the Shetlands.

Time offline has additionally been good for my friendships which have flourished with joyous visits, wondrous meetings, and plenty of actual letters written with actual pens and actual paper! I especially enjoyed all the time I spent with Liz – especially our mammoth walk – the letters Caro sent me and the visit I had with wondrous Kate in Edinburgh. Coincidentally for my Offline month, I got to meet a number of people who I have known in cyberspace for a long time in person this month, which was very joyous. It was great to meet Ysolda, Brenda Dayne and Helena of The Knit Nurse Chronicles in real life as I have enjoyed their very different and rich Internet presences for many months now.

Brenda Dayne and Liz knitting together at The Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. I especially like how Liz’s beautiful handmade skirt and Brenda’s knitting matched that evening!

I have also enjoyed some fine family times during my Internet-free month, climbing Roseberry Topping with members of the clan. Can you believe these three strapping youths are my brothers? On the day of our walk, a new series entitled ‘helicopter heroes’ was being filmed at the summit, which accounts for all the machinery on the hill in my photos.

Edward and Fergus couldn’t resist a camera-based shoot out.

…And the offline time was clearly good for mending my relationship. I’m not sure exactly when Mark and I got back together properly; I suspect it was in the pouring rain, on a beach famed for its smuggling history, attempting to bake bread in a biscuit tin underneath a fire.

…but it may equally also have been when I saw him with this handsome Herdwick at the East Dean Sheep Centre.

They are good together, no?

In conclusion, I have not missed facebook, I have not missed twitter and I have not missed editing sound files. But I have really missed you and I have really missed this blog! The time offline has helped me to work out which elements of The Internet are truly amazing and which elements are truly exhausting, and this has been most helpful. I am happy to be returning to regular writing and there will be more extensive coverage on all projects mentioned here in the coming days! I am really looking forward to catching up on all the blogs I have missed during July too, and to striking a better life/Internet balance for the rest of the summer.

10 Responses to August Online…

  1. lara says:

    Hurrah for your return! I too have missed your blog…. Lovely adventures in July Offline and there is lots to catch up on. I’m off for my first SE london craft adventure today which will be interesting… LXX

  2. Sarah says:

    I am very happy indeed to read that you and Mark are back together. Congratulations!! And I missed reading your blog too so happiness all round! X

  3. Hannah says:

    I’m really happy about the sheep bringing you together! (even though i am, I suppose, a voyeur)

    http://www.spinningweal.co.uk/contact-us-2/about-us-20/
    have you ever met these lovely people? sarah taught me to spin, and she learnt to spin first because she kept portland sheep. They are amazing, and they chase dogs. She sells their fleece in her shop and it is wonderful. Also she told me about the long toed sheep keepers on st kilda who eat salted seabirds which they catch on the cliffs and also have primitive sheep. If you are ever in their area i thoroughly recommend visiting her.

  4. Felix says:

    Hannah! Thanks so much for this wondrous link; I shall immediately check it out and learn more about the spinningweal…

    …I shall try to meet Sarah when I am next down in the West Country! I haven’t spun with the Portland fleece, but when I felt it, I was impressed by its suitability for knitting sweaters.

  5. Kate says:

    Welcome back! I have missed your online presence immensely. So good to see the human and the ovine in perfect harmony.

  6. Susan says:

    It’s lovely to have you back online. May the richness you discovered while offline continue to travel with you!

  7. Kirsty says:

    How lovely to click on your blog and discover that you’re back. Glad to hear you had such a productive July.

  8. knit nurse says:

    Welcome back, you were missed online but wonderfully present in the flesh!

  9. john says:

    rosebaywillowherb is aevasive foreign weed takes over from native species and not welcome in scotland

  10. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Archive » Wovember Postscript #2: FO: Jiggit

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