I have been loving reading people’s posts about how they are spending the cold and snowy spell indoors, and I’m really loving seeing so much appreciation for domestic space in the blogs that I follow. It is a time for loving the sheltering qualities of home.

Nobody appreciates these sheltering qualities more than our mascot* for The Hub Radio Show – Meerkat – who has spent the best part of this morning creating burrows in everything I own. Being as the natural habitat of the Meerkat is the Kalahari desert, this one is extra-specially sensitive to the colder climes of England. I have been teaching Meerkat how to survive in the cold and how to relish being Indoors.

Use the Internet to stay connected to the outside-world and to learn about Great Things… your PhD field of research, a new method for sock-heel construction, your origins…

Drink plenty of hot fluids – especially tea.

Hang out with friends.

Eat well**.

Make sure you have good things to listen to. I recommend:

The Domestic Soundscape – as it is, unadorned. It is always interesting! For me this is currently comprised of the drone of traffic outside, the occasional bang of the front door in the hall, the cautious scrunching of cars carefully hedging their way down the extremely narrow gravel path beside the house, the ticker ticker of my stabby typing***, the occasional fizzing of an energy-saving lightbulb that doesn’t quite sit correctly in the lampstand that it sits on, the overly aggressive boiling crescendo of my kettle when it boils, and the click-clack-clicking of my wonky old electric stove whenever I cook on it. New additions to The Domestic Soundscape in my house include the gorgeous gurgle of the coffee rising up through my Italian, stove-top coffee maker, the almost silent scrunching of my current knitting project as it turns on my needles, and the curious blurping sounds my hot water bottle makes whenever I fill it.

If you want to break up the routine with some wonderful, imported sounds, I can highly recommend the following:

Brenda Dayne’s latest episode of Cast-On; seasonal and timely
This beautiful recording from the British Library Archives of a lullaby, sung by a woman in Uganda to her child****
This great recording from the ever-inspiring fieldsepulchra blog, featuring sounds from a snowed-over, icy New York drain
The wonderful songs of Congress Woman Melinda Jackson Parker for her epic take on such everyday issues as a shop running out of Bananas or the presence of a Mosquito in the room
That episode of Excess Baggage that I was telling you about the other day

Make a burrow in the wool. This is a huge pile of Cashcotton 4-ply that I have dyed with Walnuts; it is waiting to be balled up and knit into something amazing. I am too big to burrow in it, sadly.

Knit stuff to keep warm. It turns out an Apron-pocket is a fine shelter for a small meerkat and in this image, Meerkat is learning how to make a scarf. I myself am working on a sock design which I shall tell you about in due course, however progress has been temporarily halted because of Meerkats in the WIP.

*Meerkat was knitted by Heather of Niftyknits; you can hear our interview together over on her website.
**Meerkats on Tim Clutton-Brock’s study could only be tempted onto the scales for the scientists to weigh them, by crumbs of boiled egg and water from a drip-bottle. They are completely uninterested in all other food sources and by far prefer their natural diet of scorpions, millipedes, beetle grubs and other sand-dwelling beasties.
***I don’t know why I type like I do, but I only use my third finger on my left hand, which makes my typing very loud and very stabby. Keen followers of this blog and my projects may remember that in the 2nd episode of The Fantastical Reality Radio Show, Claudia of Mundane Appreciation interviewed Adriano about the sounds of his office for ‘the sounds of your life’ feature and he identified who was typing in just from the individual rhythm of the typists’ fingers!
****Although I love this lullaby and the British Library’s Sound Archives in general, I am always amazed by how many ethnographic representations/recordings are made of the everyday life of Other cultures, and the constant emphasis on Exotic locations for field-recording studies.

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