Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Winter warm

I said I'd show you some of my winter warm clothing, and then went silent on you for several days!

We've been moving rooms. I still have my little cell where I'm very happy, but the Badger has moved down from his attic. I regard this as a noble act because he absolutely loved that room. The thing is, he had some very substantial furniture, a tiny staircase that twists and turns, and neither of us was getting any younger. He is a person of great energy and zest for life, but when he gets ill it's spectacular. A couple of years ago he had a bout of pneumonia that absolutely flattened him, and this summer his insides went mad after a teaching trip in Africa. 

It seemed to me that a bedroom on the same floor as a bathroom, with a regular bed and normal access to it (not a nook under the eaves) might be a wise condition to set in place as we enter our dotage.

It wasn't easy to say goodbye to the attic room with its huge skylight windows looking out at the moon and stars, with a privileged view into the home life of seagulls and jackdaws — but we realised that what we could easily achieve now might surprise us by becoming suddenly impossible a few years down the line. 

The move meant a fresh wave of minimising possessions for the Badger — which is not a sad thing; he's come to recognise it as healthy and positive and wise, even if it's never easy. And now he is installed and we are recovering from our World's Strongest Man feats of bringing a giant mattress and gargantuan desk down the teensy little ladder staircase — and of course taking up those stairs all the household effects of the previous occupant of the room he moved into. And she deserves a medal and a round of applause, for her immediate and gracious acquiescence to this scheme even though it took years of saving to get her room repaired and decorated to its present lovely state. 

This move was a whole-household effort and we were very grateful for all the help we had!

Once all the associated carpentry is accomplished, I'll show you our current situation. Just now it's not very beautiful, because the Badger still has to build his wardrobe and bookcases. Its all a bit transitional.

So that's what I've been doing. Plus tending night and day (yes, both) our dear cats, their primary caregivers have been away at a stonecutting conference at the wonderful West Dean College.

The photos in that link make it look very minimalist and modern. Inside the house where our folk stayed it looked like this

and this

and this

And this was the view from their bedroom window.

So, altogether marvellous. And while they were away we cared assiduously for the cats (you do have to), with good results:

So it's been a somewhat focused few days. But now — back as we were. Winter woolies, then — yes, the days of frost and fire will soon be here.

I can't really get on all that well with coats. I've had several at various times and fallen out with them all. Recently I had two — a glorious Indian kantha coat in sunset colours, and a dark green cotton barn coat jacket.

I sold the kantha coat along with most of my clothes this summer on eBay to get together the funds to have my new dresses made. That left the barn coat, which I wore into town on a cooler day last week. I kept catching sight of myself wearing it as I passed the big reflective panes of shop windows; and I thought I looked so horrible in it that I dropped it off at Dr Barnado's charity shop. They were pleased to have it, I was pleased not to.

I don't really need a coat anyway. I can wear a shawl. If it rains I can get wet and change when I come home.

So my serious winter things are these:

At the back are two Tibetan shawls — the kind sold online as Yak wool. They are in fact made of acrylic and have never been near a yak, but I think trading standards may be differently configured in Tibet. I bought the blue one in the spring on eBay, and dithered for ages over which to get because I loved the red one too.    Then — O frabjous joy — I was given the red one for my birthday! In the photo, perhaps you can see (I folded it back to show you) it is really like having two shawls, because one side is different from the other. I love these shawls. They are large, light, superbly soft, easy to wash and quick to dry and very, very snuggly.

On the arm of the chair on the left is another shawl — a mothers' day gift knitted by my daughter. Grace (who also gave me the red shawl). It's cotton and very open knitting, so it makes an excellent autumn/spring layer.

Now, those sandals are, in my view, an excellent addition to a wardrobe. They are fur-lined Birkenstocks. Because of my hyper-mobility, my skin blisters very easily, and these sandals are just great because the fur cushions my feet against rubbing. But also, they allow me to carry on with bare feet into the cold weather. Just add leggings under my skirt — job done.

The grey mittens in the middle I wear every time I go outdoors right through the cold months (so, October to May, basically). Our Alice knitted them for me.

She also knitted my soft grey alpaca hat next to them. Above it is a cheap 'n' cheerful but very warm snood thingy — not for over your head, just a sort of enclosed scarf. I bought it a couple of winters ago — my very aged auntie in Yorkshire always sends me ten pounds in a card for Christmas. Usually I just put it towards the groceries, but on that occasion it occurred to me that I'd have something to remember her by if I bought an actual thing with it. And this scarf was nine pounds at Asda, where I get my food shopping.

The stripy socks — these are mostly my bed-socks in the winter, but I do sometimes wear them in the day and, oh dear, (can you see?) on the teeth of the metal edge strip in the floor (in the doorway), where carpet used to be attached — I caught one of the socks and tore it. Posting this will remind me to get some green or brown wool and darn it before the cold weather comes. Our Alice knitted them for me. They are alpaca, silky soft and very warm.

Oh! I almost forgot! I have some furry slippers now, too. They were a present from the Badger this summer, ready for the winter.

So when the winter winds start to blow, I'll be ready!


Lynda said...

How cosy! Love the hat and snood (because they are grey) and your other warm woollies (because they are warm and woolly, even if not grey).

It's supposedly spring here, but I am still wearing 4 layers, a scarf and beanie...in the house! Actually it's warmer outside :) xx

Pen Wilcock said...

Ah! I love a woman who layers up the woolies indoors rather than putting on central heating. Heat the woman, not the space, say i. Good for you. Here on the other side of the world we're just coming into autumn. Our Victorian house has high ceilings and is prone to damp. This has been an absolute Godsend through the very hot summer we just had; there was always somewhere cool to go here, the windows open to catch the sea breeze. And just today the lorry is coming with a delivery of logs to fill up our wood-store. It's warmer outside than in here, too!

Lynda said...

Oh I've got the heating on too!! Heat pump and wood heater sometimes. But I don't think this house has any insulation, so I have to insulate myself.

I'm just clearing out the last of the wood in my woodshed and then I shall have to order another load...for next winter! And get to stack it all. I do enjoy stacking wood :))

Stay warm! xx

Elin said...

I love layering in the winter but not having a coat in a place with temperatures that always go way below 0 and may go as low as -30 or colder is just not an option. I do often wear two wool sweaters or 1-2 sweaters and a poncho when it is not colder than -10 but after that I do want my thick winter coat and preferably also a sweater underneath it. I am also a fan of central heating, heating a house with modern standards here without it is a full time job. I do love being at our cabin in the winter and sitting by the fire to keep warm but even there we cheat a bit, not with central heating but with some electrical heaters for the bedrooms and initially in the kitchen too. We don't have water in the tap there in the winter though.

The scarves are beautiful and look very nice and soft too and I really get the need for shoes that are comfortable. I sadly have a problem with my heel so I only use my very comfortable sandals now and I dread winter because I will either have to order another pair of very expensive orthopedic shoes or risk using regular winter shoes and get my now almost healed problem back... I haven't decided what to do yet.

greta said...

love those shawls! a friend gave me a similar one in autumn colours and i can't wait for colder weather to wear it. i am deeply envious of your snood. we live in iowa where it can get waaay below zero (that's in fahrenheit degrees0 in the depths of winter. blizzards are not uncommon. i'm going to have to do some research to see if i can find something similar. thanks for the inspiration!

Pen Wilcock said...

Lynda — yes! You know what they say about firewood and 'get warm twice'!

Elin — ah, where we live makes a big difference to what clothes we need. On the south coast of England here we have a gentler climate and lots of sunshine; in the north of England it's much harsher. Though I suspect even there shawls might be sufficient. When I lived in York, I remember a bitter winter when I used to wear all my clothes every day, it was so cold! My top layer then was a fluffy wool shawl; it's the fluffiness that traps the air, and can keep one even warmer than a coat in my opinion.

Greta — Snood envy. A close relative of pocket envy. The shawls are eBay's finest and very affordable!
Tibet 'yak' shawls on eBay — here you go:




There are lots!

Buzzfloyd said...

Those Birkies are tempting me to try them again. They are fab!

Pen Wilcock said...

Ah, yes. The furriness makes them better accommodate to your feet. You might find the furry ones work for you.