The next day I had a little soup and a banana and started feeling much better. The day after that I finished the third book: Susannah Cahalon’s “Brain on Fire” – very readable and fascinating (if a little scary) about her journey into madness and brush with death before being only the 217th patient to be diagnosed with autoimmune encephalitis and brought back to life. I hate to think about the hundreds, nay, thousands of folk who have suffered from this problem and NEVER been diagnosed. Mind you, Susannah’s treatment in the USA cost her insurance company and her family over $1,000,000. Not many Americans could afford that – let alone any one living in another nation. I’m sure most of the medication isn’t in the NHS accepted list.
Tomorrow might try the hike up to a local viewpoint – cor, life is hard when one is enjoying oneself ay?
Last night I saw a meteor – or falling star if you wish (sic). Good times to see the Perseid and Delta Aquarid meteors apparently - and the clear skies are perfect for star gazing. I am getting up to date with daily draws and being perfectly lazy. (or let’s be kind and call it recovering my health).
Highlight – a lizard thought I was part of the bench! I sat very still as a small lizard ran up one end of the bench – ran over my leg – perching on my knee for a few seconds – then ran off the other end of the bench.
I strolled up to Guri i Stakes this afternoon – once the heat of the day wore off. 1km uphill – I took water with me, but still had to sit down a few times because I felt faint, rather than puffed out. The view was well worth the climb – one could sit on a rock and look up and down the valley. Coming back down again was like sliding down a scree slope but much faster than going up. I nearly came a cropper when the rubber pad on the front of my trainers caught on a lowgrowing branch. Felt I’d earned my carb laden supper then. I saw a fuzzy plant growing on a rock – and thought of the fuzzy plant on which I slept at Squibby’s – back when I was practising hobodom for this trip. That plant is doing well – and when I got back to the campsite – Squibby had sent me a monthly update photo to prove it. Synchronicities again – the universe is up to its old tricks, bless it. And I’m reading “Big Magic” which talks of the Creative Magic that abounds and that we can ALL take advantage of. I love living this crazy life.
Ok I am NOT moving on tomorrow. I finally spoke to Katerina/Catherine – who runs this place with Alfred – and asked if I could meet one of the knitters whose socks are on display. Why of course, came the answer. So I am off to meet FArijda (Catherine’s aunt – so Alfred’s mother’s sister I guess) who can spin and knit too – and I’m so excited to be doing this. (I’m feeling so much better I stuffed myself with carbs at supper- including chocolate cake).
By the time I get served for lunch (just wanted some soup before I went) it was getting on for mid afternoon. There’s no sense of urgency here. The village is about a 1km through the woods (past roaming cows) and well signposted (with red paint marks on rocks and trees). When I arrive, a young lad sitting on a fence leaps down and says “Guest House?” brightly. “No” I reply, “knitting…” - and when I arrive at the house, Farijda is sitting outside doing just that, in the sunshine. She has a white scarf on her head, fastened under her chin – like many of the older women I have seen in Albania. She is knitting a bedspread cover square – the squares are put together patchwork style and the leaf at the corner makes a clover type pattern, with bobbles in lines – very similar to the one on the front of Tessa Lorant’s “Knitted Quilts and Flounces” by thorn Press, 1982, which I have at home. However, when I look closely – her knitting needles have hooks on the end of them – like Tunisian crochet needles, and she is tensioning the yarn Portuguese style/South American style, and using her thumb to push this yarn to create the stitch –it’s (so I’ve read) easier to make a purl stitch using this sort of technique – fascinating! I show her English throwing style and she is equally interested. I ask her, via the oldest grand-daughter’s translating, how her socks are constructed. She fetches me a pair – rough rug handspun, constructed top down with a short row heel and decreased toe – pretty textured (similar to a gansey) pattern worked in stripes. For the body and gusset. She wants me to have these socks and I try to explain that I’m on a bicycle and can’t carry too much.
Albert’s sister (the children’s mother) stops by briefly to see what’s happening and to bring me a glass of home made cow’s milk yoghurt – It’s runny and a little lumpy at the same time, and slightly sour but refreshing. Noone else gets a glass – they say they’ve had some, which makes me feel like a slightly awkward honoured guest.
We look at a waistcoat and crocheted bedspread also – both beautifully made. I show off the few things I have (a hat, my situpon and the wip – that’s ‘work-in-progress’ for you non-knitters not up on the jargon!). Then I get my spindle out – one of the young lads (the bolshy one) wants to have a go –so I Andean ply the little bit of viscose on there and try and show him how. He doesn’t do too badly. I also teach the oldest girl to knit English style and give her a ball of wool and some needles to carry on. After this, my translator has to go do some chores.
After the lad finishes his little bit of yarn, Grandma has a go – she doesn’t do too well with the viscose, but when I produce some Icelandic fluff she demonstrates spinning, finely and evenly, butterflying the single onto her hand before winding the spun wool onto the shaft. She really likes my spindle. The boys look at her and then me and say ‘thankyouthankyouthankyou’ – and before I know it, Grandma is nodding at me and has tucked my spindle under her arm and gone towards the house with it (after pressing the socks on me again). Wily grandma! It seems churlish to say no – but my favourite demo and teaching spindle has gone! I have a small (mini) Bosworth still tucked away– and am already taking note of the lesson of stating clearly BEFORE assumptions are made that I only have one and cannot get another easily as I’m on the road for a long time (not merely here for a couple weeks before heading home). So I let it go and plot how to get another one sent me from home. I’ve also got to send these socks home too. It was a funny exchange – I admire her chutzpah. I hope she teaches the children!
The next day I’m feeling so much better and (after 6 days) it really IS time to move on.