This last week I have been mostly tidying and dyeing and please note the careful placement of that 'e'.
Rev, Cheryl's into dyeing (again note the 'e') and on my recent visit to Cambridge and the vicarage I was completely enthralled by her dyeing room (definitely note the 'e') and a glorious array of hand-dyed fabrics using natural plant dyes. These are subsequently stashed and stitched into Cheryl's equally wonderful quilting projects. Cheryl has lifted her technique way beyond mine, I'm stuck firmly in the traditional, Cheryl's quilts and wall hangings are modern and laden with significance and I loved them.
So when I took to dyeing I couldn't help but think of my visit to Cambridge except I haven't been sweating over vats of woad or out trapping cochineal beetles for my purposes.
We are making keen headway on the house mess.
Though the nest never quite seems to empty with this boomerang generation, the Kayaker's departure to antipodean shores for a year feels like a bit of a staging post, a time to sort out bedrooms, clear out what has been the shared teenager's sitting room for years and most importantly deal with the Kayaker's whim which had overruled all dissent and dyed their sofa covers Bermuda Blue.
Fair dues, it did look bright and jolly and yes the sea really is that colour when you go there, but we were all a bit sick of it so a simple transformation to a nice shade of indigo was suggested and agreed by me, with me.
This is actually Grand Cayman but just angle your computer screen towards you a fraction and it's Bermuda Blue alright.
Once I decide on these things I have to do them NOW.
No time to procrastinate and wonder where I can go picking woad, it's straight into town at 4.30pm to pick up some Dylon stuff for the washing machine and the salt and set this slouchy couchy mess off on its journey of transformation into a grown-up sofa.
I don't know about you, but two days of this clearing out thing and hardly any reading time and I've about had enough. One room transformed into a minimalist paradise whilst all the clutter seems to be scattered everywhere else between the doorway, the back of the car and the seven miles to the tip.
In the midst of all this anguish, and despite postal strikes, a book arrived to cheer my very being and I kept eyeing it on the kitchen table all day as a sort of antidote to all this parental rite of passage that was going on, this reclaiming of the home.
Meanwhile dyeing a sofa cover and all its cushions is a recipe for torrential rain, then of course when you try to get the thing back on, that sofa seems to have grown at least a foot since you last looked and naturally there has been internal shrinkage of piping cord.
Re-clothing the now grown-up sofa akin to a jolly good cardiac workout.
More about how my day was strangely and unexpectedly salvaged by Changing My Mind - the Occasional Essays of Zadie Smith, tomorrow.