I had been looking forward to ALL the events in the dovegreyreader tent and had been doing my 'homework' for weeks beforehand. It is a real treat to be able to create a relaxed and informal space within which to ask our questions and listen to the writers talk, but I knew it would be an extra special occasion to talk with Robert Macfarlane about The Old Ways. This has been such a special book for so many of us, and I know that personally it has transformed not only the way that I walk along but the thinking that takes place as I do so.
The audience and I had plenty of questions for Robert and he gave wonderful replies ... connections with Edward Thomas, paths that need walking and our right to roam, where to walk barefoot (The Isle of Lewis), risk aversion, walking in fearful territory...The Broomway and Ramallah and I think the pictures tell their own story about how relaxed and enjoyable this all felt...
More thought about the gifts and the Knitsuke, whilst not exactly knitted, did allow us to incorporate a Devil's Eyeball stone collected (legally) from Ascension Island by The Weatherman (also answers to Mr Knit Angel) whilst on a six month posting there during the Falklands conflict. It was a little kit which we called There and Back Again..the old ways of navigating.
You might also notice that Robert didn't escape the yarnbombing either...that wristband made by the Knit Angel while Robert spoke.
Next the quiltsuke.
Well I loved making this...a hand appliqued and quilted picture of Robert's sea voyage from Lewis to the Shiants which is recorded in The Old Ways...
Out of sight is a little boat heading for the Shiants (my thanks to Google Earth for helping me get them in the right place) and for the record, the beams from the lighthouse (I checked, it is on the north of the island) are quilted in glow-in-the-dark thread which really does, and the ribbon that ties the whole thing up into a scroll is Cornish tartan for a Cornish festival.
I said it to Robert and the audience, and do you know what, I'll say it again here...if The Old Ways doesn't win prizes I will eat my walking boots.