Wool Against Weapons

Recently I have been overcome with an increasing sense of urgency. Not to do small stuff, like pair up socks or weed the garden, but to do big stuff, like find world peace. Or eradicate weapons of mass destruction. Things that are easily achievable while the baby is having a nap. Ahem.

But something does boil, deep within. We often walk up the slopes of the Thames Valley to my local park where, on an admittedly rare clear day, you can see AWE Burghfield. One of the UK’s atomic weapon establishments. The second, AWE Aldermaston, is located a mere seven miles away. Like find this a difficult concept to get my head around, that WMDs are developed here on our doorstep. And it’s not just infuriating on a global justice level, I can’t understand how we can live in a country where millions of public money is spent on new nuclear weapons, yet services like our local children centres are frequently facing cuts. It boils inside me. Repeatedly.

Fortunately our little county of Berkshire has a fine history of visual protest against nuclear arms. The women of the Greenham Common Peace Camp decorated the fences of Greenham Common Airbase. In the spirit of these protests comes Wool Against Weapons

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Exciting? No? Imagine the lush green Berkshire countryside being draped with lovingly crafted pink stitches of peace. And that’s not all, after the knitted pieces have made their stand against the atomic menace, they are going to be repurposed in to blankets for children in need of some extra warmth. Win win win.

Let’s have a think about some of the gritty, not knitty, facts – the U.K Government is going to spend over £80 billion on renewing the Trident Nuclear warhead, not only is this a WMD project, I think it is an insane amount for our national government to be spending on arms in a time of financial austerity and recession. The world has a global arms trade worth $1.74 trillion. I’m with Wool Against Weapons on this. Lets invest in people instead – lets move from a war economy to a green economy. Cut the military, address the root causes of violence, wars and terrorism. Please.

I’m not much of a knitter, but even I’m trying to make my metre. I’ve been collecting pink balls of wool from the local charity shops. Slowly, but surely, I’ve been making progress. I have about 30cm left to go. But I’m so excited to be part of this. Even while the baby sleeps I might be able make tiny steps or stitches to change the world.

Want to get involved? Check out the Wool Against weapons website here

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Journey to the source of the Thames

Extremely dedicated readers of my blogging efforts, in their various guises, will know about my long held desire to walk the entire length of the River Thames. All 184 miles of the Thames Path National Trail. I have a bit of an emotional attachment to the Thames. From my birthplace to where we currently live, it seems to be rather omnipresent. And I find it rather romantic. The Thames is a city shaper, a town builder, a tidal port and a babbling brook. And I want to see it all. However, my efforts to do this have been thwarted by various natural acts, namely, flooding and, err, pregnancy. So rather than attempting to walk it all in one go, I’ve resolved to take a slightly more piecemeal approach to conquering Thames.

Thankfully the Aussie is a man that fully understands, or at least patiently tolerates, my rambling flights of fancy. Recently he sprung upon me a surprise trip to Gloucestershire and the three of us (myself, the Aussie and the Tiny Overlord) headed off to the depths of the Cotswolds in search of start of my favourite river.

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All of a sudden our local train station has got rather glitzy. What would Brunel think?

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The only way to travel*

*This is about the second time I have travelled first class in my life. My one word verdict? Roomy.

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It never ceases to amaze me how many different landscapes a river can travel through. This rather ditchy stream is the Thames!

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The sign that marks the source. And now marks a rather special occasion in our little family’s life.

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This is the rather weird and wonderful abandoned Thames and Severn Canal. Which once, as the name suggests, linked the upper River Severn to the upper reaches of the River Thames. I assume it was abandoned after Mr Brunel’s railway, above, was opened.

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This is the entry to the 2 mile long Sapperton Tunnel, that lead the canal through the hills of the Cotswolds.

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And if you are ever in the area we heartily recommend the lovely Tunnel House Inn, close to the entry to the Sapperton Tunnel. Good food, cosy fires, fine beers. Everything you would want from a country pub.

So that was the start of the Thames. And in a rather romantic way, the start of the Thames now also marks the start of something special for us now too. As the Aussie asked me to marry him there. Of course, I said yes.

 

101 Uses of a Vintage Sheet: The Playmat

At the moment I have incredibly worthy crafting intentions. Naively I thought was going to fill the Tiny Overlord’s world up with lovingly handcrafted playthings, crafted while he slept, but the reality of life with a six month old isn’t quite like that (sleep alone is often an enigma, let alone finding the energy to craft). So my crafty intentions remain just intentions for the time being.

Fortunately the Tiny Overlord does kindly allow me to scour the local charity shops for treats and trinkets. I originally bought this lovely geometric patterned vintage* duvet cover for pennies with the intention of turning it in to a patchwork playmat, inspired by Hannah’s in Mollie Makes Mama. But y’know, best intentions and all that. Instead I decided it would probably make a mighty fine playmat of its own accord. So stuffed with a thin summer duvet – tada! A large soft playmat, perfect for my little roller. Quite possibly the easiest make ever, no?

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He seems rather pleased with it, maybe pleased enough with it to let me make some of my crafty intentions more of a reality one day.

*I’m a bit of a hoarder of vintage linens, normally I go towards the lurid 1970s floral variety, they are used throughout our home and you can see some of my creations here. I have to confess that I spotted this amongst a bundle of vintage bedding and grabbed it as well. It is not actually vintage, it is originally from IKEA. None the less, it is spared the landfill and put to good use. And we think it is pretty groovy. And, really, that’s all that matters.