Yesterday, I did one of my favourite things – I packed my bag, and set off for a day of walking and knitting. I took a mitten pattern and some bright red wool with me, and worked at various places along the way.
I began in Redland and finished at Southmead Hospital, where I had an afternoon appointment. Nothing dire – simply Week Two of my CBT course. I am trying to overcome a phobia of…well, getting locked in a loo…which as you can imagine is er, a little inconvenient from time to time.
There were good experiences along the way. I enjoyed knitting in various parks and listening to the bird-music on offer. In Alexandra Gardens, an invisible goldcrest was wielding its needle-thin song, whilst in Muller Road Recreational Gardens, a blackbird was a right diva, with a backing chorus of sparrows, a robin, some goldfinch and a blackcap.
And the world was filled with flower perfume! I love the scent of roses, and the orange blossom really bowls me over. I like privet too – it’s a very NOSTALGIC scent, reminding me of neighbourhood gardens when I was a child. But I can’t cope with palm tree flowers. They smell of calamine lotion and remind me of having chickenpox.
During my travels, I walked past Zetland Road Evangelical Church. This is a conspicuous building because it bears a huge sign, proclaiming to the world that ‘GOD IS LOVE’. Yesterday though, I noticed a small plaque attached to its exterior, which gave some of the history of the church. There I learnt that the original building was in Stokes Croft but sadly, that edifice was completely destroyed during the Blitz. Well, not QUITE completely. Just one part of it was salvaged – and that was the ‘GOD IS LOVE’ sign. How beautiful is that?
I have no sense of direction and often walk round in circles. But I did eventually find myself in Downend Road and that filled me with joy, because I knew there was something worth visiting there. I walked until I reached October Lane, turned into it – and there it was.
Downend Farm is a beautiful, gabled 17th century building that only exists because some local folk fought valiantly to save it. During the Civil War, some Cavaliers sheltered there and painted a mural above the fireplace, depicting the Bristol battle that they had just fled from. Unfortunately, it was painted over by some workmen who didn’t realise its value, which is such a shame. But at least the farm building still exists, and I love to come across it in its hiding-place at the heart of suburbia.
I knitted outside the main entrance of the hospital, and fell into conversation with a fellow-patient. I asked him if he had a story for this blog, but he simply looked very dejected and told me that nothing exciting ever happened to him. That decided, we then fell into general conversation where I learnt about some of the exciting events of his life. As he said, “I guess we all have a story to tell, even if we don’t recognise it.”
Week 2 of the CBT class was good. There is one problem, though – the loos in the building where we meet epitomise everything that terrifies me about toilets. But one of the facilitators turned it into a positive and said that we could use it as a training ground for me – I could lock myself in there for two seconds…then a bit more…and so on.
“If I can achieve that”, I declared, “I shall celebrate with chocolate!” In fact, I felt so excited that I decided to start work immediately after the session.
We finished. I passed the toilets, thought, “Hmm…maybe next week” and went on. But do you know what? I still celebrated with chocolate. Because at least I THOUGHT about doing it. And thinking is, after all, half the battle.
And by the time I had reached home, I was ready to start shaping the thumb on the first mitten. Yes – yesterday was a good day.