John, She Was Never Only Dancing (part two)

You would think, from this blog, that I’m not much of a crafter, that my days are spent dreaming about crocodile handbags, vintage frocks and Viggo Mortensen. Now while all of the above is completely true, I also craft like a woman possessed. So I thought it was high time I started showing you what I’m up to these days. But also, I’ve been outed (and I have to say thrilled to my toes about being on The Red Thread. Why I’m famous now, and Viggo is but a phone call away!).

This is what is being worked on, on the 7.58am train to Central.

Yes, it’s embroidered. Well technically I’m not sure that embroidery is the word, it’s more backstitch.

Lovely old backstitch.

I’m not doing it freehand. I typed the text out, printed it onto 2 x a3 sheets, stuck them together, then traced the writing onto the fabric.  It was fiddly without a lightbox.  The front room became a lightbox.

The text is a lengthy passage from my favourite novel, the gorgeous, must be read every year, “Isabelle the Navigator”, written by Luke Davies.

You thought he just wrote about pilots and heroin, right?

Nope, he also wrote the most beautiful piece of writing I’ve ever read or seen or heard in my life. Or you in yours.

And Billy Bragg is my poet laureate, so you know I have immaculate taste in the lyrical word.

Mr. Davies writes sentences so exquisite they demand to be read aloud.  I mean listen to this.

“Like I said: I feel I knew nothing. I knew nothing except what all children pick up who float unconsciously in the stream of time that is childhood, far below the surface currents of the adult world and illicit affairs; that love could be fractured and serve different purposes, and that intense love could be divided, between people just as easily as between moments of time.”

Don’t you just want that tattoed across the inside of your wrist?

I don’t lie, but if I did lie, I would not lie about this book.


Mr. Davies sets the bar for writing. He’s up there with My Beloved Scot.

And this is the piece of backstitch embroidery that’s being done by Miss Alison, at the moment.

“It’s not that I intended to make a life at sea, nor would I have known how to go about that. It’s just that you reach a point where metaphors become indistinguishable from the things they represent. And the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. And it feels like being born. I only knew that a life as if at sea was possible, the rolling grace of movement. We are all, without knowing it, straining at our moorings. The dock creaks. The planet spins endlessly on its axis. The wind sweeps over us. Beyond the horizon all certainty tumbles away; we would love to make that place our home.”




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