Le Tour, c’est ici

Probably not correct grammatically, but you get my drift, I’m sure: the 100th Tour De France starts tonight Aus time,and with it the annual Tour De Fleece also begins.

As I’ve done for the last several years, I will be joining thousands of spinners world wide, in what is effectively a giant spinalong.

Allow me to elucidate.

For every day that Le Tour rides, I and other members of my team [ Team TARDIS on Ravelry ] will endeavour to get in at least 10 minutes, but hopefully much more, of hand spinning. As we watch those bicycle wheels being propelled all over the picturesque French countrycide, WE will be propelling our wheels … well … nowhere actually. They’ll mostly be staying wherever they currently are.

As I’ll be down in Melbourne tonight for a dance event and won’t be getting back until around 3am, I have done my prep work this morning.

First I removed the white cashmere/mohair that I’ve been working on sporadically since the Goat Show back in April.

Then I fished out the braid of Bendi Bingo colourway from Ewe Give Me The Knits, and the bobbin that was one of the two projects I started during last year’s Tour.


I’ve decided that there’s enough yardage on the existing bobbin, so I’m starting a new one for this year’s Tour with the probably vain hope of spinning enough to match the existing bobbin for what will eventually be a 2 ply yarn.

So I started the new bobbin

and spent more time repairing breaks and losing what I’d just spun, than actually moving forward. You see, if the yarn gets too fine / hasn’t enough twist to hold together, you don’t just lose the bit currently in your hand but also what is attempting to wind itself onto the bobbin. And it doesn’t just happen once.


Compare it to those first wobbles when you get back on the bike after a hiatus.

Even though I was spinning the cashmere only four days ago, this fibre handles differently and I needed to get my hand in


minimal forward progress


but at least I’m in the race




Resistance is futile

Clearly the feline dictators benign rulers of this abode see it as a truth apparent to all, that, in exchange for their daily tribute of kibble, it behooves them to make sure that nothing of a textile-in-progress nature should be allowed the slightest possibility of escape.

To this end, Suki designated herself the sitter-upon-er of the pieced quilt borders that I was attempting to attach to their designated quilt


Sumi, not to be outdone by this display of feline virtue, sat my freshly washed black linen into submission


and MissC – clearly in competition with the other two – demonstrated that her role was to prevent any escape attempts by the rest of the quilt


although she did take over linen squashing duties briefly while Sumi was otherwise occupied with secret cat business


At about this point, I realised that it was almost time to drive into town for a couple of hours of chai / crochet / chat at The Dove with Marcie, and to forestall anything untoward happening while I was gone, the remaining borders were pinned to the design wall and the quilt folded safely on a shelf, while I quickly updated my FB status with the latest feline activities. This probably took all of five two minutes

… ahem


Bear must’ve been feeling a bit left out:


More family treasures

I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned before that my lovely Grandfather Roy Williams [ Australian-born son of a Shetland Islander father ] was badly wounded while serving with the AIF in France and Belgium during WWI. While he was recuperating back in Blighty, he met, and fell in love, with Sybil Miriam Bowden and married her in the Summer of 1918.

He returned to Australia in April of 1919 [  it’s a bit unclear as to whether they came together, or whether he was on a troup ship ] but in any case, in February of 1920, they welcomed my mother, Noreen Elsie, born at the home of her paternal grandparents in East Camberwell. Mildred Bowden Williams joined them 2-and-a-half years later.

And here I need to digress. Mildred was known by all and sundry, from the day of her birth to the day of her death and beyond, as Billee. This was all down to my mum who was convinced that she was getting a brother William, and was most insistant that the new baby’s name was Billy.

Marnie [Sybil] left her father and sister behind to start a new life on the other side of the world, and my grandfather promised Great Grandfather Bowden that, if it was within his power, he would bring the family back to England for a visit.

That was how Marnie, Mum and Auntie Billee found themselves on the deck of an ocean-going liner in 1925

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Noreen & Billee on deck 1925

Noreen & Billee on deck 1925

on a beach in Durban, South Africa during a stopover [ small boy identified as family friend Leo Perry ]


and enjoying a local form of transport [ Durban again ]


These next ones are identified simply as London 1925, and would have most likely been taken at the family home in Fulham


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Until a week ago, when I was given a parcel of bits and bobs, that Auntie Billee’s sons had decided should be mine, I’d never seen any of these … and I’m pretty sure most of my Williams cousins haven’t either. So no gold, or pearls, or precious jewels, but to me, these fragile scraps of paper have a worth that is incalculable.