One thought leads to another. Today, because I am unwell and sitting around doing nothing, I picked up the knitting needles. I think one’s mind empties as one knits and leaves room for other thoughts to invade.
I’m knitting a scarf with a yarn of silk, alpaca and superfine merino wool. No sooner had I started casting on my 27 stitches when I felt the back of my neck soften. You know that feeling when your head hits the pillow after a long day? That’s how it was. I put on some classical music and I was away I know not where.
I’m sure every knitter knows now what happened next. I made a mistake. Somehow 27 stitches turned into 28. Great. I simply decreased a stitch to bring it back to the right number but by doing so, a memory from long ago emerged.
I was marching around the school grounds with a column of girls, new to Australia and had no idea what the ritual was all about… we marched in time; left, right, left then stood at attention when the flag was raised and we sang Advance Australia Fair, a national song later to replace God Save the Queen as our national anthem. Speeches were made as the girls started dropping one by one from heat exhaustion under the Australian flag and the Australian sun. This scenario was replayed regular while I was in boarding school.
What makes me think of it? It was the memory of me being out of steps constantly while we marched. I became so used to it that I automatically skip another step to get back in step again. I came to enjoy it very much. Anything to break the monotony and absurdity of the drill!
For those who would like to learn this trick – say you are stepping right when everyone is stepping left, what you do is to skip on your left foot for the next step while leaving your right foot extended so then you’re back in line with the others again. Brilliant, isn’t it? I had a lot of fun with it. “Mary is always skipping”; so said all of them.