When I was a little girl my Mum had to spend a summer doing Jury Service, and as Dad was away sailing and they wouldn't let her out of it on the grounds of having two little girls to look after we went to spend two sunny weeks with a favourite aunt on her farm in Worcestershire.
It may have only been two weeks (I think), and it's now almost 20 years ago but there are parts of that time that are imprinted in my memory bank and stay vivid and clear to this day (that and the photos still exist and were in evidence in both Zee and my weddings - thank you Auntie!). Zee and I playing pretend farmers on the old tractor parked in the shade of the big hedge; going to see Treasure Island at the cinema; the intense concentration of welding our initials into old plow shares; and the dry dusty smell of the potatoes in the big barn and the potato rattler.
Zee loved to help in the farm shop and quickly became adept at working the till as only a small blond cute 7 year old can, assisted by several crates to bring her up to the appropriate level; and me, well I loved being out in the strawberry fields and would go and help pick the punnets for the farm shop with just a few going sideways and upwards away from the punnet. There is a very particular odour in strawberry fields; the dirt smell is there but also hot tickly straw between the beds and the too-sweet scent of dropped berries mashed under foot.
Don't get me wrong, berry picking is hard work (particularly as you grow taller and taller and the ground gets further and further away) but the rewards are worth every little red jewel you collect.
Whenever and wherever it started, my love of strawberries has been long lasting and constant; I have a strawberry apron, strawberry tea towels and even a special strawberry jam pot.
But all of this can only go some way to explain my latest knitting project. We popped into K1 yarns and I fell in love with a kit, a kit for a strawberry tea cozy.
The kit is made by Laughing Hens and comprises the pattern, the yarn, Rooster Almerino Aran, and the required set of needles. The needles were great and the yarn is divine - this stuff is so wonderfully soft that I think I need a jumper in it at some point and although the pattern isn't particularly well written, it does the job. This was one of those projects that I never wanted to finish because I was having so much fun knitting the yarn but, as all good things must, it came to an end and I can therefore present to you:
My strawberry tea cozy.
There's just one tiny hitch, one minuscule reason why the acquisition of a kit for a tea cozy was so totally frivolous it could only have happened on holiday. But perhaps you can guess from the picture and the way the tea cozy is sitting ....
The problem with my tea cozy is that while I own a full tea service, .... I don't actually own a teapot.
I'm passing the entire buck to H who assured both the girl in K1 and me that he was convinced that we really did own a teapot and he was certain he could put his hands on it the minute we got home. It turns out he may have been thinking of my teapot substitute:
A cream jug!
My mission for tomorrow lunchtime therefore is to go forth and search for a teapot to fit this tea cozy - is it normal to do things that way round?