It was the Thursday before going away, and the Unfortunately.. Fortunately.. game started playing out in real life.
Unfortunately the postman arrived early and Vi didn’t manage to get all the parcels into the sack. One was left over. Fortunately it was a Norfolk postcode Melton Constable address, which was exactly where we were headed the following Saturday. Unfortunately Google Maps didn’t recognise the address. Fortunately we found an old Ordnance Survey map which showed the road and it was absolutely en route to our destination!
So the left-behind parcel was tied securely with the shop’s red string, packed into my cycle panier on top of knitting and holiday clothes. The weather was in our favour, the hills not so much, so this knitter was feeling pretty saddle sore and triumphant when 23 miles of peddalling later, she spotted a gate with the house name and dropped off the parcel. ‘Are you the courier?’ a Norfolk accented voice called out after me.
‘No, it’s from me, from my shop.’
‘Where’s your shop?’ called out the voice, sounding increasingly baffled.
‘East London’, I said. ‘Enjoy the wool!’, and got back onto my bike for the final 10 miles to the coast and to settle into the summer holiday I’d been longing for.
One of the more unexpected joys about reaching Blakeney was discovering the absence of any wifi or phone signal. Emails could only come in at random moments of connectedness, sitting in sand dunes, waiting in the fish and chip queue, and walking along coastal paths, which is where I was some days later when I found the message from AL..
“I have to say I was somewhat blown away by the fact that you hand-delivered my order… we have been shielding since March and have got into the habit of being cautious of unknown visitors… did you cycle all the way from London… are you holidaying in Blakeney? ..Your’s was the only place that had a choice of colours for the Guernsey wool, nearly everywhere else is out of stock. ..I knit all sorts of things but last week came across a pattern for knitted herring, produced by the Time & Tide Museum at Great Yarmouth. I fell in love with them so just had to find the wool to make them my next project. “
Unfortunately online shopping means that nowadays we miss out on so many magical encounters with unexpectedly kindred spirited knitters. Fortunately unexpectedly kindred spirited knitters know how to use the internet to reclaim some of those moments. It was just the reminder I needed (or perhaps we both did) that even when you buy your wool online, it’s still being packed and sent out by one knitter in the hope that it reaches another knitter with joy.