Thursday, 16 February 2012

Nan and the knitted swimming costume

Unlike her nemesis Nan-next-door,  Nan wasn't such a gifted knitter.  Most of the things she made bore little resemblance to the original pattern; for instance hats could double as small sleeping bags.  When she finished whatever garment she was knitting we had an interesting ritual ,whereby all family members tried it on to see who it would fit; poor Dad was frequently offered cardigans in pastel colours which he generally declined.
Actually I'm surprised Nan continued knitting after her first experience with wool.  As a child Nan lived with her family in Ramsgate, but she was not allowed to go onto the beach as Great Gran thought it common. Once she started work Nan gained more independence and ignored most of her mother's dictates including the forbidden beach. One summer she decided to knit herself a swimming suit that no one else would have.  She said she felt fantastic tripping down to the sands and revealing her white costume to her youthful admirers.  Her splash in the sea was also satisfactory -but she would never go deeper than her shoulders as she couldn't swim and she didn't want to get her hair wet.
Her return to the beach was not quite so triumphant; the white wool had stretched alarming and the costume was almost completely transparent.  She rushed back into the sea and stayed there until the beach emptied as none of her 'genetlemen' friends would bring her a towel.  Home-made swim suits never featured on her fashion agenda again.

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