A pirate, a quilt and a brand new baby

by | 26 July 2015

Pirate, dragon rider, dreamer, artist, super hero, poet or adventurer … don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, little man, and be proud just to be you.

As a very special little boy entered the world this week I wanted to celebrate the moment and share that message.

I feel that we are truly lucky to be living safely where we are at this point in time, where so much is so good, and where almost anything seems possible. I can’t believe how much has changed even in my lifetime – and I’m not even 50 yet.  So what will the world be like when this little person grows up?

When I was at school I wore an incredibly ugly brown uniform with bloomers (yes, bloomers!) for sport. It was the stuff of Enid Blyton and her boarding school books – anyone else remember them?

I wrote with a fountain pen that leaked all over my fingers, and there was no auto correct. I used a dictionary to correct my spelling. I actually had to turn the pages. We were lucky to have a colour tv, but lots of shows were still in black and white.  I was proud to own about three records of my own, and was terrified I would scratch them with the needle on my parents’ record player. I got to listen to that handful of songs over and over … and over and over. I learnt to type on a manual typewriter (55 words per minute, thank you very much).

I couldn’t begin to imagine computers, or mobile phones, or the internet. Yet look where we are now. So is it really that big a stretch to imagine this little boy riding a dragon one day? After all, it happens on Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, so it must be possible.

Like my eldest sister I am a quilter. Not a particularly brilliant or patient one, in my case, but I love the immediacy of cutting up bits of materials and whacking them together to create patterns. There are endless possibilities and I see it as another type of canvas.

It was pretty clear to my daughter and I that this particular little boy would need a cosy quilt to snuggle up in. She chose the fluffy black and white zig zag material that she insisted had to go on the back. Once I felt its softness I had to agree. We all need a little softness in our lives.For a little boy with a mother who adores black I thought I had better tame down my rainbowness, so we settled on zesty black and white patterns with hi ghlights of blue and orange. It was as close as I could get to black!

Beth spent hours laying out patterns on the carpet, correcting my over the top designs which admittedly even made me go cross eyed. Talk about active colours! This is what we ended up with. And then I had to draw it. Of course.

With my trusty friend Anne by my side, I picked up and discarded countless bits of paper as not being “perfect” for what I wanted. They were too big, too small, too thin, too hard, too smooth, too rough – Goldilocks would have been less fussy than me. Finally I decided on some silky soft Spanish watercolour paper, and I got to work.

Unfortunately I realised too late that the fancy paper liked sucking up all my watercolour and left barely any colour behind – so a second (and third) coat it was. It didn’t matter. To me drawing and painting are all about the experience of being in that moment. Needing to spend a little longer on it was no hardship.

And so, little one, as I hand the quilt, the pirate and the drawing to your mother, please remember that they came with a lot of love, lots of hugs, lots of thoughts and good wishes. And we have a pirate hat all ready for you – just in case 🙂