It's a sheltered life I lead here, away from motorways, roundabouts and the scrum of city shopping. So when I bestir myself and enter the fray, it takes me aback. The ability to be in the right lane at the right time with the right determination wasn't sprinkled my way when personality traits were being doled out at birth.
We followed the hectic retail trail on a family trip to Scotland last week, and it struck me that although I may sometimes smile at the current crafting and upcycling trend, I'm all for it. All those shiny, flimsily sewn clothes in the high street shops, the flat-pack MDF furniture, this season's disposable accessories, the factory-produced art: they just bring more and more people out into a world of traffic and queues and frustration, and half price sales exist because the merchandise isn't worth anything like half of its full price.
And although it's more peaceful here at home, I could still do with a new table. I need old-fashioned emporia leisurely selling carefully made goods to fulfil the social function of shopping, complemented by a diverse, reliable online shopping service for items that require little experimentation or choice. Ireland may have some remnant of the former, but it's still lacking much of the latter. Reader, what shall I do until I've mastered making my own shampoo and ballgowns?
This is a hat I bought at the local market. My hope is that people will look at it and think 'Oh what a good mother, she must have knitted that charming hat for her daughter'. That's a start, right?