“This Is Susan….”

One of the lessons we have learned while clearing cupboards for Kitchen Makers to replace is that cupboards can very quickly become dumping grounds for items we will never use again, but always think may come in handy one day. It is quite evident that anything lost in a closet for seven years probably will never see that day. We virtually emptied the vestibule depository this morning. Some of the contents will go to a charity shop, more was put out for the bin-men due tomorrow.

On yet another shirt-sleeves November afternoon, after we collected the Modus with its M.O.T. pass certificate from the garage, we drove out to Pilley to attempt to trace the crochet artist whose work on the letter collection box has been regularly featured on this blog.

On the way to the Community Shop where I would make enquiries, we passed the Boldre War Memorial Hall where a stream of crocheted poppies draped in the form of a bell appeared to ring a silent tribute to the fallen in World War One. Even the horses were remembered on the accompanying banner, and, as Quercus says in his comments below, in the purple poppies interspersed.

At the shop I met a flat refusal to divulge any details of the crochet artist who did not want any publicity. When I explained that I wanted the creator to learn of the world-wide complements she had received from my blog, I was told that her work had already featured in local and national newspapers, but she remained anonymous. I expressed every respect for her wishes but would like her to receive the message. Caroline, who was the guardian of an identity that was not even known throughout the village, readily agreed to convey this and took my name and phone number in case the lady concerned would like to talk to me.

She pointed out the rainbow in the window that the artist in yarn had made for the shop.

Driving further into the forest, as we were leaving Beaulieu we stopped in Twiggs Lane where I photographed

reflections in a stream that ran under the road.

Turkeys, geese, and chickens occupied a somewhat soggy farmyard in Beaulieu Road, Marchwood.

We arrived on home territory in time to press on to Ferndene Farm Shop where I stayed in the car as usual, and Jackie did the shopping. She returned with company.

While I was still seated, my wife stuck her head through the open driver side window and said “This is Susan….” “Yeeess….” was my quizzical response. “She reads the blog…..and she knew…..?” “Bryan Snalune”, added Susan as she poked her head through the window.

Well, I just had to disembark and join in the conversation.

Our new friend, a resident of Highcliffe, had also made a late-in-the-day trip to Ferndene. She had wondered whether it was me she had seen in the Modus. When, inside, she recognised Jackie, even masked, from her pictures in the blog that clinched it so she introduced herself. It also emerged that her cousin is Malcolm, the partner of Brother-in-Law Ron’s sister, another Jackie. As we acknowledged, it’s a small world. I didn’t mention that, in Balham, she must have been a neighbour of our late friends Wolf and Luci in Clapham.

We reminisced about Bryan, one of my favourite teachers, with whom she had worked during his headmastership. When Susan learned that he had died she looked him up on the internet and found him on the blog, which she has followed from that time.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata, garnished with her home grown basil, accompanied by Hoegaarden in her case, and the last of the Douro in mine.


  1. You are SO right about storage places and our squirrelling habits! I really do try to ensure I visit the charity shop (to donate, not bring home!) at least monthly.
    Gosh, it is, indeed a small world! Makes me wonder how long the talented crochet maker will be able to remain anonymous! How clever she or he is.
    So many beautiful reflections in today’s post – and not just those beautifully glassy, visual ones… 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Emma. Actually I do know that the crochet artist is a woman 🙂 Whenever we have visited the local recycling centre to dump rubbish we have invariably come back with something for the garden.

  2. When I emptied out my parents house back in 2004/05 to move Mum into a dementia care facility, I couldn’t believe the amount of items she had buried in cupboards behind cupboards yet behind other cupboards. A weekend estate clearance and 6 skip bins later, we found a rather larger house than we knew.

    I hope the “lady concerned” will at least return a message to you. She sounds like a very gifted and humble person.

    Isn’t it exciting when we actually meet people who we have only met online?

    Now, spicy pasta arrabbiata I know and love. You are soooo spoiled Derrick. 🙂

  3. Mobbed by adoring female fans! Truly the rock and roll lifestyle I have been seeking.

    The purple poppies in the picture are also in memory of the animals of war.

    The article mentions dogs and horses but omit mules, pigeons, camels and Simon the cat on HMS Amethyst.


    The turkeys are looking good in the farmyard picture. Is it wrong that I’m thinking of gravy?

  4. “At a certain point, if you still have your marbles and are not faced with serious financial challenges, you have a chance to put your house in order. It’s a cliche, but it’s underestimated as an analgesic on all levels. Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable” …. Leonard Cohen

      1. A good norm. Though I must confess that whilst we were in Paris a bottle of Fleurie or Moulin-à-vent seldom lasted more than two days… (Once in a while…)

  5. I’m rather fond of the crochet lady, whoever she might be. In this age of tell-all, and the silly desire to become an ‘influencer,’ someone who truly prefers anonymity is to be celebrated.

  6. How lovely to meet a friend of a friend through your blog. Small world indeed.
    It’s nice the shopkeeper was so respectful of the crochet artist’s desire to remain anonymous (while agreeing to pass on your message and info.)

  7. I had to read about Susan twice because I first thought she was or knew the crocheter. Wonderful post and pictures
    You are so right about closets and their cousins, the junk drawer.

    1. Thank you very much, Rosaliene. I once sat in a tube train opposite a gentleman solving one of my daily newspaper crosswords. I have always regretted not having the nerve to introduce myself

  8. The difficulty when it comes to throwing out unwanted stuff is that you almost always turn out to want at least one of things which you have just thrown out. Working out which one of them it will be before you chuck things away is never possible unfortunately.

  9. I know that my kitchen cupboards are full of things I don’t need but I don’t have the strength of mind to make difficult decisions at present. Richard tells me he would like to get our kitchen refitted in the next year or so which would be wonderful, so I’ll wait until then. How lovely that you met a blog-reader who is also connected to you and Jackie.
    Beautiful reflections!

  10. Thanks for sharing the work of the mystery crochet artist. What an inspiration! I’m glad the horses were remembered, too. Congrats on the decluttering. It’s an ongoing process for me.

  11. How fun to meet an actual reader in person! It’s happened to me a few times, and it’s always fun to meet them and chat a little! Sometimes they are even fellow bloggers!

    I occasionally see crochéed sunflowers and such, created around street signs around here. Never anywhere near the kind of scale of the poppy bell you featured, though. Regardless, I can never figure out how they managed to get it all on there without being seen. I mean, even a smaller work might take a while – no?

    1. We imagined the letter box artist creeping out in the dead of night, Anna. Actually I don’t know whether she was entirely responsible for the bell. Thanks very much.

  12. It is amazing how our blogs have reach, isn’t it? That bell of crocheted poppies is beautiful and poignant. I must admit that this Remembrance Day holds much more meaning for me having spent a large part of this year reading books about WW1.

  13. I love small-world stories. Hello Susan if you’re reading now. Derrick, you must be delighted. I’m sorry to hear that the mysterious crochet artist has proved so elusive. You can only take the sleuthing so far. I hope she eventually reaches out to you.

  14. Beautiful and so wonderful! A small-world, indeed! Always nice to have a new friend! 🙂 <3
    Love the reflection photos…the leaves add charm! 🙂
    Those turkeys should be glad to be there and not in the USA over the next couple weeks! 😉 😛
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  15. Thank you for passing along all our compliments to the crochet artist. You had a very good day meeting a fellow blogger and taking the time to show us Twiggy Lane.

  16. I dare say I am imagining it, but I seem to see different hands in the poppies as if more than one person might be involved. Someone has been regularly reading blogs has a particular kind of insight, particularly with a blogger like you who so generously shares his life.

  17. The crocheted poppies are beautiful. I am glad the message of appreciation will get to the unknown artist. I did not know about the purple poppies being for the horses.

    The forest photos are beautifully reflective and moody. And what fun to meet a blog reader!

  18. Love the title of this post “This is Susan…” I wondered where that would lead, at first as I read this is the mystery crochet person – but no it turned out to be a reader. Welcome Susan. I have some localish Auckland content makers via uTube and I always hope that one day I will pass them on my local journeys and finally meet them in real-time!

  19. I’m delighted you met Susan – what a lovely surprise.
    I agree with the comment that more than one person is responsible for the crochet items, ladies from a group such as WI perhaps?

    Yesterday we saw someone selling the white poppies. Victoria and I agreed that it is an insult to those who gave their lives and to the families who lost their loved ones.

  20. How fun to meet up with another of your blog followers! I know the thrill of that! Love that picture of Jackie and Susan! Have a wonderful weekend, Derrick. <3 (and Jackie <3) Good job cleaning out the closets. I bet the thrift shop loves seeing you walk thorough the door!

  21. It was very good of you to make sure your message got through to the crochet artist. I’m sure the person will appreciate hearing about it, even if they decide not to reveal their identity. Curious about the white poppies to honor civilian casualties of war as well as military casualties. I had not heard of that. I think the banner of red poppies (with a few purple) is gorgeous and striking, and a lovely honor.

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