WIPs & Books: Harold Fry and little else

Last night I finished reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry. It's the story of a very ordinary man who has recently retired and who, one morning, receives a letter from an old work colleague. He hasn't seen her for 20 years, but Queenie Hennesey is writing to say her goodbyes - she is dying of cancer. Harold walks to the postbox with a reply but he doesn't post it, he keeps on walking. He sends a message to Queenie that he is coming and she must wait for him. 

In a 627 mile journey reminiscent of Forrest Gump's run, he walks for 87 days (wearing unsuitable yachting shoes), meeting all sorts of people along the way. As Harold walks the length of England he has time to think about the past and the things he wishes he could have done differently. He wonders how he and his wife Maureen have become so estranged and how things went so wrong with his absent son and he walks to atone for his mistakes.

Harold's story unfolds through his memories and his wife's reaction to his unlikely pilgrimage. This is a story of a very ordinary man doing something quite extraordinary, but it is the "everyday-ness" of this book that I enjoyed so much. The author describes aspects of the human condition perfectly. 
"It must be the same all over England. People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The superhuman effort it took sometimes to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and every day. The loneliness of that."
A poignant book, at times funny and at other times remarkably sad, this is ultimately a heart-warming tale. I liked it very much, and I plan to read it again knowing what I know  now, although I won't spoil that for you.  We will be discussing it at our book club tomorrow night - I'm really looking forward to hearing what the others made of it. 

After finishing my Supremely Simple Versatile Cuffs and pattern on Sunday (thank you for the lovely feedback), I have had a little knitting break. Several things are being planned, including a new colourful cowl for My Boy using Jawoll Magic Dégradé Superwash and maybe a simple snuggly cowl for myself from the beautiful Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe pictured. First I have a mountain of laundry to get through. Wish me luck! 

21 comments

  1. That book definitely sounds worth reading.
    Love the stripy yarn, it's going to look lovely once knit up.

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  2. I have had that book on my radar and really need to pick up a copy to read,it does sound like such a good read.
    Such pretty yarns you have shown there and I hope you get the laundry caught up quickly so you can start your projects.

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  3. I listened to the audiobook version and really enjoyed it!

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  4. The book sounds really good, I must check it out. Lovely yarn, get going on that laundry!!

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  5. Good luck with the washing! Love the bright yarn, can't wait to see the cowl!
    x

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  6. That book did really sound worth reading. I'm glad that you enjoyed it. I'll have to give it a shot.

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  7. I listened to that one on audible---such a stick-with-you story. I, too, loved it! Some wonderful knits you have going there.....good luck on the laundry, so you can get back to the important stuff (the knitting!)

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  8. The book sounds like a great read, I think I would enjoy it very much. The yarn is lovely, the colorful yarn is my favorite. :-)

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  9. I love that colour of Jawoll (very similar to the Zauberball Tropical Fish I have been coveting for years!)

    The kidsilk Haze looks gorgeous - just be aware that it DOES NOT like to be ripped back ;)

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  10. This book is on my Christmas gift list. Pretty yarn.

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  11. i love your book review, and oh that kid silk haze, a dream yarn!

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  12. Sounds like an interesting read. I'd never seen that Kid Silk Haze came in stripes -- can't wait to see how that works up for you!

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  13. I've been hearing a lot about this book -- must put it on my list. Now, as you get through your piles of laundry, may I suggest listening to some knitting podcasts? : )

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  14. Oh I hadn't heard of Kid Silk Haze stripe before. Now I can't wait to see how that knits up :)

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  15. I've put that book on request from my library-- it sounds super interesting!! I hope my semester ends before the book arrives-- I want to properly read it. I love the rainbow yarn!! so cheery!

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  16. ACK. Good luck with the laundry. What pattern are you using to knit your boy's cowl? My husband recently agreed that he would wear either a cowl or a kerchief; I want to strike while the iron's hot !

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  17. I'm curious to see how your cowl comes about. I have some Kidsilk Haze in the stash which I think I should knit stockinette or garter to make life easier on me. I love that bright, colorful yarn; must be for your lil' man.

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  18. I love your yarn, so pretty. Can't wait to see the finished product!

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  19. What a fascinating book that looks to be, thank you for the recommendation Sarah :D

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