When I was eight I made a placemat

from coloured raffias and thick card

a hole in the middle allowing thread

to radiate to the edge under which

the raffia could pass for stitching

under and over the loops to create

circles of alternating hues of red

green and yellow 


each side different, the circles undulating

according to the tension applied

by small hands. 


I hold it now after fifty eight years in service

robust as a fossil preserved

rough to the touch 

 and think of the earth pigments of Morocco

men in robes squatting in dust

a school desk on the slope

as the sun slants in to light the years. 




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jennifer Malden

Mon 14th Dec 2020 20:08

Spot on again, Ray. Remember Keith's bobbin kintting effort. A horrible kind of knitted snake appeared, which you then rolled into mats or pot holders or whatever. Does anyone remember making 'fortune tellers' with a square of paper, by folding it over 2 or 3 times so you had 4 little triangles? You wrote 'fortunes' under the flaps, asked your friends, (and enemies) for a number, and their fortune was what was written when you opened it after jiggling it for that no.Did that with a primary school class in the 90s and it was a huge success, all confiscated by their Italian teacher in the maths lesson!!!

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Thu 26th Nov 2020 12:23

Thanks Keith. I remember your bobbin affair as well! It's so important to get children's skills up and running at an early age. Luckily I had woodwork at a later school and still remember cutting of joints and assembling frames etc. You need hands as Max Bygraves used to say.

Greg, that sounds like it might be in your attic , nothing for it but to let curiosity take over (plus torch). I'm a terrible hoarder of my own history.

Thanks for liking, Trevor, New Shoes and Stephen.


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Greg Freeman

Tue 24th Nov 2020 23:05

I remember mine, Ray. I wonder what happened to it?

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keith jeffries

Tue 24th Nov 2020 22:18


What thoughts you retain of something simple, hand made but still apart of you. A poem which takes us back to those days when handicrafts, wood work and metal work were part of the school curriculum. I remember making similar table mats from what was called bobbin knitting. Random pieces of wool launched from a bobbin with four nails hammered in the top and grew by the efforts of one's hands into many a household ornament.

Thank you for this


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