There I was, stood in the middle of the Ballymaloe Shop (which was heaving with shoppers due to the Ballymaloe Craft Fair), amidst the melee of those fools optimistic enough to think they might get a seat in the Café at the End of the Shop (yes, that is what it’s called), with my head stuck in Darina’s Christmas book, when I heard a little voice in my ear (yes, my ear, I tell you, not in my head) asking, ‘Are you Sultanabun?’
My poor brain, slow to reach top speed at the best of times, was divided in equal parts between ‘Oh my God, that’s the lovely woman from…splutter, splutter, stall’ and ‘Oh my God, I’m very shy and I never say the right things unless I have several hours to contemplate a response and, even then, it’s hit and miss so…splutter, splutter stall.’
I can only hope to God that I managed to say something intelligible and, you know, maybe even in English.
‘I’m we-love-little-things!’ she said, which made me laugh because these peculiar (in my case, at least) call signs that we have given ourselves have so much become our identity that we need no other name. My head was immediately filled with images of adorable crocheted creatures and sea-side walks and laughing children. The woman, in the flesh, is the perfect personification of her pretty and happy instagram feed.
What’s more, she greeted me with the news that I was one of the lucky winners on her Giveaway ! Can you believe it? I don’t win things. When I was in fourth class Sr. Frances had 30 pictures of Pope John Paul to raffle between 38 of us. They weren’t fancy or anything. They were likely snipped off the top of the previous year’s calendars. Anyway, I did win one of those which was very exciting as I was quite the ardent fan of Il Papa (I was ten), but I’ve not won so much as a lollipop since then!
Not only did I win a pattern for this handsome fella, I now have the ideal excuse for a trip to town on a yarn-finding expedition and a joyful project to bridge the gap to Christmas. Wahey!
It was odd to be recognised out-of-doors as my alter-ego. Odd in a good way. I started this blog as a sanity-saving device, a release valve for the swirling maelstrom of thoughts in my head. It has been an enormous comfort to discover that there were like-minded souls out there who take comfort in books and yarn and the occasional biscuit.
But there lingers the small doubt whether the Lilliputian people who populate my phone exist at all in the real world. There remains the possibility that it’s all an elaborate scam or simply a figment of my imagination.
My teenagers laugh at me and reassure me that the intersection between internet scammers and the online crochet community is minute but of course that’s not my real concern. My real doubt is whether the Lilliputians really like me at all. They might just be nice people being nice, clicking that ‘like’ button because it costs nothing and makes us both feel good.
That this woman gathered her nerve and tapped on my real, live shoulder means the world to me. We are real people. If we can keep each other company, or maybe inspire someone to knit a mitten (or even two), if we can just put a smile on someone’s face, that is an achievement. A real achievement.
My family, gleefully, slagged me all the way home for my pretensions to celebrity but, do you know what, we-love-little-things made my day. Thank you.