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All Change at St Christophers

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Scrap Wool Makes the Best Blankets

It was a rainy day, and Simon and Mr Pennington were in London again showing Nick around the publishing company. Mark and Julie were at the cinema, and Athene, Anthony and Celia were up in the attic.

They could hear the rain pelting down on the roof outside, so it was more than slightly comforting to hear the rain rather than being out in it.

Anthony was flicking through his books, they had finished reading the Ovid now, but Anthony now really wanted to introduce Athene to Tolkien properly. He was planning on reading her the fellowship of the ring.

Athene and Celia were both relaxing on top of the bed with extra jumpers on, so they didn’t get cold. Athene was propped up on her arms, and Celia was leaning her back against the pillows.

“I still can’t believe you’re pregnant Celia!” said Athene beaming at her.

“You know some days neither can I,” laughed Celia, “but then I get the morning sickness again!”

“Do you know how many kids you want?”

“Well we haven’t had this first one yet,” laughed Celia, “but um three, maybe four?”

“Do you want a girl or a boy?” asked Anthony as he joined them on the bed.

“I don’t know, I don’t really mind,” she shrugged.

“But a little girl would be nice,” she whispered.

“Don’t tell Simon, he wants a son!”

“You’ll be great whichever one it is,” said Athene.

“So the big question is though,” said Celia looking between Athene and Anthony.

“Do you two ever want kids?”

“I mean you know, you two have been together for nearly a year.”

Anthony and Athene looked at each other, they both looked terrified! They were only fourteen, the very idea of being parents was terrifying!

“I’m only joking,” laughed Celia, “you’re just kids.”

“Mummy’s really looking forward to going shopping for the baby,” said Celia.

“We’re going to go around Harrods together and pick everything out.”

“We need all sorts, a changing table, a cradle, a rocking chair.”

“Sound’s amazing!” said Athene.

“We’ve got plenty of space at the flat, and the babies going to go in the room next to ours.”

“You going to have a theme?”

“A theme?” asked Athene incredulously.

“Oh yes, all nurseries have to have a theme,” nodded Anthony.

“Mine was pretty and pink,” beamed Celia, “they waited till I arrived to decorate. Everything was lacy and pink.”

“What about you Anthony?”

“Nursery rhymes,” said Anthony, “well it was Simon’s nursery originally.”

“It had a Mother Goose frieze all along the top of the wall, and framed illustrations of things like Jack and Jill.”

“Didn’t you have a theme?” asked Anthony.

“No,” laughed Athene, “I was born two years into the war! Most of my stuff was second hand, Dad was happy just to get a tin of yellow paint to paint my room!”

“So what themes are there?” asked Athene.

“We want something that could suit a girl or a boy,” added Anthony.

“Um, well there’s nursery rhymes,” said Celia.

“Beatrix Potter,” said Anthony.

“Julie had Peter Rabbit and it was adorable!” he added.

“Peter Rabbit!” laughed Athene.

“Next thing you’re going to be telling me that people have Winnie the Pooh nurseries!”

Anthony and Celia looked at each other with interest.

“Actually, that could work,” said Anthony.

“We could have all the little toys!” beamed Celia.

“Piglet and Pooh and Eyeore.”

“I’ve got to go write all this down,” she exclaimed getting up and leaving the room.

Athene checked that Celia had left properly and the door was shut. Anthony had gotten out The Fellowship on the Ring and was turning it to the first page.

“Anthony?”

“Hmm?” he muttered looking up from his book.

“I may not have had a fancy nursery like you lot, but I still remember something from when I was a baby.”

“What's that?” he asked curiously.

He looked up and saw that Athene seemed to be riffling in the back of her wardrobe for something.

“Got it!” she beamed pulling out a small brightly coloured blanket. It was the right size to cover a single bed.

“It’s my baby blanket,” she explained, “it used to go in my cot, my Mum made it.”

Anthony looked at the striped blanket, it was made up of scrap wool as even wool had been in short supply when Athene had been on the way, so her Mum had used up all the spare wool they had leftover from other projects. Because it was made of so many different colours though it was beautiful, dark greens and bright reds, light blue and deep purples.

“This is made of scrap wool?” asked Anthony impressed as he looked at the blanket.

“Hmm,” nodded Athene as she stroked the soft blanket.

“This looks different from your stitches though,” he muttered as he inspected it.

“That’s because my Mum used to knit rather than crochet.”

“Come with me,” Anthony beamed.

Anthony pulled a very confused Athene down to the kitchen with him.

“Hello, Mrs Brown!” beamed Anthony.

Mrs Brown was sat at the kitchen table chopping potatoes for a shepherd’s pie.

“Anthony,” she sighed, “as you can see, dinner is not for several hours! If you want something to eat you’ll have to make do with an apple.”

“Oh no it's not that,” laughed Anthony.

“Didn’t Mum used to have a huge stash of spare wool?”

“Well yes,” admitted Mrs Brown, “I’ve never been much at wool work myself, but I sometimes use it for darning holes.”

“Do you mind if we use some of it?” asked Anthony.

“Feel free, but there’s not enough of any one colour to make anything.”

“Don’t worry,” beamed Anthony, “that’s exactly what we need!”

“It’s in a box in the attic,” said Mrs Brown shaking her head.

“Thanks,” he beamed before rushing back out of the room.

“Anthony!” called Athene as she ran back up the stairs after him, “what is going on!”

“Well, you want to make a blanket for Celia and Simon’s baby, right?”

“Yes,” she nodded as they went into the other attic room.

There were three rooms in the attic, Athene’s bedroom, the bathroom, and the largest room which was usually used for storage and Mark and Julie used for tap practice. It was full of cardboard boxes, and old trunks full of clothes, stacks of old books and discarded manuscripts. There was a large open space in the middle of the room, and Mark’s grammar phone was next to it, this was clearly where Mark and Julie did their tap dancing.

“Well the one you’ve got is beautiful and it’s made from scrap wool.”

“But there isn’t a shortage of wool anymore,” said Athene, “we can go down to the shop in town and buy as much wool as we like.”

“Yes,” admitted Anthony as he riffled through various boxes, “but it wouldn’t be as pretty!”

“Ah!” he exclaimed finding a huge cardboard box, “here we are!”

Athene looked in the box and found dozens of half-used balls of wool in various colours, there had to be every colour in the rainbow in this box.

“Are you sure I can use these?” asked Athene.

“I mean they were your Mums.”

“Athens,” chuckled Anthony, “they’ve been up in this attic for ten years gathering dust, Mum would want the wool to be used.”

They carried the box back through to Athene’s room, and Athene went through the wool whilst Anthony got his book back out.

“Do we want granny squares or stripes?” she asked.

“The stripes are gorgeous, but I like the stitch on your granny squares.”

“Well then in that case I’ll make a granny stripe blanket,” she beamed.

“You ready to learn the difference between a hobbit and a dwarf?” asked Anthony.

“If I must,” said Athene grudgingly as she picked out some red wool and started to cast on stitches with her crochet hook.

“You don’t have to if you don’t want!” said Anthony quickly, “we can read something else!”

“Anthony,” she giggled, “I was kidding, tell me all about the miraculous world of Tolkien.”

Anthony beamed at her as they both got comfortable.

“I love you, Athene Richards.”

“I know you do,” she said simply as she stitched.

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