So, last night I ended up watching Kirstie’s Handmade Britain. A show all about “queen of the homemade home and all things made”, Kirstie Allsopp and her craft-driven travels throughout the UK.
‘Nice’, I thought, before it started, ‘I’m down with this’. I like a bit of crafting. I made stuff with FIMO in my youth, I knitted my son a bobble hat last Christmas. Yes, the pompom on the top moults, and the way the headband leaves red indentations on his forehead probably wasn’t intended by whoever came up with the pattern and ok, maybe I did sob when I dropped yet another stitch and my husband suggested we ‘just buy one from Primark’ but you know, it’s still a craft. I’m crafty. I can totally watch this show.
Five minutes in and it soon became clear this this seemingly unoffensive little programme had been made with the sole intention of shitting me right up. Take a look in the Radio Times – that’s the very description they use. It was like Kirstie had bundled me into some kind of crazy time machine and fast-forwarded me into the future to give me a little glimpse of what life would become if I wasn’t careful. Kirstie was my ghost of Christmas future and what she was showing me was a world of 3D decoupage butterflies, women’s institutes and county shows. “Needle-felting is an absolute joy!’ Kirstie proclaimed. What? WHAT? This right here is a pitcure of a needle-felted Yorkshire Terrier from a previous show. Does this say ‘absolute joy’ to you? Because to me it screams ‘taxidermist on acid – RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.
Seriously, is this what happens? Is this what I have to look forward to? Because I was sort of hoping that the hum-drum of now – the penny-pinching, the shit-shovelling, the general daily grind – was some kind of advance payment for a badass time in later life. Like, I know I might spend my evenings at the moment making bunting for my kids’ room (nobody say anything, I’m a bit fixated with bunting) but surely with old age comes the freedom to do stuff a whole lot more interesting that that? I don’t want to be spending my days making mosaic mirrors, beaded bookmarks and bitchy comments about some other woman in the WI who can’t get her knitting tension right. When I get older I want to be bombing around in a campervan, drinking dirty martinis before midday, doing a Man Vs Food-style eat-a-thon across the world’s greatest restaurants. Forget all the nicey-nicey stuff, where’s the fun in that? Life may be excitement free at the moment but that doesnt mean things can’t perk up once I’m older and the whole stay at home mum duties are out of the way does it? When you talk to your parents and grandparents they often speak of how infuriating it is to have a body that matches their years but a head that still thinks it’s 21 and as I grow older, I can totally get with that feeling too. In my mind, I’m like some kind Freaky Friday teenager trapped in the life of a grown-up and, kids or no kids, adult responsibilities or no adult responsibilities, I can’t ever imagine feeling ‘old’.
So Kirstie, while I can’t knock your dedication to crafting, I can’t help but feel you’re over-egging what is essentially a hackneyed, somewhat gloomy way of older life. Forget the WI, stick your county fair crochet contest, sell your Mary Poppins ideals to someone else. For me, the proper fun stuff in life isn’t over yet, it’s just on hold til I get the chance to go at it again