I read in yesterday’s paper that Julia Gillard, the outgoing Australian PM, thinks that knitting can save the world, because of its therapeutic qualities, and that a (male) spin doctor thought it was a good idea for her to appear in domestic knitting bliss on the cover of The Australian Women’s Weekly. If, by this means, she intended her knitophile confession to demonstrate her hominess and thus save her career, she failed spectacularly, but I hope that she is consoled by knowing that now she will have much more time to knit and that she may thus reap all of knitting’s health-giving benefits.
As an acknowledged world-saver, knitting is one of the more unlikely contenders. I’d say that, by some distance, the thing most commonly claimed to be a universal restorative and peacemaker is tea. I offer the following literary samples to take with tea:
- Typhoo [after Joseph Conrad]
- Under the Green Tea Tree [after Thomas Hardy]
- Take tea or not take tea, that is the question! [after Shakespeare, Hamlet]
- I will arise and go now, to make a cup of tea [after W.B. Yeats]
- Of man’s first disobedience and the fruit of Whittard’s mango tea [after John Milton]
- Earl Grey’s Anatomy [after Henry Gray]
- Darjeeling Buds of May [after H.E. Bates]
- The Gunpowder Tea Plot [after Antonia Fraser et al]
- The time is spent, her object will away, but from her Twinings tea there’s no releasing [after Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis]
- Ode on a Grecian Urn [John Keats]
However, there is the Boston tea party, proving both that truth is stranger than fiction and that, in reality, although tea may sometimes be a peacemaker, it can also start wars!
Perhaps it might be better to put cake on the tea table, too, whilst we all sit knitting for our lives… Men make cakes as well, you know… and knit.