A Welcome Delay

Janey arrived at the station, excited to be going back home to see her family. She hadn’t expected to miss them so terribly after moving to a new town. She had lived with her parents and siblings in the same house for all her life and they were a close knit, very loud, nosy family. Wanting her own space away from the chaos, she scrimped and saved to buy a place of her own, but unfortunately found that no matter how hard she saved, a flat or house was just too far out of her budget to be able to buy near her beloved family and so moved an hour away by train. She came home, and she still thought of it as home, most weekends.

This Friday evening, boarding the train while juggling her weekend bag, latest knitting project, tablet to read a novel for the journey and a big tub of cupcakes for her nephews and nieces, she was wondering if she had made the right decision moving so far away. She loved her nice new flat, but still she was calling it “the flat” rather than “home”. Janey was shy by nature and as yet, had not made any new friends to invite home for dinner or coffee as she had imagined before moving. She had imagined it to be like an episode of Friends, rather than feeling like Bridget Jones.

The train was busy tonight, lots of people going to the city. Some of them dressed to the nines for a night out, some in uniform for a late shift at work. She managed to squeeze into a seat next to a harassed looking mother with two adorable children.

She smiled shyly at the children and their mother and got out the scarf she was knitting for her Dad’s birthday. She was knitting him a scarf in his team’s colours and knew that he would appreciate the effort.

The little boy said, “Oh look Mummy, that lady is making a scarf, it’s in City’s colours. I want a scarf like that. Can you make me one Mummy?”

The little girl said, “Why don’t you make one yourself you doofus?”

The little boy snorted and said, “Cos I’m a boy, you nitwit….ha ha knitwit…get it?”

The little girl said, “So? Why should that matter? Unless you think boys aren’t smart enough to knit? Girls are smarter than boys. Isn’t that right Mummy?”

Mummy sighed, “That’s enough darlings, hush now. No one wants to hear your bickering.” She turned to Janey. “So sorry about my nosy bickering children.”

Janey smiled back, “Oh it’s OK, they remind me of my niece and nephew actually.”

“I could so knit if I wanted to!”

“Oh no you couldn’t, doofus!”

Janey smiled and passed him over a ball of wool and a couple of needles. “You could if you learned? Want me to show you? Back home I used to go to a knitting group and there were some men in there, and they were really good. I bet you could do it if you tried. Here let me cast on some stitches and show you.”

The young boy started knitting and did actually seem to be enjoying himself, much to his own surprise and his sister’s. His sister was looking a bit jealous, so Janey smiled at her and passed her a ball of wool and another pair of needles. She was having a good time too and before long the siblings knitted together and chatted happily, if somewhat competitively about who would finish their scarf first.

The children’s mother smiled at her gratefully. “You are really good with them. I bet you are a really good Auntie. “

“Sort of! I enjoy spending time with them and playing with them, but in some ways, I am a really bad influence Auntie, hence the cupcakes! I can’t resist spoiling them.”

Then the train came to a halt and a voice came over the tannoy. “Ladies and Gentlemen, please accept my apologies for the delay, but we have trespassers on the line and the power to the line needs to be turned off until they are removed. I would like to apologise for the delay to your journey, but we will be back on the move as soon as we can.”

Groans and sighs echoed all around the carriage. Janey got out her mobile phone and called her mother.

“Hi Mum, it’s me. I’m going to be late I think. Stuck on the train.”

“Oh darling, don’t worry. When I saw you flash up on my phone, I was hoping you were saying that you weren’t coming as you had met someone. Not that I don’t want you to come, darling, we all miss you, but I do worry that you don’t seem to have made any friends there yet. At your age you should be out having fun on the weekend, not spending it on the train coming back and forth to see your Mum!”

“Mum, I’m fine! I’ll see you all soon! Love you, bye.”

An old lady sitting the other side of the aisle smiled at her. “Aww lovey, it’s nice to see a young girl who wants to spend some time with her Mum. So many girls don’t in this day and age. And knitting too!  I don’t meet many people who knit nowadays. A real shame, it’s a dying art. It’s lovely to see those dear children enjoying it. Ah, I miss my knitting companion since she had to go in a home. So, where’s this knitting group of yours then?”

“Oh, it’s in the city, I don’t go anymore since I moved here. I miss it.”

“So why haven’t you started your own then, lovey?”

“Me? Erm, well because, well, I never thought of it! I wouldn’t know where to start, I mean, I don’t know anyone in the area who knits and well, I don’t know many people in the area really.”

The old lady nodded at her tablet that was on the table. “That looks like a tablet to me. Can’t you advertise on that social media that all you young ones talk about these days? Can’t see why you can’t put a bit of modern life into an old fashioned get together! I’m Mavis by the way, pleased to meet you, lovey!”

“Oh!  I see what you mean. Now I am kicking myself that I didn’t think of it! Thank you, Mavis, oh and I’m Janey.”

The Mum smiled at Janey. “Well, you seem like a natural with the needles, if you can teach these two and get them interested and occupied! Thank you so much for that. If you would accept kids, I would be happy to bring them along and maybe you could even teach me?”

“Oh! I would love to!”

Mavis smiled and said, “There you go, there’s five of us already, lovey!”

The tannoy sounded again. “Ladies and Gentlemen, apologies for the continued delay, we are told that the power to the line has now been restored. Unfortunately, as a result of the outage there is congestion and we may still be some time. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused.”

The little boy’s stomach grumbled. “Mummy. I’m starving. I want something to eat.”

Mum sighed, “James, I told you to finish your dinner before we came out.”

James wrinkled his nose and said, “But Mummy, it’s was green. Eww.”

“Yes darling, peas usually are.”

Janey smiled and whispered at her. “Is it OK if I give them a cupcake?”

“Oh OK, just the one, and thank you.”

“Please take one yourself, I’m Janey by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, Janey. I’m Lucy, and these little darlings are James and Julia.”

“No, he’s doofus.”

“Yeah and you’re nitwit!”

“So, then lovey, when are you going to invite us round for our first knitting circle?”

“It shouldn’t be a school night if my lovely Doofus and Nitwit are coming,” said Lucy rolling her eyes.

“How about next Friday?”

“Sounds great!” said Lucy.

“Count me in!” said Mavis.

The three women exchanged phone numbers and addresses.

Finally, the train got on the move. By the end of the journey, the three women were chatting away like old friends and had agreed to the first knitting circle at Janey’s with Mavis insisting on providing the cupcakes this time and saying that the young things should try and drum up some more members.

Janey arrived home to a loving welcome from her family. Mum was thrilled when she told them she wouldn’t be coming next week.

A week later Lucy, James, Julia and Mavis all arrived. Mavis came bearing cakes and biscuits as promised. They sat down in the lounge and started knitting and chatting. The doorbell rang, and Janey got up expecting it to be a salesman, and was amazed to see a shy young woman who said, “Hi, I’m Sarah, I’ve just moved in to the flat down the hall, and I saw your thing about the knitting circle, sorry, I should have contacted you first, but…”

“Please come in! It’s lovely to see you, this is our first time, and well, we’re not really sure about what we are doing yet.”

Sarah took a seat at the dining table, and within minutes the doorbell rang again.  An elderly gentleman was standing there with a knitting bag and a big smile. “Hi, are you young Janey? I heard from Mavis that there was a knitting circle going and thought I would give it a try. It’s been a long time since I picked up some needles, but I hoped it would be like falling off a bike, you know, only less painful!”

Julia said to James, “See, boys do knit!”

Everyone had a lovely time, and from there the Friday night knitting circle was born. Janey made some great friends and met lots of new people and soon “the flat” became home. She still went to see her family frequently, and still hated the train journey, but she would always be glad of that train delay where she met her new friends.

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