My Friend Franklin

A few days ago we were in the co-op that occupies the front of the Palais Theatre in Franklin, buying some glorious looking eggs – some of them were that pale pale blue – some basil, zucchini. There were handcrafts there, honey, skincare… On a chair were some shawls and a beanie that were just sublime. I put the beanie on – it was delicious. A mix of merino and angora rabbit; hand spun, hand-dyed and hand knitted. I put it on Small DB and she transformed immediately into a little elflike thing… We stroked everything on the chair – they all looked like they were made by the same person…

Two days later, with M in Hobart to pick up our mail, the Smalls and I returned to Backroom Books, to retrieve the only known copy of The Adventures of Gunta: A Handsome Debonair Bum. Pam had been reading it to her customers, who apparently had thought it was hilarious. We met a woman, Juleen, and her homeschooled kid and all chatted away for ages in the bookshop as the rain sprinkled outside.

I left Small Z at the there, happily reading in a chair shared with Ebony the Black Poodle. She had swapped email addresses with another kid, Harrison, who wanted to illustrate her next book. She was in her happy place. ?

Small DB and I went back to the Franklin Co-op to get a $2 bag of plums. We’d only been in there a few minutes when Juleen and her son came in. After we chatted a little bit, I saw her standing near the gorgeous shawls and beanie we had seen a few days ago. I pointed them out to her.

“Look at these. They’re just divine… The beanie. The beanie!”

“Yeah,” she said. “I made that. Take it. It’s yours.”

I goggled at her. It was $38. “Oh no. I can’t do that! No way!”

The woman who runs the co-op glided past. “This is Franklin,” she said. “Things like that happen here.”

[I was forcefully reminded of Seachange.]

“Take it,” repeated Juleen. “Seriously. I need to make more anyway.”

After I refused a few more times, and she insisted a few more times, I ceased resistance. I took the beanie.

“Thank you. Thank you so much.” I didn’t want to gush, but I felt almost faint with gratitude.

“See those?” said her son, pointing at the shawls. “My mum made all of them too!”

“She is totally amazing,” I told him.

They gave us directions to their house and told us to drop in anytime – particularly if the solar panels were not getting what they needed to enable me to use the stove… I am seriously thinking of going past this morning with my thermos and begging some boiling water for my tea.

My new hat, modelled by DB

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