Tuesday 15 February 2022

Pullovers, Potatoes And A Poem


I weighed out the wool in my stash, and calculated that if I did a different stripe pattern on the sleeves, I would be able to make George a Robot Jumper, like the one produced in 1986. It has knitted up really quickly, and has been sent off to Manchester for him.
I'm sure Steph will send a picture of him in it. 
Three pictures
Steph 1988, Liz 1986, and the new jumper 2022

These colours are much closer to the ones on the original pattern. 

Some of you may remember that in Jan/Feb 1976 [ten years before I knitted the first robot jumper] there was a shortage of potatoes, and the price rocketed. One MP made a speech in parliament about it, saying
"In recent weeks, potato prices have gone sky-high. The price of potatoes is now three or four times what it was this time last year, and there is still no sign of any stability in the market. Even before the latest escalation of prices, potatoes largely contributed to the 23 per cent. increase in the cost of food last summer. The quarterly return, July, August, September, from the Ministry of Agriculture showed that the amount spent each week on potatoes doubled from 7.9p to 16.15p, despite a 14 per cent. drop in sales. The overall food increase, including beef and milk along with potatoes, meant that the food bill for a family of four went up by £2.88 a week in that quarter."
That year, the local paper had a competition for Valentine poems, and I wrote one [it was utter doggerel and I didn't win!] I was sorting out some old greetings cards at the weekend, and I came across a letter from my old University landlady sent in1981. Mrs Lawrence included a copy of my poem which she had found in a drawer, saying "I'm sure your Bob would love this" As the diet means we are not eating many potatoes at the moment I thought I'd share it here. Pam Ayres, eat your heart out!

To My Valentine
I felt my loving declaration
Must suit this time of great inflation
Our love can conquer any crisis
Ill love you forever whatever the price is
Darling I love you, I'm not afraid to say so
I love you more than my favourite potato
If I had you I'd be happier than words can tell
[As long as I had some spuds as well]
No words can express the way I feel
You are better than spuds, you have more ap-peel
I love your face, your hair, your lips
I love you more than ten portions of chips
Oh how I love spuds, especially roast
But my darling, I love you the most
Potatoes may change, chip 'em, boil 'em, mash 'em
But for you I have an unchanging passion
I liked potato crisps when younger
Now you can be my Golden Wonder
Oh Valentine, be min - tis true
I don't need King Edwards if I can have you!


  1. That is such a cute sweater! You knitted that in practically no time at all! You poem is too funny! I wonder how those old prices compare with current prices?

    1. I cannot believe how fast it knitted up. According to statistics revealed last month, in 2021 in the UK, " the annual rise in food price inflation went from 2.4 per cent to a nine-year high of 4.2 per cent." So nothing like the 23% of 1976. However, we did not have food banks then. This article is interesting https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/11/heres-how-our-food-prices-compare-to-30-years-ago-and-you-might-be-surprised/

    2. Thank you for the link. It was interesting to compare.

  2. This must have given you both a good laugh, I don't think you shoul apply for the post of Poet Laureate but on the other hand you are a champion robot jumper knitter.

  3. That poem is hilariously brilliant!!

    1. 🤣 always good to share a laugh with friends!

  4. Marvellous jumper, wee George is a lucky boy! (I wonder if
    Prince George has one as nice?). Your poem is eloquent and down to earth! Interesting how some of us grew up with potatoes as staples while other cultures favour rice or maybe cornmeal.

  5. Lovely robot jumper and so fast! He will love it.
    The poem is very cute, I bet Bob loved it. Potatoes ( and carrots) are, in my opinion, seriously underrated, so versatile.

    1. Yes, I love carrots, raw or cooked, in savoury or sweet dishes

  6. The sweater is awesome and I have such respect for you for drafting it out and making it work. I love the poem - it is so much fun. I remember that shortage, it must have been the early seventies. My dad dug up a huge patch of newly laid lawn and had a fail when he tried to grow potatoes.

    1. How frustrating for him! I think that many people discovered pasta & rice for the first time during that spud shortage. Although my dear Mum would only ever use rice for Puddings!

  7. Love the jumper. Nice to carry on the tradition.


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