THE INTERNATIONAL GRAN LODGE

Nanny Ab Hair

Nanny Ab is on her travels again. In the early hours of Thursday morning she gave thanks for her membership of a secret society. She wouldn’t dream of rolling up a trouser leg as it would expose her varicose veins, with which the other sisters agree, They don’t have secret signs or symbols but seem to recognise each other without such fiddle-faddle.

Sitting aboard a ferry, Nanny Ab settled down to crochet, nodding amiably to the elderly woman with two “gals”, obviously her granddaughters. When Nanny stopped to sip from one of her inevitably huge frothy coffees, the other woman dug her in the ribs with a bony elbow, as close to a secret sign as they get, immediate familiarity. Pointing at her crochet, the younger girls also peering over her shoulder, they asked questions in a foreign language. Raised eyebrows and endings of sentences were enough indication even if Nanny didn’t recognise it. It clicked. They didn’t recognise the shape, so Nanny secured her hook, rolled up her hand-knit jumper sleeve and slipped the crochet tube up her arm, showing that it was an arm/hand warmer. The actually clapped in delight, winning Nanny’s heart. So she asked them in several languages until they came out with Deutsch. No mean linguist in a basic way, sprinkled liberally with mime, she set to explaining that the pair were a gift for a lady friend (chuck an “en” on the end – s’bound to be feminine). Encouraged by her new frienden’s sqeaks and chuckles of enthusiasm she demonstrated yet more complicated stitches and showed off the Aran jumper’s cables.

Oma (German Nanny) flicked through her telephone to find photos of her knitted and crochet toys and decorations for the kids (“kinderen” they both screamed and nudged each other again).

Ask her outright and Nanny will deny any knowledge of the German language; Oma speaks no French or English but that didn’t stop them spending a very enjoyable hour in each other’s company during what could have been a rather lonely journey after the girls went to sleep, Once again the sisterhood of the International Gran Lodge saved the day. Badger came to the conclusion that this secret society only ever meets at 4 in the morning in the most unlikely places which is how they keep it secret.Nanny Ab


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