The last week of Wovember Words! Today’s Wovember Words come from ”The Wool Pack” by Cynthia Harnett, which was published in 1951, a book aimed at a younger audience (I guess we would call them teenagers now.) The opening paragraph for the book immediately sets the scene for a context in which ALL WOOL is deeply valued; this is 1493 in The Cotswolds when the British Mediaeval Wool Trade is in full force!
Nicholas Fetterlock lay on his back on the hill-side, gazing up into the young leaves of an oak-tree.
He was hot and dirty, and it was good to stretch his full length in the shade. All round him from hills far and near came the bleating of the sheep – the high anxious cry of lambs and the deeper reassuring answer of the ewes. Farther away he could hear the voices of the village children. They were wool-gathering down near the river, collecting every fragment of fleece that the sheep had left caught on hedges and bushes. Presently they would take it home to their mothers who would wash it and spin it and make it into warm garments for the winter.
Blue-faced Leicester sheep under an oak tree. Can you hear the village children? Image ©Cecilia Hewitt