Lily was worried. The group was not what it used to be.
‘I don’t want to be told, “Oh that’s lovely” or “I really like it.” That’s not what I go for. I go to be stretched, challenged, to get better at it. That’s not happening any more. I’m stagnating. The new people are taking over. That might be what they are used to, might be what they do, but it’s not what our group is about. We want to improve.’
She wasn’t happy. I had guessed after last week’s meeting that there was an undercurrent, a friction. She didn’t wait for coffee, just marched out. I felt her discomfort.
Everyone else though, the newcomers who had joined us, adjourned for coffee. They laughed and giggled in a self-congratulatory circle, all patting each other on the back. It was like being at a children’s party, ‘In and out of the dusty bluebells…’
‘What’s do you think is the reason they’ve joined us?’ I asked.
‘Well I don’t know’ huffed Lily. ‘I think they want to be told how good they are more often. That’s all they do at their meetings; share their work and applaud. And I’m sick of it. It’s not what we do. I’m getting bored with all this stroking.’
‘So, you want more challenge?’
‘Of course. I want people to ask me questions, make me think. Ask me why I’m doing what I’m doing. Where I got my idea from and where I’m taking it. I want them to ask me the questions I’m not asking myself. None of that namby pamby ‘Oh that’s nice. I love that’. That’s no good to anybody’, Lilly puffed.
‘Okay. I’ve got an idea.’ I was still thinking but it was becoming clearer what I had to do.
‘Good because if this doesn’t change, I’m leaving.’
‘It’s alright Lily. We can steer it back to the way it used to be, when we all quizzed each other in a way that really got us thinking, honing our skills, challenging ourselves.’
Lily blew out. ‘Good. Because at seventy-two I’m far too old to be looking for another knitting circle.’