|Rag Rug Number 1: November 4th 2006 - March 7th 2020|
Anyway, Jim and I went over to Alvecote to check on Chertsey, with some trepidation, given what the weather has been like. The tippet and one of the topcloths had blown off a bit - the strings had loosened and come adrift in places, but the scaffolding bungees had held, so nothing was lost. The translucent cloths underneath stayed in place, so the only water getting into the hold was via the small holes where the translucents rub on the top plank. Not much damage there then, and in fact we just removed the loose topcloth completely and have left it at that for now.
A slightly nasty surprise awaited in the back cabin however. The bullseye has always been inclined to leak slightly, and although I left an inverted bowl over it, a fair bit of water has clearly still got in, and dripped straight down onto the rag rug which I rather foolishly left on the floor. This, rather in the manner of growing mustard and cress on a damp flannel, had sprouted some very impressive fungus, which unfortunately (perhaps) I was too horrified to photograph. About half the rug was covered in white cotton wool, with some delicate brown fractals sprouting in the middle. My first thought - and I still think this might be the case - was that it looked (and smelt) very much like dry rot. I bundled the rug into a stout plastic sack and with shocking lack of ceremony deposited it in the rubbish skip.
The floor underneath was wet, and a bit slimy, but the fungus didn't seem to have got a hold - there were none of the tell-tale tentacles of dry rot, but maybe it just hadn't quite got round to it (or needed to make the effort) yet. We took up all the floors and brought them back to Sheffield for a good dollop of Five Star, and next time I'm over there I'll do the surrounding woodwork - although that seemed to have stayed dry. In good news, under the floor was completely dry.
So it's a sad farewell to the rug. This was the first rag rug I ever made, and the best. It was over thirteen years old, and survived being washed, twice (though latterly I stopped bothering). It wasn't just for decoration but did a sterling job over the years of trapping dirt (and fungus). My sister (1969-2012) helped make it. Others have come and gone over the years (including the only other one that was nearly as good, which I gave away as a present) but Chertsey is now rugless. Rag is harder to come by (at reasonable - i.e. practically no - cost) in these post jumble sale days, and anyway, I have a blanket to finish crocheting first.