Nina Boyd

Poems about knitting

These two poems are from Dear Mr Asquith (Smith/Doorstop Books 2010)


With fly


In 1987 on the Isle of Wight I bought

six ounces of cashmere yarn from a woman

who had knitted a suit for her husband.

Come out, dear! she trilled into the back room.


He was a dandy in dark-chocolate.

The jacket had herringbone-stitch lapels,

whipped buttonholes and pockets with flaps;

the trousers a zipped fly.  I wondered


if he only wore it in the shop; or if he went

to the Working Men’s Club carrying his bowls

in a knitting bag; to a church where the vicar’s surplice

was of veil-stitch in 3-ply baby wool;


if she had a twisted-rib shroud on the go;

widows weeds worked on eights and tens;

a headstone on order from the monumental mason,

plain with a moss-stitch border.




Night Duty


We knitted gloves, five fingers,

4-ply wool on four needles.

The men snored,

except for Peter, six foot six.


Untouched by narcotics

he would stand on his bed,

building up to a fit.  The trick

was to get him down before it started.


Damned annoying when you had

a thumb to turn; but leave him,

and he’d wake the lot.

They’d all want something then:


Any chance of a nice cup of tea?

 a slice of buttered toast?  As if

we had nothing better to do.  As if

a dropped stitch didn’t matter.


25th November 2015

Inside Mother’s Handbag

I wrote a memoir a few months ago, and shelved it. But recent contact with someone I knew at school has made me think again about some aspects of the past, so I have more or less decided to finish it, and perhaps even publish it. It  has been too long since I did any serious writing, and I’ve missed it.withapple2

Who is Flora?

Who is Flora? is the fourth in the Ethel and Amelia Mysteries series, and it’s available now from Amazon. Taking a few weeks off before embarking on Volume Five!


Duolingo is a free language-learning app, which I recommend highly. They teach many languages online through repetition, and it really works!

After just a few days, users can form meaningful sentences after listening to an Italian speaker. Gli insetti sonoD8CA9L[1]o nello zucchero!

The only problem is that there are several languages on offer. To concentrate on one, or have a go at two? What a delicious dilemma!

The Ethel and Amelia Mysteries

At last! Who is Flora?, the fourth Ethel and Amelia mystery, is finished, and I expect proofs to arrive soon. Now would be a good time to catch up on the first three, if you haven’t already read them!

21st May 2015

The Ethel and Amelia newsletters


If you would like copies of the Ethel and Amelia newsletters, for January 2015 and February 2015, please send me a message through the Contact Nina page!

Death of a Cabman

The third in the Ethel and Amelia series of mysteries is now available as a paperback or on Kindle.

A man is found dead at a livery stable in Edwardian Huddersfield. Who would want to kill a cab driver? There are plenty of suspects, but the police fail to find the murderer. Ethel and Amelia help Ethel’s sweetheart, Constable Fred Clough, to investigate the case, aided by Gertie, the new housemaid in Miss Carlton’s house. Life-changing events in their own circumstances are the backdrop for this exciting mystery, while local suffragettes protest against the 1911 census, downtrodden daughters decide to break free, a new club for single women is proposed, and long-lost relatives are discovered.