Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I feel a bit better this evening – the new antibiotic, kicking in after all? Or the sheer exhilaration of having the house to myself, all tradesmen gone?

The kitchen painters finished today, and it’s looking very well. What remains, a vital step, is the replacing of shelves. Most missed is the shelf above the Aga on which are ranged the six or seven pans I use most often, each in its particular place. I think that is supposed to happen later this week.

Again, I have done nothing. I dozed in my chair all  morning.

Yesterday, during that long wait to see a dr, I got back to work on Archie’s sock. I have nearly reached the heel the second time. (That’s not the heel of the second sock, you will remember – I decided that the first sock was too small, and I have started again.)

As I doze in my chair, I tell myself of the next few steps. Maybe tomorrow I will execute at least some of them.

Beverly, yes, my sister brought me seven skeins of MadTosh DK in a discontinued colourway called Penny Loafer. It’s as good in real life as on a computer screen.  So what I need to do is:
a)  Wind a skein
b)   Print the pattern – Gudrun Johnston’s “Kirigami”. I’ve bought it; that’s a start.
c)   Discover, from the pattern, the recommended needle size and examine my needle stash. I’ve got a lot of needles – but do I have quite the right one for the job, comfort-wise and knitting-bliss-wise?

And the Calcutta Cup vest needs to be re-cast-on. For that I must:
a)     Decide what gauge of needle I am going to use for the corrugated ribbing and, again, examine the needle stash. The body is knit at 4mm (which seems rather large – but it’s too late to worry about that). How far down am I going to go? Last time it was only down to 3.75 and I think it might be a good idea to go a bit further.
b)    Decide how many stitches I want for the ribbing. Last time I went down 5% and, again, I think it might be a good idea to go a bit further.


          Here is a picture of Hellie and Matt’s daughter Orla. They were married in Argyll, some may remember. The church has recently appeared on television in “Ordeal by Innocence” – octagonal, white.

Monday, April 16, 2018

I got to a dr, you’ll be glad to hear. It was a long sit – I wonder if Monday is not perhaps the best day for the Open Access clinic. Not “our” doctor, but at least a young woman with whom I was acquainted from her house calls to my husband. She has prescribed another antibiotic, rather doubtfully; sent me to the Western General for a chest x-ray (that’s been done); and taken “bloods”. She promised to phone later in the week with results.

That’s about it, for now. The kitchen is still not finished, but nearly. It’s looking good. I didn’t get a nap today, nor much lunch, and feel fairly rotten – bed time, I think.

Saturday, April 14, 2018


She was born in the early hours of Friday the 13th. “On her due date,” I have been told. She is to be named Camilla.

I’m not feeling much, if any, better. I am being urged by family to go back to see a dr sooner rather than later. I am scheduled to go in later next week for “bloods” and then to see a dr in the week following. I could go in and see someone on Monday, but what’s the use? Antibiotics clearly aren’t working. I don’t want to go to hospital. What else does modern medicine have to offer?

I have scarcely knit a stitch in the last fortnight.

Andrew and Andrea have posted another excellent effort – an interview with the remarkable women, Mica and Jo, who organise the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, and another with Kate Atherley who can tell you how to knit socks that fit.

And there’s a new VK.

My sister has been and gone. Indeed, must be suspended somewhere above the North Atlantic at the moment. It was an odd visit, consisting mostly of her cooking Mindful Chef offerings for our suppers, but she says she had a nice time.

Monday, April 09, 2018

I am sorry to have left you in suspense for so long.

I went to the dr on Thursday. He says I have a chest infection and has prescribed a course of antibiotics. The chest immediately, as if in response, got worse. I spent the rest of Thursday wrapped in a blanket in my wing chair, and the subsequent days in bed. I am up and dressed today because Men are here to lay the kitchen floor. I am halfway through the course of antibiotics, and clearly the Miracle Drug is not acting as such in this case.

Meanwhile, of course, life moves on:

     a) Grandson Joe phoned on Saturday to tell me that he is engaged. His long-term candidate Becca is a thoroughly good choice, and he sounded rather pleased with himself.

     b) The next great-granddaughter is due any moment now.   (Daughter of Joe's brother Thomas and his wife Lucy). The shawl is ready, as you know.

     c) My sister is here in GB, and on her way northwards at this very moment.

     I'll try to keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Little or nothing to report. No knitting. I don’t feel very sprightly (so much for total alcoholic abstinence during Lent) – I plan to go see our dr tomorrow. That’s likely to involve a long wait which should advance Archie’s socks a bit.

The weather has been ghastly. Snowing, or at least sleeting, for much of the day.

I have everything straightened out about my cruise – that’s a comfort. I booked it just after my husband died. He was a bad sailor, and had a particular abhorrence for a situation in which he would be forced into a group of strangers to whom he was expected to be pleasant.

I got a receipt from WorldPay for the down payment, but no welcoming message from the Majestic Line. I wrote to them; they said, maybe it’s in your junk pile. All too likely. But I never did anything more about it, and have been quietly worrying ever since. So it’s nice to have everything clear. I am tempted to gamble on a long life and book another for next summer, while I can still get a single.

Kate Davies has written an interesting blog post about finishing work on the West Highland Way project. She says she has “crashed really very badly this time”. I am sort of surprised that there seems to be no concern in her Ravelry group. Alexander and his family live, more or less, on the other side of Loch Lomond: he has been trying to persuade his sons to do the whole Walk with him. I'll show them the book when  get it.

The final pattern, for a shawl, is interestingly constructed. I might come back to that one.

Andrea herself has started a thread in the Fruity Knitting Ravelry group about the therapeutic benefits of knitting. I will watch it with interest. And perhaps contribute my pennyworth, slightly off-topic: what a blessing it must have been, during the 20th century wars, for old women like me to be able to do something genuinely useful.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

All well here, I guess. I greatly enjoyed, and am grateful for, your welcoming-back messages yesterday.

The new kitchen is now functional – I’ve got cooking-heat, I’ve got running water. I got this week’s Mindful Chef packages today, and will get started on them tomorrow, a great luxury. While I was away, Helen – and, I hope, her boys – did an unbelievable amount of product-shifting here: kitchen stores back into the kitchen, art books into the study to clear shelf-space for knitting books.

I’m somewhat in awe of the new kitchen. I don’t think you want photographs until we’ve got a floor, and shelves, and painting in the upper regions. But meanwhile I can cook.

I heard today from the Majestic Line, who are going to take me on my cruise of the Western Isles this summer. I’ve had the dates wrong all this time – I will sail from Oban on the 30th of June (not May) and return 10 days later. A tight fit for Wimbledon, but not impossible, especially if my dr is able to revivify me. I’ll see him this week. Lenten abstinence has certainly not produced the hoped-for stimulus.

As for knitting: not much. Beverly, you’re absolutely right that re-doing a good pattern is better than otherwise. I’ll omit the st st rounds at the beginning which are meant to form a neat curl (mine flare). I’ll alter the colours in the corrugated ribbing – in dim light, my first attempt looks like spots rather than the desired ribbing-type stripes.

And it’s important to get back to all this soon.

But meanwhile, I  knit a few more rounds of Archie’s sock. And discovered that I was missing a stitch somewhere. Eventually I found it, two inches or more down, too far to ladder up successfully. I have secured it, and will confect another to replace it on the needle.

I remember the time when I was sitting in James’ and Cathy’s kitchen in south London, knitting a sock as always, and said, I’ve dropped a stitch. Their son Alistair (soon to graduate from Glasgow University in computer science and go straight into an enviably well-paid job) started looking for it on the kitchen floor.

Monday, April 02, 2018

A grand weekend –

I’m sorry I have no pictures to show you. On Easter Sunday we had a particularly splendid day – sunshine, and windless. The impressive hills which surround Loch Fyne were marvellously mirrored in its still waters. Easter was early, spring is late – we were cold. But it was wonderful.

A jolly priest comes over from Dunoon to say Mass in Inverary. In earlier life, he was a postman, before he gave that up for the priesthood. He it was who officiated at the wedding of Matt and Hellie, in Alexander and Ketki’s garden, a couple of years ago. He began his Easter sermon by telling us that, in view of the calendar date, he was tempted to begin by saying that the resurrection never happened, we were all barking up the wrong tree; and then sitting down. But he wasn’t brave enough, he said.

Given the size of the world, and the popularity of the poisson d’avril, I wonder if any clergyman anywhere actually did it.

Knitting went well. The Calcutta Cup vest, tried on Alexander, is manifestly too large. The tape measure wasn’t necessary. I could gather up a pattern-repeat into my hand and see that what was left would (probably) do nicely. And, actually knitting,  I got well down the leg with Archie’s second-attempt socks. They are rather alarming, colour-wise. He hasn’t seen them yet.

All is well here. If the cats were actually glad to see me, they didn't say so, but they have clearly been well looked after. Both are here beside me as I type.

Rachel will be 60 this summer. (If you want to feel old, try having a daughter of 60.) We are planning various celebrations, and she says she wants a pair of socks. She enters the Wimbledon lottery every year, and this time, God has come through for her: two Centre Court tickets for the second Friday (which is surely Men’s Semi-Final Day). She has invited me to join her, and, goodness! what a thought! Federer himself!