Thursday, August 31, 2017

Again, not much. I’ve knit 8” or so of the 14 ½ needed for the body of Miss Rachel. I’m nearly finished with the third ball of yarn – that always feel like progress.

I’m having a terrible time deciding what to ask Carol Sunday for. I’m sort of tempted by the Soutache scarf/stole, a two-colour brioche affair with the reverse side done in a set of tasteful gradient greys. But the Pueblo stole which Carol herself suggested is also extremely tempting – I think I’d go for the Hacienda del Sol colourway, but that, too, is not an easy choice. High Country will make a very nice Fair Isle, Maureen.

One thing I got done today – I don’t know why I was finding it difficult to take the plunge – was to book flights and a hotel for Archie’s and my week in Palermo at the start of the year. It remains to book trains – we’re flying from London – and our entertainment on the spot: the Gattopardo walking tour, “Cooking with the Duchess” (Tomasi de Lampedusa’s daughter-in-law) and a half-day excursion to Monreale.

Google Maps has already shown me how to get from our hotel to the Catacombs of the Capuchins, clearly a must-see. It’s not an over-long walk.

Today is my 60th wedding anniversary. We never celebrated any of them, so it doesn’t much matter.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Again, very little to report. I knit happily on, with Miss Rachel, delighted to be relieved of the need to measure or indeed think. I’ve passed the half-way point between cast-on and arm-pits: and the second half of anything always goes faster.

I’ve been fiddling about a bit, trying to tidy up life. I have succeeded, as you know, in re-subscribing to the New Yorker, and am very much looking forward to the article, promised in today’s (London) Times, about the (apparently) disastrous Reality TV experiment on the Ardnamurchan peninsula.  

Amongst this fiddle, I spent a while the other day, as not infrequently, wandering around Carol Sunday’s website and subscribing (or re-subscribing, as events proved) to her newsletter.

She wrote to me, saying that I was already subscribed. I replied that I was trying to tidy things up, and that my husband had recently died. She wrote back asking if she could send me a consolatory kit.

I am overwhelmed, and feel like the kid with the keys to the candy shop. She suggests a Pueblo Stole, which her software must have told her I’ve been looking at a lot lately. I think that’s probably what I’ll go for, although I’ll hesitate a little while longer.


Chloe, I didn’t even know that anyone would want to de-claw a cat. I certainly won’t let them near Perdita. I still feel bad about having had her spayed.

Mary Lou: two separate productions here. I have just settled down with the second series of a television “biopic” (I think would be the word) about Victoria. The first one ended with the birth of her first child, and the new one starts there. Meanwhile, Judy Dench appears in a new film (for the cinema) about the aged Victoria, called “Victoria and Abdul”. That’s the one which is advertised with a picture of her in a small and most attractive Shetland-looking shawl.

The publicity says that her servant Abdul – this is after John Brown’s death – taught her Urdu to the point where she was able to write a diary in that language, which is pretty good going for old age.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

JeanfromCornwall – yes!  I had seen that picture advertising Victoria and Abdul, and had admired the shawl around her shoulders, and, indeed, it was all I had thought of to write about today – or indeed, yesterday.

What follows is memory, and unreliable, but I think there was an exhibition of Victoria’s clothes (?in Kensington Palace) some years ago. I wrote to the curator – on paper; with a stamp; that’s how long ago it was – asking if there were Shetland shawls in the expo, and eventually had a reply saying, as I remember, that they had none in the collection. If there is any truth in the memory, I must have that letter somewhere. But if I can’t find Lucy Hague’s Celtic Shawl book, what hope for that letter?

But Victoria certainly had Shetland shawls, and it is good to see the costume people acknowledging the fact.

I have knit happily on. There are things I want to watch on television these days: that helps. Inspector Montalbano isn’t doing much for my Italian, but I’m sticking with him. Endless Diana, as the 20th anniversary looms, and I find her endlessly fascinating.

What I keep thinking is this: it was essential (or so it seems in retrospect) that Prince Charles went to Paris that day to escort her body back to London. He was at Balmoral with his sons. He and Diana were thoroughly divorced. They hated each other. She was entangled with Dodi el Fayed, (who has been air-brushed out of the current commemorations, as far as that is possible). Prince Charles didn’t have much time to make the decision. But he got it right, to the extent that it passes without comment while people still fuss about flags that did or didn’t fly at half-mast. Maybe his mother advised him.

And I am also watching Jamie’s programmes about his new book – my husband absolutely forbade cookery programmes. And the new biopic series about Victoria. And I have recorded, but not yet watched, BBC 4 on “The Normans”. Mustn’t giggle.

When we got back from Strathardle last week, I sloppily consigned the half-brioche sweater to the floor for a bit. Perdita loved it. Cats like wool, of course, but she seemed particularly attached to half-brioche.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Virtually nothing, today. I knit on and on, round and round, and the halfway point of Miss Rachel, from cast-on to underarm, continues to recede.


n  We had a new Fruity Knitting last week, always an event. The interviewee was Ysolda Teague. She is enchanting. I always used to get her slightly mixed up with Lucy Hague – both are local. Now I think I can keep them straight. I have lost Hague’s “Celtic Cable Shawls” book. It’s been gone for so long that I may give up and buy another. It’s a keeper, if I were only able to hang onto it.

n  I had a teaser about the forthcoming VK today. I wasn’t tempted, except briefly by Shiri Mor’s amazing geometry. I looked on her Ravelry page and found that it is achieved with the help of a lot of crochet, so that’s out. A little crochet, I might manage. I'll comment further when the magazine arrives.

n  I’m reading Adrienne Martini’s “Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously”. It is about a year devoted to knitting Alice Starmore’s “Mary Tudor” pattern in the days when the pattern was out of print and many of the yarns unavailable. It can all be had from the Virtual Yarns website now. I disagree with much of what Martini says, when she strays from the subject, but I’m enjoying the experience.


Mary Lou, that scarf isn’t entirely mindless, because you have to join in a new colour so often. On the other hand, each new colour means another stripe done: it sort of cancels out.

Connie and BCGramma – that’s not a cat plate, but a cardboard cutout which we bought long ago, pre-Perdita, from the National Gallery gift shop in Trafalgar Square. My husband always had tortoiseshell-and-white cats. The resemblance to Perdita is remarkable. It is a detail from a kitchen scene by Willem van Mieris at (roughly) the turn of the 17th-into-18th century. I know this, not from profound art historical expertise, but because Alexander and Ketki sent me a birthday card recently showing that very same cat, with the information on the back.

Janet, I have no quinces. The tree flowered splendidly, and I was out there several times helping things along with my soft brush. Surely the tree is self-fertile? It’s in fine fettle, after this wet summer. I hope for better next year, but I’m worried.

Knitalot, that’s great news about your daughter. I hope she’s as happy at York as Archie seems to be at Lancaster.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A good week.

Granddaughter Kirsty, James’ and Cathy’s youngest, has covered herself with such glory, in her GCSE results, that it would be embarrassing to record the actual numbers here.

And Helen’s family and I had a good week in Strathardle, and got a lot done. Perdita is now much braver about Out, and I am much braver about letting her Out. Helen has a dog, named Farouk, a gentle creature who pays no attention to Perdita. She is wary of him, but only slightly. The only problem was that he much preferred her food to his own.

But when a stranger, walking along the burn, let a dog into our garden, Perdita was horrified.

A major problem, at the beginning, was that I forgot my knitting. It had been laid out, ready to go, on Monday morning --  but then I reclaimed it and sat down and did a few more rows, and there it remained, by my chair. I remembered, 20 minutes into the journey.

Even that turned out to be a blessing. I had the half-brioche sweater with me (see sidebar). It had a collar which was distinctly not a success. I frogged it and re-knit the back neck, and it’s much better collar-less. That might never have got done, had I had Miss Rachel to hand.

And then – I discovered Carol Sunday’s beautiful Oak Park scarf in the cupboard in the sitting room. Her website says it was launched in ’13 – I might have thought I had had it longer. Anyway, there it was, vaguely remembered, one 17-stripe repeat finished, no moth, perhaps a bit clammy.

My husband was housebound for the last two years of his life, and for at least a year before that, I was reluctant to go to Strathardle unless someone else could come with us. So it’s been a while.

I knit happily on that. Although you might not think it at first glance, there are 17 different yarns involved. I think I have matched them up rightly – and anyway, it doesn’t matter. If I really can’t tell which one goes next, it’ll be all right as long as all 17 balls are used only once per repeat.

Here’s where I am:

And here are the yarns, in order on the dresser. I left them there for next time. The picture provides a pretty good encapsulation of Life in Strathardle (indoors).

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sorry about yesterday. Our niece C. and I went to see the “True to Life” expo in the Museum of Modern Art. It was the second time round for her. I enjoyed it a lot.

For one thing, it was a very specific collection of pictures: British realistic art between the wars. Many an exhibition has to stray from its title to fill the walls. Many another has too vague a title to begin with. This was perfect. And for a second thing, the art wasn’t all that good, which makes for a peaceful and undemanding afternoon. I hadn’t heard of most of the artists – Meredith Frampton was a discovery.

My husband and I used to ask each other, after touring an exhibition, which one we’d like to take home. C. and I agreed at once, yesterday, on Mcintosh Patrick’s little picture of Strobo Castle. (It seems to have been a favourite subject, and I’m sure the one I’ve linked you to isn’t the right one.)

Perdita and I are going to Strathardle today. Back, I know not when – not long. I’ll take Miss Rachel, of course, and ought to achieve a lot. The second skein is nearly finished. Helen’s husband David is hard at work, as far as the slow internet up there allows, at finding flights and hotels for me and Archie when we go to Palermo in January.

I am hard at work on pleasures. We must do the walking tour with the “Gattopardo” expert. What about the cookery day with Lampedusa’s adopted son’s wife? You start off in the market with her, then spend a morning cooking, then – after an interval in which her staff whips lunch into shape – a luxurious meal which you have partly cooked, then a tour of the palazzo including if you are lucky an appearance from her husband himself -- the model, it is said, for Tancred in the novel.  I don’t know what Archie will think about that. We’d have to have clean fingernails.

I had a Turkish holiday once with my husband’s sister, C’s mother. We had a fine time, but during the bit on the south coast we didn’t go to Termessos. I shall ever regret it. And the moral, I think, is that once you have gone somewhere, you might as well spend a bit more on the pleasures only to be had there.

Knitting, oh dear: There’s a splendid picture, in Minoo’s biography, of Runciman in a 1920’s Fair Isle. It’s almost good enough to knit from – the print version (as opposed to Kindle) might be better. And I must get back to Alexander’s vest, once Miss Rachel is a bit further forward.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Here’s Miss Rachel, brightness-enhanced.  I hope you can see it.  I’m at the stage where one just goes round and round forever, peacefully. I’ll need a longer needle for the exciting yoke bit at the end.

I’ve been trawling happily back and forth through the new IK, although thoroughly agreeing with you about the undesirability of dark-on-dark. I want the Cash Pullover and the Subterraneans Cardigan, to start with, and there are others close behind. I do very much like – this may have been happening for years, but I never noticed before – I like being told how much ease each pattern is modelled with.

I was taken with the article about Llamerino – it sounds like my sort of yarn. But an appeal to Ravelry reveals that it comes only in beige and grey, no dyes. I think IK might have mentioned that.

Today brought the latest edition of the British “Knitting”. I still don’t like the patterns or the photography, but as a magazine it’s getting better and better.


I utterly agree, Shandy (comment yesterday) that I need some savings (despite the cruel lack of interest) to deal with dental implants or the day the roof blows off. I’m all right at the moment, in that respect, but I still need to keep an eye on things, to make sure the savings are not being depleted by Ordinary Life.

Metropolitan Rebecca, thank you for the tip about Moneydance. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it, and I will remember it if I have to give up on the current arrangement, old-computer-plus-old-version-of-Quicken.

I’ve finished Minoo Dinshaw on Runciman, and have moved on, not to "The Sicilian Vespers", as originally intended, but to Runciman’s "The Medieval Manichee" which is shorter. It has been a long time since I have read anything much more demanding than a knitting book, and it’s tough going. But good for the brain cells. And Runciman is a prose stylist as well as a truly remarkable historian. "Vespers" next.

Mary Lou, thank you for the hypothesis about the New Yorker cover.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Miss Rachel’s Yoke goes forward merrily. We’d better have a picture soon, although there’s nothing much to see. Perdita and I are going to Strathardle next week with Helen and her family – I trust I will there recover the pattern for Wallin’s Lovage.


I’ve heard from USS – I’ve got my pension, and they’ve sent the documents back. I have put them where they ought to have been in the first place. I’m doing well with keeping accounts in an old version of Quicken on an old computer. I think everything will be all right -- I'll have enough to live on.  The difficulty, with accounting, is figuring out how to deal with the extraordinary. I recently had a dental implant.


I have nearly finished Dinshaw on Runciman. A New Yorker profile is cited, near the end – and I managed to read it! I have re-subscribed. I do not understand the cover of my first issue (Aug 21), there’s no Ros Chast cartoon, I’m not interested in strawberries or Julian Assange (I tried both) – but I’m glad to have it back. And I succeeded in logging in and gaining access to the archives – that was an achievement.

Dinshaw has a good story, about Runciman’s first visit to Mount Athos, in 1937, that peninsula in the north of Greece where monasteries perch precariously on the rocks. The whole area is sacred to the Mother of God, and no other female creature is allowed. Runciman was surprised to see a cat with a litter of kittens.

It was explained to him that a hundred years before, Athos had been much plagued with mice. The monks bought in tom-cats from Thessaloniki not far away, but soon the cat-merchants there began to hike up the price. The monks devoted an evening of prayer to the subject – and found in the morning that some of their tom-cats had given birth to kittens.

Presumably what Runciman saw were the descendants of those miraculous cats. “'Which was the sex of the cats I subsequently saw,’ he notes soberly, ‘I had no means of telling.’”

Thursday, August 17, 2017

“Krapp’s Last Tape” was good – just the right length, plenty to remember and think about and want to see again. Archie and I both thought that Krapp had a lot in common with my husband – Archie said it first.

Last night we were meant to see “(LIES)”, a presentation, one might say, by a Dutch theatre group about the wickedness of international banking. We all sat at gaming tables such as one might find (I imagine) in a casino, with one of the cast presiding over each table as we rolled dice and made money. Until it all went wrong.

Alas, Archie in his bus got stuck in traffic at St James Centre – they are tearing it down to construct another one equally awful – so it was just me.

That is probably the end of my Festival, but there is a review of something in today’s paper which might tempt me to one further venture.

Meanwhile, Miss Rachel’s Yoke progresses well. I was right in supposing that it would be bliss once the ribbing was finished. I finished the first skein today. Anyone with a houseful of yarn – all of us, I presume – will recognise the thrill when a discrete item amongst the total is actually disposed of.

I am certainly not going to knit the gauntlets KD has designed, but might well knit the first few inches of them into the sleeves themselves, just above the ribbing. I must look at Ravelry – I can’t imagine this idea is particularly original.

I’m nearly finished with Minoo Dinshaw’s biography of Steven Runciman. In the later pages, he often refers to our Birmingham Byzantinist friend Anthony Bryer. To know Bryer was to love him, so that is something Minoo and I have in common.

And a dear Edinburgh friend rang up yesterday to say a) that Candia McWilliam (Minoo’s mother) is now a near neighbour here in EH3, after having absented herself from Edinburgh for much of her life; and b) that Minoo’s paternal grandparents are near neighbours, and friends, of my friend’s parents in Italy. Small world dep’t.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Today’s culture is “Krapp’s Last Tape”. I have high hopes. Archie and I saw Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros” on Saturday and agreed that it was about 15 minutes too long. Brilliantly staged and acted, but that didn’t stop one wondering, towards the end, whether it would be all right to have a peek at one’s watch.

Tonight’s performance doesn’t start until 8 p.m. I shall spend most of the afternoon in bed. But I managed evening shows in Pitlochry (sustained by the James Mileses) and am sure I can do it again. Archie is coming round for supper at 6 which will give me a goal in life.

I’ve finished Miss Rachel’s ribbing, increased to the no. of stitches KD wants for the yoke,  and have happily embarked on the round-and-round. I don’t seem to have a 24” 3mm needle in Knit Pro Symfonie wood – whyever not? – and Meadow Yarn, for the first time in my experience of them, is out of stock. I’ve ordered  Knit Pro “Karbonz” from them, better than nothing I hope, and meanwhile there are needles here to be going on with.

Eileen (comment yesterday), thank you very much. I don’t quite know why I should be so curious about Minoo Dinshaw – except that his biography of Steven Runciman is quite remarkably brilliant – but I am, and was very glad of your tip. I’ve now speed-read (precisely) half of Candia McWilliam’s autobiography, to the point where I learn that Minoo is a Balliol man.

I had even wondered about that very point. It is Lord Peter Wimsey’s college, and my husband’s, and his father’s, and Alexander’s.

Now I’ll go back to reading Minoo’s “Outlandish Knight”, and when that is finally finished, on to Runciman’s “Sicilian Vespers” which is where we started in the first place.

The new IK turned up today, looking thoroughly re-worked and full of brilliant patterns if you like cables, as I emphatically do. Were I to complain about anything, it would be a lack of reading matter.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Thank you for all your kind birthday messages. The day passed very quietly indeed. How on earth did I get to be 84?

I save all my blog-entries in Dropbox, before posting them here, identified by date. I notice that I saved yesterday's as "130833". I'll leave it unchanged.

I am at least knitting, round and round on what seems at the moment the endless treadmill of Miss Rachel’s initial ribbing. Every time I count how many rounds I’ve done, the answer is the same as the last time I counted, if not one less. However, the circumference now looks reasonable and a couple more days should deliver me to blissful round-and-round on a slightly larger needle.

I’ve heard from the Shetland Trader (=Mucklestone and Johnston) about their tours next summer. No dice, as far as I’m concerned. Their dates overlap with that cruise of the Hebrides which I booked even before my husband’s funeral. AND they require their knitters to be fit enough for a couple of good walks. That’s a very good idea, but I don’t think I could qualify. 84!

That leaves Amy Detjen. I’m not terribly keen on Ireland, and I’m not really sure that that island has contributed much to knitting, but I’m open to suggestion. And maybe she’ll be doing the Faroes or Iceland again next summer.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sorry for the gap. I’m fine, if feeble. We are totally enveloped in the Festival here, and this post will be more culture than knitting.

But it must be said that I have finished swatching, for the moment, and cast on KD’s “Miss Rachel’s Yoke”. The plan is to skip waist shaping and more or less do EZ’s EPS up to the yoke. At the moment the circumference seems enormous and interminable. I’m halfway through the number of rounds of ribbing KD prescribes. I think I may want more.

Archie and I went to see Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros” yesterday. It was brilliantly staged and acted, but perhaps a quarter of an hour too long. Archie agreed.

Edinburgh is absolutely stuffed with people. Ian Rankin says in the Sunday Times today that there’s plenty of room for everybody, but I’m inclined to disagree. A man got onto my bus as I was going home after the play, late middle-aged; longish, untidy, grey hair; dressed in denims. He had one of those rectangular badges hanging around his neck by a chain. The message on the badge, hand-written in pencil, was: "I'm not a tourist."

Our next venture will be to “Krapp’s Last Tape” on Tuesday. I think it’s shorter.

I’ve been enjoying thinking about Palermo, where Archie and I hope to go in January. I’ve been reading Alan Langdale’s “Palermo:Travels in the City of Happiness” which has produced a few good ideas. It says: “The Normans subjugated the island in the 1070’s…(I am haunted by a Monty Pythonesque scenario of an army made up entirely of soldiers named Norman.)” Once you’ve read that sentence, it will never be possible to think of the Normans in the same way again.

I decided it would be a good idea to re-read (from many decades ago) Steven Runciman’s “Sicilian Vespers”. In the course of ordering it – arriving today as a flesh-and-blood book – I discovered Minoo Dinshaw’s biography of Runciman, published last year and reviewed ecstatically on all sides, but I managed to miss it. A great shame, as my husband would have enjoyed it. I’m reading it in my Kindle app.

I met Runciman once, late in his life. Birmingham was a distinguished centre of Byzantine studies due to the efforts of a dear friend. I have been thinking, all through Dinshaw’s book, of that idea of Six Degrees of Separation. Runciman qualifies me for an acquaintance with Edith Wharton, only one further step away. As well as for most of the great and lesser names of the 20th century.

It is Minoo Dinshaw’s first book. It is a truly brilliant display of scholarship and of empathy. I can find nothing about him on Google except that he lives in London. I’ve seen a clip on YouTube – English is clearly his first language. “Minoo & Dinshaw” are booksellers in Lucknow. I’ve sent a friend request on Facebook both to him and to an obvious pseudonym – but he doesn’t have many friends, in either guise, and I don’t expect a response. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sorry about yesterday – James and his family came back here, on their way south, and took me out to lunch. Somehow, the day doesn’t seem to involve as many hours as it used to. I sleep a lot.

Archie and Fergus are sleeping here at the moment, as Helen has a houseful. Archie and I sat over the kitchen table yesterday and hatched a plan. It is beginning to look as if my idea of going to Greece at half-term with Fergus and then driving back with the family through Italy and France, is going to come unstuck over Orla’s Christening (for whom see above) in London in late October.

But, hey! I can go to Italy by myself any time! I had been thinking about this on Tuesday, and googling various ideas, and somehow came up with Palermo. And yesterday Archie and I more or less agreed that we could go together in the first days 0f 2018. He doesn’t have to be back at university until the 12th.

He sounds quite keen. Palermo has a compact historic city centre, and is full of glorious architecture and interesting museums and good food. It is utterly encrusted with amazing mosaics – but Helen won’t be with us. For me and for many (but not Archie) it is the city of Giuseppe di Lampedusa, author of Il Gattopardo – close to being my favourite novel in any language.

His palace in Palermo – he was a Sicilian Prince -- was destroyed by an American bomb during the war. The bomb that provoked the book: Il Gattopardo is a fictionalized family history, completed in the ‘50’s but only published after his death. Don’t fret, he had several other palaces. And Archie and I can at least walk along the street where his palace was. And the next time I re-read the book, I could walk with Don Fabrizio in those very streets.

It could happen.

However, we’re meant to be talking about knitting. (Google suggests that Palermo is weak on LYS’s.) I’m finishing off the swatch for Miss Rachel’s Yoke.

The guest on Fruity Knitting this time is Nancy Marchant. I’m tempted to do a brioche swatch. She said in the podcast that K1, k1B produces the same fabric as all this brk and brp stuff which confuses and irritates me. K1, k1B is how I first met brioche, in a VK pattern in the 50’s. A whole dress which I finished and assembled and couldn’t have worn more than once because it stretched and sagged.

Marchant said that the different approaches produced different gauges. That’s what I want to have a look at.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

This is embarrassing – I found my marriage lines.

Where some of you had more or less suggested I look: they were in a discreet brown envelope into which I had gathered all my husband’s vital documents, starting with his birth certificate. [See Jeanfromcornwall’s comment yesterday.] The idea was to facilitate the registration of the death – I’m not sure that any of them were necessary, other than the form signed by the doctor saying that he was in fact dead. I was a veritable whirlwind of efficiency, those first few days.

The envelope was in what I think of as the Death File.

One of you had gone to the extraordinary lengths of ringing up Piscataway Township to find out what to do. She sent me a .pdf of the file I needed to fill in, and I began today by downloading it and filling it in and scanning it and sending it back to her, with a scan of my driving license.

Then I moved on to the next chore – and found that envelope. The package is on its way to USS and I trust I will be in funds soon. I am sorry to have worried you all.

As for knitting, I am well along with the Buachaille swatch and am very much enjoying the feel of the yarn on my fingers. A few more rows to go, and then we’ll see. I’m inclined to think that if the gauge is anywhere near right, I’ll go ahead with Miss Rachel’s Yoke. At least I find myself keen to get back to that swatch – that’s something.

Chloe, that’s a good idea, about finding a knitting club. I don’t go out much in the evening, but there may be something going on Saturday morning. I’ll pursue that one.

The new edition of Fruity Knitting should be with us any minute now.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Again, very little to report. I’ve really got to get knitting. Maybe a Craftsy class in which I follow along, executing every step? Mucklestone’s Fair Isle vest class, while knitting the museum-sweater vest for Alexander? At least I’ve got a more-than-adequate swatch.

I finished the Lovage swatch last night while watching the Princess of Wales programme, which contained lots of suppressio veri and suggestio falsi. Now I’ve started a Buachaille swatch – apart from anything else, I seem to have left the Lovage pattern behind in Perthshire. Buachaille is lovely on the hand, and also is a somewhat heavier (therefore quicker-to-knit) yarn than those prescribed for the Lovage.

I don’t see why I shouldn’t just knit Miss Rachel's Yoke by the EPS system (thereby omitting waist shaping), but following KD’s instructions slavishly from the point where the sleeves are joined to the body and the colour pattern begins.

There should be a new edition of Fruity Knitting tomorrow, if they stick to their schedule. We patrons were treated to a delicious little film of outtakes the other day, but no secrets were revealed. I couldn’t tell you the name of this week’s guest if I wanted to.


I am very grateful for all your suggestions and offers to help concerning the problem caused by my lack of a marriage certificate. I’ve learned a new word, “apostille”, although I don’t know what it means. I have, to start with, emailed the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS, much in the news lately here in GB) to see if they have anything helpful to suggest. One would hope they would have a modicum of sympathy for my lack of income.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Home again, after a very happy week in Strathardle.

Perdita wasn’t very impressed by “out”, at first. For one thing, it rains out there, and a cat can easily get wet. She wasn't expecting that. For the first few days, she wouldn’t venture out unless I went, too. She would sit at the open door, even with the sun shining beyond. By yesterday morning she had become a bit more venturesome, but still didn’t go far.

We’ll be going back soon, with Helen and her family. I'm sure Perdita will remember, and venture further.

We saw two plays at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre – Barrie’s “Mary Rose” and Ayckbourn’s “Absurd Person Singular”. Both very well done, both thought-provoking.

And spent a useful hour with the lawyer who is working on my husband’s executry.

Still not much knitting. I largely finished a big swatch for the Lovage sweater. LoveKnitting has made up a package with Debbie Bliss’ Donegal Fine Tweed instead of the Rowan yarn the pattern was written for. It’s clearly going to work well, gauge-wise, and it produces a very nice fabric. I didn’t find the experience of knitting it entirely blissful – the tweediness? Lack of wooden needles – they all seemed to be in action elsewhere?

I think I might go on and do a swatch in KD’s Buachaille, with Miss Rachel’s Yoke in view, to see how I like that.

All is well here except that I cannot find the document which certificates my marriage, 60 years ago. I need it to establish my right to my husband’s university pension. (The more-trusting government is paying my National Insurance pension all right, but that’s not enough to live on.) There’s only one place it could be, and it’s not there. The envelope is, but it’s empty.

I don’t know quite what to do, but I had better do it promptly. Since his death, they are paying me nothing at all.