Friday, June 14, 2024

 A fairly nasty day, cold and windy and wet. Nor can forecasts promise any improvement. This verges on the ridiculous. 

  Knitting went well. I have got the stitch-count of the newly-cast-on border of the KD MKAL shawl pretty well straightened out. The questionof whether it is twisted is still unsolved. This part of the shawl begins with seven rounds in the darkest colour. My poor old eyes have trouble with that shade in straightforward knitting. Counting stitch-numbers over and over again is obviously worse.

   On the other hand, mistakes — and I fear there are many — will not be so obvious in that shade.

   Otherwise a quiet day, spent largely near sleep listening to Nogel Slater reading his own “A Cook’s Book”. He’s one of my faves. I don’t own that one. He’s not — and the book certainly isn’t — vegetarian, but it’s got an impressive range of vegetarian recipes. 

  Helen came to see me, and brought some impressive photographs from Mt.Athos, which David, Mungo and Fergus are currently visiting. Accomodation looks basic but distinctly comfortable. 

  Wordle: six for me. I had a bath this morning, and by the time I settled down to Wordle, was distinctly weak. My starters gave me a green and two browns. I proceeded to enter three successive Jean-words, not randomly but eliminating valuable consonants and establishing possible positions for the letters I had. Six will do — i’m interested only in my winning streak. It’ll be 40 if I get it tomorrow.

    All the other cisAtlantic players scored 5. Theo was another five, and Roger joined me on six.


Thursday, June 13, 2024

 Grey, wet. This is getting very tedious. 

   Helen is back. Her sad mission to Kirkmichael went well. It turns out that our rxcellent gardener had recently lost a dog himself. He had prepared a big-enough hole — Farouk was on the large size, as dogs go. And he stayed for the burial, although it was Helen and Archie who filled in the grave and constructed a temporary monument from the many stones available. 

   Knitting went fairly well, although the ordeal of starting the Second Clue of the MKAL shawl is not yet over. The knitting has been easier since I reached the second garter-stitch-in-the-round round. But I’m still struggling with the stitch count, and the question of whether the knitting is twisted around the needle remains to be solved. It will be a miracle if it isn’t.

    Once we’re past all that, I am hopeful that it will be straightforward. I am knitting four (mildly) lacy borders, edge inwards. So the stitch count will reduce as we go along.

   No visitors apart from Helen. C. will come on Sunday and report on Sicily.

   Wordle: my usual routine today. A green and three browns from my starters. A struggle — I kept thinking of Jean words and virtuously rejecting them. I finally thought of something, indeed was rather proud of it, but it was wrong. But information gained made it easy to score a four on the next line.

   Mark and Alexander had threes. Ketki and Rachel joined me with four. Thomas had an uncharacteristic five. The Americans, Roger and Theo, contributed two more fours. 



Wednesday, June 12, 2024

 Cold, largely but not entirely grey. Roger and sister-Helen are safely in London and she says it’s warmer there. My carer says that she has invited our Helen to lunch tomorrow. I thought she was goong to stay on in Kirkmichael for a couple of days after burying her poor dog.

   I have spent much of the day struggling with the new MKAL clue. I think I have achieved enough that I can face tomorrow, at least. The first instruction was to knit across half of the stitches already present and then to cast on hundreds more with a cable cast on, enough to go around three sides of the centre of a hap shall.

   A struggle. Could I remember the cable cast on? Having done so, I could see no way to do it except to turn the work around and cast on from behind. But if that was right, why did not KD say so? 

   In my shawl-knitting days, I preferred to knit the first few rows of border back-and-forth to be sure there was no twist. In this case, I couldn’t figure out how to do that, so I plunged in. I’m halfway around the first round of garter-stitch-in-the-round. I’m having trouble sliding stitches from the cord to the needle. (Does the word “hasp” come in there?) i’ve given up counting stitches or untwisting them, leaving that all until the next round.

    All of this took up much of the day, as you can imagine. I started listening to The Beckoning Lady, the last Allingham on the club list that I haven’t yet re-read. I’ve never cared for it much, but I suspect it of being the most autobiographical of them all.

   Wordle: a fairly quick and routine one for me today. The starters gave me three browns. Line three turned them into four greens, and I got it on line four.

   Three for Rachel and Mark. Four for Thomas and Ketki and Roger and of course me. Five for Alexander and Theo. 


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

 A sad day. Helen and her family have lost their dear Athenian dog, Farouk. He was old. The end was near. They are deeply distressed. And it must be worse when you have to issue the order of release yourself. I’ve never had to do that. My husband and I sat with our Old Dear Cat in Kirkmichael while she died. And then we didn’t get another one until Perdita. How short that makes life seem.

Helen and Archie are on their way to Kirkmichael for the interment. They stopped here to tell me.

   A sad day, too, because sister-Helen and Roger are (effectively) gone. They came to see me this morning  She is recovering from  a cold and Covid. Roger is fine — he has been all along. They sat on the other side of the room and talked through masks so it wasn’t much of a meeting.

   It wasn’t much of a day otherwise, either. Grey and chilly. I thought I could knit endlessly on the EPS mentioned in the sidebar, but it turns out that the bottom-hem-to-armpit section is pretty nearly — or perhaps entirely — finished and I didn’t feel up to calculation. Meg wrote articles in four successive issues of Knitter’s long ago now, which I have saved and treasured, amplifying and expanding her mother’s pattern.

   (Were those articles ever reproduced by the Schoolhouse Press?)

  So I will be glad tomorrow to have the next clue for the Allingham MKAL. And I’m glad to have my dear, disagreeable cat and I hope she survives me.

   Wordle: yet another stinker; yet another six for me. Again I stuck faithfully to legitimate, possible words and again the practice served me well.

    Today’s stars were Roger and Mark with four. Rachel and Ketki were with me on six. Alexander and Thomas and Theo scored five. (Obviously, not as easy one.) (I’m happy to be able to report that Roger was basking in  his four when he was here this morning.)

Monday, June 10, 2024

 Another mixed day — showers and windy and occasional glimpses of sun. This is getting tedious. I have been feeling restored.

  I got the last of the MKAL knitting done, and am smugly awaiting the second clue on Wednesday.

   The Taylor-Swift-ification of Edinburgh brought all three of James’ and Cathy’s children here yesterday. Rachel is working at the Wallace Collection and enjoying it. Kirsty is finishing a post-graduate year of playwriting and doesn’t know what’s coming next. Alistair lives here in Edinburgh. He didn’t go to Taylow Swift but sent his girlfriend. It was very, very expensive.

   Helen came this morning. She says sister-Helen and Roger will come tomorrow, and that they’re well. They’re going to London on Wednesday, thence DC. C. will be back from Sicily soon. It will be interesting to learn how hot it was, given the circumstances of Michael Mosley’s death. It’s certainly not hot here.

   Wordle: another stinker today. I typed in nothing but possible answers and just as well. I got it in six, and only because I hadn’t wasted any guesses on Jean-words. I typed in the only pronounceable word given the remaining letters, and it was right. 

   Nobody failed, thank goodness, but Roger and Theo and Thomas also heeded six. Rachel and Mark and Ketki all scored five, Mark adding an emoji the purpose of which, I think, was to express irritation. Alexander got four, highly commendable in the circumstances.  



Sunday, June 09, 2024

 A languid day, rather welcome. I slipped getting into bed last night and slid gracefully to the floor, supported by my carer. No harm done, except that I was on the floor. After a certain amount of faffing about, I  sent her down to the flat below. Our neighbour came up and hoisted me fairly easily into bed.

   No harm done, as I say, but I have felt a bit shaken and stirred today. Sunny and cold again. 

   Kate Davies’ club produced an interesting essay about Allingham today, by Julia Jones who recently published a good biography. I knew Allingham eventually became stout, but the pictures with today’s essay make her look fairly hefty from the start. Her characters — Campion and Amanda, at least — are quite remarkably slender into late middle age.

   I haven’t done any more knitting on the MKAL. It’s time I finished that long row— or is it two? — before the next clue arrives.

   I am sorry about Michael Mosley’s death. Mostly, these days, I haven’t heard of well known people. I have only just heard of Taylor Swift by whom Edinburgh is gripped at the moment. But I had heard of Dr Mosley and enjoyed his radio programme Just One Thing where he told us every week Just One Thing we could do right now to improve our lives or, failing that, the world. 

   Mary Lou, thank you for the tip about “Wilding” (comment yesterday).  That sounds just right. I’ll report back.

   Wordle: another three for me.. Same pattern — a green consonant and brown vowel from my starters. A struggle to think of any word for them. My starters contain all the vowels except Y and five consonants from the top of the letter frequency alphabet. And when I finally got one, it was right.

    Ketki was a fellow-three. Rachel and Mark and Theo scored four. Alexander had a five and Thomas six. They both got stuck with the first three letters green. Roger had a triumphant three, after his dismal two-day streak of failure.

   He and my sister are here in Edinburgh, staying with Helen. They had planned to go to London today, I think. That’s been postponed until Wednesday. And our lunch at the Blue Snail yesterday, cancelled altogether. Sadness. But I gather they’re getting better.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

 A good day, although still cool.

  The new carer and I are settling down well.

   I’m still somewhat short of reading material. For dozing I have gone on with Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and for the rare moments of attention, Persuasion, but I need a new book. (Tamar, I love your suggestion — comment yesterday — of Sugar, Salt, Grease, and Black Crunchy Bits.)

   Lisa, I read and listened to Fuschia Dunlop’s book about a year a go, when I was in that care home. It’s very good. Maybe I should listen again. And Eileen, I’ve started Tom Lake — Helen and C. are keen — and got bogged down. I couldn’t keep the daughters straight.  I’ll go back to the beginning and start again when I finish or abandon Petsuasion. Thanks to both.

   No knitting, but that was deliberate.

   Wordle: my sister won’t play because she thinks its too competitive. It isn’t. But I can’t resist telling you nevertheless that mine was the only three yesterday. I very much doubt if that has ever happened before.

   A variation on a familiar pattern today. The starters provided two greens and a brown. Titanic struggle. I finally came up with something. Was it a word? Wordle accepted it. Four greens now. I got it on the next line.

   Theo matched my feat of yesterday — he had the only three. Mark and Thomas and Ketki were my fellow-four today. Rachel and Alexander had five, and Roger failed again. I think he must be coming down with Covid. My sister has already been diagnosed with it. They are safely back here in Edinburgh with Helen and have postponed their visit to London for a few days.