Monday, June 18, 2018

There really is nothing to report today. The entire time has been spent worrying about (and paying for) the car. Helen nobly went off somewhere this afternoon to see if she could fetch the new Resident’s Permit home for me, but it turned out the office has been moved to Corstorphine. (I’ve heard of it.) It’s probably no use going tomorrow, wherever Corstorphine is, because by then – surely – the new permit will be in the mail.

Archie has emboldened me to believe I’ll be able to pay by mobile telephone and bank card. Coins have run out. I’ll have to do that before 8:30 tomorrow morning. If successful, that’ll take me to lunchtime. And the new permit could be in tomorrow’s mail.

Archie and a dear friend and I went to lunch at a humble but delicious Korean restaurant over near the University and the Central Mosque. I don’t think their kimchi was quite as good as mine, however.

What a pleasure it is to anticipate a holiday with no concerns for passports or currency or language! Preparations (largely complete) have been suspended, however, until I get my Resident’s Parking Permit.

I am tempted to write you a whole blog entry about SEX. I recently bought the well-reviewed White Houses for my Kindle and the first few pages have made me cross. Maybe soon, but I’m too tired tonight.

Now I’ll go knit for a while.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The smooth progress of life had a bit of a setback today. I nipped down to Tesco’s this morning – and found not one but two parking tickets on my windscreen. My Resident’s Parking Permit had expired. If they sent me a reminder, I never got it. Or never opened it.

I have renewed, on-line. I wonder if I could get away with a note to that effect on the windscreen? Probably not. Metred parking around here is terribly expensive. I have poured enough coins in to get me through to noon tomorrow. Mustn’t forget. And I must also pay the fines. And, of course, once all that is settled, get back to the things that should be done before I leave, such as taxing the car.

I’ve done a bit of knitting – I’m half-way through the next peerie. What I did achieve was to sit down at the kitchen table with Calcutta Cup vest, swatch-scarf, tape measure, and Fair Isle vest instructions from Meg and Alice Starmore and Kate Davies. Later I added EZ’s original EPS, in the Knitting Workshop.

I fired up an old computer and persuaded it to show me some of Meg's Fair Isle Vest video -- enough for her to express in numbers a desired measurement from underarm to shoulder (9 1/2"). Then it pegged out.

Needless to say, the experts all contradict each other, and my gauge measurements came out different each time. And nobody would tell me how wide to make the shoulders. A bit narrow will be fine – narrow shoulders can be bulked out with armhole ribbing. But the thing one absolutely doesn’t want is any drape over the shoulder blade. I measured an old, moth-eaten, hand-knit vest of my husband’s and decided to aim for four inches each side.

KD’s Stronachlachar, high on my hoped-for list, droops over the shoulders in just the way mentioned. But that’s deliberate, meant for a woman, and looks fine. I watched her give a talk about “Handywoman” yesterday, wearing Stronachlachar. But it wouldn’t do for Alexander.

So I think I’ve done all the maths – certainly enough to be moving forward with. I had help:

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Tonight’s computer tragedy is that it won’t play Meg’s Fair Isle Vest video. I’ve wasted valuable time trying. Is this another feature of the upgrade?

I’ve finished the third Fair Isle band of Alexander’s Calcutta Cup vest, and have decided to divide for the v-neck half-way through the next one. It is time to listen to Meg’s gentle advice; very frustrating not to be able to. I think, by good luck rather than good management, the v-neck will begin in the middle of an X rather than an O.

I am not entirely happy with the amount of yarn available. My one mission at the EYF market, as far as I can remember, was to get yarn for this vest. And so I did – but what I now seem to have is a considerable quantity of a mid-grey which doesn’t figure in the vest, the dark grey which I do use in every Fair Isle band about to run out, and a couple of other colours in a precarious state. I’d better order some more. Nothing worse than worrying about running out – except, perhaps, actually running out. Fortunately, in Fair Isle, you can change dye lots with impunity.

Here’s the vest:

Here’s a dead cat (not):

There is an interesting post from Kate Davies today about her forthcoming book “Handywoman” – about her stroke and how it has transformed her life. I’ve pre-ordered, as I may have said.  The pre-order also includes a pattern for hare-and-tortoise gauntlets. They’re good, but I don’t think I’ll bother downloading. My HALFPINT list already stretches out to the crack of doom.


I didn’t accomplish anything today, I don’t think. The new shoes I ordered for my cruise have arrived, and they’re blissfully comfortable. Are we all – the other 10 or 11 passengers, I mean – fitting ourselves out with new wardrobes?

Poor Glasgow! The last time the College of Art had a bad fire it turned out, I think, to have been started by an electrical fault in some equipment a student was using (and left on) to prepare for the end-of-year show. And it’s that time of year again. This fire sounds much worse.

Friday, June 15, 2018

I’m using my husband’s last computer. He never really liked it – he never really got beyond MS-DOS. Be that as it may, it always used to greet him by name when I turned it on in the morning. But since this week’s updates, it now greets me by name. Does Microsoft have a data feed from the Elysian Fields? It's a bit unnerving.

Maureen, you’re absolutely right on both points (comment yesterday). I’ll update the WIP progress bar before I leave you this evening.

I knit slowly on. Was I always so slow? I’m now knitting the penultimate round of the third Fair Isle band on Alexander’s Calcutta Cup sweater. We’ll have another picture when I finish it. I think it's pulling itself together somewhat.

Hazel Tindall said (at the class I took with her, EYF ’17) that she didn’t like circular needles because of the time that has to be spent easing the stitches around. She normally knits, of course, with long straight needles of which one end of the operative one is stuck into a pouch stuffed with horsehair, on a knitting belt.

I equipped myself with these instruments after my happy trip to Shetland. This would be the perfect opportunity to try again to master the technique…

The needle I am using (KnitPro?) seems slightly slower than it need be for the crucial bit where the stitches are slid from cord to needle point. Still, little and often will get the vest done.


I did well today, knocking off several things on my pre-cruise list, including booking tickets for Waiting for Godot for me and Archie at the Edinburgh Festival in August. I saw it when it was new, a long, long time ago. I surprised myself by enjoying Krapp’s Last Tape (also with Archie) at the Festival last year.

Next I must tax the car. Government websites frighten me, although they are pretty efficient these days.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Freecell has been restored to me.

I sat down at the computer at 8:55 this morning to establish a pre-arranged Skype connection with my Italian teacher in Rome. “Installing Windows updates” it said. “Do not turn off computer.” I thought we had done all that yesterday.

There was more trouble when I finally reached Skype, and saw that I had missed a call from Federica. They wanted me to do something about setting up a Microsoft account, and wouldn’t let me have Skype until I had dealt with that one.

Eventually we had our lesson, via a not-very-good connection. Next week she’ll be back here in person. And at the end of all that, I found I had Freecell back. Enabling me to waste time which would be better spent knitting.

Despite Italian, and despite Freecell, and despite the nice men toiling away on my central heating boiler (things aren’t going entirely well, I gather) – despite all that, I knocked three items off my pre-cruise list and will sleep the better for it.

I’m doing the declining half of the current Fair Isle band on Alexander’s Calcutta Cup vest. I think I’ve chosen colours better this time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

It’s a fine thing – worth the wait (and the knitting). Our guide, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, has been working at Murrayfield for seven years, but has only recently seen the real cup, replacing the replica which has been displayed since 2008. She said that the colour was slightly different, and showed us a small flaw in one of the handle-serpents.

She unlocked the case so that we could get up close and personal – as long as we didn’t touch it.

We saw a good many other sporting trophies on our tour. They all look rather tin-plated, compared to the Calcutta Cup.

Not much else. I’ve got The Men In, replacing my hopelessly decrepit central heating boiler. I didn’t really want to curl up for a nap while they were here, so am ending the day in a fairly feeble state.

Shandy, I think I’ll be able to get back from Oban all right. It’s a small town. The embark-and-disembark point is not far from the station, and the second time, it will be familiar. It’s not the sort of holiday on which I am likely to have filled my suitcase with heavy souvenirs. All I have to do is drag it along the sea-front to the station and sit there, knitting or reading my book, until a Glasgow-bound train turns up. Changing to an Edinburgh-bound one in Glasgow will also, that time, be a familiar process.

And I’ll be going home to my cats, not off on a strange adventure.

No luck with Freecell. I’ve tried a Microsoft Help page, but clearly the behaviour of the Control Panel changes from version to version, and the lucid instructions provided are of no use to me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Tomorrow, the Calcutta Cup. Pictures promised for tomorrow.

(Not only did we win the Calcutta Cup in February -- but Scotland beat England at cricket last week.)

Alexander came to see me this morning, bringing Ketki’s swatch-scarf. So both it and his incomplete Fair Isle vest can be photographed with The Cup tomorrow. He professed himself pleased with the vest. There’s not much of that blue in the scarf, but there is some.

I’ve nearly reached the half-way point in the current (third) Fair Isle band of the vest. Thank you for all your comments. I am indeed using blue in this band – in the first and third rounds of the middle three. Its place will be taken by red in the centre round itself. The blue will be a good deal less prominent than in the preceding band, but enough, I hope, to echo it. I agree, Tamar, that one of the great things about Fair Isle is that you can make it up as you go along.

Thank you for your encouraging remarks, too, about Freecell. The one advance achieved by yesterday’s tedious update is that when I click on “Microsoft Solitaire Collection” – not just Freecell – I am thrown out into the harsh world almost at once, instead of sitting about for rather a long time looking at that screen and watching dots go around in a circle. It saves time, but I’d rather play a couple of hands of Freecell.

Not much happened today, but what there was, was good. My garage took the car away and phoned this afternoon to say that it has been awarded an MOT certificate – the fitness test it must pass before I can tax it, and that must be done before I set sail at the end of the month. It’s an old car. An MOT can’t be guaranteed.

Archie came to lunch. He has amiably agreed to come with me all the way to Oban on June 30, when my cruise begins – train to Glasgow, another train onwards. If we leave in good time, we should be able to cop a late lunch at the famous Seafood Hut, if they have room for us. It’s not worth trying to book in advance – that would just add to the stress of an already stressful day. One of the many advantages of Archie as a travelling companion is that he likes food.