Friday, July 03, 2015


After I launched yesterday's post upon the world, I read the Telegraph and discovered, to my chagrin, that Ambrose Evans-Pritchard was writing about Ochi Day in the business section. This from Helen, still on Mt Pelion:

Yes, I am glad you and Ambrose Pritchard made the Oxi day point. It's a very important one which I have been feeling frustrated that none of the commentators had made until now. We had a really interesting conversation with the village carpenter yesterday who is voting yes and says most of the village is too but the reason, according to him, is that they have been getting handouts from the EU and playing the system - claiming ten acres of spoilt apples in frost, for example, when they only have one. He was very vociferous on the subject saying that all the fields down by the sea used to be cultivated but now they're left fallow and the young people don't want to farm any more. They'd rather sit in the cafes on their phones, taking money from their parents and grand parents pensions. It was an interesting perspective. Meanwhile, most businesses including tavernas have shut down for the week and the roads are empty.

She also sent these pictures, Life in Greece:

Archie on the right, one of his brothers on the left. Mungo?

This is her husband David, talking to a lawyer friend in London about the crisis:

I'm not going to look this up, but yes, Mary Lou, “yes” in Greek is “nai”. There's the “n” sound, which is lacking in the negative. I don't know whether that's an ancient word or not. But that negative upward movement of the head, accompanied by a little tsk sound, so easily confused with a nod of assent, goes right back to the beginning – “anavuo” in Homer, to nod upwards, is said, I believe, of Zeus himself, refusing permission for something.

Becky, I think I'm right – but again, I'm not going to look it up – in saying that Finnish isn't an Indo-European language. Like Turkish. Are they related to each other, or is it just that both fall outside the Indo-European family?


Yesterday was brilliant. Brown-Nadal was undoubtedly the match of the first week, maybe of the tournament. I got to see every moment of it, and rejoiced in the result, never having been a Nadal fan. Perdita slept through the whole thing.

And the lozenges are finished. Do I have enough yarn for ten more rows, plus a bind-off, over 423 stitches, increasing to 443? I'll take Kate Davies' word for the totals. I know I'm right, counting lozenge by lozenge.

Watch this space.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Not much of a day, yesterday.

My husband is now back into full-scale get-me-out-of-here mode. I came home from the visit shattered, unable even to knit. I dread today's session.

I don't know as much as I should about home care. I suspect I'm about to learn a fair amount. I know it was provided promptly and wonderfully for my husband's sister when she was dying. She was able to live at home, with a daughter's assistance, until the last fortnight, and the carers came to the funeral.

I sort of feel that the fact that it's free is part of Sturgeon's Socialist Paradise. It will be provided by City of Edinburgh social services, I think, rather than actual NHS nurses. All advice, backed up by common sense, recommends waiting until they're ready to start. A private care company is, however, coming tomorrow to case the joint.

I wonder whether I'm going to be capable of running with the ball when it is passed to me.


I've read on a bit in “The Ravell'd Sleeve”, marvelling at a realm of knitting I could never aspire to. Ten-inch square swatches, washed and blocked. I've now moved on to reading about selvedge stitches. It occurs to me that this is essentially Mary Thomas' (of “Knitting Book” fame) style of things – in perfect harmony with the patterns in the Vogue Knitting Books, especially the early ones, of which I have now completed my collection.

And it was from this “couture” view that EZ rescued us, taking knitting back to its peasant roots – circular knitting – and “unventing” from there.

Lots of exciting tennis today – and knitting, I hope.


No more news from Helen, but I've had a thot. 

The Greeks annually celebrate "ohi day", when they said "no" to an ultimatum from Mussolini. We've been there for Ohi Day, much parading of school children. By framing Sunday's referendum so that a "no" vote is mud-in-the-eye to the Europeans in suits, Mr Tsipras is surely hoping to draw on reserves of popular patriotism. Has Mrs Merkel even heard of Ohi Day?

("ohi" or "ochi" is Greek for "no". It is the ancient word. Is it the only Indo-European language not to have an "n" sound in the negative word?)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Still 2 ½ rows of lozenges to go – the tennis was sufficiently exciting yesterday that I didn't get much done. I am determined to finish today.

Now you can knit your own Wimbledon – not just Andy Murray.

What else? The NHS is offering a lot of free home care for my husband, that's the good news; it will take a few weeks to get it in place, that's the bad. He had been told this by the time I got there yesterday, and was pretty cross about it. We are arranging a home assessment visit from a private care company. I am a bit anxious about starting private care for fear the NHS will just wave goodbye to us. We're talking big bucks, apart from anything else.

That's about it, I'm afraid. Back in what now seem like the Good Old Days, I used to potter gently through my day thinking about what I was going to write tomorrow. Now such tranquillity is impossible.

The cat continues to delight.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Various tidbits from Zite:

Arne and Carlos sock yarn from Regia: what fun it must be to knit!

A free knit-your-own Andy Murray pattern. It's the one from Holt & Bailey's “Knit Your Own Scotland”. I must have told you about the time I saw a much more substantial knitted Andy Murray in a shop window in Alyth – 18” high, as I remember. Alas, I didn't have a camera with me, and when I next was there, it was gone.

An article about Shetland knitting, mostly about Hazel Tindall. I doubt if you'll learn much, but it's worth following the link for the sight of Andy Ross' sweater. He is trying to get Shetland hand weaving going again, from a workshop on Yell.

Wimbledon wasn't very interesting yesterday. The people who were expected to win, won – easily. The Fantoosh moved forward somewhat anyway. Four more rows of lozenge-knitting remain, then 10 of the final edging. A slight unease about yarn. Perhaps the edging could be truncated.

    I wrote that much, then some OT's came to assess our way of life, then I visited the hospital...

I'll just post it as is.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Helen and her family are safely ensconced on Mt Pelion. “We drove past long lines of people waiting at the cash machines in Volos but that was before capital controls were imposed an hour or so ago.” Volos, as I remember, is the substantial town at the foot of the mountain. That message yesterday evening was the first I had heard about currency controls.

However, it turns out they're not all on Pelion: “Fergus is off on a permanently staffed sail boat owned by friends for a trip around the Cyclades for a week oblivious to Greece's financial woes.” Fergus is her youngest son, who recently left his Athenian school for the last time

and will join Archie at Merchiston next term.

I don't know whether a “permanently staffed sail boat” qualifies one as an oligarch. Whether or no, I feel pretty sure that its owner has bank deposits well outside of Greece. Helen drove me and C. through the part of Athens inhabited by oligarchs on our way to Marathon that happy day (amongst other happy days). Not manicured lawns and Palladian mansions, but high walls and guard posts.


She didn't join me in bed last night. I felt rather hurt. It turned out that she had somehow managed to get herself shut into the outer hall. We had a rapturous reunion this morning, and I won't to to bed again without knowing exactly where she is. This is a picture taken from the outer hall – she knows that people who go out there, often go on out the front door and don't come back to their cat for hours.

I have also learned, from her original owner, that she is 10 days younger than we had previously thought. It won't make much difference through life, but it does now. She was 7 ½ weeks old when I brought her home, not 9 weeks. That conforms with my own impression of her then.


My husband has resumed pressing for immediate release. His tone is less desperate than it was in the urology ward, but still sufficiently urgent that I must try to find a programme of action to present to him today. He is much better than he was, but serious problems remain. I have every confidence in the NHS to get him out of this wonderful facility as soon as possible. It wouldn't work, otherwise. Should I point out to him that every day he endures there saves us – what? – a couple of hundred pounds?


I'm halfway through the final rank of lozenges on the Fantoosh shawl, at least row-wise. Every right-side row adds four stitches, but by now they are so small a proportion of the whole that it scarcely matters. The yarn still looks all right, but there won't be much to spare. And Wimbledon starts today.

You would think that my present regime, two hours or so of hospital visiting daily and otherwise my “time is my own”, would result in much productive activity. Virtually no cooking or washing-up. It doesn't seem to work out like that.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

This is going to be an interesting week in Greece. Helen said that by the end of yesterday, there were queues at the petrol stations as well as the cash dispensers. I trust Archie has successfully rejoined his family – the airport was hideously crowded and his flights, after a change at Heathrow, inconvenient. He was due in Athens in the small hours.

They are all planning to spend the week on Pelion (near Ossa) which might prove even more interesting than Athens, but means we'll be out of email contact.

l.;9 v[pgggggggghh c

That from Perdita, while I was fetching my coffee. She also managed to open a second document, where she continued in the same vein.


A couple more rows of the Fantoosh.

And I got Catherine Lowe's “The Ravell'd Sleeve” which I had learned about in that blog piece of Tom of Holland's about “Sequence Knitting”. Self-published, again – this time printed on demand, not very elegantly.

I spent a day or so, after ordering it, wondering where I had heard of Catherine Lowe. It finally clicked – an ad in the current Twist Collective. I had pursued it for a while, but not long enough to find the pattern advertised.

The book is about couture knitting. Her standards are very demanding. I'll continue at least to speed-read it.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A quick log-in to let you know that all's (more or less) well. Archie is here – he will fly off to Athens later today. His mother reports that people are now queuing around the corner to withdraw money from cash machines. He is delighted with the kitten.

I have reached the 4th row of the final rank of lozenges on the Fantoosh. Wimbledon next week – I think it's sufficiently easy knitting that I can polish it off. If not, there are always pocket squares. It looks to me as if there's going to be enough yarn.

An anxious topic, especially as my friend Kristie – the woman to whom I owe that happy, happy weekend in Shetland – is knitting the smaller Fantoosh, with a yarn other than Old Maiden Aunt's, and she is running short although that shouldn't be happening according to the yardages specified on the respective ballbands. Judging from the point at which I joined in my second skein of yarn, one skein of proper OMA yarn would be adequate for the smaller shawl, just as Kate Davies says.