Friday, May 05, 2006

I am enormously grateful to Sue (comment, yesterday) for her offer to send me a print-out of Liz Lovick’s contribution to the Lace Symposium. I printed out Faina’s more manageable six pages myself yesterday, and will keep it with my copy of Bush on Estonian Knitting. I doubt if I will ever use the technique – how often have I thought that phrase, and been wrong?—because “nupps” look uncomfortably like bobbles, against which I have a deep and unreasoning prejudice.

Franklin's contribution on Orenburg Lace appeared yesterday. That’s one I’ve never tried, but will, as soon as I get a Round Tuit. I’ve got the yarn, some Cherry Tree Hill suri alpaca that I bought at Stitches East in ’02.

Again, what a brilliant idea this symposium is, and how well executed!


My sister’s shawl progresses. Today’s picture is meant to demonstrate that I’m winning the battle with that ball of yarn.


I was in Thessaloniki with my daughter Helen and her family four years ago, when her youngest son Fergus was born. The day I was about to leave, mother and baby doing well, they remarked that they were going to Pelion for the Easter holiday. “Is that the Pelion that was piled on Ossa?” I asked.

[In a well-known episode in Greek mythology, the Giants piled Pelion on Ossa in a attempt to reach the Gods on top of Olympus. They failed. Jupiter smote them with a thunderbolt, and imprisoned them under various mountains hither and yon around the world. They occasionally still rumble and even roar – those mountains being known as volcanos.

The episode is rather reminiscent of the Towel of Babel, but the phrase, “piling Pelion on Ossa”, is used nowadays by old-fashioned writers of English such as me, to mean an excessive and unnecessary action, “adding insult to injury”, like sending coals to Newcastle, or tea to China.]

Neither David nor Helen knew what I was talking about. Helen read English at Oxford, David did Classics at Cambridge. Thus are educations wasted. They got out a map and showed me where Pelion is, and sure enough, not all that far away, is Mt. Ossa. Tears sprang to my eyes.

When I got back to England I found that none of my other children knew the phrase either, although of course my husband did.

I mention all this now because, in the last year, Helen and David have bought a derelict shepherd’s cottage on Pelion which they have restored and where they spend a lot of time. She sent me some pictures yesterday. That’s the house, and here are my grandsons Mungo, Fergus himself, and Archie, resting in the course of a healthy mountain walk.

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