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!

Knitting

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

















Erudition

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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