Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Alexander G. is dead. I wrote about him here on May 14. I met his father in the street yesterday. Alexander got better from all the things that were wrong, was discharged from hospital and came home, and died in his sleep a couple of days later, 42 days old. So after all that roller coaster of joy and anxiety and hope and despair, his grieving parents had to see him subjected to a post mortem.

I told Mr G about Helen and David’s eldest son Oliver. He died at much the same age. He would have been 14 this year. All I could say was, time helps.

The funeral was on Saturday. Mr G has observed how people at work avoid him because they don’t know what to say. He’s a nice man.


Today is, by local standards, an occasion of wild excitement. First, I must get my husband across town to the Royal Infirmary for a routine respiratory-test appointment. Even in youth, he was not an easy man to activate in the morning. Now that blood-testing and insulin-injecting and pill-popping have been added to the routine, and putting shoes on is hard work, things move – to put it mildly – even more slowly.

Then I am going out to lunch with Helen C.K.S. and the Fishwife. The latter is a formidable vegetable-grower and I have a number of questions to put to her.

Culinary tip: Pakistani mangoes are in season. With most fresh fruit and vegetables, one does better for price and freshness at the supermarket, in a depressing sort of way. For the mangoes, head for a corner shop. I have seen them at Waitrose, half the size and twice the price. The London Street Grocery on the corner of Broughton Street has some particularly yummy ones, if you don’t have a corner shop of your own. There are mangoes and mangoes: insist on Pakistani.

I just tried “supererogation” on Microsoft Word. It recognises it as a correctly-spelled word – but it can’t correct “superogation”.


I did my statutory repeat of the Princess edging yesterday. It seems to be progressing rather slowly, although the end is tantalizingly near.

And I knit onwards, with the Child’s Cardigan. It is at a stage which every knitter must have encountered, when it refuses to grow. I lay it flat and smooth it out and measure after every stripe, and it always measures 11". I’m aiming at 12". No doubt, one day soon, it will be 13 ¼". Apart from that idiosyncrasy, I like it a lot.

The new Knitter’s turned up yesterday, the more welcome for being unexpected. I sort of like Rick’s Cumbria jacket, although not his choice of colours. And Sine-Cosine looks fun, once one peers very, very closely at the picture.


  1. Gerrie2:24 PM

    My heart goes out to Mr G and his wife. I hope there are some people who won't avoid them.

    I like the child's sweater's stripes!

  2. Anonymous2:41 PM

    I, too, like the child's cardigan. It is totally delightful. The pictures of your garden were wonderful. You are very lucky to be able to grow your own produce.
    Ron in Mexico

  3. Anonymous2:56 PM

    When our daughter (now 32!) was born with critical breathing problems, people avoided me,too. Everyone is afraid of saying the wrong thing and "making it worse." But there is NOTHING anyone could say that could possibly make it worse, and isolation is terrible. I remember that no one sent baby presents which I interpreted as a vote of no confidence in her living through it. So if I hear of a sick newborn or a preemie, I express mail a tiny outfit as fast as I can.... to tell the mom I believe her little one will live, will wear this outfit and come home. And if the worst happens, I know my gift will not have made it worse.

    Barbara M.

  4. When you next meet Mr. G and his wife, please tell tell them they have the heartfelt sympathy of so many people who read your blog. The death of a child is a particular tragedy that is so hard to bear.


  5. =Tamar7:14 PM

    Is there a support group in the area for parents who have lost infants? A friend who lost a child to cot death was reluctant to attend one but she found it was very helpful.

  6. You can fix the spell correct problem in MSWord by going to "tools", "autocorrect" and inserting the wrong spelling in the left hand space and the correct spelling in the right hand box. Works like a charm!

  7. oh Jean, I am catching up, and what a sad thing. Babies and mothers in the Western world are supposed to "always make it" and we are so shocked when they don't.

    I admire you for going forward day by day with the Princess ... what a legacy. But it will be such a family heirloom when it is done. We recently received a crocheted tablecloth that my husband's grandmother did -- and it cleaned up quite beautifully at the dry cleaners. It was so musty that I couldn't even take it out of the box, but was so happy that my husband's cousin offered it. Somehow though, we didn't get the old cookbook :)

    But not much knitting at my house -- high summer here in Sacramento, CA -- 107F right now at 4:50 pm!!