Today’s excitement is lunch with Helen C.K.S. and the Fishwife. With only a little bit of luck, the former will be wearing Kaari and the latter will have tales, as yet unblogged, of her fibrous weekend in York. I will wear my green suede jacket, unseen since Christmas.
I’m glad to say that February 2, so far, is as dull and overcast as anyone could wish. We’re seriously thinking of going to Strathardle later this week, and I’m sort of scared. Of snow and of how we’ll find the house and of the possible absence of water. Indeed, of driving, which I haven’t done, except for the supermarket run, since November. We’ll want all the help a groundhog can afford.
Tennis: Southern Gal, your sympathetic note was the best possible way to hear the news. I toyed with the idea, when we got back from Mass, of turning the television on again, in case the match had miraculously metamorphosed into a five-set thriller. But I knew in my bones that it hadn’t, so had a quick look at the computer before lunch instead.
“often”: American and British dictionaries agree again, as with “pestle”, that the preferred pronunciation lacks the sound of the “t”. Over many years I have consciously modified my speech in a few respects in deference to the language that now surrounds me – the pronunciation of “tomato” and “shone” and “z” come to mind. I have dropped some vocabulary. I remember startling my hearers with “picayune” when I was an undergraduate in Glasgow, and I doubt if the word has passed my lips since. I’ve picked up some local words.
But I couldn’t possibly bring myself to pronounce the “t” in “often”. My husband does, and the Shorter Oxford even has a rude line about how the pronunciation of the “t” is common in the south of England. I polled our children once, and I think they split 50-50 just as the science of genetics would lead one to expect.
Gilbert has a rather tedious passage in The Pirates of Penzance punning “often” and “orphan” which strongly implies a general t-less pronunciation in late 19th century England, even in the south.
As Crassus was setting out from Rome on the expedition which ended with the loss of his army and his own life at the hands of the Parthians, a fig-seller wandered by shouting “cauneas”. Cicero tells the story, and says that Crassus would have done well to pay attention: “Cave ne eas!” means “Beware! Don’t go!” This anecdote makes better sense if “v” was pronounced as “w” in 1st century BC Rome, and is valuable evidence for that fact. As Gilbert’s pun is, perhaps, for “often”.
I’ve done about 14 inches of the first sleeve, out of the 19 required before finishing off with a brief pattern band. I’m on a circular needle now, and continue to feel that I’m whizzing forward. I found another instance last night of the same mistake I had made in the body – knitting three rounds plain after a round of seeding, instead of the requisite two. It wouldn’t have mattered so much, at elbow height, but I took it out anyway.
Theresa, I will very much welcome any Harlequin measurements you can pass on. That side-to-side cardigan with the wavy stripes is stunning. What is the pattern? Did severe blocking solve the problem? I am sure the cat was what is called in our family A Very Great Help.