Thursday, February 04, 2010

I completely forgot to ask Helen C.K.S. and the Fishwife how they pronounce “often”. An old friend came to stay with us on Tuesday evening – hence no blog yesterday; we were having breakfast – and I noticed an often-with-a-“t” in his speech. I suspect that is the way most educated British people pronounce it. To me, it sounds genteel – you hit the nail on the head, Gretchen. I think we may have an American-British split here, whatever the dictionaries say.

Quite likely, perhaps, given the evidence from the Pirates of Penzance, an instance of American pronunciation retaining an older form. A friend of mine, long ago, reading an essay to an Oxford tutor, was interrupted in delight when she used the word “shone”. “You pronounce it the way Pope did!”

(Kathy, the thing about “z” is not the way the letter is sounded, but its name. “Zed”, here.)

We’re going to attempt Strathardle today. Walking westward in mid-afternoon after Tuesday's pleasant lunch, I was blinded by the sun, and would have been glad to curl up and go back to sleep had I been a groundhog. But the weather on the doorstep this morning feels quite vernal.

One of the characters in Neighbours told one of the others recently that it is no use stressing over things you can’t change, and although I wouldn’t have phrased it like that, it’s a sensible observation, a propos my considerable anxieties about our journey. We should be back early next week. Maybe sooner if, for instance, there’s no water. I’ve phoned a neighbour. The roads are clear, and lumps of snow are lying about. That means there’ll be plenty in our garden, which is something of a frost pocket.

But maybe there’ll be snowdrops, too.

The sea kale thongs I ordered months ago surprised me by turning up on Tuesday, and at lunch the Fishwife gave me a box of deliciously-muddy Jerusalem artichoke tubers. So we’ve got to go. I prepared the ground for the sea kale last time, and I think I covered it, so I may be able to get those in. Artichokes may be more difficult.


That sleeve is within an inch or so of the top pattern band, and I think there are only two increase rounds remaining, so we’re coming out about even. One more session may finish it off.

I’ll take the unstarted hat to Perthshire, which should guarantee commencement.

I’m cooling off about the Harlequin, on the reflection that once I have re-sized the mitred squares to accommodate Koigu, I’ve also got to re-design them. I will have another hard look at Maie’s “Painter’s Palette”, where the patterns are meant for Koigu. Or if I insist on swagger and drape, what about Slicer-Smith’s “miter vee”, where fit is less acute? I’ll go on thinking.

My yarn-not-buying slider has taken a nice lurch forward. I sort of think it also marks the time since we have been to Strathardle – it (the slider) starts from the day the yarn arrived from Sweden for the Grandson sweater, and I have half-a-memory that that was on a departure day.


  1. Of-ten-with-a-t.

    If you can't get the artichokes in the ground just eat them. Plenty more where they came from!

  2. do you know the blog NEEDLED

    the author, Kate Davies, works at Newcastle University and designer of the popular Owls sweater.

    her partner wrote on tuesday on her blog that she is "seriously ill" and in hospital.

  3. rosesmama11:23 AM

    Here in the middle Atlantic states, I pronounce the t in often and not-the-t in pestle. ?? This is probably due to me learning often as a child from reading. Pestle was obscure enough that I didn't learn it until I worked cleaning up at the cooking school and learned it from one of the instructors.

    Enjoy poking around in the garden.

  4. Safe travels and happy hopeful digging.