Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Safely back.

And the Grandson Sweater is safely united with its grandson. Here’s the picture from “Nordic Knitting”, just to remind you.
Here’s Joe, trying – rather successfully – to smoulder in similar fashion.

And here he is in propria persona.

It looks as if the fit is fairly successful. All this stuff about measuring and swatching must have some foundation after all. I like the way the neck stands away in a funnel – more comfortable than if close, I suspect. I’ve offered to lower it if he prefers.

Joe is studying politics at Nottingham University. He hopes to spend the summer in DC with Theo and Jenni (last summer’s newlyweds) in their new house, working at something political. He is currently in the throes of visa application.


The ground is still frozen hard an inch below the surface. I got a certain amount of pruning and fertilizing and mulching-with-manure done, but the sea kale and Jerusalem artichokes remain unplanted. And I had hoped to root out two dud gooseberry plants for which I have ordered replacements. No luck. By this time last year, I had planted a row of autumn-fruiting raspberries and a clutch of Mara des Bois strawberries and prepared the sites for the courgettes. (Dig a hole, half fill with manure, fill it in, mark with stick.)

Chaucer's "drought of March" is fully in operation. Everything is going to grow like Japanese knotweed when it rains and winter finally lets go.

But we had, at least, picked the perfect moment to enjoy our snowdrops. These pictures were taken on Thursday morning – we both think they got even better over the weekend.


Her son phoned – ironically, on Mothering Sunday – to say that the friend for whom I knit those chemo caps over Christmas is dead. Not a surprise, but a real blow.

When we saw them last summer, she seemed as ever, full of strength and good cheer. He was obviously fading. She told us about her cancer of two years before – one of those nasties which was advanced past remedy before it was discovered. I think she said it was attached to a major blood vessel. The drs could only prune it a bit and try chemo. They had succeeded better than they expected or hoped. Her husband’s fear that she would leave him was palpable as she told us all this. M. herself could have been talking about a round of golf (a game she loved).

We have known them for 40 years, true friends. He was my husband’s colleague at work. His support – devotion, is not too strong a word – went well beyond any job description. It is hard to see how he can live without his wife. His kidneys have failed – M. told me that in her Christmas letter. His son said on the phone on Sunday that he intends to give up dialysis.


  1. Brava on the sweater! It looks practically perfect.

    We don't have snowdrops, but I expect you might have seen my early reticulated irises and croci, which are now in their prime. If I can manage to get my tiller going, I expect to see how workable the soil is in the near future. I don't expect full thaw for a while yet, though.

  2. dawn in NL10:22 AM

    Dea Jean,

    I am so sorry to hear about your friend. After 40 years of friendship it is a shock even when expected.

    I hope the signs of spring, your lovely snowdrops, bring some comfort.

    Thinking of you,

  3. Your post brought me from happy smiles (the sweater and grandson are LOVELY) to tears. The death of a friend is so very difficult. The death of a spouse I can't even imagine...

  4. Anonymous12:19 PM

    The sweater is so beautiful and such a perfect fit. I, too, like the collar. Thank you for the pictures of the snowdrops. I am in Canada and it is a little early for them, so your display cheered my heart greatly. Your blog today reminds us of hope and rebirth even in death and sorrow.

  5. Your grandson and his grandson sweater look great. He wears it well. We are a long way from snowdrops here, but it is cheering to see yours. And I hope spring brings some comfort to you-- I am sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.

  6. The jumper looks great! I'll keep an eye out for it when I'm next in Nottingham ;o)

    I hope the signs of Spring and new life are giving you some comfort in the difficult aftermath of losing a friend.

  7. Gerri2:48 PM

    I am sorry to hear of the death of your friend. Forty years of friendship is both a wonderful blessing and, now, a tremendous loss. May you find some comfort in the memories of the long years together.

  8. Sorry to hear about your friend Jean.

    Your grandson looks perfect in his sweater- it suits him quite well!

  9. My sympathies on the loss of your friend.

  10. Anonymous8:32 PM

    Jean, so sorry about your friend - and to hear of her husband's situation.

    Grandson sweater looks great, including the fit. I'm with you on the funnel neck - both comfortable and good-looking.

    How lovely to see Scottish snowdrops. Toronto croci are coming up, not yet blooming, in my tiny front garden.
    - Beth

  11. So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. And now I feel for the husband. Tough times. Send loving thoughts and strength to all friends and relations in difficult times.

  12. So sorry to read of your loss - close long time friends are the hardest to lose. here's hoping the husband is at peace soon with his beloved.

  13. The sweater looks fantastic! The grandson wears it well - quite handsomely!

    I am sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. It is never easy. Warm thoughts to all friends and family.