Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I phoned a pious friend in Birmingham. Fr Gregory Winterton is indeed alive and reasonably well (at nearly 90), and hard at work just as when we knew him. It is wonderful news. He has served the Birmingham Oratory faithfully for many years, including some as Provost, and has seen some hard times. Sunday’s affair will have meant more to him, perhaps, than to anyone else on earth. I am so very glad he was there to enjoy it – and the Telegraph reported yesterday that the Pope went to lunch at the Oratory afterwards.

My friend is nearly 90 herself, and now housebound. She said that it is Fr Gregory who brings her communion. I wonder if that means he still rides a bicycle?

We are going to Glasgow today – more art, appropriately enough the “Glasgow Boys” show at Kelvingrove. It is about to close, and soon to move to the Royal Academy. I am pretty tired of art, and have been trying to persuade my husband to wait and see it in London. We hope to go down again towards the end of the year.

But then we found out that as many as 1/3rd of the pictures on show in Glasgow are not going to make the journey south, so I decided to bite the bullet. We’ll take a day or two to recover, and then, at last, Strathardle.

Alexander says he has lots of business in Glasgow. So I am to phone him when I know what train we’re on – they go every 15 minutes, and catching a particular one with my husband is more than my nerves can stand. Alexander will meet us and convey us to Kelvingrove (and, I hope, have lunch with us). That will do much to lift the day from duty to delight.

And it means (two 45- minute train journeys) that I will advance Matt’s first sock. I have turned the heel, and am about to start Oliver’ing. The mesh pattern for the scallops of the Amedro shawl is so easy that I am afraid to do it at the end of the evening when I’m tired – so tempting to decrease when I should be increasing, or to start the pattern at the wrong end of the row.

So I’ve been putting in a bit of sock-knitting from time to time. I love the Artist’s Palette Smoothie Sock yarn I bought at the I Knit Weekender. If I was to fall from grace by buying yarn, it was a good choice. Wonderfully soft and a splendid colour.

Which makes a smooth transition to the subject of stash…

That’s the lace yarn. There are some odds and ends of white in the cupboard as well.

At my age (77) that is undoubtedly more than I could finish before the end, if I knit it as lace. (And that would mean never tackling the Koigu!) I presume the charity knitters in Alyth aren’t interested in lace, although I might ask. Destashing through Ravelry is an interesting idea, Kristieinbc. Can I face the trips to the Post office?

Kristie – your blog has sent me off on a tangent.

James, as a child, thought he fancied learning Chinese. He had a book on the subject. One grim November afternoon, I took the children to the transport museum in Birmingham. There used to be – maybe still is – an irrelevant room devoted to writing. It included a rubbing of a Chinese inscription. James said, from across the room, “That word says middle. That word says kingdom.”

His future was set. I found him a tutor the following week.

Even before that day, we had had a holiday in Leningrad with our four small children. Like you, I knew a few words. Like Korea, the lavatories were pretty bad. But one day, in one of them, I spotted the word for “children” on a door leading from the Ladies. Voila!


  1. So the inscription probably said, "Made in China"? (The characters for China being 'middle kingdom'.) I had to learn some Chinese characters to write my thesis - and can no longer remember them as well as only ever knowing them in English. I admire his diligence!

  2. If you're after a good place to destash yarn for charity, how about p/hop, the charity Natalie set up for Medicine Sans Frontiers?


    You list what you have on the p/hop Ravelry forum, people request it, you post it out to them and they make a donation to p/hop in return.

  3. You had mentioned in a previous blog that James spoke Chinese. I had always wondered how he became fluent. Now the mystery is solved- he started when he was young. He must have a gift for languages if he had deciphered characters just from seeing them in a book.

    It's funny you should mention Russian. I am wondering if that will be the next language I try to tackle. My oldest daughter is dating a Russian (he immigrated to Canada when he was 17). I imagine the Russian public toilets were every bit as bleak as the Chinese.