Monday, December 06, 2010

Another new follower! You are as welcome as every one of your 61 predecessors, but your arrival is particularly cheering in these days of cold and darkness and fear and disappointment.

Here we still are. The East Coast Line provisional timetable for today shows that the train we’re booked on is not going to be running, and the others are scheduled to take about 20% longer than their usual time. Longer than that, of course, if they slow down and stop for an indeterminate period in Northumberland. I struggled up to Waverley in a blizzard last Thursday and learned from a woman who would have fitted right in working for Hitler that we would get our money back if the train actually didn’t run.

So we’re lucky. We have an Advance ticket supposed to be good only for the train we’re booked on. (In these circumstances, it would qualify us to ride on the train just-before or just-after if we didn't mind travelling without seats.) If we had picked one of the others, the mere fact that the journey was now going to be uncomfortably long and my husband is 85 and wheezy would have cut no ice.

We’re hoping to go on Thursday, dangerously near Christmas for so exhausting an undertaking – but the forecast does show things getting better in London, at least, over the weekend. At the moment, conditions are treacherous underfoot all the way from Rachel’s house to the 159 bus stop which carries us into the heart of London.

My husband has never, ever failed to see the Turner Prize show. It goes off on January 3. So things are critical.

I spoke to our niece last night. She sounded low. C. has previously looked well, whatever the horrors reported, but over the weekend she was pale. I think things may pick up once she gets home, still scheduled for Wednesday. One of the women in her room is a loony who talks all the time and occasionally leaps out of bed in the middle of the night, grabs her zimmer frame, and makes a bid for freedom. The other two women in the room are fairly deaf, but C. is suffering.

Having read Alan Bennett on the subject of his colon cancer I went on to finish “Untold Stories” and now have gone back to “Writing Home”. Both are loose collections of diaries and miscellaneous journalism and writing-for-TV. Much is familiar, but I can’t remember whether I’ve read either of them straight through before. He has a brilliant ear for absurdity, and is perfectly suited to the weather, the gloom, and the events unfolding around me.


Thank you for your encouraging remarks about the Japanese hat. I never thought of tying those ties – nobody does that in Edinburgh, and I can assure you that I’ve seen a great many ear-flap hats in the last few days. But I can see that it might be useful, and the Gobi desert, for the edges of which the hat is destined, gets very cold in the winter.

I did cast on Round-the-Bend last night. I’m glad that DVD is on the way. The pattern is couched in terms of K – determined, as usual, by multiplying stitches-per-inch by desired circumference. But there are quite a few places – including the initial cuffs – where the instructions are expressed in absolute terms, number-of-rows. The yarns in my piles of sock-yarns-and-Koigu are much finer than the stuff Meg used for the prototype. Caution required.

I had looked forward to the events of this week finishing off Matt’s socks by themselves without effort from me – now I’ll have to knit them here, not entirely trusting our hopes for Thursday. They’re not exactly Christmas knitting, and Matt certainly isn’t expecting them, but I’d like to have them available for the day.


  1. Pity about the weather conditions but we'll hope for Thursday. Alan Bennett is a gem - is The Lady in the Van everyone's favourite?

  2. Jean, I do so love reading your blog, I follow it every day. You may have more followers than you know; there are probably more than a few, who, like me, subscribe to it in some type of RSS-feed.

  3. Anonymous9:34 PM

    Jean, I have been following your blog for about a year now.I became interested in your wonderful knitting projects and am amazed at how skillful you are. I got a long ways to go to reach your level.
    If you leave on Thursday you and your husband be careful. It can be slippery.
    Enjoy your Christmas with your family
    Sandy Nova scotia

  4. I have been a follower for the last few years but have never figured out how to become a "follower" (I discovered it was quite easy even for the computer disabled). Your blog is warm, thoughtful, and literate. Reading you every morning is like a chat with a dear friend. Often I find myself quoting you to my husband at breakfast. You, your husband, and your SIL are often in my thoughts. Please take care of yourself.
    Janet from Cape Cod

  5. =Tamar1:56 AM

    How nice that you have the possibility of a refund. Sometimes one guesses right.
    If you do venture forth, please be cautious. It would be a pity to miss the show after such a long sequence, but worse to have a fall. Does England get those invisible patches of ice slick with secure footing between them that fools you? My one bad car wreck happened because of a day like that, and two hours later it had all melted.