Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My husband had a good visit with C. yesterday, although he was clearly distressed by her frailness.

When we saw her in hospital, three days after surgery, still attached to the NHS by more tubes than one would have thought possible, the conversation turned to Christmas and I said, for a reason completely forgotten, “We’ll give you a garden gnome, then". She said, with what sounded like real enthusiasm, that she would love a gnome.

So I got her one – a pair, in fact. Yesterday they were finally delivered. She rang up, shortly after my husband got back, to see if he was safely home – he is not often allowed to wander around the city by himself these days – and to thank me. She has never been any good at sounding enthusiastic about something she doesn’t like, and is far too weak to attempt it now. She was clearly delighted.

(James and – especially – Cathy had pre-empted the obvious present by giving her an unbelievably beautiful yak’s-wool-and-silk wrap of a deep, saturated blue.)

I discovered in the course of my research that gnomes are available in much greater variety in the US, including presidential gnomes. If I were Theo and Jenni, I might think it fun to start collecting all the presidential gnomes of one’s married life.


The plumber (we love him) has solved the problem. He thinks the cold loosened the debris of ages from the inside of the down-pipe which then all fell down to the bottom.

I’ve got the income tax pretty well ready to file, AND I have finally ordered a new printer. Alexander is right – it cost scarcely more than it would have cost to get a Man In to shake his head at the old one. It should be here by Monday and meanwhile, I think, I’ll let the income tax marinate, which is often good for it.


I’ve started the cowl, and am enjoying it as expected. There should be enough for a pic tomorrow. I was very tired last night and made heavy weather of it. I should pick up speed today.

Once I have a printer, I can give real thought to the Christopher hat.


  1. I think loving the plumber is a universal feeling. I tried in vain to get one of my kids to take up the profession. I told them exactly what you said- everyone is happy to see a plumber arrive. On the other hand, how many people are thrilled to see a doctor walk through the door? Also, I guess this means your granddaughter has been declared innocent of all plumbing wrongdoing.

  2. Anonymous11:36 PM

    My thought is that plumbing is one of the few jobs we still cannot outsource. If I need a plumber, I need him HERE, in NH! India or Ireland simply will NOT DO!!! I also tried to encourage a child in that direction e is now pursuing a master's degree in Chinese medicine and acupuncture. What do James & Cathy think about this as a career path?

    Barbara M.

  3. Those garden gnomes are splendid!! I am a fan of garden gnomes, my husband is a relatively recent, and reluctant, convert.

  4. =Tamar5:42 AM

    Love the plumber, the plumber is your friend, as a rule, though I've encountered a couple who had to be told to Go Away. It would seem that the granddaughter is exonerated, too, another point in favor of family harmony.
    Acupuncture is another thing that can't be outsourced.