Sunday, June 26, 2011

Little to report, and this is my sign-off for a while. The Mileses must be in a departure lounge at Beijing airport right this moment, if not actually airborne. If all goes according to plan, someone will be bedding down here by my computer tomorrow morning – and later, we’ll all go to Kirkmicha*l and I will start rescuing my poor vegetables from the all-enveloping weeds.

And casting-on the Japanese shirt!

Our niece came to lunch yesterday, looking younger and prettier than when we last saw her, freed from the stress of her mother’s dying. She is moving forward with the sad business of getting things valued for probate.

I didn’t get much knitting done, but the herringbone-ing of the first sleeve is finished, and the self-knitting sock has turned its heel.

Annie, thanks for the tip about Pavi Yarns and Cascade 220. I’ll bookmark.


There are two non-knit topics which have been forming themselves into possible blog-paragraphs in my head while I have been cooking and washing-up lately. One of them concerns the shouting of “Come on, Tim” at Andy Murray when he is playing tennis – which annoys him, understandably, and has an undercurrent of racism to it. Murray is undoubtedly the best British tennis player for a long, long time – better than Tim Henman, certainly – but if there’s one thing he’s rather emphatically not, it’s an Englishman.

These days he looks not entirely unlike Peter Capaldi in “In the Thick of It” – tall, Scottish and furious.

The other concerns Esther Rantzen, who had an article in the Telegraph recently about moving from a four-storey town house in London somewhere to a two-bedroom’d apartment, now that she is a widow and her children have flown the coop. The article was about how she misses her clutter.

But she didn’t even mention the aspect of house-clearing which would stop us in our tracks if we ever tried to downsize. Brown furniture can go to the sale room, stash to Alyth: but what about books?

Maybe Esther Rantzen has a Kindle.


  1. I'm right there with you on the question of books. The single most important consideration when we were looking for the house to buy for retirement was room for the bookcases, and for expansion. We have lived long enough to know that these problems will never get any less - but problem is the wrong word.
    I guess that not everyone is infected with the disease.

  2. My best friend's parents were academics in CT with a house crammed full of books in Greek and Latin... when they decided to downsize, retire and move to SF they went through all their books, chose only a few they could not live without and donated the rest to a NY City College library that desperately needed books of that caliber. They gave so many that a whole section of the library was named after them in their honor (no joke.) That way the books went to a useful home, dear to their heart. They sold their modest ranch house during the boom for an obscene amount of money (millions-- it had to do with the location, and it always made me sad that the sweet little house was knocked down by a developer to put a McMansion on the property.)

    They now live in a sunny two bedroom Victorian townhouse in San Francisco, with a garden (where they grow sorrel- that was the first time I ever tried it!). On a clear night, you can see the bay...

  3. We've downsized everything except the book collection. It seems to keep on growing despite numerous trips here and there to negotiate sales and donations. The overflow is currently in the hallway occupying half the length of this long skinny house.

  4. Oh, Lord, this is causing me flashbacks to moving my mother in law from exactly that sort of 4 level townhouse into a two bedroom condo.

    Four years later she is still complaining about all the college textbooks and unused wedding gifts from 50 years ago that I "forced" her to give to charity, because of course she needs that chemistry book and chafing dish on a daily basis now.

  5. Depending on the topic of the books, you can gift them to your children or sell them on ebay or donate them to a library.

  6. Anonymous9:23 PM

    Books: I have collected them for decades, and now I ask myself why. So, I am debooking. I have been giving them away by the bagful. I have an extensive collection of excellent cookbooks that I have been weeding. I shan't part with Larousse Gastronomique, but the lesser books are slowly moving to a charity sale that raises money for the children's hospital. I like to think that some young couple who love to cook but cannot afford to spend $40 on a cookbook will enjoy buying them for a dollar. I am really tired of owning so much stuff, and I don't want to leave it for my son to have to sort through after I leave this life. When I realized that the books owned me rather than the other way around, I decided it was time to act.

  7. =Tamar4:54 AM

    The libraries around here don't want donations; they have warehouses full of them that they are trying to sell. I think I would get rid of furniture first, and pack books in boxes (labeled) and use them as furniture.

  8. Yes, books are tricky aren't they? Just got a kindle for my birthday - and it's great! One of the best things is the number of classic books available for free... Anyway, just to report re: GKH/fat hen - I have a recipe for fat hen au gratin from a nice cookbook called 'Food from green places'...

  9. Anonymous2:38 PM

    The New York Times has an article about Good King Henry today (7/7/11):

    Erin in PA