Wednesday, December 05, 2012


You win some: my husband’s present, a Microsoft Surface, arrived yesterday – one potential major source of worry nipped in the bud. I haven’t dared open the package yet, but must soon, if only to make sure that the electricals are right for charging the battery from British electricity.

I’m counting on James and Cathy’s son Alistair to teach my husband how to use it, when we meet on the shores of Loch Fyne, and, especially, how to surf the web. My husband is aware of the infinite resources of cyberspace but up until now has only been able to tell me what he wants fetched from there. 

And Alistair can play with the Surface himself when we have gone to bed.

You lose some: Helen writes from Athens that Archie will be travelling EasyJet when he goes home for the holidays next week. The baggage allowance is very limited – I won’t be able to fill a small suitcase with presents and just hand it to him, after all. I think I’ll be able to insinuate his brother Fergus’ present into whatever luggage he is taking. It’s long and narrow, awkward to wrap for the post, and light-weight. For the rest, it will have to be that expensive trudge to the post office after all.

Thank you for the kind comments about Lizzie’s forthcoming adventures in Kansas. Considering that there are only about 350 of us world-wide, on a very good day, it seems remarkable that so many have connections to the University of Kansas. Lizzie is, alas, not a knitter so almost certainly never looks at this blog: I gathered up all the relevant comments and emailed them to her just now.

I know of the Yarn Barn, of course. But I don’t think I have ever ordered from them, and I didn’t know that that’s where they are.

(So far, Alistair is the only one of my grandchildren who has shewn a real aptitude for knitting – but his early interest was squashed by strict Chinese views on gender roles. I still have hopes of his younger sister Kirsty. I need someone to go into the Chinese countryside, speaking the language -- as Kirsty does -- and write the book about Chinese peasant knitting.)

As for actual knitting, I left the brioche scarf unfinished and returned to the Reversible Cables last night. It’s slower work, but progressing nicely. I could stop any time. But I have determined on seven feet – 14 inches to go, therefore – and will proceed with that plan.

I must remember to allow time for making the Christmas pudding and perhaps cranberry sauce. Not to mention writing those cards. How did I manage it all when I did the whole thing myself, and had a job, and had to move the household from Birmingham to Strathardle in the darkest days of December?

I didn’t have to cook lunch in those days – that’s how.


  1. Does the very limited baggage allowance not allow any extra suitcase at all, or does it charge a fine? How much is the fine compared to the postage?

  2. I was wondering the same as Patience. An extra bag charge might not be more than the mailing, and you won't have to go to the post office or wrap to ship. I have yet to do mine, of course, but only to NJ and Texas, so I still have time.

  3. I scrolled down to leave a comment and see Patience and Mary Lou beat me to it. I might as well chime in too and say paying for the extra piece of baggage, even if it is a bit more than the cost of postage, seems a good solution. At this time of the year almost anything seems better than another trip to the post office.

  4. Hello Jean,
    Chiming in on the extra baggage thing. I think it is possible to pay for extra baggage on line which is much cheaper than arriving with extra baggage. Just make sure that Archie is ready to say that yes, everything is his and noone put anything in the suitcase without him knowing.

    I also wanted to comment on Chinese peasants knitting - I love that you have Kirsty's literary career all mapped out (I know her mother writes of course).

    I was in China a few months back for 3 weeks. Beijing and Shanghai with some cycling between. I never saw any peasant knitting, they were all busy drying and threshing peanuts, rice, garlic etc. But in the towns I saw a few shop assistants/owners sitting outside their shops knitting. It was always single colour stocking stitch on straight needles and no pattern in sight. No photos though.

    All the best

  5. My father was given an i-pad for his 89th birthday and has managed to learn to use it. He now happily "surfs" the web for gardening, religion, philosophy, woodwork and anything else that takes his fancy. I have no doubt that your husband will pick it up in no time. Your only problem will be ensuring it remains charged while in frequent use!

  6. My daughter is planning on becoming a Jayhawk next year also. Perhaps she and Lizzie will meet. The Yarn Barn is great to visit and will ship. There is also a Brit Shop across the street which has Weetabix, Jaffa Cakes, tea and tea biscuits. Quite expensive but sometimes you just need a remeberance.

  7. My husband said today that when one is retired, they have more time to do things... which is handy, since it takes longer to do anything.