Wednesday, December 18, 2013


We had a lovely lunch at the Botanics. Delicious food, and some nice Prosecco. No office parties. Pleasant, youthful service. We sat on, long into the afternoon.

I saw a poster outside, urging you to stage your winter wedding there. I'm sure they do it very nicely indeed. Four thousand pounds for the minimum package. No wonder everybody dispenses with the benefit of clergy these days.

Our niece has given me the phone number of her computer man. I'll phone him about the problem of transferring programs from Old Slowcoach, although I'll postpone any possible visit until after the horrors to come. She had a difficulty recently with her ageing laptop -- her man advised, over the phone, switching it off thoroughly and then switching it on again. It worked. He sounds like the sort of man I need.

Not much else, on the Christmas front. There was only one, boring piece of incoming mail yesterday – not a Christmas card in sight.

It turns out that none of Rachel's children will make it to Loch Fyne this year. I had particularly been looking forward to de-briefing Lizzie about life in Kansas, but she's got a bar job lined up. And that means that I won't be on hand when either the Silly Christmas Project or the Sensible one is unwrapped – my two best, for this year.


Today a man from an auction house is going to bring my husband a sketchbook to look at which purports to be by what's-his-name. The auctioneer doesn't have any great hopes for it, so the visit should be a bit less stressful than the last one when my husband had to tell that nice man, no, it's not. He has also had a letter from Ch******'s, in London, who are soon to sell a rather splendid royal portrait, de-accessioned by T***do, O. My husband doesn't think he has anything to add on that one beyond what T***do has already told them.

We toyed with the idea, when he retired, of charging people for this sort of expert advice, but decided that it was simpler not to.


I finished the front of Milano/Relax3 and have joined one shoulder. Today I will compare it to my dear Relax2 and discover what I have achieved, size-wise. Next I must pick up stitches for the sleeves and decide exactly how to stripe them.

I've been thinking more about CustomFit and Herzog's excellent advice – namely, think about your wardrobe. It is no use my knitting myself a sweater to wear around the house, because “around the house” means “in the kitchen” – it would get too dirty, too fast. In Strathardle I wear superannuated sweaters which go straight from kitchen to garden and back, but that sort of dilapidated appearance won't do for Drummond Place. I wear sweatshirts here, with multiple layers beneath in cold weather. The surface garment is at least clean.

I don't know where this gets me. A cardigan, for flinging on when I don't quite need a coat? I'm afraid the drawer is already heaving with unworn cardigans. Something sleeveless? That's a possibility – it could at least serve as a layer, underneath the sweatshirt.


I think this would be a good moment to knock off until next year, and to wish you all a very happy Winter Solstice – we have only to hold out until the weekend, and we've done it again! I used to look anxiously at the Sunrise and Sunset times in the newspaper, this time of year, just until I was absolutely sure that they had remembered to throw the switch up there.

Cat – of course, it's the summer solstice for you and your friends. You will have less light next week. You've got the Ashes to console you!


  1. I wish less light meant less heat - it was 44'C here today and summer has barely begun!

  2. I hope that your family Christmas goes well - at least better than last year!

  3. I thought of you today as I picked up a net of chocolate sprouts in the Boston branch.
    May your Christmas be warm, peaceful and happy!

  4. Some beloved friends were married last week in the Como conservatory here in Saint Paul MN. It was a lovely place for a winter wedding—below zero outside, with a chill wind, and all warmth, foliage, and flowers in the glasshouse. I don't think it is anywhere near that expensive, though!
    Happy Christmas to you and your family, Jean! Looking forward to the great reveal of the Silly and Sensible Christmas projects!

  5. "Compliments of the Season" as it says in a book my Grandfather gave my Grandmother prior to their marriage. May all go well and easy and joyous.

  6. Happy Christmas!!!! will miss my morning tea and read... here's hoping you and your family have a wonderful Holiday!

  7. rereading my comment - i should have written - will miss my morning Read with my tea. Happy Holidays!

  8. Have a wonderful holiday with your family, Jean! Perhaps you can assign someone the task of taking a picture of the recipients as they open the Silly and Sensible Christmas gifts. And hopefully you can have a long holiday phone call with Lizzie about her time in Kansas.

  9. Anonymous2:58 PM

    Merry Christmas, Jean! I, too, will miss my morning read with my coffee. I had the thought of Skype for the opening of special presents, but that means more computer stuff and might diminish your general joy. Blessings of the season, knit on.

  10. Anonymous3:22 PM

    Blessings abound upon you all!!
    I,too, will miss having coffee with you; but, at least I still have the Pope!!

  11. Have a delightful holiday season! We will miss your daily notes!

  12. Anonymous4:45 PM

    Best wishes for Christmas and the new year! We look forward to your return in 2014.
    -- stashdragon

  13. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It's been great getting to know you this year :-)

  14. Jean, I too want to wish you all the very best of the season and Happy Winter Solstice. Enjoy the family time. We will await your return with impatience.

  15. Anonymous7:43 PM

    Jean, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! If Santa Claus still visits your home, I also wish that his pack is filled with MadelineTosh yarn just for you!

    I'm going to miss my daily dose of your blog, as it is the first one I read each morning. See you in 2014.

    Mary G. in Texas

  16. Anonymous9:54 PM

    Many Blessings on you and the extensive family, Jean. May the turning of the year at Solstice find the coming New Year Blessed as well. I look forward to resuming our daily routine in January. - Joe-in Wyoming

  17. MaureenTakoma11:17 PM

    Let me join the throng in wishing you all the best for Christmas. I expect you will have some delightful times knitting those sleeves on the Milano. Looking forward to your return in the new year.

  18. Merry Christmas to you and all your family! May it be a blessed one. I look forward to reading your blog again in the New Year, you brighten my mornings with your comments and observations. I have started reading Life after Life.

  19. Anonymous2:41 AM

    Best wishes for a lovely Christmas indeed. We will try to find some lesser amusements to distract us during your holiday break. Have a very happy and healthy New Year!

  20. Happy solstice and merry Christmas!

  21. Best wishes for a happy Chritmas to you and to all you love.
    Ron In Mexico

  22. =Tamar5:02 AM

    I'm sure I've said this before, but aging laptops are sensitive to heat and to dust building up on the fan, which makes them overheat. They need to be cleaned. A stopgap is to find the place where the hot air is blown out by the fan, then shut down the computer and blow briskly through that place to knock the dust off the fan. In severe cases, a professional should open the laptop and remove dust kitties. The hard drive should be tested for errors and backed up and replaced if there are too many. Compliments of the season!