Friday, February 07, 2014

A new follower! You are very welcome!

Again, there is little to report. I'm halfway through the second repeat (of 19) on the centre of the Unst Bridal Shawl. Soon there will be enough to spread out for a picture. It's looking good.

The dr was running very late yesterday – I am well along with the toe-shaping of that eternal Pakokku sock, as a consequence.

Something useful from Zite: this website has a run-down of all there is to know about knitted buttonholes, a subject I have never mastered. Makes a change from endless articles about a Chinese woman who knit a coat with her own hair.

Calcutta Cup

That's tomorrow. Alexander says the weather forecast is dire – does that offer Scotland a glimmer of hope? I doubt it. I think our case is even more dire. What I must do today is learn the words to “Flower of Scotland”. It will be printed in the programme, but it would be too embarrassing for words to have to read it.   I plan to sing both anthems, like Princess Anne.

Anyway, I haven't time for another knitting project. It would be just as well if Scotland lost.


Normally, we read the New Yorker when we are in Strathardle, free from the distractions of television and newspapers. And, under those circumstances, discover many an interesting article on topics one might have skipped past in the more pressured atmosphere of Edinburgh.

But we haven't been there for a long time, for fear of snow and our own frailty, so I've been catching up lately on a winter's-worth of New Yorkers. America seems stranger and stranger.

I don't always read the short story; in fact, more often than not, I don't. I give a story about a paragraph and a half to take me by the throat. The ones I do read are sometimes remarkably good, and I found one such yesterday in the January 20 issue: “A Mistake” by Akhil Sharma. The first two sentences are: “As far back as I can remember, my parents have bothered each other. [new paragraph] In India, we lived in two concrete rooms on the roof of a house.”

When I finished it, I rushed to His novel “Family Life” is soon to be published. The New Yorker story would appear to be an excerpt from it. They often do that – Ian McEwan is a particular favourite of the New Yorker's, and I first met Vikram Seth's “A Suitable Boy” in the form of a long excerpt there. The days of their publishing entire books (Silent Spring, Hiroshima, Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, In Cold Blood) seem to be over.

Anyway, recommended.

More non-knit, indeed completely irrelevant

A few months ago, we had some serious trouble with television reception. The choice was to send someone up to the roof of the tenement far above us, to fiddle with or replace the aerial, or to go for cable. We chose the latter, Virgin, and it has worked well on the whole.

It is our wont to spend the hour from six to seven watching the news, me knitting, my husband injecting insulin and then waiting half-an-hour for his tea. First the BBC News at Six, then Reporting Scotland.

Last Friday, we found ourselves transported to |Northern Ireland when we expected Reporting Scotland, and the situation has persisted. It must be Richard Branson's fault. Northern Ireland is a strange and interesting place, with a good deal more low-level argie bargie going on than you might suspect from the newspapers. But we miss Reporting Scotland.


  1. The dire weather forecast should help Scotland tomorrow, but despite my admiration for Scott Johnson (head coach/director of rugby) I'm not sure they have much of a chance against England.

    We'll watch anyway, just in case we are wrong! Do make sure you wrap yourself up against the elements. A rug and/or cushion are never a bad idea at Murrayfield.

  2. I thought the answer to your TV problem would be that the channel allocation had been changed and that you just needed to find the new channel, but it seems that this is a perennial problem for Virgin Media users (Google "Virgin Media wrong local news" and there are pages of results). Something to do with the cable headend, apparently. I think you'll need to contact Virgin and complain. In the meantime, you could watch the Scottish news on Freeview if you have it, or download TV Catchup from the App Store and watch it on your iPad.

  3. I've been enjoying the Austen thread in your comments.
    I think I prefer Lizzie and Emma as heroines because they are capable of error -"partial, prejudiced, absurd" - whereas Fanny Price is always on the moral high ground, and simply becomes a stronger force as the novel proceeds, without changing herself.
    For older women, what about Mrs Croft in "Persuasion"?

  4. I've never subscribed to the New Yorker out of fear of those issues coming at you relentlessly week after week, like Lucy in the chocolate factory. Have you "always" subscribed or is it perhaps a retirement occupation? Thanks for the tip about the Sharma story. It's available on the NYer website.

  5. I am so jealous of your shawl knitting. I have some gold mohair I was given in lace weight. Found a shawl that it might work with and might make that my Olympics project for this year.

  6. As an American I agree with your assessment about America becoming stranger. And thank you for the reminder to read my New Yorkers rather than letting them sit in stacks making me feel guilty for ignoring quality journalism. :)