Monday, March 10, 2014

I enjoyed my Sunday, although even cider doesn't taste as good as it used to. Both daughters rang up to tell me that I have probably damaged my heart with excessive cider-drinking and must give it up altogether. They'll be suggesting I give up knitting, next. But I will at least ensure that drs are fully apprised, and meanwhile it's back to Lent.

My husband, on the other hand, has begun to talk about getting back to Strathardle, and, indeed, of planting a magnolia on the west lawn. That's the elephant in the room, all right. I said I'd have to get better first. He said, you're not in terminal decline. I thought that was rather encouraging.

There was some talk, in the telephone calls just mentioned, of trying to postpone this week's dr's appt until Friday, so that Greek Helen (arriving very late Thursday) could come along. But Friday is the day the publisher and the researcher are coming to see us (I will order in sandwiches from a promising website I have discovered) and I think that's probably enough for one day. I can see the argument for bringing it forward, too, although that would be likely to mean that he wouldn't have last Wednesday's chest x-ray yet. He told me last week the symptoms which would mean I should ring up the practice and demand to see someone at once (as well as the ones which would mean ringing 999) – I'll wait and watch.

And I'll ask about potassium.


I have finished the 11th and embarked on the 12th repeat in the centre of the Unst Bridal Shawl. Progress. If my husband is wrong and I am in terminal decline, this is the baby I want to leave behind. It is uncomfortable to reflect – but true of all of us – that something, or some collection of things, is bound to be left behind unfinished.

The Schoolhouse Press has got a new book called Dutch Traditional Ganseys. I wondered at first whether it was a re-publication, perhaps updated, of the one work I have on the subject, but I've found my book – it was actually on the Traditional Knitting Shelf where it belonged – and it's a different one, “Knitting from the Netherlands” by Henriette van der Klift-Tellegen. Another wonderful name. So I'll probably order the new one, although Dutch fishermen's sweaters are not nearly as interesting as British ones.

The Schoolhouse also seems to have revived Woolgathering. I'm not quite sure where I stand on that one – I think my subsciption expired and I couldn't renew because we had entered the hiatus. I'll have to try to check.


Greek Helen is now back in Athens after the family trip to Constantinople, getting ready to come to Edinburgh. She sent us these pictures:

Cat in Hagia Sophia:

Cat in the Archaeological Museum:

Hittites in the Archaeological Museum, looking remarkably as if they are clutching fringed, triangular shawls about their shoulders:


  1. Christine11:18 AM

    I bought Dutch Traditional Ganseys, and have found it interesting, with a lot of history and some connections to British ganseys. There are a lot of stitch patterns and gansey patterns, I got it from Amazon UK. Hope you enjoy it.

  2. Anonymous11:24 AM

    Unless you're swilling down pints of cider on an hourly basis or pouring it on your cornflakes, it can't be doing much harm. Hope the dr has good news and solutions for you later this week. MrsAlex

  3. The new book about Dutch Guernseys is very good - illustrated with lots of good, old photographs, and some lovely little phrases that got slightly bent in the translation tunnel.
    I can't remember where I got mine from - it might have been Schoolhouse Press, , but it is also available at A***on UK, and currently unavailable at B**k Depos****y. (I doubt if I would have used the first of those - always my last call of desperation! The ISBN number if you want to hunt around for it is 9789058779987.
    I can't think that a trip to Strathardle could be good for you if only because of the anxiety it would give you. Take care!

  4. I agree with MrsAlex, don't give up on yourself just yet. The waiting can get wearing can't it? Praying, try to take each day one step at a time and distract yourself from going over it all again and again.

  5. Schoolhouse is switching to digital for future woolgatherings. Last printed one is 90. No word yet on how to subscribe.

    Glad the Dr gave you precaution measures.

  6. I laughed out loud over the terminal decline remark, I have to say. I hope you have some one to go to the appt. with you to be a second set of ears. The Hittite's seem to have invented ribbing, too.

    1. Anonymous10:34 PM

      You may be right! Ribbing - or is it fringe?
      -- stashdragon

    2. =Tamar5:47 AM

      Fringe is perhaps more likely.

  7. Love Greek Helen's pictures. I love looking at the Hagia Sophia, but it has never occurred to me that they might have a resident cat. The children will find that amusing. I'm glad your husband doesn't think you're in terminal decline. I'll take that as an encouraging sign.

  8. A possible solution might be to ask the doctor if he would mind talking on the phone or emailing with Greek Helen if she has any questions. I'm sorry your cider didn't give you as much enjoyment as usual.

  9. Re: Woolgatherings. I got my issue and was told inside that as long as your subscription is active you will be able to access it online. No instructions yet as to how to but I imagine Meg will send it out via email.

    I don't see you imbibing more than a bottle a day and like you say it is extra calories if your appetite is reduced. The stress of helping your husband would be more of a factor.

  10. Gerri5:06 PM

    A few comments on the cider situation, FWIW:
    make sure you understand any potential interactions between alcohol and your new medication(s). Talk to a pharmacist. Some of your weight loss may be due to taking a diuretic-it's fluid loss. Lastly, if somone is not eating much, they need nutrient-dense calories, not the empy calories of alcohol.

    As for Wool Gathering, I don't see any evidence of a hiatus. My recent issues are following the Sept/March pattern. I'm hoping the digital version makes it easier for my to track when my subscription is ending. Meg said to make sure they have your email.

  11. Bananas, Jean. My husband was told he had a potassium deficiency and we instituted a daily banana - they are rich in potassium, apparently. But it depends what you can face when feeling nauseous.

  12. Thank you for sharing Greek Helen's photos. As for 'terminal decline' none of us wants to think you're there, although really, aren't we all? Those of us older than, say, 40?