Today is Lizzie's 21st birthday, way out there in Kansas. Happy birthday, Lizzie!
It's a separate country, however the referendum goes.
There are two big news stories here this morning. I have been dozing and listening to the Today programme, as every morning – I don't think either item was even mentioned.
One was the death yesterday afternoon of Margo MacDonald, a much-loved member of the Scottish parliament. A nationalist in sentiment, but too cheerful and honest a woman to get along well in any party. Latterly, she sat as an independent, a party of one. The electorate loved and appreciated her, if the politicians didn't – it isn't easy to get elected as an independent. She had Parkinson's and had recently been agitating in favour of assisted suicide.
The other was the announcement by the Pope of an enquiry into the behaviour of Cardinal O'Brien. This is pretty well unprecedented. He is sending a brisk Maltese archbishop to deal with things. O'Brien – you will remember, because I have often written of him – was forced to resign just before the conclave last year when three serving priests and an ex-seminarian accused him of improper behaviour towards them 30 years ago.
Since then, the Cardinal has been living very quietly, apparently in a monastery in the north of England. He wants to come home to Scotland and help out in the parish of Dunbar. The priest there is a friend, and the parish has voted overwhelmingly to welcome him. But he was apparently ordered to stay away, outwith the country. His friend Margo MacDonald remarked, “He has lost everything. Isn't that enough?”
The four accusers remain anonymous – I'm not even absolutely sure the church authorities know who they are. They communicate with the world through a journalist. And the crimes of which they accuse the Cardinal remain unspecified. He said when he resigned the archbishopric of St Andrews and Edinburgh that his conduct had fallen below the standard expected of him. An unwelcome hand on the knee? Homosexual rape?
The journalist appeared on television last night to say that this is too sudden (the Maltese archbishop will be here next week) and the accusers need more time to prepare and don't want to declare themselves to their superiors and this is no way to run an enquiry (so much for the Pope). The BBC said at one point yesterday that it would be a public enquiry – that's hard to believe, but I very much hope we will at last, at least, learn the identities of the accusers and the nature of the crimes. I am sure that half the world believes the Cardinal was systematically abusing altar boys, but there has never been the slightest suggestion of paedophilia, in fact.
All continues well with the Bridal Shawl, except for that troublesome corner. I'm nearly finished with round 27 (of 136). I have reduced the two pivot stitches back down to one, and I'm not wrapping it. Henceforth I will slip it at the beginning of each round, and knit it at the end. All four corners puff outward slightly, presumably because of having frequent YO's on either side of the centre stitch. I assume they will all lie flat once released from the needle and blocked.
So it's hard to say whether the messy fourth corner is worse in that respect because of the previous extra knitting of the pivot stitch or stitches. Or not.
On we go.