Sunday, June 22, 2014

A busy week dawns. My husband has two separate medical appts – anything involving him and a clock is stressful, and seems to be becoming more so with old age. And I've got to tax the car by the 30th. The garage couldn't take it in for its MOT last week, which means we're running things rather fine. It's going on Tuesday. And I can't find the insurance certificate, only the temporary one for when Helen was here in May. Did they ever send it? I renewed for the year (and paid), and got her included for a fortnight, in the same phone call.

So that will have to be dealt with. As long as we get the new MOT, I see I have a fortnight's grace before actually having to display the new tax disc. Assuming we are, in fact, insured. Life is getting to be too much for me.

But if anything can inspire me to trudge on, it is your comment yesterday, Anonymous. Yes, of course, it was Catullus 11 I was thinking of, and the flower tactus aratro, touched by the plough. Your note was as if Professor Fordyce himself – who taught me, in Glasgow in the 50's – should have stirred in his grave to send it, irritated that I should have forgotten.

The professor of Latin in Birmingham for much of our time there (70's and 80's) was A.E. Douglas, he who edited Cicero's Brutus – and there's a tedious text if ever there was one. He was once asked, at a meeting of the Classical Association, whether he was depressed, or discouraged, by the decline in the study of the classics. It has been very swift and steep in GB since the 50's. [When I got to Glasgow in 1954, the decline had already happened in the US. But the first-year Latin class in Glasgow was still 100-strong, and fierce. It could and often did reduce the more English of the lecturers to a state near tears. Professor Fordyce played us as a matador a bull, and enjoyed himself doing it.]

Anyway, Professor Douglas said no, he wasn't worried at all. Latin literature would survive because it was good. And here's your comment, Anonymous, to prove it.

I'll see Archie later in the week – we're driving to the airport on Thursday, and it will be a welcome coda to present stress. The two appts will be behind us, and the problem of taxing the car may even have been resolved. I'll ask him whether it's World of Warcraft he's playing in yesterday'a photograph – but I'm sure it is. He underestimated my readers.

As for crossness, my husband is notorious for it. But he seems to me to be especially hard on Archie.

And, oh yes, knitting. These six garter stitch rounds at the end of the borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl are proving as tedious as feared. I'm halfway around no. 2. I keep thinking about knitting a border on, and keep getting confused in my head. Which way am I going? It would seem a good idea to have the right side of the border facing the same direction as the right side of the shawl. How, exactly, will that work? How cumbersome will it be to turn the work at the end of each of those little rows?

Try it and you may I say – Sam-I-Am's excellent advice in his eponymous book.


  1. Re: taxing the car. Do you feel equal to doing it online? You do not have to find any documents since the records are all there on the database - if the old MOT continues beyond the date when the new tax disc starts then it is valid for the renewal. If it will have expired, then the new one should have reached the system by the day after it has been done. Either way, you have time to do it before the end of the month, and save yourself that awful time of "Why is it not where I should have put it?. I've been taking the easy wasy out for ages - both for mine and OH's.

  2. I'd go with 'jeanfromcornwall' on the road tax - it's very simple to manoeuvre the site and even if it doesn't come in the post on the new tax day, it will still show up on your records that it's en route, so no problems with not showing it on your windscreen.If you can tax for the whole year in one go, it's easier at MOT time too. If you get stuck, gie's a shout!lol

  3. Anonymous2:09 PM

    If you don't feel up to doing it online, I would be happy to run it up to the P.O. for you - I'm only at the other end of Herriot Row from you, in Great Stuart Street.

  4. elginknitter2:17 PM

    I hope I'm not being presumptuous, but is it possible your husband is a wee bit jealous when people come to visit? I only ask because I saw it happen with my (elderly) father; my mother spending time with visitors, even family members, irked him exceedingly and he became even grumpier than usual, because he was so accustomed to having her undivided attention.