Thursday, June 05, 2014

I've started round 119 of the borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl – 17 rounds to go when this one is finished. Things are speeding up, if only slightly. The odd-numbered rounds are as slow as ever, because the trellis expands as the motif contracts, but the trellis doesn't move in the even-numbered rounds so they are now quite brisk. Round 202 will see the motifs finished off altogether.

There are still an awful lot of stitches to get round – and 64 more will be added before I finish.

Thank you very much indeed for your help with Archie's sweater. When on earth? The only solution may be to postpone my funeral. I don't have Martin Storeys's “Knitting for Him”, Stella, so I ordered it yesterday (from Amazon, I'm afraid), glad of an excuse to buy a knitting book, I do have Bruce Weinstein's “Sweaters Men Want”. I got that out yesterday, prompted by your comment. Each pattern is more boring than the last, but that's the point. Weinstein says that boring is what men want. 

I'll look at EZ's New Zealand sweater again, Mary Lou, and also at Jared's collection for men, Ellen. Archie will be here next week, I think, when his GCSE exams are finally over, and I can show him my thinking to date.


This is a really embarrassing question, Lisa: where did you read James on Tiananmen? The Economist blog, maybe.

I haven't heard from him or Cathy but have been thinking much of them during the anniversary. She was writing for the Times at the time, and James was with the BBC. The demonstrations had been going on for six weeks or so, coinciding originally I believe with the visit of a Russian head of state – was it Gorbachev? Things seemed to be quieting down, and James had been dispatched for some R&R in Hong Kong.

We learned of the tanks and the guns on Saturday evening on television, from Kate Adie. I must have been one of relatively few mothers in the world who lay awake that night worrying that perhaps her son wasn't in Tiananmen Square. But it was all right. He hadn't left. There he was at the top of the radio news the next morning, calm and strong.

The second item that morning, I remember, was the death of the Ayatollah. (What Ayatollah?) He had been much involved in something eight or ten years before – the Iranian Embassy siege, perhaps? – which had begun to look a bit like the ending of the world while Rachel was sitting her finals at Cambridge. Was James still at school at that time? Whatever, none of us could have imagined then that the death of the Ayatollah could ever come second on the news to anything James had to say.

Rachel will be here tomorrow to take us to Strathardle. I probably won't reappear here until Tuesday. Here are some of the promised pics, already looking s bit out of date.

Good King Henry, in Strathardle ten days ago. I don't know why that one plant in the lower right-hand corner looks like an ad for Miracle Gro. I hope to tuck them all up cosily with compost this coming weekend:

And courgettes and peas on the doorstep here. One of those courgettes will have to come out. They are in a big pot supported by a tripod, a rusty old thing which has been lying about in Strathardle ever since we bought the house. It looks rather effective here. The change of height is valuable. I now aspire to a patio quince tree. Such things exist.  


  1. Anonymous12:43 PM

    I read James' article online. I understand hard-copy subscribers in Beijing received the new issue with these pages neatly excised.
    Enjoy the time in Strathardle!

  2. The plants in your raised pot are looking wonderfully healthy but unless you intend to eat the peas as salad pea shoots, I fear they will soon be smothered by the courgette leaves.

  3. =Tamar6:21 PM

    That one extra large plant is right next to the grass, too. How very odd.
    As always, I am impressed by how much more you get done than I do.

  4. LOVE your peas and courgettes pot! Such a pretty placement of plants!

  5. Plants are looking good. Quince can do okay in Scotland? We've got one here in the yard, but GA is a pretty different climate. Hope everything's going well!