Saturday, July 31, 2021


2443 steps today – that’s back in the acceptable range. Who knows whether the improvement was in me or the app. C. and I walked around the garden this morning. We had a certain amount of gentle-rain-from-Heaven today, but I doubt if it added up to as much as we need.


James and Cathy and their daughter Kirsty are beginning a Scottish pilgrimage today, going first to Kirkmichael. I won’t see them until Wednesday.




Jenni from Seattle (comment Wednesday): You’re wide of the mark, on this one. A close family member of mine, dearly loved, is trans. She’s a private sort of person and I hope not to mention her here again. Loving her, however, doesn’t affect the issues about women’s spaces and women’s athletics and roles reserved for women, e.g. in  short lists . It is a great pity that everything has become so heated and political. I wish we could all be as open and cheerful as Grayson Perry – although I know he’s not strictly relevant. I was a great fan of Jan Morris, too. Like your partner, she knew she was in the wrong body at an early age, but nevertheless married and fathered, I think, five children, before transitioning in her 40’s.

Today is the feast of St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order. 

Friday, July 30, 2021


Another day of little achievement. In light of yesterday’s failure, I thought it important to get around the garden, and I did, grateful for both benches. But that was about it. I didn’t finish the Italian essay, and have still to read my canto of the Inferno. 1798 steps, the app says. It's cooler today, although still no rain.


Today is the feast of St Martha (as in Martha-and-Mary). The world has always stuck up for her, busy in the kitchen while her sister sat at Jesus’ feet. What else could she have done? A meal, however simple, for six or eight people (I’m assuming Jesus didn’t arrive alone), requires some preliminary thought. There was probably a servant. Could she have sent the servant out for the 1st century Palestinian equivalent of pizza, and sat down beside her sister? That certainly seems to be the course of action the biblical narrative recommends.


You don’t want to get me started on the Prodigal Son.

Thursday, July 29, 2021


Hot and sticky again. There’s been no more rain. Archie came. We didn’t go out – there were some jobs I wanted to get done, and I won’t see him again for awhile. The step count is too embarrassing to report.


Diana Wynne Jones sounds tempting, if a bit Welsh. I’ll certainly add her to my list. Thank you. At the moment I am reading an Italian police story by Carofiglio, for love of his name, and working on my essay about Il Colibri.


The only other thing I have done today is to revive my sourdough starter. It is perhaps time I made some more bread. All the books assure me that it is no great tragedy if one’s starter perishes, because it's so easy to start another one, but mine is over a year old now and I would hate to lose it.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Summer weather continues. We seem to have had some rain last night, totally unnoticed by me but I am sure appreciated by the plants on my doorstep.


Helen’s husband David is going back to Greece tomorrow night with two of his sons. They are back from Kirkmichael, and came together to walk around the garden with me this morning. The bench is still there.


That’s absolutely all I have to say. Tamar, you ask if I ever read fantasy. Not on the whole. Lewis Carroll of course, My husband and I read aloud at bedtime – I read to him; I was incapable of staying awake if I was the listener, and sometimes indeed managed to fall asleep while reading. This usually just resulted in my reading nonsense and my husband would thump me and I would pull myself together and read on. But once I woke in the middle of the night to find the light on and my spectacles on my nose and the book in my hand.


In the course of all this – and we got through a good deal, in nearly 60 years – we read the first of the Harry Potter books. I should say before proceeding that I am a t’riffic JK Rowling fan. I thoroughly approve of her stance on gender politics. I am devoted to Cameron Strike. But I was disappointed by Harry Potter. I was expecting a whole new fantasy world, like the Alice books or even Winnie the Pooh. What happens is more an ordinary (extremely skilful and well-told) school story with magic stuck on.


Archie reads fantasy and tells me all about it.


Tuesday, July 27, 2021


Fiona, thank you for your enormously helpful comment. I should have thought of the Drummond Place website, but I didn’t. I sent my grumble to “” which sounded plausible and has written to me in the past. It came zipping straight back to me. Before I returned to the fray this morning, I thought it would be a good idea to walk around the garden – and I found my bench back in its place. Indeed, I sat on it for a while. So the crisis is over for now, but I won’t forget.


We’ve had another hot summer’s day. Thunderstorms were forecast, but haven’t happened so far. 1584 steps, again including a Mindful Chef lunch. Poof to the app. Archie came. We didn’t get much done, but what we did, was useful.


I’ve finished reading Il Colibri (“The Hummingbird”), and didn’t like the last 50 pages at all. This week’s Italian essay will write itself. Now I need something to take the taste away.

Monday, July 26, 2021


There is little to report. The weather continues very pleasant-summer, here in Edinburgh, although it has certainly collapsed elsewhere. We are forecast much worse for tomorrow. I got around the garden by myself, and found that a beloved and often necessary bench, on the home stretch, has been removed. I am trying to find someone to whom to send a message of protest. 1836 steps – not as absurd as yesterday.


I knit a bit more of that sock while finishing off the new Fruity Knitting. If I were younger and stronger I would knit a Bohus sweater. I heard of it first in Sheila McGregor’s “Scandinavian Knitting”. The big interview was good, as always: it was with a breeder of angora rabbits who was also deeply involved with Bohus.


I would have been glad to have the difference between the product of  angora rabbits and angora goats explained. Wikipedia suggests that the goats produce mohair, not angora at all. Angora was all the rage when I was in high school.


Two freak accidents that didn’t happen –


A fortnight ago my cleaner went off leaving the kitchen window propped open with my mortar (as in mortar&pestle). It is a heavy brass object. I was afraid that Paradox who is both slim and rather stupid would squeeze out of the window and fall to her death. I lifted the window – it’s heavy – and freed the mortar but wasn’t quick enough to catch it before it fell to earth where it could easily have killed one of the toddlers below, and would have done some damage to a parent. But nobody was there so that was alright.


Today the same thing happened. I approached the problem with more caution and was able to grab the mortar and cautiously lower the window. However, when that was done, I found that the fingers of my right hand were stuck in the handle of the window. It wasn’t the end of the world. My telefonino was in my pocket, recording steps. I could have phoned for help. It was still an anxious moment. But in the end I was able to lift the window a centimetre or two with my left hand and thereby free the other one.

Sunday, July 25, 2021


Tamar, please never think of not advising me. I rely on you. Nor would I ever class one of your interventions as “nagging”. Volcanic ash from Iceland is an interesting question. I had a strange episode this morning, itching eye, profuse sneezing, like hay fever. Then it stopped.


Today went better. Edinburgh was bathed in sunshine, whereas the weather has collapsed in other parts of the kingdom, London for one. C. came, and we got around the garden in good order – a great relief after yesterday’s failure. The app credits me with only 1525 steps – that seems unlikely. I even made myself a Mindful Chef lunch, shuffling around the kitchen and chopping things up, as opposed to frying a sausage.  I even got some knitting done, on that sock, not that that would affect the step count, while watching Fruity Knitting. Madeline is standing in for her father, but that can’t go on forever.




Weavinfool, thanks for yours about short circulars for sock-knitting. I now can’t find my own remark which introduced the subject and therefore don’t know the name of the particular product we’re talking about. I have discovered (how?) that the gimmick is that one needle-tip, the one for the right hand – if you’re right-handed – is substantially shorter than the other. I have always found circulars actually painful for sock-knitting. That idea sounds as if it might help. Would it? Your comment suggests not.


Kirsten, thank you for the suggestion of chair-exercise YouTubes. That’s an excellent idea. I’ll report back.