Sunday, February 11, 2007

Scotland won. It was a scrappy and rather unsatisfactory match, but there’s no doubt that winning is better than losing.

Natalie’s comments yesterday prompt me to reveal that Chris Paterson is virtually a member of our family.

Some years ago, we gave Ketki as part of her Christmas present, a Scotland-supporting teddy bear. He’s wearing a little Scotland sweater and hat, and waving the Saltire. She and Alexander decided to name him after the first man to score a try for Scotland in the forthcoming Six Nations tournament. (I suspect it was still Five Nations, in those days.) That’s how he comes to be called Paterson.

He watches every Scotland match, as faithfully as Princess Anne. When Alexander and Ketki spent a winter in NY, before they had children, Rachel was responsible for ensuring that Paterson always took his place before the television set when Scotland was playing.

And now Chris Paterson the man is captain of Scotland and one of the best kickers-at-goal in the world.

I found, yesterday, that even a scrappy and unsatisfactory match was too exciting for much knitting, even very easy knitting. But later on I got almost to the heel of the second sock, and I think now that I’ll press on to the end.


My reference yesterday to the Antipathies prompted me to take Alice from the shelf, and I looked at two famous shawls before I put it back – the White Queen, in the scene where she shrieks first and pricks her finger on her shawl-pin second, is clearly wearing a woven shawl. The sheep-proprietress of that famous shop is wrapped in an indeterminate garment.

I have been mildly pursuing this subject lately. Ford Madox Brown’s famous picture "Work" shows very clearly a woman, upper left, wearing an elaborate Shetland shawl. (Click on the image in the link I’ve just given, and it will be enlarged enough that you can just about see it.) The picture itself lives in Manchester. I saw it once in a pre-Raphaelite show in London. It’s not a general-idea shawl; the artist had a real one in front of him, and you could almost knit it from his depiction. (It’s quite a large picture.)

The picture was painted mid-nineteenth-century, only a few years after the Great Exhibition which, we are told, popularised Shetland shawls.

When we were in London a few days ago, we went to a Frith exhibition at the Guildhall. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of him. I was interested because he painted big pictures in the middle of the 19th century and on into the 1870’s; lots of people in public settings: “At the Railway Station,” “At the Seaside”, “Derby Day”, “Private View at the Royal Academy” were all included in the exhibition, and I would say after some careful peering that there wasn’t a single Shetland (or other knitted) shawl to be seen. Lots of woven ones.

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