Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mary Lou, I got “Horse Latitudes” from Shan who left it as a comment on Wednesday, when I had grumbled about being in the doldrums. I used it yesterday because I thought it sounded smarter. It is funny how often that happens, hearing an unusual word and then hearing it again right away.

Well, nothing else has turned up, so I shall throw myself into the meme.

What was I doing ten years ago? Much as now, living in retirement in Drummond Place. I was peppier then – it has been interesting to reflect on how much has happened in those ten years which required a certain amount of pep. Ten years ago I was an ardent reader of the Knitlist (not that that required pep). I used to post an annual summary of what I had achieved – in 1998 I finished nine pairs of socks, it says (same as 1997). Wow! That strongly implies a couple of visits to CT to see my mother who was by then in a nursing home near my sister. Until the last two months here in 2008, sock-knitting was reserved for travelling.

When we were having (a delicious) lunch with Alexander and family in Glasgow recently, he said he had been past a hotel that morning which was having a motivational meeting of some sort. “Keep on doing what you’re doing now, and in ten years you’ll have what you’ve got now.” Or words to that effect. He and I agreed that it was a most comforting thought.

What are five things on my to-do list today? There is no such list, and my days don’t vary much. I fear to tempt providence by listing anything. I could trip and break a leg when I stand up from the computer.

1. I will soon walk across the square and buy the newspapers, the Scotsman and the Telegraph and, because it’s Saturday, the Financial Times.
2. I will plan the weekend meals, shop, cook, and wash up, wash up, wash up.
3. I hope to get on with setting financial affairs in order. The bank statements are done. Now it’s a matter of working through piles of paper on desk and floor. This item would qualify for a to-do list if I had one.
4. I’ll knit. I’m around the corner of Cathy’s second sock and speeding down the foot.
5. At bedtime, I will read aloud to my husband, as we have been doing for 50 years. At the moment we are nearing the end of Thackeray’s Book of Snobs.

What snacks do I enjoy? Cider.

Where are some places I’ve lived? Detroit, Michigan; West Allenhurst, NJ: Glasgow, Leicester, Birmingham, Edinburgh.

What things would I do if I were a billionaire? I’d like to see some energetic excavation being done on Piso’s villa at Herculaneum. He was Julius Caesar’s father-in-law. So far – and it was a long time ago – only his Greek library has been found, and it is pretty boring. He must have had some Latin books. Latin literature survives in much smaller quantity than ancient Greek (because the dark ages were so much darker in the west). Piso might have had the lost books of Livy, for starters.

And I’d arrange to travel in the greatest comfort to a couple of places I’d still like to see: Reggio Calabria, for the Riace bronzes; Sicily, for the places associated with Prince Tomasi di Lampedusa; Trebizond, for the chance of a day-trip to Lake Van where the pussy cats swim. They really do. I know Byzantine scholars who’ve seen them at it.


  1. Is it all right if I spend some of my billion on coming with you to see the swimming pussy cats?

  2. Anonymous11:25 AM

    I've always wanted to see the swimming cats of LAke Van too! No-one else has ever mentioned them in my hearing before.

  3. I'm so glad you did this; I loved your answers, and I too would come with you to see the swimming cats.

  4. Never mind the cats, I'll come along for the Leopard tour! Thanks for another wander thru Wikipedia in search of Lake Van via the Pontus.

  5. Anonymous10:11 PM

    I've heard of a cat here in the USA which discovered relief from the heat after it fell off a dock into a quiet river on a hot day; after that it would deliberately jump off and swim to shore on hot days. Do all the cats swim at Lake Van, or only certain ones?

  6. You know, I meant to leave a comment yesterday to say I noticed your use of 'horse latitudes', but forgot.

    It made me laugh.

  7. Reading aloud? How truly lovely. The thought of it perked me up from being cranky with other humans today.