Friday, October 10, 2008

Financial Crisis -- latest

This is exactly what it must feel like to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

For much of yesterday, the world seemed to be bumping along on the bottom. One was reminded of the old story of the gambler who came happily home from the track to report that he had broken even – “A good thing, too; I really needed the money.”

No such luck. That wasn’t the bottom at all.

Like you, Barbara (comment yesterday), I’ve got plenty of stash to see me out. (I photographed it all for Ravelry when I first joined; I'm Tayside00; you can look. There have been additions since then, but nothing, I think, very substantial.) But I had the kind of panicky feeling one gets, this morning, that maybe I should order the yarn for Ketki’s sweater today, and some of Sharon’s gossamer CashSilk for the Wedding Ring Shawl, while my credit card still works, just to be sure I have something to take with me into the forest.

Ketki’s sweater could easily be done from Shetland jumper-weight stash, but I love Araucania and I think it would make a wonderfully comfortable and durable Fair Isle sweater, and I’d like to try.

You’re right, Mary Lou, about the seriously calming effect of knitting. I’m glad to have a medical word for how it works. I have been completely transformed from a miserable sweaty wreck when required to fly, into an intrepid birdman, by the simple expedient of taking sock-knitting along. I first did it when we flew to the US for my mother’s 90th birthday, therefore 12 years ago almost exactly. The change in me has been astonishing, and the resulting socks are much appreciated far and wide.

I might as well mention here that I’ve reached row 29 of the 8th repeat of the Princess centre. Might finish it by Sunday night?

The Iceland story continues to astonish. Hundreds of local authorities (not “several”, as I said yesterday), in Scotland as well as England, kept their spare money in Icelandic banks. So many that one suspects a common source of advice. Someone on the radio last night while I was doing the washing up, seemed to suggest that it might have been advice circulated by the Treasury itself.

Our Prime Minister says it is “illegal” for Iceland to freeze all those millions of pounds, and responded yesterday by freezing Icelandic assets in Britain, under legislation designed to inconvenience terrorists. It shows, if showing were needed, that you have to be careful about voting emergency powers to governments. They’ll be used in ways you don’t expect.

There’s one piece of really good news this morning – Evelyn Waugh would have loved it. There is a plan afoot – this is perfectly serious – to distribute mobile telephone/cameras in substantial numbers to the Afghani population so that they can make little films of happy scenes and distribute them to each other and post them on the Internet and thus counter Taliban propaganda. The Taliban apparently circulate pictures of corpses left behind after American and British air strikes and it has an unsettling effect.


  1. i suppose oop knitting books are the only thing that goes up in price right now. maybe just a matter of time...

    ooh i love shetland wool. 6 skeins just arrived from k1 after i had been waiting for weeks. it is gorgeous both to look at and fondle. so unlike anything else.

  2. Anonymous2:58 PM

    Your comment about needing to order that last bit of yarn before your credit card stops working made me chuckle.

    I actually did the same thing myself. I put in a special order at my LYS for the yarn for the Great American Afghan. I joked with my mom that I could work on the squares while standing in the bread line, plus once finished, it would keep me warm. Otherwise I have plenty of stash plus I payed for a few sock clubs earlier this year so I have yarn coming from those still.

    On a more serious note, I was at the vet's yesterday (my dog recently had major orthopedic surgery- and she had a setback so I was concerned that more surgery would involved) and while the vet determined that some enforced rest might fix the problem I talked with him about how to pay for another surgery if it was needed. He said that the credit line that his office uses (its this special credit card thing for pets that lots of American vets use) is no longer giving out credit. He sounded concerned about that development, and then told me that since I paid cash for the first surgery and that because I work for a local college (and thus not likely to be laid off in the middle of the school year) he would work out a payment plan if the surgery was needed. (but hopefully it won't be.) He then predicted that lots of pets would be coming in this spring, sick with preventable diseases because lots of people are trying to cut back by not vaccinating them.

  3. Interesting about the positive propaganda initiative in Afghanistan. I'll have to ask my sister about it, as she works for CARE Int'l there. Luckily, only until the end of the month.

    And I do think I should lay in some more yarn in case of catastrophe!

  4. I wasn't being sarcastic, Jean. I was genuinely interested to know what you feared would be the actual impact for you.
    I agree that we are in new territory in this crisis. I sympathised with the tale of an investor with money in Icesave. Then, next day, it was reported that the money invested had been borrowed from another bank. Why would an ordinary person do that? On a different note, I would have thought that keeping big sums of cash at home might place you in danger of being robbed, possibly with unpleasant results. Lovely yarn does sound like the only sane thing to do right now. I'm with you on that.

  5. Anonymous9:24 PM

    You might want to take a look at the blog titled The Iceland Weather Forecast. Don't know the address but possibly Google will turn it up for you. It gives an overview of the current financial situation in Iceland.

  6. Anonymous6:51 PM

    don't worry, I'm moving to Santiago, Chile in two weeks. If you run into Araucania supply problems, I'll send you some!