Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Here we are back. The weather was abominable most of the time, and I didn’t get much done. My husband did better.

Then, yesterday morning, this:

The radio says that there is snow in London today, the first time for such an event in October since 1934. None in Edinburgh, so far.

A great sadness hung over the visit, in that our butcher has retired. He was the best butcher I have ever known. Getting to his shop in Alyth is a bit out-of-the-way, a real treat for myself therefore (as I thought) when I went last Friday. His name is still above the door; I didn’t grasp what had happened until I got inside.

His name is Michael Dorward. I won’t bother with the link to the story of his retirement in the Blairgowrie Advertiser: you can find it if you Google, but it doesn’t tell you much. The Advertiser did say that the new proprietor will continue to use Mr Dorward’s recipes, but I can tell you that the pork, leek and apricot sausages, my absolute favourite in the world, don’t taste the same. They were perfectly competent sausages, but they weren’t Mr Dorward’s pork, leek, and apricot.

It is a small, unprepossessing shop. Mr Dorward clearly had no interest in empire-building. He had a fierce price in the product he sold. The shop was full of notices of prizes his sausages had won, and the account of the time he was chosen to supply haggis to Scotland’s World Cup rugby team, and awards your supper had earned, for all the good it did them -- the prize cards won by the cattle he had bought at Forfar Market.

Probably the quickest way to say how good he was, is to tell you that he accepted neither credit nor debit cards. He resented (as many shopkeepers do) the tax the bank demanded for every transaction. Even the corner shops whose proprietors speak only Urdu take cards these days. In Mr Dorward’s case, Perthshire happily queued up to pay him in cash.

So that was terrible.

I didn’t get much knitting done – here’s the current state of the Araucania sweater. Love that yarn. The post office put a card through the door while we were away to say that they tried to deliver a parcel – I hope to get up to collect it today, and hope it will be the yarn for Ketki’s sweater.

Back here, I finished the 9th repeat of the Princess centre last night– only 43% of the total, according to Cynthia’s Formula. Disapppointing – I had hoped to be nearer 50%, because the second half of anything always goes faster. The irony is, as you can see from the second picture, I’m nearly to the end of the border. It’s just that every row now takes half-an-hour.

When I spread it out for photography this morning, I found two small holes which could even be moth damage. I am not as horrified as I ought to be: careful mending will scarcely show up in that sea of stitches. But I will put it away with great caution, this time, when I switch to Ketki’s sweater.


Tamar, thank you. I think I’m OK – I think the word “behind” was a mistake on my part. My sister will be here tomorrow – tomorrow! – and we can talk about it. Not only is she a doctor, she has suffered a torn retina not all that long ago.


  1. This should be just the thing for a Monday morning cheer up but have fun with it today.
    Instructions: click on absolutely everything and somethings at least more than once.
    I found it via a knitting friend!

  2. It is sad to lose such a valued purveyor - real butchers are few and far between here, and none have pork, leek, and apricot sausage to my regret. Glad your sister will be there for consultation. I also wanted to let you know I finally got Put Out More Flags from the library (there was a wait list) and am relishing every moment.

  3. Glad to see you both are home safe and sound.

    As to Judith's message, yes, click on the door at least 4 times. And don't forget the stuff on the desk, and everything on the wall.

  4. I was reading about your disappointment in your progress in the Princess. It forcefully reminded my of the 2nd year doldrums of an undergraduate degree. How many years has Princess been on the needles now?

    As a just-moved-from-home student, I couldn't afford meat & then partnered up with a vegetarian, so it's taken years for me to get the hang of the whole butcher thingy. (There was an embarrassing phase of supermarket meat that I don't often admit to.) I've yet to find a butcher that I'm totally happy with but the local fella's Italian Sausages are nice (although I'm sure bear no resemblance to anything found in Italy), although I found out yesterday that they're produced elsewhere. The solitary Butcher with Ethics is a rare commodity so I'm sympathetic with the loss of your local.

  5. Anonymous3:15 AM

    Ahh food- Michael Pollan came to Oberlin yesterday where he was greeted as a rock star and talked about the politics of food. It was very wise, and thought-provoking and although I had read his books before, it made me think differently of the ham and onion tart I made for dinner today.

    Sorry for the loss of the butcher. Good butchers do not exist around here, although there is a free-range animal farm that butchers their animals and packages them for you on the outskirts of town. I had some pork chops from there, which I must say were excellent. That and Amish chicken. I discovered Amish chicken (raised by Amish, I guess I should say- it is free-range and grain fed with no drugs) and I have never had chicken so flavorful in my life. There is something about good meat- rather than that plastic-wrapped stuff at a supermarket.