Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back here again, with little to report.

Except that I got my VKB, for not too bad a price:

I’ll tell you all about it when it arrives. (Maybe today?) It was published in spring, 1938. I now lack only four – Six, Seven and Eight from the mid-'30’s, and Sixteen -- spring, 1940 -- the first real wartime issue. Fifteen must have been ready for the presses, if not actually on the newsstands, before war was declared in September, 1939. If I ever get that one, I hope to try to write an article about The VKB at War.

If anybody else is interested in this sort of thing, No. 22 is currently on offer, its eBay code being 380081442366. Spring, 1943, when things were pretty exciting.


One interesting development of recent years is that I have become allergic to our house in Strathardle. I’ve seen drs about it, and have been equipped with puffers and pills. I’ve been much better lately, and had almost forgotten the problem, and had accordingly neglected the precautions, when it hit hard on our October visit and sent me back to Edinburgh with a lingering wheeze and cough.

Antibiotics eventually dislodged the symptoms, and this time I went fully prepared. It was just as bad, although so far I hope that the after-effects will be more quickly shaken off. We’ve spent Christmas there (where Christmas is meant to be spent, we feel) the last two years – I couldn’t possibly do it again while coughing and sneezing like this. That’s all right, because I’m not required to. It’s all very odd.

It meant that I didn’t get much knitting done: I had forgotten, in taking the hat along, that I’d need dps or a second circular for the end-game. All the needles live here. I got some more done last night, and should polish it off this evening. The instructions for the terminal phase are not fully adequate, but the photographs help a lot, and hey! it’s just a hat.

So maybe I’ll get Ketki’s sweater cast on this evening, too.


I enjoyed Carlarey’s link about the transition of presidents, and Gerrie’s more serious one. I was surprised to get an appeal for money – many of you must have had one, too – to pay for the transition. Something should get straightened out. Obviously, having lobbies pay for it is bad, but private donations don’t seem to me much better. This guy has been elected President of the United States. He needs an office


  1. Anonymous12:17 PM

    Is it that you have developed a not-previously existing allergy, or that the house has become infested with something you have always been allergic to but that was not previously in the house? I have the impression that house allergies are usually to a mold that has sneaked in somewhere, which can happen easily when a house is not heated daily and the climate is damp. I've read that heating systems are prone to mold growth.
    (I don't recall anything about redecorating, so it isn't likely to be new glue/carpet/paint.)

  2. Anonymous1:21 PM

    I'd like to reiterate Tamar's comment, since I was also going to suggest a mold allergy. I have experenced the same situational catarrhal symtoms, and it was traced to mold in the kitchen pipes. Apparently, mold allergies worsen as we get older because of cumulative exposure. It would definitely be worth investigating, since the symptoms will only increase every time you're there. Also, if there is mold, you will be exposing your extended family members as well at Christmas; once mold is found, it's easy to eliminate, but it's a real health hazard if untreated.

    Is Princess still frozen solid?


  3. Anonymous2:24 PM

    Tamar and Cynthia could be correct and dust mites are also a possibility. I'm a lifetime allergy suffer and I can sometimes get great results from just washing and drying the pillows on my bed. The little dust mite devils apparently take up residence there.

  4. Anonymous4:57 PM

    Hi Jean - I too have various indoor allergies, mold, mildew, dust mites, and dust in general. I agree with the comments already made. Have you tried a major HEPA type air filter? They have worked wonders for me. You can get them off of Ebay and/or half off places on the net. I would recommend a rather powerful one to be run at high speed while you are there, then run at low speed while you are gone. You can even get ones where you can take out the filter and wash it and then put it back in.

    My testimonal is that a good air cleaner works. My health has improved tremendously since I have been using one. I have only had 1 course of antibiotics in the past 7 years, instead of having 2 or 3 rounds of antibiotics every spring, summer and fall.

    Good luck

  5. Jean, hope you figure out the allergy problems. It's certainly not restful or fun to deal with the respiratory problems when up there and for weeks afterwards.

    Did you get the email I sent you with the Obama pictures. I wasn't sure if you'd seen them before but thought you'd be interested.

  6. I agree that it may be possible--even easy--to treat the house. The filtered air sounds good; sending your bed linens to a commercial laundry in the area for washing in very hot water and and drying in heat should also help.
    How was the mold in the pipes diagnosed, Cynthia? I would guess this to be a relatively common problem in Scotland so there may be untapped local experts.
    For those who missed it, there is a wonderful first long interview with Barack and Michele on 60 minutes, available at
    Hope that works; it's my first tiny URL. You can always just Google 60 minutes.
    (This is Sister Helen in case you're wondering)

  7. Congratulations on the VKB. You seem to have stumped your Ebay competition!

    I agree with everything said about allergies. It's a bore, but you'll figure it out.

  8. Anonymous2:46 AM

    You should have indoor air quality testing done in your home to test for mold spores. Mold is the cause of a great many illnesses that present as common allergy symptoms.