Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I finally sat down to the accumulated mail yesterday and discovered a letter from Mr G., inviting me to his son Alexander’s funeral last Saturday. It is a good thing we meet in the street on Monday, so that he knows my absence wasn’t due to indifference. Today is osteoporosis-pill-day and I spent my half-hour (no food, no drink, remain upright) writing to them. The sort of thing one often intends but can’t always trust oneself to carry through on.

Today’s excitement – for it’s all go, around here – is the initiation of the painting of our outside woodwork, window frames and front door, and my appearance at a local auction house. The item we want will almost certainly be priced beyond our means, but these are hard times, and you never know. The auctioneer imposes a buyer’s premium at twenty-five percent so I have had to do some preliminary arithmetic to know how much I will actually be spending if I bid, say, £5. (£6.25 – plus VAT at 17.5% on £1.25. The mind boggles, just when steadiness is needed.)

I must get there in time to get my paddle (for bidding with) and settle down and calm down and start knitting, before our number comes up.

I had a grand time lunching yesterday with Helen C.K.S. and the Fishwife. We didn’t even talk about knitting much, except that Helen is about to buy Sally Melville’s “Mother-Daughter Knits”. I’ve got the rest of Melville’s books, and like them a lot although I don’t think I’ve ever knit anything from one of them. I tend to avoid books of patterns these days unless there’s a reason – but Helen says this one is strong on how-to-adjust-sizing. Maybe that, and Melville’s name, is enough of a reason.

That happy pair, Helen and the Fishwife, are going to Woolfest on Saturday.

And the Fishwife gave me three tomato plants – different varieties. Here they are on the doorstep in yesterday's sunshine:

I have never grown tomatoes, and am excited about this. Here, while we are at it, are the rest of the doorstep vegetables. The herb garden:

and a courgette called “Midnight”:

It is a new cultivar from Thompson and Morgan, billed as being sufficiently compact to grow in a pot on one’s patio. We shall see. So far, I’m unimpressed. The plant you see is the sole survivor of six seeds, three sown indoors and three, directly in the pot. It’s not that I chose the best one – this was the only one. However, it looks cheerful enough at the moment.

As for actual knitting, I did my edging repeat on the Princess yesterday, and decided that the cardigan was at last 12” long and so divided it and am knitting the back at what feels like great speed. It’s good Wimbledon knitting.


  1. Dawn in NL9:59 AM

    My goodness, as if bidding at an auction was not nervewracking enough without having to do that sort of mental arithmetic. (Lucrative business!) Good for you to be so well prepared. Good luck, I hope you succeed in getting your item.


  2. It was a lovely lunch. Thank you again. I bet your tomato plants end up being more productive than mine given their prime situation! Oh, and you'll need to give the two upright ones a stake each for support, or tie them to the railings.

  3. =Tamar2:07 PM

    I must be misunderstanding. You have to pay value added tax on the premium that you are charged for buying at the auction, but you are not taxed on the actual purchase?

    Here's hoping the plants do well but not overly so. Vine ripened tomatoes are very good in moderation. I once had to deal with immoderate numbers of them.

  4. I always enjoy your blog--and admire your knitting!