Saturday, March 05, 2011

C. is very weak, and noticeably less crisp. She has been having panic attacks – what is the cancer going to do, and when? -- and is on new medication, anti-depressive and anti-whatever. It makes her drowsy, and may well explain the lack of crispness. Our niece, her daughter, was there briefly when we arrived. She said she didn’t like these effects, and will discuss them with the hospice nurse during her visit next week – a three-way conversation including C.

The saddest thing at the moment seems to be her total inability to be entertained, which sounds absurd. She finds she can’t read – she’s not a knitter; can’t watch television or listen to the radio; doesn’t even enjoy listening to music, which has always been an important thing to her. “I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next…” The sentence broke off, but I think she meant, “…the next hour, after you leave.”

A very considerable roster of friends are visiting regularly. Her daughters are right there. The younger one, F., was expected from Glasgow as we left yesterday. But there are gaps, and it’s clearly tough.

Back at the ranch…

Lisa, I was touched that you asked about the rugby. Scotland played Ireland last Sunday. Alexander and Ketki and the Little Boys called in here on their way to Murrayfield. Scotland – wait for it – lost.

Next Sunday, a week tomorrow if I’ve got it right, is the Calcutta Cup, England v. Scotland in London. I will have cider in the refrigerator, prepared to break my Lenten fast if Scotland win. (In strictest theology, Sundays are not part of Lent. Sunday is never a penitential day.) I will have chosen yarns for the Little Boys’ sweaters from Posh’s next-week list, prepared to strike when they go up for sale on Sunday evening.

But I strongly suspect Scotland will lose and these preparations will have been in vain.

As for the knitterly news promised yesterday,

1) There was a page in the Scotsman this week of remarkably awful things connected with the forthcoming royal wedding. There were some Royal Wedding Gnomes, available at B&Q. (I had another look yesterday at the gnomes we gave C. for Christmas – the wedding ones are the same gnomes re-decorated. That explains why William has a long white beard.)

The Scotsman list included a book called “Knit Your Own Royal Wedding”. I have ordered it, and it will go into my small but select collection of horrors, currently headed by “Knitting with Dog Hair”.

2) I had an email from KnitNation with a list of teachers for this year’s extravaganza in London in July. I don’t think I recognised any names, except one – Franklin is coming! The next day – I don’t like to boast, friends, but… -- I had an email from Franklin himself, confirming the appointment.

The dates are not impossible – Rachel and her family (south London) go on holiday most years with Alexander and his (Loch Fyne). This year they’re going to Spain for the first fortnight in August. So she’ll be in London in July -- that is pretty well essential for my plans. I learned last year, when I didn’t get to Stirling, that I need to think ahead. What day(s) do I want off? What will my husband do in my absence? With whom? “Not impossible” is not enough.

We shall see. Will there be a class on Japanese knitting, I wonder?


  1. KnitNation sounds like fun, so start planning now! I am interested in the Sundays aren't penitential comment. I just had this very theological conversation with a couple of friends, among them my cousin, who claim never to have been told Sundays are not Lent. We always got Sundays 'off' during Lent, and when my parents had friends over for cards on a Lenten Saturday, the refreshments came out at midnight. So I am glad to hear that is wasn't some anomaly in parish.

  2. An e-mail from Franklin himself? You must go. I was very entertained by his account of teaching beginners' lace to expert students.
    Re C.'s state of mind. I expect she needs distraction from the fear, if not of the end itself then of the pain or loss of capacity which is to come. Would one be able to knit on, no matter what, under these circumstances?

  3. Jean -- my cousin is the second author on Knitting With Dog Hair!

  4. =Tamar11:58 PM

    I'm told there are at least three different brain chemicals involved in depression, and different people need different proportions; a medicine that works for one type will fail to help the others. My friend who was on the wrong one for years said that when she finally got the right one, it worked within days.