Friday, June 03, 2011

We had a very good lunch at the Botanic Gardens yesterday. Although we live within what (used to be, for my husband) walking distance of the Gardens, we hadn’t been around to the West Gate since they built the new structure. It’s rather impressive. The restaurant is good – tables far apart, ceiling high, a party of six, as we were, can converse without having to shout. The food is good, and well presented, and not outrageously expensive for what you’re getting.

The conversation was pleasant throughout, and mostly light, but strong emotion, even under the surface like that, is very tiring. I’m still feeling it.

My husband has scarcely spoken of his sister since her funeral. Yesterday, as not infrequently, I sat beside him on the bed as he tested his blood sugar in the morning, prepared to advise on the insulin dose if necessary. He writes the result down in a little ruled notebook, and said, as he did so, “It’s sort of sad, writing ‘June 2nd’.” I am sure, if things had fallen out differently, my birthday would cause him little or no distress – but he had known C. much longer.


I got back to the Aran sweater, as hoped, with only minor difficulty in figuring out where I was in the pattern. I’ve finished the third repeat of the meandering Celtic cables.

I also got the email about the Japanese shirt written and dispatched. I’m going to send the actual swatch to my cyber-friend today. Betty, the pattern is in Setsuko Torii’s book “Hand Knit Works”. You’ll find if you Google that a translation was in the pipeline a few years ago, but it never emerged. The book itself is utterly wonderful, but rather expensive.

Some shop sent me an email a few days ago about a German sock yarn. Why is it always the Germans for sock yarn? I had a sudden hankering after it this morning – but it isn’t at IKnit, in London; nor at Knit Purl out there in Oregon. I gave up and Googled “crazy German sock yarn” and good old Google got it in one. After finishing a pair of Gents’ Gray, and being restrained in yarn-buying for really quite a while, I’m rather tempted.

Sorrel again

Annie, thank you for the recipe in yesterday’s comment, now printed and in The Box. It sounds delicious. But I’ll wait until I can do it with my own new potatoes as well as my own sorrel – not too long, now.

Hugh, as we must now learn to call him, has a very simple recipe (in “The River Cottage Year”) along perhaps similar lines: boil new potatoes, being careful not to over-boil. Put in bowl with butter, a trickle of olive oil, and some shredded sorrel. Toss about. A minute or so later, when the heat of the potatoes has wilted the sorrel, toss again. Season. Serve.

I was surprised yesterday to see how dry the Royal Botanic Gardens were looking. Everything is green – if not very advanced – in Strathardle.


  1. Hugh's receipe does sound similar doesn't it, although his seems more a side dish where my mother-in-laws is a light summer meal in itself. It has only just occured to me that the reason her's is eaten warm and not hot may be precisely to avoid wilting the sorrel. I shall definitely try Hugh's version though, next time I've picked some sorrel from Irenka's garden.

    The Crazy Zauberball looks fun, and it's plied unlike the ordinary Zauberball so you won't be fighting the bias of a single ply. Or is bias 'a good thing' when knitting socks? I have no idea as despite having knitted from birth (ok, I exaggerate slightly there ;) ) the only socks I have ever knitted have been for new borns ... I just don't do socks, perhaps I'm missing something :)

  2. Crzay Zauberball yarn is good. And crazy, I had two 100 gram balls and managed to make 4 pairs of socks (but one pair was striped with plain yarn). You see can two of the pairs here

  3. Gerri in St Paul1:57 PM

    I do find those anniversary dates tiring and/or emotional. At times, when a big one is approaching, it comes at me "sideways." Can't figure out why I'm tired or cranky and then I notice the calendar and all is explained. Memory is good; memory is hard; and that's life!

  4. Thanks for another sorrel recipe. After reading Annie's recipe in the comments I went to the farmer's market, Thursday is the downtown day and bought a sorrel plant. My husband was fascinated with it as he likes to garden and cook. Neither of us was familiar with it.
    I find anniversaries of deaths difficult especially since both of my parents died on a holiday.
    I'm really looking forward to the Japanese shirt. It is going to be very interesting following it's progress.

  5. It made me a little sad your comment how your absence would cause little or no distress to your husband. I hope it's not so.

    The place to find a bunch of sock yarn online is It's also in Portland and has a huge variety of different sock yarns to select from.

  6. You have shared with us before how Christmas was a major event for your husband's family, so perhaps birthdays were too, when they were small.

    It was not so for us. My brother would "remember" on the day itself and squeeze a coin from his money-box to offer, as a matter of form.

  7. My husband and I don't do each other's birthdays - any presents tend to be un-birthday ones and we both of us dislike the compulsion to celebrate. He'd miss me though - every day.

    The worst anniversary for me was a few years after my Mother's death - my Aunt rang me to offer fresh condolences, and was upset to realise that I had forgotten that it was an anniversary. Truth is, I had had a nice ordinary productive day, and that call set me back badly. A date on the calendar is not so important when you think of someone every day.

  8. I have used the ordinary Zauberball for a shawlette and it worked very well. Haven't used it for socks yet. My humble theory re Germans and sock yarn- After using their washing machines (which are so tough when on the wrong setting that the printed "tag" on my shirts was washed away), I think they know how to make a long-lasting fiber that will hold up well with wear and washing.

    Another great website for sock yarn is the Simply Sock Yarn Company.