Sunday, August 21, 2011

Patience, thank you for the link to Alasdair Post-Quinn’s blog. I like that feather-and-fan double-knit hat. Is there anyone left on my Christmas list who hasn’t had a hat recently? And Gretchen, thank you for the delicious idea of reading Twist Collective in the bath. If only!

I started on the centre of the Mourning Shawl last night. Not much actual progress was made: it took a while to get the stitches re-distributed onto their separate holders. It should (seem to) go fast, now, as I zip back and forth on 124 stitches instead of plodding all the way around. I hope there will be enough centre to show you soon. The lettering begins in the next row.

The hole looks enormous.

So, here we are: Day One of Games Week. I am feeling kinda aware of mortality. My husband’s sister was with us last year, apparently in good health. She had been suffering from recurrent lung infections for the previous two years, but it all seemed under control then. It wasn’t until a month later, at the end of September, that she told us about her new symptom, persistent nausea, the outrider of the cancer that killed her in March.

My husband’s grandfather (hers, too, of course) had a beloved house in K*rkmichael called Cnoc Sualtach. In recent years it has been run as a bed-and-breakfast. I had often suggested to C. that she come up and stay there for Games weekend, instead of just coming for the day. Last year, I took the bull by the horns and booked the rooms and firmly invited her and her eldest daughter and her eponymous granddaughter. I think they all enjoyed it, although C. was saddened by the changes in the house she remembered from childhood.

Gripped by these gloomy thoughts, I remembered how my father, going blind with macular degeneration, sat himself down to read Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Maybe it’s time I did that – my high-water mark, decades ago, was about half-way through.

I find I can get the whole thing for my iPad for 71p, cheaper than Ira Levin. Is Amazon somehow plugged in to Project Gutenberg? Our own copy is rather well bound and not very suitable for carrying about. How does the Kindle format handle footnotes? Much of the pleasure of Gibbon lies in those notes, which should appear at the bottom of the page. Perhaps I’ll be able to tell you tomorrow.


  1. You can get The Decline and Fall through the Eucalyptus app for free, all of it. It's Eucalyptus that's plugged into Project Gutenberg.

  2. My friend's hint for reading academic books with the Kindle ipad app is to put a bookmark in the main text, and then move to the footnotes from the table of contents to add a bookmark there.
    Then you can move between the footnote bookmark and the main text bookmark (moving them as you proceed through the book.)
    This manoeuvre apparently takes a few taps and scrolling.
    May not be the easiest feat to read an academic book with the Kindle mechanism.
    However if someone knows an easier way, it would be good to hear about it.

  3. I have never read the Decline and Fall, but am currently listening to an audiobook of Our Mutual Friend (Dickens) where there are some hilarious passages regarding the reading of Gibbon to Mr. Boffin. Perhaps I'll venture into it myself one of these days.

  4. Anonymous2:14 PM

    Is your husband wearing your handknit socks in the photo?

    Beverly in NJ