Sunday, October 23, 2011

Very miscellaneous non-knit

Wren, I didn’t see you and your boyfriend at the Farmers' Market, alas – but I saw your fractal cauliflower! And admired it, as I was queuing for some dirty, misshapen vegetables. Unless they had another one in the van.

I had a very successful time. We had pork chops for lunch yesterday, very tasty, and will have mutton today. The woman who sold me the rolled shoulder of, said that it could be roasted, slowly, but I think I’ll go for braising on a bed of the aforementioned vegetables.

Nicola Fletcher, half of the husband-and-wife team who run Scotland’s – maybe Britain’s – premier deer farm was there herself on the Fletcher stall. I told her that her father, Henry Chalk, used to teach me Greek (at Glasgow University). It was disconcerting to find her a grey-haired woman in late middle age. Knee-high, when I knew her.

My brother-in-law just sent me a wonderful link. But what’s this about its being banned?

Do read catdownunder on the subject of antipodean water and its descent through plugholes.

One thing is certainly true of the antipodes, though. I once had the pleasure of meeting Margaret Stove and her husband. He is a countryman, and it was his first trip north of the equator. He remarked on how very odd it was to find the sun in the southern sky.

There is a story in Herodotus somewhere (I think) of some intrepid Greek sailors who  reached the Cape of Good Hope, and came home with the news that they had seen the sun to their left as they sailed eastwards. The stay-at-home Greeks responded with pull-the-other-one, but it is the very detail, of course, which proves to us that they had really done it.

Cat’s preceding blog entry is about the usefulness of the ancient languages in later life. I was with Greek Helen when her first son, Oliver, was born. (He died at six-and-a-half weeks. His birthday was three days ago.) Her husband was travelling from Cairo to Edinburgh at the time, but didn’t make it for the birth. Helen and I and a wonderful obstetrician and a nurse were the four people in the room. The nurse said, calmly, “we have some bradycardia” as if it were something the doctor might like to know was available. I remembered enough Greek (cf  Henry Chalk, above) to know that she meant, “The heart is slowing down”.

Helen, in those days, didn’t know Greek. She’s way beyond me now.


The Brownstone is speeding forward. When one catches sight of it lying about, it looks a plausible size and shape for a young man, and I am really rather hopeful for it.

We’re not concerned with colour here, although in fact it’s come out better than one might have expected.


  1. Hi Jean, I think the iPad video is "banned" because it is a spoof. They didn't do a very good job of banning though, since this and all of the other videos are readily available on YouTube!

  2. The Brownstone is wonderful. I am still tempted to knit one, but just don't know who I would make it for. Out of 3 sons, a son-in-law and a husband the only potential sweater wearer I have is my husband. And he is 6' 4", which would mean a lot of yarn and a lot of knitting.

    And I was glad to read you might have found a solution for your husband for when he is out and about in Strathardle. It would be so nice for you if, rather than give up your country life completely, you can find ways to make it work for you. That tetrapod looks like just the thing.

  3. Anonymous5:29 PM

    I have yet to travel to the southern hemisphere, but now I can look forward to one more novelty when I get there - the sun appearing in the northern sky. Though I knew that new constellations would come into view, I had never thought about the change in the sun's apparent position. After a lifetime of watching the sun head south for winter, how odd it will seem to be on the "other side" of it!
    -- Gretchen

  4. =Tamar6:50 PM

    The sun crosses over to the other side every year, at the equinoxes, but we usually don't notice because it doesn't go very far past the midline. At the equinoxes, the sun is directly overhead. I don't quite understand how it can be directly overhead for the entire planet, but that's what they tell me.

  5. Could you tell us more about the framed calligraphy in the background of the Brownstone photo?
    It looks very interesting.
    Thanks for sharing the photos of your knitting in progress.

  6. Dear Tamar, Sun not directly overhead for the whole planet - not ever.
    Equinoxes are when it is directly overhead at the equator, so that day and night are equal for the whole planet. Solstices are when it moves to being directly overhead on the tropic lines - north or south, giving us midsummer and midwinter, with the unequal day/night ratios, depending on whether it is our turn to have it.
    Hope this hasn't confused the issue even more!