Saturday, January 12, 2013

We opened our Christmas presents yesterday. My husband is delighted with his Surface – a good start. For blackness and lightness and slimness, it makes my beloved iPad look positively second millennium. The temptation is to snatch it back and set it up for him, but I will try to resist. Better for them to get acquainted as they go along.

Thanks for the encouraging comments about the Calcutta Cup. There’s always a chance – to express it in terms of the only other team sport I was ever interested in, namely 1940’s major league baseball, even the Philadelphia Phillies sometimes beat the Yankees. Reports suggest that the Scottish team were chagrined by the dreadful performance against Fiji which prompted their rather good manager to resign. And England (like the Yankees, back then) will regard the match as won before it starts. It could be an interesting combination. 

In 2000, the match was played here, at the end of the International season. England had won every game. Scotland had lost every one (familiar story). The Scotsman newspaper invited comments that morning from various pundits, one of whom said -- I wish I had cut it out and saved it -- that the only hope for Scotland would be if the England team didn't turn up. 

But that glorious victory was at Murrayfield, not at Twickenham. Princess Anne was there, as she regularly, loyally, is for Scotland's rugby matches. After the final whistle, she presented the Calcutta Cup to Scotland and then looked around for England who had, after all, won the Five Nations Trophy. But they were nowhere to be seen. 

I’ll have a look at the madelinetosh colours at Jimmy Bean, just in case.

The second sleeve of the Gardening Sweater progresses well.

Zite brought the “Vitamin D” pattern to my attention again yesterday. I’m pretty sure I’ve already got the pattern, bought as an alternative to the Effortless. Sister Helen, would you wear something like that, when you say “cardigan”?


Sarahseattle, you may well be right that we are getting near the point where my husband will need extra oxygen. Our doctor has mentioned the possibility. As soon as I’ve done the Income Tax, we need to go see him anyway, to enlist his help in getting our disability badge for the car.

Kristie, no, we don’t have Groundhog Day over here and since there is little or no profit to be made from it, it hasn’t been imported yet like Mother’s Day and Hallowe’en. (Hallowe’en is native to Scotland, but has recently been much commercialised. Mother’s Day is native, too; it was once much simpler.) There is a similar, little-known superstition in the north of England attaching to the Feast of the Purification, which falls on February 2 – I have always assumed that Groundhog Day is derived from that, but purged of religion.

It makes much more sense as an English event, when a period of grey, overcast low pressure can indeed mean that spring is with us whereas crisp, bright high pressure can well mean the opposite. Groundhog Day used to puzzle me, when I was young in Detroit and then the Jersey shore – obviously, on February 2, there are six more weeks of winter to come. What’s to discuss? 


  1. 2nd February - Candlemas.
    "If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
    Winter will have another bite.
    If Candlemas brings cloud and rain,
    Winter is gone and will not come again"
    I've known that one all my life so it must be our Groundhog Day equivalent - which makes sense since we don't appear to have any Groundhog equivalents!

    1. Could you substitute a hedgehog instead?

    2. And it was the day we went to Mass to have our throats blessed. My grade school nun told us it was to prevent choking on fish bones.

  2. February 2 is called Imbolc by pagans, halfway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. Some winter weather is yet to come.

  3. Thanks for the information about Groundhog Day, Jean. I am surprised nobody over here has figured out a way to make it into a commercial venture yet. Although I might be speaking too soon. Next time I am at the store I will have to check and see if they have Groundhog Day greeting cards out yet.

    Groundhog Day has great significance in our family. It was the day, almost 25 years ago, that we were contacted by our Social Services department about a baby girl in Korea. That girl is Rebekah. :-)

  4. Blueloom: no, sorry, but you couldn't substitute a hedgehog - any hedgehog that poked it's nose out of hibernation as early as 2nd February would have a serious problem and be likely doomed. They can't do the equivalent of looking out of the window and deciding to have a lie-in, since their hibernation is true and dangerous to break too early.