Saturday, June 22, 2013

The late, much-lamented Judy Sumner, when overwhelmed with WIPs, used to assign a day of the week to each one. I think I’ll follow her lead, somewhat, and spend this weekend’s knitting time on the Stephen West shawl. We hope to go back to Strathardle not next week (the one that begins tomorrow) but the one after that – I’ll take it along and leave it there at least for the summer.

I feel really rather pleased with myself for having finished a Craftsy class, although there are some points I want to have another look at, in lesson four… I think they have a button one can award oneself, but that’s too much trouble.

The whole Craftsy thing is utterly commendable. In one respect, even better than an actual class with the Great Person because you get close-ups, where needed, of those exquisitely-manicured hands executing a tricky manoeuvre.


When we got back from Strathardle on Monday, we found the big jalapeno in some distress. I had left all the chillis, you will remember, in a south-facing window standing in a roasting tin with some water in it. The water was gone. The other plants were fine, although the surface of their pots felt dry.

An anxious few hours ensued, but the jalapeno eventually recovered. I suppose it really needs to be re-potted again, but a bigger pot might not fit on the kitchen windowsill.  Several chillis had reddened while we were away – I wonder if shortage of water accelerates that process? I have a little plastic poke in the freezer in which the crop is stored. 

The stronger Apache has set a good crop – no reddening yet. The weaker one is setting its first fruits. The little Scotch Bonnet I bought at the Botanic Gardens on June 2 is growing prodigiously but has no flower buds yet.


Here is the house in its glory days, from our Strathardle Postcard Collection. The surviving wing will be to the far right. I was never there, but Greek Helen in her adolescence was matey with Mrs R. through a mutual love of horses. My husband took tea there once, I can’t imagine why.

When I met Mr R. in the village shop some time after the fire, I offered my condolences and he said something sad about “…all I ever collected”.

The house faced south, and this picture was taken from the east. Nowadays, one drives up that driveway, which is in a parlous state, turns right and along what would have been the west front of the house to the surviving fragment. The ruined stables are beyond. The pleasant view to the west begins with a ruinous tennis court and an even more ruinous swimming pool.

It was an odd experience, being there.

The last time I saw Mr R. (now a widower) in Tesco’s, Blairgowrie, he thought I was somebody else and after a bit of difficult conversation I began to wonder whether he was somebody else and we weren’t both talking at cross purposes. But, no, it was Mr. R. 


  1. I'm feeling inspired to start one of the Craftsy classes I am signed up for after reading your good reviews. I need to put it at the top of my "to do" list for after I move.

    I probably missed this information from an earlier post, but I am wondering what you plan to do with your pepper harvest. Are they all hot peppers, or are some the mild kind?

  2. HI Jean

    Strange and a bit of a thrill seeing you mention Blairgowrie. My grandparents left Alyth in 1929 to come to NZ and my mum has/had cousins there and family from Blairgowrie. Hope weather better for you than us. We had a huge storm and power is still out for many here and it is going to be until the end of the week before they have repaired the rail link as it was washed out. Traffic is deadful of course. Thank goodness not working in town at mo a 15 min journey is taking 1 hour or so.