Thursday, July 18, 2013


A bit more about tennis. A columnist writes in the current issue of the Economist: “…a priest in the western Highlands who, while saying mass on the morning of the game, instructed [my] parents-in-law to pray that a ‘tiny but debilitating accident’ might befall Mr. Djokovic.”


Greek Helen seems to have embarked on her trans-european journey. She phoned from Bologna last night, concerned about an email conversation between me and Cathy to which she had been copied, about accommodation in Kirkmichael for the coming horror fortnight. I was able to reassure her, I think.

The hotel which is at the very heart of such picturesqueness as Kirkmichael commands, recently stood empty for a rather alarming number of years, four or five maybe. Then Angie bought it and converted it into lovely self-catering apartments and, apart from saving the village from what would have been a dreadful loss, has provided overflow accommodation for us ever since. The apartments can be hired on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t have to be the usual Saturday-to-Saturday.

Those are from our postcard collection. The hotel is in the right foreground of the old card.

We’ve got the whole building for the weekend of the birthday party, starting on the Thursday, and substantial bits of it before and after that.

We tend to abandon the motorway when we drive to Kirkmichael, and go through Glen Farg where we pass the ruins of the Lomond Hotel. It’s an eyesore and something of a menace these days: demolition is its only possible destination. That’s what Angie saved us from.


I’ve abandoned all else for Allingham’s war memoirs. They are really rather good. Bombs are now falling, and she’s got half-a-dozen officers and their batmen billeted in her house, with the troops camping in the stubble field. They’re there in anticipation of the German invasion. From time to time, she absents herself from it all and goes to her study to work on her current thriller, feeling rather guilty.

She was the bread-winner. The household depended on those thrillers to pay the taxes and buy groceries. She has just (midsummer, 1940) finished the latest which turns out to be the first of the great ones, Traitor’s Purse.

She has a good story about the Commonwealth soldiers (Canadians, Australians) switching all the babies around in the pram park behind Woolworth’s. The mothers were distressed, but everybody else thought it was pretty funny.


Thank you for the kind words about the Mind the Gap socks. I’m really rather pleased with them.

It must be a very fundamental distinction in the human character, between those of us who knit fraternal twins with self-patterning yarn and those who unwind to get back to the original starting point, and knit identicals. I have never been even slightly tempted to do that, but lots of folk do.

I have now resumed the Pakokku’s and am, as hoped, speeding around the Fleegle-Strong heel. I can’t remember who advised yo’s for the increases, but I hope you’re still here to receive my heartfelt thanks. The eyelets look lovely. I will never do a top-down Fleegle-Strong any other way.


  1. skeindalous12:15 PM

    The fraternal/identical sock twin issue does, indeed, divide the world. I think the trick is to ensure that they are different enough to seem Different, rather than merely A Mistake!

  2. I did enjoy Traitors Purse, after you iNtroduced me to Allinham. I just purchased The Moving Toyshop, after seeing it on PD James Best-of -all-time lists. Have you read it? I'm a bit worried it may be too much Oxford insider for me.

  3. Anonymous3:18 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. The MOVING TOYSHOP is Wonderful Wonderful Crispin in top form. (his others are just as delightful )