Monday, January 06, 2014

Not a bad day, for a Sunday. I knit onwards, and should both earn another percentage point today and get around the first corner of the edging for the Unst Bridal Shawl.

Sharon M. has a beautiful Unst stole in her big book – I had a moment of wondering, should I be knitting that? But decided not. A shawl is more useful for a bride, and she can fold it up and use it for the Christening. That's how it was done on Shetland.

And I made a good start on the income tax. The rule is, or used to be, that if you wanted to submit your return on paper, it had to be done by the end of September. If you were willing to file on-line, the deadline was extended until the end of January. The first time that happened to me, I resolved, never again. But in fact, it's a rather invigorating way to begin the year and I have gone on with it ever since.

I think the British tax system is simpler than many. And at our time of life, when neither is earning anything on the side (by free-lance efforts) it's easier still. Follow last year's model, update the figures. Yesterday I figured out how much we had earned in interest on our savings accounts – a risable sum.

The tax year starts on April 6. Wikipedia explains why this particular day was chosen and I think it rather wonderful in this electronic age that the practice persists. I suppose once you've got a tax year, it's hard to change it. I was utterly enchanted when I discovered in my distant youth – talking to a man on a train – that the “old New Year” was still observed in the north of Scotland. Counting on my fingers, I grasped that he must mean that, at least in this respect, they were keeping to Julius Caesar's calendar instead of this new-fangled Gregorian thing.

Since there's not much to be said about the knitting of edgings, I will tell you something I heard while we were listening to the cricket the other night, drifting in and out of sleep. The English commentators on Test Match Special (a BBC institution) are all former cricketers themselves, and they often invite distinguished cricketers from the other side into the commentary box. I know that Shane Warne has been there this year, and I hope he was the man I heard speaking in what follows.

(I don't know anything about cricket, but I know that Shane Warne was one of the greatest cricketers of all time, recently retired. You can insert the word “Australian” into that description if you like, but it isn't necessary.)

The speaker, whoever he was, told us that he had been leaving the ground the day before with a member of the current Australian team. Some fans recognised him – the current man – and asked for an autograph. And then they thought they'd like to have their picture taken with him. “Would your friend mind...?”

The story ended there. There was mixture of modesty and amusement in the speaker's voice which makes me hope very much that  it was Shane Warne. If I'm right, I wonder if those fans ever found out who it was who took their picture.

I don't suppose you can help, Cat?


  1. Fun story. I hope you are enjoying the lace knitting more knowing there is an excited recipient waiting in the wings. Minus 25 F here this morning.

  2. Fame is fleeting.��

  3. No, I am afraid not Jean - I hadn't actually heard the story until I read it here! I hope our lot don't get too big headed - the South Africans might bring them down from the clouds.