Thursday, May 01, 2014

Current affairs

(a) The EU has imposed a ban on the importation of Indian mangoes, starting today. The Alphonso mango season is about to begin, and they are one of the year's brief treats, like British asparagus and Jersey Royal potatoes.

The best Alphonso's come from Pakistan, not India. I was worried, hearing the news, for fear sloppy journalists were saying “India” when they meant “India and Pakistan” but I've just google'd and it would appear that Pakistani imports will go ahead (they come in a bit later than the Indian ones, and are even tastier). The ban has been imposed by the EU only, and has something to do with fruit flies. Indian mangoes are still being shipped to all the rest of the world, including the US where they tend to be fussy about such things.

Are we going to have to vote for Mr Farage after all?

In Edinburgh, at least, you have to go to a Pakistani corner shop for Pakistani mangoes. The supermarkets have fewer, inferior ones at a great price.

(b) People had to queue for hours yesterday at airports and ports because a computer failure meant that the details of everybody's passport had to be recorded by hand. My sister was due to arrive at Heathrow. I haven't yet heard how she fared.

But her shawl will be ready for posting today. It's a poor job. There are a couple of loose ends to deal with, and a hole to mend, and I must pack it before I go out to lunch with one of you because I might as well take advantage of the fact that we are meeting at a Japanese restaurant which is most of the up-hill way to the post office.

I also got 3/4s of the way around round 69 of the Unst Bridal Shawl, and the fourth ball of yarn finally breathed its last and has been replaced.

That means I am proceeding at the rate of one 25 gram ball a month – not exactly a stash-busting pace. I cast on the edging of this thing at Loch Fyne in that still week between Christmas and the New Year. My hunch is still that two more balls will finish it and if so, it'll be done some time in the summer, even allowing a fortnight for grafting the edging to the body. Fortunately I like grafting. Sharon Miller had me order nine balls – that would take us into the autumn.


I am attracted by your theory, Jean, Pattie, and Knitlass, that osteoporosis pills were behind the whole spectrum of my 2014 symptoms. I googled the drug yesterday – risendronate sodium. It's clearly serious stuff, and you're not meant to take it after 80 anyway. (Why not?) It lingers in the body for an unknown length of time, since its job is to do with bones.


Somebody on Zite this morning is enthusiastic about String Theory Colorworks and their self-striping yarns. I've just spent a pleasant few moments there, There aren't as many different-coloured stripes per colourway as there were on Lizzie's London Transport socks, but the colourways are enterprising and the Zite enthusiast suggested combining two (in fingerless mitts, which I will certainly not attempt).


  1. I have never had a south Asian mango, I'll have to drive to the giant Indian food store and see if they have any. I know what you mean about asparagus. We grow it it the garden, and it is a treat. I brought home come California asparagus last week, and my husband commented while eating that it reminded him of asparagus.

  2. Anonymous4:15 PM

    The mangos in stores here in California all come from Central America. I've never seen fresh fruits or vegies imported from as far as India, though some fruits are available from Chile or even Australia when they're out of season here in the northern hemisphere. I seldom buy the jet-set stuff, however, preferring what's in season locally.

    Mary Lou, if you want that asparagus to taste like real asparagus, you'll have to come to California to enjoy it! Time spent in transport means that you'll never get the real fresh deal.
    -- stashdragon

  3. I've been meaning to thank you for mentioning the "Mind the Gap" sock yarn. After a very long wait, I was finally able to get a skein, which I am saving for the next time I get color depleted, probably the end of next winter.

  4. Anonymous8:43 PM

    Sometimes as part of my job I ask students to write a short essay to assess their English-language writing level. Our colleague in Pakistan proposed the topic "Mango, queen of fruits. Discuss." I never had a chance to use it though ...
    Perhaps I will have daffodil blooms in Toronto tomorrow.