Friday, May 30, 2014

Everybody is back in position. Helen emailed pictures from Athens, some of which appear below. And I delivered Archie to Merchiston myself.

I've reached round 110 of the 136 needed for the border of the Unst Bridal Shawl. A round and a half is about the best I can hope for as a day's stint, now that there are so many stitches – and still increasing by eight every other round. Indeed, in one sense, I am in no hurry to finish, this is such pleasure. Like Penelope at her loom, although I wouldn't go so far as to unpick it at night, And I don't see where there is going to be space to block it, in all this clutter.

Thank you for your kindly messages yesterday welcoming me back. Mary Lou, I wish I could have some of the walking onions you are discarding. I have tried and failed with them. Here is a picture Helen took of me amongst the vegetables – seeing to the garlic, judging from my position:

The man we have commissioned to look after the garden – he's doing brilliantly – was asked to put in some potatoes. They're coming up in the foreground of that picture, and provide an air of stability and order to what would otherwise be dereliction.

Here are pictures Helen took of our resident deer in the paddock. I feel it is a comment on the lack of mental scope in an animal, when English doesn't distinguish between singular and plural – deer, sheep, fish:

Archie will be back here in ten days or so, when his GCSE exams are over. I am debating with myself whether to ask him to go to Strathardle with us. He is strong and cheerful, but he's not a woman – would his support be enough? And would he want to come? My husband is notoriously bad-tempered, and comes down particularly hard on Archie, who bears it with amazing grace. But it must be hard on him.

On the other hand, it is a wonderful time of year to be there. The cuckoo is singing. The bats are flying (we love our bats). The light is still increasing.

I am grateful, too, for your advice on wheelchairs and, Ellen, your suggestion of a portable walker. The main purpose of any such device would be to make patent our right to be treated as Disabled and be helped on and off trains. You may well be right, Ellen, that a walker would be more acceptable to my husband than a wheelchair. I am inclined to leave the whole problem aside until Helen gets back in July. The wedding isn't until November 1. We need to know Destination Station and train times. I need to email the wedding venue -- it's one of those country houses -- to ask about meals for my husband in our room. His right hand is arthritic, and he is embarrassed about eating in public.

But I'm pretty sure that this will work out better than leaving him behind with a resident nurse.

For something completely different – here is a picture, taken recently and sent to me yesterday, of the Socklady and Kristie. I don't know the details of their meeting yet. Such conjunctures always startle me – I think of you as characters in separate novels, and this is as if I should have been sent a picture of Elizabeth Bennett with Julia Flyte.


  1. Anonymous11:46 AM

    I think the rolling walking aid with a seat is a variation on a 'Rollator'. It should be illustrated online. In the meantime, would you care to consider loaning a wheelchair to try everything out? The Red Cross hire out mobility aids, it's ideal for visitors and short term use. Just google for 'Red Cross wheelchair Edinburgh' and follow the links. Usually you can arrange to visit and discuss your needs.
    Hope this helps. Helen

    1. Ellen5:04 AM

      The "rollator" is exactly what I meant. I have a house full of family right now and didn't have time to check. There are many of them pictured on Amazon, but you can probably get it more easily through your health system there. My friends who have gotten them for elderly parents tell me the parents have been delighted as it seems more like a handy device than an aid for the disabled. My good friend who is 78 used one for awhile and like the handy compartment under the seat to carry her knitting; although she doesn't need it now, she uses it in her apartment as an easy way to move books and thing about ; that might be a selling point. Plus it is a handy and acceptable seat. And while November is a long way off, and much could happen in the meantime, he might actually find it helpful now.
      I'm sorry that such a happy time is diminished by worries such as these.

  2. The train companies offer help for people with mobility problems too
    has some more information.
    Lovely pictures, but what do you mean about deer/sheep/fish and their plurals? Just not sure I understood.

  3. The comment about plurals made me laugh. I wonder if it is true. If only I could send you some of the onions. They take root in the compost quite happily as well. Between them and the horseradish we have some sturdy survivors. Or perhaps I don't turn it enough to keep it really hot in its bin.

  4. We both live in the province of BC and whenever I head down close to Vancouver I almost go with in spitting distance of Kristie, so emailed and said lets me for coffee at Timmies. Think I have been following her blog since day one, a friend in Kamloops suggested it to be a good read, so checked it out, probably made a comment or two and she started reading my blog and the rest as one is wont to say is history.

  5. I like your theory about the animals, and find myself wondering if it holds true for moose.

    I laughed at your saying you think of Lynne and I as characters in separate novels. We live in the same province, so it's more like we are Jane Austen and Emma. Same author, different books. Lynne is holding some cute wee socks she knit for Lucy, and I am holding a gorgeous pair of knee socks Lynne knit for me. We had a lovely visit, and I was telling her a bit about our time in Shetland. Lynne has been to Shetland herself, so understood my enthusiasm.

  6. Anonymous6:41 PM

    Jean, I love your comment about thinking of us as characters in a novel. I think that is how I think of a favorite familiar character in a long-running
    Soap opera or serial drama. And I think that is why I have walked around Drummond Place as a tourist, but never tried to meet for a real cup of coffee, just enjoyed making my private pilgrimage to D.P. just as I would enjoy visiting Chawton.

    Barbara M. In NH

  7. =Tamar6:50 AM

    There are many designs of rolling walkers with seats, most of which fold for transport. You may want to investigate various designs. Some have more pockets and compartments than others, or have different types of catches.

  8. Someone I knew used a sturdy shopper on wheels as a walking aid while recovering from an ankle injury. I should leave the transport arrangements to your children - they'll come up with something.

    Archie will gain a lot from being regarded as a responsible adult - or just a strong helping hand. Would he be enough of a support to you in a real emergency?

    1. I think you're right, that Archie would be glad to be regarded as a Responsible Adult. And I think he'd be fine in a full-scale emergency, whether it involved me or my husband. But what about the half-way ones? Do we put him to bed, or dial 999? That's where one wants a woman.