Monday, June 30, 2014

All is well in Sydenham. Here is a picture of the house, taken yesterday evening when the sun suddenly appeared after what must have been a long, hard day:

They bought it a couple of years ago, before this absurd London housing bubble really started. They got that right.

Mimi sounds OK so far. He flew in the day before, business class, and had to hang around Heathrow for 24 hours until his family arrived, steerage. Now he is pacing from room to room and also, Cathy says, listening to the birdies singing in his new garden and asking to join them. He is, however, being kept locked up for the first few days. I asked how he was getting on with English cat food, but the answer is that we don't know yet. They brought Chinese cat food along to ease the transition.

We hope to see James and a grandchild or two here soon – their trip to Cornwall isn't until later in July. He doesn't go back to work until August.

Knitting progressed, yesterday. I've now done 12 bumps of the new edging for the Unst Bridal Shawl. I've marked the 10th one, to facilitate counting. I'm like you, Chris, in enjoying the calculation of fractions and percentages. I may well face up to finding out soon how many bumps are needed altogether so that I can do it. But for the moment, I'm just knitting happily on. Although I did find myself wondering this morning about how many more bumps I need to do before I'll have accounted for 10% of the border stitches. Not all that many, is the imprecise answer.

I spent a little time yesterday with the idea that sprang to mind while I was writing yesterday's blog, of culling some knitting books and putting them in a box or two in the cellar to make room for more on the shelves (=to get those piles off the floor). It's very hard. The rejects of course will be carefully catalogued, and the cellar isn't that far away, but it's still difficult to relegate a knitting book.

And, contrariwise, I went on thinking about that little shelf in the care home. You're right, of course, Shandy, that Barbara Walker's Treasuries must come. I'd also want the three Lisl Fanderl books on the twisted stitch, Bauerliches Stricken. One can begin to see where this is going. McGregor, I think, for Fair Isle. I'm going to allow myself both Thompson and Brown-Reinsel for ganseys. What about Aran? And Kaffe's Glorious Knitting must come.

Culling is harder. All the EZ's must stay together upstairs, and all the Fassett's, and all of Sheila McGregor's books. Whereas when one is selecting the treasured few for that little shelf, it's all right – it's nearly obligatory – to break up sets.

And, Shandy, it's no use speculating about one's future capacity to make use of these books. The coward dies many times before his death/ The brave man never tastes of death but once. If you prefer, here's one from last Saturday's Financial Times: “Life's a ride where they sure make you pay at the exit.”

That was from Susie Boyt, a favourite of mine, in a column abut how the great thing is to have some trivial things to worry about, to keep your mind off the real worries.


I continue very grateful for all your help with my husband's computing problems. I think we're making real progress. But is this one solvable:

When he wanted to open a new file (he has hundreds) in Open Office, I could easily set things up so that when he typed Alt-F he found himself in the “omnium” folder of Dropbox, where all his files are, and had only to type in the number of the next one he wanted. Word, on the other hand, probably because it is so anxious to force us to use the Microsoft cloud, makes him choose “computer” and then “omnium” before he gets the list of his files – or does he actually have to choose “dropbox” as well? Is there any way to circumvent that? He has never understood the way computers organise files, simple as it is. I should have forced him to learn, a quarter of a century ago. Or more. It's too late now.


  1. I think we're going to have to start a campaign for care homes to have more extensive bookcase facilities.

    Spurred on by your discussion I did a little book case clearing and sorting of my own yesterday (it is a rare thing for me to get rid of books), long way to go before they are utterly sorted but there is more space available for the books in piles to go on shelves.

    Lovely house and wise buy, we have friends in Sydenham, they may even meet as she volunteers in the library.

  2. What a lovely house! Glad to hear that Mimi is settling in.

    With respect to Word - you should be able to set the default file location. Go to the File tab, select Options (close to the bottom) and then choose Save on the left side of the dialog box. You will see there the location for auto-recovery files and regular files. Click the Browse button to navigate to your folder of choice. Make sure to click OK when you are done.
    Hope this works for you - I can't verify as I am in a work environment where these settings are locked.

  3. Another thought on your Word problem. I was looking up keystrokes and your use of Alt-F. It seems that the Word default of Alt, then F, R will bring up the Open Recent Documents menu. Once again, in my work environment, this is disabled because we use a document management system. In any case, I believe this should show you some options such as Recent Documents, Skydrive, Computer. There should also be the option to "Add a Place". Can you use this to set up the location of your husband's files?

  4. Sydenham? It looks remarkably like the house in North Oxford where I spent two years as a student.

    Re care homes: It's not death, "the necessary end", one fears, but the many alternatives. I'll check out the Susie Boyt article - sounds interesting.