Saturday, June 28, 2014

And here, at last, a clear day. (Yesterday I had to go to Boots to claim an armload of pills.) And a remarkable day, in its way. Archie – with his luggage – has arrived in Athens. He and his family are going to Pelion today. Rachel's family, meanwhile, and the Loch Fyne Mileses are on their way to a Spanish villa somewhere. They have done something like this in different places for several years now. They insist on a swimming pool and a (ping pong) (table tennis) table. They compete for the Miles-Ogden Table Tennis Trophy. An actual trophy object has been confected, which the winner keeps for the succeeding year.

My husband is not one for chilling out. We have never had such a holiday in all our lives. We saw something like 28 art galleries in the first 30 days of marriage. He had never been to the USofA before, and didn't want to let the opportunity slip.

And the (erstwhile) Beijing Mileses, and their cat, are moving from China to Sydenham today. They should be airborne already.

Our day promises to be pretty tame, compared to all that.

Eadaoine, I've got that Shawls and Scarves book, and will look up the Joan Schrouder technique you mention, for attaching a previously-knit edging to a shawl. I am a great fan of hers. But meanwhile, things are going a bit better here.

I got properly started yesterday, knitting the original edging again, directly onto the shawl. I feel a bit embarrassed at the failure of my grand plans, but otherwise have begun to enjoy the process, the infinitely slow incorporation of the shawl, stitch by stitch. I've finished four points – not very many. I haven't, yet, re-learned the pattern. Once I do, it'll go faster – and there will be more scope for making mistakes by forgetting where I am. Meanwhile, constant peering at the chart.

Zite found me this blog this morning, by a woman who keeps Shetland sheep in the remote northwest of the Scottish mainland. She started only a year or so ago, not even knowing that sheep are death to trees.

More non-knit

Mr Murray got through the first week of Wimbledon without losing a set. Could be worse.

I got Word installed on my husband's computer all right. Talk about bells and whistles. I use an old Word on my treacle-slow desktop computer, and am rather fond of it. This one seems completely different. I've ordered ...for Dummies. Maddeningly, I can't get the new program installed on my own laptop. Or rather, even more maddeningly, I think I did install it yesterday morning and somehow messed things up, trying to get back to it. I've done a complete un-install with Microsoft tools. No use.

It's too soon to say whether this will be any help to my husband.

Ellen, your idea of an assistant is a good one. I don't think anyone could fit in to our odd daily routine, but I'll think about it. There was a time when the publisher with whom we are currently at odds promised my husband a research assistant. Such a one would have made a big difference, a few years ago. My current hope is that James will come up to see us soon – perhaps we can go to Strathardle together, which he loves. In his unworldly way, he knows a fair amount about the world and I want him to talk to my husband about the whole business of publication. He's not bad on computers, either.

But first, almost as soon as they arrive in Sydenham, the Beijing Mileses are all going off to Cornwall for Cathy's father's 80th birthday. I can wish him no more than as happy a time as I had last year. The cat will have to begin English life in a cattery, where I fear none of the other cats will be Mandarin speakers.


  1. I don't think the cat needs to worry - all cats speak Feline!
    More seriously have you ever considered something like Dragon Naturally Speaking - one of those programmes where you can speak to the computer to get the general idea down and then edit it afterwards. I am not sure how it handles footnotes but a friend of mine who has severe arthritis says it has saved her from having to retire earlier than she wishes and she writes academic papers from time to time.

  2. My mother's idea of holidays is more akin to your husband's, whereas my sister from an early age has shown a preference for a more relaxing sort of holiday. This has led to a lot of conflict and blank incomprehension on both sides.

    Sydenham isn't a bad corner of the world, much closer to Edinburgh than Beijing too, so hopefully you will see more of them?

    Cats seem adaptable creatures and the Beijing cat can teach the other cats useful phrases in Mandarin and vice versa.

    Good luck with the computer things. Makes you long for a typewriter sometimes! (I just remember them still being used in my father's office as a small child)

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