Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Longest day

Somebody said on the radio this morning that the sun stands still for a while today. News to me. I love the light, this time of year. I'd love to see the “simmer dim” on Shetland. But this actual moment is a cause of sadness. I think there's something in a poem of Catullus' about the flower at the edge of the field which seems to go on blooming after it has been cut by the plough. So it will be with the light, for the next couple of weeks, and then the diminution will begin to be felt.

It's nice to know that there are still lace knitters on Unst who must share my annual sadness.

I finished round 136 – the final round on the chart – for the borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl, turned and started back on the first of the six garter stitch rounds needed to round things off. This is sort of exciting. I don't even need to go on counting, although it's hard to stop. An extra stitch here, one fewer there – it doesn't matter any more. I must get the Queen Ring pattern out and look again at the edging. Do I want to use it?

“Royal Knits” has turned up – it's a delight. Not quite the same thing as my other curiosities such as Knit Your Own Scotland etc. This one has patterns for sausages and toast (a majestic breakfast) all right and a Windsor posy and a nice orb, if you're in want of an orb – but it also includes full-sized things that you could conceivably knit for use, a Guardsman's tunic with gold braid and medals, a delicious faux twin set with pearls, coats for your corgis. Its format is too upright for the size of my Curiosities Shelf: a problem.

Shandy, you're absolutely right, that Eeny Meeny is a “penny dreadful”. The perfect phrase. When I next see Hellie, I must find out what precisely is her relationship to it, other than being its agent now. Did she discover it in a slush pile?

Here's Archie, a day or two ago. He's playing a game in cooperation with two distant friends – they're on a quest of some sort. He wondered, when I took the picture, how many of my readers would recognise the game. Few, I fear.


  1. And it is the shortest day Downunder. It is alarming to find we have progressed so far through the year!

  2. I love this time of year too - and have been in Shetland at midsummer a couple of times. I remember a midnight walk on yell, when we discovered a dead pilot whale washed up on the beach. And the skylarks twittered and the whimbrel and curlew burbled.

    It was glorious.

  3. Anonymous11:49 AM

    Archie's screen looks like the game my husband plays - World of Warcraft. I don't care for it, but at least he gets to play with/talk to our daughter in another state.

  4. Anonymous12:54 PM

    The flower and the plough is at the end of Catullus 11, but also in Virgil - Aeneid 9 (Nisus and Euryalus), and I seem to recall it also being used in either the Georgics or Eclogues but forget where. - cheers!

  5. Mary Jane1:29 PM

    I might recognize the name but not the screen if it is a game mentioned on the TV show Big Bang Theory.

  6. What a lovely and sad image of the flower cut by the plough. I have so much weeding to do today after the monsoon and subsequent heat, I'll try to spare a thought for the faded flowers I deadhead. And Archie's game? Not a chance from here. Or even up close, I'm sure!

  7. My husband says it's World of Warcraft. (A favorite pastime of his as well.)

    I, too, love that today is the longest day and hate that the light goes away from now on.

  8. =Tamar6:11 AM

    I suspect that at least some of the radio audience think the sun literally paused and stood still in the sky, instead of merely being at its northernmost point in the annual cycle. The same terminology is used in discussing the misleading appearance of planetary motions, where they move only one direction around the sun but the view from earth makes them seem to alter their direction and the turning point is called a standstill. I would like to believe that the radio show explained it properly, but it's a tricky concept for many people and the misinterpretation seems easier to (mis)understand.
    On a happier note, as long as I'm on the topic, this month Mercury is retrograde and the interpretation is that communications are messed up, papers are mislaid, etc. So you're right in the swing of things with the rest of us!