Saturday, August 09, 2014

Here's the ring:

There's a scene in “Busman's Honeymoon”, I think – I can't find the book, so this is all from memory – where Harriet Vane, newly engaged to Lord Peter Wimsey, is having lunch with his brother the duke and his sister-in-law the duchess and his mother the dowager duchess. Peter himself is missing, off on one of his diplomatic missions to save Europe perhaps.

When she sees the ring, the duchess (an unpleasant character – I believe she was named Helen) says “Goodness! I hope it's insured.” That's a bit how I feel about this one.

I don't know the setting for the proposal. Perhaps Matt just brought the subject up after supper while pulling the ring out of his pocket. Pret a Manger was just the meeting place where Hellie's mother Rachel delivered it into his keeping.

We saw Ketki briefly yesterday. She says the current idea is to get Hellie and Matt to Loch Fyne now, to suss out the August midges. It sounds as if they're really bad over there. I'll remember what you say about mosquito-repellent, Pat B – but you can't very well spray the guests with citronella.


I have finished the rams and yowes per se. There follow two plain (=single-colour) rounds, so I went ahead and knit them to test my idea that border-knitting is going to be easier and pleasanter, involving as it does only one colour at a time. That seems to be true, more or less. There now comes a little motif to finish off, and then another plain round, and that's it. Five more rounds in all. At the worst, I should bind off tomorrow. We're making progress.

I've done 65 ½ bumps on the edging of the Unst Bridal Shawl, out of about 200. I showed it to the Hungarian girl who cleans for me yesterday. She thought it was a tablecloth.

Archie: my own blog might contradict me here, but I think the idea of knitting for him was mine, so that he will have something to wear to my funeral. He was doubtful – it would have to be thoroughly sub fusc and restrained in pattern. I flipped through a couple of men's books and then let the idea subside – until he brought it up again himself. Now I must go through the books again and choose a short list.

I might allow myself to buy the new Rowan book although the man on the cover is wearing the very epitome of what Archie and I abhor – a sweater with a cabled body and Fair Isle sleeves fully worthy, to my mind, of the late lamented You Knit What?? website. Now that I want it, I can't find the comment suggesting that I knit Archie a Fair Isle vest. That's certainly an idea worth discussing with him.


  1. Avon skin so soft dry oil body spray is well known as a midge repellant even the armed forces use it!

  2. Anonymous12:06 PM

    There was a feature on insect repellants on Radio 2 a while ago. The expert recommended a substance called Picaridin to repel midges. I haven't tried it myself - yet! If I were to venture into midge territory I should have to, I seem to be the favourite food of all biting insects. Second thoughts: could the relevant area be planted with plants/shrubs which repel insects? Such as lemon grass, other citronella plants and scented geraniums?

    Hope you resolve the issue, Helen

  3. Ellen1:32 PM

    Two years ago my husband was coerced into stopping at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival as we drove home from Chicago. To my surprise, he picked out a sweater from amidst the samples hanging at a booth, and asked if I could make that for him. It took awhile for the pattern and the yarn to come together, but I hame knitting it for him now. You might want to take a look at "Rene" by Anne Hanson, who does business as "Knitspot". You can her patterns on Ravelry. This particular sweater looks best in the light gray version which she knit for her husband. There is something going on in every row so it doesn't get boring, but the pattern is easily enough memorized to put the chart down once you have gotten things established. She has several others for men as well which are suitable for a man who doesn't want something too overwrought.

    This is not the first time that my husband has asked for me to make him a sweater, but it is the first time he has ever picked one, so I am delighted to make it for him. I'm using one of the suggested yarns, Fourth of July, purchased at a later festival, and it is a joy to knit.

  4. I saw a propane powered insect repellant at an outdoor gathering recently. Perhaps such things can be rented. And what I remember of Harriet and Peters wedding was the Worth gown she spent all of her money on.

  5. I remember the scene in "Busman´s Honeymoon" quite well. This reminds me to reread Dorothy Sayer´s books, may be this time in English. When I read them first, my English was really bad, and it also was very difficult to get English books here in Germany. I loved them, and I´m sure they are even better in the original language!

  6. Is that ring not the spitting image of the one Prince William gave Kate (formerly the property of his mother)? It certainly looks like a serious jewel.

    Recently I have been struck by how some elements of courtship rituals have become increasingly elaborate. Even where the couple are already living, and possibly parenting, together the proposal seems to involve unusual inventiveness eg on a balloon flight, with a synchronised firework display. I always pity the poor chap, who has to come up with the idea.

  7. Anonymous6:10 PM

    That is a gorgeous ring and my congratulations to both Hellie and Matt. And the grandparents, too. Joe-in Wyoming

  8. I have looked out my copy of Busman's Honeymoon (which Is not quite as good as Gaudy Night but is still fun). You are quite right except Peter was at the lunch.

  9. 2/3 thru HAVE HIS CARCASE in my annual summer reread of the HV LPW quartet. looking forward to GN (my fav) and the BH

  10. Lynne in Florida5:43 PM

    You CAN, however, spray (but better just smear) your guests (or let them do it) with Avon's Skin-So-Soft. It works on Florida bugs, so it should on Scotland's. If, by some chance, there is no Avon lady in Edinburgh, let me know and I'll send you a jug.

  11. Lynne in Florida5:47 PM

    Oops - should have read Judith's comment before I typed. So sorry.