Monday, August 11, 2014

I got not a single one of those three simple chores done yesterday. I have at least started out this morning by ordering a super-long (150cm) 3mm needle from Meadow Yarns for the border of the Rams and Yowes. I will be able to go up to 100cm for lace knitting – I'm struggling along with 80cm at the moment. But there's no hurry on that one as the job (the Queen Ring shawl, if I really do it) will start with months of edging during which I can make absolutely sure which brand of needle I want to order.

So, today, apply the steam iron to the Rams and Yowes, and cast on a swatch. Come on, Jean.

I gather wedding invitations (to this year's affair on November 1) have begun to circulate, although nothing has reached us. The unpleasant thought has been raised that if my husband continues to maintain – with a good deal of justice – that he can't get to Northumberland for this one, he can't very well go to Loch Fyne next summer for Hellie and Matt for fear of offending this year's couple. And in that case, neither could I.

Weddings are fraught, and we have a history, or at least I have. Funerals are more fun because you don't have so long to think about them in advance. My mother stayed away from Rachel and Ed's wedding. That was because she had been kept away from my sister's wedding. She was punishing me, although I was in fact blameless (as she suspected). I had thought that my presence in Northumberland – which will be difficult, even leaving my husband behind – would wipe away all that.

A year's further decline is likely to settle the matter anyway.

Two things from Zite:

I love this “Thanks, Piet!” scarf and have just bought the pattern, I am an extravagant admirer of Mondrian and I think he is well interpreted here. So when, exactly, do I plan to knit it?

This is just for looking at – more Japanese brilliance.


Courgettes are the main centre of interest on the doorstep. I am sure they are lagging behind the pace once set by the ones I grew in the open ground in Strathardle. Here we are in the middle of August and I have only one (small) actual courgette and an awful lot of male flowers. I now rush out with my little soft brush whenever a girl-flower opens – there's one this morning.

Indoors, the chillis don't seem to be doing as well as last year, either. I am much interested in a mysterious plant which has appeared in one of the chilli pots. It's not a chilli. I am wondering if it could possibly be Japanese knotweed, growing from a minuscule fragment in the commercial compost I used to pot it on? The plant comes from Alexander, who started it off in a similar compost.

It's growing briskly although not exactly at Japanese knotweed speed. I'll give it a few more days and then try to photograph it for you. It's got a straight reddish-brown stem with a little tuft of leaves at the top, and a couple more leaves in nodes further down. It's currently about 6” high.


  1. That sounds horribly like the dreaded Knotweed. Aaaargh! I am not sure what you need to do to destroy it. I suspect the chilli plant will have to be sacrificed as well.

  2. Anonymous12:35 PM

    I would like to mildly suggest that you and your husband attend whatever family event he is able to attend without any thoughts of balancing or perceived slights in future. Your grandchildren and children would be happy to see you there. You would enjoy the event. Seize the day!

    1. I agree with the others ... if physically able to go, by all means go.

  3. Do you really want to perpetuate your mother's pattern? If your husband is unable to attend, and can safely be left at home with alternate assistance, then you should go to this years wedding which you have anticipated for so long. And when next years wedding comes, you can re-evaluate. Don't limit your own horizons because you fear someone will be slighted; I am sure they will understand.

    1. Anonymous5:35 PM

      I agree completely.
      -- stashdragon

    2. Also agree. Life is too short to deal with perceived slights. Do what you can when you can and forget the rest.

  4. Oh Jean, you can't miss the Princess in action!

  5. This is evolving like a short story by Jane Gardham - all we need is a really valuable pearl necklace and at least one character with a dicky ticker from years living out East.

  6. Jean, your other loyal readers have already given you the comments I was about to make. I will add that, after years of "watching" them grow up, I think your grandchildren are a kind, level-headed lot, with whom you have built exceptionally good relationships. Yes, weddings do make people go funny (I had one of my own last year), but I bet the grandchildren (and their parents) will support whatever decision you take, even if they wished the outcome were otherwise.