Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I am sorry to have worried you, and I take the point about treating you henceforth as family members. Not that I did any better with them, in this case.

Archie was here for the weekend. That shouldn't have made much difference to my limited supply of time and strength, but somehow it did. It was good to see him, and he seems well. He says he has left his big sweater behind somewhere – my job is to find and measure it. He agrees that grey-on-grey stripes will be acceptable for the one I knit him. He says his A-Level Spanish classes are being conducted in Spanish and he's finding it tough going.

Not much progress has been made with knitting. I've finished knitting Rams & Yowes. That sounds better than it is. The next instruction is to hem the inside of the border down, “sew[ing] down each live stitch to its corresponding white purl bump on the back of the work”. That doesn't work (for me) along the steeked edges, because I picked up stitches for the border on the front of the work and that's where the purl bumps are. It's all right top and bottom, where there is a single-colour row before the colour work gets started. But where I was picking up stitches through a double layer of fabric, the purl bumps didn't get through.

I must have done something wrong, because Kate D. is meticulous. But there it is. I have cast off the entire border and am now hemming it down. I've done one side. I think it's going to be all right.

Released from the needle, it looks huge, or at least pretty big. No wonder it took so long to knit.


Persecution from PUP-FNK continues. I am trying a switch back to Internet Explorer to see if that will cut down on the pop-up ads, at least. Archie says he doesn't have virus protection (!) and has no trouble with any of this stuff. He thinks the blameless-seeming internet sites I visit must be responsible. Waitrose? Ebay? Amazon?

We are recovering from the referendum. It now seems a distant dream, but in fact has left the country sadly divided. Mr Salmond is proving a very poor loser. Last week, the “sovereign will of the Scottish people” was everything. Now, he's talking about a plan to have the Scottish parliament (in which his Scottish Nationalist Party predominates) simply declare independence, contrary to the national will. Shades of Ian Smith and Rhodesia and UDI.

They had a big Service of Reconciliation at St Giles Cathedral on Sunday, with the Moderator of the Church of Scotland preaching peace. This must have been planned well in advance of the referendum, with invitations issued to all the high hied yins. They were all there, except for Mr Salmond and his deputy Nicola Sturgeon. [History buffs: St Giles is the spot where Jenny Geddes threw her stool at the minister.]

You've seen Alexander's referendum picture, sunset over Cairndow, U.K. I had long hoped to take a more upbeat one the next morning, and here it is, taken when I went to buy the papers on the 19th. Mr Hussain was an ardent No. His two sons wavered – the elder is reading Chemical Engineering at Strathclyde, the younger starting on an A-Level course (like Archie) at the Edinburgh Academy. Mr Hussain claims to have talked them into line.

He was newly married when we first moved to Edinburgh. His wife Sara is Edinburgh-born. They married in Pakistan (they are first cousins) and it took two whole years before he got permission to join his wife here. False marriages are not unknown as a means of seeking entry to the UK, but the dimmest of immigration officials could see at a glance, if they'd looked, that the Mirtazas were not a family to let their sister make a false marriage, especially as a pregnancy followed (the boy at Strathclyde). I remember the day Mr Hussain first appeared at the shop. I told Sara, who was behind the counter that morning, that he was well worth waiting for. I have remained very fond of him.

I was disappointed that the Scotsman didn't rush out a special edition saying NO. This will have to do.


  1. If I didn't see a post today, I was going to start worrying. I prefer sewing down cast off stitches, especially over a long edge, it seems safer. That way, if something snags, and a bit of hem comes loose, it is easily repaired. I look forward to seeing a final photo. The Mr. Hussein photo is a good one.

  2. I was prepared to be seriously worried if you had not appeared today. I'm very relieved that all is well. Looking forward to a picture of the completed Rams & Yowes!

  3. I was getting ready to hop on a plane and come knock on your front door. :-)

    Congratulations on finishing Rams and Yowes, and exactly a year after you were in Shetland. Well done!

    Much about your Scottish referendum has reminded me of the Quebec referendum here in Canada back in 1995, including poor losers. The final result of that referendum to separate from Canada was 49.42% No and 50.58% Yes. Then premier, and also head of the Yes campaign Jaques Parizeau, made a speech right after the votes were counted blaming the loss on "money and the ethnic vote." He has never lived that comment down.

  4. I agree with all the above. Today was the day I had decided it would be appropriate to start worrying. You've spoiled us all terribly by being there for us everyday unless you warn us ahead of time. Glad you are finally nearing the end of the blanket. Very happy that you're back with us.

  5. Oh it's good to see you. I assumed that you were busy with the referendum aftermath. I hope the politicians don't now rush into anything irreparable.

  6. Anonymous5:19 PM

    WHEW!! Loverly to have you pop up this morning.

    A good friend was ready to give me her air miles so i could hiegh myself to Scotland .... (bless her). Elizabeth A.

  7. Glad you're ok. Re the Referendum, they say that Salmond resigning shows signs of his integrity. I tend to think of it as the captain leaving the sinking ship! I can't believe they didn't turn up for the service on Sunday. Talk about throwing your dummy from the pram!! What a delightful story about the Hussains!

  8. Anonymous6:19 PM

    What a relief to know that everything is well with you and your family, Jean! Thanks for the photo of Mr. Hussain and the story of his family. That is interesting that The Scotsman didn't issue a Special Edition regarding the referendum results. I certainly would have thought that the newspaper would have done such.

    Mary G. in Texas

  9. Anonymous8:30 PM

    Nice photo and story about Mr. Hussain.

  10. Had a quick visit with Kristie at Timo's in Chilliwack yesterday and almost the first thing I asked was if she had heard from you. I had been without internet while traveling so didn't know you had updated your blog. Relief.