Wednesday, May 27, 2015


“Little C”, the equestrian, is still in hospital, still in very considerable pain, still on morphine, but so far, as of late yesterday, no broken bone or damaged organ has been found responsible.

My husband was very weary when I saw him yesterday. Visiting hours coincide with what used to be our nap time, and we both suffer. He is still on antibiotics for both a chest and a urinary infection. He no longer had an oxygen tube up his nose – he said he had told them to remove it. That might explain some of his weariness and breathlessness. I'm going to try to talk to a dr today – although I suspect the wonderful ward nurse knows more than any of them.


One of you came to the door yesterday, just before Visiting Time, and left me a lavender plant and a wonderful glossy gardenia. She had been on the calendar for a long time. We had hoped to meet for a bit of LYS and lunch had circumstances been otherwise. The lavender is of a superb dark blue – they can be awfully peely-wally – and will I hope, one day not too far away, find a home in Strathardle.

The gardenia is a sensation. I doubt if I have seen one since high school days in New Jersey. I've looked it up and chosen what I hope is the best spot for it, best-of-a-bad-job, I'm afraid, in accordance with advice from the RHS – in the bedroom with my cactuses. It can't go out on our sunny doorstep, even on warmer days than this, because it doesn't like too much direct sunlight, the RHS says.


I've simply pressed on with the Fantoosh, ignoring the calls of reason. I'm now working on the 3rd repeat of Chart B – the one with eight lozenges.

Skeindalous, thanks for the maths. I think you've left out one repeat (not that the Knitting Police would shoot you for stopping at that point). The first two lozenges are established by the Setup Chart. There then follow eleven repeats of Chart B. So I think there'll be a whole other row, of 24 units, if you knit it as written.

But you've done the hard work, and I can and will use your results in my sidebar.

One of the rather gratifying things about the pattern is that the lower, st st portion of each lozenge is knit in the rank below (that's why you need a Setup Chart to start with). So my current eight lozenges are almost finished before I begin them.

I find the first row of the twisted rib which finishes off each lozenge, rather difficult to get through. That is a great incentive, of course, to polish off these eight and see if I can get it right-first-time for the ten which will follow. I ordered the needles from Meadow Yarn, and they have been dispatched. Today? I ordered one the length of the needle I am currently using, and another the length Kate Davies specifies. Even if they do come today, the shorter one may be too short.

It's a very clever pattern, very highly recommended.


I have established a system of life where I cook something for lunch and finish off eating it when I get back from the hospital, utterly exhausted, ready to fall into bed. Yesterday it was a potato salad of Jamie's, with some smoked trout. The day before that, a rice salad. Today I think I'll attempt a Fattoush. The coincidence of name is irresistible.


  1. My Grandmother used to call me 'Fanny Toosh', as in, who do you think you are 'Fanny Toosh'?, whenever I got a bit above myself. Sending good vibes to you. You certainly have your sorrows to seek at the moment.

  2. skeindalous10:13 AM

    Had to look up Fantoosh. Sounds delightful. Must try it.

  3. Anonymous12:02 PM

    Here in Louisiana Gardenias are landscape shrubs, and are blooming this week. I am surprised at the caution against sun - they grow in full tropical sun here.

    1. Amen to that. I'm in Central LA and our gardenias are monstrous. On down the road there is one near the highway that's got to be 25 feet across. One of mine was split in half when we dropped a tree on it. That hadn't been the plan but it thrives. Just have to prune out the old wood.

  4. All of my childhood my mother tried to grow gardenias in a container. Once a great while one would get a bloom, we would oooh and aah at the fragrance, then it would fall off, as would the subsequent buds. I have never attempted it myself in this climate. I do like Fattoush, but have never made it. I am impressed that you make such elegant lunches for yourself.

  5. OK, I'm going to need a definition for "peely-wally".

    I grew a gardenia in California and it really liked shade. However, it had a tendency to root rot if kept too wet. The aroma of the blossoms is worth a lot of care though. I'm glad someone brought you flowers, Jean. I think I speak for a lot of us when I say we'd like to do something nice for you during this time, so I'm glad someone is close enough to do so. Hoping for a good day today.

    1. 'peely-wally' means pale, devoid of any colour, especially after an illness, as in 'goodness me but you're looking a bit peely-wally today'.

  6. Anonymous1:01 PM

    I concur: the coincidence of Fantoosh and Fattoush is too good to resist. Now I too want a Fattoush salad! I might visit the local Lebanese restaurant and have one for my lunch (although some hours later here in Massachusetts than your own).
    Thank you, too, for the new word. I found this great explanation for peel-wally, for the curious:
    Take care, good luck with health and plants and knitting, and may your husband return home soon and your life resume its regular course.
    CKP (who, sadly, has forgotten how to comment other than anonymously - oh, the ignominy)

  7. Anonymous1:42 PM

    So sorry to hear of "Little C." 's injuries, hoping for the best for her. Enjoy Fattoush and Fantoosh!
    - Beth in Ontario, newly inspired to search for a less peely-wally lavender for my own garden.

  8. Anonymous3:18 PM

    Okay Jean, you've persuaded me not to hold back any longer on the Fantoosh, pattern purchased today and yarn on its way..........

    Jan, North Yorks

  9. I think a hearty lunch and a small dinner are a healthy way to go. I hope your husband's health and temper improve. Maybe this hospital incarceration will make him Wiley happy to be home. I love to be mesmerized by a new pattern. Will be watching your progress and maybe casting on?

  10. Anonymous5:34 PM

    Thanks for teaching us about the phrase "peely-wally".
    Thanks to the reader who brought you the plants! Glad she could do so.
    Fattoush is an excellent salad indeed. I think the success of the Ottolenghi cookbooks has made spices like zaatar and sumac more easily available at mainstream supermarkets.
    Continued best wishes for recovery to both your husband and your niece's daughter.

  11. Fattoush! We love fattoush. My husband is from Lebanon and is generally in charge of the salad. I was just thinking the other day that soon we will have everything we need to have fattoush as often as we like - though really, tomatoes won't be in season here for another few months. Yum.