Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Various tidbits from Zite:

Arne and Carlos sock yarn from Regia: what fun it must be to knit!

A free knit-your-own Andy Murray pattern. It's the one from Holt & Bailey's “Knit Your Own Scotland”. I must have told you about the time I saw a much more substantial knitted Andy Murray in a shop window in Alyth – 18” high, as I remember. Alas, I didn't have a camera with me, and when I next was there, it was gone.

An article about Shetland knitting, mostly about Hazel Tindall. I doubt if you'll learn much, but it's worth following the link for the sight of Andy Ross' sweater. He is trying to get Shetland hand weaving going again, from a workshop on Yell.

Wimbledon wasn't very interesting yesterday. The people who were expected to win, won – easily. The Fantoosh moved forward somewhat anyway. Four more rows of lozenge-knitting remain, then 10 of the final edging. A slight unease about yarn. Perhaps the edging could be truncated.

    I wrote that much, then some OT's came to assess our way of life, then I visited the hospital...

I'll just post it as is.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Helen and her family are safely ensconced on Mt Pelion. “We drove past long lines of people waiting at the cash machines in Volos but that was before capital controls were imposed an hour or so ago.” Volos, as I remember, is the substantial town at the foot of the mountain. That message yesterday evening was the first I had heard about currency controls.

However, it turns out they're not all on Pelion: “Fergus is off on a permanently staffed sail boat owned by friends for a trip around the Cyclades for a week oblivious to Greece's financial woes.” Fergus is her youngest son, who recently left his Athenian school for the last time

and will join Archie at Merchiston next term.

I don't know whether a “permanently staffed sail boat” qualifies one as an oligarch. Whether or no, I feel pretty sure that its owner has bank deposits well outside of Greece. Helen drove me and C. through the part of Athens inhabited by oligarchs on our way to Marathon that happy day (amongst other happy days). Not manicured lawns and Palladian mansions, but high walls and guard posts.


She didn't join me in bed last night. I felt rather hurt. It turned out that she had somehow managed to get herself shut into the outer hall. We had a rapturous reunion this morning, and I won't to to bed again without knowing exactly where she is. This is a picture taken from the outer hall – she knows that people who go out there, often go on out the front door and don't come back to their cat for hours.

I have also learned, from her original owner, that she is 10 days younger than we had previously thought. It won't make much difference through life, but it does now. She was 7 ½ weeks old when I brought her home, not 9 weeks. That conforms with my own impression of her then.


My husband has resumed pressing for immediate release. His tone is less desperate than it was in the urology ward, but still sufficiently urgent that I must try to find a programme of action to present to him today. He is much better than he was, but serious problems remain. I have every confidence in the NHS to get him out of this wonderful facility as soon as possible. It wouldn't work, otherwise. Should I point out to him that every day he endures there saves us – what? – a couple of hundred pounds?


I'm halfway through the final rank of lozenges on the Fantoosh shawl, at least row-wise. Every right-side row adds four stitches, but by now they are so small a proportion of the whole that it scarcely matters. The yarn still looks all right, but there won't be much to spare. And Wimbledon starts today.

You would think that my present regime, two hours or so of hospital visiting daily and otherwise my “time is my own”, would result in much productive activity. Virtually no cooking or washing-up. It doesn't seem to work out like that.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

This is going to be an interesting week in Greece. Helen said that by the end of yesterday, there were queues at the petrol stations as well as the cash dispensers. I trust Archie has successfully rejoined his family – the airport was hideously crowded and his flights, after a change at Heathrow, inconvenient. He was due in Athens in the small hours.

They are all planning to spend the week on Pelion (near Ossa) which might prove even more interesting than Athens, but means we'll be out of email contact.

l.;9 v[pgggggggghh c

That from Perdita, while I was fetching my coffee. She also managed to open a second document, where she continued in the same vein.


A couple more rows of the Fantoosh.

And I got Catherine Lowe's “The Ravell'd Sleeve” which I had learned about in that blog piece of Tom of Holland's about “Sequence Knitting”. Self-published, again – this time printed on demand, not very elegantly.

I spent a day or so, after ordering it, wondering where I had heard of Catherine Lowe. It finally clicked – an ad in the current Twist Collective. I had pursued it for a while, but not long enough to find the pattern advertised.

The book is about couture knitting. Her standards are very demanding. I'll continue at least to speed-read it.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A quick log-in to let you know that all's (more or less) well. Archie is here – he will fly off to Athens later today. His mother reports that people are now queuing around the corner to withdraw money from cash machines. He is delighted with the kitten.

I have reached the 4th row of the final rank of lozenges on the Fantoosh. Wimbledon next week – I think it's sufficiently easy knitting that I can polish it off. If not, there are always pocket squares. It looks to me as if there's going to be enough yarn.

An anxious topic, especially as my friend Kristie – the woman to whom I owe that happy, happy weekend in Shetland – is knitting the smaller Fantoosh, with a yarn other than Old Maiden Aunt's, and she is running short although that shouldn't be happening according to the yardages specified on the respective ballbands. Judging from the point at which I joined in my second skein of yarn, one skein of proper OMA yarn would be adequate for the smaller shawl, just as Kate Davies says.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

In some haste – I had a dentist's appt this morning, and it's now nearly time for hospital visiting.

A friend took this yesterday:

Knitting went well – so far, it is the only activity in which I engage which the kitten doesn't interfere with. I have another 3 ½ long rows to do, to finish off the 22-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh, and am determined to get them done this evening.

Lindsay sent me this link to an interesting article by Tom of Holland about Sequence Knitting and its author. I am toying with the idea of knitting the bridegroom's pocket square in an interesting fabric from the book (the other squares are garter stitch) as well as surrounding it with a double row of eyelets. We shall see.

I am grateful to Karen and Randi for starting me off on Lucy Neatby's Double Knitting course in Craftsy. She looks much younger than the Neatby who instructed me in Fearless Knitting the other day – but it can't have been that long ago. I can't really believe that this is a technique I am going to embrace, but I will persevere with the class.

Ta, I'm sure you're right that Perdita is really a dilute calico cat. I am grateful for your endorsement. She shows every sign of being intelligent and affectionate – and I think she's a bit bigger than she was a week ago.

Somewhere there's a range of sock yarn based on breeds of cat -- but I think the closest they get to Perdita is undilute calico.

Now I'd better head off.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


The initial remark is from Perdita, who is being a Very Great Help again this morning. 

Yesterday was another good day. My husband really is a bit better – and the catheter is out. Maybe we can pull this off after all.

I knitted another three and a half rows of Fantoosh – I'm sort of halfway through the penultimate, 22-lozenge rank. So far, this hyperactive kitten has combined surprisingly well with knitting. Yesterday, she slept on my husband's chair while I watched Pointless and the news, and knitted. On other days, she has actually slept on my lap.

“Sequence Knitting” turned up, a fortnight before I would have thought it possible. AND the man delivering it – it's large, and it required a signature – rang the doorbell only moments after I got back from the hospital. It's usually the other way around.

It's interesting, although I haven't got very far yet. The idea is simple – “sequence knitting” is any repeated stitch pattern. K2P2, for instance, over a multiple of four stitches, produces a result with which we are all familiar. Then try it over a multiple of five. Then try starting each new row where you left off, rather than beginning the stitch sequence anew. And so forth. I look forward to reading on.

It is another self-published book, like Kate Davies' ones and Lucy Hague's “Celtic Cable Shawls”. Is this the future?

On that topic (Celtic cables) – I'm currently doing Melissa Leapman's Craftsy class on “Infinate Cables”. I must face up to Alasdair Post-Quinn on double knitting. I've got his book, and I signed up for the class ages ago. It sounds so difficult. All the more reason at least to lie in bed watching the lessons, with Perdita trying to catch the yarn on the screen.


I thought for a moment this morning, in my bath, that I had developed a really interesting dermatological condition on my lower legs, ankle to knee. Then I realised I was seeing the pinpricks where the kitten had been climbing me. Her original owner warned me that she was a climber. Floor to ceiling curtains are of no interest – it's people she climbs.

I shall have to get a pair of loose-fitting heavy corduroy trousers – or a new cat.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Today is Rachel's birthday. I'm sure I've told you before that they came around the ward with newspapers, the morning she was born, and I bought an Express and looked up the horoscope for my new little person -- "Not a day you will remember." Fully up to the standard of the Delphic Oracle. I've still got it.

I've had a good start to the day. I have paid an electricity bill on-line (I find on-line banking very useful, but rather stressful) and have taxed the car for another year.

And yesterday was another reasonably good day on the knitting front – three long rows done on the Fantoosh, establishing the twisted rib for the 22 lozenges. I won't call those rows the hardest of the pattern – nothing is hard; it's fun. But they're the slowest, and now they're finished.

My husband continues to improve, and is beginning to press for a release date. The Great Man makes his rounds on Monday, and told my husband yesterday that they were as keen to get rid of him as he was to leave. He then named a few goals, sine die. I remain anxious about how we are ever going to manage again, but I have great faith in this place – especially the energetic O.T. woman – to break the problem down into its component parts and address them one by one.

Perdita continues to delight. Here she is just now, helping me write the blog.

I told my husband about her supper of sausages and ketchup and I am afraid he seized on the salient point – you must never feed cats on the table.

Last night at bedtime I read “The Tale of Miss Moppet” to her which I think she enjoyed.

Monday, June 22, 2015

We had a good hospital visit yesterday, before James and Cathy headed south. They admired Perdita.

I finished the 20-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh, and even knitted the first row of the 22's – the penultimate rank. As you can see from the sidebar, adding 20 has boosted the percentage nicely.

And I finished Lucy Neatby's “Fearless Knitting” course in Craftsy. The lesson on seaming made me want to cast all else aside and knit a four- or five-piece sweater just to practice what I have learned. The Sous Sous will at least have short side seams. I am embarrassed to have to tell you that I have always just used back-stitch. Now it will be mattress stitch for side-to-side and some very neat footwork for other conjunctions, such as setting in a fitted sleeve, where you create a row of knitting using a darning needle, like grafting only more so.


All continues well. She is very affectionate, preferring always to be in the room where I am even while pursuing her own mad ideas. Last night when I was eating my simple supper of Crombie's Special Pork sausages, she got on the table and asked for some. I cut off a little piece. She ate it with relish. I gave her some more. She even lapped up a bit of ketchup. When she had had enough, she washed her pretty face with the air of a cat who has had a decent meal at last.

So the difficulty is not solid food, it's Waitrose Total Nutrition Kitten pellets. I don't fancy them myself.

 I won't go on feeding her sausage and ketchup, of course, but might try a little bit of fresh minced beef today.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Little to report.

Here we are at the longest day – the fun is over for another year. I feel I've lost the best weeks of the 52, in all this business with illness and hospitals.

James and Cathy are going back to London this afternoon, after today's hospital visit. My husband is much as before (I didn't go in yesterday). James is concerned about some signs of confusion. He was mightily impressed with the Royal Victoria building – “It makes one want to pay even more taxes”.

I did no knitting yesterday – in fact, seem to have achieved virtually nothing. But only three rows remain of the 20-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh. I may be able to finish them off this evening when there will be no one here except me and the cat.

Lucy Neatby's Craftsy Class “Fearless Knitting” continues good. She's got some fiendishly clever grafting techniques.

Perdita is getting on fine – very friendly, very lively. Still no luck with solid food. I have got her some kitten pellets and softened them in her kitten milk, but she will do no more than sniff at them with polite interest. She likes people, and will make a fine family cat one day. We went out to supper last night (Bonsai, at the top of Broughton Street; very nice); she met us at the door when we got back, and said she had been worried about us.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sorry about yesterday. I was bonding with my cat.

I think we're going to call her Perdita, pronounced Purrdita. My husband has seen pictures, and a little iPad video, and seems to approve. She's not terribly well-marked, if one were being really fussy – grey where she should be black, beige where she should be orange. But she has a pretty face (that's essential) and her human family reminded me of the one in Leicester which her dear predecessor Poussin came from, i.e., seriously cat-orientated.

Cats in my husband's family always have names beginning with P.

Yes, Hilde, the cost of cats is ridiculous. In My Day owners were grateful to one for taking a kitten. The change is partly, at least, because the Cat Protection people have been so successful at getting everybody castrated. We hope Perdita can have at least one litter before being spayed, but it's hard to see how that can be arranged if she has to stay indoors and never meet any boys. Maybe we'll be lucky and can be in Strathardle with her at the right moment.


All well. I'm half-way through the 20-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh.

And I've signed up for Lucy Neatby's new Craftsy class called Fearless Knitting. It's good – provisional cast-on's and grafting and duplicate stitch and how to tell which direction something was knitted in, so far. It goes rather well with Zilboorg's “Knitting for Anarchists” and comes back again to EZ's maxim, Look at your knitting.

No, Knit Potion, I hadn't heard of Brenda Dayne either. What a find! Has anyone looked at her book?


Our car went away for its MOT yesterday and hasn't come back yet. I need to get to a supermarket to study the shelves of kitten food. My little cat is drinking milk – we have special lactose-low cat milk these days, did you know? – but so far disdaining solids.

James and Cathy will be here this evening.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I finished the 18-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh and have embarked on 20 lozenges. The final rank is the 24-lozenge one. Put that way, the end seems nigh.

I don't have a cat. The seller – cats are unbelievably expensive these days – put us off because her son was suddenly taken to hospital with stomach pains. I've captured the picture – here it is:

and will take it to my husband when I go in to visit this morning. We insist on tortoiseshell-and-white. As well as being expensive, they aren't entirely easy to find.

Yesterday's hospital visit went well. We saw the diabetic nurse, and the energetic OT woman, and a nice Registrar (=junior hospital dr) who sat with us and heard the whole story and I think at least grasps that, although my husband has suffered from rheumatics in his hands for some time now, something new may have happened to the right hand recently.

I am interested in the book called “Sequence Knitting” which turned up as I web-browsed this morning. The Schoolhouse is selling it, so it must not be entirely lacking in interest. Amazon.co.uk doesn't seem to have it, though.

What the hell -- I've just ordered it from the Schoolhouse.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Progress with the Fantoosh. I finished the first skein of yarn, and wound the second. Since the shawl has a right and a wrong side, there didn't seem to be any reason not to knit the first skein down to the last inch and eventually weave in the ends on the wrong side. So I did that. I'm now four rows short of finishing the 18-lozenge rank: maybe even this evening.

(Except that they are very long rows, and this afternoon I'm going to see a potential kitten. Here in Edinburgh, mercifully.)

When that's done, I'll be 58% done with lozenge-knitting. I think I'm going to be all right for yarn. I knit it on to the longer needle so that I could take a picture for you. I'm rather pleased with it.


You're right about those pocket squares, Meezermeowmy.

I think essentially I am happiest with one project at a time. My current plan is to finish the Fantoosh and then finish the pocket squares and then go back to one of the other two projects. But if my husband comes home before the Fantoosh is done – quite likely, really – I'll switch to pocket squares at once. They are the project that can be polished off most quickly – maybe I really ought to go there at once.

Mary Lou, my husband was fine when he was my age. It was the year of our Golden Wedding. I made a calendar of pictures taken in Strathardle. He appears several times doing active and energetic things. Decline has come since.

There was no change yesterday. I met his new consultant. I think he has an unhealthy interest in memory loss which is not high on our list of problems, if indeed it appears there at all.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Bless you, Beth. I had nearly forgotten how knitting faster gets the project done before you run out of yarn. In prosperous old age, I just buy too much.

I put your timely reminder into practice yesterday, and it seems to be working! I have finished the 16-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh and embarked on the following 18 lozenges: have done five of the sixteen rows of that one, and have enough yarn for two more rows at least (I think). The mathematical middle of the shawl must be around here somewhere.

Maybe I'll just stop worrying and trust Kate Davies.

Yes, Zite can be irritating, Birgit. I probably shouldn't rely on it as much as I do for knitterly web-browsing. It's not just Anna Mo at the moment – it's that man who has been knitting frames of a movie into scarves. I've never clicked through to a story about him, so can't tell you any more. Could we improve it by expressing approval from time to time? I often wonder how much the Zites each of us reads differ from each other.


No news, really.

Helen sent this picture of me giving my husband a wee hurl around the hospital garden on Saturday. You can clearly see that his right hand is swollen.

When we went back in, we found ourselves in a day room where the Trooping of the Colour (or whatever it's called) was on television. We watched that for a while – most impressive. The Queen is six months younger than my husband, the Duke of Edinburgh several years older. They both appeared to be in good form, and there was lots of standing up involved.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Helen is on her way back to Athens, much missed already. I'll take Archie back to school this morning, before the hospital visit – although he hopes to get permission to stay a few days longer, commuting to school for some necessary conferences. Lessons and exams are over.

On Friday Helen spent a long time at the hospital, and I didn't go in at all. Life has sort of gone to pieces around here, and things are Not Getting Done. On that free Friday I applied for a new driving license, as we Oldies are required to do every few years, and caught up with a package DHL was obstinately refusing to deliver except during the hours I spend in hospital visiting.

And this morning – that's something – I spent half an hour or so opening mail. There was more of it lying about even than I had feared. Needless to say, much shreddible paper and four or five things I've Got To Do. It never ends.

My husband is slightly improved, we think, still calm and relatively cheerful. There are a few minor problems, overlooked in the general misery, which now need to be addressed – his right hand is virtually useless, perhaps because he banged it when he fell at the beginning of all this? And he seems unwilling to wear his dentures – which, attentive readers will remember, have been an ongoing problem in recent months. I worry about whether it is going to be possible to struggle on here on our own, even with much help.


Not even much of that, but I have nearly finished the 16-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh, and am enjoying myself, so to speak, worrying about whether I am going to have quite enough yarn to finish the whole. (The old Chinese remedy for toothache, I read somewhere, is to shoot off one of your toes. Same principle here.)

When the 16 lozenges are done, I will still be six lozenges short of the halfway number –and there is a 10-row edging at the end, over a great many stitches, which has not been included in the “halfway” count. The first skein of yarn will finish the 16-lozenge rank, but it won't get much further. I must give some thought to the question of whether simply to omit the final rank of lozenges, or whether it would be acceptable to break it in the middle.

Lucy Hague's beautiful “Celtic Cable Shawls” has turned up. Oh, wonderful! All the more so because some have been inspired by the Meigle Stones, very near us in Strathardle.

Still, first I've got to finish some, at least, of the current FO's. Then I've got a dog to knit.

Zite is full of the work of Anna Mo at the moment. I love it!

Thursday, June 11, 2015


I pressed on with the 16-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh yesterday, and have successfully navigated the least-fun rows of the pattern, where the twisted-rib is established which draws together at the top of each lozenge. I mean, ribbing is bad enough, but twisted... But every right-side row thereafter reduces the amount of ribbing and increases the st st.

I read some more Zilboorg yesterday, too, not always understanding what I was reading. I'll have to go back over some of it. It made me re-appreciate the utter lucidity of EZ's prose.


All continues well. I think my husband is improving somewhat. Visits are certainly less painful than they were. I think I might take along a pocket square today.

He said he had a long interview with social worker yesterday about our Way of Life and that she will eventually be in touch to check on my version.

Greek Helen should be here this afternoon, insh'Allah. She plans to make some soup and take along a book to read aloud tomorrow and stay at the hospital for quite a while. I think I'll stay home and get my driving license application in. I haven't even figured out yet whether I need a new photograph. Blogging not guaranteed for the next two days.


Archie had another good day yesterday. He went to the press launch of the Edinburgh Book Festival. The journalists, including Archie, all got goodie bags including some whiskey. Perfectly legal – he's 18. He was rather pleased, but left it behind at the office.

I seem to have set Blogger to moderate-all-comments. I didn't mean to do that and will try to change it now.

CKP, that Persian stew sounds terrific. I think I can even get pomegranate juice, as well as seeds, at the supermarket. But tonight will be a simpler Ken Hom involving tofu.

Hilde, I think I would start with Nigella's book “How To Eat”. “Kitchen” is also very good. Archie and I have been living out of “Nigella Express” this week. Last night's chilli was a success – not blindingly hot, but blindingly hot wasn't wanted.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Little to report – including very little knitting.

My husband was much as ever yesterday, drooping in his chair with no reading matter. Alexander turned up unannounced, a great pleasure. He had lost half an hour by going to the Royal Victoria Hospital not far away, instead of the Royal Victoria Building at the Western General, which is where my husband actually is. He seemed to think it was my fault. I blame the NHS.

I think Greek Helen is going to try to get in touch with the new consultant today.

And tomorrow she'll be here. Archie and I will have to scale back our culinary adventures to suit her vegetarian tastes. It'll be Nigella's quick chilli this evening, for our last meaty meal. His second day of work experience went well.

I knit a row or two of the 16-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh. And a row is no mean achievement, by now.

And I signed up for Eunny's “Choose Your Own Sweater Adventure” in Craftsy, having enjoyed her lace lessons so much. I am a bit taken aback to discover that she's going to be working at such a big gauge, but it shouldn't be beyond the wit of man to adapt the principles to finer yarn. She is a sterling teacher.

You may have noticed -- I have had to add "word recognition" to comment-leaving again. I hate doing it, when some of you have trouble leaving comments even without, and when I love comments so much. But after many peaceful weeks, the level of junk had crept up to a unacceptable height. I'll try taking it off again after a week or so.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

What would I do without you guys? Janet, I had already read Stephen King's “Revival”, and quite liked. Now I'm halfway through “Joyland”, thanks to you, and am very much enjoying.

Medical & Life

My husband, yesterday, was much as before, drooping in his chair, no reading matter in front of him although it was readily to hand. I had hoped Monday would initiate a strenuous programme of rejuvenation. He said he had been for a walk in the corridors, and had had a bath. Today I will take him that extraordinary sequence in the Sunday Times Magazine where Roy Strong dresses up like various famous works of art. That should animate him.

Archie has survived his first day of Work Experience (that's why he's here). He is apprenticed to that magazine called List. He had expected to spend the day making tea – had asked me how it is done – but in fact was mostly working on spreadsheets, and running errands. They brought him tea. We'll have something – Nigella, again – with scallops and chorizo this evening.

Has anyone ever read Ann Scott Moncrieff's "Auntie Robbo"? I often think of it in connection with myself and Archie.


That went much better. I finished the 14-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh, and even polished off the easy first row of the 16-lozenge one. I'm now about 1/3rd of the way through, and when I finish the 16 lozenges, it'll be halfway. The yarn is holding out nicely.

And I engaged with Zilboorg. It's good. She has a lot in common with EZ – Look at your knitting.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Bless you for yesterday's comment, Southern Gal. I got up from my nap, logged on, read it –and rushed to the television in time for almost all of the final set. Cheering for Stan, like you. Wow! I disapproved of their silly clothes, and of the frenetic behaviour of the (presumably French) camera, but the tennis was sublime. And the right man won.

I should think Andy Murray is quite well placed for Wimbledon.


Archie and I both went to visit my husband yesterday. We found him dressed, drooping, slow of speech, but cheerful, or at least resigned. Archie thought he was better than the last time he had visited, whenever that happened in the current dreadful saga. My husband has lost a tremendous amount of ground since all this started. I hope soon to persuade a dr to attempt some sort of overview.


I have just finished reading Stephen King's “Finders Keepers”. Not as good as “Mr Mercedes”. I seem to have mental strength for nothing but pulp these days. But it was funny, reading it, and listening to reports of that truly brilliant jailbreak in NY. King might well have scripted it.


Again, lamentably little to report. I did manage a row or two of the sixth Pocket Square while watching the tennis. I'll hope to do better today.

I ordered Lucy Hague's Celtic shawl book.

Franklin's latest essay for Lion Brand is good. When is he ever less?

Here's a free pattern for a Chocolate Chip Cookie, from Mochimochiland.

And here's one, not however free, for a knitted granny.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Again, sorry for silence.


Little C is making progress slowly. She has some “bone bruising”, a new concept both to me and to her mother.

And my husband has been moved to the Royal Victoria building at the Western General Hospital, where he is vastly happier. He is in a locked ward, which seems a bit sinister. They suspect a degree of memory loss. I don't think so, or at least not to an extent which is going to cause us any problems. He can tell undoubted Raphael's from Gerard Dow's and Zoffany's, like Gilbert's Major General.

But he doesn't seem to be reading at all. During his first hospital stay, for the chest infection, whenever that was, last month I guess, he polished off an early Graham Greene but now seems to have lost interest. He's got Molly Keane and Nabokov's "Speak, Memory" to hand. He doesn't want me to bring in a New Yorker.


Archie is here, a great solace. I always thought I enjoyed solitude, but in fact have sort of crumbled. It's delightful to have someone to cook for again, and Archie is a particularly good subject in that respect. He'll come with me for today's visit.

We'll have Nigella's Tagliata (from “Nigellissima”) for lunch and her Red Prawn and Mango Curry (from "Nigella Express") for supper, is the plan.


Not much. In fact, I didn't knit at all yesterday (when Archie arrived) – a rare event.

Zilboorg's “Knitting for Anarchists” has arrived and I think will repay careful study.

Kate Davies has been writing about self-publishing. Her own books “Colours of Shetland” and, more recently “Yokes”, were both produced that way. I think I'm going to order Lucy Hague's “Celtic Cable Shawls”.

Thursday, June 04, 2015


“Little C” is well enough to go see her GP today – last week she could hardly move, so this is real progress.

Greek Helen has taken over as Chief Telephone-er from Ketki who is in India this week. Yesterday she got permission for me to visit my husband in hospital in the late morning. I'll try that today. It'll make a big difference to the shape of my day if it is successful.

Yesterday I visited a terrific care home. (They have wi-fi; I was tempted to book myself in.) Everything we could ask for, including excellent physiotherapy -- except that there were no beds available. Helen is investigating a couple of others. I must try to find out the procedure for being discharged to a care home.

She is also trying to book a telephone conversation with my husband's Elderly Care dr. I spoke to her a couple of days ago, and liked her. I tried to talk about bad temper and didn't get very far. Helen is going to concentrate on prognosis, and on his chances of getting a bed at the Royal Victoria (single rooms, strenuous rehabilitation).

My husband was sleepy yesterday and the visit therefore less painful than some.


I just went on with the Fantoosh yesterday, and have made a start on the 14-lozenge rank – the last one if I were knitting the smaller version. I hope my rearranged day (see above) will afford more knitting time.

It's nearly time to switch to a longer circular needle.

Amazon keeps adroitly tempting me with knitting books. I've ordered Zilboorg's “Knitting for Anarchists”. It's several years old, but I didn't know about it. I'm tempted by Mucklestone both on Scandinavian designs and Fair Isle ones. Both topics are pretty extensively covered by what is on my shelves already, so I may be able to resist.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Still hanging in there.

My husband yesterday was sufficiently, energetically determined to leave hospital NOW that we have been thinking, even more than before, of the possibility of having him discharged to a nursing home. We – not me, but members of the team – have gone through the list of Edinburgh nursing homes and have focused on one that makes a feature of physiotherapy – he could have it five days a week. And they have a cat on the staff.

I'm going to look at it, I hope, today. The drawback, of course, is that I can be sure the NHS is keen to get rid of him, whereas a nursing home would have a motive to keep him. I might share that motive, if he continues to be so disagreeable. If he were in a nursing home, I could visit in the morning and have a bit of a nap after lunch and get my days back into sync.


Not much, except that I did finish the 12-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh and enjoyed working out the new percentage for my sidebar, by hand so to speak. Still a long, long way to go, but one consolation is that each completed rank of lozenges makes a more substantial contribution to the sidebar than the last one.

I think if I'm strong enough to knit today, it had better be to finish the 6th pocket square and start the 7th (of 8).

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Sorry about yesterday. No excuse.


No more news about Little C. That's (reasonably) good news, in all likelihood. My husband continues to improve overall, and therefore to become, if possible, even crosser. I spoke to his consultant yesterday, who suggested a care home. We won't do that, except perhaps temporarily. I'll speak to his Elderly Care dr today, I hope, and try to find out about her plans, including perhaps the Royal Victoria where all the rooms are singles. He is now suffering badly from the ambient noise.


I should finish the 12-lozenge rank of the Fantoosh today. If I were knitting the smaller version, there would be only one rank to go. I've reached the stage, familiar to every triangular shawl-knitter, when every row has become an Undertaking – and the next one will be two stitches longer. Still, I have knit the centre triangle of the Princess shawl. I can do anything.

Zite came up with this yesterday, a sort of silliness I much enjoy (even though it is only crochet).

And with this, this morning. I like the hat, the Spinster Slouch, and like sound of the yarn its knit in. But I've given you the link to a blog entry (which contains the necessary Ravelry links) because it also includes Andy Goldsworthy, an artist of whom I am very fond.

We saw an exhibition of his once at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Included was a whole floor-to-ceiling screen made of leaves woven together. An elderly couple, contemplating it:

He: “All very well, if you have nothing better to do.”

She: “What better have we to do?”


I've got to face up to renewing my driving license. That's the sort of thing that doesn't get done, these days. I'm also falling short on the getting-up-to-Boots sort of errand. One gets so tired, and then the afternoon is not a refreshing nap but an exhausting hospital visit. Too much to contemplate.