Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Socklady sounds as if she's doing well, walking up and down the corridor and knitting a bit. It becomes ever clearer that she had a far worse time than I did – and worse hospital food, too.

I had my hair done this morning in order to look, if not beautiful, at least tidy next week in London.

As usual these days, there is little to report on the knitting front. I have turned around again, and made a start on the third of the four bands in the final edging of the Dunfallandy blankie border. As expected, the corner where I turn manifests a certain amount of messiness – but it's nothing that I (and any reasonable baby) can't live with. I should wind and join in the final skein today.

Mary Lou, I find that I quite like doing the tax in January – once it's done. The tax year actually ends on April 5. There was plenty of time to get it done earlier. I used to do it in September. You were allowed – maybe you still are – to submit it on paper if you do it by September.

But then one year things got away from me. If you miss September, the next thing you know is that Christmas takes over life and after that there is nothing for it but to file on-line (which they greatly prefer) in January. And I found it rather exhilarating. There it has remained for me, despite occasional resolutions to get it done earlier.

Why April 5? I love this one. Tax used to be due on the quarter day, March 25. When Britain, rather belatedly, abandoned the Julian calendar, in the 18th century, I think it was, everything got moved forward 11 days. Many people thought that the government had docked 11 days from their lifespan, and were upset about it. But the government did at least move the tax year-end forward those 11 days, to be fair, and there it remains.

When I was a student at Glasgow, I was on a train once and met a man who told me that in the north where he came from they celebrated the "old New Year" and I realised with a real thrill that he must mean the New Year according to the Julian calendar. (They still do.)

The calendar in ancient Rome was a real mess before Caesar. They had to stick a whole extra month in fairly frequently and it was often done for political reasons, to prolong the terms of annual office-holders, or not, to shorten the terms of others. All that boring stuff in the poetry about the stars is because country people, at least, would have had to be able to read them if they were to have any hope of getting the seeds in at the right time. Caesar must have called in the right team, for his calendar reform to have lasted so long.


  1. Always a few good facts here, Jean. I have read the phrase Old New Year in books, not really knowing what it referred to. And now I wonder how the US date got to be April 15. Similar to the UK, perhaps. Thanks!

    1. Anonymous3:47 PM

      Actually, the US date used to be March 15. I don't know why that date was chosen, but in any case, early in the Great Depression FDR had it moved to April 15 to give people an extra month to figure out their finances.
      I suppose Wikipedia has the full scoop, but this is just what I know off the top of my head.
      -- stashdragon

    2. =Tamar4:28 PM

      Wikipedia says the change was in 1955. I seem to recall hearing that it was because the IRS people were tired of all the Ides of March jokes.

  2. Jean, the Old New Year (Staryj novyj god) is alive and well in Russia and the diaspora. It's not a bad deal: two Christmases, two New Years. But only one (the Orthodox) Easter.

  3. Anonymous3:39 PM

    The Mason-Dixon Knitting team posted a photo of a Koigu cardigan which may be of interest - they are still searching for the pattern. It may appear in the comments to their Vogue Knitting Live post today.


  4. Ha ha! A reasonable baby. Yes, I forget what sweet family baby gets this lovely work of art. Is it the coming great grand?
    I bet it felt good to get your hair done. I mean to do that soon, but I occasionally have a good hair day and decide to save my pocket money for other things! Have a good day, Jean! (I guess it's late afternoon there now!)

  5. Anonymous7:13 PM

    Replying to my own comment - yes the sweater was identified in the comments.
    The Koigu chevron sweater can be made for babies or adults.



  6. You can file your tax in the UK online any time after the 5th April but before the end of January ( to avoid the fine). If you file early, ie in the Autumn, usually any tax due from you will be collected through the coming year coding, if you leave it later then you usually have to pay it out as a lump sum. Likewise if they owe you and you file early you usually get in back within a week.

  7. Several patterns were suggested in the comments of the Mason Dixon blog but I don't think any of them are the actual cardigan. (The one mentioned above by Anonymous has sleeve stripes that don't line up.) I hope someone will find it!

  8. I really like the interesting tax dates in different countries! The german ones are rather boring: The tax year ends on Dec 31, and you have to file the taxes until May 31, either on paper or online.