Friday, June 03, 2016

I'm thoroughly back in the saddle. Will there ever be two such days in Strathardle again? Helen and the remnants of her family are going back to Greece today, leaving Archie and Fergus behind at school here. Archie is on the very verge of the exams which will settle his fate, at least as far as university is concerned.

Knitting-wise, I feel I am back in the doldrums from which I rescued myself temporarily with the Neap Tide shawl. (I have sent it down to London with Rachel, to be given to Juliet’s mother Lucy.) I knit a few rows of half-brioche yesterday. What I must do is take the Sous Sous back in hand and bring it, at the very least, to a near-completed stage from which I can launch myself into a hap for the forthcoming great-nephew (see yesterday).

I’ve printed out the pattern for Gudrun’s Hansel hap, and compared it to the Madeline Weston one with which my hap-knitting career began. Stitch numbers are very similar. Gudrun has a slightly deeper border. All this sort of thinking is abstract until I have read KD on hap construction – only eight more days to go.

The distressing thing about Gudrun’s beautiful colour choices, is that she says one needs 132 yards of each of the two least-needed colours.  Jamieson&Smith jumper-weight is 125 yards per 25 gram ball. Still, if that’s the case one will just have to face up to left-over yarn. Nice for Jamieson&Smith, not quite so nice for me. Things would have worked out better in the long-gone days when yarn was put up in one-ounce balls.


Thank you for your helpful comments about gardening. There’s lots going on on the doorstep here which I haven’t told you about, including the recent acquisition of a quince tree. Greek Helen, knowing I was thinking of such a thing, has arranged to have a big Greek pot shipped here when her belongings come home to Edinburgh in August. Meanwhile the tree is in plastic and seems perfectly happy. Picture soon.


Not Hillary – the EU referendum.

There was an article by Someone Who Should Know in the Times or the Telegraph yesterday saying that the environment was better off being protected by the EU.


A leading British bee-man used to live in Kirkmichael. He told us once that, when he was President of the British Beekeepers Association, he tried to prevent the importation of queen bees from the continent to stop the varroa mite reaching Britain. (Beekeepers will know what I mean.) He was told that it couldn’t be done, because of EU rules about free trade. That’s silly – British beef was banned from the continent during the BSE crisis. But AK is a gentle man as well as a gentleman – if he had been a bit more like Donald Trump, perhaps British bees might have been saved.

He doesn’t think that there are any feral honeybees left in Britain. Our own small observation confirms this – we never see them anymore. Bumblebees have taken over, and are working very hard to show themselves worthy of the contract.

And anyway (environment-wise) the British are keen on it. It’s the Italians who turn out in the spring to shoot migrating songbirds.


  1. Anonymous12:46 PM

    About the Sous-Sous,Jean: You can do it!!
    About the bees: So sorry!

  2. Anonymous12:47 PM

    That was Chloe just now. Forgot to stn.

  3. Bumblebees have taken over in Upstate NY as well.

  4. I have been seeing honeybees of late. More bumbles, though. My only perennial foodstuffs, the walking onions, mustard greens, and the sorrel are taking over. I wish I had more good ideas for the sorrel.

  5. Wait, quinces come in tree form? That's our quince!
    Oh, and here's <a href="> our yard through the seasons and years</a> if you wanted a better idea of things.

    1. Sorry, forgot to close the quotes. Here's an unbroken link

    2. Quince trees are beautiful, not too big (about four meters high, growing very slowly), with big white flowers. You can choose between apple quince and pear quince. What you have is a decorative quince.