Friday, August 19, 2016

Archie’s results weren’t quite good enough for the place Glasgow had offered him. It happens, and sometimes the university will bend a bit, but not in this case. I think the family had a fairly awful morning, compounded by the fact that Greece is two hours forward, so it will have been the middle of the morning for them, as we were struggling out of bed.

Here’s Helen’s account:

“After much waiting (the school's computer system was down), calling (they weren't answering calls), texting (some of Archie's friends were on site) and confusion, we finally know that Archie got ABC, with the A being in English. This is less than he needed for Glasgow so there was another round of frantic calls, being on hold, emailing and advice flowing in from Alistair on Instant Messenger before finally it was concluded that he will go to Lancaster to study English. We are rather pleased because it's a campus university and nice and northern.

The University “clearing system” computers seem to have held up fine. Don’t miss Knitlass’ comment yesterday, either. Alistair is Archie’s cousin and good friend, James’ and Cathy’s eldest. He has just finished his second year at Glasgow, doing computer science. I think his own A-Level results fell short of the mark, so he has lived through such a day.

Archie phoned me with the news not long after 9. I told him to read “The History Man”, but on looking it up afterwards, I’m not sure I’ve read it myself. I was remembering the brilliant BBC series from the 1970’s, with Anthony Sher, filmed largely at Lancaster. It turns out that the BBC have, relatively recently, released it as a DVD. I ordered it for him.

After all that, I phoned London, and spoke to Rachel herself. She didn’t yet know her actual results, but she knew that they were good enough to secure her place at Leeds.

So all is well.

Mary Lou, thank you (comment yesterday) for the reference to the Beaver who “sat making lace in the bow”. I had forgotten him.

I’ve done the heel flap of the second Vampire, and turned the actual heel – I’m ready to pick up those stitches and knit the gussets.

And I’ve done a bit more Uncia. I’m mired in one of those instructions: “Repeat rows 92-93 a further 7 times”. I’ve done four. So I’ve reached row 101, I think.

I hope this link works. It’s a brilliant YouTube video about Shetland lace. I was surprised, though, that it suggested that J&S’s newish heritage lace yarn isn’t plyed.

The internet is entirely silent about the Vintage Shetland Project, as far as I can ascertain. There’s a thread in the Susan Crawford group on Ravelry which has excited anticipatory messages until about a fortnight ago.


There’s a grammatical point I want to explain to you – I have baffled and offended many a friend with this one before now. But I feel I owe it to Ross and Thurber to say it in public, because the error which provokes my remarks this time is in the New Yorker itself. But that’s enough for today.

Perdita misses her chair. She wouldn’t come out of hiding for a whole hour when I got home from the hospital yesterday.


  1. I dislike the sudden death system of A levels. At least with Highers one gets either unconditional acceptance from your Fifth yr results or a conditional offer that you can have a second go at in in Sixth year. So why have the English exam system at a Scottish school? Especially if intending to go to a Scottish university?

    1. I'm not sure it is much different to be honest. There are some folks who get an unconditional offer as you say - but there are plenty that have conditional offers for their 6th year results - and if they miss then it's no different to missing at A level, ie you need to try and find an alternative via clearing, or rethink your options...

  2. Archie will be just fine at Lancaster Uni I am sure. I know someone who went there some years ago and she was offered some really good individual study options - quite unique for a university. (And they do Linguistics so if he is at all interested in language as well as literature then he has even more options.)

  3. Anonymous12:35 PM

    So sorry Archie was disappointed. But Glasgow's loss is Lancaster's gain. I have no doubt he will go on to successful studies and a rewarding career.

    Beverly in NJ

    1. That was a kind, wonderful comment.

  4. I wish I had your problems (or rather my son had...)! with failed maths and english, one B and the rest D's he not only failed his favourite course, he won't get into any uni - but I am sure there's a life after failed points! just to put that into perspective; can't be easy for Archie having to compete with cousins/siblings that seem to have achieved their dream courses!

    and my Uncia is a bit further gone than yours, finished chart c earlier - the chart symbols are a bit fiddlier now:) but still - I love how the pattern looks, even unblocked! happy knitting with this one....

    1. Yes, there is. College can be agood option for further study - HND or HNC qualifications will often take you into university, particularly if you want to choose something more applied or vocational.

    2. another option (though more expensive than FE college) could be a Foundation year at uni if he's interested in a technical subject (we offer computing and, maths and engineering among others). Sometimes it is best to go out into the big wide world of work and see if uni is absolutely essential. Entrance requirements get relaxed for students who are 25+ years old.

  5. I don't quite understand the whole A levels set up, but Red Roses for Archie - I'm just sorry he won't be closer to you.

  6. I too was wondering about the publication of Susan Crawford's book, she gave a brilliant after dinner talk about the Shetland project at The Knittinig & Crochet Convention in Sheffield last month, to my regret I didn't preorder a copy but will buy on publication.

  7. Carol, San Diego4:40 PM

    Congratulations to Rachel and Archie. Thank you for the Shetland Lace YouTube link - I loved seeing the shawl being pulled through the wedding ring. Glad you are progressing with the Unica and the socks. Perdita is indeed a beauty. I also appreciate your tips on books to read; I'm about to begin a Maggie Farrel. Lastly, I echo what others have offered about your well-being. We care deeply about you.

  8. ABC is a respectable result, so Archie should not be too disappointed. I'm sure he will have a great time in Lancaster.

    It's lovely to have you ba k again each day.

  9. I am continuously surprised at how connected I feel to people I don't know personally and probably won't meet. But I too, think of you daily and wish you and your family the best.

  10. Late post here. dealing the LAFLood and ancient mom.. too exhausted to recap. but wanted to post my congratulations to Archie and Rachel. life has a way of giving us what we need which may not be what we want.

    disappointment is hard at any age...hopefully he will find good friends and enjoy his studies!

    poor perdita..cats get so territorial.. perhaps you could substitute her perch with a pile of books or an old suitcase? (i would but then i spoil my two cats terribly)

    take care of yourself!!! you are the center of that household and need your strength!