Thursday, February 23, 2017

I’m nearly halfway through the 12th repeat of the centre pattern of Mrs Hunter’s shawl – not much of an achievement. But it occurred to me that this is the antepenultimate repeat, and it’s not often I have a chance to use that word.

Today’s problem was that the lightbulb fizzled out in the standard lamp beside my husband’s chair. We replaced it with another of the same strength, 150 whatevers. He said it was far too bright. So I went out and bought a 100 watt bulb, which he also found too bright. We’re now down to 60, with which he is satisfied, but the dim, romantic light is not comfortable for knitting.

In the course of all this, I found I was not strong enough to climb up and stand on a chair to explore the high shelf where we keep light bulbs. It has been difficult, recently, to do so, but today I couldn’t do it. I feel sort of glum about that.

Claire, I was greatly comforted by your message about how there will be people to show me how to get in the back door of the Corn Exchange on 10/3. My plan is to get there early, in the hopes of a generous half-hour of pre-planned market time before my 10 a.m. class. Afterwards I’ll go back to the market for as much longer as I have strength for.

Skeindalous, I note what you say about the need to knit Brooklyn Tweed patterns with Brooklyn Tweed yarn. But of course, if I decide to go for Nila despite its impracticalities, Jared will be there…

“Antepenultimate”: what follows is not entirely relevant, and I’ve probably said it before anyway.

I was listening to the midday news the day the Queen made her famous remark about her “annus horribilis”. They broadcast a little clip of her actually saying it, and I was surprised that she pronounced the antepenultimate syllable with a short “i”: hor-rib-il-is. I went and looked it up. She was right. The vast majority of commentators who have quoted her since, have said hor-reeb-il-is. 


  1. Oh my gosh! Please, please do not climb on chairs to search high places, Jean. Even on days you are feeling strong enough to do so, the risks are just too great.

  2. I agree, chairs are not for climbing onto. I suggest you get a step stool from Ikea, you can just walk up and down it. Much easier.äm-step-stool-birch-art-30178879/

  3. Anonymous12:45 PM

    or move the lightbulbs to where your helpers can easily get them for you?
    You will work it out!

    The shawl really sounds like a very satisfying knit. Glad you had it available this winter.
    keep well!

  4. Anonymous12:52 PM

    Perhaps you could get a small lamp to illuminate your knitting? There are lots of small LED lamps available online (from sites such as Ebay, amazon, Ikea etc.) Some are dimmable, some have a flexible neck and some will clamp or clip onto a table. They seem to come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, most are not expensive. Do you think one of those might help?
    Helen (anon)

  5. I echo the others. Perhaps get your cleaning person to help move supplies to a more accessible place. Then you won't be tempted to climb chairs. Even a stool can be precarious. And yes get yourself a lamp for your side of the sofa or your chair. There are so many varieties from clamp on to a nice floor lamp. Perhaps you have one you could move.

  6. =Tamar4:45 PM

    You might also want to look into those grippers that are about two feet long and let you grab something from a distance. Most of them aren't very well made but I did find one in a thrift shop that was solidly built. It's called the Featherlite Reacher, from North Coast Medical, and they have a 32" version as well. It's great for getting stuff out from behind things, too.
    I also recommend the better quality folding step stool; some of them have handrails.

  7. skeindalous5:53 PM

    It is always a pleasure to me when I have to check a word from your post in the dictionary. I had always, mistakenly, thought antepenultimate meant the next-to-last. As you say, this is not the case. Keep up the vocabulary building efforts!

  8. I second the gripper, step stool, and task light suggestions. My mom loves her gripper, it allows her to pick stuff up without bending down.

  9. If nearer the time you're still feeling nervous about gaining entry I can always meet you outside the main door and we can go in together.

  10. Anonymous12:22 PM

    On the antepenultimate day of our Edinburgh trip we very much enjoyed supper at L'Escargot Bleu. Many of the other diners appeared to be local, which is always a good sign. Thanks so much for your recommendation. On the penultimate evening we went to see A Winter's Tale, complete with Scots dialogue in the second half. Tell Perdita her namesake was a flaming redheaded Scots lass--brilliant. We were sorry to come home, but our next trip won't be far off.
    One of my post retirement tasks is to rearrange storage so that all essential supplies are within safe reach--no chairs, step stools, grabbers or helpers needed. You may need a helpful person to help move things initially, though. CarolGilham

  11. I echo the concern about climbing on chairs!
    As to the lack-of-light issue, have you considered one that hangs around your neck and can be turned to focus where you need? I have a headlamp I use sometimes but you have to be careful if you're around other people. Good luck on the household issues, and I can't wait to see that shawl!

  12. Anonymous2:44 PM

    Just a little worried about your body strength Jean. I know that knitting is the joy of your life, but can you give some of that time to maintaining your physical ability? Try standing with your leg-calves and sit-stand using your leg muscles only...Stand next to the kitchen counter and raise onto your toes till you can remain on your toes for a count of ten.... research balance exercises and find some for yourself to do every day.
    I am giving you the advice given to me. Enjoy your art, but break it into increments in which you exercise your dozing muscles....
    I loved the "annus horribilis" comment:) delightful! So looking forward to your version of Mrs., Hunter's shawl...finished.
    be well.

  13. Hooray for the Queen!

  14. Oh my goodness . What a match! Hope you managed to watch and enjoy the action this afternoon. My husband went with our eldest and two of his friends. A belated birthday trip. Our son was also at murrayfield the last time Scotland beat wales at Murrayfield. He was 2 weeks old then, and now he's 10!

    1. Oh, Knitlass, yes! Wasn't it wonderful?! My one hope this morning was that our losing margin would be larger than the kicks Finn Russell had failed to make. For my sake, as well as his. And look what happened!