Friday, December 15, 2017

On we go. Perhaps I might write a few more Christmas cards tonight, before it becomes altogether too late. I’ve done some Italian homework, for once. I have wrapped up a regalino to give my teacher tomorrow. I’ve knit onwards, with the shawl.

The border lace is embarrassingly easy, and constantly interrupted by the long, wrong-side rows where nothing happens at all. I’ve done the first decrease row so there are eight fewer stitches than before. But since the decreases, at this stage, happen only once every six rows, it’ll be a long time before they add up to anything appreciable.

Nevertheless, as I expected, the shawl beckons hypnotically at this stage. And I even begin, rather prematurely, to look forward to the next WIP. Nancy’s Vest is high on the Possibles list. I bought the yarn, Blacker’s Samite Silk-Blend, at the EYF this year, some may remember. That’s the one that changed from an interesting dark red to a dull brown in my hands before the ink was dry on the check. It’s still a good pattern.

And, of course, the Calcutta Cup will be contested here in Edinburgh (meaning, we have a chance) at the end of February. That could lead to Alexander’s Fair Isle vest. Or I could knit him a non-Calcutta-Cup Fair Isle vest. Ketki admires the swatch-scarf. Maybe I could metamorphose it into a cowl.

Anyway, there are things to think about.


The new season of The Crown is up on Netflix. I suspect it is going to be rather tedious, but I’ll watch for a while. Someone has actually published a book about things they get wrong. Here is my contribution.

There is in Italy – at least in southern Italy – a beautiful gesture which I have experienced once. You offer your hand to a man for shaking. Instead, he lifts it slightly, and inclines his head, in a gesture which says, “I kiss your hand”.

New ambassadors and new Prime Ministers go to see the Queen for a ceremony described in the Court Circular as the Kissing of Hands. I can’t prove it, of course, and we’ll never know, but I feel sure that what actually happens is on the Italian model. But in The Crown, it is represented as an actual, embarrassing, smack of lips on royal knuckles.


  1. My husband I started watching Season 2 of The Crown . We watched until the Suez Canal Crisis and then got into a great political debate as we do frequently. I will watch some more of it no doubt.

  2. =Tamar2:00 PM

    Years ago in a medievalist group I was told that a proper medieval-ish "hand kiss" or "ring kiss" (in the case of Popes etc) was just a deep bow over the hand. I'm delighted to have a kind of confirmation of that. Simply inclining the head instead of the full bow is nicely subtle and prevents silly cartoon images too.

  3. Anonymous2:45 PM

    In the ancient Near East there was a greeting of kinds known as “proskinesis.” It involves bowing and the forehead touching the ground - full prostration. To our minds cartoon worthy perhaps, but for some self-important monarchs a matter of life or death levels of respect. (The life or death being of course that of the person prostrated.)

  4. Anonymous2:46 PM

    (“greeting of kings” in foregoing, obviously)