Monday, May 21, 2018

I had a good Italian lesson, as usual, although it left me, as usual, exhausted. I am permanently stuck, I feel, in the position of a child in its third year. I can talk, and it gives me great pleasure. The grown-ups can understand me, and respond, and that gives me pleasure too. But when they talk to each other (=when I watch the latest installment of Inspector Montalbano) I can hear words and phrases and sometimes whole sentences, but I can’t really get the drift of what’s going on.

No news on the fermentation front, except that I noticed this morning that the garlic cloves at the bottom of the pickled pepper jar (from which I hope to make a hot sauce) had turned an alarming blue-green colour. Nothing in my books. I google’d, and discovered from a wide variety of sources that it is something that happens to garlic, nothing to worry about. How did we manage before Google?

I am undecided as to whether to tackle the hot sauce tomorrow, or leave it until I get back from Kirkmichael. Also undecided as to how to proceed. I could use Jamie Oliver’s recipe, add onions and tomatoes and cook it all for a while (thus killing the probiotics) or I could just add cider vinegar and some sugar and smoosh it up and call it a sauce.

I will take the Calcutta Cup vest along, now that I am on a (slow) roll. I have a Kirkmichael WIP, as was my custom in the Good Old Days – Carol Sunday’s beautiful “Oak Park” scarf (see sidebar). I think I will face up to the reality of old age, and bring it back with me, whether or not I work on it while I am there.

The colours were all laid out a year or so ago, in order, on a shelf of the dresser. Close to 20 of them, I think. Greek Helen has done a prodigious amount of work recently trying to get the house into an order which would allow us to offer it for holiday letting – and, in the course of that work, the Oak Park scarf and anything else knitting-related was bundled off into the drinks cupboard in the sitting room. If I could put the colours into order once, I can do it again, assuming I can find most or all of them. I can buy the pattern again if need be.

Andrew and Andrea tomorrow! How swiftly the fortnights go by!


  1. I moved to a country where I didn't know the language, and started school there immediately. (People had told my parents that we kids would pick it up easily .) I was stuck at the 3-year -old stage for a long time, crying at school frequently from frustration trying to understand or make myself understood. I know why 3 cry a lot, they don't have the words they need to explain themselves. Learning a new language was worth it though , and has stood me in good stead all my life .

  2. Anonymous10:59 AM

    After a while, with languages, I think immersion is the only way to gain mastery. Maybe you have access to Italian television? Chloe

  3. It is interesting to remember what we were knitting when there are significant events. I had a student a few years ago who said she wasn't a rank beginner, but the last thing she knitted was a sweater for her baby while she watched the coverage of the Kennedy assassination. It all came back to her. I admire your sticking to the Italian. Can you put subtitles on the Inspector to help?

  4. Anonymous7:12 PM

    I guess the fact that you can access Inspector Montalban shows that you must be watching Italian TV. But maybe something which uses less advanced vocabulary such as children's programming might be a better place to start. I could also suggest quiz shows but they sometimes tend to be so manic that it might be hard to endure them. I often hear how people learn a language through watching TV. Sometimes it stuns me what a great command they have of the idiom. Almost like native speakers. Chloe

  5. Anonymous7:14 PM

    MontalbanO. I thought I had typed that correctly.

  6. Anonymous1:59 AM

    Enjoy your time in the countryside!

  7. Inspector Montalbano is full of Sicilian dialect which in itself can seem like another language. You're doing well to communicate and be understood.