Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving, you guys. We seem of late to have “Black Friday” firmly established over here, like so many other American holidays, but without any turkey and pumpkin pie to precede it

Alexander came to see me this morning, and I held the Calcutta Cup vest up against him. It looks perfectly long enough as-is, but of course we all know that a sweater with a human being inside isn’t quite the same. And, anyway, it wasn’t the overall length I was worrying about, but the sleeve-hole depth. He professed to some anxiety as to whether he could get his arms through the holes, until I explained about steeks.

I watched Part Three of “The Little Drummer Girl” last night and indeed got some knitting done – I’m now well-embarked on the final peerie. I’m ready to give up on the Drummer Girl – the book is just too good, and too complex, for television. But after that productive start to the evening, I huddled in the kitchen until nearly midnight which sort of defeats the purpose.

Greek Helen dropped in this evening, and says she left her stripey hat on a bus recently. She is unhappy about the loss. There might just be time to replace it before Christmas if I pulled myself together. (The vest must come first.) And Rachel has never had one. It might not be a bad idea – and a cheering one, in these dark days – to order the kit again, maybe twice. They’re not going to abolish Christmas.


Mary Lou, yes and no. I’ve got Rebanks’ book, “The Shepherd’s Life”, and haven’t read it. I will repair that omission – it’s just the thing to huddle over in the kitchen. And many, many thanks for the link to the NYTimes article about Wool Week. I was especially taken with it since it began with Muckle Flugga, the sight of which remains a high point of my own Shetland experience.

I had a nice email from the Shetland Wool Adventure this morning, listing the first names and places-of-origin of the 11 of us booked for next May. I am the only one resident in Scotland. That was also true among the 12 of us on my Outer Hebridean cruise last summer. I don’t know what conclusion, if any, is to be drawn.


  1. I was lucky enough to hear James Rebanks speak at the Maryport literary festival two years ago. He was charming and persuasive in person. The book has its lyrical passages, but I did not find it entirely convincing. After all, not many Cumbrian Sheep-farmers are Oxford-educated consultants. I was brought up on a Cumbrian hill farm myself so I did have some points of comparison

    1. Interesting, Shandy. As a city-bred girl, I have no comparison. A friend who manages a flock of wild sheep in an area where places are being turned into summer homes, as seems to be happening in Cumbria, felt the comparison strongly.

  2. Sorry you don't get pumpkin pie with your Black Friday ads. I'll eat a piece and think of you!

  3. Anonymous5:48 AM

    What is the motive for huddling in the kitchen, Jean? Better lighting? More comfy chair? Warmer? Can whatever it is be replicated elsewhere? Good light is especially important in winter for those of us affected by the lack......


  4. I loved the audio-book version, which allowed for driving, but might also allow for huddling in the kitchen while knitting. Do you have a spot near the Aga?

  5. =Tamar3:29 PM

    Sympathy for Greek Helen. I hate losing things, and still regret having lost a favorite summer hat years ago. On the other hand, hats are made to be worn. I have a friend who has lost so many hats that she's afraid to wear her best ones outside the house, and I think that's sad.

    It has been noted many times that people rarely go to see interesting things that are local, unless they are showing them to visitors from afar. Partly it's the idea that they can go anytime, so anytime never comes.

  6. Anonymous5:24 PM

    I agree re the kitchen. Can you get a small space heater for your sitting room?