Thursday, December 06, 2018

Not much knitting – a few more rows on the stripey hat.

I’m enormously grateful for all your kind comments on the Calcutta Cup vest. I don’t think I’m going to block it, in the full crawling-about-on-the-floor sense of the word. The fit is so good, that I’ll try first to see what can be achieved with a damp tea-towel and a cautious steam iron.

Long ago, Ketki posted what must have been the image above to Instagram or some such, and the Scottish Rugby Union responded by saying, do let us know when the vest is finished. I’m sure she’ll follow that up. We have at hand all the knitting I’ve done on this theme since 2000 except for 2010 which was a draw: I knit a hat for Alexander and Ketki’s elder son that time, shewing half the Cup: but he lost it. A photograph exists.

I entertain occasional mild elderly daydreams of being photographed with Chris Paterson or Greig Laidlaw and Alexander in the vest, but on the whole, as with any other FO, I’m just looking forward to the future. The Stronachlachar package isn’t here yet. Rachel said it was a good thing Scotland won while I was still able to knit such a thing – an uncomfortable reminder of the nearness of the grave, but she’s right.

A draw would require some thought, should it happen in 2019. It would be a substantial moral victory, since it would happen in London; and it would mean that the Cup would stay in Edinburgh for another year. It won’t happen, but it’s worth thinking about.

When I come to add up the achievements of ’18, as I will soon, high among them will be the facts that I met the Duke of Palma, the model for “Tancred” in “Il Gattopardo”; and that I’ve seen the Calcutta Cup.


I’m delighted to learn that so many remember Tom Lehrer. I heard him sing in the flesh, in the winter of ’53-’54, when I was with some Oberlin friends in NYC. Indeed, until that evening, I had never heard of him. I’ve been a fan ever since. I’ve had “Wernher von Braun” playing in my head all day. “That’s not my department, says Wernher von Braun”.


  1. "Lik the widows and cripples in Old London Town..." was going through mine. I recently listened to a BBC podcast called "The Ratline" which links to W Von B in my mind. I highly recommend it. I think that the Scottish Rugby Union should arrange all of that for you. We'll start a campaign on your behalf!

  2. Anonymous2:14 PM

    My memory of Tom Lehrer is the good-naturedness with which he delivered his clever lyrics. Wish that were still in style. Chloe

  3. Anonymous4:00 PM

    I'm envious of those who heard Lehrer in person; I know him only from radio and recordings. The Lehrer lyric that always comes to my mind first is from his "Pollution" song:

    "Fish gotta swim, and birds gotta fly,
    But they don't last long if they try."

    -- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

  4. =Tamar7:50 PM

    I saw Tom Lehrer when he was on tour, supporting his choice of candidate. The audience of college students tried to sing along and he commented "I could have just played the record" and they shut up. He sang a few verses that were too acid to get on the air or on the records, back then.