Monday, January 21, 2019

I’ve reached the underarm of the Stronachlachar. I may even begin it, this evening, if I have the oomph to stay out of bed.

I think you have solved the Desert Island Knitting Book problem, Julie, with your kind suggestion of rowing out to us from time to time under cover of darkness, with a change of book. In that case I think I’ll start with Debbie New’s “Unexpected Knitting”.

Greek Helen was in Tunisia last week, looking at mosaics. She had a wonderful time. She came to see me this morning with a telephone-ful of wonderful pictures.

I have been reading a lot of late. At the beginning of the year I started keeping a list of Books Completed. I am surprised at how long it is already. I could spend the time more profitably knitting. But knitting is harder.

Today I finished “The Portrait of Dorian Gray”. I’m sure I’ve never read it before. (I remember what must have been a very unmemorable movie – 1944 or ’45.) Some of the book sparkles with Wilde-ism’s, much is turgid purple prose. Passages about how London society shrinks from Dorian because of his crimes, unspecified in the book, made me wonder whether it was written after Wilde’s fatal run-in with the Marquess of Queensberry – but no, Dorian came first.

The mots aren’t as good as in The Importance of Being Ernest, which it also precedes, but there are some. “I can’t help detesting my relations. I suppose it comes from the fact that we can’t stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.”

And, towards the end, the same speaker to a still youthful-looking and beautiful Dorian, “You have changed, of course, but not in appearance. I wish you would tell me your secret. To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.”

I’m glad to have stuck it out to the end, but now I think I’m owed another thriller.


  1. Oh, I'm partway through Portrait of Dorian Gray; my January classic. ImI trying to read a classic a month along with all the thrillers and Golden Age of Detective Fiction I 'easy read'. I agree with the 'purple prose' and 'bon mots' comment...

  2. Anonymous12:17 AM

    Well, I think that Julie Dyson has the answer to this Desert Island situation, but oh my! Is she going to be busy! Are the 299 of us (Jean plus 298 followers) on an island each? Or are we all on the same island but unaware of each other? In either case the re-supply would surely put everyone in touch. At which point there would be 300 knitting books on the island and the potential for the ultimate knitting retreat. There could be solitude for finishing that persistent UFO which has been a WIP for ages. Or focus groups eg 'How to Knit Your Hammock' etc.

    Then if the re-supply must be by stealth 'under cover of darkness' the boat needs to be camouflaged (Can you camouflage a boat with knitting?) and have a convincing cover story '"I'm just taking these sheep to their summer grazing."'

    This island has possibilities!

    Helen (anon)

  3. I'm reading via audiobook the new translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It is done to be alliterative as the original and quite entertaining. I think more fun to listen to, as I imagine it was first shared that way. Also, good for knitting!