Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Another slightly better day, including some knitting. Helen and her family are safely back from Mt Pelion where you can never be entirely sure you won’t be run down by a herd of centaurs. Archie and I went to the supermarket and got, among other things, two packets of Dioralyte powders, meant for re-establishing electrolytes in the blood, especially of the elderly, after diarrhoea. I haven’t taken any yet but will before bedtime.

I can remember that when I was much younger, and something could be seen to be wrong in a row of knitting, I would sometimes forge ahead with the thought that, at least it’ll be right from here on. If there’s any one thing that has improved my knitting in recent years, it has been the abandonment of that notion. I had quite a bit of trouble today, don’t know why. and addressed it by adding or subtracting a stitch as necessary and where necessary.

I’m doing the final set of lacy diamonds. There’s still a fair amount of pattern to come, and then a break row, and then four long, plain rows, and then a final row in which the stitch count is substantially reduced. But the end (of the central triangle) is in sight. Perhaps once the stitches are picked up and counted and re-counted and ready for knitting the borders, I should return to poor Thomas’ Calcutta Cup scarf.


I finished Trollope’s autobiography – excellent to the end. I acquired (it was free) his first novel, set in Ireland, but I’m not going to pursue it. He got better. Yes, Mary Lou, he says a lot about the Post Office (and mentions the institution of post boxes). He went on working for them long after he had established his name as a novelist.

I wondered for a while whether a “serious” novelist could live well on his work today, as Trollope did. But then I thought of Evelyn Waugh, who managed it in much the same way, with books of permanent value supplemented by journalism and travel writing. Of contemporaries, there are of course Stephen King and JK Rowling, who must live pretty high on the hog. Movies and television have taken over from journalism as providing the supplement. Does Ian McEwan support himself with his books? Alice Munro?


  1. Thanks for mentioning Trollopes' autobiography in a previous post. I found a copy for my Kindle. I believe it was free.I look forward to reading it! :) I'm only an occasional visitor to your blog, but enjoy it a lot. Love your humor! (Humour?)

  2. I read an article in the NYTimes about this, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/books/authors-pay-writer.html Could Trollope have supported his family without the post office?

  3. =Tamar1:24 PM

    John Scalzi and Neil Gaiman also support themselves by writing.

  4. those centaurs are very frisky.

    1. I am glad to meet a fellow centaur-fan!

  5. Trollope not only worked as a surveyor for the post office, riding on average forty miles a day, checking on the rounds of individual postmen. He also went hunting two or three times a week. It is his work rate which is astounding - up every morning at five and writing 250 words each quarter of an hour. I felt that he also discussed quite openly his own snobbery, or at least a deep-seated conviction that social class mattered, even for jobs in the cI village service. Plus ca change...

  6. I have been reading with interest all the mention of Trollope. Thanks to Jean, I read He Knew He Was Right, and became a fan. I will get the autobiography for my Kindle. I will read more Trollope. I also read This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. Good books abound here. And I really enjoy all the comments!