Sunday, September 15, 2019

I was sort of ill yesterday. I’ve never learned to spell “diahhorea” so I can’t tell you what was wrong.

But I’m moving forward on other fronts. I’ve knit 16 rows (out of 150) of the borders of the Spring Shawl, and the stitch count is – astonishingly – right. That's 10% anyway. The rows don’t even seem dauntingly long so far, but of course will get longer as they are being knit from the central triangle outwards.


I’ve finished “Phineas Redux” and have embarked upon “The Prime Minister” which is the subsequent, and last, title in the Palliser series. I hope to catch further glimpses of Phineas, but it starts off vigorously with a whole new set of characters.

A couple of small remarks about language and customs: there is a murder trial towards the end of PR. When references are made to execution, the past participle is always “hung”. I was taught – it must be after I came to GB – that one must use “hanged” in that context. Thank goodness the question doesn’t arise any more.

And Lady Glencora  at one point uses “lay” where I would insist on “lie”– or maybe it is the other way around. I have heard that Jane Austen is weak on “imply” and “infer”.

As for customs, I was very surprised to find that, during that murder trial, some of the witnesses were in court, and thus hearing the testimony of other witnesses, before they gave their own. That doesn’t happen at any criminal trial nowadays. (I went to a murder trial once, in Birmingham, because it concerned Oxford students and an awful boyfriend and might have been Helen. It was extremely interesting.)

And the other odd custom is that men seem to take their hats with them, into the House of Commons. They get no pay (and thus must be fairly well off to attempt a political career) although there does seem to be a stipend for ministers.


  1. I can spell that nasty "d" word but I much prefer the old west Cornwall dialect expression "back door trots" - implying that the facility was at the bottom of the back yard. I have always found that knitting on is a comfort when that ailment strikes.

  2. We called it The green apple trots!

  3. Whatever they call it, I hope you are feeling better andholding in enough water:)!

  4. Anonymous3:15 PM

    "The Duke's Children" follows "The Prime Minister". So you have one more to anticipate after you've finished The PM.
    -- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

  5. =Tamar6:24 PM

    Were "imply" and "infer" in common use in Jane Austen's time? There's a point in the popularization of new words where the definitions are flexible. ("Uptight" originally meant "cheerful"! That lasted about a week, the way I recall it.) Prescriptive grammar seemed to reach a height somewhere in the late 19th or early 20th century. Lately, as the internet creates and disseminates new words at the speed of electricity, language seems to be devolving. We are losing words and in some cases we are losing precision of thought with them. But I'm not sure whether it's a change or whether putting things in writing has merely revealed language confusion that existed for a long time. I've lost count of the times I've seen people confuse the spelling of "where", "wear", and "were" online.