Friday, November 08, 2019

A better day. I always feel better after exercise, even though we only managed one feeble circuit of  Drummond Place Gardens. I’m not up to much Italian this evening, either, although I’d better have a bit of a look at the passato remoto.

Meanwhile the Dathan has advanced slightly. There are about 320 stitches, I think.

Kate Davies sent out a message this morning about knitting hats. It’s that time of year again. I have a whole bag of oddballs of Milarrochy Tweed left over from the first Dathan, and the Uradale yarn I am using for the second fits perfectly, colour-wise and gauge-wise. I took “Milarrochy Heids” from its place on the shelf – miraculously, it was there. I could probably knit my way through the book without buying any more yarn, and there are some very nice hats there.

(I hope you found your hat, Mary Lou.)

I say “miraculously” because there has been another mysterious loss – my signed copy of “Glorious Knitting” is missing. I haven’t looked at it for ages, I’m sure. There’s only one place it should be, among the Kaffe’s.

Nor is there much to say about reading. “The Last Chronicle of Barset” is long. I am continuing to enjoy it.

Shandy, I don’t suppose your book about the Victorians has any suggestion as to when and why the British stopped eating mutton? If anybody eats anything in Trollope, the odds are it will be a mutton chop. Is it more profitable for the farmer to send sheep earlier to their doom?

It is possible to buy mutton today, either on-line or from farmers’ markets, but not effortless. I got some once when my sister and her husband were coming, and made them a tasty stew in the slow cooker. But they had come straight from Iceland where they had had mutton every evening, so weren’t much impressed.

If Iceland, why not here?


  1. We get mutton, and hogget, which is between lamb and mutton, from a farm north of Lincoln, where they breed and rear their own beef lamb and pork. They have their own butcher shop, and the meat is top quality - they can't say organic etc but it is all produced in the old fashioned way. Mutton, strictly speaking is over two years old, and I am taking a guess that food rationing in WWII made it more important to get it into the food supply than grow it on for very little increase in the size of the carcase. Afterwards people seemed to have lost thir taste for it - it is a strong flavour. OH loves his monthly mutton chop, but he will not trim his whiskers to match!

  2. Ruth Goodman does not reveal how mutton came to be superceded by lamb - perhaps it happened during the 20th century? She does mention the arrival of frozen New Zealand lamb by the end of the 1800s, although her main point is that the bulk of the population ate an inadequate diet of white bread and potatoes, rarely seeing any form of meat. Cost-effective meat production would lead to fattening lambs within the year with only some reaching even hogg age if they were not to be kept as breeding stock. I don't know what happens to ewes culled from flocks as barren or too old for further breeding. I don't myself like the strong taste of Herdwick, for example. It does always surprise me how expensive lamb is, given how many sheep one sees in the fields.

    1. Thanks Shandy, for reminding me of the New Zealand thing. I should have thought - inWWII my father ws posted to Canada, nd travelled Liverpool to Halifax in a New Zealand meat carrier They must have turned the chillers off!. He came back on the newly built Queen Elizabeth.

  3. I love what I learn here, Jean. Hogg, hogget, new words and now I'll look when I buy lamb at the farmer's market. I did find, my hat, thank you. I know this is a time of year people need hats, but people are so busy with other knitting. The hat drives should happen in May, when small knitting projects may be wanted. I always forget until now, of course. Happy to hear the exercise helped. Can you walk a circuit on your own, or do you need the motivation of the trainer?

  4. It is always interesting when a topic reflects life. We have a new local yarn store and I wanted to buy something to be supportive. I purchased the 21 Color Slouch Hat Kit by Blue Skies Fibers. It is turning out to be a fun knit.

  5. My mother used mutton to make her very excellent curry; it had to be ordered from the butcher (an old-fashioned one with sawdust on the floor, and you paid the cashier who sat in a little office in the corner, or more likely 'put it in the book'). I'm glad you got out; I never feel like going out; left to me own devices I would stay inside, but always feel better for a slow mooch around the block to the corner shop.

  6. You will think me an utter heretic, but neither my husband nor I can abide the taste or the smell of roasting lamb. He made me promise never to cook it if/when we got married. It was a promise easily made and kept to this day. One less thing to argue about;)!