Wednesday, November 06, 2019

All well. Here’s the current state of the hap, except that by now the stitches are bunched up on the needle so it’s hard to photograph. The stitch total is somewhere around 280. The target is 597. But never mind that. The knitting is pleasant and easy and the colours are just what the winter knitter needs. I didn’t mean to be here, but I’ll press on, remembering to leave a week in early December or so for that pocket square.

The Rest of Life

Thank you for advice about protein, Tamar. I may venture out tomorrow and get one of those food supplements that you stir into milk. In general, I think I’m in pretty good order, in that my Mindful Chef food packages are fearfully healthy.

There is an interesting passage in “The Last Chronicle of Barset” in which the annual expenditures of the destitute Crawley family are listed (Shandy, you’ll remember). They have £130 a year – a family of five. “When it is remembered that three pounds of meat a day, at ninepence a pound, will cost over forty pounds a year…”

If you or I had been faced with that situation, we would have derived our protein from lentils and beans and eggs and dairy. [But what would that have cost?] Indeed, the Crawleys probably had a few chickens out the back – daily eggs and an occasional fowl for the pot.

When we lived in Birmingham, Newman’s Oratory was our parish church. Otherwise I would probably never have read any of his collected letters, which have appeared in multiple volumes and are really rather interesting. If Newman put out a note for the milkman, and it survives, it will be there. The dates overlap with Trollope. And I was much struck at the time with how much meat those clergymen ate, not riotous monks but living (as they thought) simply.

As for actual reading, I am greatly enjoying "The Last Chronicle" and beginning to worry about where to turn next...


  1. As it happens, I've just been reading Ruth Goodman's "How to be a Victorian", which gives a very detailed account of the diet of the various social classes. While one can imagine Trollope himself getting through three pounds of meat a day, it is hard to imagine the Crawleys doing so. The Thorntons, in "North and South" are said to have lived for years on water porridge, and I would have thought that was a more likely diet for an impoverished parson.

  2. Three pounds of meat per day sounds like a great deal of meat for a destitute family, doesn't it? The hap looks like the perfect knitting for the season, getting larger and warmer as it gets colder. I lost my newly knitted hat yesterday. The pockets on my newish coat are not deep enough, it seems. I'll retrace my steps this morning and see if a kind soul put it someplace.

  3. =Tamar6:16 PM

    Three pounds a day is not that much when you consider that there are five people involved. The custom was to eat four times a day. Allow 4 ounces of meat per meal for the father, and that's one pound. The other two pounds feeds four people, so they get 2 ounces of meat per meal. That's the amount most weight-loss diets allow. An in-period weight-loss diet allowed eight ounces of meat at breakfast and four ounces at the other meals.
    Furthermore, the meat is weighed before cooking. It may come down to three ounces, or less if a lot of fat cooks out.

    The hap is really pretty. I imagine that it's not just the bright colors but the relatively frequent changes that help fend off the grey moods.