Friday, January 24, 2020

We had a jolly birthday lunch for/with Helen today, at Le Roi Fou, an excellent restaurant near here. There’s no doubt that “dry January” keeps the final bill down on such occasions. Not much else got done – one more scallop; a bit of the Finzi Contini’s; some mending of sweaters which the moths had attacked.

Mary Lou, I can hardly wait to see the Japanese yarn cocoon, when my Sweater Workshop arrives (which should be soon). Non vedo l’ora, as we say in Italian. I am much concerned, in a very pleasant sort of way, about the question of what to do next when I finish the Dathan hap (laid aside in favour of having the “Hansel” ready when the baby actually appears).

Do I give up and start the Spring Shawl again from scratch? Or start something else, and continue to wait for it to turn up? It must be somewhere.

Shandy, I had thought of blocking the “Hansel” hap shawl on a spare room bed. I don’t think they’re wide enough – two singles, separated by a little table. But I will explore the possibility before I get down on my knees. Would it help to turn the shawl diagonally? The other possibility is to do the blocking on my bed, and sleep in the spare room myself for a couple of nights. The problem there is that there is a largish chest at the foot of the bed, and it might not be possible to reach all the sides. But, again, I will investigate.


The Oberlin Alumni Magazine turned up yesterday. Nobody I remembered is recorded as having done anything (not even died). The row with Gibson’s is referred to rather tangentially in an article by the retiring president of the Alumni Association. Tracy Chevalier, on the other hand, is made much of.

I spent some time in happy imagination, living at Kendall in Oberlin, a retirement community just off-campus. Retirees can audit classes (for free) if the lecturer agrees. I could never leave my children, my cats, Edinburgh, Europe. I couldn’t be happy having spent that much money on myself instead of leaving it for my heirs. I couldn’t face dealing with American income tax or health insurance. But Britain doesn’t really do retirement communities (partly, perhaps, because we’ve got the NHS) and it is, in many ways, an attractive way to live.


  1. According to Ravelry, the full Hansel is 54 and 3/4 inches square - so too big for a single bed. However, you have said that it was working up small.

  2. The diagonal is longer than one side, according to Pythagoras. That would only make the problem worse. Better to sleep elsewhere and use your bed. Will the cats still join you on a single bed?

  3. My parents (Scottish father, American mother) lived in a beautiful retirement community in the US and would have MUCH preferred to live where and as you do.Greener grass and all that. ;)

  4. I think most Americans would rather live as you do - especially the ones with any health problems or, God forbid, a sick child.

  5. My mother, age 90, just moved into a new house. She was happy in her town home/condo but she saw this house (a few minutes up the golf course road from her home), sold some stock, and bought it. It's lovely. It's small with a sweet little secret garden. I just returned from Washington where I helped her move some of her stuff prior to the moving company coming. We sat in her new kitchen and prayed for her new home. She can't wait to have friends in for dinner. I'm still amazed.