Sunday, August 16, 2020


I feel a teensy bit better today. Went for my walk with C., now safely back from Kirkmichael. I had a grocery delivery, and got a certain amount of additional exercise putting it away.


I get a daily email from the New Yorker, I don’t quite know why. It includes a cartoon from the archives, and on Friday it was a picture of a rather silly-looking cat with a stick in its mouth, bringing it back to her master. Two dogs in the foreground: “It is not done well, but one is surprised to find it done at all.”


I showed it to Helen, who smiled at the cartoon but didn’t recognise the caption. (What do they teach them at Oxford?) As I hope you know, it is a remark of Dr Johnson’s about women preaching. Making the cartoon doubly or trebly delicious – it isn’t Correct, these days, to laugh at women, but perfectly all right to laugh at pussy cats. I wonder if I could get it on a tee-shirt.


Shandy: yes, I could have found someone to feed the cats, and left them behind. My feelings about this may well be excessively romantic, or anthropomorphic. I have had cats all my life, and part of the pleasure is the animal’s absolute freedom. Living as I do in a flat, I can’t give my cats that here in Edinburgh. But I can in Kirkmichael, and I think they enjoy it. I would hate to go there and leave them behind.


Yesterday was VJ Day, of course. I’ve probably said this before. I honestly didn’t know, until 1985, how the British felt about that. That year was the 50th anniversary of the end of the war. In May (VE Day) we had Vera Lynn singing, and commemorative stamps, and a breath-taking moment when the Queen Mother stood alone on that famous Buckingham Palace balcony before being joined by her two daughters.


And I thought, Gosh, this is wonderful, what will they do in August? And the answer was, virtually nothing, although many of their men were out east when the war ended, including my husband. Whereas in the USofA, VE Day was a day of great rejoicing, but only because it was a Major Step Forward. The job wasn’t done. I'm old enough to remember.


As for the Stillness Shawl, I now have one right-side row to do, and the stretchy bind-off. And tomorrow I’ll have another episode of Suitable Boy to watch.


  1. My father would have been Out East during those months too. He was a telegraphist with the Navy. Recently it occurred to me that I did not know the names of all the ships he served on even though he was in for seven years. Then I came across his service record, actually in my mother's old sewing box which was in my possession. And he spent long periods on shore bases which had the names of ships, relaying messages presumably.

  2. Several of my uncles served in the pacific, so VJ day was remembered. I didn't recognize the source of the quote, but I knew it was from 'somewhere' other than the mind of NYer cartoonist. I get the daily newsletter as well, more reliably than my paper copy at least.

  3. =Tamar5:01 PM

    Somewhere online there is a home video of a cat carrying around a spatula.