Friday, September 11, 2020


A good day. I’ve finished the gradient stripes on the yoke of my EPS sweater:


And I’ve counted stitches. All is well, except that the back (or the front) has one stitch less (or more) than the other. That can be corrected. Next I must wind the new skein – I’m down to the last couple of feet – and do the maths. How close am I to the desired depth for the yoke? And how many stitches do I have, compared to the number the EPS prescribes for the neck?


Tomorrow is wee Hamish’s christening , so the answer to these questions may have to wait. I have actually ironed a skirt to wear tomorrow. Normally my beloved cleaner Daniella does all the ironing; or, failing her, I go about rumpled.


Some good news. My “promotions” file often includes cruising, and today it actually included this article about the Majestic Line. They have started sailing again! And there are grounds to hope that social distancing doesn’t entirely spoil the party. I knew from the website that they hoped to set sail at the end of August – but not whether they had succeeded in doing so.




Kirsten, do try “The Towers of Trebizond”. It’s one of my all-time faves, and your message sent me back to it today. I’m enjoying it again, but I don’t know what modern taste would make of it. I couldn’t find the book you mentioned. Did you mean “The World My Wilderness”? I have embarked on that, but got distracted by “The Towers of Trebizond”.


Maureen, yes, I read Penelope Fitzgerald on the Knox brothers long ago. Why isn’t it on my shelf? I was greatly interested in Ronald, the holy brother, and often re-read Evelyn Waugh’s biography of him.




I haven’t done much serious cooking lately. Most weeks, I subscribe to the new take-away service from our favourite local restaurant. Usually, just starters and sides, but this week I have gone for Navarin de Mouton because it is made with mutton from Boreray sheep. If I’d ever heard of them, I had forgotten.


They belonged to the inhabitants of St Kilda. And when the last human beings were removed to the mainland in 1930, the sheep were left behind on the nearby island of Boreray where they still are, living feral. I had not thought sheep clever enough to survive without care – there’s a species-ist attitude for you.


But some were removed at some point to form a small flock from which L’Escargot Bleu has purchased mutton this week.


  1. Yes, it is The World my Wilderness - I had muddled the title. My friend who adores Trebizond also loves 'A short walk in the Hindu Kush'; it is her laugh out loud book. I shall reread that soon.

  2. Jean have you ever watched 'The Edge of the World" by Michael Powell? It is loosely based on the evacuation of St. Kilda, I think, and there are some wonderful scenes of knitting. Not sure where or how it is available, I think I watched it on a rented tape or DVD years ago. I might go in search of it, I would love to have a streaming version.

  3. Yes sheep can cope without humans - just as long as they are the primitive sort that don't need to be sheared - it is these wonderful wooly-blanket-wearing ones that need the annual attention.

    1. If you once start the shearing process on a primitive sort, does it ruin them for life in the wild? Do you have to go on shearing yearly?

  4. I just love those colours together!