Friday, October 30, 2020


“Bloody Ploughman”, Mary Lou?  I’m completely baffled.


Very weak today. No knitting. I had a nice Zoom with my sister and her husband in DC, much concerned with the election, of course; confident that Biden will win. They are cheerfully resigned to celebrating both Thanksgiving and Christmas virtually with their son (their only child) and his family. I still cling to some hope for Christmas. I regard myself as occupying a “bubble” with Greek Helen and her family. (It sounds as if you don’t have “bubbles” so much in America.) Although there are grounds for concern: Fergus is a student (Bristol) and Mungo is working in London and David, if he gets there, will have flown back from Thessaloniki only the day before. I might be wiser to spend the day alone.

But if that happens, I would prefer to be completely alone. No Zooming, that day.


There’s time for knitting tonight, and there’s also Italian homework to do. But I think I’ll just go to bed.




You are doing well to have a pile of books waiting and murmuring, Kirsten. I am living from hand-to-mouth, and we all need comfort.  But I’m enjoying “Cranford”. I spoke to Rachel today – she says she won a prize when she was in the Sixth Form, and my husband advised her to choose Cranford. She’s still got it, of course, suitably inscribed, but has never read it. I think she’d enjoy it a lot. But how did my husband know about it? He wasn’t much of a novel-reader, except for our bedtime books; and I’m sure we never did Cranford.


  1. We've had bubbles in Ontario since early June but despite big ads and posters I find people don't necessarily get the concept. It was meant to be groups of up to 10 people with whom one didn't have to mask or social distance, but was meant to be exclusive - that is, everyone in the group was to be vigilant about masking and social distancing with anyone outside those 10. My stepdaughters, mothers to a baby and a toddler, take it very seriously - some friends and acquaintances in their 60s-70s-80s seem to use the term more loosely. Our rates are climbing, but not so dramatically as in the UK, Europe, and of course the US.

  2. Agree, North and South and Cranford don't seem to be from the same pen. What I remember most from Cranford is that she made her father's shirts - that was before I'd read that in so many other stories of the period.

    1. I remember the ladies retiring to separate rooms to eat their oranges...

  3. Elizabeth Gaskell! Have you read "Wives and Daughters"? I loved that one (haven't read "North and South"--must look it up.

  4. We do have bubbles here. As others have noted, some interpret the concept more loosely than others. Perhaps my previous comment never made it through. Abbotsford is supposed to have a large selection of heirloom apples, including one intriguingly named Bloody Ploughman. I had hoped you would get to the garden.

  5. Anonymous10:53 AM

    Not big on Zoom myself, Jean, but how about a phone call or two? Chloe

  6. =Tamar1:25 PM

    Seconding the phone call suggestion. I don't do Zoom but I was pleasantly surprised by how much a phone call can lift my spirits, even when it's from someone with whom I regularly exchange emails.

  7. Anonymous2:31 PM

    The bubbles seem to have evaporated when schools re-opened. if the classes are 15 to 25 kids, and they may take public transit to school, then the possibly contacts are exponential.
    Canada's top public health doctor told us to cut back at 25% of our contacts. We've also been advised "if not your roof, don't go inside".
    But people living alone can definitely have one or two social visitors - who wear masks inside.
    Tough times!
    Good thing the knitters have a lot of yarn and patterns for the long winter ahead.
    Jean, will your family all get flu shots? Cuts down the chances to pass to you.
    Let's all try to keep well
    Lisa RR

  8. "confident Biden will win"?! In 2016 the New York Times had a feature on its website every day, showing the chances Clinton would win. It started at over 90% if I remember correctly and on Election Day itself was still at 80%. I have no confidence in predictions or polls now.