Tuesday, October 20, 2020


I’m going to miss the American election when it’s gone. If it goes. It provides something solid to worry about, beyond the corona virus and Brexit. We’ve had the virus all day today – the central government wanting to put Manchester in something like lockdown, Manchester resisting because they’re not being offered enough money. The virus is staging an impressive come-back and I find it much more frightening, at this dark time of year, than it was in the spring.


Our local French restaurant, often chosen for treats, is offering carry-out meals. I order them most weeks. This week Fred sounds a bit desperate. They had re-opened as a restaurant after the initial lockdown (just like the Majestic Line) and have had to close again because of the latest restrictions (just like the Majestic Line). He doesn’t know how long he can carry on.


Again, Edinburgh’s weather wasn’t as bad as forecast. We even had half-an-hour of sunshine this morning How it lifts the spirits! And how much better it made my Stripey Shetland look! No, Tamar, no picture. I am just knitting stripes from my Shetland odd-ball bag, using the maths I did for the recently-completed EPS. I’m wondering whether to put in a stripe from its left-over yarn, but I think it would be too bright.


I’ve heard from the Kate Davies shop: my package has been dispatched. I can start hoping from tomorrow. And I will.




Christina and Manaba sent me a little video of Hamish clicking. There’s no doubt at all that he’s doing it deliberately and responsively, and delighting in his new ability to communicate. Manaba isn’t in the video, but you can hear him clicking back.


I’ve just finished reading Barbara Vine (=Ruth Rendell) “The Chimney-Sweeper’s Boy”. Late, and not terribly good, by her terrific standards. But one of her characters reads Trollope’s “Is He Popenjoy?” That’s one I don’t know, and I have seized upon it. It’s said to be based on a real-life case of someone who might or might not be the person he is claiming to be, like the Grand Duchess Anastasia. I’m several chapters in, and there’s nothing like that yet. It’s not terribly good either, by his standards.


  1. At least with the spring and the pandemic, there was the option of being outside to socialize. Today we are having a freakishly early snow storm. It is much less beautiful when it is blanketing the leeks and potatoes that are still in the ground. I would love to see the video of Hamish clicking!

  2. Hamish clicking sounds really adorable. I've read that babies' mouths change shape as they learn to speak, depending on their native language, and that's why you can't always learn to use the sounds in another language if your own language lacks them.

    Not to worry about the American election going away. After the election comes counting the votes, and possibly rioting by some of the losing factions. If the president loses, there will be contention of all sorts beyond January.

    1. I hadn't heard that, about the babies' mouths. Explains why a Korean-Canadian colleague who'd had a mostly Canadian education would look at some words or names and say, "Koreans can't make that sound".

  3. I am fascinated by what you tell us about Hamish - isn't language a wonderful thing. I suppose that parents hear all the early sound attempts, and must give the baby feedback that tells him when he has made a significant sound. Clicking is so foreign to my tongue, and I mainly remember the early "Ug-goo" which started the great conversation going.

  4. Anonymous11:52 AM

    The clicking is very interesting. Did Hamish start clicking before he heard his father do it or after? I'm not sure I understood which. I remember reading a Mario Pei book on language when I was a teen. It was fascinating. Chloe

  5. There's such a range of sounds babies can learn to make, and somehow the ability is lost later in life.
    About the US election going away: Jean, I'm thinking there may be plenty of it well after Nov. 3. I've decided to avoid any mail order until after the Election to help out, in a small way, with postal delivery of ballots.