Thursday, October 01, 2020


I’ve had a good visit with Rachel and Ed. We sat on the step last night, as planned, drinking gin and tonic (cider for me). Today they came and walked me around the garden; then Helen joined us and we went to a local gallery which is having a small exhibition for which they have borrowed some of our pictures. That was fun. Then out to lunch. None of us had been on such an adventure since all this nonsense began. We had a delicious lunch at a new local restaurant called Next Chapter. It seemed well set up for plague-eating. Rachel and Ed are going on up to Kirkmichael tomorrow. I’ll see them again next week on their way back. And perhaps even join them up there, if my cruise gets cancelled.


And that’s the news. No knitting.




I’ve been reading Diana Mitford’s autobiography. The Mitford girls are endless. She was the beautiful one, Oswald Mosley’s wife, friend of Hitler. It is very odd indeed, and rather unpleasant, to read of the war from her point of view. I found that, despite having lived through most of the 20th century, I didn’t really know what “fascism” was. I looked it up on Wikipedia just now, and it seems that nobody knows. “Communism” – the century’s other Big Idea – is easy enough to define, at least roughly. Twentieth century fascism is so overshadowed by its anti-Semitism, like a mushroom cloud, that it hardly matters what its other tenets were, if any. Diana M. is distinctly weak on anti-Semitism.


She and Mosley were interned during the war, no charge, no trial, in dirty and distressing conditions; so it is perhaps no wonder that she sees things a bit differently.




I loved your comment, Mary. If worse comes to worst, we’ll have to work out somewhere to set up a knitters’ commune. The climate on Shetland might be a bit severe for some.


Shandy, I couldn’t agree more with your comment. I agree with you about  Michelle – I’ve got her on a sweatshirt, my purchase for 2020. But when Hillary was the candidate, I wasn’t entirely happy that the first woman president should be someone whose name had been made famous by her husband – particularly irritating in Hillary’s case, as she had been “Hillary Rodham” until “Clinton” became more useful. And not happy that a former president should get back into the White House by the kitchen door – particularly irritating in Hillary’s case because he was so obviously looking forward to it. If the drafters of the constitutional amendment restricting a president to two terms had even remotely thought of that possibility, they might have legislated against it.


But still I love and admire Michelle.


  1. And I read today that during quarantine, Michelle has become a knitter! She can join the commune!

  2. Anonymous12:02 AM

    I laughed at the plague-eating comment, a great way to express what is happening. I'm glad you got out and got to experience "normal life" again. I hope your cruise goes through! Loretta

  3. When the going gets tough I google "houses for sale" in the Shetlands. As someone once told me, there's no bad weather just bad clothing. More knitting!

  4. No, you're right about not re-electing the husband. But, really, almost anyone of integrity and of normal working age would have been an improvement.

  5. How thrilling and scary to go out for a meal in a restaurant! It was one of my fantasies to escape to the UK, but now with Brexit, my husband's EU citizenship won't do us any good there. And now I'm off to look into that link about Michelle Obama knitting!

  6. =Tamar6:49 PM

    I'm happy to hear about your excursion. And just a tiny bit jealous - I almost went out with a friend, but we both chickened out.

  7. I'm reading Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi; very very slowly. It is about being exiled by the Fascist government to a staggeringly poor village in remote, arid southern Italy. I was re-reading the little world of Don Camillo at the same time; rural Italy post war, not so poor. Interesting contrasts.

    1. My father had those Don Camillo books when I was a child. I would never have thought of them or remembered them at all.

  8. Anonymous12:44 AM

    I would like to recommend Prof Timothy Snyder's recent small book Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.
    I believe his specialty as a historian is Eastern Europe, WWII and fascism.
    This article includes his 20-item list:
    (His new book is about US health care and liberty.)

    Toronto Public Health advised today to avoid all non-essential travel outside the home. We already had to give up on the bubble idea when the kids went back to school ...

    Lisa RR