Friday, December 11, 2020


Another day of great weakness, but Helen got me around the garden. She says the latest sourdough loaf tastes good.


And Uradale Farm on Shetland says that my hap-yarn order is on the way. So it behoves me to get as much Evendoon done as possible before it turns up. I made some progress down the second sleeve today.


Kate Davies has sent us club-members a pattern for a cosy hoodie. It’s fastened, however, with a zipper, which rules it out for me. That’s a skill I’ve never mastered, and by now I’ve stopped trying. Didn’t Franklin once offer a class on fastenings? If so, it’s slid out of his repertoire.




I’ve mentioned that I sometimes re-read this blog, of an evening. Yesterday I discovered to my surprise, in December, 2018, this reference to an article about “Christmas past” on Shetland in which they celebrate not Christmas but the solstice itself, starting a week beforehand (that would be next Thursday); the celebration lasts a month. There are lots of trolls about, this time of year, but the article has tips for warding them off.


I keep meaning to mention that Arne and Carlos told us recently that, at home by themselves, Carlos speaks Swedish and Arne speaks Norwegian. That scarcely sounds as if they are two separate languages at all.


I’m sorry I missed Melvin Bragg on Hopkins, Mary Lou. Maybe I can dig it out of the BBC web pages. (I heard him last night, as I was falling asleep. His voice sounded funny, as if his teeth didn’t fit, but I can’t remember what they were talking about.) Hopkins was revered by students of literature when I was at Oberlin, so I knew his name, at least. But I didn’t know he was a Roman Catholic, let alone a Jesuit priest, until I got to Glasgow. His was a desperately sad – and heroic – life.


Peggy, yes, that’s a tape measure on the rail of the Aga. I don’t know quite how that happened. That’s where the tape measure belongs, and I always know where it is. If only things were so arranged for everything else in the house!


  1. Franklin's course is called Snip and Zip: Steeks and Zippers and was still in his class list as of last Spring. It is a fun class where you learn how to knit a swatch where you learn to cut a steek, using several ways of securing the edges, and also to install a zipper.

  2. You could always add button bands to the front of the hoodie instead of the zipper.

  3. How clever of you to have a place for the tape measure - I have at least two of them in every room of the house, and I still cannot manage to put my hand on one when I need it!

  4. Or you can pay someone to install it for you! I have done that when short on time, and it was absolutely worth it. I think the Hopkins Melvin Bragg show was an older one being repeated.
    I have tape measures all over the house and yet can never lay hands on one when needed either!

  5. Who can ever find a tape measure? No me!

  6. Yes, Swedish and Norwegian (possibly also Danish) are similar, and native speakers of one can often understand native speakers of the other, as I understand it. (I think they are more similar to each other than, for example, the Romance languages are, and my learning and understanding Italian was greatly aided by my existing knowledge of French. I imagine the effect is even greater among the Scandinavian languages.) I imagine this might be especially true if one has lived with the other speaker for some time. (My American family is of Swedish and Norwegian extraction and is fascinated by all of Scandinavia. I was fortunate to spend some time there years ago and learn a few words of Swedish.)

  7. Anonymous4:52 AM

    A German friend of us moved to Norway and leared to speak Norwegian quite well, and when he moved to Denmark after a few years, he couldn´t be bothered to learn Danish. So he continued speaking Norwegian, and he never had any problems with understanding or being understood.
    Hilde in Germany

  8. Anonymous10:29 AM

    It almost seems like those languages are merely dialects of each other, although not being a linguist nor ever having visited Scandinavia (Germany is as far as I got), this is just a vague theory. Chloe

  9. I lived in Sweden long ago (my husband is Swedish), and for a time I had a Norwegian housemate. It was always nervewracking speaking with him because while I always felt I understood him, the meaning penetrated in a strange way. I couldn't really pick out the words only the meaning. But Danish, no one can reliably understand spoken Danish! Swedes say Danes speak as if they have potatoes in their mouths.