Sunday, December 20, 2020


I just looked it up – Google (who never errs) says that the winter solstice is tomorrow, at 10.02 a.m. I thought we had to wait until Tuesday. So that’s good news.


Tamar, you are right that the history of the celebration of these things is an interesting one. I believe the former Scottish obsession with the New Year was a product of the Presbyterian suppression of Christmas. I think something similar happened in Soviet Russia. We northerners need to celebrate the return of light, one way or another. At some point the British year, or at least some aspects of it, ended on March 25 – which is the Feast of the Annunciation and also, as near as dammit, the vernal equinox. When we switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar (I hope I’ve got that the right way around) it meant we had to skip ahead 12 days. People got really agitated, believing that their lives had been shortened by that many days. And that is why, to this day, the British Income Tax year ends on April 5. And there are still places in Scotland where the Old New Year is observed.


We are all in a tizzy, here in Europe, about the new, fast-spreading version of the corona virus. Helen’s husband David was wise to cancel his Christmas visit – there would have been a real possibility that he couldn’t get back to Greece. Everybody is cutting us off. Channel tunnel trains are suspended. Their son Mungo escaped from London last night, along with many others – there were six hours between the announcement and the lockdown, giving many the chance to escape and spread the virus as far as possible. He is now here (I think) and Helen rightly says that all of them must stay away from me (except for walks outdoors) for a fortnight or so.


Sherman Hill Knits (comment yesterday) – I can’t tell you more about the quiz, yet. Each party – that is, each Zoom link, containing however many people --  thinks of five questions (harder than it sounds), and we take turns asking them, and then mark ourselves. Much laughter, but we take it deadly seriously. I think I’ve got my questions ready but of course must not reveal them.


And as for knitting, I am getting on fine with the centre square of the new hap:


I’m pleased with the fabric and the colour.


I’ve finished “The Honourable Schoolboy. It’s not very cheerful. Le Carre is never very cheerful, in fact, is he? Although “Little Drummer Girl” has what might be considered a happy ending, at least.


  1. I did a Zoom presentation for our local knitters guild last week. Better than, but having no real participation made it less fun for me. I invited my goddaughter who lives in another state these days to 'attend.' I taught her to knit when she was about 8. After the class she texted me to confess that she has never made a gauge swatch. Oh the shame. Zoom quiz sounds like fun! I just finished Ian Rankin's most recent Rebus book. I enjoy it when I recognize places he mentions, especially Broughton Street!

    1. My husband and I just finished listening to the new Rebus book too, Mary Lou. I love Google Maps and spent lots of enjoyable time finding his location in far northern Scotland, very interesting! Having been to Edinburgh a number of times I do enjoy reading about places I’ve been....I’ve even taken a pilgrimage to Arden Street in Marchmont to see his “home”. LOL

  2. I thought of you when the solstice was mentioned here - of course our days will get shorter as yours get longer.
    My cousin (in London) emailed me to say he and his partner are staying inside their minuscule flat and "exercising" in their even more minuscule "roof garden". I just hope it doesn't rain too much and that the snow stays away. Stay safe!

  3. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Jean, if nothing else (and actually a lot more) your forum here has kept me on my toes when respondiing. Despite a judicious consulting of Google, I Still confused the Feast of the Assumption (August 15) with the Annunciation and almost wrote to question you about the date for the feast of the Annunciation. Whew! Realized in time. But it struck me that this is how rumors - often false - get started. Chloe

  4. if it's any consolation - you (or rather the uk) isn't the only cut off nation - they've cut us (ireland) off as well - and we still have the open "border" with the UK via northern ireland...