Tuesday, January 19, 2021


2207 steps, so far today. A bit dim, by recent standards.


Progress, however, with the hap. You will remember that I left you yesterday with a large, unwanted hole in the second scallop. I started off today, in the bright sunshine, carefully tinking – but it never came right, and I wound up frogging the lot and starting again, from the beginning -- for the fourth time, I think. This time I’ve got it (at least reasonably) straight, and have done four scallops. I might hope for a couple more this evening. There are 14 per side – and since I still have the corner markers in place, I’ll be able to juggle a bit if necessary. The pattern is awfully easy, and now that I have mastered it (I hope), the danger will lie in the wandering of attention. And it’s too late to resort to frogging.


Tamar, that’s a brilliant idea, to knit a hat for a parent in the left-over shawl colours. When the shawl is finished (how am I to manage the blocking?) I must go straight on to the Pollywog for the other baby – they are due almost simultaneously, in May. But there may still be time for a hat, if things continue to go forward as they seem to be doing at the moment.


 I’ve spent much of today worrying about income tax. Do I have to file a return? They haven’t got in touch to tell me so. (Much tax is deducted from my pension before it ever reaches me.) (Maybe that’s enough.) Still, I’ve now got the bit between my teeth. I’ll continue calculating and worrying tomorrow. The relative clear-headedness of Dry January is probably an asset.

Today's big news, however, is neither hap nor income tax: Rachel is to be vaccinated tomorrow! She works at Kings College Hospital, although not in a medical capacity and not anywhere near patients. It sounds from her account as if there are some doses left over somewhere which are being prudently used up. There's still no further news from my GP.




I’ve gone forward with McWilliam’s “What to Look For in Winter”. It’s a curious and unusual autobiography. She is a novelist. Maybe I ought to have a look at some of her other books. She is clearly a curious and unusual woman.


  1. Re Madeline's daughter: I think it is unlikely that a novelist writing today would describe the child in the way Trollope does, specifically the texture of her hair. Her clothes and her precocious manner would appear to be Madeline's failing as a mother. I think Trollope makes a great deal of Madeline's semi-recumbent posture to suggest a snake-like position. She has eyes "Like Lucifer's" - so is the Devil himself luring men to their doom - or that is what he seems to be aiming at. We have moved on to "Mansfield Park" now - I know it is a favourite of yours. We are struck by the role of the inert mother figure in both.

    1. Shandy, if you haven’t, do read Nabokov’s essay on Mansfield Park in Lectures in Literature. He addresses that novel’s mother figures and it is also fun to read his — at last! — appreciation of a female novelist.

  2. do you have blocking wires? I'd recommend them, because they can be inserted while sitting down in comfort, blocking a full wire takes so much less time than pinning out everything with pins! I couldn't be without mine now!

  3. Jean, I’m sure if you contact Kathy’s Knits they have some who will block for a fee, generally fairly small. If I lived closer I’d gladly do it for you, although I am a fairly casual blocker. No squaring up to measurements here.