Sunday, January 03, 2021


All well here. The Health app on my phone has inspired me to walk up and down the passage to the extent that I’ve reached 1000 steps: not many, but it’s a start. I'll add a few more before I go to bed. Once I get out again, it will be interesting to see how many steps it takes to get around the garden.


The weather has been ugly, including some hail, but it must have been marginally warmer because that snow from four or five days ago is at last gone. This is a picture of Christina and Manaba and a friend about to have a Loony Dook (=Crazy Ducking) on New Year’s Day, which is the sort of thing some people do. Wee Hamish was cosy at home with his grandmother C. Mary Lou, I didn’t know you had fallen and been concussed, and am very sorry to hear it.


As well as walking up and down the passage, I have knit onwards. Currently just under 60 stitches remain in the centre of Gudrun’s hap. The Prime Minister himself was on the Andrew Marr show this morning. That got the day’s knitting off to a good start. I’ve looked out a long circular of the right gauge for picking up the border stitches, and I’ve arranged the contrast colours in what looks like a reasonable order for their employment. Undoubtedly, I'm moving onwards.


I’ve heard from the Sydenham Mileses. Cathy is recovering from her Covid, and has regained some appetite, but remains very weak and tired. James and their daughter Kirsty remain symptom-free, and have tested negative. I heard an epidemiologist say on the radio today that one of the many things we don’t know about the new vaccines is, how long does protection last. The same can presumably be said for the disease itself. James had it in March at about the same time Cathy did.


People in England in my position – over-80 and living “in the community” – seem to be getting vaccinated. Not so here in Scotland. My GP’s website makes it clear that they don’t know any more than I do. They beg us not to phone.



I finished Rendell’s “The Killing Doll”. It was un-put-down-able once started, although I must have read it before. It’s about madness and devil-worship, not very pleasant. I have retreated to “The Vicar of Bullhampton”: by no means vintage Trollope, but he can be trusted not to venture into devil-worship. Thank you, Cat and Gretchen and Sarah, for advice on Willa Cather. “My Antonia” it shall be. And thanks to others, for advice on cheerful reading. Hat, have you read “The Thursday Murder Club”?  I think I have been wary of it because Osman is so famous elsewhere -- that is, is it selling on merit or on his name? -- but I have been tempted and would be glad to set my opinion aside.



  1. Oh, well done on the thousand steps, Jean!. Please tell me that is not the girl who is just recovering from a very serious accident going into that freezing water. Would you have done this when you were a young mother?

  2. Oh yes, just to add, my nephew's wife, a nursing sister has just tested positive for a second time, infecting her whole family.

  3. Congratulations on your step count, my daughter does hers round and round her flat too when she can't go out.

  4. 1,000 steps, good for you. Now you can compete with yourself and up the ante! I add my enthusiastic support for My Antonia. I did like all of her books, but that one and Death Comes for the Archbishop are my favorites of hers. There are folks here who do polar bear swims/jumps in the water to raise money for charity. I'm happy to donate, no need to jump in!

  5. =Tamar2:58 PM

    Well done!

  6. I suppose one would want photographic evidence of a loony dook, but oh, I would want to run for warmth. I see Scotland is going to be under full lockdown, whatever that means, as of tonight. Best of luck and happy new year!

  7. I enjoyed the audiobook. Nicely worked up plot and characters. Also it is set in a retirement village close to where I live.