Tuesday, April 06, 2021


All well, more or less. It’s still bitterly cold. 2450 steps – not too bad, by my dim standards. Archie and I got once around the garden. Helen took half an hour off mosaic-making to plant up the pots on my front step. She is worried about how slowly her work is going.


The yarn arrived from Jamieson & Smith (and is beautiful). I hope I will photograph it for you tomorrow. And tomorrow I must abandon peaceful stripe-knitting in order to chart and count stitches for wee Hamish’s Calcutta Cup vest. It’s no use “1” being a digit that doesn’t take up much space, because “2” is one of the biggies. It’s tempting to start with the legwarmers, for which the pattern has been done for me, and therefore much of the counting. But they’ll probably have to be knit with dp’s, and that is just off-putting enough to keep my nose to the grindstone.


No, the main problem today is, what to read? I thought I had the answer this morning when someone in the paper recommended Len Deighton, of whom I have never read a syllable. (And who is alive and well in his 90’s, I am happy to report.) But it turns out that Penguin is just about to bring out a whole lot of him as Modern English Classics, and meanwhile, what am I going to read today?


I think I’ve largely, or entirely, finished Trollope. I downloaded Mrs Gaskell’s “Ruth” (it was free) but don’t think I’m going to be able to go on with it. Would “Mary Barton” be any better? I plucked Nabokov’s “Pale Fire” from my own shelf but it’s too convoluted and disturbed for my current mood. I’ll have to fall back on biography, diaries or letters at this rate.


The solution for knitting (once planning and counting are behind me) turns out to be “Il Gattopardo”. I have the Audible recording from of old. I like the man who’s reading it to me. And I know the book so well that I can follow it easily. I don’t suppose it does much for my spoken Italian, but it’s soothing, and that’s all I care about just now.


  1. I found both Ruth and Mary Barton unbearably sad. Finished the former, then started and quickly abandoned the latter. Find something happier!

    Jean, have you read Nabokov’s _Speak, Memory_? It is the best autobiography I’ve ever read and, while it does have the complexity and patterning of his novels, is also joyous and accessible from start to finish.

  2. Some of May Sarton's books are a good read. I think you might like them. Take care !

  3. Anonymous9:10 PM

    I have to agree about May Sarton and her works. I've not read her for many years and mainly her memoirs rather than her novels. However, her writing is very accessible and quite good. Her memoir/journals are an interesting look into the creative mind. And "The Fur Person" is a delightful book about a cat and the humans she lives with. Joe-inWyoming

  4. Ruth and Mary Barton are quite different - but not in a good way. I thought Ruth was inauthentic and mawkish. That may well have been how milliners were treated but it had doom written all over it. Mary Barton is truly shocking, telling it as it was in industrial Manchester before they got proper sewers. So, different, but not a fun read, and certainly not Cranford.

  5. Anonymous1:58 PM

    Jean do you use a knitting app to chart your images for the Calcutta Cup? If you are pressed for time, apparently they are out there. I did a quick google search but would hesitate to recommend a particular one. Maybe one of your other followers can. Chloe

  6. Thanks for the incentive to order from J&S -- they are speedy! I was inspired by the matching to the photos. thanks!