Friday, April 16, 2021


Another beautiful day, and this time it’s getting a bit warmer. I got once around the garden with Archie, but the total so far is only 1959 steps. Still feeling feeble, but not dizzy.


I’ve fallen into the old trap of leaving myself too much Italian to do on a Friday evening. A whole canto of Dante. And I must look up some steeple-chasing vocabulary: my tutor is a devoted feminist, and will enjoy talking about Rachael Blackmore who has just become the first woman to win the Grand National. (The horse was named Minella Times, and should perhaps be mentioned.) I like her for not being a Hillary Clinton about it – she is as pleased as any human being would be, having won the National, and that’s as far as she goes. Although in fact it was a considerable feminist achievement – she beat the boys at their own game, fair and square.


I made a start on the all-over Fair Isle pattern on the body of wee Hamish’s Calcutta Cup vest. It’s too soon to say whether I like the way it’s going.


Here’s the Razzamatazz sweater I mentioned yesterday:


I learned a lot, doing that one, which prepared me for Kaffe when he came along later. “Glorious Knitting” would have to be included in my short-list of Influential Knitting Books. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and try to write them down. I don’t think I know “Wild Knitting”, Lisa. Perhaps I should investigate.


Thank you for your cruise-knitting advice. I want to travel as light as possible, but there’s no point in being obsessive about it. And I have a pair of socks, years old, which could do with being finished.




I’ve moved a bit forward with “I Vicere”, but not much.


I think I have always regarded that passage in “Mansfield Park” as just another bit of Mrs-Norris-ery. She diagnoses the gardener’s grandson sight-unseen (ague); accepts a choice cutting; promises a valueless ague-healing charm. (But did she ever send it?) A busy know-it-all who never actually puts herself out for anyone.


  1. EZ recommends a lace circular shawl with a very simple pattern as a traveling companion in Knitter's Almanac! Huge, I'd have thought, but maybe not if the yarn is fine. She says it takes little space, allows for lots of knitting and you don't keep losing the needle. She gets the dpn bit done before leaving (or does magic loop maybe - that's still on my list of techniques)

  2. Wasn’t Velvet Brown the first woman to win the Grand National? Kidding, but good for Rachel Blackmore!

  3. I've just started on the new Barbara Pym biography. It's not well-written, but my goodness! Did girls really behave like that in the 30s?

  4. =Tamar3:12 PM

    I think it's the only bit of "magic" in all of Austen's novels. There's some subtle religious imagery in MP, with the Edenic wilderness and the study-the-heavens star-gazing. Mrs Norris being a clergyman's widow makes her claim of both medical and magical knowledge all the more startling. I doubt that she ever delivered the charm but she may have; we aren't told about the letters someone else (probably Sir Thomas) wrote to Tom, either.

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