Thursday, April 08, 2021


Still cold, and very blowy – it sounds like a storm out there just now. But the essential cheerfulness of this time of year is pushing itself forward, at the same time. 2727 steps (on the high side, for me) and I did the circuit of the garden all by myself today. Helen was here, but beginning to be seriously worried about her mid-May deadline for the large mosaic she's working on.


I pressed ahead after yesterday’s desk-work, and cast on wee Hamish’s Calcutta Cup vest. It seems large, which is preferable to seeming small. This is a particularly difficult problem, sizing-wise, since he needs to be able to wear it on Calcutta Cup day next year (Feb or March). And he’s a hefty lad.


I hoped my fingers would have remembered how to do corrugated rib, but they didn’t. I turned to Youtube – how did we ever manage life, before Youtube? – and took the first offering under “corrugated rib”. She was no one I knew, and rather endearing for clumsiness, and went straight for what I suspect is the single most important tip: carry the colour you are going to purl in your dominant hand. Doing it that way, I am still achingly slow, but I am making progress.


Some time many decades ago, when I first got started on Fair Isle knitting (all from books), I think I attempted corrugated rib, and gave it up because it had no expansivity – I suspect there’s a better word – and I thought I was doing it wrong. Now in these days of Youtube I know that flatness is what is to be expected.


I’m finishing the fourth round, at the moment. I had intended to do the ribbing entirely in two colours, but why not branch out? I was surprised to discover (twice today, but how?) that colour changes should be done with the purl colour. I still have (and can still find) my aborted first attempt at Alexander’s Calcutta Cup vest – see yesterday – and there I have changed the knit colour. I doubt if it matters much.




I am pressing on with Roy Strong – after spending all that money, I pretty well have to. He’s enormously energetic, even – or perhaps especially – after his beloved wife died when he was still in his late 60’s. He keeps mentioning that other famous people are becoming fat or flabby or shabby (if not actually dying). He works hard to save himself from those fates, even to the point of having a personal trainer.


I’ll remember May Sarton (I hope), and have a look. Ambermog (comment yesterday) thank you for Elizabeth Jane Howard and the Cazalet Chronicles. I’ve heard of her, but have never read. Wasn’t she married to Kingsley Amis for a while?


  1. Yes she was married to Kinsley Amis, and before that to Peter Scott (wildfowl artist and conservationist, son of Scott of the Antarctic) and then she was involved with the chap who did so much to revive the canals and waterways. Busy lady - how did she find time to write so many books?

  2. Rely on "The Jean Miles and Followers" Book Club for obscure tidbits.

  3. Yes Robert Aickman I think was the name of the canal man. She was a secretary for the inland waterways group. I first read her when I lived on a narrowboat on the canal. Her name came up when I joined the Inland waterways group.

  4. Oh yes - Elizabeth Jane Howard! She was step-mother to Martin Amis and seems to have slept with a whole range of well-known names = Laurie Lee got good reviews. Can this have been her autobiography?