Monday, May 23, 2022

 Things continue quiet. Time goes very slowly and I am determined to put that factor to good use by getting lots of knitting done. I made the acquaintance of a physiotherapist this morning. She assessed me and has promised some exercises. What this place needs is a layer of fit and keen 75-80 year olds. Mercifully, old and feeble as we are, we can sneak off to the Cinema Room in the afternoon and watch the French Open tennis while reflecting on the superiority of Wimbledon. (Grass. White clothes. Order.)

The food is good but not quite brilliant. I was looking forward to serious good brewed coffee. No. It’s fully as instant as in Drummond Place if not more so. And, oddly, they don’t know about salad dressing. They make nice little salads with a variety of leaves, and onion slices, and little tomatoes, and serve them completely undressed.

I have finished the k1b, p1 ribbing at the beginning of Lilias Day. The temptation is to sit back now and let it knit itself.  Alas, that doesn’t entirely work. I don’t think I’ve ever employed twisted stitch before except in Bavarian-type designs, which I love. I very much like the effect here, too. Firm and unobtrusive.

I continue with my little Wordle group, although I haven’t done very well lately. This morning we all scored three, coming at the problem each with his own different starter word. 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

 Well here I am.

This place is as comfortable as advertised. The staff is very attentive and very inclined to go the extra mile — or two. I fear it is also true that almost all the residents are too old and infirm to enjoy it. When I first visited my mother at Meadow Lakes in NJ, she was still driving, and enjoying the group outings to the Princeton theatre. Nothing like that here. I don’t thing much will happen tomorrow for those of us disinclined for the service at Cramond Kirk. Things may liven up on Monday.

I’ve cast on Lilias Day and hope to make substantial progress with the ribbing tomorrow. It’s a twisted rib, which slows things down a bit. After that, it’s full steam ahead until the yoke. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

 Again, no walk, but this time it was because Daniela and I devoted some of her last day to packing. I’m all set, except for the last-minute i-pad-charger, kitchen-radio, batteries sort of thing. Tumbrils at ten.

Comments: Anonymous, yours is easiest to deal with, so I’ll start there.

The long-tail cast on for an adult sweater in the round involves a lot of stitches. And if you get it wrong, too short a long-tail, there’s nothing for it but to rip them all out and start again. Been there, done that. But if you cast on using two identical balls, you just cut one of them off at the end.

Anonymous,  we’ve paid all our lives all right, but the problem right now is that the state doesn’t provide social care until all your money is gone.. That will have to be straightened out in the next few years. Scotland is better than England (relying on its English subsidy).

Thank you very much for your comments about elderly care, especially yours, Jenny. We investigated somewhat when my husband was at this stage of life. By then, it would have been too late for a retirement community. I think I may have fallen into the trap of assuming that what we have in Edinburgh goes for the nation. Tomorrow’s luxurious destination wasn’t even open then. I clearly don’t know much about it. I know that we’re big business, we geriatrics. No doubt things will go on changing. I was particularly happy to hear about your mother-in-law’s council-run accommodation in Glasgow. I’m particularly fond of Glasgow.




Thursday, May 19, 2022


Not too bad, again. Again, we didn’t get out, this time because a nurse came to take my blood pressure. It was low, as is the norm these days.


I wound a ball of yarn from Lilias Day – I think I’ll start with that one. Then I gave some thought to casting on – it’s circular, knit bottom up. The only way I have ever heard of to do that efficiently is to use two balls of yarn – so I wound another one.


Care homes: the British have an abundance of purpose-built apartments for the elderly, with grab-rails and someone on duty at night. But no dining room, no gym, no provision for what happens when you need a bit more care. No community, in fact. I considered one in Blairgowrie when my husband died. I’m glad I stayed here.


Mary Lou, I think you have put your finger on the difference I will be investigating: the “hefty original investment.” I think it may be that the British are more devoted to the family house, and more determined to leave it to their children no matter what expense they may impose on the state. I don’t expect to learn much, but I’ll report back.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


I am sorry to have cut you adrift again. All well here, except for this terrible weakness. And today has been slightly better than yesterday. Daniela and I might even venture out tomorrow.


The End is approaching, in the sense that I will be going into my care home on Saturday morning (and Daniela to Romania on Monday). Things are slowly and vaguely getting done. I am interested in discovering why the British don’t have retirement communities all over the place, the way the Americans do. My mother lived in one, my sister and her husband are in another now. Don’t believe Richard Osman, who has recently written two rather good thrillers set in a British one. There may be one or two Down Souff, but it’s nothing like America. I used to think it was because we had the NHS, but I have abandoned that hypothesis. And Cramond House probably isn’t the place to explore my new hypothesis since everyone there will be so rich.


Knitting: Crochet66, it’s all your fault. When I wrote to you last, I had ordered Kate Davies’ Mooch pattern for Care Home knitting. Thanks to you, I have also ordered Lilias Day, but with some Ooskit for the background colour as less prone to dirtiness than the specified Schiehallion “crowdie”. Both kits have now arrived. I’ve even wound some yarn. Now all I have to do is knit.


More soon, I hope.

Friday, May 13, 2022


Very feeble today. 


However, some progress has been made. I’ve ordered the Mooch kit from Kate Davies, and have then begun to worry, rather seriously, about whether I should have had Lilias Day instead, in a less dirt-prone main shade than she suggests.  Something that offers a lot of plain knitting as I just sit there. This thought was prompted by the fact that I have made a bit of progress with the legwarmer. I continue not to enjoy it. Wouldn’t I be happier just knitting peacefully back and forth? Or, better, round and round?


Thank you for all your helpful comments about Care Home life. Yours was particularly inspiriting, Elizabeth, with its suggestion that one can go into care for a bit and actually emerge. I don’t watch television much these days, but am increasingly addicted to Radio 4. I will certainly follow your advice and take my little radio (and some spare batteries) with me.


Mary Lou, I had been thinking about the similarity to a cruise. Sailing from Oban on the Majestic Line to the outlying Scottish islands (highly recommended), there are only 10 or 12 of you and one behaves from the beginning – at least I did – as a member of the group. Whereas at Cramond there will be old – or old-ish – friendships already established, perhaps unwilling to be disturbed by a temporary newcomer. The brochure makes much of small groups; maybe they’ve thought it all out. In any event, I’ll keep you posted.


And it would be interesting to discover how we have all arrived at the same point: well-to-do Edinburgh now, but where did we start from and how did we get here..



Tuesday, May 10, 2022


I continue to inch forward. Daniela and I got over to the garden this morning. I sat on the nearest bench for a while, and then we went home again. But it’s a start. How the world is transformed! The daffodils are gone, the lilacs out. I


And I knit a round of legwarmer this morning. Just one.


I had hoped that one of you, at least, would share my care home experience, and was especially glad therefore to see your comment yesterday, Janet. I am planning to take my laptop with me and Tell You All About It, day by day. I’ll have the iPad, of course – which means, incidentally, that I don’t need to take any books. They’ll all be in there. We thought about care for my husband, when he was about at the stage of decline where I am now, and did some mild investigations. Nothing ever came of it. In those days wi-fi provision was something to ask about. Nowadays, it can (I hope) be taken for granted.


Helen is slightly afraid that I will just sit in my room knitting for a fortnight. Here I am forced by circumstances to keep moving about, at least somewhat. On the contrary, I am determined to take advantage of all the physiotherapy and exercise classes on offer. They promise good food, too, and wine with your dinner. 


Helen has how departed for this first of her adventures – a trip to Oxford for the Covid-delayed graduation of her second son Mungo.

Monday, May 09, 2022


Here I still am.


Continuing to mend, I think, although with setbacks. I’m still not knitting, although beginning to feel the lack of it in my day. I feel that’s a good sign.


The big excitement around here is that I am going into care next week – temporary, respite care because Daniela is going home to Romania for two months,  and Helen is shooting off higher and yon, teaching mosaic-making in Perthshire and Greece, having a family holiday in Greece. My care home is impossibly grand and expensive, and I am counting on them for some useful rehabilitation. Since I am spending all that money anyway, I am tempted to buy Kate Davies’ Mooch kit to take with me. To protect myself from the finger-painting class, if nothing else.

I'm worried about my cats.


I had a hole-in-one in Wordle last week. It’s no fun at all.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022


I have been very grateful for your messages. I am somewhat better, I think – sad to be pent indoors during this most glorious of months.


How much has Helen told you? Very shortly after James’ withdrawal to his bed, I got sick too. James and Cathy stuck it out until Helen returned from Ravenna, then got themselves home to London(James still testing negative, and still feeling weak). Soon after that I was swept off to hospital where I was found to have not Covid but flu. They announced this with a pride which suggested that I was expected to cry, “Oh! man of learning!” (Carla, that’s for you.) I had to stay there until they were satisfied with my oxygen saturation. In the old days, it was bowels that doctors were devoted to but now it’s oxygen saturation.


I’ve been home for a week now, very feeble but perhaps making progress, and oxygen saturation continues high.


No knitting in any of that time. And I think I worked out yesterday that it’s been four weeks since I walked around the garden.

Thursday, April 14, 2022


I wrote to you yesterday in our last happy moment. No sooner had I extinguished the computer but James and Cathy came back in the door, along with Alistair. James wasn’t feeling well enough for restaurant eating. He went to bed, Cathy and Alistair and I had a rather tasty Chinese carry-out in which we included a tomato-and-egg soup for James.


He did another lateral flow test this morning; still negative. At lunchtime he and Cathy walked to a place where they could get the other, more accurate, test – no results yet, of course. At least he was strong enough to get back alive. He went straight to bed and I haven’t seen him since. He is coughing quite a bit, although not as much as I thought Covid victims coughed. He doesn’t seem to be feverish. I don’t feel very well myself, although faithful readers will know that that is often the case. I, too, am coughing, but less than James. My eyes feel a bit puffy and warm. I don’t think I have a fever.


The question is, what to do next? They have let their train leave without them this afternoon. I think they are most inclined to make a dash for London tomorrow, upgrading to first class which has fewer people in it. It’s probably illegal, but they have the two lateral flow tests to cite if anyone pounces on them.


Helen is due back on Saturday. It will be good to have her. She is nothing if not decisive.


Wordle: Cathy and I had a titanic struggle this morning, working together, and finally got it in five. Ketki needed only two. Rachel and Mark and Alexander, three. Thomas was a bit off his game, and brought home a four.


I’ve done two rounds of legwarmer, just to keep the ball rolling. I didn’t attempt a walk.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


We’ve had a pleasant spring day, mild and occasionally sunny. All of us are feeling a bit flat – James so much so that he tested himself for Covid, but came up negative. He ran 10 kilometres this morning, as often, and got me around the garden, so there couldn’t be much wrong. He and Cathy have gone out with their son Alistair to a Chinese-type hotpot restaurant. I shall soon have some leftover pasta puttanesca and go to bed.


I had another brief message from Ravenna  – Helen remains confident that she’ll be home by the weekend.


I’ve done very little knitting, but I did achieve three rounds for the sake of the momentum. Here we are:


Alexander and Ketki are coming over tomorrow morning to see James and Cathy. I haven’t seen Ketki since pre-pandemic. But they have declined lunch, so I suspect we will nip out for sandwiches. The train is at four.


Wordle: I continue to enjoy membership of our little group, although I turn up as the class dunce embarrassingly often, including today. Rachel in London hasn’t figured out how to join the group, despite being invited, but she often tells me her score – a brilliant three, today – and I pass on to her the results from Birmingham (Mark) and Loch Fyne. James, who doesn’t do Wordle but is fiercely competitive, says there is a website to help. There would be. Presumably you type in your greens and browns and it tells you some English words to fit. I’m sorry I know that, and will certainly never go looking for it.



Tuesday, April 12, 2022


We’ve had a pleasant, family day. Grey and at times wet, but not cold. James and I got around the garden. Grandson Alistair and C. both came to lunch (hastily assembled from Tesco by Cathy) and we had a nice time.


So not much knitting, but some. I am now officially halfway along the second legwarmer – I have embarked on Chart B: Calf Shaping, and have reached round 48. That’s half of 96, the last patterned round. Tamar, I’m knitting from the top down (hence the confusion about which way ‘round to knit the Cup and date) and that does mean a certain reduction in stitch number. Twelve stitches go in all, one complete pattern repeat. Alas, I haven't yet taken the promised photograph.


I’ve heard from Helen, who has been reading the blog in Ravenna. She confidently hopes to be here by Sunday. I hadn’t thought about meals beyond Thursday lunch; James and Cathy will leave that day on a 4pm train. I feared that all the grocery delivery slots would be gone by now, but to my happy surprise I got one for Thursday morning – and I can add to it all day tomorrow. So I’ll have something to eat over the weekend. Tomorrow remains something of a problem.

Monday, April 11, 2022


Kirsten (comment last Wednesday): we had your Sausage Supper for lunch today. It was delicious – one to remember. Many thanks.


James and Cathy have gone off to Falkirk to see their son Alistair and his girlfriend Amy and his cat Kirby (I think that’s the cat's name; I’ve never met him), who all live there. It’s a grey, unlovely day, but a bit warmer than before. James and I got around the garden this morning.


And the knitting has progressed steadily. There is only one more round to do in the first legwarmer chart (for the second legwarmer). There are three charts. I’m not halfway through the legwarmer. BUT the first chart (A: Calf) is the longest. It’s a start. Photo tomorrow. 


I’ll be glad when Helen is safely home. I’m sure she’ll get here in the end, but the newspapers are full of stories about crowded airports and general chaos. Flights are being cancelled for lack of crew (suffering from Covid); check-ins and border controls are slow for the same reason. And she is meant to be travelling back this weekend, which could hardly be worse. Well, it could be – the chaos will be worse for those trying to get away from GB, because there will be more of them. I think David will join her in Ravenna, perhaps he already has, and that they are meant to be coming back at the last moment, and that I will spend Easter with them if all goes well. Perhaps I had better provide myself with a provisional Easter dinner just in case, and invite Archie.

Sunday, April 10, 2022


I’m sorry for the gap. It wasn’t just the presence of family and the increased need to cook – I felt pretty flat yesterday, and didn’t try to walk, although there was plenty of time in the morning before their train turned up. C. – who’s coming to lunch on Tuesday to see her cousin James – intelligently suggests that I might have been having a reaction to my Covid booster the day before. I feel considerably restored today. We all went around the garden together.


And I got an appreciable amount of knitting done this morning, while James worked on something for the Economist and poor Cathy read Eng Lit A-Level course work, which she teaches.

The Calcutta Cup panel on the second legwarmer is now finished, and I have embarked on the last lap. It’s long and steep, but once done will be done – I’ll never knit a Fair Isle legwarmer again. Promise. I’m currently more than halfway through the first chart: Chart A: Calf. Better than nothing. I’ll take a picture for you soon, when I can show you the Calcutta Cup more firmly embedded in pattern.


I’m enjoying thinking about the 2022 Calcutta Cup sweater for Helen’s son Fergus.


Kate Davies has published an essay about Polphail by “archaeologist Alex Hale” (you don’t need a comma in that phrase, Kate) who works for Historic Environment Scotland and who surveyed Polphail before it was demolished. That’s the village built on the Argyll coast for oil workers, never inhabited, and much ornamented by graffiti. I know Alexander Hale. He and his parents and sister and grandparents lived next door to us in Birmingham for many years. His parents usually stay here with us when they come to Edinburgh to visit Alexander and his family who live in a very small house with their young children. It’s funny how life twines around sometimes and comes back at you from the opposite direction.

Friday, April 08, 2022


A pleasant, sunny day, but a good deal chillier than of late. Health-wise, I was back to my substandard norm, and Archie and I successfully carried out our expedition – to reach the new Broughton Market on Broughton St. It was formed by the amalgamation of my butcher of many years’ standing with the requirements of a first-rate corner shop – our former corner shop, much missed, having succumbed to the pandemic. It was a struggle, but we got there, and got back.


Better yet: after shopping, we went to the chemist’s (-drug store) next door for some ibuprofen, in the hopes that it might benefit my hip (too soon to say) and found that they were administering Covid booster jabs. I had already had one booster, which required Helen to drive me out nearly to the airport. It had been announced in the past few days that the elderly and the immune-suppressed were now to have another, so I jumped at the chance. One less chore for poor Helen.


Archie has now gone home again. James and Cathy will be here for lunch tomorrow.


Wordle: Today we divided on gender lines: the men got it in three, Ketki and I needed five. Mark’s starter-word gave him four greens. I don’t quite see why he didn’t get it in two.


And I got back to the knitting. It’s tough going, and there’s a long way to go. But I did a bit, and may do a bit more this evening. I’m about half-way through the cup. The one comfort is that when I finish that, I’ll be 17 rows further forward with the legwarmer. I must try to forge ahead in the next few days, despite the presence of company.

Thank you for the further contributions to the one-basic-meal theme. I'd better collect them all together, including James Marriott's starter recipe in the Times, before they get swept away by the tide. Kirsten's Sausage Supper and rheather's more scientific approach (comments, Wednesday) both deserve collection.



Thursday, April 07, 2022


Absolutely nothing was achieved today. I’m appearing here just to reassure you.


I had a brief, violent attack of diarrhoea this morning and on the strength of that, decided not to go out. I’ve been all right since, and have hopes for tomorrow. Archie promises to get up before lunchtime, and we’ll attempt the expedition which we cancelled today.


No knitting.


Wordle: It was another New-York-Times-y word, one of those, like TROPE, which hover in the periphery of one’s vocabulary but are never actually spoken or written. The grown-ups (Alexander, Ketki, Mark) got it in four. Youth and age (Thomas and I) needed all six.


I hope to do better tomorrow. Thank you for your contributions to the all-purpose recipe thread. More on that to follow.

Wednesday, April 06, 2022


I didn’t get out today, what with comings and goings. Not good. Archie is here, and we have planned an expedition for tomorrow. He’ll stay until Friday – maybe early Sat.


Wordle: You’re right to mention how quick it is, rheather (comment yesterday). Some people – Queer Joe is one – go on to some of the harder spin-offs, but for me the basic Wordle is perfect, and takes just the right amount of time, once a day. I’m happy to welcome another convert. Mark and Alexander and I needed four today; Ketki, three. Thomas was back on form with two.


I knit bravely on, but decided half way through the operation that yesterday’s fear had materialised and I was knitting the numbers backwards. So most of today’s knitting time was devoted to frogging, picking up stitches, aligning and counting and counting again. I think the answer is – and if I’m right, it should have been obvious to the meanest intelligence from the beginning – to turn the chart upside down and then knit it, of course, from the bottom. I’ve started again. We’ll see, tomorrow. I’m not happy about how I’ve spaced the motifs but you can’t have everything. There’s not room for more than two cups, each with a repetition of the date. The empty stitches should be grouped around the calf "seam", and the two motifs should balance each other on either side of the leg. I don’t think that has been achieved.




We may have started a useful thread, here. KayT, I will work on thinking of a substitute for aubergine in the all-purpose recipe I copied out yesterday. Vegetarian sausage could be omitted or replaced with real. Lisa, shakshuka is a very good idea. I breakfast on a egg and wouldn’t want to add another regular one to my routine, but chickpeas would be nice. I’ve never looked at Falastin but know of it. Maybe I’d better have a look. I like food from that part of the world.


(My breakfast is one I learned from my sister: cram a small-to-medium saucepan full of baby spinach leaves; wilt them; crack in an egg and poach it with the lid on the pan. Quick, nourishing, tasty.)


Tuesday, April 05, 2022


It’s been a rather dreary day, with some rain. It’s also my bath day. I didn’t walk. I’ve felt a bit droopy.


Wordle Old-friend-Mark and I got it in four; Ketki and her clever son Thomas in five; Alexander needed all six. It is a sort of New York Timesy word, not as bad as EPOXY or TROPE, but not one that crops up often in conversation, either. I must emphasize to the unconverted that Wordle is a gentle, friendly game, largely due to the fact that there is only one word a day, so we can all talk about it. And tomorrow is another day, on which Thomas, at least, will go back to beating me.


Knitting has advanced, although I haven’t much to show for it. First of all, I couldn’t find any squared paper. Daniela found some. I have plotted the Cup and ’21 and started knitting them, with much counting and caution. I’m knitting from the top down. There is some leg-shaping, so the finished object isn’t reversible. I can trust myself to knit from the top of the chart, so the design won’t be upside down. But can I be sure that I am knitting in the right direction, so that it won’t be the mirror image of the result I want? The cup itself is vertically symmetrical, but “’21” isn’t.


I am rather taken with the idea of the masculine version of Kate Davies’ Glenan pattern for Fergus’ Calcutta Cup ’22 sweater. Sometimes I wish KD weren’t so devoted to funny Scottish words for her pattern-names. I’ve got time to think about it.




One of my favourite columnists had a column in the Times yesterday about streamlining daily life by discarding annoyances. One of the annoyances he discards is thinking what to eat. He repeatedly uses this recipe: aubergine (=eggplant), onion, red pepper and vegetarian sausage chopped up together in a pan and fried with smoked paprika, garlic puree and tomato puree. Stir in Greek yoghurt at the end to make it satisfyingly viscous.


I think I might try that, minus the vegetarian sausage.


Archie is coming tomorrow for two nights. I’ll have to eat properly while he’s here.



Monday, April 04, 2022


I am restored to a more “normal” level of lifelessness. Daniela and I got around the garden. It has been a grey, windy day, much warmer than the last few. Tulips have joined the daffodils in Drummond Place Garden.


James and Cathy are coming to see me at the end of the week. And Archie was speaking of moving in for a couple of nights before that. Excitement all round. This is the second of the three weeks Helen will be away. Her middle son Mungo has joined her in Ravenna, and her husband David will be there soon.


I’ve cast off the first legwarmer – can’t really call it finished, with all those ends to deal with. The pattern wants me to block it, too. I’ve got one of those foot-forms, used for blocking socks. A knitterly friend of Alexander’s on Loch Fyne gave it to him to give to me, perhaps in a clutter-reducing phase, so it will be fun to use it.


But meanwhile I have done the top ribbing for the second legwarmer, and it’s therefore time to knit the Calcutta Cup. I don’t know what I’ve done with the chart I must have made for wee Hamish’s vest (above). The only one I can readily find is for ’06. That was for Ketki, I think. At least it gives me the cup. I also can’t find the book which usually supplies me with the chart for knitting numbers – I probably didn’t put it back on the shelf after doing Hamish’s chart. That’s not a problem, however, except that it’s a book I’m particularly fond of, a large BBC paperback from long ago. But there are plenty of number charts out there on the internet.


Wordle: A more normal distribution this morning – five for me and Ketki; four for Alexander and his son Thomas; three for old-friend-Mark.


I meant to remark yesterday that I’ve been to Polphail, the subject of the last essay in Kate Davies’ Cowal Penninsula book. It is – or, was – a village purpose-built for workers on a projected oil rig that never happened. It was briefly famous for the graffiti which came to decorate it. I saw it (on a visit to Alexander and Ketki) either just before or just after seeing Jupiter Artland, a remarkable collection of outdoor art, just outside of Edinburgh. Many well-known British artists are represented. It must have cost a lot of money to assemble, and it costs quite a bit to view, too. Whereas at Polphail you just climb over the gate, noting the sign about being respectful of bats. Arte povera and arte ricca.


I forwarded the Kate Davies essay – not by her, in fact – to Alexander and Ketki. He has sent me a portfolio-ful of his photographs of Polphail.


Helen (anon): Thank you for my limerick!!!

Kirsten: Thank goodness for your father's bank! Alexander says that my scammers of Saturday would have got control of my computer if I had gone ahead to do whatever they were going to tell me to do to "fix" my ISP address, and that might well have meant access to my bank account. 



Sunday, April 03, 2022


Dull, chill. I didn’t walk – not because of the weather but because of an attack of weakness. I got up in the night to pee – it happens often – and found myself too weak to proceed. I got back to bed, slept on without disaster, and have been recovering gradually all day. Had I not had enough supper last night, relying on my delicious tuna lunch with Archie? I shall eat conscientiously this evening.


No knitting to speak of today – that’s always a bad symptom.


Janet, comment yesterday, I had your experience once with a shawl. In my earlier shawl-knitting days, I always started with the edging, then joined it into a circle and knit inwards. I was terribly, terribly careful with the join but once I failed. I took the scissors to the corner – with successful results.

Helen(anon) Your comment about my scam yesterday has just turned up. Your excellent system wouldn't have helped me. It wasn't an automated call. It was "BT" phoning about my internet. I would have picked up. I had one of those banking ones a couple of years ago, where they try to persuade you to move your money to a "safe" account. I nearly fell for that one. Again, it was real people talking to me. That's what's so upsetting. Like finding rats in the larder.




All five of us, aged from nearly 18 to nearly 89, took five goes to get Wordle this morning. Friend-Mark thinks our collective score has never been so bad. Queer Joe, who sometimes posts his results to Facebook, got it in three. I stuck to my new resolution of entering only words which fit all the data. I was tempted by a Jean-word for line four, and if I had used it, it would have made the solution easier. But no quicker.



Saturday, April 02, 2022


Cold but bright. Archie and I got around the garden.


And, as hoped, I have finished the patterned part of the first legwarmer, switched with cries of joy to dps, and embarked on the ankle ribbing.


The main event today was a phone-call scam, purportedly from BT who supply my internet, about my IP address. The caller said it was “public” and should be “private” and that bad men therefore had access to it. I was puzzled, and kept talking longer than I should have while they sensed they had a sucker on the line and were very cross when I would go no further. They kept ringing back which BT would never do. I’ve looked it up since – it’s an established scam. It’s still an unsettling experience.

Mary Lou: Rachel says that her daughter Hellie has been looking out baby clothes for the little girl expected next month, and found this oldish photograph of her eldest (I think -- I tend to get those little girls in London mixed up) wearing her Polliwog. Rachel said that Hellie remarked again on the fit of that easy-to-pull-on neck. The expected baby will get the Aroon jacket, also easy to put on:




Good old Wordle. All four of the grown-ups in my little group (me, Alexander, Ketki, and old-friend-Mark) got it in three today, and all four of us would be hard-pressed to tell you what the word means. Thomas Miles needed four. He probably knows.


 Archie stayed for lunch. We had some very tasty tuna which he had bought on his walk down Broughton Street.

Friday, April 01, 2022


Cooler, but at least dry. C. came, with an old friend who went on a Majestic Line cruise last summer (on our recommendation?) and had it cut short by covid. We hobbled around the garden. My hip is very sore. I encountered a Lenten reflection yesterday: if a stranger were to take charge of your life, what is the first thing he would do? I think in my case, it might be to consult a doctor about my hip, so perhaps I should do that.


Knitting has progressed well. There are 10 or 12 rounds to go, plus ribbing, on the first legwarmer, and since the last four rounds before the ribbing are plain vanilla stripes, no pattern, I am confident of finishing tomorrow. Reasonably confident. I have looked out an old Calcutta Cup scheme, but need to find the one I used for wee Hamish’s vest (above) since this will be identical. We have decided to go for ’21 on the ribwarmers and knit something entirely different for ’22. Scotland had better lose in ’23. I can’t go on like this.


I did some looking-out connected with Machu Picchu, too: my notes about how to do an EPS, notably. I need to find those four issues of Knitter’s in which Meg explains and expands the pattern.


I lost the eBay auction. As feared and half- expected, a huge bid trumped me in the final seconds.


It showed the destination of one of our walks in Kirkmichael, two or three miles, I might guess, up Glen Derby, vaguely in the direction of Pitlochry. One walks through some new-built houses, and then trees, and finally open country with nothing for miles until you get to the ruins of a small house – “the bothy”, the destination of the walk. No other habitation within sight, no “infrastructure”. The postcard was from the first decade of the 20th century, and showed the house intact, with a bit of garden out in front enclosed by a picket fence. I have a collection of Kirkmichael postcards. I bid a lot, but somebody else bid more.


I am glad to have made a convert of you, Janet. It is fun, but also gentle. There is much extra fun to be derived from the fact that there is only one per day, and it is the same all over the world.

This morning my two starter words produced all five letters, all in the form of brown tiles. All I had to do was solve the anagram, and I had my Wordle in three. Alas, I am no good at anagrams. I struggled for half an hour and finally gave up. I entered a Jean-word, despite the resolution expressed here yesterday: it used four of my brown tiles, and a letter already eliminated. That yielded two green tiles, and even I was able to slot in the remaining three letters. 

Thomas Miles used five today, however. At least I beat him. 

Thursday, March 31, 2022

 (Blogger greeted me this evening with the message: "Unable to create new post". Then it relented. What's going on?)

A night’s sleep has somewhat restored me. It’s still cold (cold, but vernal) but Daniela managed to propel me around the garden. I am particularly fond of the two post-equinoctial, pre-summer-solstice months which have 31 days, namely March and May. It seems like a bonus, those two "extra" days, especially May 31.


Knitting went well. Kirsten (comment yesterday) I hope you like those needles, but I must emphasize that my recommendation is for small-gauge colour knitting. I am looking forward to a reversion to dps for the final legwarmer ribbing as I might look forward to a draught of cold water after a hike through the desert. And it shouldn’t be long now. At my current pace, I could finish the current leg in as little as two more days. I’ve finished Chart B and moved on to Chart C:ankle. I don’t normally suffer from second-sock syndrome, so I would say that things are looking good. Especially considering that I was prepared to abandon the pattern a few days ago.




Today’s word is on the difficult side, but not in a league with NYMPH or EPOXY. Today was the opposite to the usual Wordle situation: I had the last four letters and went back and forth through the alphabet without finding anything for that empty first position which yielded an intelligible English word. Then I found it. Ketki’s grid looks as if she had much the same struggle. Old-friend-Mark is today’s star: he got it in three. Alexander needed all six – that doesn’t often happen.


I have decided to forbid myself the further use of Jean-words. Henceforth everything, after my two starters, must be a legitimate guess, using any greens (of course); all browns, each in a new position; and only letters which haven’t already been eliminated.   

 I am bidding for a rare Kirkmichael postcard this evening, singularly unattractive. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow, win or lose.



Wednesday, March 30, 2022


I’m just back from an MRI scan. Nothing to fuss about, but going anywhere provokes a certain amount of nervous strain these days. C. came with me. Her friend Ian, last seen driving us to and from Oban when we went on our cruises last year, drove us to the hospital and back. The appt was on time, and the procedure was next thing to trivial. Nevertheless I feel completely bushed and will soon go to bed. It’s such a nice feeling, not to have an appointment tomorrow.


Legwarmer-knitting has gone forward nicely. The new needles make it almost fun. I’m well-advanced with Chart B: Leg Shaping.

The weather continues chilly. Indeed we had some snow flurries this afternoon. But we don't call this cold in Quebec -- punch-line of a limerick* I'm fond of -- and Alexander and I got around the garden in good order this morning.




The funny thing about yesterday is that Alexander wasted a guess on SHAWL, like several of you. I didn’t even think of it until afterwards. I got it in my usual five today. It was Ketki who scored the three.

*There was a young man of Quebec

  Who fell through the ice up to his neck.

       When they said, "Is you friz?"

       He replied, "Yes, I is,

  But we don't call this cold in Quebec."

Tuesday, March 29, 2022


Sure enough – the weather has turned. I didn’t try to go out. Bath day.


The new needles came. They are a vast improvement on a small circular – I’m going to be able to persevere and finish. It’s not exactly like the joyful Fair Isle knitting of my middle years, or even like wee Hamish’s Calcutta Cup vest (above), but it’ll do. It occurred to me that I might allow myself a bit of Machu Picchu in the evenings after a particularly virtuous day of legwarmering. Carol Sunday’s yarn is delicious on the hands and the stress-free experience would be good for shoulder and neck tightness. Alas, I couldn’t find it, although I’ve got the yarn all right.


I spent an interesting half-hour going through all the project bags I have piled up around here. No luck on Machu Picchu but I found a certain amount of delicious yarn. Then I looked around the room and there it was in plain sight, slightly elevated to keep it beyond paw-reach.


I mentioned the other day that I was worried about how tightly I seemed to be knitting the legwarmer. Today I reflected that that might be a good thing. When I was considering switching patterns yesterday, and browsing in Ravelry, I noticed people grumbling about how they didn’t stay up (different patterns, different yarns). Maybe tight Fair Isle will counteract that tendency:




Queer Joe has had a hole-in-one! That must have been yesterday, with that word that offered so many choices. He’s not likely to have used EPOXY or NYMPH (the two preceding days) for his starter word.


Ketki and I needed five this morning, Alexander four, Thomas Miles only three. He’s bright, that boy. We haven’t heard from old-friend-Mark yet.



Monday, March 28, 2022


Another grand day, forecast to be the last for a while.


I knit resolutely on. Here is the pattern (probably exclusive to Jamieson & Smith):


And here my reconstruction of it, so far:


My determination is to knit on, stitch by painful stitch, until the new needles show up. They’re on their way, I’m told. Maybe even tomorrow? If they don’t help, I may decide that I’m too far forward to change gear. Magic loop? I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. I have nearly finished Chart A: Calf.


Helen’s husband David came to see me today, back from Manchester where the whole family was briefly together with his mother. and we got around the garden. I’ve heard again from Helen, who continues to enjoy Ravenna. Her teacher, the whole object of the enterprise, has got Covid. Helen will be taught by her teacher’s sister, and seems happy with that arrangement. David is going back to Thessaloniki tomorrow. He will join Helen in Ravenna soon, and they’ll come back here together just in time for Easter.




It went to the other extreme this morning. All of us got the final four letters quite briskly (I was the slowest). But from that point, _****, there were by my count at least seven common English words, depending on what letter you chose for the empty first space. Thomas Miles and old-friend-Mark got it in four, Alexander in five. I failed altogether, due in part to a stupid choice, and so did Ketki, who doesn’t make stupid choices. I prefer EPOXY and NYMPH.


Sunday, March 27, 2022


And yet another beautiful day. For a while this morning I feared it was going to be one of those sad days when all of GB enjoys sunshine while Edinburgh remains swathed in a haar. But it lifted, and we had the sun like everybody else. C. came, and we hobbled around the garden. That’s twice in a row. The hip is very sore. Life seems much more purposeful, however, with the hour of daylight moved to the afternoon.


Helen is safely in Ravenna, delighted with her AirB&B. She sent me a picture of purple artichokes piled up in the market. They are my all time favourite luxury food. I can live without caviar and even lobsters.


I have knit stoically on with those legwarmers, but I’m not enjoying the experience, and there are still 175 rounds to go. I will press on until the Crazy Trios arrive, and then we will see. I’m not asking for great speed, just to enjoy the knitting. I even went to Ravelry and contemplated some of the legwarmers on offer. I could probably work it out for myself. Ribbing of some sort, for the sake of the fit. Decrease somewhat for the ankle. What about the kilt hose (without, in this case, the feet) which Kate Davies knit for her husband to wear on his wedding day? I’ll have a look.




I, too, Sarah, would have expected an unfinished attempt to vanish at midnight. How interesting. This is EPOXY you are talking about, yesterday’s word? When I thought of it, I wasn’t at all sure there was such a word. I typed it in expecting to be wrong.  Today’s is another toughy, and my glory is that I did better than Thomas Miles, Alexander and Ketki’s son. It took him five. I and everybody else needed four, except for Alexander who pulled it off in three. Poof, again. Again, I’m not sure I would have got there but for the feeling of group pressure. Old-friend-Mark had so remarkable a chart that I wish I could send it to you. Rachel hasn’t figured out how to join our group. She, too, got today’s word in four.