Tuesday, January 11, 2022


It was 100 years ago today, according to my newspaper, that the first insulin injection was given. That’s a landmark worth remembering.


It looked like quite a nice day out there. I stayed in, as planned, after my bath. I hope I’ll be strong enough to get out tomorrow. I have felt very feeble today.


But I’ve done some knitting. I’m ready for the underarm steeks. I’ve put in the first one, at the beginning/end point of the round, but I didn’t think out the position of the second one properly – it’s obvious, once you apply the slightest bit of thought. But I’ve knit past the spot – it wasn’t marked – and now need to do some unpicking.


Dumfries House: stashdragon wants to hear the story. One is enough.


A previous Lord Bute, grandfather of the present Earl, moved in arty circles and was an acquaintance – it would be presumptuous to claim him as a friend – of my husband’s. (There was a famous 18th century Lord Bute who collected art.) He owned several W*lkies – I wonder if they’re still there – which were kept at Dumfries House. It was the dower house, where widowed countesses lived. The family house is Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute. “Our” Lord Bute’s mother lived at Dumfries House in those days, and one day her son invited us to lunch to see the W*lkies.


Two things I remember. There was no one there at lunch except us. I was therefore the senior female guest and the meal began with the butler presenting me with an entire fish of some sort, to help myself from. It was a moment of absolute terror.


And after lunch when we were sitting about, and my husband and John Bute were talking about art, Lady Bute – who didn’t pay much attention to us – was on the telephone to someone, talking about horses. At first I thought, with some surprise, that she was talking to her bookie. Then I figured out that she was talking to her trainer.


“Our” Lord Bute died relatively young. His eldest son was a racing driver who preferred to go by the name of Johnny Dumfries. He it was who sold Dumfries House. The furniture was –is – rather special, made by Chippendale for the house, or something like that. It had been loaded into pantechnicons and was on its way to one of the grand auctioneers in London when Prince Charles stepped in.


  1. Wow, what a great story, Jean! I can well imagine your terror when presented with an entire fish. I experienced something similar in a restaurant in France, except it was (mercifully!) not presented to me by anybody's butler. I had ordered it for myself but still had no idea how to eat it!

  2. Gosh, the places you have been, Jean! We were watching an art programme where the critic visited your husband's gallery and made rather a meal of linking the paintings to the pandemic, pausing before the narrative W*lkies.

  3. You are so interesting! Thank you for sharing your stories and blogging so regularly. I enjoy it very much.

  4. Ooh, so cool! I've seen a YouTube about Prince Charles saving the house and furnishings. Now your story is the icing on the cake! Thank you!

  5. I don't remember hearing this story before. Good one!