Thursday, June 30, 2022


Thank you for all your comments about my hip. There’s much truth in what you say, and I think I have ¾’s decided to go with your advice and pay for an operation in order to get it done quickly. Helen will be back early next week. I won’t take any action until I have her here. I will talk to my sister by zoom at the weekend. She is anxious to press a doctor (GP or surgeon) to establish for sure (as much as possible) that nothing can be done to get me moving again without surgery. Oh, dear. Don’t get old if you can avoid it.


I’ve had a pleasant day’s Wimbledon, with Coco Gauff still to come this evening.


I forgot to tell you that I failed at Wordle yesterday. I’ve forgotten the word. It was off the beaten track, but still in my working vocabulary. I thought I was going to fail again today, but squeaked through in six. Thomas Miles needed six as well, and he’s clever.


And the knitting moves slowly forward. I’ve added the second colour. Slowly, but things definitely go better when I don’t have to spend half or more of each day’s knitting time helping Paradox with her bit. And the longer needle helps, too. It’s a pity that tennis doesn’t lend itself to colour knitting.

(image copied from Kate Davies' website)

Lisa, thank you for the beautiful postcard which I will give to Helen to keep once she is safely back. (It’s from Rome, with an astonishing mosaic.)


Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Wimbledon, knitting, sore hip. I’ll start with the hip.


Last week it was x-rayed, you’ll remember, and then I had to make an appt to talk to a doctor by telephone. That day was today, and our own doctor rang up (not just a stray body from the practice). He said the hip is badly arthritic, no surprise, and recommended surgery. It won’t get better by itself, he said. We considered the possibility of going private, but his guess at what that might cost was really rather too much for comfort, so he has put me forward for an NHS hip which might, these days, mean waiting quite a while. My sister doesn’t think I’m a very good project for surgery anyway.


But it’s dreadful to think of hobbling on like this forever. I still enjoy cooking; getting around the kitchen with a zimmer frame is very slow and very awkward. I made some panzanella for my lunch today. It was delicious, but it took hours.


So that’s something to think about.


The knitting has inched forward. It doesn’t flow over the fingers like colour patterns of old. I wondered if I’d be happier with a longer needle, at least until the next set of decreases, so I’m trying that. EZ says somewhere I think that 24” long is all you’ll ever need, and that’s what I was using, but it was a tight fit.


Wimbledon continues very satisfying. The final Centre Court match today will be Andy Murray against a man named Isner. In 2018, I think it must have been, Rachel won the chance to buy Centre Court tickets for Men’s Semi-final day. I went down to join her in the enjoyment of them. Isner was one of the players in the first match. Nadal, I remember, was scheduled for the second match. But the first one turned out to be an epic, history-making bore. It went to five sets, and in those days there was no tie-break in fifth sets. It went on to a score of something like 26-24. They’ve changed the rules as a result: nowadays we have tie-breaks in the fifth set. But Rachel and I are unlikely ever to forgive Mr Isner and Whoever-It-Was.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


Sorry about yesterday – I got swept up in Wimbledon, and then the afternoon was gone and I had had no nap. I have been more abstemious today.


There has been a major cat-induced glitch in the knitting. It has been recovered, but it took a while. I will never leave the room again without pitting it beyond paw-reach. It’s hard to recover colour knitting because, once everybody is back on the needle, you still have to consider the colour of every stitch – is it the colour it's supposed to be, or has it slipped back a row or two? In this case the balls themselves were tangled as well. So, no progress, but I’m back in the saddle.


Wordle: I am pressing ahead with my resolve only to enter words that might be right. I was rewarded with a three yesterday, with which I beat both Thomas and Alexander. I didn’t like the word, and now can’t remember what it was. Ketki also did it in three. Today Alexander and Ketki and I each got five, and their son Thomas had four. Friend Mark has mysteriously disappeared.


Comments: Beth, I forgot which PD James you recommended and have wound up with Shroud for a Nightingale. I will have to go on to the Private Patient.


Tamar, thank you for the meanings of WIELD. I love such words, my particular favourite being CLEAVE which has two opposite meanings.


I got the London Library magazine yesterday. I am a life member. The magazine has Antonia Fraser on the cover which made me wonder, Goodness gracious, am I really that old? (We are much of an age.) I think perhaps, after a bit more PD James, I will read her – Fraser’s – biography of Mary Queen of Scots. It’s very well recommended.

Sunday, June 26, 2022


Archie and his youngest brother Fergus came to see me today. No walking, alas, but they were here when the Waitrose order arrived and got it stashed, under my supervision.


I heard from Rachel, She has just had a birthday, as I told you. She says her son Thomas gave her a Scotland rugby shirt, signed by all the team. Now she will have to figure out how to get it framed.


I have knit on, but not very far. Have I lost my mojo, when it comes to knitting colour? Or is it that DK is intrinsically less fun than Shetland jumper weight? I hope I’ll speed up, as life goes on. And of course it will eventually get smaller and quicker. My favourite blogger, Queer Joe, has been writing recently about the delights of starting at the widest point, where feasible, and knitting ever faster and faster as you near the end.


Wordle: four, today. Both of my guesses – lines three and four – were possible answers, incorporating all four of the brown tiles I had accumulated, each in a new position, and using, for the fifth letter, one I hadn’t already eliminated. It sounds obvious, but I don’t know that I’ve ever done exactly that before. Line three was wrong, line four was right. Ketki and Thomas got it in three, Alexander and Rachel (in London) needed only two. We haven’t heard from Mark yet.

Saturday, June 25, 2022


A long day. Michaela (Daniella’s summer substitute) came early. The rest of the day rather dragged. Archie will come tomorrow (postponed from today) and I think we ought to try to walk – with little hope of success.


That sounds gloomier than I feel. Knitting went forward well. I have set the colour pattern for the yoke of my Lilias Day. When I actually faced up to it, I had a moment of doubt. The basic pattern covers 24 stitches. The whole pleasure of colour knitting lies in symmetry and rhythm. However, despite the long repeat, all is well. And I can tell you that, despite my having done no stitch counting during the recent plain-vanilla stretch which introduced quite a few decreases and established the yoke, it came out perfectly, to the stitch. I was prepared to do a modest bit of fancy footwork, if necessary.


Wordle: thank you for your comment, rheather. I do emphatically agree that part of the pleasure of Wordle is that it’s over and done with so soon. I think a lot of us share your experience of not being able to remember today’s word, even half an hour afterwards. It took me five again today. I was very proud of my third line  -- WEALD. I don’t know what it means, but it met the requirements: A in the third place, a green; E somewhere else, a brown; and none of the already-excluded letters repeated. Everybody else in my little group did better, but never mind.

I've finished my re-read of "Tiger in the Smoke". It's good, all right. I hadn't fully grasped, from previous readings, that it takes place in "real time": the opening scene runs on continuously until the final one. Some characters get some sleep, others not.

Friday, June 24, 2022


Wordle: I got it in three. After my two starter words, I had one green and three browns. As every morning, I struggled to find a word which fit all the requirements. This time, unusually, I found one. It didn’t seem a very likely word, but I typed it in, and it was right! Everybody else in my little group also got three, except for Alexander. That took a bit of the icing off.


After a very considerable struggle, I got through to my doctor’s surgery on the telephone this morning. and have booked an appt for a doctor to talk to me about my arthritic hip next week. The struggle involved dialling again and again, as you might imagine, and as I struggled I thought of your comment, Melinda, and called up Allingham’s “Tiger in the Smoke” from my Kindle library. By the time I had made the appt, I was re-hooked. I think I’ve read it fairly recently, but that hardly matters. It’s awfully good.


As for knitting, not as much as one might have hoped. I’m currently knitting the final plain-vanilla round on the yoke. I had to devote quite a lot of time this morning to putting right Paradox’s well-meant intervention of yesterday.

Thursday, June 23, 2022


Today is Rachel’s 64th birthday. The first day of the rest of my life if there ever was one.


The doctor’s office rang up to say that my hip is arthritic (as discovered by the x-ray) and I must ring the practice early tomorrow to make an appointment for a telephone consultation. What a carry-on!


Knitting has gone forward nicely, except for the times when Paradox tried to help. I have attached the sleeves and have four more rounds of just-plain to do before the fireworks start. It is exciting to have reached this stage. Barring disaster, I'm going to finish this one. A whole sweater!

Wordle: five, again. Today’s word was something of a Wordle special. I had the last four letters but chose the wrong one for the empty slot at the beginning. Judging from the grids, Thomas had the first four letters but guessed wrong for the fifth. He wound up with five as well. The others did better.


Reading: I am happily embarked on Donna Leon, “Death at La Fenice” as you recommend, Joan. (But I am glad to hear that you picked a random one and got hooked, Kirsten.) He hasn’t had anything to eat yet. I haven’t read Dorothy Dunnet – I’m afraid I have an irrational prejudice against “historical”. Perhaps I should try to overcome it. And you are absolutely right (as always), Tamar: Mr. Campion. The trouble there is that I almost know them by heart. Beth, I’ll go back to “A Private Patient” next, if nothing else offers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022


Alexander and Ketki both came to see me today. I haven’t seen Ketki for (literally) years, and it was very nice to do so. Thomas, their younger child, has his last bit of school tomorrow – he is bound for Birmingham University subsequently – so they will happily retreat to the shores of Loch Fyne and I won’t see them for a while.


What with one thing and another, I still have two rounds of the second sleeve of the Lilias Day to do. I hope I will polish them off this evening, and perhaps even get everybody arranged on a single circular for the yoke.


A physiotherapist rang up, and is coming to see me next Tuesday. By then I may have heard about my x-rayed hip and we may be ready to form a plan of action. I have left off exercises recently for fear they were making my hip worse. Perhaps I’ll resume.


Wordle: my usual five. Nobody did brilliantly.


In despair about what to read, I have retreated to an early PD James. I think it’s called “Unnatural Causes” and I have no memory whatsoever of ever having read it before. She definitely got better as time passed, and this one is from her earlier years. Still not to be despised. What a lot of fairly important things have changed: the comfort of a domestic fire, for instance; the ease of phoning people who all have mobile phones. One of you reminded me recently of Donna Leon – Venice! Food! – and I think I may go there. Where to start?

Tuesday, June 21, 2022


Another good day, although no walk. I made good progress with the Lilias Day sleeve – I could even finish it tomorrow. What I did finish was a skein of yarn. First I was in that situation, familiar to all of us, where the remaining scrap of yarn appears miniscule but in fact goes on and on and ON. However, in the end it gave up, and I wound the next one and am basking in that glow of satisfaction which comes from having reduced the stash by one whole skein. And it was a 100-gram skein, at that. There is one more – I’m not altogether sure I’ll need it.


Helen is going to Greece at the crack of dawn tomorrow,  to teach mosaic-making on the slopes of Mount Pelion. She is worried about the predicted heat, and also about wildfire.


Wordle: it took me five again today, Ketki four, Thomas and friend Mark (the clever ones) three. Alexander hasn’t been heard from, a most unusual occurrence. He is scheduled to come and see me tomorrow.


Comments: Thank you for your help with Knit Stars. I gather that Scandinavian knitting is to be the theme this time. I’m at least mildly interested, and such a sweater for a grandson might be a worthy project for Calcutta Cup 2022 (we won again). As soon as Lilias Day is finished, I must return to the legwarmers (Calcutta Cup 2021) and when they are finished – there’s not much further to go – ’22 has to be the next project. Today is the summer solstice. The year is slipping away.


KayT, I did a Craftsy class with Stephen West once. He is thoroughly delightful.

Mary Lou, I can’t work out Millais’ monogram signature, but I don’t think a crown would be involved. Just his initials. One of his given names was Everett; I can’t remember the other. Our picture is one of my husband’s “finds”. He was a great one for going patiently through piles at auction sales. Spotting that monogram must have been an exciting moment for him, confirming his opinion of the picture itself.

Monday, June 20, 2022


A good day. The x-ray appt went off smoothly. One thing to be said for Covid: hospital appts are now kept on time and it’s just as well, because the piles of 18-month-old copies of Woman’s Own have all been swept away and there is nothing to do while you wait except stare into space. Unless you brought your knitting. If I’ve got it right, the x-rays will now go to a Great Man or Woman, who will relay his or her conclusions to the GP and I should hear in about a week.


I’ve finished the sleeve increases on the second sleeve of the Lilias Day sweater, and am now knitting the straight bit at the top of the sleeve. If I can keep up the pace, I should have arrived at the fun part, the patterned yoke, by the weekend.


Arne and Carlos have alerted me to something called Knit Stars – it sounds a bit like a virtual Stitches or Vogue Knitting Live, with a dash of Craftsy in that you can watch the workshops as often as you like, forever. I don’t think I’ve heard of it, although this is said to be Season 3. They are coy about the cost which must mean it is expensive. I have put down my name to learn more. A&C are going to be among the stars in the forthcoming issue.


Wordle: it took me five today. The Mileses – Alexander and Ketki and Thomas – each needed four, and friend Mark pulled it off in three. I must concentrate on my third line, if I ever want to improve. I use two starters – TRAIN and HOUSE. They always produce something. Then I need to put in a third line which could possibly be right – using all the information I’ve got and not re-using any eliminated letters. I can almost never think of such a word so I put in an imperfect one (which often yields useful information anyway).

Here is a picture of our picture, the lost one that was found:

I'm sorry about the streaks of sunshine, but you get the idea. It must have been done at some point during the summer Millais and the Ruskins spent in Scotland, much plagued by midges and rain, while Millais worked on a portrait of Ruskin (now in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford). That's Millais hunched over his easel, in our picture, with Mrs Ruskin on the left and Millais' brother William fishing in the background. That's Ruskin on the right in a separate study. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022


C. came. We didn’t attempt to walk. I am to have my X-ray tomorrow and I am, as always these days, agitated at the thought of getting anywhere at a particular time. Helen is coming with me. I think we’ll go by taxi so she doesn’t have to fuss around disposing of her car.


Wordle: it was a nice, easy one today. Most of us got it in three, including me. Alexander – blast him! – needed only two. I forgot to tell you yesterday that I had failed. The word wasn’t in my active vocabulary, but that’s no excuse.


No knitting yet today, although I hope to knock off a few rounds this evening. Apart from talking to C., and making myself a not-entirely-successful potato salad for lunch (too much lemon juice) I have been reading my book, “Millais and the Ruskins”. It is fascinating, told largely in letters. Mrs Ruskin left her husband for Millais. One can’t entirely blame her, as the marriage had never (in six or seven years) been consummated. She and Millais lived happily ever after and had lots of children. Perhaps I will attempt to take a picture of our picture for you.

Do any of you use Blogger? Why can't I get spacing into the account of FO's in the sidebar? It looks fine when I am composing, but when I click SAVE it comes out like that. I don't remember having that problem in earlier years.


Saturday, June 18, 2022


A pleasant day. David and Helen called in, and David and I found the missing picture (mentioned here recently, I think). It is one of the three I will take along if I ever go permanently into care. So that is a great relief. The search led me to Mary Lutyens’ “Millais and the Ruskins” in which our picture appears as an illustration. I have finished PD James’ “Original Sin” (vg) and was rather floundering in the search for another book, so I think I will read that one.

We tried to walk but again failed, as on the previous two attempts. It is frustrating, as I feel so well otherwise.

Then Mungo cooked lunch for me, and Archie stayed and ate it with us (and washed up afterwards). Very pleasant (and very tasty) and a welcome relief from thinking.

Knitting went well. I have only two more sleeve increases to do (second sleeve of Lilias Day). Paradox carried the work off and tried to help, which slowed me down a bit.

Friday, June 17, 2022


Rain this morning. Alexander came. We didn’t attempt to walk. It has now been quite a while since I did it. Helen and David both will be here tomorrow and we must try again.


However it was been a good day on the knitting front. I have done 8 sleeve increases, every sixth round: there are five to go, I think. And then another 4 ½” or so of straight sleeve. So things are moving forward.


Sometimes I knit and read (both slowly). Sometimes I let the iPad read Il Gattopardo aloud to me. And sometimes I wander around Youtube looking for something that might serve as a background to knitting. (“Sit and Knit for a Bit with Arne and Carlos” is the right general idea, but too often lately it is not about knitting at all.) However, today while so engaged I stumbled upon Stephen West showing us around his LYS in Amsterdam. Wow! I have never seen so much yarn offered for retail sale. It is enough to make me want to devote myself henceforth to shawl knitting. I hope this link works.  They also sell on-line.


I did one of those on-line classes with him once. He is very entertaining, needless to say.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022


No visitors today. Helen’s husband David is here from Thessaloniki and they went off to the Borders for reasons unknown, perhaps for no reason. I don’t think I could have walked, anyway. I sat in the sun with my knitting for a while, leaving the door open for the cats. It was a fine morning, but they weren’t very keen on going out. People drive up and down Drummond Place in CARS. Sometimes DOGS walk past. I hope I can get them to Kirkmichael at least once this summer. There they go in and out as they please, and hunt for field mice and voles.


I have finished the first sleeve of the Lilias Day sweater; cast on and established the ribbing for the second. I think I have crossed the pons asinorum and the rest will move briskly. I cast on the first sleeve in the knitting group at Cramond the day before I left, so it took 12 days  -- and there were a couple of non-knit days in the mix.


Books: the feature in the Times is called “Jubilee books special: our favourite 50 novels of the past 70 years”. I can’t give you a link – it just says in the address line. I’m currently re-reading P.D. James’ “Original Sin” from the list. My first reading was long enough ago that I don’t remember anything important, just a vague sense of atmosphere, and I’m enjoying it a lot. Adam Dalgleish: we all love him. And Amazon was selling the Kindle edition for 99p.


Wordle: it took me five this morning, and I wasn’t at all pleased with the result when I got it. Mark reported himself baffled – that is something that simply doesn’t happen. Alexander, Ketki and Thomas, however, all scored threes and fours as if it were any old word. I haven’t heard from Rachel yet. I can speak more freely tomorrow, when you’ve all had a go at it. That’s one of Wordle’s admirable features: we all work on the same word, for one day only, and then the next day we can talk about it.



Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Helen has been weekending at Kirkmichael, but she was here today, and even she, who is a sturdy advocate of walking, thot I was limping too badly to attempt to go out, even with my stick. So I sat out on the step a while absorbing vitamin D. The telephone conversation with the dr – not a doctor I know, unfortunately -- is scheduled for Thursday. I think my hip has taken a  turn for the worse, although I wonder if using a zimmer frame (as I have been doing) is bad for it.


It’s been a good day for knitting. I am lucky – the knitters of Scotland are lucky – that it rarely gets hot enough here to spoil the pleasure of knitting with wool. The first Lilias Day sleeve should be finished soon.


Wordle: we had an easy one today. Ketki and Thomas and I scored three, Alexander and his friend Mark and Rachel, in London, got it in two. They must be very clever. My two starter words –TRAIN and HOUSE – gave me one green and four yellows: that means I had all the letters and there was nothing for it but to solve the anagram. I’m not very keen on anagrams, but eventually I got it. But Alexander and Mark and Rachel had to leap in cold turkey, after only one starter.


The Times published a list last weekend, as part of all the Jubilee fuss, of 50 recommended novels from the last 70 years. I have read some of them, inevitably, and am making a start on others. Do I want to read “Midnight’s Children” or Amis’ “Money”?

Monday, June 13, 2022


Apologies again, and no excuses, either.


No walking. I didn’t even try, today. On Saturday and on Sunday I set boldly forth, on Saturday with Archie and on Sunday with C., but had to turn back both times because the hip wasn’t up to it. I’m comfortable enough sitting or lying, and even standing for a while. But I can’t walk without the hip threatening to give way. Helen has booked me a telephone conference with a dr., on Wednesday, I think. I will have to be emphatic about the agony.


Today’s family news is that Christina and Manaba (wee Hamish’s parents) are expecting kittens. The old kitchen door technique still works in Roslyn. (=turn the cat out, and she’ll come back pregnant.) She has actually had a scan today and been told that there are 3-4 weeks to go. Christina herself still has two months to wait.


Wordle: I had a titanic struggle today. I finally got it in five, my commonest score, I am afraid; and, as often, the worst in my little group. Still, I did get it.


And I knit some more sleeve for the Lillias Day. I have slowed down considerably since coming home from Cramond, but it’s inching forward.


Saturday, June 11, 2022


Sorry about yesterday. Helen arrived just at blog-writing time, drenched by a summer shower. She was cycling to save petrol-money. She got dry, she got home to her car, and – much later – her husband David got here from Thessaloniki after a long, long evening in Amsterdam while EasyJet kept postponing the final leg of his journey first by one hour then by another. They’re gone off to Strathardle today with their dog, I hope.


I didn’t get any knitting or any exercises done yesterday, either.


Today I did a set of exercises before breakfast, as I used to do at Cramond. Archie came to see me. We failed to get around the garden. It was blowing fairly hard, and it was late in the morning by then, when the bloom has gone off me. He is doing a placement in a dementia ward (as part of his degree course in nursing) and is finding it tough going – not an aspect of mental nursing that he thinks he wants to pursue.


And I’ve finished the increases for the first Lilias Day sleeve. There are about 4 ½ inches to go and I really must look for a short circular tomorrow.


There was a mildly interesting passage in the Times this morning, lifted from a book, about the author’s experience working in a care home. The considerable differences between it and Cramond came down to staff numbers and accommodation. The author had to get his charges up out of bed, dressed and into the dining room by 9 a.m. We had breakfast in our rooms and, if preferred, in our pyjamas whenever we wanted, except that there was nothing hot after 10 a.m. (Fair enough.) At Cramond, a lot of people spent a lot of time – even, in many cases, all of it – in their rooms where the individual television sets were bigger than the one here in Drummond Place. At the place described in the Times, everybody was marshalled into a common room after breakfast and left with the television. There were lots of common spaces at Cramond with comfortable-looking furniture, empty of people. I spent some time in the Cinema Room with one of my table-companions, watching the French Open. We were the only two.

Thursday, June 09, 2022


A good day. Helen got me around the garden. I ate my prunes and did my exercises.


And thought about the future. Thank you very much indeed for your comments. Tamar, you are absolutely right (as usual): nothing should be decided until Daniela gets back. (some time in July?) It would be rash, indeed, to dispense with her so no, anonymous, a live-in carer would mostly be responsible for Being Here at night. I would still be paying for heat and groceries and Daniela, and it might, altogether, come to more than Cramond. Nothing has to be done immediately, as long as there is not a health crisis. One damned thing tends to happen after another, at my time of life.


One of the three pictures I would want to take with me can’t be found. I certainly can’t leave until it is located.


And you’re absolutely right, Jenny, that maintaining the flat in Drummond Place as a reserve of books and knitting supplies would be an expensive luxury.


Meanwhile, I got a bit more of Lilias Day sleeve done today:

The body was entirely done at Cramond. It’s wonderful what you can do when you have nothing else to do. It looks as if the size is coming out about right. (What? Me, swatch?)

Wednesday, June 08, 2022


A good day, although no knitting yet. Alexander came. No news. It was raining, so we didn’t attempt a walk. He is rather dreading the departure of their younger child to (Birmingham) university. Helen had told him to do some washing up, but I did that. He hung up some washing.


He and Helen seem determined to keep me here, with live-in care which is not a prospect I relish although it would solve the problem of the cats. Cramond or something similar has a lot to be said for it. Expense is the big negative – but live-in care would be expensive too. I have been amusing myself by thinking what bits and pieces I would take along to liven up a small room. There is surprisingly little I would want, and an iPad, of course, packs a big punch.  Slow and clumsy as I am, I would miss cooking. (I think of your aunt, Mary Lou: did she miss that, as well as washing-up?) One of my neighbours at Cramond – she never left her room, so I never met her – had a wonderfully inviting drinks tray near her ever-open door. I wouldn’t want that, but it was a good idea.


My sister has just been back to New Haven for the 55th (!) anniversary of her graduation from medical school. Not many there, she says, and those that were had a melancholy tendency not just to remember the absent but to discuss in detail the means the Grim Reaper had chosen to carry them off.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022


A nice day, and a fairly successful one, except that my hip hurts and Helen and I didn’t succeed in walking around the garden. I feel really quite well except for the hip. Something must be done.


I’ve done two more increases on the first Lilias Day sleeve, and have brought a fifth dp into play (which doesn’t excuse me from looking for a short circular to finish the sleeve off). However, I’ve got an excuse. The morning was devoted to making a salad I read about in Good Food. It was perfectly adequate when finished (and there’s more for tomorrow) but not really very exciting. It’s got lots of ingredients. The locating of them, the cutting where necessary, the steaming of some, was all very slow and clumsy when one is negotiating the kitchen with a zimmer frame. Then in the afternoon, after a brief nap, I did the washing-up. I can’t remember when I last did that. It’s normally Daniella’s job. Helen has been nipping in to do the absolute minimum to keep me afloat until Daniela’s substitute takes over on Friday. She was pleasantly surprised to be spared that one.


Alexander is coming tomorrow. I haven’t seen him for a while.



Monday, June 06, 2022


I feel good habits are slipping away from me somewhat already. But I ate my prunes for breakfast, and did my exercises. The hip has been very painful, and I couldn’t manage a circuit of the garden with Helen this morning. We sat on a bench for a while. The hip does surprisingly well at exercises such as lifting a knee towards the chest. The only one it doesn’t like is a standing abduction, which means standing there holding on to something and moving the leg out sideways. So that’s probably one I should concentrate on doing.


C. and I observed on our circuit of the garden yesterday that it is too late for wild garlic. I think I had one batch, early on. But the last of the British asparagus was still to be found at Waitrose yesterday, so all is not lost. I never suspected, in my American childhood and youth, that asparagus is a delicacy. My father’s mother had a big patch – I remember it in its grown state, a wonderful forest of fronds. My mother’s parents must have had it too, as they had a faithful servant who maintained a magnificent vegetable garden for them. But it arrived at any table I ever sat at as just a droopy, overcooked green vegetable , as far as I can remember. I was sorry to hear about your asparagus beetle, Mary Lou. In Greece I am told they have wild asparagus, sold by enterprising peasants in bunches by the roadside.


Knitting proceeds well. I am more than halfway through the first sleeve increases, every 6th round. Soon there will be too many stitches for my dp’s unless I employ a fifth. I will hobble over to the cupboard tomorrow and see whether I have a short circular of the right gauge. I must often have told you that there was a Christmas long ago for which I knit everybody a hat. And the legacy of that enterprise is a good stock of short circulars.

Sunday, June 05, 2022


A successful day of partial self-care. Four to go. Meal-preparation went well, anyway. C. came and made a substantial contribution, washing dishes and getting the washing machine open (I had failed at that – it’s Daniela’s job) and hanging up the contents. The big excitement, however, is that we walked all the way around the garden. It has been months – literally – since I did that.


So I must have become a bit stronger. The trouble now is concentrated on that sore left hip. I would be inclined just to walk through the discomfort, except that the joint is not altogether to be trusted. Every so often it gives way and I would fall if I were not clinging to support.


Knitting went well, too. I must take a picture soon, although there’s not much to see with this dull-looking yarn. I have finished the body of the Lilias Day, as previously mentioned, and now have made a good start on the first sleeve – twisted rib finished, increases well under way. Shandy, I read your comment too late to act upon it. You are absolutely right – it would have been better to knit the sleeves flat and simultaneously. All the colour-work comes later.


One caveat, though: twisted rib flat is not quite the same as circular twisted rib, and the latter is better. When you do it in the round, you twist the knit stitches every time. When you go back and forth, the knit stitches of one round are the purl stitches of the next – so each stitch gets twisted every other round. When I started the body of the Lilias Day, I knit back and forth for a couple of rows as I always do, to make a twisted join less likely. You can see the difference in the ribbing. Still, I could have knit the two wrists in the round separately and then switched to flat and together for the rest.


I have finished the second ball of Ooskit, so the next job is to wind the third. They are 100-gram skeins and take a bit of winding. The colours, when I get to them, are in 50-gram skeins.


Saturday, June 04, 2022


Here I am home, full of good intentions. Will there be any time left for knitting, if I carry them out? I move very slowly and clumsily, favouring my bad hip.


I had a wonderful time in Waitrose this morning. I have planned a week's meals with some care -- no more going to bed on a glass of Complan, at least for the moment. Braised sausages tonight.


The cats are well, although poor Paradox is in heat. If they missed me, they haven’t said so.

Today's Wordle was one of those maddening ones where one has four of the five letters and there are plenty of possibilities for the final slot. I always do worse with those than the other members of my little team. Sure enough, it took me all six guesses today. 


Friday, June 03, 2022

 I’ve said goodbye to my table companions — Helen and May and Renata and Mary and Elspeth. They have been good company and I will miss them. 

We are having a garden party here tomorrow. I don’t much care for such things, and will be glad to be away before it happens. Helen says we can stop at a SUPERMARKET on the way home. I haven’t been to one for ages, what with the COVID restrictions. That will be a real treat. I’ll buy food for the weekend — and cat food, if needed — and then when I get home, lodge an order to be delivered early next week. My substitute cleaner can’t start until Friday. It will be a valuable challenge, to look after myself for five  whole days.

I’ve finished the body of the Lilias Day and started the first sleeve. It will go quickly, I think. I’ve nearly finished the second ball of Ooskit. 

Alexander and Ketki’s son Thomas needed four guesses for today’s Wordle. Alexander and Ketki and I (and Rachel in London) required three, old friend Mark got it in two. 

Thursday, June 02, 2022

 All well, I think. Helen rang up the care home and told them what help I’ll need to get away and, as you say, they’ve done it before. I figured out how to open a fancy suitcase we brought, so should be able to pack by myself. I’ll need help carrying. I don’t know whether Helen is still testing positive and whether she’ll be allowed in.

That is a good idea, Jenny, about incorporating part of  the care home routine into Drummond Place life.

     (1) Prunes for breakfast 

     (2) A brief exercise routine before breakfast

     (3) lunch at more or less a fixed time, table properly set, no longer just sinking down amidst the sauce bottles in mid-afternoon.

I have been exercising faithfully here, sometimes with an instructor, sometimes not. But I haven’t been walking much. Today I did a circuit of the garden before lunch and found myself breathless. So I did another before supper, and will press on tomorrow. The distance couldn’t be much more than that from my front door to the gate of Drummond Place garden, before circumnavigation even begins.

Knitting went well. I watched the Trooping of the Colour this morning, knitting the while. Goodness, it was wonderful, hundreds of men, dozens of horses, a generous handful of royalty, all perfection. Not a polished boot or burnished hoof put wrong, and timed to the second. The horses had to do several things horses don’t normally do: stand still for an hour and a half, if royalty was riding; carry a pipe band in action. The kettle drums, said to be heavy, and also in use, were carried by Shire horses who had clearly done it often before. At the end — I don’t remember ever having seen this — there was a regimental trot-past. At that point, admittedly, one or two thought that Prince Charles would prefer a canter-past, but they were promptly subdued.

The Queen on the famous balcony looked very old. As indeed she is. We’ve just heard that she’s pulled out of tomorrow’s Service of Thanksgiving.

And by the time all that was over, I had done quite a bit of knitting. My hope is to cast on the first sleeve tomorrow. Shandy, no (comment yesterday) — it’s all got to be done before the yoke starts.


Wednesday, June 01, 2022

 I’m beginning to worry about Saturday’s exit. How is it to be engineered? There are lots of staff about, but who’s in charge? How do I get my pills back?  Can I pack by myself or should I book help? Helen has an Open Day at her studio on Saturday and will want to make a quick getaway from here.

Apart from these thots, the day was peaceful as usual. The body of the Lilias Day is now12”. I think the thing to do is to decide tonight how many more rounds I want, and place a marker where I am and just count, rather than fuss with a tape measure every second round.

Otherwise little to report. I had a very nice visit with friends made on last year’s cruise (the earlier one). I did two sets of exercises.