Sunday, July 31, 2022


C. is the most conscientious tester I know – largely to protect me. This morning, for the first time after all these months, she tested positive. So, no walk, and kitten-visiting this week is in some doubt. She has no symptoms.


I did my exercises faithfully, and I finished the legwarmers. I instantly cast on a replacement Evendoon for Helen from my abundant Schehallion stash. So far, delightful. There’s nothing to beat stripes. And the fact that I’m knitting from stash enhances the experience. Kate Davies doesn’t even suggest needle sizes. Has that always been the case? How did I know what size to use for Lilias Day? Certainly not by swatching. I found an appropriate-seeming needle and all is well so far – the experience is very pleasant, the fabric likewise. Eventually I’ll measure and see what gauge I’m getting. It’s knit top-down, with the neck ribbing added later. So far, therefore, it’s rolling like mad.


I wonder why KD has never been on Fruity Knitting?


Wordle: I’m back in my usual bottom-of-the-class position. Thomas’s starter word gave him four greens, so he got it in two. Mark and Alexander and Ketki needed three; four for me. But my little winning streak is lengthening, and I am approaching the point where my historic accumulation of fours will outstrip my fives. That is my ambition at the moment.


I’m reading Le Carre’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. I must have read it at some point in the past, long ago, but I’ve forgotten most of it. It’s terribly good.



Saturday, July 30, 2022

 I didn’t get out today – a pity, because it looked like a nice one.  (I did my exercises, though.) I hope to walk with C. tomorrow. And Helen will be back from her family holiday in Greece tomorrow, airports permitting. I’ll see her on Monday, insh’Allah. She says it’s very hot in Greece.


My next project, which with luck will be a quick one, will be to replace Helen’s ruined Evendoon using, as far as possible, my stash of leftover Schehallion. Then Calcutta Cup 2022 – with even more luck, I will have embarked on it while 2022 is still here.


I watched Fruity Knitting. It was a rather uninspiring issue, I thought, concentrating on a Rowan designer named Georgia Farrell. She recommended a small Japanese book called A Dictionary of Colour Combinations. Andrea pounced on it in delight, and got one for herself, and so did I. It is nothing but that: colour combinations. I’ll have to do more Fair Isle, to make good use of it. Might be interesting.


Wordle: an interesting day. My two starter words yielded nothing by one green vowel. I gave up and entered a Jean-word in line three: it  re-used an eliminated letter. But it was useful, as Jean-words often are– it gave me another green, and a brown, and I got it from there. Alexander and Mark also did it in four. Thomas, most uncharacteristically, needed five (so he’s the class dunce today). Ketki is the star of the show, with three.


Both sets of my grandparents grew vegetables. My mother’s father effectively had a smallholding, cow and chickens and all. I remember the food as dull. A child’s palate? Dull cooking with overdone vegetables? I suspect both were involved.

Friday, July 29, 2022

 I’m sorry about yesterday. I wasn’t entirely well, and spent most of it in bed. I’m pleased to say that I feel much better today – exercises done, garden walked in with C. Her news is good, too. Christina and Manaba have both finished their Covid and are testing clear. Christina had an actual, physical ante-natal appt today and all is well. There is less than a month to go.


And I am promised a visit to the kittens next week!


I’m sorry to say that the legwarmers still aren’t finished. It’s no use telling you that the final ribbing is easy and pleasant – it’s still got to be done. I’ve now done more than half of it, and have great hopes for tomorrow.


Vegetables: Unknown (comment Wednesday): You do well to remind me of new potatoes. I should rejoice at what I can grow instead of fretting about corn and globe artichokes which are beyond my reach. New potatoes can be grown in canvas bags on the doorstep. I'll try again next year. I had some in '18 but they were stolen.

And I share your experience, of things not tasting as good as they used to. My father had a Victory Garden during the war in which, among other things, he grew snow peas, in those days not to be had in supermarkets. They were beyond delicious. When I started growing vegetables in Kirkmichael, that was the first thing I went for. I tried year after year. He sent me seeds from America. I tried every variety in the catalogues. The crops were successful, but nothing tasted remotely like those Detroit peas.


Wordle: I did it yesterday, so my little streak is unbroken. I found it very difficult today – my starter words yielded four brown tiles, two vowels and two consonants. The consonants were a pair which often appear together. I wasted time and guesses on the assumption that that was true here. It isn’t. I finally got it with a skin-of-my-teeth five. Mark scored two again, blast him; Thomas and his father Alexander 3; Ketki four. I am back in my familiar position of class dunce.



Wednesday, July 27, 2022


I got my next month’s copy of Delicious magazine today. There on the cover is a cob of corn in camicia as I think we might say in Italian. Not to be had from the supermarket which will deliver here tomorrow. They do occasionally turn up, and carry the faintest suggestion of the real taste. The ones that are sold already stripped bare aren’t worth buying. In the US, of course, one eschews supermarkets and buys from the farmer’s gate, preferably late in the day in the hopes that he has made a second picking. Ideally one grows one’s own, uphill from the kitchen door, and gets the water boiling before one goes out to pick.


When I went to CT for my nephew Theo’s wonderful wedding, I saw in my sister’s rubbish the night I arrived the husks of the corn they had eaten the night before. (What was I doing, looking in the rubbish? Helping with the washing-up? Most unlike me.) That’s the closest I am likely to get in later life.


Delicious magazine went on to globe artichokes, also not to be had at the local Waitrose. There’s more hope there, and they don’t suffer quite so much from travel. That was an exquisite luxury we were occasionally served in my childhood. Neither artichokes or corn asks for anything more than melted butter – with a drop or two of Tobasco if you must.


Then Delicious proceeded to tomatoes. Those, of course, I can get in abundance, but none of them taste like summer. When Archie and I went to Italy in October, ’18, we started in Naples before proceeding south to Reggio Calabria to see the Riace bronzes. (valgono un viaggio). I had a Salad Caprese on successive evenings in different restaurants. Surely, in October, there are still some late tomatoes on the slopes of Vesuvius? The ones I was served were as tough and tasteless as anything in Edinburgh. Perhaps the Italians regard them as a delicacy and have them flown in.


So I am feeling pretty sorry for myself.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022


Well, I did it. The patterned part of the second legwarmer is done, subsequent stripes and final decrease round dealt with – only the final ribbing remains. And finishing, of course, as always. The pleasure, as mentioned yesterday, of finishing something I wasn’t enjoying, is immeasurable. Next, I think, confecting an Evendoon stripey pullover for Helen from leftover Shiehallion yarn of which I seem to have a lot. While thinking about Fergus’ 2022 Calcutta Cup whatever. We’d better lose next year. When I embarked on this project, Scotland’s Calcutta Cup wins were in the hen’s teeth category for frequency. Not so, of late.


Not much news otherwise, and nothing else in the way of achievement.


Wordle: I don’t want to hobble back to the kitchen to get my iPad, so we’ll have to hope this is right: three for Mark and Thomas (clever boys), four for me and Ketki, six for poor Alexander. It was one of those Wordle specials, of course, where he had everything except the first letter. Queer Joe failed altogether at that hurdle; easily done. So my winning streak, now extended to a pitiful 20, is the longest it has ever been.

Monday, July 25, 2022


All well – and the best news is that I have finished the blue-on-indistinguishable-blue band on the second legwarmer. There are four more two-colour rounds to go, with colours which can easily be distinguished and they are rounds which are pretty easy anyway. There’s a bit more knitting to do after that, and of course the final ribbing, but I can switch back to ordinary dp’s and enjoy myself.  Laying something aside for “a while”, especially when it’s something you’re not entirely enjoying the knitting of, is very dangerous, as we all know and I feel particularly delighted to have reached this stage.


C. came. We got to the garden, although not very far within. She doesn’t have any more news from Christina and Manaba but at least the weekend is over and help will be somewhat easier to get if needed. Indeed some friend-or-neighbour took wee Hamish to nursery this morning.


I forgot to show you this picture yesterday, the first open eyes:


I am told that the litter consists of three girls and a boy. This is one of the girls. She will clearly grow up to be a formidable cat. That's Christina's pregnant tummy she's sitting on. 


Wordle: four today for me and Alexander and Mark, three for Ketki and her son Thomas. I have now equalled my longest winning streak, a paltry 20: so tomorrow is a big day.


Comments: in today’s post-mortem, Mark or Alexander mentioned that he had rejected the idea of BLOKE as too British. I was particularly glad to hear that you had tried it, Frequent Frogger. (Not that it was right.) I keep trying to tell them that the NYT may sometimes offer words that seem to us to be too American, but they won’t exclude anything for being too British. Such as MIDGE. And Beth, it is interesting, if distressing, to hear how common they are in Canada.


Janet in Seattle: I’ve scored a hole-in-one, like your mother. It’s no fun. A two is what I dream of.


Ron in Mexico: It is always good to hear from you. I’m glad to hear that you use my starter words (TRAIN and HOUSE). You certainly don’t need to give me credit on the rare days when they prove to be of use.

Sunday, July 24, 2022


C. came to see me, but again failed to get me out. I’m all right, just droopy. Both Christina and Manaba are ill with Covid – not desperately ill, but far from symptomless. They have no other backup but C., who doesn’t dare to pitch in and risk getting it herself.


Thank you for your Wordle comments. We over here often grumble that Wordle words are too American, although at the moment I can’t think of an example. I have no memory of MIDGEs from my American youth (nor does Ketki) and I wondered how the word would strike American ears. Perhaps significantly, all the Scottish residents in my little Wordle group got it in four yesterday, but Mark, an Englishman who lives in Birmingham, needed five. Today was one of those Wordle specials where those who had the last four letters of the word as green tiles had a wide choice of letters to start it off with. I needed five, Alexander four, and we were lucky. The others approached from a different direction; they had the initial letter in hand for the final struggle. Mark, blast him, got it in two.


I knit heroically on. Today was a day when my determination to knit three rounds at least really paid off. I so easily might not have done any, and now I am within the last ten rounds, counting down to the finish line. I might do another round or two this evening, but I doubt it.


I have been reading PD James’ Adam Dalgleish books backwards from the most recent. Some of them I have read in the past, I think, but by no means all. She’s good. And it is wonderful to watch the 21st century scrolling backwards. Remember typewriters?




Saturday, July 23, 2022


Wordle: I would be very grateful if American readers would tell me, in comments below, what they think of today’s word. Ketki and Alexander and their son Thomas and I got it in four, Mark needed five. But that’s not the point. What do you think of the word?


The weather has been somewhat heavy, and I didn’t get out except to garden with Micaela on the front step. C. came by later and was persuaded not to walk. But she is coming again tomorrow, and threatens to be firmer with me. Manaba and Christina (the parents of the kittens, and soon to be parents of their own second child) have both tested positive for Covid, and C. is beside herself with anxiety as stillbirth is not unknown as a by-product of Covid. Pregnancy, however, entitles one to direct access to medical professionals. A midwife is phoning Christina daily and asking sharp questions. C. remains very bitter against her friend who went to the recent wedding and hugged everybody, knowing she had tested positive.


And, oh yes, knitting. I have progressed as usual, and am now on the threshold of the final band which employs the two indistinguishable blues. And what I have to persuade myself (of), is that it doesn’t matter.  I could do it all with one colour – the background colour remains throughout a peaceful Shetland grey.  But I think the eye may discern the change, and that it may make the overall effect more lively. It’s a seven-round band, 2-3-2 for the blues. Peering at the current legwarmer, I’m not altogether sure that the two such bands I have knitted already don’t reverse the colours. And it doesn’t matter.




Friday, July 22, 2022


Not much tonight – but it has been a good day.


I set myself, as I probably said, to do three rounds of legwarmer per day. I have always achieved more than that but it has been helpful, on the morning of a droopy day such as this one, to be able to tell myself that I can surely get around three times. The current score is 80 rounds done, 96 the target. We’re getting there. One of the dread indistinguishable-blue-on-indistinguishable-blue bands comes next, and then it’s over.


Wordle: I was the best, in our little group. I don’t think that’s ever happened before. I may – rarely if so – have been tied for best, but today I was there alone. I did it in three. The others were four and even five. Mary Lou, I was sorry to hear of your struggle. Was that the day when TRITE was the answer, and TRIBE, TRICE, TRIPE, and TRIKE among the other possibilities?

Thursday, July 21, 2022


Little to report. Helen came to see me, and we walked for a while along the pavement chatting to neighbours. She and Archie will be leaving tomorrow, well before the crack of dawn (even in July), for a family holiday in the Peloponnese. I’ll see her again a week on Monday.


Knitting has progressed. I’ve done another five rounds of legwarmer.


And Alexander has found a wellingtonia for us – a California redwood. We have planted various trees commemorating various ones of us. I wanted a wellingtonia for me and my husband – it’s a Californian tree, and I was born there. The Duke of Wellington – from whom, of course, it takes its British name – is a favourite of mine, and also comes in to the story of my husband’s artist, D*vid W*lkie, from whom he commissioned The Ch*lsea P*nsioners, in its day the most expensive contemporary British picture ever. And the tree, if it thrives, will one day obstruct the view from our neighbours’ house to the village. …a dish that is best eaten cold.


But in a summer like this one, the tree should remain in care for a couple more months since it will need regular watering.


Wordle: four for everybody today except Thomas – it’s very good to have him back. He scored three.

My scheduled visit to the kittens has been postponed; Manaba has ested position for Covid (although he remains in reasonable health).

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

 The weather feels as hot as before, although it probably isn’t. I didn’t go out. I devoted the morning to a much-needed bath. It is a precarious undertaking in my feeble old age.


Knitting went well. Progress is slow, but it’s steady that counts. I’ve now done 70 of 96 patterned rows. I’ve finished the second of three charts – Calf and Leg Shaping are done, Ankle remains.


Crochet66, that’s a good idea about a Calcutta Cup headband. It wouldn’t wear out like a sock. I’ll see if anybody is interested.


Wordle: Ketki and Alexander and I did it in four, Mark and Thomas needed five. It was one of those Wordle specials: we all reached, by various paths, the position of having four green tiles, with only the fourth letter missing. I thought of two possibilities; fortunately the second one was right. Mark had three failures before he got it right, Thomas two, Ketki and Alexander, like me, only one. When we got chatting about it after all the results were in, we thought of six letters altogether that could have fitted in that slot. It’s a wonder we all got it right.


Phase one of the competition to be the next Prime Minister is over. Despite all my fuss about thinking in categories the other day, I was struck by the fact that when the field had been reduced to five candidates (sometime last weekend?) we knew that the next Prime Minister wouldn’t be a White Man.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022


It’s hot – almost too hot to knit comfortably. Today is said to be the worst of it.


I got four rounds of legwarmer done – 41 patterned rows to go, plus some stripes and the final single-colour ribbing. Another thing which makes this knitting tedious (besides the small circumference) is that two of the colours are practically indistinguishable. They’re called Blue and Turquoise which makes them sound a good deal more different than they are. The rare rows of lime green come like a drink of cool water.

(Image from Jamieson and Smith)


Wordle: everybody did it in three today, including Thomas who has rejoined the party, and including Rachel in London. My first starter word gave me three browns. My second gave me nothing at all, except to eliminate five letters, Then I tackled the anagram, and got the answer. If I’d tackled it earlier, I might have scored two. Lesson for the future, perhaps.


Helen came. We got across to the garden and sat about there for a while. She is going to Greece for a family holiday at the end of the week.


Here is a picture of my great-grand-kittens. There are four kittens visible. Finding them is like one of those puzzles.

Monday, July 18, 2022


It’s hot, all right. If Edinburgh is like this, London must be blistering – true American heat.


I didn’t walk. Just as I was finishing my exercises – first thing after breakfast – I was struck with a sudden diarrhoea. No trouble since, but I took the rest of the morning quietly.


And resumed knitting the legwarmers. They aren’t quite as bad as I remembered – perhaps because the yoke of the Lilias Day was also a bit disappointing as far as the experience of colour knitting was concerned. Three rounds a day, and the patterned part will be done in a fortnight. And the rounds are small – that’s the whole trouble. Four or five a day should be perfectly feasible.


Crochet66 (comment Friday): that is a rather good idea, knitting the Calcutta Cup into the sock pattern in the new Shetland Wool Adventure magazine. My tentative thought is to knit something for Helen’s youngest son Fergus, who sat next to the captain of Scottish rugby on a flight south from Edinburgh not long before the match. I might ask him what he thinks of socks. I don’t have anything else particularly in mind.


Wordle: four today, for me. That’s a bit better. But I’ll never be as good as the others until I stop using two starter words. Between them they yielded one brown vowel today. Even so, I couldn’t think of a qualifying word and had to put a Jean-word which re-used one of my eliminated letters. As often, it was very useful: two greens and a new brown, enough to point me to the right answer. Ketki and Alexander did it in three, Mark needed four.


C. is now safely back in Edinburgh, but staying away because one of the wedding guests has Covid (and wasn’t entirely straight about it, during the stage when everybody was hugging). She will keep on testing daily. Meanwhile she has sent me first pictures of the kittens. I am impressed at how energetic they are, trying to walk without a single useful leg. They were born in the box Manaba and Hamish had prepared for the lying-in: surely a first in the history of cat-keeping.

Sunday, July 17, 2022


A good day. Helen and I went to the garden centre at Hopeton where we spent an inordinate amount of money and then came home for a quick lunch and then she gardened on my doorstep until everything was planted and swept up after. Better late than never.


I’ve got the knitting all lined up, but still haven’t taken a stitch. I’ve found the pattern and the yarns and those funny needles I got to knit a small circumference in the round, and I’ve even located where I am in the pattern. I just haven’t actually picked it up and started. I have reminded myself, however, that the legwarmers commemorate our memorable Calcutta Cup victory in 2021, at Twickenham. We won again, this year, here at home: that’s still to be done. I had been lulling myself into the happy belief that when the legwarmers were finished, I was free of obligation (however self-imposed) and could knit whatever I wanted.


I was interested in your remark about Knitting magazine, Chloe. I have entertained the opposite thought: that their photography isn’t nearly as slick as Vogue’s and that might be why I occasionally knit things from the latter (and often want to), but not from the former. I don’t understand why my subscription to VK has been allowed to lapse. I must rectify that.


Wordle: I didn’t like today’s word. I got it in five, as usual. Three for Mark, four for both Alexander and Ketki. I learned today that Alexander regards it as “cheating” to look at anybody else’s grid before you have solved it yourself. Alexander is rather given to making up rules for life. I often look at others’ grids, if they’ve posted before I have in the morning, and it never does me the slightest good. It would be another matter if I knew their starter words.


We have another political debate this evening,. Maybe I’ll knit!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2022


A day of unconnected events.


I woke up feeling weak and a bit dizzy. Low blood pressure? Why? I’m OK now, I think, but I didn’t do my exercises or walk this morning.


The egg which formed part of my lunch, was double-yoked. I haven’t seen one of them for years.


Christina and Manaba’s black cat has had a litter of black kittens. C. and M. are away at a wedding somewhere in the wilds of Scotland. Where is Hamish? Not with his grandmother C., who has also gone to the wedding. Maybe Hamish has too. The kittens were expected at any moment, so friends have moved in to the house to keep an eye on the cat. I hope to pay a call next week.


Wordle: a toughie, I thought. I scored my usual five. Mark also got five, Alexander and Ketki four, Rachel in London, three. I finally asked what has become of Thomas. The answer is that his telephone can no longer access the app – it’s called Signal – where we all post our results.


The new Knitting magazine is here. I have subscribed, I think, since the first issue, never been even mildly tempted to knit any of their patterns, rarely find the articles very interesting. I should cancel, shouldn’t I? There are hard times coming. I always look at it, though, and always read the back page, “Purl Princess”. This month she writes about the question of what to do with all those stunningly beautiful single skeins one has acquired on one’s travels. Answer: knit a Stephen West shawl – her own one is a great success. And as a parting shot, she recommends Birdstreet Yarn as a source of glorious skeins. I thought they were indeed pretty wonderful.


I haven’t knit anything myself today, but I am advancing on the legwarmers. Can I find all the yarn?

Friday, July 15, 2022


We had some blessed rain this morning. Scotland often feels sorry for itself, with some justification, when England basks in summer sun and we have nothing but cloud and midges. But England – and indeed much of Europe – sounds too hot for comfort just now whereas things are very pleasant here. A dry spring has meant fewer midges than usual, too. Today’s rain has gone and the sun is now shining, gently.


Helen came and we got all the way around the garden with my new walking machine.


I’ve finished the Lilias Day except for blocking. I have seen tidier underarm grafting in my day, but in general I am very pleased with it. Now I’ve got to face back up to those legwarmers. The secret is to keep at it.


I had a message this morning from Misa Hay about the fourth volume of Shetland Wool Adventures, which will be with us soon. It was she who organised and led the woolly trip to Shetland which I went on relatively recently. I have been tempted by previous issues of SWA but have abstained: too expensive. This one I think I’ll go for. Here's the link. The patterns look good and the text looks interesting.


Wordle: My two starter words yielded only one letter, but that one green. I used a Jean-word in line three, which yielded another green and a brown. I set myself to find a possible word for line four – and it was right! Alexander also got four, five for Mark, six for Ketki. So I wasn’t the class dunce today!

Thursday, July 14, 2022


Michaela found the first legwarmer, a great relief. And it was “right around here somewhere” – under another piece of knitting which I wouldn’t have lifted for a long time, had I been searching on my own.


Much of today has been devoted to thinking about my blasted hip. Helen rang the surgery early (no small achievement) and booked a telephone conversation with our doctor. I think I see things slightly more clearly. I’ll go on like this, at least for the summer, working hard on my exercises. I think the dr doesn’t think that I’m a desperately good candidate for surgery. He also thinks that increasing discomfort/pain may made up my mind for me.


I didn’t get out for a walk because I was waiting for the doctor’s call until a few minutes before Michaela left.


Not much knitting. I have finished off the neckband of the Lilias Day and bound off. I’ll finish it tomorrow, and then I’ll probably block it, moved by your comments. KD gives careful instructions, and for one who has blocked large pieces of Shetland lace, the procedure holds no fears.


Wordle: Ketki and I needed five, Mark and Alexander only four. I will have to tighten up my technique again. I used Jean-words in both lines three and four. They were both very useful, but if I’m ever to score better than five I’ll have to start using actual possible answers in those rows.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022


Progress on various fronts. A good day.

 Here is my Lilias Day:

 It lacks but a couple of rounds of twisted rib at the neck, the bind-off, and a bit of finishing including underarm Kitchener-ing. I’ve run out of the basic colour and must therefore wind the last skein, all 100 grams of it. That’ll take a while. Will I then block it? That remains to be seen. I am terribly pleased to have finished a grown-up, serious project. It’s been a long time since that happened, I feel. I started this one in late May, just in time to take to Cramond with me for those two weeks I spent in care. That was late May, so the whole thing has taken less than two months. That’s pretty good, too.


The next job, not attractive, is to finish the Calcutta Cup legwarmers. There’s not far to go. It’s not much fun, doing Fair Isle over so small a circumference. The problem here, however, is that I don’t know where the finished first one is. A general sense of it’s-around-here-somewhere has gradually given way to anxiety. I’ll put Michaela onto it tomorrow. She’s not an absolutely brilliant finder like Daniela, but she’s pretty good.


The project after that will probably be an attempt to confect some sort of Evendoon for Helen, replacing the one her washing machine ate, using the abundant Schiehallion left-overs I seem to have in stash. If some of them have to be augmented, I think that can be done: there are enough colours that the same-coloured stripes aren’t near each other. As long as one doesn’t introduce a new dye lot in mid-stripe, it shouldn’t be obvious (or even detectable).


Wordle: five again for me. Three for Ketki, four for Alexander, five for Mark. Alexander and I suffered from the familiar Wordle problem: we had the word except for the last letter;  there was more than one possibility; we guessed wrong.


Helen came this morning, and I pushed my new machine perhaps a third of the way around the garden: further than I have taken it before.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022


I am grateful for your kind messages yesterday. I feared I had jinxed myself forever by venturing into politics.


Michaela and I got over to the garden this morning with my new walking machine. She observed that animals in this country are very well educated. C. came to see me. She has been staying away lately after being exposed to Covid but has decided that she has now had enough days of testing clear. She is not long back from a week’s holiday in Italy, very much enjoyed. It was in the north – Lake Garda – which is not where my heart lies.

Her daughter Christina, son-in-law Manaba, grandson Hamish are expecting kittens any day now. I am promised a visit.


Wordle: three for both Alexander and Ketki, four for Mark, five for me. Nothing from Thomas again – perhaps he’s losing interest. It was one of those dreadful days when my starter words yielded four browns and I was stuck with anagram-solving. I could not think of a qualifying word – lines three and four were both Jean-words, which couldn’t have been right. However, as often, they yielded useful information, including a green tile for the missing fifth letter.


Knitting: again, not much. I’ve done the final decrease round, however, and was glad to discover that my needle is not too long – it will see me through the final four rounds of colour knitting. Then I will have to go back to my basic needle as far as gauge is concerned, but a shorter one than I was using before (or dps, of course). I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Monday, July 11, 2022


The laptop computer was slower even than usual to boot this evening, although it seems to have pulled itself together in the end. It must be getting on for ten years old. I really begin to wonder if…


Scotland has at last been given a share of the tee-shirt weather which has enveloped the rest of the island for the last fortnight. Michaela and I got out for a walk this morning, but didn’t reach the garden. My leg – the one attached to the faulty hip – wasn’t strong enough. Perhaps it was too soon after my morning exercises. Helen is overwhelmed with house-guests and didn’t come.


Nor did I get as much knitting done as I would have liked. Still, I did some, and the end is nigh.


Wordle: another toughie. I got it in six. Alexander and Ketki both needed five. Four for Mark.


I am not paying much attention to the all-consuming question in British politics, namely: who is to be our next prime minister? My choices would be Michael Gove, who doesn’t seem to be standing; or Rory Stewart, who isn’t even in Parliament since the last election. But I am pleased at the diversity of sexes and races among the actual candidates, and pleased that GB has so far abstained from commenting on the candidates from that point of view, and has also so far shown no inclination towards the American obsession with firstness. (For instance: Condoleeza Rice was the first black woman to be Secretary of State. So what? She wasn’t the first black in the post, nor the first woman, yet she was celebrated for that irrelevant reason. It seems to me to detract something from her merit to speak of her in those terms.) (Similarly Biden’s announcement in advance that he was going to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court. It sounds as if he found a thoroughly worthy candidate, but I disapprove of finding the categories first.)


Oh, dear, will I be shot down in flames?

Sunday, July 10, 2022


It was a worthy final. Djokovic beat the disagreeable Greek but the display of friendliness and good sportsmanship at the end quite made up for negative sentiments one might have harboured towards either. 50 weeks to wait until it happens again. 


And knitting progressed well. I have wound and attached the final colour to the Lilias Day yoke, and should finish the coloured bit, at least, in the next couple of days – barring disaster.


Rachel has sent some lovely pictures of her seven granddaughters – who are also my seven great-granddaughters. I’ll sort through them and show you a couple soon.


Four for Wordle today. Alexander and Ketki both needed five; only three for Mark (and Rachel). I’ve forgotten how Thomas fared. I had four browns again, after my starter words, and this time I gave up and put a Jean-word on line three, omitting one of the brown letters and including a consonant I had already eliminated. As often, that proved a useful move: the three browns I had included all turned green.

Saturday, July 09, 2022


A good day – although, without tennis, it did stretch out a bit. Michaela and I got across to the garden this morning with my new walking machine. That was a real achievement. I was pleased to discover, in the conversation as we walked along, that she and her husband were keenly supporting the Romanian girl tennis player, eliminated in the quarter finals. I would have followed her too, had she progressed further, for Michaela’s and Daniela’s sake.


Knitting has progressed well. There are 11 or 12 rounds of the yoke remaining. The new, slightly larger, needle does help quite a bit, but the experience still isn’t quite the happy one I remember. I think the problem – that word is too heavy. I think the reason is DK yarn, as contrasted with jumper weight.


Wordle: we have a real Wordle special today. My two starter words gave me four brown tiles: effectively, an anagram. I’m no good at anagrams, but I stuck gamely to the principal enunciated yesterday and finally found a qualifying word. My four brown tiles were transformed into four greens – but the fifth letter was wrong. I thought of another possible letter – also wrong. And another – wrong again. I was running out of plausible letters to try by this time, but found one that at least made a pronounceable word and tried that on the sixth line. And it was right.


Alexander and Ketki both got stuck in the same mud, but Alexander guessed right on his third guess and Ketki was able to start guessing on the second line (not third, like me and Alexander): so both of them scored five. Mark’s starter gave him green tiles at the end of the word where the difficulty was, so he was able to score three. We haven’t heard from Thomas yet.


Hbqueen (comment yesterday): I use TRAIN and HOUSE for starters. I think maybe I got them from you. I use HOUSE instead of MOUSE because, if either T or S turn out to be in the target word, it will be useful from the beginning to know if either might be followed by H.

Friday, July 08, 2022

 I was happy with only one semi-final today, in which Djokovic beat the handsome Englishman. The temperamental Greek got a walkover because of the absent Nadal, and will be with us for the final on Sunday. In the olden days they played both the men’s and the women’s final on the same day. Not now: the women’s final is tomorrow, and I can skip it.


The pattern of the Lilias Day yoke is now extremely simple and I got quite a bit of knitting done during the change-of-ends. The penultimate colour has been wound and attached. And I found a one-size-larger needle – just the right length, too – which gives me the ease I was hoping for.

 Wordle: it was a good day on that front, as well. I got it in three. So did Alexander's friend Mark. The others (and Queer Joe, who often posts his results to Facebook) did worse. My two starter words gave me two greens and a brown – all vowels. I struggled valiantly to find a word that used them all and didn’t use any of the already-eliminated consonants. And when I finally found one, it was the answer.

 Helen came, and we walked out with my new machine. I had ambitions to get across to the garden, but didn’t feel strong enough when it came to the point. However, we walked up and down a bit and it was grand to be out. 


Thursday, July 07, 2022


I got out today with my new outdoor walker. It was a wonderful summer’s day, with just that thread of Scottish cool to make it perfect. The walker works wonderfully, and I look forward to extending my range – there wasn’t time for much today.


Knitting continues to move forward. I am getting near the end of the fourth yoke colour, of six. The next decrease round is also approaching. I think when I have done it, and changed colours, I’ll look for a needle half a mm bigger. The knitting is a bit stiff – not enough to spoil the result, but I wonder if stiffness is why I don’t quite feel I am achieving the blissful colour knitting experience of yore. Maybe that only happens with  Shetland jumper weight.


Today was women’s semi-final day at Wimbledon. I gave myself the day off, since I am not interested in the fates of any of the four women involved. Tomorrow is men’s semi-final day so if you don’t hear from me, you’ll know why. Nadal isn’t feeling very well. If he is going to withdraw, it’s a pity he didn’t do it in the fifth set yesterday, rather than depriving us of a semi-final. The two players who aren’t either Nadal or Djokovic are a) a pleasant-looking Englishmen, designer stubble and all and b) a villainous Greek who seems however to be an Australian. I've forgotten who's playing whom but it'll be entertaining either way, and then the Nadal-Djokovic final should be riveting -- if Nadal is there.


British politics have become remarkably interesting but I don’t think I have anything to contribute to the conversation.


I was the class dunce in Wordle again today: I scored five, Ketki had four, Thomas and Alexander and Rachel in London, three each. I am trying to discipline myself to make every entry, after my two starter words, a possible answer: that is, a word which makes use of all the information already gathered. It’s often remarkably difficult. Today, for example, my starters gave me two green tiles, both of them vowels. It was a titanic struggle to think of any word that would fit, using only letters that hadn’t yet been eliminated. And it wasn’t right, and neither was my fourth line.

Wednesday, July 06, 2022


Sorry about that. Blame Wimbledon. I’ve just watched Nadal win a five-set thriller. Yesterday Djokovic did the same. That sort of thing cuts badly into knitting-time and blogging-time.


Knitting, however, moves forward well. I’ve found the needle gauge and moved the stitches onto a slightly shorter needle. That helps a bit. Since the decrease round, the pattern has become so simple as to be almost difficult.


Wordle: I failed again yesterday. Got it in five today. The interesting thing about today’s word is that Alexander, Ketki, Thomas and I all got it without a single brown tile. Mark spoiled the group symmetry a bit by having two.


Helen is safely back for the moment. She had a good, hard-working time, I think, teaching mosaic-making on Mt Pelion. There were three couples from Texas in her class, Texan as all get out, enthusiastic Trump supporters. She found them delightful. Life is full of similar surprises. Lisa, she was delighted with the postcard, and more than a bit envious that you managed to see the Unswept Floor in the Vatican museum. It is a favourite of hers; she has made an adaptation of it. But she has never managed to see the original.


A physiotherapist brought me an outdoor walker today. I hope to take it for a spin tomorrow. Current thinking on the hip is that I will press forward enthusiastically with exercising, and wait for my NHS referral to orthopaedics to come up with an appointment. I would probably have to wait quite a while for an actual hip operation, but the hope is that orthopaedic advice may come fairly soon.

Monday, July 04, 2022


It’s frustrating not getting out in this perfectly reasonable weather, but otherwise all is well. I’ve done the first decrease round in the yoke of the Lilias Day, and most of the next round. I can’t find my needle gauge – in my experience, it’s the Knitting Accessory Most Likely Not to Be There When Wanted – and so, although I sit there festooned with circular needles, I hesitate to go down a size length-wise.


Mary Lou, I was sorry to hear about your lost ball of yarn, and interested to hear about the striped linen tee-shirt. (Comment, Saturday) I love stripes. I have been rather impressed lately with the quantity of Kate Davies’ Schiehallion there seems to be in my stash cupboard. And Lilias Day will contribute more – the kit I bought contains ordinary 50-gram skeins for each of the yoke colours, far more than needed. Maybe I could make up an Evendoon of my own, to replace the one Helen put in the washing machine. I suspect a winning stripe design is not as easy as it looks. I hope your tee-shirt is going into your Ravelry shop in due course.


Wordle: I failed again. It is one of those Wordle specials – I had four greens, middle square empty, but there were too many possibilities and I chose the wrong ones.  Ketki failed too – that never happens -- with a very similar scenario except that in her case it was the second square that was empty. What a versatile word!


My NHS physiotherapist rang up. She is going to come around on Wednesday to deliver the outdoor walking frame, with seat for resting on and container for my sausages. I told her I would be grateful for some conversation about the future. The more I hear about arthritis, the odder it seems to choose hip replacement when I’m not in much pain. I can’t walk because I can’t trust the leg to support me, but maybe that’s a different matter. We’ll talk about it when she comes on Wednesday.

Sunday, July 03, 2022


Little to report. Archie came to see me. We don’t even attempt walking these days. I did my exercises vigorously, however. Helen will be back in Edinburgh late tomorrow, air transport permitting; C. on Tuesday.


I also knit vigorously. I’ve set myself to get around the yoke of the Lilias Day three times daily – it’s a long way around. I’ve now done 18 rounds, and the significance of that is that round 20 is the first decrease round, and decreases are severe – four stitches lost in every pattern repeat, and I think there are 14 repeats in all. So that will be exciting and maybe I can do more than three circuits thereafter.


Wordle: I struggled, as usual. Got it in five. Everybody else in my little group did better, but at least I didn’t fail.


I hope you Americans are all enjoying your holiday weekend and eating plenty of corn on the cob. Goodness, I do miss that.

Saturday, July 02, 2022


Not much to report, but I’m inching forward with the knitting. There’s a Wimbledon match on this evening which should do nicely for background noise as I get once more around that yoke: that will finish the second colour, and send me to bed with the feeling of something accomplished. The next colour includes the first decrease round for the yoke, although not at once. If I keep at it, I’ll get there.


I had a nice time talking to my sister on Zoom. She thinks it very likely that industrious physiotherapy could restore my hip to a degree of usefulness which would render unnecessary the expense, pain, and recuperation time required by surgery. Let alone, the question of who is going to look after the cats. Where am I to turn?


Wordle: I failed again today. That happens too often. I need to lift my game. Mary Lou, when I write about Wordle (as I did just then) I am referring to the current one. Since I post in the early evening, that means even British-based readers still have time to do it. East Coast American readers are only now having lunch, and anyone further west has even more time to get around to Wordle-doing. I hope I have never said anything to provide a clue.

Friday, July 01, 2022


I feel that my inability to walk is getting in the way of having anything to say to you, but that’s probably not true. I will visit my sister by zoom tomorrow and we will no doubt talk about hips. Archie is coming on Sunday. And my support team will begin to reappear next week – Helen from Greece, C. from Italy, air transport allowing. 


I knit slowly but steadily on. The first round of yoke decreases appears in the colour section after the one I am doing – a great incentive.


If I am going to impoverish myself and risk my life under the surgeon’s knife, I will need some easy knitting, as the body and sleeves of Lilias Day proved splendidly to be in my care home. Helen used to have a colourful Evendoon (Kate Davies again) until it committed suicide in a washing machine. She regretted its passing – maybe she’d like another.


Wordle: an American-ate word again today. My third line was a complete anagram – that is, I had all five letters, but in the wrong order. I don’t remember that that has ever happened to me before. I got it on the next line. Everybody else in my group (and also Rachel in London) scored four as well. We haven’t heard from Mark yet. I noticed that Thomas also had a complete anagram, a completely different word from mine, and I think I know what it was but I can’t congratulate him on it until we hear from Mark.


Tennis continues entertaining. Mostly today I have been watching Djokovic shredding a fellow-Serb. He did it so briskly that the late match should afford me some watching before my bedtime. I didn't get to see any of Coco Gauff's match yesterday evening because it was too late for me, but I'm happy to report that she won.