Friday, September 30, 2022


No walk. It was rainy and a bit wild this morning. Better now, but I’m really not fit for walking in the afternoon. And anyway, no one's here. I can't get myself and a walking machin down the steps without help.


The knitting has progressed well. Too well – my starter marker fell out and I was nearly a quarter of the way around repeating what I had just done,  before I noticed. Careful tinking and restoration and all is more or less well. It was easier to unkick and restore that cable panels than the Calcutta Cup ones. The westknit MKAL starts next week (Wed or Thur). Great excitement. I must get the Calcutta Cup band done before that happens. Should be easy, barring disaster.


I think you’re probably right about the meaning of “wool room”, Tamar (query and comment yesterday). An 18th century house was a village in itself; it’s reasonable to suppose that they would have cleaned, spun and woven wool in-house. And that the family would have gone on referring to the “wool room” long after the actual space was used for storing canned beans.


Wordle: A remarkable uniformity today. Almost all of us (including me) scored three. The exceptions were the two most recent arrivals – Theo and Granddaughter Rachel. He nailed it in two, she needed four.


Thursday, September 29, 2022


Today started grey and dark, but morphed into a beautiful September day, remarkably warm. Daniela and I got all the way around the garden. Despite that feat (or because of it) I had unusual difficulty getting up the six steps from the pavement to my door when we got back. I think my hip is getting slowly worse.


However, mercifully, that doesn’t affect knitting. Lying in bed this morning – a good time, I find, for applying the mind to life’s problems – I thought maybe intarsia was the answer. I have tried it – semi-intarsia, anyway: I continue to carry the main colour across the back of the Calcutta Cup motifs. And it’s working a treat. The cable patterns are vastly easier when I don’t have to worry about carrying the Calcutta Cup colour along. Your idea of duplicate stitch is excellent, Mary Lou, and, as I don’t think I’ve ever done it, it would have the advantage of adding a new craft to my repertoire. We’ll see how things go. There’s still quite a bit of the Calcutta Cup panel.


A priest came to see me yesterday, a new acquaintance. I have been drawn into a web of holiness lately. He comes from the Borders which is a hotbed of Scottish rugby and thus was able to talk about my knitting with enthusiasm and interest. “What did you do in 2019 when the result was a draw?” (Ans: knit half the cup into a scarf for Grandson Thomas Mile.)


I am intermittently reading Elizabeth Bowen’s “Bowen’s Court” about her family house in rural Ireland. “Intermittently” because I have temporarily abandoned it for the new Kate Atkinson, “Shrines of Gaiety”. What a strange and interesting writer she is! But my question today concerns Bowen. Describing the offices below-stairs she says, “Off the axis passage are the kitchen and larder, the wool room, the game room, the servants’ hall, the laundry, the wine and the coal cellars.” What is a wool room? Google is useless here.


Wordle: Almost everybody did it in four today, my favourite score. The exceptions were Thomas, three; and Rachel and Theo, five. My statistics today show 71 fours and 73 fives. I’m working at it!



Wednesday, September 28, 2022


I’m sorry for the gap. James’ and Cathy’s daughter Rachel was here for a visit, recovering from having completed her M.A. We had a nice time. She is of the generation that falls between stools – living at home rent-free in exchange for doing the family cooking (a good deal on both sides, I suspect), hoping for a job connected with Chinese art and meanwhile working in a London gallery. Her Chinese is fluent due to having grown up in Beijing.


I have embarked on the business end of Fergus’ Calcutta Cup sweater, and am wondering if I have bitten off too much. I am locating the cup and the date in the st st panels between the cable panels, and it means tbat there is an awful lot going on at once, including carrying the Calcutta Cup yarn behind while cabling. The first round seemed to take hours. The cable panel starts with a symbol identified on the page as CRP (or something like that). The inside back cover identifies that as Cable Left Purl, and the instructions for actually doing a Cable Left Purl are on yet another page. I’m getting the hang of it, but it’s slow. The st st panels have involved a lot of counting and I will just have to hope that the Cup is more or less centred in each. I hope I’ll be strong enough to finish the second round before I go to bed.


Wordle: Mary Lou, I don’t have an Ask Word Bot button with my scores. Perhaps you subscribe to the NYT and that’s a subscribers’ bonus? I was the dunce today – six.  Rachel got two; Ketki and Alexander and Mark, three; four for Thomas and Theo.

Sunday, September 25, 2022


Helen is safely home. She has been teaching mosaic-making on Mount Pelion, and will be teaching it again here in Edinburgh tomorrow and Tuesday. She popped in after getting the studio set up for action, looking – not unsurprisingly – rather drawn. I hope she’s tucked up in bed by now. Greece is two hours later than we are.


C. came this morning. We didn’t walk, due to my feebleness. I have been busy arranging various aspects of the last week of November, when my sister and her husband and a friend will be here. The friend has had to be lodged elsewhere, alas. We will all – including the friend’s temporary landlord – go out for a non-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving on the Thursday of that week.


I knit a bit. I am going to have to grit my teeth and face up to the fact that I can’t knit and read while there is so much attention to be paid.


Wordle: I scored my much-desired four. When C. was here this morning, she let slip the identity of the final letter and I ought to be embarrassed to say that I was delighted. I had it as a brown, and knew that it had to be in one of two positions. And furthermore, while we’re talking about indiscretions, here’s one for you: my third line was BATIK. It was a perfectly valid guess, although thoroughly wrong. I was proud of myself for knowing (vaguely) what it meant, and I hope the NYT was impressed. Four was today’s popular score: Ketki, Alexander, Rachel, Thomas. Theo needed six. Nothing from Mark. One of the great things about this little game is that almost everybody wins.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

 It has been a glorious September day. C. came and we walked all the way around the garden, if only because it would have been a waste of the day’s glory to stop. The radio says this weather won’t last.


Helen will be home from Greece tomorrow, although she is teaching mosaic-making on Monday and Tuesday so I won’t see her for a while.


I knit solidly on with Fergus’ sweater, although I didn’t accomplish very much. There are two broad cabled bands up the sides of the front, over the shoulders, and on down the backs. Between them are the four panels – broad at the front and back, narrow under the arms – in which I plan to locate the Calcutta Cup and the date. I got as far as counting the stitches in each.


I had an exciting few moments this morning when Daniela rang up to say that she couldn’t come because her small son was ill, and a scammer was ringing at the same time to say that my email had been infiltrated, and both land line and telefonino were affected. One day one of those scams will be genuine and then I’ll feel foolish. Or perhaps not.


Wordle: today it was I who fell into the Wordle trap of guessing the first letter wrong.  I thought I was set for a three, and wound up with a miserable five after two wrong guesses. Three for Mark (today’s star), four for Thomas and Rachel, five (like me) for Alexander and Ketki, six for Theo.

Friday, September 23, 2022


A grey day. I didn’t go out. The big news is that VK came – how and why did I ever let it lapse? I’m glad to see that Meg is still there, and Norah Gaughan still at the helm.


I’ve started Fergus’ sweater. Progress is slow, so far. First of all, casting on 256 stitches involves a fair amount of counting. Next, it turns out that the ribbing is not entirely straightforward. There are occasional bands of four stitches amidst the k2, p2 ribbing. That requires very close attention and anxious counting. From there on, for a while, you just knit the knits and purl the purls. But even that requires fairly close attention, especially for the first round. All that is done, and the next round. I’m just making excuses for not having accomplished more.


Normally, when I knit a Calcutta Cup sweater – who would have thought I would ever write those words, in the desolate Noughties? – normally, I simply abandon the sweater pattern above the ribbing, and knit a Calcutta Cup band. This time, after today’s struggle, I think it might be better to fit the cup and the date neatly between the cable patterns which have been so elaborately prepared with those four-stitch bands. That would involve developing the cables as per the pattern, even while the cup and date are being inserted between. We’ll see – and indeed we’ll have to see fairly soon.

An example from long ago.

 Wordle: an honest word today. No complaints. But I didn’t do very well. TWO for Alexander; three for Rachel, Ketki, and Mark; four for Theo; five for me; six for Thomas, who got stuck without a first letter and guessed wrong twice. I used Jean-words in lines three and four and they eventually, as often, guided me to the answer.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

 Fergus’ yarn is here, and of course the cider from Amazon. Whether one approves of Amazon or not, they do deliver. VK remains outstanding.


The yarn is beautiful. I finished the current random-Shetland stripe and laid it aside. I wound the first ball of Fergus’ yarn and got quite a long way with the cast on – 256 stitches needed – before Amazon rang the doorbell. Since then I’ve been sitting around happily, or napping, or suppering. I didn’t feel entirely well this morning, and it was raining. No walk.


Thank you very much for yesterday’s comment, Anonymous. I think I’ll probably buy KD’s new book. Having a pattern in a nice book is a different level of pleasure from having a pattern on-line even if one can persuade one’s printer to print it out.


Wordle: my two starter words gave me five browns this morning. Nothing to do but solve the anagram. Believe it or not, I thought of two separate solutions – but both were Jean-words, in that some of the browns remained in their original positions, which is not allowed. If that had been the right position, they would have been green. Then I thought of another possible solution to the anagram, everybody in different positions, and it was right. So I scored three.


Anonymous, your experience was very like Mark’s: he had the last four letters as greens, and guessed wrong twice. His final score was five. Rachel was also five, but she came at it with the first two letters green. Theo, likewise, scored five, but his missing letter was in the second position and he only guessed wrong once. Ketki and Thomas scored three like me, Alexander had four. I think that’s everybody.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


Nothing arrived today – all the more anticipation for tomorrow. I did get an email from Amazon to confirm that cider and cat litter are on the way.


It was a glorious September day. Daniela and I got all the way around the garden – gratifying, after a series of non-walking days. And I knit a few more Shetland stripes. And re-located Kate Davies’ Argyle Coast book, in which Fergus’ pattern appears. That book tends to come and go, like a lot of things around here. It’s now in a secure place.


Her new book, Sark, is now available. It’s all about travelling stitches, which I adore. A wonderful sweater and cardigan (two separate patterns) are included, but it looks as if the rest of the book is accessories and Tom’s photography. That makes it expensive for the two patterns I’d quite like. On the other hand, the accessories (wrap, hat, cowl, slippers) are nice too in their way. I’ll think about it.


Wordle: I scored five again. I was the class dunce today. My starters gave me three browns. By means of heroic mental effort I entered a qualifying word in line three. It left me with the same three browns, although indeed with a bit more information. Heroic mental effort refused to yield another, so I gave up and entered a Jean-word in line four. It worked a treat; I now had four letters in position (three greens and a brown which couldn’t be where it was and so had to be in the empty position. Thomas scored two, Mark and Ketki three, Rachel and Theo and Alexander four.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022


Much anticipatory excitement: Kate Davies has shipped Fergus’ Calcutta Cup yarn. Unique Magazines has dispatched my newly-reconnected first issue of Designer Knitting (which =’s VK for some mysterious publishing reason). AND my monthly delivery of a week’s cider is due from Amazon on Thursday.


Today itself was pretty quiet. Daniela came back. The house really needed her after 48 hours away. (Normally she comes for two hour six days a week. This time she had the normal Sunday off, followed by the royal funeral yesterday.) She administered my weekly bath. I didn’t attempt a walk, as hair was still damp.


I pressed on with Shetland stripes. I’ve done about nine inches, of a desired fifteen to the underarm. I’m knitting random stripes from yarn bought at Uradale Farm when I was on my Shetland Wool Adventure whenever that was. 2019, maybe. In the Dathan hap, which I’ve knit twice, both the colours and the width of the stipes are random, but that involves a surprising amount of nervous strain so here I’m making all the stripes three circuits wide. That leaves me only the random colours to worry about, which is bad enough.


Here is a picture from my happy visit to Roslyn last Saturday. Left to right: me, Manaba, one of the kittens, Manaba’s son Hamish, C. It’s a shame my walker occupies so much of the foreground. Imagine it absent.


Wordle: another five for me (blast!) again involving a wrong guess when I had four greens. Assuming there are only two possible words with that configuration, four others in my little group made the same mistake, with different results depending on how long it took them to reach the four greens. Theo was worst with six. Thomas (who now logs in from Birmingham University) shared my five. Rachel and Alexander got four, Ketki and Mark three.



Monday, September 19, 2022


I’m exhausted after watching only some of the royal funeral on television. What must it be like this evening for the actual royals? It was all awfully well choreographed. I think my only other comment would be that Carrie Johnson’s black dress revealed a little too much bosom for my taste.


Archie came to see me, and put the rubbish out for tomorrow: an important job done. He says that people his age are totally indifferent to the royal family.


I knit resolutely on during it all, but the random-stripe Shetland has rather fine yarn and lots of stitches, so I didn’t make all that much progress, measured in inches. Coofle would have been no better.


Comments yesterday: That’s a good idea, KirstenM, to have a box with notes for the people who will clear out your house when you are dead or otherwise incapacitated. They all know where to find my will, and that some of the books in the Glass Fronted Bookcase are valuable. More, however – those with titles like “Soccer for the American Boy” – are there only because written by a family member.


Wordle: When you click “Share” on the screen that comes up when you finish the game, and then paste the result somewhere as I do every day for my little group, the grid comes across headlined with its number – useful to ensure that you are all talking about the same thing – and your score in numbers. There are no letters in the grid, of course.


I scored a maddening five today. After my two starter words, I had four lovely greens, but I could think of three possible letters for that empty fifth slot, and I guessed wrong twice. Rachel had the same configuration, and failed altogether. Four for Alexander and Ketki, three for Thomas, a dazzling two for Mark. Theo in DC got five, like me. He has taken to posting a result at about the same time as we do, 8-9 a.m. British Summer Time, or a bit earlier. Is he staying up until the small hours? Or getting up unconscionably early?

Sunday, September 18, 2022


Inspired by your comment, Tamar, I redoubled my search, and I have found the missing Knitter’s’s. I haven’t looked at the Adult Surprise in Issue 60 yet. I don’t need that, anyway, because I’ve got Cully’s book, The Complete Surprise. (It’s here somewhere, at any rate, if I could just put my hands on it.) Nancy Thomas was editor in those days. Knitter’s was never better. It’s sad to think that when my unfortunate children come to clear out this house, they’ll throw away valuable knitting magazines with abandon.


I have been all alone today, therefore no walk. I need someone to get my walking aid up and down the steps, before I can strike out on my own. Archie will come tomorrow, when the whole country shuts down for the royal funeral. I have given Daniella the day off; the least I could do. I enjoy my own company, and can still totter about the kitchen sufficiently to cook simple things. KirstenM (comment April 6) I made your Sausage Supper for my lunch today, and it was delicious. But it must be tough on old folks at my stage of feebleness who see no one at all from week’s end to week’s end.


I gather there is some feeling in the US, spearheaded by the NYT, that the Queen must be held responsible for all the evils of imperialism. Today’s news here, in the interstices of funeral news, is of serious riots in Leicester between Hindus and Muslims. The subcontinental communities are large and well-established there (we used to live in Leicester, before Birmingham), dating back to the days when citizens of the Commonwealth had free access. The trouble this time started with a cricket match some days ago between India and Pakistan. The Empire is certainly responsible for the world-wide dissemination of cricket.


I went on with the random-striped Shetland sweater, to celebrate finding those Knitter’s’s. I'm prepared to fling it aside again as soon as the yarn from Fergus' Calcutta Cup sweater turns up. And I’ve found the Coofle pattern in my Ravelry library.


Wordle: I am totally mystified by your comment yesterday, RedH, that you have different words. The time difference creates some confusion, since the new word comes up, I believe, at midnight Your Time which is not necessarily mine. Don’t the numbers keep it straight? We did 456 today, and it’s still current. My nephew Theo in DC has joined our little group, and he seems to have the same words as we do. There was a bit of discussion amongst us all about PARER the other day. That is interesting, Diasporette, about its being used for a pencil sharpener (comment yesterday).


We were strung out along the track today: Ketki 2, Rachel 3, me and Alexander 4, Thomas 5. Silence from Mark, which is very unusual. Theo also scored two.

Saturday, September 17, 2022


C. and I met Kathy of Kathy’s Knits this morning as we were setting out on our adventure. She said she had had a tour group in yesterday (Friday the l6th) and that two of its members had asked after me – but she didn’t know who you were. So I want to know:

         a) Who were you?

         b) What was the nature of the tour?

         c) Did you go on to the Ginger Twist Studio, not far away? (Or had you just been there?)


Kathy’s speciality is British yarns. The excitement of Ginger Twist (a very small shop) is Ginger’s own yarn colours.


Then C. and I went to Roslyn where we had a wonderful time. Quinn is nearly four weeks old and a very bonny baby. His parents seem to be bearing up pretty well considering, and so is his brother Hamish. There are two kittens left, eight weeks old I think someone said, leaving for their new hones next week. They are bonny too.


Knitting: not much done. The main problem is finding patterns. At the worst, I could buy them again -- Coofle and Macchu Picchu are both missing. The severe-est loss, however, is four consecutive issues of Knitter’s Magazine containing Meg’s expansion and elucidation of the EPS. I’ve got the original EPS in one of her books somewhere. And I’ve got a page of my own notes and numbers (largely unintelligible) from a recent knitting of it. But where are those magazines?


Wordle: We’re all back in the saddle today. Three for me, Rachel, Alexander, and Mark. Four for Thomas. Two for Rachel.


Yesterday’s unsatisfactory word was PARER. If it means “paring knife”, that is the term which would be far more commonly used in this country. Not that American solvers seemed any happier with it than we over here were.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Life begins to reassume some of its normal dimensions, such as worrying about how much it is going to cost to keep warm in this rapidly-approaching winter. I didn’t walk today – Daniela came late and couldn’t stay long, because of a dentist’s appt. Tomorrow I am going on an adventure.  C. will take me to Roslyn to see the two remaining kittens – now seven seeks old, perhaps – and to meet Quinn who hadn’t yet been born when I was last there.


I hope when all this is over next Monday, the media can relax and start referring to the “King” and the “Queen” instead of, as now, the constant “King Charles III” and “Queen Consort”.


Here is the Evendoon, still very slightly damp:


Daniella figured out that if you fold the sleeves across the chest, you can fold the towel across the sweater and protect it from the cat. Daniela is good at figuring things out.


I’ve heard from Fergus (who is currently in Egypt). He expresses a slight preference for the green which you can see here, but defers to my decision. I have ordered the red, called “Rhubarb”. I think the green is boring. I think the sweater is greatly improved by being lengthened, which involved knitting the ribbing in Rhubarb to keep the stripe sequence right. The ribbing was previously green. (Top-down, remember.) There’s nothing like a compromise which ends up with one doing what one wants.


Today I knit some Coofle and also some of the random-Shetland-stripes. Crochet66 (comment yesterday). You’re right, I’ve got the Mooch kit, and, what’s more, I know exactly where it is. I am reluctant to start it since I am so soon to start two things, Fergus’ sweater and the MKAL, and have so many UFO’s drifting about. Daniela can be relied upon never to throw anything away, and she’s brilliant at finding things I have mislaid, but I think there has been some random tidying.


Wordle: Major distress about today’s word. Somebody found something on Twitter saying that fewer than 50% got it, whereas the usual success rate is above 90%. Rachel and I got it in six; Alexander, Ketki and Mark all failed (unheard of!); Thomas miraculously scored four. I am glad not to have broken my winning streak, and not to have affected the competition between my Fours and my Fives (see yesterday). I’ll be interested to hear what you think of the word, once midnight passes and it’s OK to discuss it.

Thursday, September 15, 2022


The Evendoon is finished – and I mean finished-finished. Blocked and laid out to dry on the spare room bed. I secured the extra circumference I wanted without difficulty, and since I’ve spent the last few days lengthening it, that dimension shouldn’t be too adversely affected. We won’t know for sure until Helen gets back from Greece. In the old days, when Perdita and I were younger than we are now, she used to pull pins out of severely blocked Shetland lace as I was putting them in, and I was terrified that she would try to eat one. So I have blocked the Evendoon without pinning it. (The spare room is now Perdita’s room, where she can get away from That Dreadful Cat; I couldn’t possibly shut her out.) Without pins, will the wool contract as it dries?


I am left with nothing to do – nothing, anyway, that I much want to knit. Finish those socks for Ketki. Find the Machu Picchu. KD’s Coofle doesn’t even seem to have made it to the sidebar. I started it on our first cruise last year, finished the initial corrugated rib (no small achievement) and a couple of plain-vanilla inches beyond. The trouble with that is that it’s Millarochy Tweed (KD again) and I don’t really like knitting with it all that much. It doesn’t flow through the fingers in a very satisfactory way. I hope I’ll hear from Fergus soon about what he wants for his Calcutta Cup sweater. And I’m keenly looking forward to my Westknits MKAL. But both of those are in the future. What about tonight and tomorrow?


It's an unusual situation for me. Usually when I finish something, the next project is there and crying out to be cast on.


We had a lovely autumn day. Daniela and I didn’t get very far into the garden, but at least we tried. Archie looked in briefly – he is all alone with the dog until Helen gets back from Greece at the end of next week.


Wordle: Four for me and Thomas and Rachel. Four is my favourite score; it’s better than three, even, because I want my fours total to be better than my fives. It’s currently within two – 66 to 68. Alexander and Ketki got it in three. Mark is today’s star with two.






Wednesday, September 14, 2022


Helen has gone to Greece, to teach a mosaic course on the slopes of Mt Pelion. Ten days. She will be much missed. She was here this morning, and we got all the way around the garden. It was the perfection of an early autumn day. She was dreading the Greek heat.


I watched more royal funeral while knitting. This time it was the procession from Buckingham Palace to the lying-in-state in Westminster Hall. Just what we had on Monday in Edinburgh, from Holyrood to St Giles’s, but it felt very different. I wonder if Prince Harry regrets his decision, seeing English pageantry at full stretch like that, pageantry that he was once a part of. Maybe he just feels glad to have got away from it. There were brief glimpses of Meghan, looking subdued. The whole thing teetered dangerously on the edge of Gilbert and Sullivan from time to time, but always managed to save itself.


I got stitches picked up for the neckband of the new Evendoon. It took a while – there were no nice selvedges to knit into and KD gives only an overall stitch total. But I hit it, and am moving forward. Three or four more rounds to do. Then loose ends, then blocking – we mustn’t get too excited.


I have written to Fergus about choosing yarn for his Calcutta Cup sweater. I hope he’ll go for KD’S Schiehallion in “Rhubarb”. It’s a nice, gentle red, and I particularly like knitting something red in the darkest part of the year.


Wordle: For the second day running, everybody did it in four except for Thomas. But this time, Thomas needed five. Alexander, Rachel, Thomas and I all had four greens and guessed wrong, the missing letter being in the middle. I think our wrong-guesses must have been the same word. Having guessed wrong, I was very hard put to think of any other possible word. The interesting thing is that the first two letters are pronounced somewhat differently depending on which middle letter you decide on. What a dreadful language English must be to learn!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022


The Queen’s coffin should be gone by now. Now the fun starts in London.


It’s hard not to feel sorry for the team in charge of arrangements for the funeral next Monday. Everybody is meant to come by public transport and to get to the Abbey on Monday by bus. Special busses, of course. They don’t have to take the No. 11. Biden has been exempted from these suggestions. It will be interesting to see whether he can restrain himself to the extent of bringing only one bullet-proof limo. That would be to travel very light, for him. He often has half a dozen or more. Yesterday the papers said he was wondering whether to bring Mr Trump along. (Or maybe it was just journalists wondering whether he was wondering.) Now it turns out that even Mr Biden doesn’t have another invitation at his disposal. Multiply these problems by however many world leaders there are in the world.


I was glad – and slightly surprised – to see the King doing one of his public hand-shaking sessions in Belfast.


Knitting progresses, although slowly. I’ve cast off the bottom of the Evendoon for the second time, and must now address the neck.


My iPad has been behaving oddly today – I hope it’s not planning to die on me. Two or three times, the screen suddenly went blank, as if I had been asking it to reboot when I had only been quietly reading my book. I wasn’t even being pestered by a cat. I’m reading (for the second time) Kate Atkinson’s “Life After Life”. Do read it, if you never have. Or even if, like me, you’ve been there once already.


Wordle: A remarkably uniform day. We all scored four (Mark, Rachel, me, Alexander, Ketki) except for Thomas, who got it in three.

Monday, September 12, 2022

 Helen and Archie got to the Royal Mile to watch the procession. She and I agreed this morning that the crowds were too much, but she phoned at about one to say that she had a place and Archie (who was here) should join her. Her studio (where she makes mosaics) is just around the corner from Holyrood – she must have popped out at lunchtime to see if there was any hope.


The King must be getting tired. Emotion on this scale is exhausting enough in itself, and he is packing in a lot of extra meetings and ceremonies in addition to the strictly funeral-related ones. 


It has been a nice day again. Daniella and I got about 3/4s of the way around the garden. Yesterday, I attempted it with a stick, with C. I would be much more mobile if I could recover the ability to walk with a stick. I had it in May, when I went into my care home. I didn’t get terribly far in the garden yesterday, but I did it and got home safely. I hesitate to practice stick-walking when I am alone in the house.


I knit successfully on while watching the procession on television. I’m ready to bind off the body ribbing.


The Stephen West MKAL seems to be everywhere, among the websites I patronise – independent dyers putting together their own five-skein packages, West himself putting out teaser videos. So exciting!


Oberlin: Gibson’s victory in court has had substantial publicity here, with full-sized articles in both the Times and the Telegraph. I’ve also heard from the Oberlin Review, which I used to edit. See Rebecca’s comment of September 8. I also used to be a waitress at the Oberlin Inn, although that is to claim too much glory for myself. I was a “hostess” whose humble task was to pour water, hand out menus, and clear tables. I could take desert orders, too. For all that, when tips were added up and portioned out, I got a half-share. Real waiters and waitresses got a full share. It was fairly hard work. It never dawned on me that Oberlin’s “dryness” was a drag on profits, but of course it was.


I remember (alas, too vaguely) the New Yorker article you mention, Rebecca. If it wasn’t about Gibson’s, what was it about?


Wordle: Nobody shone today. Thomas and his father Alexander were best, with four. All the rest of us – Mark, Rachel, Ketki, and I – needed five. Of the word (spoiler alert) Alexander remarked, “There’s a word of which I never thought I would disapprove”.

Sunday, September 11, 2022


If there’s one memory in my life which in any way resembles what is happening now, it would be the death of President Kennedy. A real-world event, out there in the realm of television and reporters, and of interest to the entire world, but at the same time an event that shakes one as if it had happened within one’s own family.


I have been watching the progress of the royal hearse from Balmoral for much of the afternoon (while knitting). The crowds are substantial in the country, huge in Edinburgh – and for tomorrow’s short procession we will have the King walking along behind, and perhaps other royals. I haven’t a hope of getting there. I even tried googling in the hopes of finding out whether there was any provision for the disabled. I gather not.


There was a touching bit in the progress of the hearse, somewhere near Balmoral, where 18 or 20 farmers had got together and lined their tractors up in a salute, on both sides of the road.


There seems to be a link among yesterday’s comments to my own small contribution. I am too embarrassed to test it – but thank you.


The knitting progresses well, but ribbing is slow. I’m doing the 9th of 13 rounds. Finish tomorrow? (This is final ribbing at the bottom of the top-down Evendoon, for the second time because length has been added. Neck ribbing remains to be done.)


The subject of Gibson’s Bakery and Oberlin College rather got knocked on the head by Thursday’s events, but I mean to return to it.


Wordle: Four for me and Alexander and Ketki today, five for Mark. Thomas was the star, with three. I particularly like scoring four. In the early days, when my use of Jean-words was much more liberal than it is now, I established five as my commonest result. My ambition now is to see the “four” line longer. We’re pretty close – 63 to 67.





Saturday, September 10, 2022


We had an adventure today. Helen and David and I went to Holyrood.


I haven’t done any knitting. Maybe later. What I have done is wind another skein for the MKAL. I ready for the off.


It took me a full hour this morning. There was a bit of tangle trouble. Has anyone written a PhD thesis yet explaining how, with both ends secure, yarn can get itself into so much trouble? Still, the winding is done.


The package consisted of five skeins, two each of the two main colours and one accent colour. I am showing you the unwound skeins of the main colours, because they show up better that way. I am pleased with all three. The two main colours aren’t quite solid.


So: we went to Holyrood this morning. There was a modest-sized crowd and lots of flowers. I got interviewed by Independent Television and Helen says I talked sensibly. I didn’t think to worry until afterwards about my wholly un-Edinburgh accent. I did worry about whether I had spinach on my teeth, as we had come straight from breakfast which is always, in my case, wilted spinach with a poached egg. This doesn’t mean they’ll use the interview on television, by any means.


Then we got to watch a rehearsal for – apparently – the arrival of the coffin tomorrow afternoon. Lots of kilted soldiers and a brass band wearing trousers. There was a professional tour guide in our little group. He said that Elizabeth II was the first monarch since James V to die in Scotland. (Fotheringhay Castle where Mary QofS was executed is in England somewhere.) He wondered if they would put the Honours of Scotland (=crown jewels) on the coffin when it was lying in state in the cathedral. (That happens on Monday.) I have since learned that he was right about that. I think we might try to take up a position on the Royal Mile on Monday to see the coffin and the King and Queen go past on their way to the cathedral.


Wordle: It was a bit tricky today. Three for Alexander, four for Mark and Ketki, five for me and Rachel, six for Thomas. Rachel and Mark and I all had the same configuration: greens in positions 2, 4, and 5. Rachel and I guessed wrong twice, Mark only once.  

Friday, September 09, 2022

 The weather has gone into mourning for Her Majesty. (That’s called the Pathetic Fallacy.) Daniela and I got across to the garden this morning, but not very far past the gate.


I have added a broad stripe and a narrow one to the body of the Evendoon, and am about to embark on the terminal ribbing for the second time. However, the big knitting news is the arrival yesterday (yesterday?) of the package from Amsterdam. There are five skeins – two each of the two main colours, and a single skein of contrast. I promptly wound one. C. and I did another this morning. I hope to do a third tomorrow. I feared there was a real danger that Cast-On Day would arrive and catch me with the winding undone. These skeins are lengthy. Photograph soon – I’m very happy with the colours.


Royal Thoughts: I had been so looking forward to Tuesday’s hand-kissing (as one Prime Minister departed, and another was installed) as a fresh, recent photograph of the Queen was bound to be involved. And so it was, the last we will ever see. She looked in fairly good shape for 95. A Church of Scotland minister who stayed at Balmoral last weekend – he was preaching at Crathie on the Sunday – says she was in sparkling form. Boris Johnson said in the House of Commons today that the same was true at the hand-kissing. Even allowing for hyperbole, the end-of-life bit must have been short. A great blessing.


I followed the news on the radio all day, except that there really wasn’t any. A slightly mysterious medical bulletin at lunchtime, and the news that the Queen’s four children were all going to Balmoral. I wasn’t hugely concerned. But apparently there were rumours in the street. Helen arrived at 5, with David and Archie and an old friend and their dog Farouk. She brought me three bottles of cider –  Helen, who deeply disapproves of my drinking. We watched the news together for an hour and a half, a magnificent display on the part of the BBC of stringing out the saying of nothing. There was an increasing sense, however, that the rumours were true. Most of the reporters were wearing black ties. There was no six o’clock news, just on and on with pictures of the gates of Balmoral. Then at 6:30, the announcement.


Her absence feels very odd.


Wordle: The Times resisted the temptation to set QUEEN. We all seem to have found today on the easy side, anyway. Rachel and Ketki scored two, Thomas and Mark and I three, Alexander four.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

 There is much to say, but not tonight.

God save the King

Wednesday, September 07, 2022


We had a lovely autumn day this morning. Helen and I got all the way around the garden. More rain, this afternoon.


The new Evendoon was in a state in which Helen could try it on. It’s a bit snug. I am adding another stripe – easy, because it’s top-down – and am fairly confident that blocking will be able to add another inch or two to the circumference. But it’s sad.


Current affairs: I’ve just read quite a long article in the Telegraph to the effect that Gibson’s Bakery has won a long-standing dispute with Oberlin College which is going to cost the college millions. A student tried to remove a bottle of wine without paying. Mr Gibson followed him out to the street and there was an altercation. The police came. The student admitted the offence. But somehow – my memory is imperfect; it’s all in Wikipedia – the idea took hold that the student was being persecuted because he was black. There were demonstrations. Gibson’s sued. My sympathies have been with Gibson’s throughout; I’m very happy about the result.


But puzzled. In my day both college and town were “dry”. There were no bottles of wine to be had in Gibson’s. I have read the alumni magazine fairly attentively all these years and don’t remember the report of this major change. Shoplifting is apparently common. In my day we had an Honor System under which shoplifting would have been pretty severely disapproved of -- by the community, not just the authorities.


Wordle: No result from Rachel today – either the last full day in Lisbon, or the day of travelling back. Everybody else is present and accounted for: three for Alexander, four for me and Ketki and Thomas, five for Mark. I have a witticism up my sleeve which I will try to remember to tell you tomorrow – it gives too much away to be uttered now.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022


More rain. Perhaps the drought has broken.


I finished the second sleeve of the second Evendoon, and have dealt with most of the ends. Don’t get too excited: there’s still the neckband ribbing to do. I particularly enjoy the rare instances when a project offers some actual knitting at the end, after the tedious bit. Like finding a couple of swallows of wine in your glass after you’ve had pudding. Although I know that this has happened before, I can’t think of an actual example.


Thank you for all your MCAL encouragement. It should be great fun, having you do it too, Anonymous-just-north-of-Ann-Arbor (comment yesterday). Have you, too, ordered yarn from Amsterdam? I got an email today from Anj at Meadow Yarn, a British dyer with whom I sometimes deal. She has put together a number of possible packages for the MKAL, some of them very tempting and all substantially cheaper than Amsterdam. Too late now, for me. Nor do I regret my choice.


Wordle: Lisbon seems to be having a strange effect. (I think they’re all still there until tomorrow.) Rachel needed five today, Thomas six, Alexander and Ketki both failed. Which is unheard of. Mark and I – neither of whom is in Portugal, as far as I know – both got it in three. The Portuguese lot were mostly struggling for the first letter, which one of my starter words had supplied. I was hard put to think of three wrong words with the same last four letters. Rachel struggled for the middle letter – which, again, one of my starters had supplied.


Judy (comment yesterday) I do agree that repeated letters can be tricky (thinking of yesterday’s WHOOP). It’s a trick I tend to look for, ever since the day we had VIVID. I got the two I’s, proud of myself for solving the double -- so the pattern was *I*ID. I struggled mightily with the remaining letters until an Angel of Understanding descended from heaven and suggested a second duplication. Normally, like everybody else, I forget the answer 20 minutes (or less) after solving the day’s puzzle, but I always remember VIVID. KirstenM, you can’t always count on lightweight vocabulary. Another one I don’t seem to forget was EPOXY.

Monday, September 05, 2022


It’s been a beautiful day. Helen – now returned from Cheshire – came and we walked perhaps two-thirds of the way around the garden.


I pressed ahead with that sleeve, as hoped, and am now nearly halfway done with the terminal ribbing. Tomorrow?


I am enjoying the prospect of my MKAL, as opposed to regretting the extravagance. I look forward, too, to sharing it with you. The yarn is coming from Stephen and Penelope in Amsterdam – the website warns that it won’t be overnight, because they’re got so many to dispatch. They promise that it will be here for cast-on day. My colours are basically green, but that doesn’t tell you much. I'll want a day or two for winding -- 100 gram sock-weight skeins.


I did a Mystery Knitalong once before, also a shawl (perhaps they always are shawls). It’s there in the sidebar, and I must decide what to do with it. I didn’t care for the result much. Even two years ago – I assume that 2020 is what I meant by “virus knitting” – it didn’t seem worth the anguish of blocking. I must decide on its fate and get it out of that sidebar. I’m two years feebler now, and blocking is going to be a problem again. But if I like the shawl, it’ll at least be a problem worth solving.


Wordle: I didn’t approve of today’s word, but there have been no complaints from my little group. I scored a very undistinguished six. My starter words yielded two browns. Line three turned them green, a good start. Then I got stuck. Lines four and five were Jean-words, line four virtually useless, line five productive of two more browns from which the last-minute solution came. Alexander and Thomas scored three (blast them!), Ketki four, Mark and Rachel five.


Sunday, September 04, 2022

 We had some welcome rain in the night. C. came and we got all the way around the garden – the first time I’ve done that in a while. She was tired but very happy after a week of grandchildren – a London-based set as well as Hamish and his brother Quinn.


Not much knitting. Again, I hope I’ll do some more this evening. It now just needs a little push and the job will be done.


I’m afraid I did sign up for Stephen West’s MKAL. I sort of hoped there would be a message from one of you this morning saying, oh, go for it; but there wasn’t. There was just a message rather disapproving of the whole idea of knitting something when you don’t even know what it’s meant to look like. I’m not worried. It’s a shawl. West is a good designer, and he works hard on this annual event. We’re meant to start and finish in October, but I can presumably stretch it out a bit. November and December are the months when I need colour and encouraging videos from Stephen West.


What I forgot to say yesterday is that the news that the Queen stayed away from the Braemar Gathering this weekend is, I suspect, far more indicative of a decline in her health than the fact that she’s not going to London to welcome the new Prime Minister. Braemar must be what the Royal Family mean when they refer to “the Games” – just as we mean the Strathardle Highland Gathering which is always held the week before. Or maybe she just got tired of it all. She has to sit in a sort of three-sided hut which keeps the rain off, and just watch. Whereas the fun is walking about and meeting old friends and catching up on a year’s gossip and drinking whiskey out of the back of each other’s cars.


Wordle: Rachel and Ed are in Portugal with Alexander and Ketki, and Alexander has succeeded in adding Rachel to our little group of solvers. Posting daily results is easy, once you’re in. I did rather well again today – Thomas and I scored four, Alexander five, Rachel and Mark six – and Ketki failed. The problem with a lot of people was that they got the last three letters and then kept guessing wrong; the old familiar Wordle swamp. I got all five letters as browns in my two starter words, and my second attempt at a complete anagram was right.

Saturday, September 03, 2022


A busy day, by my languid standards. Daniela and I got to the garden, although not very far within it. Archie came to see me and, hot on his heels, the Loch Fyne Mileses. Not much knitting, but I finished another sleeve stripe.


Stephen & Penelope (=Stephen West) in Amsterdam have released the colour choices for this winter’s MKAL. I’m mildly tempted, although they are expensive and selling out fast. I would have to decide and order this evening, and it would be ridiculous. On the other hand, I’m keen on Stephen, and both he and the shawl colours would be heartening in the dark, cold months looming just ahead.


I’ve finished Henry Marsh’s book, with a bit of speed-reading. His earlier ones, when he was still practicing surgery, were better. Now he is retired, suffering from prostate cancer (not a terribly interesting disease), worried about dying of that or, alternatively, being cured of it and dying of dementia. Old age is not for sissies. I’ve moved on to Josephine Tay’s “The Franchise Affair” which is recommended for a re-read in a useful slot in this morning’s Times.


Wordle: I scored four this morning, expecting to be the class dullard again. But no. Alexander also got four, Thomas and his mother Ketki five, and it defeated Mark altogether. It was the old Wordle trick – you get four green letters and guess wrong again and again for the fifth. Thomas and I had only one wrong guess each. It took me quite a while to think of enough words to cover all of poor Mark’s guesses.


Off to knit a bit more, I hope, and think about that MKAL.